I get it now. I used to meet people who had horrific stories of one time or repeated rape and sexual molestation and be like “why didn’t you put his name on the report? Why didn’t you go to the police?”
I have been on radio silence for a week or two and part of that is because I got a new job- meet your newest, cutest café worker, mwah! And partially because I was groped and fondled sexually by someone who was engaged, popular with the crowd that still spreads evil backbiting gossip about me, who I never ever thought would do that kind of thing.
I won’t go into details. I am physically safe if not emotionally so. I have been a live wire for about 3 weeks now and thankfully my suicidal phase seems to be over and mostly right now my biggest homework is not to “flame out” at people. For instance at work I was yelling at a PVC pipe drain about how it literally has one job and if this one stupid blinking pipe could just do it’s job everyone would be so much happier and how do you feel, Mr. Pipe, now that you’ve made a grown woman cry hmm? Oh and that was filtered, by the way, my thoughts are MUCH more sadistic than that.
My one and only friend who is still connected to that group of Samoan ex-friends wants me to go to one of my ex-guyfriends weddings. FAT. CHANCE. See apparently he still says “Oh, she needs our love and support. She was telling the truth.” but his GIRLFRIEND with my other ex guyfriends GIRLFRIEND are all up in my space sayin’ “She’s just trying to get attention and cause all this drama. She’s so stupid. She must be lying, there’s no way a church leader would rape someone.”
I swear to you, that if the LDS leadership got investigated thoroughly by a third party, our community would blaze like a friggin’ beacon as perpetrators of sexual violence. The conditions of the church culture breed the perfect environment for i.e. the title of this post “to those who don’t report.”
NOW. My situation. Let me tell you why I am so pissed off right now.
I am irate that I could not defend myself. I am irate that my PTSD made me go into shock and that I couldn’t move and that then for weeks afterwards when people asked me what happened I lied. I hated the idea that he had something to use against me to add to the rumors about me being a slut.
He is popular. He is LDS. He is engaged. And he hangs out with people who spend their free time tearing my reputation apart with the intent to make me so miserable that maybe I will follow out on previous attempts with a success in the leaving this world the hard way department. If I came out and told people he fondled me, he would say I liked it. He would say I didn’t say no. Noone would understand that what he did was wrong. That I didn’t want it. They would ask “why didn’t YOU slap him” “You’re lying. He’s not that kind of person, he’s my cousin.” “He’s a church member, there’s no way he could ever do that.”
That kind of thinking is what we call- deluded. But nonetheless I know firsthand down and dirty what happens in this particular community when rape or molestation happens. It is the girls fault. She is lying. She did something wrong. She tempted him or encouraged him, it wasn’t his fault. She somehow MADE his hands finger her or oh wait she forced him inside her by looking so pretty in that knee length skirt with the matching sweater that covers her neck to wrist. That it is NATURAL for a man to have these URGES and that WOMEN should make an effort not to AROUSE them. If a man does have an URGE, it’s HER FAULT.
I lost nearly all my friends. I was the talk of the town. I remain an outsider because of what happened. I can’t get dates anywhere because guess who is not a virgin and oh wait I am also an attention-seeking slut did I forget something? No that about covers it.
I can’t stop remembering what it was like to spend over 14 hours talking to police, filling out reports, identifying the perpetrator through a window.
The look on his face.
I was afraid for my life and I am still afraid he will come back to rape me again.
This damn system, in my case, is not protecting me. Innocent until proven guilty. Proven guilty by what evidence? Well, a young woman who has nightmares and flashbacks and a broken vagina.
Nope. Not enough. He goes free.
He walks free.
Didya hear that people? My rapist walks free.
Men who groped and fondled me and then spread licentious gossip around namby pamby, destroying my reputation and social life? They walk free.
Those men who shared those stories with their girlfriends, who destroyed the rest of my already meager social life, who call me names behind my back, who gossip about me and lie about me? They walk free.
So yes. To those who didn’t report. I understand better now why you kept your silence. I had not appreciated very much before when people told me “you are so brave for telling your story” because before I saw no reason why I shouldn’t be able to tell the story. It’s my story, it’s my right to tell it as I see necessary, and if it helps people, that’s the endgame. It’s worth any hit.
But I also know what it’s like to not be believed. To have friends look at you and say “you are too unstable. I can’t handle this anymore.”. To be furious at nothing and yell at a freakin’ pvc pipe about why can’t this one thing go right when what you really want to scream is “GOD WHERE THE F ARE YOU NOW?! YOU OWE ME SOME ANSWERS.” Or you want to yell “HE RAPED ME AND IT HURT AND I FEEL WORTHLESS AND DISGUSTING AND UNLOVABLE AND I AM SO DEPRESSED I WANT TO F-ING DIE”
But instead there I was at work smiling at people through our whole not having enough panini fracas that we had tonight saying “I may not be the best worker, but I am the cutest worker.” And laying into this boy who is so cute who asked me out on a date but I was just like I can’t.
He has no idea what was going on. He asked if I was angry with him. I told him I was angry at the whole world and then threw out my usual cover story of ambiguous troubling events “My friend was in the hospital” “It’s an anniversary of a sad time.” “I’m hangry.” “I’m worried about school, in fact I just lost my scholarship.” “I went all the way to Haleiwa for no reason.” “I was so distracted I accidentally put barbecue sauce on my ice cream.”
So. This guy. He listened. He said I’m sorry. And I look over from doing something else for work, and he is cleaning the panini maker for me. I told him to move over and let me do it, but I felt for him. I felt so bad. But I was still so, upset. I actually cried earlier because the song Lava came on and that was KT’s and my favorite song. I have no way to contact him anymore and honestly it was salt in my deepest wound. I was smiling at people but I had to duck out to wipe something down that didn’t need to be wiped down because I couldn’t face anyone.
And then I was just mad. I was so mad that I have to go through this. I was so mad that men don’t hear the word no and that they keep triggering my PTSD and that I have spent 2 1/2 years of my life trying to fix everything and I just can’t anymore. I was so mad about how much hurt I feel day in day out. I was so mad that I have to keep lying and pretending and covering up the damage they have done. I was so mad that they walk free. Honestly someone I know well looked at me and she said “I think you are one of the most deeply angry people I know.”
Deep anger is scarier than the surface stuff. We can talk about my anger another time when I’m not hungry and scared and locked in my bathroom hiding from my roommates because I’m jittery from my PTSD flashbacks and I keep twitching and I feel like I’ll explode and start screaming any second now.
Do you remember from Moani Ke Ala, Bad Apple? I had a chat with him maybe half an hour ago because I had this question burned into my mind. He had a car. He had time. Noone was watching. I was vulnerable, I was crying, he knew I was a rape victim because it slipped from my tongue as a cry of pain. And he held my hand and comforted me. He did not grope me, fondle me, or try to have sex with me.
So tonight I asked him why. I told him I could not figure it out, why he was in the same situation, he was from the same culture, he was LDS, he had a perfect opportunity, why was he not like these other men? He said he was sorry it happened to me and to tell the truth to my doctor and he said he was a good person, that he preferred the light.
It’s not solid yet, but I was walking back home in the dark, alone, trying hard not to cry. And I realized that despite his flaws (ie being a playboy and a whole lotta extra), he has light in him. He’s not perfect, but he is, deep down, a good person. Which confused me to heck because if you read the post Bad Apple, I had labelled him as a dangerous womanizer and now I see him in a different light. It takes a lot for me to actually respect a man but what he did as compared to the men I have known, moved him on up out of that category.
I wasn’t his friend before but I am his friend now.
I don’t know if I will report. I don’t know if I will tell the truth to anyone else- though considering my considerable level of sheer stubborn pig-headedness- the truth coming out cannot be far behind because I don’t have time to lie for these men no more. My life has to move on.
I never thought of reporting as bravery. The one thought in my mind when I handed in that paperwork was
“Make sure this doesn’t happen again.”