This post is for the June 2016 Carnival of Aces, which is on the topic of “Resiliency.” Content warnings: discussion of trauma and violence (sexual and not), mentions of substance abuse and suicidality and self-harm, all in the context of talking about a work of fiction Between 2008 and 2011 I [...]
I’m a “bad” rape victim. A Model Rape Survivor doesn’t know her attacker. My rapist is essentially a stranger to me, but that night was not the first time I had met him. She is dressed modestly and cannot be held responsible due to those clothing choices. I wore one of my shortest dresses and no bra when I walked into his apartment. She’s virginal and chaste, only doing the appropriate sexual things with appropriate people. I considered myself a virgin at the time, though I’m sure other people might disagree, but I’d gone to his place to mess around in the first place.
My experiences have caused me to lose faith in the idea that people will come to understand and acknowledge my sexuality without an explicit statement that I am asexual. Even this statement rarely generates understanding or compassion from friends; usually I am met with confusion, discomfort, or even silent denial in the form of attempting to steer the conversation elsewhere.
College can be hard even when nothing traumatic happens to you – especially in a physical therapy doctorate program – but navigating hallways where you could pass your rapist at any moment is hard on another level. And on a small campus, where he’s popular and you’re not? It can feel like all you can do is brace yourself. Forget support systems or telling anyone his name.
Sometimes we visit violence upon ourselves, not just by intentionally harming ourselves or putting ourselves in dangerous situations, but by perverting things we enjoy or letting our mind run away with our feelings. It’s important to recognize the violence our own mind is playing out and address it, or else our mind wanders away.