*** TRIGGER WARNING ***
I usually don’t mark this date as anything significant. One reason being that I don’t clearly remember if this is the exact date that I endured a profound traumatic event. I remember it being three weeks post another trauma anniversary and that date falls here on December 13th. At any rate, even if December 13th is merely around the date of the event and not the anniversary of the event itself I’ve set aside December 13th to grieve for several years now. I generally don’t note it here on the blog, opting to save what I have to say about the matter for my annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month series in April.
This year, in the midst of the downfall of many powerful men due to allegations of sexual misconduct of varying different intensities I thought it was important to share now. Here. On the day that I reflect on my own victimization, and survival of such a heinous sexual crime against me. A lot of people are questioning the legitimacy of many claims of sexual abuse coming from victims several years after the fact. “How can you say that’s true if it happened so many years ago? Why are they just coming forward now? They just want something.” Is a running victim blaming theme that I keep seeing in the midst of various discussions I’ve had both on and off line.
It’s funny how cavalier people are to speak about things they haven’t experienced, until you point out your own personal experience with the issue. I waited 11 years to come forward with a formal police report against my rapist for a million different reasons that I’m not going to get into in this current post. I believe everyone who’s made accusations against Harvey Weinstein, or Bill Cosby, or Matt Lauer, or Kevin Spacey, or anyone else for that matter. Even if it’s been years since the alleged crime took place. It should be as simple as going to the police after you’ve had a car or purse stolen from you to report any sexually based crime, but it’s not.
Today marks the 12th year since I was raped by a man whom I thought was my friend. Someone I trusted completely, who literally saved my life only weeks before he became my rapist. Foremost I repressed the memories of what happened leading to our continued friendship and eventually a severely unhealthy, abusive relationship. Secondly, when the memories did eventually resurface I blamed myself for what happened because I chose to stay in a relationship with him. Because I truly fell in love with this man who raped me so violently on more than one occasion, who abused me and endangered my life with his callous disregard of my humanity. Our time together was rather short lived, but the fall out of our break up and mental wounds that I endured during that short time of my life have lingered ever since.
You see, predators are just that. They prey on the innocent and make their presence known even if they aren’t directly in your life anymore. It’s rarely one act of violence that keeps people silent for years. Even if it is just one act of violence, that doesn’t make it any less valid. I want you, my audience, to know that speaking up is important no matter how long it takes to reach the safety and security of healing necessary to do so.