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She is me.

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Stanford rape survivor's statement to KTVU about why she wants to retain her anonymity

Stanford rape survivor’s statement to KTVU about why she wants to retain her anonymity

And it’s possible, she is you, too.

If you’ve tread anywhere near social media this week, you have almost undoubtedly read, if not at least seen, the published letter the Stanford rape survivor wrote. If not, I recommend reading it first here. It has sparked a viral dialogue – some of which is overtly productive, and predictably some is not – none-the-less in the end, more dialogue = good.

In response to some of the dialogue I’ve seen: Questioning a woman of a falsely accused rape IS a part of the current rape culture. The purpose of the most recent dialogue is not at all to diminish tragic consequences of the falsely accused — in fact quite the opposite — but rather to shift the rape culture enough to shed light on the countless women who are too often afraid to come forward because of the current rape culture. There is much to blame for it, and those who abuse and lie are the most reprehensible, but let us not unintentionally perpetuate their idiocy by highlighting it.

“…In rape cases, the biggest problem is not false reporting, but no reporting. Only about one-fifth to one-third of rapes get reported to police, national surveys show. One reason is that women fear police won’t believe them.” — T. Christian Miller, ProPublica and Ken Armstrong, The Marshall Project

Though on the surface, the rest of this post might come across as aggressively personal, it is not about me. Any misreading in my attempt to show bravery and share my voice not in vain (not nearly as profoundly and widely spread as the Stanford rape survivor has, but I’ll do what little I can) would be a result of my failure to articulate a reaction in response to her powerful words and to fuel its continuance. As a teacher to young girls and boys, I feel it is my duty to serve as an example in the best ways I am able. I, too, like many other women, am a survivor of sexual assault. I was a senior in college. I’ve previously only confided in two people about this, and even then, it wasn’t extensive.

The man who did this to me was once a trusted companion, and we’d once had consensual sex that I soon after regretted. Following that decision, I started to feel he was trying to control me, so eventually I ended things. I was obviously rightly intuitive in my fear that he was trying to control me, as his response to the break up was to rape me. The physical pain didn’t linger long; it was the shame and lack of trust I felt that overpowered me and unfortunately my future romantic relationships. As if fear of not being believed weren’t enough. The shame in my initial mistake, the shame of what he did to me when he was a man I had wrongly chosen to trust, and the shame of the things I had to do to hurt him in an attempt to stop him, kept me from coming forward (coupled with my fear of causing him to be deported, which of course, I shouldn’t have feared I’D be the cause). I’m sparing most details out of protecting the people I care about. This isn’t about me, anyway.

Years ago, I wrongly worried – I’d already once consented. I wrongly worried – but I knew him and was at his house. I wrongly worried – I hurt him back. I wrongly worried – I allowed him to drive me home while he muttered the entire way, “I did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong.” Years later, I finally have the courage? to even call it rape, let alone tell other people, because this anonymous woman is helping to change the dialogue and rape culture. She is so many women. Too many. She is my hero. I’m not a huge fan of social media until things like this happen.

When we share our stories, we free others of shame and of the fear of coming forward. We create important shifts in thinking for present and future generations — Please keep the dialogue going and remain open to allowing it to make actual change in you and others — even if you can’t immediately relate, we are interconnected in unfathomable ways.

 

Author: lauren

author of // key + arrow // a life + style blog aiming to inspire readers to make the most of what they have today without compromising quality or settling for less than desired {all the while convincing herself} // {austin, tx}

7 thoughts on “She is me.

  1. Pingback: My Week in Letters. | key + arrow

  2. “When we share our stories, we free others of shame and of the fear of coming forward. We create important shifts in thinking for present and future generations — Please keep the dialogue going and remain open to allowing it to make actual change in you and others — even if you can’t immediately relate, we are interconnected in unfathomable ways.” This statement is amazing. I was raped nearly a decade ago and I just last night finally had the courage to share. I thought I was fine, I thought I had “dealt with it” until I heard about the Stanford rape case. I read her letter and was struck to my core and didn’t have the courage to address what actually happened to me until last night when I decided to write about it and share it with all who cared to read. There I found freedom. I am not alone in this. I am not to blame and it is encouraging to read how other people cope and grow as a result of something so horrific. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for encouraging me.

    • Thank YOU for sharing your story. I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you, and I am so proud of your courage. Sending you healing thoughts. I’m so glad you found freedom from others; we are not alone and while there is discomfort in that, there is great comfort in knowing we don’t have to go through the discomfort alone.

  3. Pingback: 7 for seven | key + arrow

  4. There ought to be an effective way to allow girls/women to guard against this both on an interpersonal level and an intrapersonal level so that our “red alert” systems kick in earlier. Wonder what that would look like.

  5. Wow. Incredibly brave Lauren. I love you.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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