My first memory of sex is hearing about it.
Not in a good way. Not with my mom hanging out with me at twelve, talking about the birds and the bees. No. I was warned to stay away from several men that were constantly around because they were rapists. I guess I’m lucky I’m ugly because they never came after me. I was to be wary of my surroundings and never be alone with them.
Well one of them did come after me at one point, but I had a friend with and she got me out of there. I will always be grateful for that.
I will never understand rape. I hope I never understand rape. To take advantage of someone in such a way that many never recover. Some lose their identity. Some lose their way. Some never really recover, and to my understanding nearly all victims of rape are affected long term. To be clear, a person who is raped CAN recover, it’s just that many don’t. Some people who are raped never find the thing that helps them deal with and move on. It is a hard thing to deal with. It is a hard thing to live through and it is a hard thing to move on from. To have your most basic and private things dug though…. I love the vindication scene in “Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” but I bet that would trigger most victims.
When I say surrounded by rapists I mean it. Two convicted rapists in my immediate family. Add one that never got convicted, but eventually paid with his life for his crimes. Add another that was accused, I’m not sure if he did it, but plead out. Then add the employee who worked where I always was that looked for little girls to rape (or so the adults said), and you have one f*ed up childhood.
I’ve only ever been able to have an adult conversation with one of these people about this act that most people find incredibly repulsive and here is what I learned, “It’s over for me, it’s over for them, I don’t understand why I have to register”. This just a couple months before he would re-offend…
In case you were wondering his motivation? He just wanted to be loved and since it was family it was ok. He thought she loved him and just needed to be taught. I think his background comes into play here. He was most likely molested as a child. He was beaten as a child and watched severe abuse of his mother and siblings (we are talking 2x4s and guns). I am in no way excusing the behavior, rather offering an explanation for the skewed definition of love. Abandoned by his father and then beaten to a bloody pulp by his step father. He had no chance.
In his mind he wasn’t harming her. In his mind they were going to be together. She was six at the time of the attack. Six.
I work with children and I cannot for the life of me imagine a reality where this seems ok. I pray every day that if this is happening to them that they will come forward (after I pray it doesn’t happen). I pray they will seek help. They don’t though. From my limited understanding of the subject, people don’t come forward. I wish I didn’t understand I wish I could rage at these victims and shake them and say “come forward, don’t you know that there is help”. But I know the truth. Most of the time, it is two diverging testimonies. Frequently the perpetrator is treated as innocent until proven guilty whilst the victim is questioned. The victim is told to wear concealing clothing and get tougher. Who would stand up and say “please help me” when they know that they will be treated as a criminal for their report? Not me. Not most people. Only tough people. Kudos to the tough people that report this horrific crime.
I tell you what though, if I ever meet those people who are reporting those false rapes, I may stone them. I cannot believe there are people in this world who would muddy the water for the people who actually go through these horrific scenarios. I’m grateful that they are just scenarios to me. I am grateful that, for whatever reason I was and am protected. I am grateful that we live in a society that is dedicated to stopping this. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I am relatively certain that the answer lies somewhere in empathy and making people understand something, but I don’t know what.
I think it is interesting to note the impact on me. (Given the comment that it was over for the little girl that was actually raped. Given the fact that when rape is studied, people like me are not studied, because I truly don’t matter in the equation. I am not claiming to be incredibly interesting) I was never raped by any of these people. I have never been raped, but I have been affected. Just in case anyone is ever considering rape, you should know that I cannot take my kids anywhere without an irrational fear that someone will rape them. I’m not sure this will deter a potential rapist, I just don’t want these rapists thinking that this sick act affects only the person they rape. I don’t want rapists thinking it goes away. It doesn’t go away. At least, it didn’t go away from me and I am not truly affected. I am pretty sure one of my kids was molested, but I didn’t act as fast as I should have because of this irrational fear that goes with me everywhere, and now I will never know for sure and will carry the guilt. Surrounded by so many rapists and being abused in other ways, I hate men as a general rule. I hate this about myself. I do my best to hide it, but when they open their mouths I hate everything they say. It isn’t fair and I am trying desperately to convince myself that not all men are shitbags, I think my judgement comes from some pretty serious exposure. I am always worried that I don’t trust an idea because it comes from a man, rather than because of the merit of the idea.
Horrific acts create horrific acts.
Forgiveness may set you free.
If you are a victim, please report the crime. While I don’t think incarcerating them stops them from raping, it does stop them for a while. You are doing the whole community a favor. Thank you for your bravery.