I was never raped, but there have been so many ‘nice guys’ who tried to help a little too much, and lingered a little too long, and forced too many hugs, and became deeply, deeply offended when I tried to stop it. So I stopped trying, because hey…they were just being helpful, right?
I was never raped, but I’m always, always thinking about consequences. Not the consequences of my own actions or decisions, but the consequences of someone else’s. The consequences that might arise because someone elsemight decide that what I’m wearing or how drunk I am or who I’m with will somehow serve as permission or opportunity.
I am painfully aware of how lucky I’ve been. And how sick it makes me to write that.
This is the reality of rape culture. It is not that all men are terrible, oppressive predators — it is simply that too many of us grow up knowing that if we let our guard down, any man could become someone to be afraid of. We have learnt this because friends and uncles and strangers have crossed the line, and every time that happens, we learn to be a little more guarded. Sometimes we don’t even realize it — I don’t remember the exact moment when I stopped speaking up for myself, but I do remember being completely unable to tell the boy who molested me to stop. I couldn’t find my voice. It wasn’t until after the birthday party, after I told my mother, whose anger I borrowed to finally tell him to stop.
I was never raped, but..