Blood kept secret

So many times I have wanted to tell my family I was raped in High School.

I have lost count of how many times the words have been on the tip of my tongue, my mouth so slightly open with the words practically slipping right out and ready to spill this secret.

But I stop.

In the moment before my Big Secret is let out I catch myself and break my gaze from my Mom.

After the assault, it took me over a year to even realize what had happened to me. One day out of the blue, I received a text from my assaulter saying he was sorry for what he had done and he needed to talk with me. That text flooded back that memory, never before had I relived that memory…that one life-altering moment in my life until I got that text.  My dorm mate came home that evening and found me curled up, uncontrollably crying on the floor. She and her boyfriend helped me to her car and drove me to his apartment where we spend the whole weekend.

In that time I texted back and forth with my assaulter rejecting his apologizes and releasing all my (unknown) rage towards him. I spent the whole time in bed, facing the wall and staining the sheets with tears.

It was months of counseling after that to try and make sense of it all and years of healing afterwards. Years of finding where this FIT into my life.

It’s not details of the rape itself that keep me from telling my family, its the tears, anguish, guilt, and other mixed emotions I know they would feel. It’s them knowing I spent years fighting to heal alone. Them asking questions of ‘How did you figure it all out?’

It’s telling them what I went through on the road to healing. About the nights I spent crying so hard into my pillow I thought there couldn’t be any water left in my body.

The years I secretly thought this whole thing was my fault and I could have stopped it. That I didn’t do enough to prevent it.

The three years following the assault where my attacker contacted me every Christmas, turning my favorite holiday into one of the most anxious times in my life.

That my anti anxiety medication was due to paralyzing blackouts thinking about the assault.

That every time they mentioned his name or asked about how he was doing at college it felt as if I was being gutted.

That coming back to my hometown in Washington to visit my family was a drive filled with flashbacks and that when they finally moved out of state 6 years later, so many years later, I STILL felt a burden being lifted.

One last factor that hinders me probably most of all is BELIEF. Not belief in the sense they don’t believe I was raped. Belief in the sense that this assault was undeniably 100% unpreventable and not my fault.

Now, knowing my parents I would hope that even the thought of the assault being my fault or that I could have done something to prevent it would not cross their mind. But somewhere deep down my fear is they might… and that would be more heart wrenching than telling them of the assault.

This FEAR of being found at FAULT keeps this secret safe from them.

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Flaws within Stanford Trial

Rape 

Sexual assault

… These are the most under reported yet most rampent types of crime occurring in the world. 

Statistics say over 65% of sexual assault cases go unreported each year.

And out of the reported assaults 1 in 60 assaulters are convicted. This is an insult to all people who have been victims of this crime. It’s no wonder this type of hanous crime is so under reported… Less than half of victims are given justice. 

One case in particular is an excellent example of the kind of ‘punishment’ these assaulters face:

               The Standford rape trial

This trial received so much media attention and for GOOD reason. This case had many flaws, from the assaulter using the victims own sister against her in court to Brock Turner writing his own script for how the night went that would most benefit himself. I’d like to point out a few more appalling things in this case: 

Firstly, the obvious phrase the father of Brock Turner used to describe his sons malicious acts: ’20 minutes of action’. Truly sir, if it really was a simple 20 minutes of action then why has this trial gone on for more than a year? Such a ‘short time of action’ surely wouldn’t carry on for as long as this one has. HORRIBLY WRONG CHOICE OF WORDS. As millions of people have expressed (along with any human being with any ounce of common sense) that this ’20 minutes of action’ was on a much larger scale. This ‘action’ has affected you on a small scale but had completely flipped the world upside down for the woman you raped. And she cannot even remember the event. 

Secondly, the part that is the most infuriating is the offenders plan to go  around to different schools to bring about awareness to ‘campus drinking culture.’ “Drinking culture and sexual promiscuity… Like a side effect. Like fries on the side of your order” – this is how the victim phrased it. And she’s 100% correct. Drinking will always occur on college campuses but sexual assault is NOT a byproduct of the ‘drinking culture’ on campus. Of course drinking can be a factor but it is most certainly not a cause or lead-up to the violation of someone’s privacy in the most personal way possible. Man up Brock Turner. Take responsibility. Go out and educate campuses on the larger issues facing our nation: campus sexual assault. Your story could bring about so much more change than you’re letting it. But because you are not willing to take responsibility for your own actions and choose to be overcome by this tragedy, you are making zero difference in our exploding rape culture. 

The last little statement that grabbed my attention is located in the victims letter to Brock Turner. She states,”The consequences of sexual assault needs to be severe enough that people feel enough fear to exercise good judgment even if they are drunk…” Yes, she is correct, consequences need to be more severe. But what is most disheartening is the fact that her idea of good judgement had been morphed. Process that. Good judgment is defined as not raping another human. Personally, good judgement for me when I’m drinking is A) Dont drive and B) Try hard to not embarrass yourself to much. Intoxicated or not, the thought of forcing sex onto someone else who does not want it never comes to mind as OK to do. Never. Good judgement is assisting someone home when they’re tipsy, giving someone a jacket to walk home in if it’s cold, finding a friend if someone’s passed out. Not try to bring the intoxicated woman back to your dorm, strip her of her clothing, or penetrate the passed out woman. 

This post may sound aggressive.. And it’s meant to be. The only thing that lifts my spirits is that as a society we were reminded that rape and sexual assault are very real and rampent within our culture. It’s a reminder that we do live in the midst of a rape culture (later post about this to come). I hope as a society we don’t continue to accept it as something that just happens, that rape is just a part of life that we must accept. It doesn’t have to be!! It’s our responsibility to bring an end to the acceptance and passivity of this crime and begin a movement of change. 
Citation: 

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system

https://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/heres-the-powerful-letter-the-stanford-victim-read-to-her-ra?utm_term=.qh8dpJl0b#.pg2qYEP86

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