You don’t know me (or maybe you do), but I have a feeling that the thoughts I’m about to impart to you will sound strangely familiar — or maybe they won’t. But you should probably stick around regardless, because either way, you are my target audience.
I started this blog because it occurs to me that, while most people generally concur that rape, sexual assault, domestic violence — and anything else that remotely belongs to that family — are essentially “bad things,” nobody ever really … talks about them.
Now I don’t mean to say that people don’t ever make statements like: You should never rape someone. Or: Did you hear about Chris Brown and Rihanna? That was terrible! What I mean to say is this: 54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police; 73% of rapes are perpetrated by someone that the victim knows personally; every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted; and yet, we don’t hear people talking about sexual violence as if it is personal, or even relevant, to their lives. We don’t hear people talking about when they’ve felt threatened or scared in sexual situations. We don’t hear victims telling their stories.
There is a very good reason for this. We live in a society that paints the classic portrait of a rapist as being that Deranged Psychopath, that Unexpected Stranger in an Alley at Night. We live in a society that blames victims for “asking for it.” We live in a society that only incarcerates 6% of all reported rapists. With this paradigm as our guide, how is a victim supposed to understand that when their friend, or when their family member, or when their lover takes advantage of them once, or a hundred times … how can they be expected to classify that happenstance as rape, to not feel entirely culpable for it, and then to act upon it with any hope of justice reigning?
This is something that I care about. This is very personal, and very relevant — to me. I am a survivor of partner rape. And date rape. And relationship violence. And I’m not simply going to state that fact — I’m going to regale you with my story. Because I think it’s important to actually confront how these atrocities unfold, how a victim’s psychology can be impacted by it, and how that kind of trauma can affect a person’s life — both internally and externally. Not just when, and what, and where, and why. But how.
My story is not unique. But what makes me really sad is that you’d never know that. This is just one small step, and maybe it will only make the slightest of ripples, but it is something that I can do. Some might think I’m crazy. Some might think I’m brave. I just think that I owe it to myself, and to others as well, to use my voice in this way. And I would be grateful beyond expression if you would join me in this journey. It may be rough, but it will be worth it — trust me.