Earlier last year, I was scrolling through Facebook when an article caught my eye. The headline read "I Named my Rapist on the Internet". It was an intriguing read and an even more intriguing idea.
If you've been a long time reader, you may remember that in 2014, I posted an article about becoming a statistic in that area, myself. It was so intimidating to have it out there, I removed the post a few days later. I just couldn't bare seeing it in black and white. I couldn't handle the idea that I had given him power by acknowledging it. I couldn't face it at all. It probably didn't help that I had posted it within a month of the incident. But since I read that article last year, I've noticed a few things:
1. I still refer to it as "the incident". I have a real issue giving it the power of calling it the "R" word.
2. My "incident" and the millions of "incidents" that happen on a yearly basis is a huge topic in the area of feminism and I haven't been able to stomach posting it on my own feminism-based blog.
3. Once I get to the point in a relationship that I have to explain that "hey, you can't do that...it's a trigger", I feel the need to apologize, regardless of how patient and kind-hearted the guy in question may be.
4. The relationship complications, the fairly common nightmares, and the self loathing I tend to feel from time to time pale in comparison to the guilt that I feel over not turning him in.
5. It's time to face it.
The idea of naming your rapist is a matter of accountability, of letting go, and of releasing yourself as a victim. Rape is taboo. There are so many questions. For example, the night after it happened, my best friend (who happens to be a nurse at an abortion clinic) and I were in her kitchen talking and I asked the only question that was bouncing around in my mind: Was it really a rape if I didn't scream?
I don't know how it happens, but sometime during that God-awful event, a seed of doubt is placed in our minds, as if somehow we're to blame. It's a heavy feeling, wondering if you even have the right to label it a rape. But finally, after 2.5 years, after spending endless hours milling over every single detail of that night in my mind over and over again, I'm comfortable with the idea that yes, I was raped. I was violated. I said no. I tried to talk sense into him by naming every reason in the book that we shouldn't be having sex. I pushed as hard as I could, only for him to exert little effort to push back into me. I came out of it with bruises on my thighs and an entire body that ached for days. I was raped. It's that simple and that gut wrenching all at the same time.