I Was Raped

By July 9, 2018Blog

Rape………the act of taking something that does not belong to you.  So perhaps, this is not the dictionary definition.  That definition may state something like, rape is the unlawful act of forcibly having sexual intercourse with someone without their consent.  I know rape.  I have lived through it.  There has been a lot of discussion out there lately about rape, yet most of this talk comes with disclaimers.  I get it.  In fact, I will put a disclaimer on this.  If you are a victim of sexual assault only continue reading this if you are ready.  This post is for all of those, female/male/transgender, out there who have been victims of sexual assault.  Whether you are still not ready to talk, or you are out there speaking loudly, this post is for you.  You are not alone.  We are in this together.  Our voices are one and we are strong.  This post is also dedicated to those who did not survive, those who are not with us anymore.  Our voice is your voice too.

My journey was not easy.  Recently, I spoke with my sixteen-year-old daughter and she asked me “How could a girl not report they were raped?”.  I asked her, “When a girl at your school has sex with a guy, what happens?” and she responded, “Depends, but most often they get a bad reputation.”.  Then I asked her what happens at her school when a boy has sex with a girl and she told me, “He is considered cool”.  I wish I could say that things have changed, that there were no double standards, but they still exist.  That is what I told my daughter.  That is the reason a girl may not report being raped.  Fear. Pain. Hopelessness. Shame.  These feelings haunt a rape victim.  They eat away at your spirit and follow you wherever you go.  I remember when I was younger thinking, “If I move away from the city it happened in, then I will feel better”.  Perhaps, for a short period that theory worked, but the fact is you cannot escape post-traumatic stress disorder. You can get away from places and people, but the emotions are yours alone and they follow you.

Yet, we refuse as a society to talk about rape and mental health disorders.  We may talk about these topics more than we once did, but we still tend to wish to hide such talk behind closed doors.  Why?  Recently I read a post, which upset me.  There is a phenomenal series on Netflix that brings up many topics young people, heck people in general, are dealing with today.  They introduce the series with a disclaimer, so those who wish not to watch do not have to.  Yet, the series upset so many people that there are some asking for it not to continue.  Why? Because it brings up topics like sexual assault (both male and female), suicide, mental health disorders, bullying, and the aftermath of each event? I am a survivor of some of these events, rape/suicide attempts/and mental health disorders.  I have a 16-year-old daughter who survived terrible bullying in middle school, which led to her discussing suicide.  I believe that these topics need to be discussed and shown on a well-written television series.  As a society we are willing to watch “reality” television, which I believe in no way shows reality.  Yet, if a show presents some realistic topics it becomes shunned.  There is where society is failing.

I was raped.  I can tell you, although the post-traumatic stress disorder and depression are no longer a big part of my life; that remnants of them still are present.  These topics need to be discussed.  By placing the topics out in the public eye, a life could be saved, a person who has been assaulted may be more willing to report it, people may not be ashamed to seek treatment for a mental health disorder, and the world could be a better place.  Reality is not a bunch of rich women arguing over who is dressed best.  Reality is that topics like sexual assault, bullying, and mental health disorders exist.  I appreciate there are some who are not ready to educate themselves on these topics, but for those that are ready we need to stop hiding the topics.  We need to talk.  I believe in open conversations.  Help me to open the doors.  It is time.

4 Comments

  • Suzanne says:

    I was raped when I was 20 years old. I didn’t say the word rape for almost ten years. I said “assaulted” because it made me feel like the brutal attack was something less or different or other. When I finally let that scary word form in my mouth – take flight, land in unfamiliar places – I felt empowered. It isn’t a topic I discuss often, rarely now, but it is a conversation I can finally have, if I need to. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your honesty and clarity. Thank you for starting the conversation here.

    • Jolene Cannady says:

      Thank you for sharing your story here. I understand completely what you are saying about calling it “assaulted” vs. “raped”. From a fellow survivor much love sent your way. I am here.

  • Still Silent says:

    My TRUTH is long, I have told NOBODY EVER about my rape, not even my husband of 18 years, NOBODY knows I was raped when I was 14, by a group of guys, my ex boyfriend was the leader.Yet my Rapers told everyone they knew, and were deemed as heros because they ganged the 14 year old DRUNK Slut girl that summer party night.
    I came from a broken home, it was just me and my mom, who worked all the time, and went to the beach with her boyfriend when she was not working, leaving her teenage daughter alone most of the time, which ws fine with me, because I thought I was grown, It was a different time then, and How cool is it to not have parents around? Let me add I am Not blaming my Mom, I BLAME ME, still do and always will.
    I was 13 when I met my first real boyfriend Ronnie, who was was 19, and lied to me about his age from the get go he was a liar, but the 13 year old me did not care when I found out he was old, it was exciting hiding his age from my mom, and this guy who the 13 year old me thought she Loved thought he loved me too, he told me he did afterall. He was my first everything, I would have moved mountains for him, and this he knew. So when he started abusing me with his words, I forgave him, when he cheated on me each time, I forgave him, when he compared me to his exes and told me he was with me because he could not be with his his ex (assuming her parents found out about his real age, because she too was only a year older than me) I held on to him because I felt Lucky to have him, he was the cool guy in the neighborhood and I thought he had some love for me, because after all the breakups, he would come back to me, so a year of me putting up with him breaking up with me yet again, I decided I was done, but yet STILL wanted him.
    There was a small party going on one summer night at a neighboorhood hang out where we both had mutal friends, so there I am Drunk, very Drunk, I don’t really rember how I got to the point of where I was, I don’t know the details of that day, I do know the guy who I loved got me and I remember him kissing me and undressing me and telling me things to do, and I remember other guys coming in the room, and him telling them to do things to me, and me pushing guys off, I have flashbacks of faces, and remember one guy not knowing what to do, and hear Ronnie telling the guy what to do to me. I remember asking him what is happening and him telling me they were just having fun. I remember pushing guys away and then I remember waking up seeing a few people passed out. I Remember grabbing clothes that were not mine dressing, leaving without saying a word, walking home throwing up several times, and so ASHAMED, GUILTY, Scared, Alone, Shamed. I NEVER told my mom, or anyone, because It was my fault. I was DRUNK. My RAPIEST who were 20, 22, and 17 (and possible a few more guys that I can’t remember) went and told people that they gang banged me, like I wanted it, what they didn’t say was they raped a 14 year old Drunk Child.
    So yes to others I am the 14 year old slut. When actually I am a Rape Survivor who has needed help and never got any her whole life.

    • Jolene Cannady says:

      Thank you Still Silent. First off, may I say this is a huge step. You are not silent anymore. You have shared here, anonymously, and in a powerful way. You brought tears to my eyes, as I could feel each word and emotion you wrote. I have been there. The feelings of shame, guilt, and loneliness. As a fellow rape survivor I will tell you this IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. It will never be your fault. And I am sorry that these men put you a spot where you have felt that way for so long, a fault which is only theirs. So my friend I say here, that I hear you. I am here for you, in silence and in writing. You are never alone. You will never be alone. There are many of us out there, some silent and some, like myself, more vocal. We are all one though and we are strong together. I wrote this piece. Whenever, I write pieces I question whether it is the right thing to do. Whether my words will reach people. Will they help one person? I never know. Today I thank you Still Silent because I know my words reached you and I am honored to read your words in return. I am here for you, silent or vocal………….I am here. Thank you.

Leave a Reply