(CONTENT WARNING: rape, sexual assault)
As a child, I remember being told, “oh my gosh, you’re so pretty, your parents better hold onto you tightly” and as I grew older these expressions changed to “being a pretty girl like you, you should be careful” and finally before college I remember someone just flat out telling me “you better be safe at college, bad things could happen to a girl like you.”
These comments never stopped, they just progressed.
“You better be careful you don’t want to become a statistic:”
“You don’t want to be vulnerable, and you don’t want to be a victim.”
“You don’t want to be raped!”
You don’t want to be raped. The echoes of my mother’s voice repeatedly telling me this will haunt me forever.
July 27th 2014, I was raped. I’m not going to sit and tell you all the gruesome details, about how I still can remember the smell of his breath, or the weight of his body on mine. I am not going to tell you about the wounds I have internally that are still bleeding. I’m not going to tell you how I wished to god I wasn’t born that night. I’m not going to tell you about that because that is beside the point. I believe that the world’s idea of rape is when a complete stranger finds you in an alley and randomly decides to sexually assault you.
Well that couldn’t be a bigger misconception. My rape story happens to be the complete opposite of this stereotype. A family friend raped me… at my sister’s house. Not in an alley…. not by a stranger…. I would have never guessed that someone I once called a friend, a man that I went to church with nevertheless, could commit such an act. Approximately 7 out of 10 incidents of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.
People tend to question me more because I knew my attacker by asking me, “Well, were you drunk?”
“What were you wearing?” And “Were you asking for it?” And some people have the audacity to say this isn’t considered rape!
How can we hold our ground if everyone around us wants to bury us beneath it? No one wants to talk about rape. And that’s exactly why I’m talking about it. We act as though the subject will simply just go away but let me tell you, this feeling inside of me, every time I am kissed or feel the touch of a man, all those feelings of fear, shame, hurt, and filth reclaims my life. And these feelings are ones that I fear will never go away.
We live in a world where sexual assault happens every 98 seconds. So that reminds me to tell you, since you started reading this someone has already been sexually assaulted. EVERY 98 SECONDS. It’s estimated that 300,000 women are raped every year. And 1 out of 4 women on a college university will be sexually assaulted. There are about 15 women in my average college class. That means statistically 3 of us will be raped; I am one of those woman. Who will be the other two? Don’t think I have forgotten about the men! Statistics show that 1 out of 33 three of you will be raped. Well, your odds are a lot better than mine; we still have a problem here.
One of you could potentially be raped.
I’m not telling you this for you to feel sorry for me or to scare you but rather for you to stand against rape with me.
Rape stole my virginity, my innocence, and my beliefs. I will be damned before I let rape claim another part of my life. Rape ends with me because I’m so ready to talk about it. Rape ends with you when you allow people to talk to you about it. Rape ends when we all start taking responsibility for it.
The percentage of rapes not reported is 68%. I am sad to say I fall in this percentile. To this day, my parents don’t know that I was raped, even though I did everything they told me to do to prevent it. I stayed in groups, I never went to the bathroom alone, and I didn’t put myself in dangerous situations. But I’m so sorry, mom.
I GOT RAPED!
My parents are not the only people that think this way, as though we think that we can simply put a few flyers around a college campus that says “ WAYS TO NOT BE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED” in big bold letters. With a simple, inadequate list of things to do to prevent rape by a stranger in the middle of the night.
WHAT ABOUT ME? What about me? What was I supposed to be told, taught, trained to do in my situation? Our thinking is wrong! What we are being taught is wrong! All our attention is being focused on how to deal with rape, and how to prevent it, when it should be focused on exposing the problems in society.
The reason I have not told my parents, or many others is for the same reason I believe most people don’t report it. I am in no way ashamed of this or embarrassed by this event. But I am hurt. YES. I am scared. Oh hell YES! But what I’m scared of most about telling people of my story is…I don’t want to be looked at differently. And that is something that will never happen.
The small amount of people I have told have responded like you all would imagine, they all feel sad for me, want to hug and comfort me, and tell me how strong I am. But to be completely honest, that’s the last thing I want! I’m not a hurt puppy that’s been left outside too long, and I’m not a wounded bird that can’t fly anymore. I am not strong, I cry.
And I feel hopeless at times. But I am human, and I am going to do what all our natural instincts tells us to do; I am going to fight like hell to live one more day. I don’t need people’s hugs; I don’t need people’s sympathy, I yearn for something to be done. I’ve started talking, you started listening, it’s time for a change… and this change starts with me, but it ends with you.
Hi, my names Dotsie. I am a Communication major, graduating this December from St. Cloud State University. I am passionate about women’s rights, empowering all individuals and advocating for diversity. I am also incredibly passionate about nonprofit fundraising. I love communication, every aspect of it! I truly think that every problem could be solved with effective communication. (And that’s why I love it so much) I am obsessed with my family, and love when I extra time to spend with my friends and beloved boyfriend.