I don’t hate my rapists.
Are you surprised? I know I was.
After trying to write this piece for months and letting each emotion have it’s turn at they keyboard, I realized that the anger wasn’t there. Not for them at least.
The realization hit me at a strange moment. As much as I’d like to hate my rapists, I actually empathize with them. Wait, let me explain.
The first time I was raped, it was quite violent. I was at a party in high school with some friends, when I found myself fresh out of a short blackout, alone in the basement with only naked men around me. I remember pushing someone’s mouth off me as I tried in vain to figure out where all the other girls had gone. Moments later, I found myself on the mouth of the same man from before, except this time I was being lifted into the air and brought – then locked – into a bathroom with three (or was it four?) different guys. Thankfully, I saw a familiar face; a boy at this party who I had soberly consented to have drunken sex with. To attest to my level of incoherence, I proceeded to have sex with Guy1 right then.
As I was making my debut as entertainment of the night, riding my way to new friendships, I closed my eyes in a moment of bliss and abruptly opened them to find a Mr. Blackout Kiss’s dick in my mouth. When he had finished ramming down my throat, I, to my own credit, slapped it out of my face and gave him a good talking to, all while riding Guy1. The terror carousel doesn’t end there, though. When it seemed that our Guy1 was close to finishing, Guy3 started getting undressed and announced he was next in line.
That was where I drew the line. I de-mounted and started searching for my clothes, to the moans and complaints of blue balls, when I realized my friend was locked on the other side of that door experiencing the same thing. Once my uncoordinated hands figured out the lock, I rescued my friend and we went upstairs to… wait for the boys. We both left shaken, but remarkably unharmed.
It’s been five years, and I still don’t hate them. The opposite, in fact. Thanks to the idea that got drilled into my head somewhere, of needing to have “crazy party stories”, I actually used that horrible memory as a party story for the rest of my high school career. It wasn’t until I was telling it to my therapist years later, watching her face display the emotions that I knew I should have been feeling, did I realize how fucked up that was.
You know whats more fucked up than that, though? I’ve told that story tons of times over the years, and not one person ever followed up with a “are you ok?” or any other expression of concern. In fact, the story was usually a hit.
That’s where my hate comes in.
My hate for a society that taught me that my body being disrespected was a good party anecdote.
My hate for a society where no one could realize that despite the drunken “I’m so wild!” way I told it, I was actually describing being gang raped.
That’s what I hate.
I hate that when I think about it, even now, I have to really think about if I deserve to even use the words gang rape.
Above all that though, the thing I hate the very most is that story is not only time something like that has happened.
Somewhere in my life, I’ve learned that when I get blackout drunk, my only purpose is to have sex.
After another drunken night with some new guy – I had sex with him again in the morning, which he later called, “I basically raped you so we have to have sober sex in the morning to show it’s cool” sex.
It’s a vicious cycle, and no matter how many times I fight myself, the hate always comes back to me.
How did I learn all those things?
How did I think that was okay?
Why did I think that was funny?
I’ll get back to you when I know the answer.
It’s quite simple why I don’t hate my rapists.
While I know that they were wrong, I’m just as upset that they a brainwashed by society as I am.
All of us found some way to rationalize the behavior to ourselves, and that’s a problem.
Not only is it a problem – it’s perfect example of rape culture.
We find ourselves with this real life, lived definition of rape culture: boys raping a girl and not only getting away with it, but being just short of thanked for what the experience added to my “I’m not a good girl” story collection. While they were busy rationalizing that it wasn’t rape because I wasn’t upset, tons of people lacked to see the problem with it either.
That’s what rape culture boils down to in my reality: the rationalization of a legitimate rape, with the offending party getting off free, and the story of abuse being used as a story to tell at a party. The absolute compartmentalization of rape by both rapists and victims, to be able to even fathom how an event like this could be humorous.
If that experience doesn’t prove that rape culture is real, I don’t know what will.
It’s so important to bring rape culture into the conversation. This story is a raw account of exactly how deeply rooted rape culture was in me, and through one detailed example, a personal plea as to why we really, really need to stop it. A more technical piece on rape culture is in the making, but thank you for listening and, hopefully realizing, how badly we need to have this conversation.