I think of people in my life who had this happen to them. I think about all the women who've come up to me after teaching a class on relationships or consent. I think about all of the anonymous questions. They all sound the same, "x and x happened, did he rape me?"
I think about me. It just doesn't add up.
1 in 5 is a lie.
It's a lie because society talks us out of what we know deep down is....that thing...that thing we just can't name.
It's a lie because society makes us think, "well I shouldn't have done x thing." Even if you know better. You can't help but wonder what steps you could have changed in your day to avoid that thing. Maybe I should have worn that nail polish. Is it going to tell me if a man is going to treat me with like a human who deserves respect, dignity, and autonomy?
"I should have just given in like all the other times then I wouldn't have to be here. I don't know what I was trying to prove." That's when I realized it was a lie. When I thought to myself, "why didn't i just give in like all the other times..."
It’s a lie because people don’t know how to be there for you. I know what I need to do. I know what steps to take. I know why it was wrong. I know. Believe me. No one knows this better than me. But what you don’t know is that I need to feel like I’m in control of something. Pushing me to do what you think is right is not the way to give me that control.
It's a lie because he talks you out of it.
"Calm down. You know how much trouble you can get me into? You're making it sound like I raped you or something."
"Rapists are monsters! I'm not a monster!"
"I feel you slipping from me. I wanted that connection back."
"You're just making it worse for yourself by calling it rape."
It's a lie because you want to hate him so bad. But you can't. You can't stop wondering where society failed him. Why does he think what happened was anything other than what it was? Where did I fail him as a woman? Where did I fail him as his lover? Where did I fail him as his best friend?
It's a lie because of the police.
"Did you report it? Why not?"
I can think about a million reasons. The most important ones being:
1. No one would believe me.
2. I don't feel like having my life torn apart and ridiculed and judged by men armed with guns, and even worse, misogyny.
It's a lie because we silence people. It's a lie because we refuse to believe that rape culture is real. It's a lie because we refuse to teach men that they are not entitled to women's bodies. It's a lie because we judge. It's a lie because we don't trust women. It's a lie because we don’t talk to our friends, sisters, mom, grandma, aunts, cousins, etc, etc, about what consent is and isn’t.
It’s a lie because you don’t make the space for us to tell you the truth.