Trigger Warning: This post has graphic contents in subjects surrounding sexual assault. Consider the nature of this post before continuing reading. It is advised that those under the age of 13 and those who suffer past trauma with sexual assault may want to refrain from reading. Reader discretion is advised.
This is the world in which a Canadian policeman recently advised a group of students during a health and safety talk that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”
– A Crime Upon A Crime, Rape, Victim Blaming and Stigma by Laura Bates.
Yes, in cold places like Canada and Pittsburgh, it’s so very easy to dress like a slut with mountains of snow and bone chilling wind. My friends and I make a joke of it now, but another friend of mine was dating this guy who once cautioned her, “You can’t take the bus in that tube top to Downtown! You’re going to get raped!”
Rape is very real. RAINN shows a statistic that one reported sexual assault happens every 2 minutes in the United States. Statistics can only reflect the cases that are reported. RAINN also reports that an estimated 97% of people who have committed sexual assault with not serve time for their crime. 54% of rapes still go unreported, standing as the silently suffering majority.
Why do these cases go unreported? There are many reasons, first being that victims are taught to be ashamed of being violated. Second, they are lead to the victim mentality that the rape / sexual assault was in some way their own fault. All because, “Society teaches don’t get raped, rather than don’t rape.” It asserts that sexual assault with always be a given, and it is our responsibility as women to don our habits and buckle up that Elizabethan collar, in order not to send the wrong message.
Another reason the majority of victims remain silent is because the crime was perpetrated by someone the victim knew. RAINN states that an estimated 2/3rds or 66.6% of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. An even greater 73% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone familiar. And this is not exclusive to acquaintances and / or friends. 28% of reported cases are intimate.
Imagine the cases that go unreported between two people who were already intimate. There’s a joke that circulates among teenagers. Or at least it did when I was young. It was, “You can’t rape the willing.” As it turns out, you can. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. I would say especially if two people are intimate. Because that is a place where grey rape exists the most.
Little shades of grey is what I call it. The greyscale of a nontraditional rape are all of the shades in between a sexual act that someone begrudgingly performed to violently screaming no, and everything in between.
Grey rape impacts me deeply, as I have mentioned in other posts. It took me a long time to realize that the sexual deviancy I had loathed myself for participating in for so many years wasn’t exactly that at all. It was in the broader scope of victimization under abuse. Sexual abuse is not just perpetrated by parental pedophiles with children as their victims. Sexual abuse can occur in any form of partnership, just as any other kind of abuse.
I have never had the courage to tell the full story to anyone in great detail, but today, I will speak out against rape and the people who commit grey rape regularly. It started with one incident. I was at a Valentine’s Day party, in the middle of a harsh Pittsburgh winter, and I was drunk. My on-again, off-again boyfriend, Beck led me to his room, a room with a bed we often shared on weekends. This was our second go at a relationship; the first being a four year relationship where I truly thought I’d marry this man. He was the first man I had ever slept with. And I would have trusted him with my life.
Things got heavy, and he asked me if I wanted to try something new. I was a rather adventurous girl so I asked, “What did you have in mind?”
He told me that he wanted to try anal. I was uncomfortable with the idea, because it sounded painful. He assured me it wouldn’t be if we took it slow. Hesitantly, I bent over, my rear in the air and my face to a cool pillow. He grabbed my hips and started gently. I gritted my teeth and told him it hurt. He assured me that it wouldn’t soon, that he just needed to get worked in. I asked him to stop, because the pain was increasing. “It hurts. Stop. Please stop now. Stop!”
He gripped my hips and started thrusting wildly at me. I started to screaming, “No, stop!” and he put one arm around my pelvis and another forcing my head, smothering my screams into a pillow. I violently screamed at the top of my lungs, hoping he would stop. Hoping that maybe someone would hear me. A part of me had hoped maybe he hadn’t heard me. Maybe this was a mistake.
Finally, it was over. I gasped for air as I lifted my head from the tear soaked pillow. I rolled onto my side, backside in excruciating pain, and cried, “Why didn’t you stop?!”
He was sitting there, lighting a cigarette and pulling his pants back on. He smiled and only said, “Oh shut up, you liked it.”
I didn’t tell a soul until my husband and I became more than friends three years later. The pain and anguish on his face was enough. “I wish you had told me. I was there.”
“I wish I had told you too. But who would you have believed?”
I wish I could say that was the first and only time that situation had ever happened to me.
To be continued . . .
- The Truth Behind Elder Rape (thedailybeast.com)
- Toronto women Take Back the Night in march against sexual violence (metronews.ca)
- Toronto women Take Back the Night in march against sexual violence (thestar.com)