Stop reading now if you can’t handle some nerve-pokey subject matter.
I’ve had two separate incidents where I was nearly raped. Nearly is a non-specific word, so let me try to be more specific. In one instance, a guy put a roofie in my drink. Had a friend not seen a white substance dissolving at the bottom of my beer glass, who knows what would have happened. We called the police, but without a name or a license plate, good luck finding him. The other incident was when I was pushed against a fence and held still while a guy shoved his hand down my pants and told me how he was going to fuck me. Fortunately, I’m a 5’9″ brick shithouse even when I’m thin(nish) so a good elbow and I wormed my way out of a bad situation. Thing was, it was a friend of a friend. I didn’t call the police because I didn’t want to make trouble. I didn’t want to inconvenience my friends. I was in my early twenties and I didn’t know any better so forgive me for not having cut my ball-busting teeth yet.
I just avoided being alone with the guy going forward. Still saw him floating around and it was enough to make me sick, but hey. I could take measures. And I did.
A few other incidents I don’t consider “nearly rape” but they could have gone poorly for our heroine. I was nearly forced over the side of a boat by a guy that was grinding his pelvis against me. I was saved by someone coming outside onto the deck at the right time. It was a wedding and I didn’t want to make trouble for the bride and groom so I shut up. In another instance, a guy was driving a truck and purposefully took a hard corner so I slid across the bench. When I was smushed into his side, he wouldn’t let me go and groped my chest, all the while keeping me trapped. Another incident – I was followed by three men down the streets of Boston when I went to visit a friend. I ducked into a convenience store and waited while the clerk went outside to scare them off. Oh, and a friend of my now-husband used to grab every single one of my private parts despite my objections and refused to take no for an answer until my now-husband told him he’d break his face if he didn’t stop.
Have I mentioned people inappropriately touch me a lot? Less lately because I packed on weight, but the moment I took some weight off? It started again almost immediately. If I foraged through the memory banks for examples of butt and boob and hair touching, we’d be here awhile and I don’t want to bore you.
The point is, every single time something hideous has happened to me where someone has disregarded my personal boundaries, I’ve shut up about it. ME. QUEEN MOUTH. Has shut up about it. Because:
- I was afraid to make a scene.
- I was afraid no one would believe me (in the case of the guy with his hand down my pants.)
- “Other women have had it worse.”
- “It’s just easier to walk away from the situation.”
- I was EMBARRASSED.
The last is a big one. I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I hadn’t been smart enough to elude the situation. Like the onus was on me to not look the way I looked, not go where I’d gone, behaved the way I did. I was angry at the person who’d molested my person, yes, but I was even more infuriated that I hadn’t been smarter. And the reason my mind went there? To shame? To embarrassment? To “why didn’t you do better?” Is because society teaches us that girls shouldn’t look slutty, be sexual, be too pretty, be too brazen. Don’t drink. Don’t wear short skirts or thick makeup. Don’t __________ and we can avoid unwelcome touching. “Be intelligent about what you do, where you are” is ground into our heads. So then when someone does victimize us, WE BLAME OURSELVES FOR NOT FOLLOWING THOSE ARBITRARY BEHAVIORAL “DON’T GET RAPED” RULES.
Because really, ladies, I should have known better. Going into a bar at night, letting a guy buy me a drink. I should have known better. Because any drink that came my way might have a roofie in it. That’s how I should approach life, right? Always feeling like a hunted animal? Having to expect the worst in any and all social interaction?
I’m watching a thread unfurl where someone is talking about “all those falsely reported rape cases and how those women should be prosecuted.” Every time this is brought up, I feel my gut clench. I was so terrified of telling anyone what happened to me and yet there’s this idea that a GIGANTIC POPULATION OF WOMEN will subject themselves to a rape investigation because MALICIOUS. There’s this sick group of ladies who want their personal lives plumbed and their sex lives picked apart. Who’d want people judging them because they wore too much eyeliner, walked on the wrong side of town, or had on the slutty black nylons. And in the worst case, who’d want to go to the hospital and have strangers insert cotton swabs into their vaginas for evidence collection. Because that’s how a rape kit works.
And hey. I’m not saying that the “rape cry” thing doesn’t happen. But I’m taking a small guess that there are A LOT MORE women who don’t report their sexual assaults than there are women who hate men enough to subject themselves to an incredibly personal investigation to frame a guy. This fake rape argument, man. Every time someone makes it as a counterpoint to how often sexual assault occurs, a little part of me dies.