[Trigger warning: Sexual assault/rape]
I have a similar post to this already, but I thought I should revisit this one last time, because one annoying thing that happens to me sometimes is that people will say something along the lines of, “Oh, you don’t even know what real rape is. Call me when something more violent happens to you.”
First off, I would say 99.9999% of the time when I hear a comment like this, it is not from a rape survivor, because I don’t know many survivors at all who like to get in the “pain olympics.” People seem to feel a ton of compassion (and maybe some sadness), but not competition. So, who are these people talking as though they have authority when they’ve never experienced it (and they’re also not doctors who’ve studied it and the effects of it).
Secondly, I’d also just like to say, if it makes you feel any better, I have.
I have experienced a potentially more “violent” rape in my life.
As I have discussed here on the blog, once, when I was in college, a man physically held me down. He was much larger than I was and he grabbed my arms and he held me down as I never once stopped begging him to stop.
He kept shushing me as I asked him over and over again to please stop and told him how much it was hurting. I could not move my arms, he held them down so tightly. By the time he finished, I was bleeding.
Is that violent enough for you, people who said I wasn’t raped violently enough?
I have experienced that.
Other people of course may not react to things the way I do, but for me, straight up violence itself is not necessarily the hardest thing to deal with.
I don’t know if this has something to do with it, but as you know, I dealt with violence a lot as a kid (like kinda a lot). I had bruises and scars and cuts and the whole nine. I used to do this thing after I’d incur someone’s “bad day” or “episode” or [whatever we wanted to call it] where I’d sit alone and say, “sprite in a shoe” over and over and over. And I’d picture one of those soda dispensing machines pouring sprite right into a tennis shoe.
And it doesn’t make any sense, but I’d try to picture it as hard as I could over and over until I could block out what had just happened.
I used to train myself not to cry during periods of being hit because I didn’t want the person to know they were affecting me.
I trained myself, as best as I could, as a little girl to deal with violence. I can take some violence.
But – and this may not be the best comparison(?)…But like, when you watch a scary movie… Are you the most scared when you’re seeing blood and guts and gore, or are you scared out of your mind when you’re wondering, “Oh my god. What is he gonna do? Is he gonna catch them? How?” The suspense is the scariest part.
Just because I can take violence doesn’t mean I want to. So, when I am in a dangerous situation, I do very often still try to “good girl” my way out of it. And I do get very scared. I can steel myself once it starts and try to “sprite in a shoe” it as best as I can. But, I know (very deeply and intrinsically) precisely how terrible it is to experience, and I want to do everything I can to avoid it.
So, to be with someone who’s threatening – with whom you never know what’s gonna happen – where you always have to be holding your breath – to be frozen, feeling like you can’t try to fight back, because if you dare, something awful will happen… For me, that was worse. That may not be the case with everyone. I found it hard (obviously).
So, I don’t think the exact violence level or amount of blood determines how “rape-y” my rape was. The important information is that I made it exceptionally clear that he was scaring me. I was uncomfortable. I didn’t want to have sex right then. And he willingly ignored me completely and laughed in my face about it.
He completely violated me and my very expressed wishes. So, if my rape’s not rape-y enough for you, uh, sorry…?