Every time I hear people talk about rape and abuse, making things sound simple (b&w) I feel uneasy, I want to slap myself. Because I don’t get it, nothing about the subject seems simple to me, nor the expected actions and reactions (in those situations) obvious. I can’t explain how many times I heard people say things like “why didn’t she tell”, “why didn’t she fight”, “but she went with him, so that means she wanted to”… and the list goes on.
My worst memory of a situation with unwanted touch and almost penetration is attached to good and weird adjacent moments. Moments when I felt happy, and others when I didn’t understand.
I was traveling with my friends, and there was this sweet guy that really liked me, as much as you can like someone after knowing them for a few days. But we were on holidays and things work somewhat differently. We slept in the same bed a few nights, and everything was cool.
The last night before my friends and I left the hostel, he and I slept together again (and I do not mean sex; I just wasn’t feeling it) we made out and stuff but that was it.
Later that night he/we woke up and started kissing. Some of my friends were there, sleeping on the bed under us, and next to us. Things escalated. I think I told him to stop, but also I felt frozen. I didn’t want to wake anyone, and I didn’t get if he was hearing me, I never knew, but eventually, he stopped and we went back to sleep. Next morning everything was fine, we joked we laughed.
I’m not telling exactly what happened because, for me, it’s not a question of whether you believe me or not, nor do I think that for someone to believe these stories they need to know every detail as if the gore made it real. In any case, it wasn’t like that for me, because I didn’t really make sense of it then.
The thing is that when I think of that night sometimes I feel sick, sometimes I doubt myself, other times I remember the nice bits and I find it hard to put the pieces together, something feels off because I feel I’m not allowed to think that way otherwise “I’m making things up in my head.”
It also feels weird to consider myself a victim, not only cause I was sleeping with him willingly — and we all know what that means — but because I’m not sure if he heard me, if he knew I wanted him to stop, if it was an accident, if it was on purpose. And after everything, I didn’t leave that night, I still woke up happy the next morning, and I told no one about it, at least not my truth, at least for a while, because… What was there to tell?
If your document said Female when you were born, probably you had to grow up, feeling uneasy as you walk alone at night, having to endure whistles, unwanted “flattery” from an unknown man and maybe an occasional hand brushing your butt on the street. The judgment of men and other women about almost anything (how you look, how you act, what you are- probably slut or prude) And again, the list goes on.
If you are a man, you probably don’t get many of our worries, because you never have to embody those fears, you may try to be supportive or get angry, but you probably still can’t see the whole picture. Maybe none of us can.
So we grow up with these guidelines of what a man or a woman should be like. And we also grow up believing, since it’s so much easier than opening our eyes to those gray areas. That rape happens in an abandoned area, with a violent stranger that kicks you and probably kills you, that if it wasn’t rape, it’s not a big deal; that if you go some guy’s house at night you have to fuck them, and if you are in a nightclub a hand in your body is expected.
These last few years, some things changed. Women and men are fighting like hell to teach, different values, to open minds and make a change. But, at least for me, we are not there yet.
Because I still feel the different treatment, I still feel guilty when I say no, and I’m still afraid for my friends and me. And even when I try every day to like my body and not fall under these sexist ideals, I still feel insecure and I still doubt myself.
If you read this far, I have something to ask. If a girl tells you her experience, or if you talk about the subject, listen. Listen carefully before you talk. Think of how many people you know would doubt that story, or make her feel uneasy, and reflect about his fears before you ask things like, “why didn’t you tell, why didn’t you fight?”March 1, 2019, 5:36 p.m. 0 Report Embed 1