Two people from my past have reached out to me via social media lately. Those two people sent terrors through me.
They brought up terrible feelings that I work so hard to shove down, deep inside me. It is so much easier to deny that these things have happened, that I let them happen because I was too scared to address them. Because I was immobile in my own thoughts. In denial.
My first experience of this kind was in college. My Freshman roommate was quite promiscuous despite that everyone knew she had a long-distance boyfriend. One weekend afternoon, she rolled in. I thought she had just stayed out late and slept over at some guy's house. I commented, "Must've been a good night!" to which she responded that she had been attacked in the alleyway on her route to her cousin's apartment. Sexually assaulted to be exact. She was a mess, had been up all night at the police station, and all I could think was, "well, she probably asked for it." She moved to the southern US after that semester.
That was the ignorant me before I had become feminist and knew about women's rights, statistics, and all that. A year later, I realized that I had victim-blamed rather than supported in a most crucial time.
Then it happened to me. Just like the statistics.
- Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim
Twice, in the same scenario. Go home with someone after drinking, engage with consent, sleep over, wake up to them doing whatever they want to my passed out, unconsenting body. That is the scariest feeling ever. Laying motionless, not sure what to do, can't call out, pain, afraid that if you say 'no' they will hurt you even more.
I haven't even ever told my mom it happened. I didn't realize it until I was on the phone with her telling her that "Jerkface" had contacted me via social media after three years, and "how dare he reach out like that, the asshole." But he had never realized it was "wrong".... that's why he reached out. My mother had no idea it happened. And like that, those moments of fear when I sat listening to the victims at the Slut-Walk talk about their experiences of sexual assault. That was me... even after all the social justice and women's rights education I had, I didn't identify that I had been a victim until I heard other people telling my same exact story. That is why I had anger, guilt, and sadness inside me. I get it now... and the worst part is, that I will never address them because my pride is too much. I will never allow them to know how much it affected(s) me. I will continue to be courteous because they aren't worth it.
And this is just the quote that sums up that exact feeling:
"What I want is for you to write “fuck me” on your chest. Write it! Do it! And then I want you to walk out that door and I want you to walk down the street, and anybody that wants to fuck you, say, “Sure! Sure! No problem!” And when they do, you have to say, “Thank you very, very much.” And make sure that you have a smile on your face. And then, you stupid fucking coward, you’re gonna know what it feels like to be a woman!" (Jenny from the L Word- Season 2 Episode 11).