Over the past few days, I have felt particularly inundated with rape culture. My closest friend called me to tell me he witnessed a fellow classmate at The University of Pennsylvania being drunkenly coerced into sexual acts she did not want to have and did not recall the next day. Another friend posted to Facebook Sophia Katz’s plain yet moving explanation of her rape, something she felt she had to endure in order to have a place to sleep at night while staying in New York City. And the story of Jane Piper confronting her rapist in court also had a strong impact on me.
I have recently felt compelled to share my own story and to confront the man who raped me seven years ago.
But what exactly was I hoping to get from sending a text message across the world (I’m in London, he’s in Pennsylvania) to my rapist, asking him about the night that I cannot forget? I didn’t realize until after I texted him, but what I wanted was for him to remember. I needed him to remember my green and pink striped Abercrombie and Fitch polo that he came all over. I was begging for him to recall the dirty carpet I was sleeping on and my head hitting the side table repeatedly. It was necessary that he remember me throwing up into a bucket on the couch for hours beforehand.
Of course, he claims that he didn’t remember at all. He didn’t even remember the night I was talking about. Finally, I explained that the one and only time we had sex, I was unconscious for the majority of it. I explained that I never consented to have sex with him and that it was never something I wanted.
His ultimate response?:
“You weren’t unconscious you’re so weird”
“so fucking weird”
“Sam I’m sorry you’re batshit crazy and are being blocked. Bye now”
I’m not sure how I expected him to respond, but it was probably something along those lines. I didn’t send him a message over Facebook or a long email potentially giving him the time to think it over to to not respond. But, come to think of it, I’m not sure that I wanted a dialogue either. I simply wanted this man to remember what he did, so that he will think twice before he does something like that again.
After I confronted him I can’t say I felt good. I felt hot all over and an extreme nausea threatening to expel every ounce of liquid in my stomach. But I didn’t throw up. Instead, I wrote this and plan on trying to share my story from now on.
As a then-17 year-old girl, I cannot blame myself for hiding from the truth and from what happened. But now, as an educated adult who advocates for womens’ rights, I feel it is wrong for me to continue my silence.
Our culture has repeatedly shown women that our bodies are not protected. Empowered women are equally as silent, like the girl at UPenn who has decided to just “be more careful” and “keep [herself] under control” and like myself, a white, New York University graduate who lives a life of relative privilege.
When will the bodies of women not be a possession of men? I believe a step in the right direction is to stop staying silent and to start saying it’s not okay. Silence begets violence, and as an advocate for all human rights, I have no right to keep quiet.