I will soon be saying goodbye to yet another home, Brooklyn, and starting my life over with my family in a new place, and attending a new school. At the expense of incidents that have changed my life forever. I will try again to leave behind the immense pain and memories of these past several months, and continue moving on. I have lost my home at college that was more of a home to me than my own hometown. But that home at college proved to not love me the same way I loved it, and its students proved the same, and neither were there to lend a helping hand when I cried and begged for justice and sanctuary. Instead, they turned their back on me, did not believe me, called me crazy, and chose to operate as a business and protect its already worsening reputation.
Even from so many miles away, I have never felt so much hatred and disrespect.
My family has worked too hard to escape poverty and come to this country, and I value my education too much to put it on hold due to something as common as ‘just a bad breakup’. I have created too great a life for myself at Providence College with a wonderful major, wonderful leadership positions, and so on, just to give it up based on a clueless boy. This is much bigger than that, and I cannot believe that I have to repeat this so many times to such weak and ignorant ears.
Rape comes by means of drunken nights, strangers, acquaintances, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands/wives. (But someone must always be willing to have sex with their partner, right?)
No one has the right to tell someone that it did not happen when they were not there. Even if it is a friend that claims they ‘know’ him/her and that they ‘would never do such a thing’.
Perhaps we do not really know someone until we lay naked with them with the doors closed, when there is nothing between us but self-control that must overpower our animal instincts.
We are far more likely to omit details than to make them up entirely. It is easier for someone to erase the “no’s” and “stop’s” and the empty look in their eyes, or altogether lack of eye contact because neither of them can look each other in the face as it is happening.
[I had made it clear that I did not want to progress past oral sex (which even that was rushed and too fast for me, and made me feel somewhat dirty and unhappy despite it feeling physically pleasing and it was the only way my then-boyfriend would kiss me)].
Sometimes they genuinely do not know what they have done, or they do understand but just do not think it is that serious, or they justify their actions with the ‘flaws’ of the victim as if anyone deserves such a thing.
Until people understand that rape comes in many forms and disguises, even in relationships and can take time to process and recognize, there is still much work to be done. I could go into detail about the complex dynamics of sexually and verbally abusive relationships that can be invisible to outsiders, but that is something you should research on your own as we enter the adult world.
I have even been treated like it is a crime to be angry at a person that had violated me and hurt me so deeply, as if I have no right to say or do something about it. And then there are those who dare to say, “Why won’t she just get over it?” or “She’s just a crazy bitch that wants revenge and made it up”. (We like to avoid what the crime is in this situation, and we deny).
I will not be reduced to a joke.
I was there those nights and you were not.
My friends and best friends have broken my heart in ways that no boy could.
I expected to have my heart broken by a boy. (Which just took two months to get over, but the rapes will take a lifetime). But I never expected it to be broken by friends I loved so dearly. For whom I would have done anything in this world, to whose side I would have run to immediately and remained. I do not run from the problem—I accept it and work toward healing. That is where I realize we are different. I am no coward when it comes to my friends and family, nor does my loyalty sway unless they absolutely warrant otherwise.
If someone truly cares for you, they will go out of their way to express it. So many months later, I still wait for the day others recognize how much their ignorance has changed my life, and I still wait for an apology or any sign of realization. Maybe it will not come.
Before you judge others and label them as dramatic, pathetic, weird, liars, freaks, attention-seekers, and so on—stop yourself and consider that their words and behaviors may be fully justifiable by what they have experienced.
Thank you, Moriah, at the Crime Victims Treatment Center in NYC, whom I have visited every week for the past 7 months, who has helped me strengthen my voice and do the right thing. You have been a counselor, a mentor, an inspiration, and the friend I needed above all else.