Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Disruptive Reality

She asked me if he had beaten me, and without blinking, 
the word "Yes" came out of my mouth. 

I had never lied about that night before, and I don't know why, after two years, I lied. I don't think that I meant to. I don't even think I knew what was coming out of my mouth when I opened it to speak. I had lied to myself about that night plenty of times, but never to another person. But there was a certain tone to her voice that I had picked up on, and my instincts took over; convinced that in order for her to believe I had been raped, she needed to believe that I had been beaten too. 

And to be honest, there was a sick part of me in that moment that wished he had hit me*. There was a part that wished I had been knocked unconscious, because then I would have been taken to the hospital and I would have the proof. I would have earned the scars that society needed for me to earn in order to believe that I had been raped.

What does it take after all? A black eye, a bloody nose, bruised hips? What does it take for society to give it’s approving nod that legitimizes what happened to me? How many disgusting details do I have to share to convince you that night changed my life?

And here in lies the problem with rape, with abuse, with sexual assault. People don’t want to believe what is right in front of them. They don’t want to entertain the idea that their brother, their father, the funny guy in the friend group, the respected church member would ever be capable of something so terrible. It's too inconvenient, too disruptive to believe the facts. But as a victim, I didn't have the choice to prevent the facts from inconveniencing and disrupting my reality.

Because the man that raped me became very un-funny, very un-nice, and very un-good after that night. And to be honest, so did a lot of the people around me. It was very un-good of my friends to continue to hang out with him. It was very un-nice of a family member to tell me that it was my fault. It was very un-funny when his pastor did nothing after being given all the facts. 

It’s time to wake up.   

I stand by the words “Until it happens to you, you don't know how it feels”, and I hope you never know how it feels. But just because you don't know how it feels doesn't mean that you don't know how to see what is right in front of you, on the silver platter of misfortune that is ungrudgingly assembled, and do something about it.

(*I by no means want anyone to think that those words are meant to be derogatory towards other victims, and it is not my intent to discount anyone's experience. It was my intent however to be honest and raw in what my experience was. I do have a support system, and the worst of my experience is behind me, but the shock of how this issue is dealt with still stings as much as it did two years ago. I was blessed to be spared what many victims are not, and for that I am very thankful.)

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