CW/TW: Sexual assault, harassment, abuse, rape
I have recently started a series of blogs following the #TrumpTapes and the #WeAren’tJustStats hashtags on Twitter. The first three, When I Was Twelve, When I Was Thirteen and When I Was Fifteen can be viewed by clicking on the links. In my post We Aren’t Just Stats, there is an explanation as to why I decided to do these posts, as well as offering guest posts to anyone who is interested.
If you are, please feel free to contact me below (I leave all my links after the blog post).
This post was written by Rae, whose blog is I Will Not Live In Vain. If you haven’t checked out her blog, please do so! She covers a wide range of topics – and is an American living in Central Australia, so she often provides a unique perspective!
Rae’s story – A Woman Is Only Good For One Thing – doesn’t just detail one perspective, one incident. She details multiple incidents, some far more traumatising than others, to highlight the seriousness of the epidemic of rape culture. Her story is truly inspirational, touching, and quite devastating to read.
I will also provide links of the other two guest posts at the end.
A Woman Is Only Good for One Thing
I’ve been wanting to write something for Carla again – something to go with her series about rape culture and #WeAren’tJustStats – I’ve been wracking my brain for what to write; how to get started. I prefer writing original pieces when I am contributing to other sites and not just recycling posts I’ve already written.
The thing is, so many of the sexual assault or rape culture incidents in my life; I’ve already documented them in one way or another. So, at present, I’m not going to write about just one. (I’ll keep thinking though and see if I remember something I haven’t written about yet for later.)
Ever since I was young, my parents would tell me never to let anyone touch my private parts. They would tell me to tell them if someone ever tried. My father would tell me as I got older to kick between the legs if a boy ever tried to have sex with me.
Easier said than done.
I was taught from a young age that I had to protect my virginity. This, in itself, a religious ideal. When I was 11, it became clear to me that my parents believed it was my responsibility to dress appropriately as to not tempt the boys. My mom took away a favourite short skirt I had… and my father started not letting me out of the house unless I was wearing a bra – as I had started developing, minuscule though it was at the time.
All in all, I was still a child. I had crushes on boys at school – we fancied ourselves in relationships… but never even kissed. Holding hands at most… It certainly wasn’t what my parents were trying to be over protective about.
As I turned 12, the more the rape culture started to affect me – the boys who snapped my bra strap. The insinuations from my friends that he must like me because he did that or because he was mean to me. The sexual natured teasing – “Rachel stuffs her bra!” – Or threats… When Sean Morrison and I got into a fight at the bus depot and he angrily assured me that he would rape me.
I turned 13 and started dating an older boy. Now it was his responsibility to protect me from men that would want to harm me. He told me he loved me, and treated me like I needed his protection. What I really needed was protection from him… and when he touched my private parts, I didn’t tell my parents.
In my position as girlfriend, I was expected to cater to his sexual whims. I was expected to remain loyal to him as well… So much so I wasn’t allowed to have other male friends – except where he approved (i.e his friends, when he was there). I was regularly assured by him that I was no better than a whore or a slut when he was angry with me.
Those next two years were instrumental in my understanding of my role as a woman in this world – the smiling, the adaptability to the whims of men, the perky manic pixie girl image to maintain, the agreeability I was expected to have in the presence of males lest I be labelled a bitch or physically assaulted.
The majority of these lessons coming from said boyfriend, yet now on the street… I started having experiences such as men following me and cat calling; getting angry when I was scared and tried to get away.
I turned 15 and found myself in a taxi in a foreign city where the taxi driver refused to listen to my protests that I just wanted to go back to my hotel. He rubbed his hand along my thigh and I feared for my safety.
At 15 I had a male best friend tell me that I was a bitch and religious people assure my mother that I was “promiscuous” as if they knew anything real about my personal life. My father insisted I sign a true love waits commitment.
At 16 I had another boyfriend call me a whore.
At 17 I had sex with a man that gave me chlamydia… and who I later found out had paid for the pleasure of being with me. He paid a male friend for bringing me to his apartment in a bad part of town. By 17 I felt obligated to sleep with men that wanted me. I willingly slept with him, not knowing about the exchange of cash. Not realizing the danger I had really put myself in. He later got drunk and fell asleep on top of me during his second attempt. The next day he texted me and told me not to contact him further as he and his girlfriend had gotten “back together”… and I realized how disposable I was as a woman; a woman only good for one thing.
At 18 I was attacked in a club. Two men pushed me into a dark corner and attempted to rape me. One grabbing my crotch and my arm as he pushed me back against a wall; his friend then holding my arms while he tried to undo my jeans. Not heeding my screams until my best friend happened upon the scene.
A boyfriend would laugh about how he and his friends would “play a game” in which, while having sex, they would call the girl by a different name and “ride the bronco” as long as they could (assuming of course the girl would be angry and want to stop.) I told him if he ever did that to me I would immediately become single again. He told me it was just a joke.
At 19 my father told me it was unseemly to sleep over at my boyfriend’s house and demanded I come home. I didn’t.
At 19 I was cat called across the street one evening and my boyfriend became angry. By this time I was complacent to these occurrences. By this time I didn’t know why he was so upset, and he was the one to tell me I should not be treated that way.
I got married and moved to the Southern US where I encountered so many men that treated me as though I was a pretty little idiot because of my gender.
Then, when I was 25, I had a male friend grab my crotch, inside my panties, as he told me he “just wanted to get in [my] pants.”
He expected sex from me, though he knew I was married, because from the beginning of the night he had been telling me he wanted me. He was aggressive and manipulative and made my life very difficult for the next few weeks until he deployed overseas.
None of this even begins to explain the pervasive culture itself in which sexually and dominating comments and jokes are made throughout the day or posted across social media for us all to hear and see. The compliance we have allowed ourselves into laughing along with these jokes or as I heard one Trump apologist say – we may not being pleased with the language being used in front of us, as a ladies, but accepting and promoting that boys-will-be-boys and that language is for the men and that there is nothing wrong with it.
Yet, when a presidential hopeful and men like him think it is ok to grab a lady by the crotch, and this is being continuously taught through “locker room banter” then we will continuously have stories like mine; where women are actually grabbed by the crotch because the man feels entitled. Where women are sexually assaulted and are viewed as disposable. We will continuously have girls growing up believing that they are subject to men’s whims – and that it is up to them only to guard their sexual purity and keep a man’s lusts at bay.
This is rape culture… and this is not okay.
Other Guest Posts
#WeAren’tJustStats – This Is Rape Culture
#WeAren’tJustStats – Guest Post
Originally published on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise.
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