I don't talk about it a lot.
Not because I'm ashamed - I got over that - but because if you don't know someone well, hearing her say, "I got raped" tends to be the sort of thing that drowns out everything else you know about her. And I don't want to be The Girl Who Lived.
I don't talk about it a lot here, in this public forum, because I don't want people to think that I'm trying to speak for all survivors. Every survivor has a different experience, a different way out. All of them are valid.
The reason I am talking about this now is because the one question everyone I have spoken about this with asks, is, "Is he in jail?"
I never pressed charges. And this post by Jim Hines, talking about the experiences of women who have been raped, and tried to go to the police with it, comes so close to my experience that I broke down after I read it.
Because when I was in the emergency room after, getting treated for the broken ribs and shattered cheekbone that had been part of the violence of the assault, the officer taking my incident report commented on how short my skirt was. He pointed out that my parents didn't know I had gone out to meet the guy, and that we'd had a relationship before.
Not sexual. I had been a virgin. I was fifteen.
None of that mattered.
Had I really said no? he asked.
It was a bad case to prosecute, he said. I needed to think about how much of what happened was my responsibility, before I went around causing trouble for someone, he told me.
So no. I never reported the crime. He never went to jail. I didn't tell anyone for years, because even though I knew I had been raped, and didn't need a court to tell me that, I thought it was my fault. That was what made surviving hard - being told, by the person who was supposed to be on my side, that I had deserved what had been done to me.
So today, I will be The Girl Who Lived. Because there are too fucking many of us, and I needed to tell the rest of you that you're not alone.