To the group of guys in my campus library who said that girls who are raped are asking for it:
Normally, I don’t swear, because I believe that words are powerful, and I was raised by parents who got mad if I said ‘crap’ too often. But, I’m an English Major, and there are approximately 1,025,109 words in the English language, but I can’t think of a better way to sum up how I feel about what you said than this: Fuck you. I hope you get high-fived in the face with a chair.
That might wipe the condescending grins off your stupid faces.
It’s not your fault that you believe girls who are raped are asking for it. I blame society. I blame the way women have been seen as inferior for years. I blame the phrase “boys will be boys.” I blame the way we teach our daughters that if a boy is mean to her, if he pulls her hair, he likes her. I think that’s why women stay in abusive relationships; she feels obligated to stay. He says he loves her. He beats her up with his words and his fists, and she thinks she deserves it.
But let me tell you a story. It’s my story. Because you say I deserve what happened to me. That some how because of the clothes I wore, the things I did, I deserved to be assaulted. But I didn’t.
When I was sexually assaulted, I was wearing a hoodie and jeans. When I was sexually assaulted, I had the audacity to tell a guy, “No.” I had the audacity to refuse a date from a guy who was more of a jerk than a man. I had the audacity to not be a prize that’s won.
I wrote what’s below a while ago, but I think you need to hear it now. So, I’m sharing it again, because apparently, guys like you need to check your privilege.
When I was in first grade, I was told that if a guy was mean to me, he liked me. I would go tell the teacher that Billy stole the ball I was playing with, and he wouldn’t give it back.
“Kaleigh,” I was told, “He likes you.”
“Sam pulled my hair.”
“He likes you.”
7 years later, I’m lying on a school bathroom floor, and I’m wondering if these guys are showing me they love me. And now I’m walking on egg shells around every guy I meet, not wanting to be loved again, because if this is how a guy tells a girl he loves her, I’d much rather be single forever.
I was taught in school how to protect myself from rape. Don’t walk alone. Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t go out at night. Keep your body hidden. Don’t give them a reason.
If the reason was turning him down when he asked me out, because he was a jerk, then yes, I gave him a reason. Maybe I gave him a reason because I was too quiet all the time, and too loud at the wrong times. And apparently, his friends decided I was the worst and decided to punish me too. And now I’m stuck keeping it a secret because I don’t want the blaming questions.
“Why were you alone?”
“What were you wearing?”
It’s been 5 years, and I’m still getting told by some people to praise God I don’t remember it all. Let me tell you, I remember it enough to know I don’t want to remember it all.
It’s been 5 years, and sometimes unexpected contact is still the worse, and sometimes it burns as if I’m holding the sun in my hands.
It’s been 5 years, and sometimes I still have to defend myself against judging glances. Because, apparently, has someone who has been blessed with two x chromosomes, instead of one, the only job I have in life is to not let myself get raped.
Hold up, let me tell you something.
My job as a female is to do whatever the heck I want to do. I am not part of the “weaker sex.” And I may not be able to bench press as much as you men, but I know how to be strong. I may have wider hips, but I have a fighter’s stance.
And I don’t want to hear these excuses about men having a voracious appetite for sex. The word appetite should only be used when talking about food. I am not food.
Sometimes my thoughts threaten to eat me alive.
But, I will not be silenced. I am a statistic, but that doesn’t define me.
Because one day in my first week of college, somebody said, “If someone hates himself so much they want to die, they’re better off dead.” And then, ”If someone gets raped, they probably deserved it.” So I told my story, and then he had the audacity to defend the other guys’ actions.
I’m pretty sure the “Bros Before Hoes,” part of the Bro Code does not apply in this situation. Because he wasn’t justified, and I didn’t provoke. I was in the wrong place in the wrong time surrounded by the wrong people. And their touch is woven into the deepest part of my skin, and 5 years later, I still get shivers down my spine. I was told no one would love me, and I believed them, until I realized I have the most amazing friends.
I was told not to get raped. They were not told how not to rape.
Guys tell one another, “You throw like a girl!” Since when is being a girl an insult? Some of the strongest people I know are women. Being a girl is not an insult.
I am not an insult. You are not an insult. I will tell my daughter she is not an insult.
I may be a girl, but I know how to fight. And so will my daughters. My sons will learn the meaning of “no.”
“No” is not “maybe.” “No” is not “convince me.”
And I will teach them both the two best things I’ve ever learned: How to love myself, despite everything. And how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start again.
Because repetition forms habits.
I’ve found my voice again. So yes, I may be ‘beautiful’ or whatever, but I am so much more.
I am woman.
I am a fighter.
I am a survivor.
And I will teach my children to be the same.
I will teach my Children what love is, and what it’s not. Because you shouldn’t be afraid of love.
I’m not afraid anymore. -“Afraid in Love”
I’m not afraid anymore, but I still get mad at guys like you. Because guys like you are the ones who wink at girls on the bus. Guys like you are the ones who catcall girls on the street. Guys like you make girls uncomfortable in their own skin. Guys like you are the reasons for some of my sleepless nights and the scars on my skin. Guys like you fail to realize that work of art you’re canvassing is not yours to steal. Girls bodies are not your playground. We are not simply woodchips crunching under your feet.
We are people too.
I’m a person despite being a female who’s been raped.
And I know that the next time a guy lays a hand on me when it’s unwanted, he’ll be on the floor so fast, he won’t know what hit him.
Spoiler alert: My fist will have been the thing that hit him.
So, the next time I hear anybody say that girls who are raped deserve it, I will punch them in the face. And if they get offended, I’ll just say, “Sorry I punched you in the face, but your ignorance was asking for it.”