Dancing and 20 Minutes of Action
I was 18 years old. Most people had gone home or to the beach for spring break. I went to Tigerland. I was a partier and a typical freshman. I drank. I flirted. I danced. I showed up to class when I wanted to. That night no one found me by a dumpster while a man was forcing himself on me. I woke up alone, on a bed at a friend of a friend’s house. I walked out of the apartment, stepping over passed out undergrads. I hobbled as I put on my boots. I was sore. Why was I so sore? What happened last night?
The days that followed were a blur but came to be days that I will never forget, and when the Brock Turner verdict came down, I was instantly taken back.
Two Weeks and a Lifetime
When I realized what happened I froze. I said it over and over, “it’s not rape. I got too drunk and did this to myself. Not rape. That doesn’t happen to me.” When I showed up at the police station they asked a lot of questions but one stood out, “Do you really want your mom to know your sexual history and party ways?”
“No,” I said as if I was being violated all over again. I stood up and didn’t say another word. I couldn’t. I only let a single tear run down my face as I stepped out of the doors. Everything shut down. I was off.
I used the university doctors for an exam and testing. I didn’t want it to go on my mom’s insurance. No one questioned me. I was just another “easy” undergrad. I kept my mouth shut my head down. I partied more and drank even more. I was already numb, why not. I didn’t go to class, I sat on the edge of my bed staring into space. I lost TOPS.
That’s when my mom took notice of my spiral. I can still see the look in her eyes when I told her. She yelled, “We have to call the police.”
“I did. It’s over. It’s over.”
I didn’t know just how over it was. Because not even two months later anything in my soul that was left was crushed. “I don’t even think this happened. I just don’t know that I believe you.”
When the Brock Turner verdict came down, I was validated in my decision to sit down and shut up. Three months for a lifetime of scars.
You Know Me
Every time I look at my mom I think of those words. “I should have kept my mouth shut and my head down.” I thought … until Chanel Miller stepped forward.
As I read her memoir and even before, she inspired me 20 some odd years later. I knew making a #metoo post or going public about what was taken from me by not only my rapist, but law enforcement and my family wasn’t the answer. She reminded me that I control my life’s narrative. I control how I respond. I control how I raise the future. She reminded me that we can’t prevent bad things from happening, but I can listen to my girls. I can believe them. I can support them as they navigate the wold after evil.
You may not know my name. I am your sister, your friend, your daughter. I am now part of the 3 out of 4 sexual assaults that, despite my efforts, has gone unreported. You may not know my name, but you know my story.
He Knows My Name
My rapist and I have mutual friends. When he came up in “suggested friends,” I clicked. He has a son now. I instantly clicked out of it and told Mark Z not to send him back to my suggested friends. I had so many thoughts after my heart stopped beating out of my chest.
I wonder if he heard Chanel’s story. I wonder if he followed her case. I wonder if he listened and was remorseful. I wonder if he listened and thought of my name. He knows my name.