Rape. An ugly word. One so ugly that I didn’t really want to voice it in this journey through the alphabet. I heard on the radio today that it is the one year anniversary of Rehtaeh Parson’s death. For those of you not familiar, I will include a link at the bottom of the page. To be brief, seventeen year-old Rehtaeh took her own life after being sexually assaulted and cyber bullied. Today, marchers carried signs which read “Silence is not consent” and “Drunk, or drugged, no consent.”
This story affected me for when I was a young girl, only slightly older than Rehteah, I too, was raped. I hesitate to even write that. Because by putting it in print, I acknowledge that it happened. I hesitate for another reason–the one rape culture has bullied its victims into believing–that it was somehow my fault and that it wasn’t really rape.
You see, I drank too much at a party one time. So much that I blacked out. A friend’s boyfriend took me home, after making a stop at her house where (while I was in and mostly out of consciousness) he assaulted me. Luckily for me, this was in the days before the internet, so my shame was mine alone. I woke up in my parents’ driveway, in the passenger seat of my car, wondering what the hell had happened the previous night. The next time I saw my friend’s boyfriend, he winked at me and said that I was quite the party girl. Yes, I said, I guess so. And that was pretty much the end of it. I didn’t know what else to do. Except blame myself. I was dressed provocatively. I drank too much. I went to the wrong party. I was asking for it.
Now years later, I know that it wasn’t my fault. I was dressed in clothes that I was comfortable in. I drank too much. Many young men and women do this all the time. It was a party. It wasn’t my fault. No matter what rape culture would have me believe twenty-plus years ago, and try to have me believe today, it wasn’t my fault. Silence is not consent. Drunk, or drugged, no consent. There was never consent. I was raped.