As a woman of small stature, men thought I was an easy target, and labeled me a “giant bitch” for not allowing them to place their nasty hands wherever they would like. It put me on guard 24/7 as I tried to live a normal teenage/20 something life.
In my Catholic High School in the 90’s, girls were given detention if a teacher or administrator thought our skirts were too short, we didn’t have a choice but to wear skirts. We would wear shorts under our skirts, because it was known that the boys would stand under the fire stairs and look up. To me that was degrading, but sadly, it was a reality and no one told the boys to stop. We as young women, did what we had to do to feel comfortable. This was the high school patriarchy. I hated it. To this day, I still look for shorts, or even wear yoga pants under my skirts and dresses because I feel insecure.
We need to stop dress coding and shaming girls about their clothing choices, as we were shamed. Teaching them they are distractions, telling them that they are not as important as the boys, and should be told what to do. This is teaching a new generation to buy into Rape Culture, as we were taught to buy into it.
We are taught that “boys like us” if they are mean to us. This is a lie, a boy who is being mean to you is simply being mean. Stand up to him and move on, he does not now, nor will he ever “like” you. He thinks you are an easy target. Prove him wrong.
We are taught to ridicule women who speak out against an attack. We are taught not to be one of ‘Those Women”. We are taught to be silent. Choosing to break free of that stigma, we are then called liars. We simply cannot win.
Here’s the deal, men will cat call, and grope no matter what you wear or where you are. Walk down any street alone, at any time and see. This doesn’t mean we women should censor ourselves to make these men comfortable, this means we need to take back our power and shut this behavior down. It’s high time that young boys are taught to be gentlemen, rather than teaching young women their bodies are distracting, and are the cause of young & old men being dirty little assholes. Rape Culture at it’s finest.
In College I was in a theater major, and wanted so badly to be cast in one of the school’s shows. For my first year of college I attended a women’s university. Maybe I felt safe there, because high school was all about what I was doing wrong to make the boys look; even though I was actively dating another student for two years. This was the height of the Grunge Era, and my clothing choices consisted of long sleeved tees covered by a plaid shirt, or old sweater, hardly “distracting clothing.”
I finally got cast in a show. I was playing a 13 or 14 year old girl, who’s father began abusing her the day of her birthday party. My character was still the innocent happy-go-lucky kid who felt she was becoming a woman. The second part of the show, was the adult version of my character who was so messed up from the abuse, she married a man with no arms or legs, who couldn’t hurt her. Pretty heavy for college. The entire show gave me chills, but I wanted to act, so I played this part. The costume designer even managed to make my very small chest look huge, which I though was odd for an 18 year old playing a 14 year old, and a two part play about abuse, but the director loved it. Here’s why:
We needed props, and one prop was a bed. My dorm had spare bed frames, so myself, the director and the set designer went to get the frame out of storage. While in the elevator, the director of the show grabbed me by my shoulders and pushed me toward the back of the elevator, pushing my hips into the metal chair rail, causing a bruise saying, “great, now we can ravage Roseanne.” Yes this happened. Yes I felt all sorts of disgust, fear and shame. Yes I reported it. Yes the set designer saw it and corroborated my story, but no one believed him, because he was gay; really, that’s how that went down. I was pushed to do the show. I can remember a lot about that performance, but nothing stands in my memory like that green painted metal bed frame. Twenty three years later, it’s still clear as day. I left the school after that first year.
My ex husband physically & sexually assaulted me many times, before taking it to the level where I needed a restraining order. I endured years of abuse, in silence. During our divorce, more than anything he wanted that restraining order dropped. I refused. I took his only source of power away, he hated me more. At the hearing his lawyer said the only words that the judge took seriously from his side, “My client neither admits to, nor denies the charge of rape.” My restraining order stood in place for 18 months. That didn’t stop him from sending his friends out to follow me, but it gave me enough space that I could truly break free. Never back down about your personal safety, it could be the difference between life and death.
There were so many people who did not believe me about the attack. Questioning me with more uncertainty than the Police. Rumors were even spread around that my rape kit came back negative, as if cotton swabs and gauze can determine the difference between consensual or forced sex. I had to take a lot of medication including Plan B and Anti HIV medications, plus get a shot in the rear with the thickest needle and the strongest antibiotics that turn urine brown. I can get into details about the rape itself, but I’ll spare you from what still gives nightmares almost 9 years later.
For those who say, it’s in the past, it doesn’t count, but you claim to be of a certain religion, let me explain how the past determines everything from the Biblical Point of View:
We are all supposedly born with “original sin”. So we are Baptized into our Churches, knowing that everything we do in our lives, from that moment forward takes us to Heaven or Hell when we die. Every Action, from the moment you are accepted into your church. So Kavenaugh’s actions do count, religiously and politically. So do many of our other leaders’ actions. If you truly believe this, you would know how many broken Commandments, and how many of the Seven Deadly Sins are running through our government right now.
There are a lot of confused people out there who claim rape victims are making rape political, forgetting its actually a crime. When you listen to a woman, standing strong in truth and coming forward to do the right thing by our Country, with a clean record and see a liar, it’s a problem. When you look at men who are angry, and live lies daily and see solid, strong, truthful men, you are just identifying with what they call “power”. Lies are still lies, even with Eyes Wide Shut.
Times are changing, and you cannot hold on to the “old ways” so much you will fight good, honest people, and support monsters. There is something very fundamentally wrong with “American Values” because these aren’t values, they are discrimination’s and marginalization’s by white cisgender males, who’s choices coincide with who pays them the most.
I will help end Rape Culture and this nightmare. Ending your support of this current administration is not only the best way to tell the people in your life who may be coming forward as a victim that ethics, morals and love mean more to you than Party. It’s also a great way to help ensure all of our young ladies are able to grow up without fear of attack.