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Posts Tagged ‘sexual assault’

I’m not the confrontational type. I’m not the loud type. I’m not the “in your face” type.

But there are changes going on inside of me; inside of my mind. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I know time is short. Maybe it’s because I am just fed up with things. Maybe it’s because old feelings and memories that I have suppressed for decades have come tumbling back into my mind. I’m seeing things that I saw before but didn’t face and I’m facing them, at least inside of me. I’m angry at the way things are. The next step? I think I have to start speaking out; start acting. I have to try to help bring about some changes.

What kind of things? Well, I keep seeing, day after day after day, instances where women get blamed for men’s actions and poor decisions. Yesterday, I read about a court case where a Yale student was exonerated of rape charges even after the jury was shown video tape footage of a very drunk girl being dragged to her room, barely conscious. The young woman was asked, in court, by the judge, why she had chosen to wear a close fitting cat costume to the Halloween party where she encountered her assailant. The judge asked her why she hadn’t worn a Cinderella costume or something¬† “like that.” So the male walks free and the female is left not only with the trauma of waking up after passing out only to find that her clothes are off and the guy is on top of her, but she is also left with the humiliation of having to testify in open court and then called a liar. The jury’s verdict called her a liar. The judge’s questions called her a liar. Yale called her a liar. They failed to stand by a female student in favor of a male student.

Why is it that when a girl gets pregnant she is blamed for it; often she is said to have seduced the guy. Why is it that no one blames the guy? It’s pretty difficult for a girl to force a guy to get her pregnant. Possible but difficult, yet it’s the girl’s fault.

Why is it that when a woman is sexually assaulted, she’s to blame because she wore provocative clothing or smiled at a stranger?

And this one, while unrelated, still gets at the point that women are always blamed. Why is it that when a man cheats on his wife or partner, it’s the woman’s fault? She didn’t pay attention to him. She didn’t dress nice for him. She didn’t wear makeup for him. She didn’t hold his interest. It’s her fault he couldn’t keep his zipper up in the presence of other women.

Yup, time after time, it’s the woman who gets blamed. It’s always our fault.

And this all keeps women down. It keeps us from speaking up and reporting attacks. It keeps us oppressed. In our place.

It won’t end or change significantly in my lifetime but I have daughters and a granddaughter and I pray that they will see this change in their life times. For now, all I can do is express my anger over the way things are and I can support women who have been victimized by the system. I can tell my stories of my experiences; there are more than one. I was blamed. Then I got smart and stopped reporting them because no one would believe me anyway. It’s time to speak up in the hopes that others will benefit.

Changes. Lots of them. The time has come.

Changes.

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Trigger Warning: sexual assault

The only good thing about it was that it was over quickly.

It was Valentine’s Day and out theater group was performing in the dining hall. The performance was excellent. We were all in top form. The audience understood all of the jokes and the nuances. There was applause at just the right time. When it was over, the twelve of us went up to my dorm room to celebrate. Someone had beer. I put on an album…not sure but I vaguely remember that it was something by Santana. They didn’t stay long. Within the hour everyone had left, except him. He looked through my albums and asked if he could play a different one. When he walked to the closet where the stereo was kept, he shut the door which led to the hallway. I didn’t think anything of it because you sort of had to if you wanted to open the closet doors completely.

The music played and he took my hand and started to dance with me. That was fine. But soon…too soon…he had grabbed both of my arms behind my back and he was pushing me down on my bed. I shook my head and said no. He smiled and covered my protests with his mouth. He said I should not be scared. But I was. I didn’t want this. I didn’t know him except from our weekly class meetings. I tried to push him off of me but he was too big; too heavy. I tried to wiggle out from under him but I couldn’t. My hands were pinned under me; they hurt; they were twisted. His left had covered my mouth and I could not breathe. His right hand ripped at my white dress then at my underwear. I shouted and I shook my head but his mouth silenced my shouting. He was too big for me to fight off. Then there was more pain. My wrists. My chest as I tried to breathe. My head had banged against the metal bed frame. My legs were twisted. With the pain came the damp between my legs and from my eyes. He got off of me; fixed his clothes and left. He smiled at me as he was left. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t speak. I felt broken. I felt like I was dead. I felt like I didn’t matter. I felt like what I wanted was of no consequence.

The only good thing about it was that it was over quickly. Only the memories have lasted. I have squelched them but they seem to be coming more and more frequently now. I think some secrets have to be exposed. Maybe then the memories will stop.

 

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