Caution: Trigger warning. Honest dialog about sexual assault.
I was talking a friend about the dude who’s up to be a judge on the Supreme Court. He had no idea about the guy. So I explained who he was to him who the judge was. And then he uttered those words that piss me off. He said, “Why’d she wait so long to say anything?”
And I said,”Are you kidding? I was raped too. And I never told. ”
All he could utter after that was “I’m sorry. By who?”
I told him about the three separate men who did it. But only one was over the age of 18 at the time. The first one was my age, 13. The next was 17. And the final was at least 21.
I didn’t get into the details about what happened. I told him the only person who knew about the guy in high school was boyfriend. My boyfriend wasn’t going to go to the cops. He wanted to shoot him. I couldn’t let that happen. My boyfriend was a troubled youth with run ins with the law. And after all, the rapist was my friend’s boyfriend. He was super popular. Everyone loved him.
Yes, those were my real thoughts back then. I knew people would blame me. And say, “Look how she was dressed.”, “She was desperate” or flat out call me a liar. High school is hard enough without the added pressure of being called a liar or being judged for something you had no control over.
I feel guilt in all of it. Like I should have done something differently. I blame myself sometimes for being in a situation that made it possible for these things to happen. But, I have healed in most ways. I can talk about it constructively. It doesn’t interfere with me living my life. Although, perhaps I don’t trust men as much as other women do.
Should the guy in high school ever be up for office, I would tell now. I didn’t tell then because of fear. Now, I don’t give a damn. I am a middle aged women who had her innocence stolen from her. I am a women who didn’t speak up when maybe I should have.
We live in a society who wants to hang people. We try everyone in the court of public opinion. Some men are guilty as soon as it is reported. Some women are liars when they speak up. It just depends on how you feel about the people involved. I think we need to try harder to suspend our disbelief of victims, especially when it comes to men with power and fame. They too can be guilty of horrible things. Sadly, women tend to be the quickest to judge other women.
God, the #metoo movement annoyed me too. But I have to applaud the courage it takes for real victims to come forward. Our society still values men more than women. Women are still seen as deceitful and out to ruin lives when they are just trying to regain their own.
My hope is the world my daughter inherits isn’t the pretend America I live in. We pretend to be advanced in our value of women. We pretend to be puritanical to indict others over their behavior. We don’t protect women and girls. We live in a society that protects men who do not deserve protection.