I always have an intense desire to create. Birth beauty.
I want to put things out into the world that make me happy, in the hopes that they also make someone else happy. That is why I write, post poetry, and work in content creation.
Diving deeper though, it may even be for unified solidarity. To know that someone is feeling exactly the same way I’m feeling about something. That I’m not alone. We’re together in this.
That is somewhat the point of this...
How cliche is it that we live in an actual world where we are not surprised when someone is raped. I realized the other day that when I hear that someone has been sexually assaulted, there is no more shock factor for me. I think, “That’s awful, yup, another one.”
I didn’t even realize this until I heard Joe Biden speak at my alma mater the other day and state, “This is NOT ok. This NEEDS to end” when referring to rape culture.
Something inside of me snapped- and sadly, it was because I heard a man say it for the first time.
In September of 2014 I was sexually assaulted.
I don’t want your pity, I don’t want your apologies. I don’t even really care if you look at me differently. I’m not here to get into the gory details, I’m not here to tell you about how I almost failed every class that semester because I could not enter the classrooms with male professors; how the thought of a male authority figure in control of me in any form made me shake. Because, if you’re still reading this, you also probably know that same feeling. The loss of control. The vicious anxiety that you constantly attempt to wrap your finger around but somehow gets knotted in your throat choking you.
I was in a hot yoga class last week, everyone in the room was female, except for the male instructor. I had a panic attack. It’s been almost four years and being in a room with a man “controlling” me made me have to lay down on my mat for a moment in child's pose and practice my breathing exercises not because my body was killing me, but because my mind was attacking me.
I am not some debilitated human being now. I like to think of myself as somewhat successful, somewhat driven, a lot of adventurous spirit. I’ve lived in different countries, I’ve dated other men, I got a cat. I am a normal 22-year-old who thinks brunch is not actually brunching unless there’s alcohol involved.
I remember the first time a friend told me she was raped. I can’t tell you verbatim what she said, or really even where we were when she told me... But I remember the way it made me feel. I was angry. I wanted to hold her. I wanted to help her and I wanted justice. I was in complete disarray that there was another human being who could do this besides the human being who did this to me.
Last week, a co-worker opened up to me about her sexual assault. I looked at her, said I was so sorry that happened, that I understand, and we discussed it a little bit. Later, I went home, fed my cat, sprayed lavender mist on my pillow, and went to bed.
I feel guilty for that sleep. I feel guilty for not being angry. At first, I thought my lack of anger was due to the years of therapy after being diagnosed with Rape Trauma Syndrome. The countless “letters to burn” I wrote to him. The amount of forgiveness training I received. I do not hate him. I really don’t... Did all of that counseling make me numb to my anger towards assaulters? Knowing that you must forgive in order to begin to heal?
No. That is not what didn’t entice anger. What did was that almost every damn woman I am close with had been assaulted. That I realized I now subconsciously assume every woman has. Because almost every woman I know has.
One friend is too many. One coworker is too many. I am too many.
I don’t open up about my assault easily. I don’t want people to look at me differently because of it. I used to see this guy and at one point felt it was important to bring it into our dialogue because if we continued seeing each he should be aware that my RTS is something that may or not affect us in certain ways. He was not shocked, he did not ask questions, it was not discussed further.
Why is nobody shocked anymore about rape? Why has #MeToo become something to joke about? I’ll tell you why. Because it’s almost laughable how many damn women can say #MeToo.
Men turned the #MeToo movement into another way of displaying women as competing in a popularity contest and seeking attention.
This isn’t Miss America. We’re not getting on stage and announcing our assault, something so many view as a weakness and embarrassing, to gain popularity. Say that out loud, please. It sounds ridiculous.
You don’t make a Facebook status about your small penis size to gain more notoriety.
(Side note: I know many men who do not joke about the #MeToo movement and put women on the same level as men and do not view gender ever as a disadvantage, but I know more men who aren’t like that.)
I don’t want to be angry, but I think we need to be. We need programs that educate women and men at a young age about consent. We need to stop it with this bullshit dress code crap. If you get turned on by a 12-year-old in a tank top that sounds like a personal problem.
I got mad at my mother once because a few years ago she told my little brother to, “man up” when he had to take gross medicine. She still to this day doesn’t understand why that bothered me so much. "It's just a saying," she said. It's not. It’s because it’s the little things. Their subconscious impact. It’s these little things that we can start to instill in the youth, these values, that can cause a ripple effect.
I’m not saying I’m here to solve gender equality and prevent all sexual assault. Jeez, I more often than not am too lazy to wash my face before I go to bed.
I’m looking to open a dialogue. Maybe alter one opinion. (This also has just been very self-therapeutic and I’m not sure if I’m even going to post it.)
Trump promotes rape culture.