Alana has asked if I would post the story of her rape, and I’m honored to do so. Show her some love and support, y’all.
As I sit here deleting and retyping words, I realize there’s no way pretty way to say I was raped.
For years I wouldn’t even use the word “rape.” If the need arose, I would say I was “sexually assaulted” as if to mitigate the ugliness of being raped. Just the word “sexually assaulted” sounded much tidier and like less of an admission in a way I can’t easily explain (but I’m sure other people can relate to). The word “rape” is complicated and people don’t know how to deal with complicated. It’s a word that forces us to feel and to question and to relate to other human beings. It’s a word that I hate and hope will eventually be unneeded.
Just typing the word is like ash in my mouth.
But I want to share my experience. The first time I shared my story I claimed that I wasn’t “looking for sympathy, just understanding” and “that if I only ever give one honest, naked piece of myself to my blog, then I want it to be this.” I still stand by both those statements a hundred percent.
The first thing you have to understand is the way I grew up because you shouldn’t be surprised when I tell you I was only thirteen when this happened. I don’t want to get into all the ugly details, but drugs, alcohol, and sex were all regular aspects of my life by 13. Both of my parents were tweakers and though my mother tried, she had her own problems and didn’t really give a shit what I was up to. It wasn’t strange for girls I knew to have kids before they were fifteen or to date men twice their age. So even though I was thirteen and he was 22, it wasn’t some astounding significance. It just was just the way things happened where I lived.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I said no.
I’m not going to get into the details of what happened because I don’t think it really matters anymore. What matters is I’m finally able to admit that I was raped and that I am not defined by that fact. For a long time I thought maybe it wasn’t rape but somehow something less. I may have said no, but I didn’t fight or scream so how can it really be rape? I wasn’t beaten up or bruised. I didn’t press charges. I figured it must have been my fault, especially since it was someone I knew. Someone I had slept with before (once). In fact, he was the first person I ever slept with. How can it be rape? I must have misunderstood what was happening to me. There a hundred thousand lies I’ve told myself to believe I wasn’t raped. It had to be anything but rape.
But I’ll never forget the brief words, “It’s so cute the way you say no,” that he whispered intp my ear as he took off my clothes.
That’s the part that’s really stayed with me all these years. The fact that I still hesitate to say I was raped is still deeply upsetting to me. Every year I seem to feel a little less hesitance though and I’m starting to realize how much of my hesitation comes out of an attempt to make the people around me more comfortable. (This is one of the worse consequences of rape culture in my opinion. The pressure to stay silent is just another way of being victimized.) I can’t even explain what a difference women like Britni, and the dozens of other people who have bravely shared their stories, have been in my ability to accept the reality that I was raped. This happened ten years ago so I’ve had a long time to come to terms with my situation and cope, but I’m getting emotional just thinking about all the amazing stories I’ve read. I can not say thank you enough to every one of you who has shared a story in one way or another.
Seriously, thank you.
So I guess that’s it. If you’re reading this and you’ve been sexually assaulted, remember you’re not alone and it does get better. Here is a link to RAINN, The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. I hope you never have to use it.