Posted by: CeCe | August 2, 2012

No quarter

I have started and stopped this blog multiple times.  I know what I want to say, but I wanted to make sure that there’s no room for misunderstanding, and I was hoping to cause as little offense as possible.  But the truth of the matter is, I don’t think that I can say what I need to without offending a few people.  So I’ve decided that I’m not pulling any punches and I’m not giving even a quarter of mercy.

Recently, there was a case in which a 17 year old girl in Kentucky (Savannah Dietrich, I’m sure everyone is aware by now) was sexually assaulted while passed out drunk, and because the perpetrators were minors, they were given a plea deal (they pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of sexual assault), and the victim was told to keep silent about the case.  Some, like me, immediately took the side of the victim, and were angered on her behalf.  Others were willing to say that the “boys” had done wrong, but also said that Savannah should not have been getting drunk.  This is the inspiration for this post.

I was sexually assaulted several years ago.  Afterwards, there were some pretty horrible and insensitive things said to me.  People asked me what I was wearing that night (khakis, a tank top, and a hoodie, as if it matters).  People asked me how much I’d had to drink (enough to still be able to say no).  Some told me to quit talking about it, that it was done and over with, and others asked me if I was sure I was telling the truth.  I was told that I should have been wearing something more modest, that I shouldn’t have been drinking, that I shouldn’t have kissed the guy or flirted with him in any way.  When I finally sought therapy for the PTSD that resulted from the assault, I eventually told my therapist that I felt as though I had brought it on myself.  That maybe if I hadn’t been drinking it wouldn’t have happened.  That maybe I should have been wearing a t-shirt instead of a tank top, even though it was summer and there was nothing immodest about the tank top.

She asked me if I had ever gotten drunk with a guy before.  Yes, I had.  There were several times I drank with guys and nothing at all happened.  There was one time in particular, before I met my husband, that a guy friend and I were very drunk, and we started kissing.  Things got a little heavy, and then I said, “Wait.  Stop.”  Know what he did?  He stopped.  I told him I didn’t want to go further.  He didn’t ask why, he didn’t push me, he just respected my ownership of my body, and that was it.  I told my therapist about these times and she then said that if getting drunk is what resulted in being assaulted, then every woman should be assaulted every time she gets drunk.  But this isn’t what happens.  The only time a woman will be assaulted when she gets drunk is if she happens to be around a rapist.  That’s it.  And unfortunately, there’s no way to know when a man is a rapist or not, unless or until he rapes someone.  And then of course it was the woman’s fault, because she was wearing that skirt, she went to that club, she was consuming those drinks, she was behaving a certain way, she was distracted while walking to her car, she was walking down a dark street alone, or whatever.  Of course it’s her fault.  If she had just done every single little thing right, she wouldn’t have been assaulted.  The poor rapist just couldn’t help himself.  He saw a woman who had made herself vulnerable, and he was compelled to act on his impulses.  Of course it couldn’t be his fault.

Or maybe this is all part of a rape culture.  I’m truly disgusted that even as “enlightened” and “advanced” as our society has become, there is still this caveman mentality that makes it acceptable for people to rape others, and attempts to heap blame on the victim.  Even now, those who say that they have been sexually assaulted are treated with mistrust, as though they would lie about something like that.  I don’t think people realize how humiliating it is to admit to such a thing, and to go to the emergency room to have a rape kit performed (which is not comfortable), and have doctors ask you if you’re sure you’re telling the truth, and have cops question you and act as though you brought this on yourself, somehow.  And then afterwards people tell you that you shouldn’t have been wearing what you wore, you shouldn’t have been drinking, you shouldn’t talk about it, you shouldn’t be so bothered by it, you’re weak if you are, you’re obviously a liar and a drama queen, you were obviously acting like a whore and got what was coming to you.

I’ve said before, rape is the only crime in which people will try so hard to blame the victim.  What they don’t seem to realize is that only one person should ever, ever be blamed for rape:  the rapist.  Decent people don’t rape, no matter what the situation is.  Instead, they’d be like my guy friend who stopped when I said stop, the guy friends who were with me when I got drunk who never laid a hand on me, the guys who bought me drinks in bars and didn’t expect anything in return, the guys I walked by on dark, deserted streets who never touched me or harassed me in any way.  When anyone is raped, we should never ask what they did to bring it on themselves, we should ask what we can do for them, to comfort them and be their friend and make them feel safe and clean again.

Our bodies are the only thing in the world that we really truly own, and will own until we take our last breath.  Once we have had that violated, there’s no going back.  Something breaks and is polluted and corrupted deep inside, and no amount of showers will cleanse it, nothing will ever purify or repair it completely.  Sure, once you’ve been assaulted you can pick up the pieces and go on with your life, but it will never change the fact that the one and only thing that you truly own in the entire world has been violated in the most horrible way, and you can never erase it.  You can never get rid of your body and trade it for one that has not been violated.  You can never rid yourself of the taint it leaves on your very soul and your mind.

As a society, we have got to stop trying to lay the guilt on the victim.  We just have to.  Otherwise, we will continue to be a society that gives cover for rape, and that allows people to be victimized.  And as long as that happens, I will never be silent about it.  I’ll continue to be an advocate for those who are sexually assaulted.  I’ll continue to label rapists as the scumbags and worthless pieces of crap they are.  And I will keep telling people that when they try to blame the victim in any way whatsoever for what happened to them, that they are giving cover and making excuses for the rapist, even if that’s not their intention.

Stop excusing rape.  Until then, no quarter.

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Responses

  1. CeCe, what a beautifully written, deeply sensitive, personal and profound statement. Sexual assault victims are the most blamed of all victims of any crime. Even victims of pedophilia are told that if they didn’t “want” it they wouldn’t have run away, or left the team, or left the Scouts, or told someone. You have said so much in so few paragraphs. Thank you. ♥

    • (((Randi))) Thanks so much!

  2. I was thoroughly blamed and ostracized when I was raped because we we drunk and making out. I had said no repeatedly but was too incapacitated to fight. He then told everyone we had slept together, making me appear to be a willing partner to his cheating. I mean, wtf? The onis should be on THE RAPIST, no matter the age! If the two young guys got away with it due to age, what message does that give? AAAAAAAAUGH!

    • Exactly! And so you know… I would never, ever blame you. No means no, no matter what. ❤

  3. Your wriitting is so eloquent. Being blamed for is one of the reasons why many victims of sex abuse don’t tell.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you so much!

  4. I think it’s not entirely about the violation of the body that has the biggest effects, it’s the trust element. In many cases, you can’t help but question how you can trust another person again since noone does know who the “good” guys are, and who the “bad” guys are.

    I work in an environment with a lot of young women that have been sexually assaulted, and one of the main things we’re currently battling with is the problem that so many people do actually make up accusations against family or friends, then realise how much shit they’ve got themselves in when things spiral out of control. I’m not saying the girls I work with are those people, but that they are currently having to fend for themselves in a system that seems to assume that everyone is crying wolf for a little attention. Or just to be vindictive. Sad, but true.

    I just hope that these girls learn that they do have the strength to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives as you have done, rather than allowing their histories to dictate the course of their future.

  5. […] the past 16 months since I’ve had this blog, I’ve written several times about when I was sexually assaulted and when I was molested as a child.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the effect that both of […]

  6. […] I’ve written before that I was sexually assaulted a little over 11 years ago, when I was 21.  However, there was an instance before that which I very rarely talk about outside of a small circle of people.  I was 17, and through a friend, I was introduced to this guy whom I’ll call Marvin because I don’t like that name, and I don’t know anyone with that name so my opinion of them won’t be colored by what happened.  So Marvin and I met, and he made it very clear that he was interested in me.  However, I had a boyfriend, so I told him we could be friends and that was it.  He said okay, and so we continued occasionally hanging out, and talking on the phone.  He had told me he was 20, but looking back, I think he was lying.  I think he was actually closer to 30.  But whatever, one day, he called me and asked to hang out, and said that he would bring beer.  I wasn’t a big drinker then and I’m still not, but back then I wouldn’t pass up a chance for free beer.  So he came to my house, and then from there, we walked over to the house of one of my girlfriends, who was hanging out with another girlfriend of ours. […]


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