Packing Heat Doesn’t Prevent Rape
*trigger warning: this post is about rape*
The last seven years have definitely been quite a wild ride. Memories that I’d repressed surfacing, possibly tainted over time, possibly not. I can’t tell some days what is fact and what is fiction, what my mind could have altered and what it left alone. As much as I have tried to suss out the truth the bottom line is that I just don’t know any more.
But I haven’t forgotten what it felt like when I was being mocked after T raped me, the night before I graduated high school. Hearing a band of people I considered friends – including the guy I’d been engaged to most of senior year – chanting “rape! rape! rape!” and laughing about it, has never left my memory. My fiance, G, was someone I loved like crazy, and there he was, destroying everything I ever believed about him.
It’s easy to say “just put it behind you” but after so much time with it there, HOW? It’s not as though I will wake up some bright, sunny morning and it will be erased from my memory, never to surface again. The Steubenville rape case has pushed a lot of my emotions to the surface again in recent weeks, and it’s not been so easy to just let things lie.
I kept quiet about earlier rapes and assaults because I didn’t want to cause the family unnecessary scandal; I’d been raised well. Some of what had happened after T, I remained quiet about as well. Every time a new incident happened, I reverted to that terrified ten year old girl inside who’d first been violated. She couldn’t speak, or even say “No!” I wonder, in being quiet, how many others were damaged by these perpetrators? It’s a hard thing to reconcile within myself.
I get so tired of people insisting that none of my assaults would have happened, had I had a gun. This one argument is so stupid, because there is no way a gun would have fixed it. People who think this is the only solution don’t understand that rape goes beyond their understanding of it. There is no reason a ten year old should be packing heat, going to her best friend’s house to play. No reason a young teenaged girl should be armed, just to attend school. No reason a woman asleep in a locked apartment should have to have a gun beside her, to grab when someone is already on top of her with a knife. No reason at all for a woman, heavily sedated with painkillers, to have a gun nearby for when hubby takes liberties while she’s lying there, doped up. No woman should have to put a gun in her briefcase, right next to the resume, when she’s going for a job interview.
No. Just No. I’m not going to listen to people who tell me I should have had a gun then. Those instances are NOT reasonable times to have a gun in hand.
Do people not realize that once you have fired that gun, there are repercussions? Unless you’re totally cold blooded, it’s going to impact your psyche. Even if the most well-trained cleaners come to your house and wipe away all the evidence, you’re not magically “over it” with life as usual the next day. Once that gun goes off and the bullet makes contact with another human being, your life has changed unalterably, even if it’s in self-defense.
I am a single mother and survivor. I would rather have not had anything happen or be attempted, sure, but that’s not on me. That’s on the person deciding to do things that were inappropriate. I have three beautiful, intelligent, strong girls that I’ve raised, WITHOUT A GUN IN THE HOUSE. I didn’t have to have one. I didn’t raise my girls to be afraid, but to stand up for themselves. I was once afraid, I am no longer. The last seven years have been spent reclaiming my life. Seven years wasted? I think not.
My daughters? They will raise daughters who will know not to let anyone do things to them they do not want done to them, and sons who will learn to respect a girl’s wishes when she wants to be left alone.
The cycle is broken in one generation. It can be done in a household, but we can only go so fast in a society where people continue to deny rape culture* exists.
A note from the editors:
Rape Culture – denotes the subtle or overt belief that the victim is responsible for sexual violence perpetrated on him\her. This is evidenced by comments that note the victim’s clothing, whether or not she fought or screamed, or suggesting that had he\she not been drinking, this would not have happened. Rape Culture is insidious in the media, in our public institutions, and in our private discourse. When will we stand united as a society on the solid foundation that a human being is never “asking” to be raped? That the perpetrator of a crime is wholly responsible his\her actions (regardless of whether it’s murder, theft, or sexual assault)? That it doesn’t matter what she was wearing or how much alcohol was imbibed, if there was not plausible, mutual consent, between two rational human beings, it is considered rape, and is NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT.