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On How It Feels To Be The Stubenville Victim

March 21, 2013

I’m not going to talk about rape culture because I think the best blog on it can be found here: http://rantagainsttherandom.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/so-youre-tired-of-hearing-about-rape-culture/

I’m not going to talk about not raping people, the media’s appalling coverage of this event, the ridiculous sentencing the boys got or any of the other hot topics you can find with a Google search.

I can’t read the stories anymore, not that they were easy to read to begin with. The pictures, the videos, the jokes are everything sick and disgusting about the human race. Those poor boys, their whole lives ruined because some girl couldn’t handle her alcohol…

It was a great party –  the alcohol was flowing freely and the crowd was great people who could be trusted to stay drama free. There were games and karaoke running long into the night, then as the party died, there were plenty of places to crash out for the night. I ended up on a couch after drinking heavily, ready to sleep off the evening’s fun. I don’t know how long I slept for, all I remember is waking up with the guy who I only recognized as having played bartender for the night on top of me, inside of me. I remember him talking about the things he wanted to do to me in the morning. I remember not being able to push him off, being exhausted and terrified that I could barely move. I remember him crawling off me to go back to sleeping on the other couch, but I don’t remember where he came. I remember running to sleep in my friend’s room and wanting nothing more than to shower and make it go away.

I remember him asking for my number the next morning and knowing that it meant no one would ever believe me if I reported it.

I’ve been a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate for years. Admitting that I never reported my rape because I felt no one would believe it was anything other than morning-after regret fueled by a night of binge drinking makes me feel like I have failed every client and victim who has ever crossed my path. Rape is rape! I know on a fundamental level that the circumstances don’t matter. I teach that. I preach that.

Yet when it was my turn to walk the walk, all the screaming voices of this fucked up society drove me into a corner where I hid my trauma for years before I told anyone.

I see myself in the pictures: drunk, passed out, violated. The commentary cuts me like a knife. Maybe if I had drank less, if I’d been able to fight, if my sexual past had nothing to comment on to make people not believe me. I find myself flashing back to that night, screaming in my head, promising myself that we’d get out of this and no one would hurt us ever again.

I remember figuring out that sleeping next to anyone would give me panic attacks, so I stopped doing it. I remember beginning to strictly regulate who I drank around and where. I remember my rapist contacting me. I remember the rumors and stories that came out months later.

Two days after the Stubenville sentencing hearing, I broke down in my car while I was driving to work. Everything that I’d spent years putting behind me and only busting out for special occasions like SlutWalk was now taking over my life. I was right back to that night – helpless, broken, guilty and completely unable to forgive myself.

Being a victim doesn’t stop when the actual crime is over. Some days, I think it never actually goes away, especially not when we get re-victimized every goddamn day by the culture we live in. If I, someone who is supposed to be fighting the good fight for victims everywhere, am too scared to stand up and tell my story because of the reality that I’m going to get judged as just another drunk girl at a party who did something she regretted… If a 16-year-old girl is going to get death threats for a situation that was even more heinous than what happened to me…

And people still can’t figure out why victims won’t come forward, won’t testify, won’t speak out?

Until Next Time,
~Rose

 

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