Life and Love After Rape
I was just perusing the blogs on Blogher.org, and there was a post from a member stating the obvious and shameful truth that no one talks about rape. And it’s true. And when it is discussed, it is discussed in hushed tones, whispered in ears with fingers slyly pointing in the general direction of someone seen as a victim, “she was raped, you know.”
People don’t talk about it. And when they do it is with fear. It is as if it is contagious. And if we just don’t say it out-loud, it won’t happen to us, or perhaps our silence will erase it if it has happened to us. Well it won’t. In fact, as long as it is relegated to the recesses of fear and misunderstanding, it will only hurt more.
In responding to the Blogher.org blog post, I found myself writing the subject title, “I WAS RAPED and I’m almost proud of it.”
And that true. I was raped. 20 years ago an armed man broke into my house and raped me at gunpoint. He told me, very clearly what he intended to do to me, and that if I struggled he would kill me. In that split second, I had to choose whether or not to live. And it was an easy choice to make.
I’m not about to declare rape easy, or simple. Far from it. It reverberated through my life for years, it is a dull echo now. But I am PROUD of choosing life. And of choosing to design the life that I have chosen.
I have chosen to live a life free from violence of all sorts. I don’t even really tolerate meanness or rudeness in my life, because that man, whoever he was, helped me realize that any violence at all is too much violence, and i don’t want it. I have chosen to live a life filled with sex, because that man showed me that rape is a VIOLENT crime that has nothing to do with sex, and that sex should be fun and feel good. So I let it. I chose to live a life filled with love, because in the presence of true love, violence really can’t flourish, but it can be overcome.
In the years since I was raped, I have found myself in situations in which it is logical and organic to talk about it. Sometimes its awkward – telling a lover you were raped is a risky proposition because you don’t know if they will recoil in fear, become afraid to hurt you, or trigger you, or even be grossed out by it. But talking about it, and making sure they know and understand can build a bond that is so strong it makes anything possible. Talking to friends and family can be hard because their impulse to protect you may make them want to limit the experiences you have.
But the crime is not about the victim. She didn’t cause it, whoever she is. I certainly did not cause my rape. I was at home, asleep in my bed. Recoiling from a survivor, or treating her differently is to imply that they were somehow responsible, that there is something that should or could have been done to prevent it. There isn’t. Or that they are defective now. They are not.
On the other hand, if you know a woman who has survived rape (or a man, that happens too) and you can join them on an exuberant journey, you will find that it makes you both stronger.
I don’t know why people don’t talk about it. I suspect that it has something to do with people’s connection between rape and sex. I don’t see that connection – rape is about violence, not sex.
Then again, we don’t like to talk about sex in this culture either – which does a lot to perpetuate the “dirty” feelings of those who survive sex-based crimes. (It also does a lot to perpetuate the spread of sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy and the ostracization of people with non-monogamous, non-heterosexual sexual habits.)
So, although I don’t really know what difference it makes, I’m willing to talk about the fact that I was raped. i did not commit this heinous crime. But I did choose to live a magnificent life regardless of it. I chose life, sex and love. And I’m happy to talk about it.
Please join me in creating a dialogue that can heal.
This was originally posted in my blog on JustCauseIt.com