Thursday, July 1, 2010

I could really use a wish right now

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?" 


No.


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.

12 comments:

  1. Can't be the Girl Who Lived when you've become the Girl Who Transcended. You're full of win and greatness. That was the truth before this post and maybe even a little moreso now.

    Best,
    John Picacio

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  2. John, thank you. Kind words and support from a friend are exactly what I needed.

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  3. Wow, I'm sorry that this happened to you, but I'm glad that you had the courage to come out and say it.

    I have another friend with a similar story to yours and for a long long time she thought it was her fault, and didn't even attribute the R word to it. It took someone else to point out to her that she had been raped, and it caused a lot of traumatic scars.

    I had another friend that was a social worker defending women in Paterson NJ. It was very hard for them to get a rape conviction against men. I had a conversation with her about it one night and it really made me disgusted. I really want things to change in this regard. People should be able to come forward and be believed if something wrong has happened.

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  4. Sending you love because, well, I think you're magnificent, but also because you're brave and honest and (as John says) completely, utterly full of win.

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  5. Monica, Megan, thank you. I love you both, too.

    Chap - Exactly, people should be able to come forward, and be believed, and not worry they will be treated like a criminal.

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  6. I love you and stand in such awe of all that you are. I wish I were there to give you a hug while I tell you that.

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  7. Love you, too. We need to get together for hugs, soon!

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  8. Of course you're so, so much more than "The Girl Who Lived." But I'm grateful that you put your story out there, because hopefully it will make people (including police officers) more aware of this awful situation.

    How the cop could have responded the way he did is simply beyond me. I can only assume (hope?!) that he didn't have daughters.

    Sending hugs your way!

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  9. Thank you, Steffi. Hugs gratefully accepted.

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  10. I first saw this post when I didn't have time to contemplate it. Which it needs. And then I didn't say anything, which was bad and not at all what I wanted. But it was hard to respond, because I am not used to things that make me that upset, and because we've just reconnected after being out of touch for 8 years (which was a damned shame by the way, but there's nothing to do with that but throw it on the regret pile to gather dust with the others) and still haven't really caught up.

    But I guess what I most wanted to say is that you are amazing (I have nothing to equal John's excellent phrase "full of greatness and win"), I missed you, I'm very happy I've found you again, and your decision to write about this only deepened my admiration for you -- of which I already had plenty.

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  11. Tim - thank you so much. And the reconnecting is a complete good in my book. I'm so glad we did. (We're a long way from sitting together in Copyrights, aren't we?)

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