The rehab tech, who saved my life in 2011, walked into a women’s only meeting one day and loudly, and abruptly, asked how many of us had been raped. Of the ten women in the room, eight raised their hands. In my opinion, that’s closer than the reported statistics, based on the hundreds of women I’ve known throughout my lifetime. Of course I don’t know exactly how many have or haven’t been raped, but I’ve moved among many circles of different kinds of women all over the country, I’ve talked to many about rape specifically, I’ve been unwittingly turned into a confidant countless times, and I’ve worked with girls for many years, both homeless and filthy rich. I’m the kind of person who gently pries beneath the surface of girls and women I meet, and stands with them as the underlying torrents begin to rage and swell and run over. I hear the truth because I tell the truth.
Every woman who’s been raped has been made to feel, yes made to feel, crazy at some point. No matter how old we are when abused, our perceptions of safety, our bodies, our sense of security, our instincts, our understanding of freedom and views of ourselves, are drastically altered. Our worlds are literally shattered. Then we are interrogated, not believed, blamed, guilt-tripped, accused, shamed and silenced. We are told: you do not ever have the right to be care-free, take risks, talk to certain people, or dress the way society rewards, then punishes us, for. Just to go to a party, we are warned to dress modestly, travel in groups, assign safety buddies, don’t dance provocatively, don’t dance with members of the opposite sex, or with your friends in case it creates lesbian fantasies for potential rapists, fuck it don’t dance at all, don’t take your eyes off your drink wait NO DRINKING, don’t go anywhere alone with members of the opposite sex, don’t flirt, don’t smile – it might be an invitation, don’t be too loud in case you draw the attention of a potential rapist, actually don’t talk at all and keep your face frozen into a don’t rape me look, which is what I used to do in addition to proudly wearing an unconcealed cattle prod on my belt. You know what? Let’s just not go to the fucking party. Then we won’t get raped. Period. End of story.