I was raped.
Twice. Two separate occasions. The first time involved 3 people. The second time, just one. I say just one, as if I were luckier the second time around. But the feelings of violation, disgust, and suffocating moments of depression afterwards, were not lessened.
The first time, I was asleep. I told one person afterwards, and their response was, "Well you should have been more aware of what was going on." In my mind, for a split second, I believed what they said made total sense. For a day or two, I had actually convinced myself that I may have been in the wrong and refused to believe that the men who did this to me, weren't in fact rapists. I know of friends who tried to convict their rapists and failed. One friend dropped all charges because she was so stressed she couldn't function. She knew she would never "win" if she couldn't state her case clearly. With 4 kids, I knew I wouldn't be able to handle going to a hospital, making a police report, hell, even calling 911 seemed like it might invoke a nervous breakdown. Instead, I didn't do anything. I chalked it up to an error in judgement. That they made a mistake. This doesn't make sense typing it out now, but at the time it did. Terror and trauma do a number on your sense of reason.
The second time, I was not asleep. It was in his truck, with a gun resting on the center console. He was an old friend and a cop. When he first showed me his gun, I felt a trickle of fear, my stomache lurched. Something was wrong, this was wrong, cops don't take out their guns when they are off duty. Or do they? My mind raced. He asked if he could take pictures of me holding his gun because he thought it would be hot. I refused. He drove me to a secluded park, where he pushed the gun into my back as I was ordered to bend over. I had never had anal sex before, and in that moment I wanted him to just shoot me and get it over with. When he took me back home, he asked if he could pay me a visit in 2 days to talk about what had happened. I told him I would be out of town so no. He just shrugged and said "Alright, well just call me if you want me to come pay you a visit again."He drove away before he could see what the backside of my pants looked like. I cried for 5 seconds, changed my clothes, and picked up my children. The last thing I wanted to do was admit that I was in another man's truck. The last thing I wanted to do was ask my baby sitter if they could watch my kids longer so I could go to the hospital. I didn't want to tell anyone anything. I wanted my kids and I wanted my bed. I had just lost control of my life completely for what seemed like hours. I wanted it back, and I wanted it NOW.
Until yesterday. Yesterday I read a blog by DeBie Hive and just the title "What we should teach our daughters and sons about Steubenville" lit a spark from under me. She wrote that we need to teach our kids to respect one another, stop blaming victims and pointing fingers anywhere but in the direction of the 2 rapists who were convicted yesterday. Henry Rollins posted similar sentiments which I suggest you read and both mentioned that rape isn't about sex, it is about control. I know it is about control because I felt a total loss of it on the two occasions that I was raped.
One day, I will tell my children I was raped. It is my job as a parent to protect but also instill in my children my own values, whether or not they follow my lead is up to them. But it would be irresponsible of me to not tell them. They need to know because they need to trust that should they find themselves in a situation where they need help, where a friend needs help, or when they just need advice, that they can trust me and that I trust that them knowing as much about me as possible will not harm them, but rather prove to them that I think they are capable of making the right choices.
What will I tell my my beautiful sons? What will I tell my precious daughters?
Respect all people. ALL people. See that girl with a short skirt and low cut blouse? She's your sister until she tells you otherwise. See that grown man who is homeless? You will not disrespect him. Ever.
Don't be useless. Help someone in need of help. If you can't help them, find someone who can. Do not fear helping someone. If you see a girl at party who is unconsious, put her in your car and bring her home. Call someone to help if you have to. When someone is being hurt, do something. Whether it be a bully at school, a kid who is hurt on the playground, a car accident, any person who needs help, help them. DO NOT WATCH AND WAIT. ACT.
How a person treats themselves, does not define how you treat them.A woman who is under the influence, is not to be taken advantage of.
A woman who has sex with you, is not an invitation to have sex with again.
A woman who is dressed suggestively is not to be disrespected, whistled at, yelled at, grabbed, etc. She is your sister until she says otherwise. If you like her, smile.
No ones actions are your invitation to treat them badly. No one is ever "asking for it" without actually saying it.
How you are dressed or act does not determine your worth. You determine your worth.
If someone hurts you. TELL SOMEONE.
If someone tells you not to tell anyone. TELL SOMEONE.
If you know someone who was hurt, but didn't do anything about it. ASK.Ask them if they are okay. Ask them if they need help. If you suspect or know, and they are afraid to say anything, tell me, tell a police officer, someone, ANYONE. If you don't, more people will be hurt. Don't forward that information on social media, do not text about it, ask them in person, any information given to you is private until you find someone who can help.
If it feels wrong, it is. You have an incredible sense of human survival. Your body tells you when it's sick, hungry, tired, etc. Your brain and your body work together to protect itself. That feeling of fear? Use it. Your survival skills are innate. Don't second guess it. If you "have a bad feeling" it is because your body is telling you to listen to your brain.
If you realize that something you are doing is wrong. STOP.If you realize you are in a dangerous situation, too dangerous to fight. Hold on. Fight when you know you can. Your instincts will tell you. Trust them. And use everything you can to fight.
Rape is cannibalism. You would never eat a dead human being, would you? Well that's how atrocious it is.
If she/he can't say "no", it doesn't mean "yes".
If she/he is scared. It's rape.
If she/he says "yes" but then changes their mind. STOP.
If she is your date, your girlfriend, your best friend, your partner, your wife, if she says "No" or is scared to say "No", it means RAPE.
If he is your date, your boyfriend, your best friend, your partner, your husband, if he says "No" or is scared to say "No", it means RAPE.Son, some men choose to be boys and not act. Some men choose to be monsters. You have a choice to be a man, a boy, or a monster. Make the right choice. The one you can live with and tell your son about. Son, some men and women were not taught these things.Son, some men and women were not taught these things. And because other boys were not instilled in them the values and trust I have in you, or they have disregarded what they know to be right, is why you must look after women. Like you would your sisters. Like you would protect me.
Daughter, some men and women were not taught these things. Some men choose to be boys and not act. Some men choose to be monsters. That is why you must look after yourself as well as other women, like your sisters. Like you would expect from me.
Now I challenge YOU, dear Humbler.
What are you going to tell your children?