I’ve been struggling to finish this post for almost 2 weeks. And then I’ve been wrestling with the idea of posting it, but have finally come up with the courage to let it free.
RAINN posted a statistic recently that says “One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.” and 56% of victims are woman between the ages of 18-34. One in six. Let that number sink in for a minute. Think about 24 women that you know. Women in your family, ladies from church, work, college, yoga class, ect. 4 of those 24 women have a past like mine.
As a young woman with a past history of being sexually assaulted, both the Stanford and now newly added Vanderbilt rape cases both infuriates and nauseates me.
My first traumatic moment happened in January 2004, and it’s still a day that I’ll never forget. Thankfully, pieces are slowly leaving my memory, and the anniversary of the occurrence now passes without me even realizing it. But all of the stories in the news are bringing everything back up as if it had just happened.
My second encounter happened in college, where alcohol was involved and I was significantly smaller than he was. Significantly smaller is an understatement. He stood 12″ taller than me, and weighed at least 100lbs more than I did. The word no meant absolutely nothing when he was intoxicated, and I didn’t have the physical strength or ability to get away from him.
What I think men forget is that no means no. Not no means yes, and yes means yes. No means no. Thats it. And more importantly than that, the violation of a woman, especially those one who is unconscious, is the furthest thing from okay that there is. We are not things to be played with and used to a man’s disposal. We are people. We are human beings that deserve to be treated with the utmost respect at all times.
I feel terrible for the young women who’s lives are being turned upside down by the court trials that are now occupying their entire calendar. But as someone who wanted and was willing to fight for justice and was told no, please understand you’re making an incredible impact and hopefully changing history. I wanted to fight my case, but at 14 years old, and with a case that we were obviously going to win, the court system in the county where I lived didn’t want to use tax payers dollars on a case that would 100% be won. Rather, he was labeled a sex offender and I believe was sent on his way.
The women who are fighting are a voice for those who were silenced. Their honesty and broken hearts are something that women all over the country and world can relate to. They’re fighting for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. Those who, like me, were ashamed of what happened and never told a soul. Those who only have cloudy memories of a terrible nightmare they’ve chosen to forget.
Thank you for speaking up and for fighting. Thank you for being brave enough to step into the light and share your story. When you fight for yourself, you’re also fighting for the one in six that are constantly being effected. Please remember that you are not alone and that there is a sisterhood of women who can relate to the words that you’re sharing. Thank you for your bravery and keep fighting!