Last night, one of my best friends was raped by a guy she thought she could trust. The pain…the fear…the confusion…the shock…the anger…the sorrow…I couldn’t tell which was hers and which was mine.
So many similarities…me…a year ago. The man I trusted and believed was a friend…suddenly became possessed, taking pleasure in the terror that pinned me to my bed.. unable to move. Too afraid to speak….why didn’t I fight? My mind told my body to fight, but my mind and body had suddenly disconnected. It told my mouth to speak, but there was no connection there either. I remembered that I had already spoken…dozens of times…and yet here I was, still pinned to the bed. My words didn’t matter anymore…and apparently never did.
My friend was stronger than me. She spoke out, she made him leave…but not before it was too late. She called the cops right away. They told her it was “90% consensual” and they wouldn’t take a rape kit because it “wasn’t violent.”
Anger….rage wells up in my soul….
What part of “NO” is a percentage of consent??? Since WHEN does unwanted penetration come in forms of percentages?? She said NO. NO IS ALWAYS 100%. But not only that, she had discussed her boundaries about sex with him multiple times previous to the incident. He knew. He KNEW. He knew exactly what he was doing.
So did my attacker. And don’t think for a second that just because he didn’t jump out of the bushes with a gun or a knife that it wasn’t an attack. That’s only for the movies. This is far more insidious. These snakes come to us as friends. They earn our trust. They tell us they respect us and love us. They act safe and understanding until we let them close…and as as soon as we realize what’s really happening…it’s over. They’re in and out before we ever saw it coming.
We are left in wreckage, shock, trauma, confusion, and anguish. We call the police and they look at us like we’re crazy. “Why did you wait so long?” “Why were you in that situation?” “Why didn’t you fight?” The answer is…we didn’t know we needed to. We trusted them. We believed it when they said they respected us and we had no idea they were coming in for an attack. We had no idea what was motivating them. We thought they were friends. Their intentions didn’t show until it was too late…we were trapped. We didn’t even know we were being hunted until after we were killed.
People wonder why we are fearful. We get shamed and rejected for being “too guarded” or careful. We get scoffed at for asking questions or taking precautions. We are told we will never get married. Society shames us for not being open, available, willing…and when we are….we are raped. We are used. We are played with and then thrown away. We are raped and told we were supposed to fight…but we’re not stupid. I wasn’t that stupid. The man was 6’2″, ex-military, carried weapons, and fought MMA. I’m 5’2″ and 110 lbs on a fat day and have never had so much as a self-defense class. I had previous trauma…my instinct was to freeze and pray for it to end as quickly as possible. The paralysis of fear does not equal consent. We get told we are bitches when our anger comes out and we are damned either way. The police don’t believe us and the detectives won’t help us. Some are good…but others don’t even care. Some are on the wrong side.
It all just feels so hopeless. So helpless. So…much…anger. It was not just our bodies that were raped. Those men (if that’s what you can call them) raped our hearts, our minds, our souls, our identity, our femininity, our trust, our vulnerability, our courage, our friendship, our strength, and our personhood. They took it all and nobody says anything. It’s against the law for a reason…and yet we are the ones who get questioned while they move onto their next victim. There is no justice anywhere and the harder we fight for it, the more we are rejected. We’re just supposed to “lay down and take it?” But then we are blamed for the crime if we do?
Lord, who will help us. Who will love us…who will take these chains from us. Help us, Abba, You are our only hope.