FEMINISM: Stand up to Brock Turners
TRIGGER WARNING: The following story contains sensitive material regarding sexual assault.
In light of Brock Turner plaguing my social media newsfeed, I’ve had a lot of negative feelings come up that I’ve spent so long trying to hide — not from myself, but from the public.
The Brock Turners of this world make it uncomfortable for people who have been what I — and so many other people — have been through, to talk about our experiences. Four years ago I was raped (exactly four years ago to the day, actually).
I remember that when I was finally able to get myself away from that situation, the one thought that screamed in my head was, “Act normal. No one can know about this,” as though I had done something wrong.
As I was going through what was the worst day of my life, in the back of my mind, I knew people would look at me differently if they knew. Some people would think I was damaged; some people would think I was somehow asking for it. People would have far too many opinions and not enough sympathy in their hearts.
Society has definitely changed and warmed up to survivors since 2012, but not by much. Last year, I finally started forcing myself to talk about it, and the reactions I got were truly a mixed bag. Some loved ones encouraged me and said it didn’t make me less valuable at all, but I should probably not spread it around. Some people I thought were friends simply reacted with, “Lol, yeah, so has every other girl, apparently.”
Despite that person’s attempt to diminish my experience, I unfortunately did find out how many women have been raped — many of whom never mentioned it until someone else told them their story. And at this point, maybe the recent events have pushed me to my limit, but I feel like the silence has gone on for long enough.
You may read this and think, “What’s she talking about? all I see on Facebook are sappy articles about rape culture,” but that’s not what I’m talking about. If I got robbed tomorrow, I would post a Facebook status about it. If someone I knew got murdered, I’d share a picture of us in remembrance; but that simply was not the case when I got sexually assaulted. I’ve written and shared countless articles about it, but before this article, I have never outright stated “I have been raped.”
To whomever reads this and shares my experiences, the world may not be ready for you to casually talk about your assault, and it may not be ready for you to get over it. But you are not alone. My email is available through The Vermilion, and I encourage you to talk to me.