Here's the problem:
This number is way too high. How can we prevent it?
1. By giving child molesters, sexual abusers, and rapists much harsher penalties.
2. By educating boys not to rape and by educating women how to prevent getting into a potentially dangerous situation.
3. By educating the victim (male or female) what to do afterwards if it happens.
4. By supporting the victim and facilitating healing so that the shame, guilt, embarrassment and other negative effects of the trauma do not become an obstacle and burden for a lifetime.
So why do I care?
As a health care provider, we are taught about the mental/emotional effects of trauma as well as methods for healing them. Unfortunately my education came after the incident. This information should have been taught in sex ed in high school, which in my school only taught about abstinence and contraception.
Here is what I wish I knew and what I wish was available SOONER!:
A company in Boston recently invented 2 items which will hopefully be on the market very soon:
If you go to a party where you are going to drink a beverage (alcoholic or not), soon you will hopefully be able to bring your own date rape drug detecting cup! If someone slips a tasteless, odorless, colorless, "roofie" in your drink, your cup will warn you by changing colors. Ideally these items would also be available at bars and wherever alcohol is sold (for an extra charge).
Another option is a special glow straw or swirl stick which also notifies the potential rape victim of potential hazard by changing colors if it detects a date rape drug in the drink.
Finally, I wish I was educated on the fact that most victims of rape know their rapist. That it is common, and prevalent and that if it happens, or you suspect it happened while you were sleeping and unconscious, that it is a capital offense and you should go to the police and report it right away to prevent the rapists from raping others. I wish I had known my rights and that they would one day expire. I wish I knew that there is a statute of limitations that would one day prevent me from being able to seek justice because I didn't act fast enough! I wish I knew to ask for a rape test kit in order to collect evidence. I wish I reported the crime and took my rapists to court. I wish they were convicted of this crime and were appropriately sentenced. I wish this incident would forever follow them as it has followed me. I wish I had the courage to face it earlier and possibly prevent them from doing this to another person. I wish anyone who googled their names would find their mug shots! I wish I knew all of those things and more and I am writing about it now in hopes that I could help prevent even one soul from going through what happened to me.
When I was ready to face the fact that I was drugged and raped by a "friend," it was already too late. I called the police but they said that even if the rapists confessed and turned themselves in, that the case would be dropped because the statute of limitations had passed.
So I wrote an article about it and published it anonymously. I didn't want that G-d forbid a patient or potential patient of mine would google my name and come across that article. I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me. I don't need anyone's sympathy or pity. Besides, it is too much information. A patient shouldn't know that much detail about their doctor!
But now I am coming out of the closet as a person who has been raped because I want my friends and family who have also been raped to know that they are not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a neighbor, a person with thoughts, feelings, dreams, and aspirations, just like you. And it happened to me too. I didn't ask for it. I wasn't walking around in sexy clothes, I wasn't drunk, I wasn't at a night club, I wasn't at the wrong place at the wrong time, I wasn't walking in a dangerous neighborhood at night by myself. I wasn't in any of those stereotypical rape scenarios that might have been avoided. It wasn't a stranger who raped me. It was a former co-worker who I knew for years and trusted. He drugged me and then raped me when I was unconscious and sleeping.
After publishing the article in this hyperlink I decided to write my rapists a letter. I found their addresses online and wrote them each similar letters telling them that I knew what they had done to me. The ex-girlfriend of one of them, who was my friend, informed me that he is now a father of a girl. So I asked him how he would feel if what he had done to me were to happen to his daughter. I did not include my return address because I didn't want to hear from him but I did ask both of them to make amends by volunteering to teach rape prevention classes.
I don't recall if it was my idea or the publisher's idea to change the names of the people in the story that I published (I only used first names anyway). Looking back I think it's rather unfortunate. Not only did the rapists get to avoid any legal action but they also got to avoid the embarrassment for their actions. Why do we as a society protect rapists? I consulted once with an attorney friend of mine regarding publishing a negative review of a company online and he informed me that if the information is true, that the other person or company has no grounds for suing (for libel, slander, or defamation). I am just telling my story or stating my opinion for the sake of warning others.
When I saw someone close to me afraid to disclose what had happened to her, I realized that even the "victims" of rape have shame and guilt. Why? We didn't do anything wrong. It's the rapist who committed a crime, not us. And when we keep their dirty little secret, we become an accomplice in helping them to get away with it. Well, I hope that by my coming out, that it gives others the courage to do the same. It's not right that rapists are walking around free while the victims carry the burden and the emotional baggage for years. If we want to change this, we need to change the way we respond to rape. We need to stop sweeping it under the rug. We need to stop pretending like it didn't happen. We need to make the rapists take responsibility for their bad choices. We need to do this for the sake of our children and future generations. We need to tell the truth and not be afraid. We need to be brave and strong, and honest. We need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. We need to heal as a society. We need to expose our raw wounds so that they can be healed.
At this time that I am writing this blog I am in my thirties. The incident that I published a few years ago happened when I was about 25 years old. I never even told my parents about it. I didn't want them to have grief over something that already happened and could not be changed. I wanted to protect them from the potential pain that something very bad happened to me, their loved one.
So what changed?
Well, the more and more news I watch and the more people I talk to, I realize something very wrong. Society protects, hides, and excuses rapists. I see it all around me in every community. My neighbors, friends, family and many others who I know who haven't revealed this secret to me have also been affected by this plague and they may take this dark secret to the grave. Instead of outing their rapists, they keep it a secret because it's too painful to address and easier to deny, bury, or excuse. If it is a family member they may feel obligated to keep the family secret. They were taught to respect their elders and that embarrassing someone is wrong. Well, there is an exception to every rule and rapists do not deserve to be treated with the same respect that we treat others. Someone who violates another does not deserve to be protected or respected. The future potential victims deserve to be protected!
Not coming forward is a mistake. Because by not coming forward we allow the rapists to have more victims, we allow them to get away with ruining more lives. We need to do the opposite and send them a loud and clear message that their behavior is completely unacceptable. We need them to know that this behavior merits jail time and perhaps they can serve as an example to others and prevent other potential rapists from raping.
So to my rapists, I know what you did to me. You escaped the law and judgment of man, but you will not escape the law and judgment of G-d. I don't know what kind of break from reality caused you to think that what you did to me was okay, but it was not okay. It was a physical, emotional, and personal assault and violation that left wounds and scars that are very deep. How would you feel towards a person who did what you did to me, to your mother? Take a look in the mirror. That's you!
I wish I met this guy instead of Tom and Don.
As a naturopathic doctor, my intention and goal is to
educate, prevent, support and heal.
Because music has the power to reach the masses and create social change and peaceful evolution, I wrote a song about it which I hope to produce (with permission)!
Thanks to Salt n' Pepa for the platform!
Let's Talk About Rape
YOU ARE EITHER PART OF THE PROBLEM
OR PART OF THE SOLUTION
BE PART OF THE SOLUTION!