Why I Still Have Trouble Using the Word "Rape" When Discussing My Rape
This is a sequel of sorts to my previous list "Some Facts About August 30th, 2014," in which I realized in an almost paralyzing way that I couldn't bring myself to say or type the word "rape" to describe my rape. Coming up on the one-year anniversary (it's weird to refer to this as that, but still) this week, it's heavy in my mind.
- •Because language is strange. I try to be thoughtful, intentional, and careful with the words I use in general. To describe my rape, I say a lot of "that thing" or "the guy who...you know" or "non consensual." Or "assault," if I absolutely have to say something.
- •Because if I say assault, it's vague. I don't have to get into it. We can sweep it away. And maybe when it comes up, I want that ambiguity. If I say rape, then you know. It's a different level of vulnerability all over again.
- •Because I made excuses for him. Even when I said no. Even when he told me I should be impressed with his restraint. Even when he could no longer maintain this "restraint," and he told me, "Don't give me that face" while removing my underwear.
- •Because I stayed with him hours after, trying to normalize the situation. We walked to Gelson's and got chocolate peanut butter ice cream and ate it at his house because I needed to make what I had just let happen okay. I needed to justify it in some way.
- •Because I still carry with me the feeling of being at fault, even though I rationally know I'm not.
- •Because I didn't scream or hit him or shove him off of me. I lay perfectly still the entire time he was inside me.
- •Because I liked him.
- •Because we *had* talked about sex a lot, as I always do, which he would later throw back in my face as justification for why what happened was fine. Even though there is a difference between saying something and doing something.
- •Because there's something phonetically harsh about the word "rape." It's like an auditory sucker punch.
- •Because I never even considered reporting it.