3 most asked questions and my common answers

Ever since coming forward about my history with sexual violence, I’ve seemed to get a few questions on repeat. And though I have my go to answers if the audience either isn’t willing for me to take them down the rabbit hole or if I’m not up for the excursion, it still never gets easier to answer when a grumpy old man asks “well honey, boys have their needs too. You must have been wearing something tight to show off that young body” and you just want to scream, “No, you senile old man, I said no. That should have been enough” but you have to be polite because, well, old people.

The most common questions I get are often “Well, what were you wearing?”, “Why didn’t you trust your gut?” and “How do you feel about mandatory minimum sentencing for rape and sexual violence?” I’ll break these down below.

 

When someone asks “What were you wearing?” or something to that effect, they’re expecting to me respond with “Oh, something slutty”. They’re usually hoping that they can simplify an assault down to what I was wearing, as if that justifies that at all. So usually, people are surprised when I answer “A knee length dress, flats, and a blazer, not like it matters.”

 

Why didn’t you trust your gut? When I was trying to leave, I asked for water and was in the middle of calling a cab so I could get home safely. And it still happened. But usually I say “Trusting your gut isn’t always indicative of a violent assault, and I was in the middle of trying to leave”

 

And finally, the most challenging one to answer, How do you feel about mandatory minimum sentencing? To put it simply, hell yeah! The way our justice system views sexual assault and violence is absolutely absurd. Though there are laws and rules in place, it’s still immensely a gray area and up to the lawyers, judges, and juries to shift their perceived blame from the survivor to the perpetrator. And though I am all for putting these vile scumbags behind bars for life, I am also realistic and know that this will take time, it will take effort, and people’s minds don’t change overnight. It’s why you hear “he’s such a great swimmer, athelete, scholar, etc, This would ruin his life” more so than you hear “She deserves our empathy and help. This man took something from her she can never get back”.

 

At some point, I’ll make a post of how to spot rape culture in all its raging glory and how to combat it head on but this post is long enough. I’ll also create a post of the 10 most common questions I get that dives into my answers more so. Happy holidays everyone, hope you’re venturing into a safe environment, and if you aren’t, I am holding all the good faith and sending all the love your way.

 

You deserve a good life. You deserve to take up space. And you deserve to heal on your own terms.

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This will be the first in a series of letters to either the month or perpetrator in real sexual assaults. There will be frank discussion of sexual violence & assault so be prepared. Take care of yourself first.

Dear July 11 (and a little of July 13th too),

I wish you never happened. I wish that we could have just gone our separate ways when the sun went down and came up the next day. But you just had to be a pain in the ass, didn’t you? Quite literally and figuratively, if you get what I’m saying. I don’t think I sat right for almost a week. And I think there was blood.

So why didn’t I go to the hospital? Or at least a police station? Because the guy was a rocket engineer. Apparently they’re not actually scientists like we all thought before. He quite literally worked on rockets that go into space, if they don’t blow up once they launch that is. He free-lanced in Iraq for the Army as an engineer, making sure their guns worked right and that God forbid, if they needed a bomb, it went off on time and in the right way. And had almost zero chance of causing friendly fire. So you see, a spry short woman that talked a lot of shit wouldn’t have much motive to be believed. Because after all, though he didn’t wear a uniform, he still served our country. He still furthers our space program And he still has more letters after my name than I do. It wouldn’t have mattered if I said I wasn’t going to sleep with him or that he said that he was convincing enough, even if the answer was still no all the way until the end.

As soon as my gut started saying I should go, my head said, “You should probably get a glass of water and get some air. You should be good to drive, but 4 drinks over a few hours, you never know” and that’s when things start getting hazy. It was the first time all night I hadn’t watched my drink or seen the bartender pour it himself. But after all, what’s going to happen with a glass of water? Who in their right mind would drug a glass of water? Doesn’t that usually happen with mixed drinks or at a frat party? That’s what I thought too, until that night.

Next thing I knew, he was bending me over the bed, ripping my underwear off, and I froze. I couldn’t move. I didn’t know why what was happening was happening, and I didn’t know how to stop it. Then I woke up, sore and ripped. I knew what had happened but I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe someone who worked on rockets for a respectable company would do something to someone who said no, fuck no, get off me, and thought sticking his dick where the sun don’t shine was an acceptable response. Because, clearly, that’s what good people do to nice girls in work dresses, flats, and a reasonably nice blazer. Right?

Why on Earth did you choose me? I’ve already been through this, why did I have to go through this again? Was it because none of my exes really raped me, they just tried to? And you wanted to let me know how it really felt to have something so personal get so violated? I’ve been asking why for so long now that I don’t think i’m ever going to get an answer anytime soon. It’s like group said, we may never understand why we were chosen but we were. And it doesn’t diminish our shine any less just because some fucktard decided to take what wasn’t his.

Anyway, I left early the next morning, stunned and in shock, only to go back to bed and take a steaming hot shower when I got home. That’s why I realized that I forgot my blazer and need it back so I could burn it. And then he raped me again. So I left, showered, and tried to forget, all over again.

But I guess, it’s like the nurse I mentioned to at the hospital after intense stomach pain that I might have PTSD because of some rocket engineer raped me, that I’m such a pretty young girl and it’s clear that any man would want me in his bed any day of the week. And that I should be thankful an engineer wanted me, of any other broad he could have had, . Or the off duty cop that said I’m too good looking for my own good. I shouldn’t open my mouth unless someone’s standing at attention. And I really should try not bringing so much attention to myself, while I’m not wearing any makeup.  But I think it’s the looks they gave me that really got me. That I was broken, that I was feeble, and that I was over-reacting. That feeling disgusting or broken after being sexually violated was somehow an inappropriate response.

It’s so good to know that, even two years later, people don’t know your name but they seem to still think your dick is God and has an open door policy anywhere it’d like to go. And I can’t help but think how lucky I am to be alive. It’s nice to know that even though you were the worst weekend of my life, I’m still standing, and I’m still finding my way. But I’m not going back to you. And I wish I filed charges or at least had some sort of evidence against you besides some burned embers of a dress but I don’t. So I’m finding my own way. And I like to think that every day I get up, I say “Not today, Satan, not today”

If you’ve been sexually assaulted, please for the love of all things holy, call someone. Call 911. Call RAINN. Call somebody. You deserve help and you deserve justice. And I will always believe you, even if you think it’s a complicated hot mess. I believe you and I always will.

Rape Culture: a starting definition

Rape Culture is probably a phrase on your radar lately and not many people seem to fully understand what it is. I don’t think anyone is advocating that rape is alright or deserved. Nobody in his or her right mind would think it’s all right for someone to rape another human being. Rape culture is the idea, though, that rape can be excused or swept under the rug. It’s the idea that your rapist can get off because he’s a man and such a charge would destroy his career, his dreams, and his very livelihood. I mean, after all, think of the children and all the potential he has. He has such a bright future. He’s such a good man. Or that you somehow deserved it because of the way you were dressed or how you were perceived to be acting or whatever the case may be.

Rape culture is what allows rapists to get away with violence because we’re worried about destroying the perpetrator’s life. It’s the idea that rape is a cause and effect offense. It can’t just happen out of the blue or when you’re trying to get out of it any way you can. Rape culture is what makes you feel like shit after you were assaulted because it doesn’t fit some cookie cutter idea of what it should look like. Learn more about how to define rape culture here and here .

Sexual violence is gray as the clouds on a rainy day. It operates on a spectrum and can’t be defined by one or two experiences. It’s legally broad for that very reason. It encompasses so much different things that it’s next to impossible for it to be specific or encompass one ideal. Rape, sexual violence, and sexual assault are difficult to come to terms with. And they’re especially difficult to report, because we’re so accustomed and trained to thinking that the only people who perpetrate sexual or domestic violence are strangers in dark alleys with weapons or the drunken boyfriend you make excuses for.

So how do we combat rape culture? And how do we create an environment that fosters reporting crimes without fear that they’ll go to trial or at least have some form of adequate legal justice? Sound off in the comments! I’ll be writing more posts about how to fight it in the coming weeks.