How I Became A Rape Victim

*Trigger Warnings*

Below are excerpts from an amazing post entitled “How I Became A Rape Victim.” My dear friend Nathaniel, aka Seamus from Airship Isabella, linked me to this post via my Facebook profile. He was supporting me and helping me educate a misogynist who didn’t know he was one.

I’ve been thinking about this recently, because rape has been in the news so much.  Ched Evans, the twitter hate campaign against his victim, the I Believe Her campaign in response, the girls in Oldham who were groomed and raped… and the discussion about why they became rape victims, what it was about them which enabled a bunch of misogynist predators to exploit them so viciously with so little awareness of their humanity. What was shocking to me was that anyone was bothering to discuss what it was about the girls that made them rape victims, re-inforcing the notion that rape only happens to certain sorts of women.  It’s a very strong idea in our culture and one which keeps rape victims in denial about their experience and ensures that they don’t face up to what happened to them for weeks, months or years in some cases, because their image of themselves, doesn’t fit in with the image they’ve been fed, of a rape victim.  So I want to talk through the step-by-step process of how a woman can be set up to become a rape victim and how that has nothing to do with her and everything to do with the man who decides to rape her.

I was eighteen years and four months old, so officially already an adult woman…

Early on in the evening, I was talking to a friend when a boy came up to me and kissed me. I say boy, I suppose I mean man, but I still thought of male peers as boys. (He was 19 by the way.)  Without warning, without comment, he just grabbed me, held me close around him so I couldn’t move and thrust his tongue into my mouth and kissed me.

I found this repulsive and startling, yet Bohemian, exciting and off the wall.  I had no idea who this guy was, had never seen him before in my life, knew immediately that I didn’t fancy him, but it didn’t even cross my mind to question his right to simply overstep any normal boundaries.  It was a party.  Men were supposed to behave like that, as far as I knew. It would have been uptight, prudish, strait-laced, to object. No-one had told me that only rapey men behave like that, normal men who fancy you but don’t have a sense of entitlement, don’t just grab you in that way. I ran off giggling with my friend, who was slightly perturbed by his behaviour and with hindsight, probably by my reaction…

It took me years to realise that that kiss, had been a set-up: that the reason he had targeted me in that way, was to ensure that later on, if I complained about being raped, he could point to that and have lots of witnesses saying that we’d been seen kissing earlier on at the party. That way, he could be absolutely sure that he’d get away with it, because as everyone knows, once a woman kisses a man, he then has the right to penetrate her body whether she wants him to or not…

Without really knowing how it happened, I realised we were somehow falling behind the rest of the group.  At first it didn’t worry me.  They were in sight, it’s just that we were far behind them now.  At one point I said something about it and tried to catch up with them, but he pulled me back.  It was at that point that I suppose the victim-blamers will say that I should have screamed, shouted, cried for help.  Because it was at that point I should have realised he was planning to rape me.  But I didn’t. Because I was also taught, that to assume that a man is a rapist just because he’s stopping you doing something you are showing clearly that you want to do, is hysterical, man-hating, hairy-pitted feminism which is a Bad Thing.  And so once again, his boundary-breaking behaviour, didn’t really bother or alarm me as I didn’t perceive it as boundary-breaking, I perceived it as normal.  Women’s boundaries are constantly being broken by men and we are told all the time, that if we make a fuss about it, we are unreasonable, unfriendly, rude, hysterical, difficult, confrontational – all negatives, all things we should strive not to be…

Before I’d even noticed it, he was pulling me down the alley, laughing conspiratorially as if this was my idea too, drawing me into his “naughtiness”.  Even then, I didn’t feel threatened.  Even then, I didn’t expect this man to rape me.  Why would I?  He was someone’s brother, not a rapist in a dark alley… oops.

Right up until the moment he actually pulled my knickers down and I felt his penis, I genuinely had no idea he would actually rape me.  Even as he entered my body, my main emotion was utter incredulity.  I simply couldn’t believe this was happening.  This repulsive man had somehow separated me from my friends, dragged me down an alley and was raping me…

All the way home, I thought about whether I’d been raped or not and like many rape victims, convinced myself I hadn’t been.  I felt like I had, but I told myself what society would have told me – that I was wrong and unreasonable to feel that way, I hadn’t said no, or at least, if I had, I hadn’t said it strongly enough, aggressively enough, I hadn’t fought him off, I hadn’t resisted being pulled down the alley, I hadn’t resisted at all. Except that I had resisted, just not in a way that society defines resistance.  Society has allowed rapists to define what resistance is: screaming, crying, scratching, pushing, kicking, biting, punching.  I didn’t resist like that.  My resistance was to wriggle a bit, turn my head away when he tried to kiss me, try to stop his hand going into my bra and knickers, push him ineffectually, talk about wanting to get my cab; all things which normal men recognise as not being enthusiastic participation when they are engaging with women but pretend it’s a grey area when they talk about rape.  Rapists have managed to get society to believe, that what I did, was consent. Because I didn’t resist in the way rapists – and society – say that women should resist, they define our non-participation as consent. (More about why consent has been constructed to enable rapists to get away with rape here:http://herbsandhags.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/whats-wrong-with-consent.html)

And, perhaps, the most horrific part of her post:

When it comes to rape, not much has changed for women in nearly three decades.  I guess all I can do for her, is to raise her to expect her boundaries to be respected, to make her aware of how common rape is and to let her know that if she does get raped, it won’t be because of anything she says or does or wears, it will be purely and simply because she has the bad luck to meet a rapist.  And for all the other girls and women out there, all I can do is speak out about my own experience and raise my son to know that if he is not sure a girl or woman wants him to carry on doing whatever it is he’s doing, then he needs to ask her and respect her answer, because if he doesn’t, then he may be a rapist.  Because rapists aren’t usually scarey men in dark alleys, they’re someone’s son, brother, father, uncle, cousin, friend, colleague. Somewhere out there, the man who raped me is probably raising a family and living a normal life, like most other rapists.  And he’s probably still pretending that he’s not a rapist and society is still supporting him in that.

I know that society is still supporting my rapist’s “right” to live a normal life, hurting, abusing, and manipulating others without them even knowing that’s what’s happening to them. I only hope, that when he rapes them, they report him like I did. Maybe, just maybe, one day the cops will listen and won’t minimize what he, and so many other men (1 in 16) are doing to women. Are forcing on women. Perhaps one day we’ll see the Dallas Police Department take rape seriously, instead of translating a violent, oral rape into: “she remembers at one point giving oral sex to the susp.”

And, yes, they sure fucking did. The rest of the report was just as insulting and typical of rape culture. Still, I’m not done fighting. Not by a long shot.

I’ll never be silent again.

Although the excerpts were long, there is much more to her story, and you truly should read every word of it. Please visit Herbs and Hags to read this post in it’s entirety as well as the rest of her amazing blog.

Peace.

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~ by omgrey on November 21, 2012.

4 Responses to “How I Became A Rape Victim”

  1. Thank God I’ve never given a DAMN about what other people think when it comes to danger and evil and standing up against abuse and wrongdoing.It has probably cost me family members and friends. Too bad! All women and men need to be like me when it comes to this. If you know something is not right and u feel it, the hell with what mommy taught you or what friends and the world might think or say!! I had one call me in 1994 and start raising his voice to ME the VICTIM of what was inappropriate behavior during a work physical exam. “doctors dont look at you in a sexual way” mommy always told us. It was mr shouter’s PAID job to stop the person from doing this again after we tell him, NOT The victim’s. How dare you re-victimize? My ever sympathetic family member said ” call a rape crisis hotline.” even though i had not been assaulted like this. In 94 the 800 # never said sorry this happened to u. Thr only words the FEMALE hotline worker said after having me repeat the shit of what happened again “youre gonna be shaken up for a long time.” A former male “friends” response was to change the subject by saying ” I need some soap. Laundry soap.” miss x

    • Yes. People don’t know how to respond. Saying “I’m so sorry this happened to you” is the best thing someone can say. It’s better than victim blaming or telling you to just move on. At least it shows some compassion & care.

  2. [...] How I Became a Rape Victim [...]

  3. [...] accepted their own traumatic event for what it was; however, it’s not only possible, it’s common. Even though I felt violated and betrayed, even though my body and subconscious mind was reacting [...]

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