I Am So Done Answering Questions About My Behavior Surrounding My Assaults – Part 1 (The Post Setting Up This Idea…)

October 16, 2017

So, if you missed it, “#MeToo” was trending last night all over social media. (Here’s my contribution to it.) And I read through a number of stories other survivors posted.

[Trigger warning: Sexual assault]

I’ve tried to be very open in my blog about the imperfectness of my situation.

It wasn’t a stranger. I knew him. I slept with him after he assaulted me the first time. And I willingly let him hold me and get super handsy with me on a plane (so, in public! with witnesses!) after the second time.

I didn’t immediately go the cops. I didn’t quit talking to him. I did block him on at least one social media channel immediately, because I was getting sick when I saw him. But I thought I needed to be “congenial” or something… I thought it was just a bump in the road that we’d “get past.” I thought a lot of things that turned out to be incorrect.

(This next part is not really the point of the post, so you can skip between the dotted lines, if you want :-))

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And I shared all the nitty gritty details of my story for a number of reasons –
1) I think we have a vision of what rape and assault is. And I think we need to see it’s more than that.
It’s not always a complete stranger who corners you in an alley and pulls a gun on you.
It’s the man who won’t stop when you beg him too. It’s the man who makes you hurt so much during sex you start sobbing, and he laughs in your face and will not stop as you cry underneath him and say out loud you’re crying because he’s making you so uncomfortable. It’s the man who won’t take no for an answer when you say you don’t want to. [I don’t care what the reason is.]
Rape is forcing sex on someone from whom you don’t have consent. It’s not ambiguous. Do you have consent or not? Shaking uncontrollably with fear, saying out loud I was shaking like that because I wasn’t okay, begging to go somewhere else, crying, saying out loud I was crying because of him, and more… All of that is not ambiguous. No reasonable adult would think any of those were signs that “yeah, she’s totally on board for this.”
I am so tired of us all bending over backwards into giant human pretzels to try to explain why this guy’s behavior was okay.
So, yeah. I wanted to show an example of an “imperfect” [I suppose one could say] rape – one in which I didn’t check all the “perfect” boxes that usually make people accept it as rape (dressing modestly, not being willingly alone with man, having a weapon as part of it, etc.). Not all rapes look like that. In fact, most don’t. And I think that needs to be recognized.
…Of course, just for the record, there is no “perfect” rape, because it’s the opposite of perfect. It’s such a horrific thing. Women are so often made to feel like we must be perfect at everything – and that seeps into this idea that we even need to be perfect at being victims – which is something we have no control over. So, anyway, hopefully all that made sense. And that’s one reason.

2) I wanted other people who experienced this type of thing to know they are not alone. And what happened to them is not okay. (And, to reiterate, they are not alone.)

3) I didn’t want to feel like I was hiding anything from anybody. If someday, this guy chooses to speak out and talk about his (the rapist’s) “side of the story,” I didn’t want anyone be shocked by new details like, “What? She slept with you again?! I had no idea. Well, now it feels like she was lying to me by omitting that. And ooooh, if she’s lying about that I don’t know if I can trust her about anything. Yeah, you’re cool, man. All hail king rapist over here.” (I felt like I had to tell none of the story or all of the story. And I felt it needed to be told, so I told it all.)

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[If you didn’t read the last part, it was just saying that I shared all the “nitty gritty” details of my story – including the parts that make me feel like an “imperfect” victim/survivor. (And it’s been hard.)]

So, anyway, I feel like I have spent a lot of time trying to answer questions.

To some extent, I’m very willing to do this. (I was gonna say “I’m happy to do this,” but that might be a little much.)

If I am trying to shine a light on something, and I am expecting people to learn, then of course I need to be willing to answer questions and explain things.

Have you ever had a professor bring in a guest speaker and then they say, “I don’t feel like talking about this. Y’all should already know better?” (I feel like that’s not really how it goes) If I’m willing to stand up and speak and try to shine a light in the darkness, well, then answering questions is kinda part of the job.

But. I feel like sometimes, with some people, a lot of the questions revolve around, “Well, what were you wearing? Were you flirting too hard? Why were you alone in an apartment with him?”

Why was I alone in an apartment with him? How many times have I been to someone’s apartment? Sometimes you eat lunch there. Or you wanna hang out with each other, but not spend money. Sometimes you throw a party, with a number of people, the definition of not being alone with someone…. but somebody gets there first. And/or somebody stays at the end to help you clean. We could go on and on. There are a TON of reasons to be alone with someone in an apartment. None of them are because you’re expecting to get raped. No one is expecting that!

I also feel like a lot of questions revolve around why was I nice to him afterward? Why didn’t I report immediately? Etc. etc.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?