Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What I was going to say

I’m not supposed to talk about me, because this isn’t about me, but I’m not sure how else to explain what it is I want to tell you. Seventeen years ago, I was raped, and every single day since, I regret not reporting it. There were a lot of reasons I didn’t want to report it: I wasn’t one-hundred-percent sure what had happened, I was confused, I didn’t really think people would believe me, I could see that it was, at least partially, my fault. But most of all, as soon as I walked into the hospital, I just wanted to get out. I wanted to take a shower, and go to bed, in my own pajamas. I didn’t want to have someone poking me and asking me embarrassing questions. It all seemed really unbearable at that moment. I didn’t want to feel like a victim.

So I went home. Like you want to go home now. Listen: No one can make you do this if you can’t do this right now. Walking out of here is a perfectly reasonable reaction. But I want to tell you that five years from now, 17 years from now, if you run into him again, you’ll realize that you’ve been walking around with this huge sack of shit in your chest because of what he did to you. And then you’ll realize that nothing’s ever happened to him. He’s this awful, hateful person, who nearly destroyed your life and made you crazy and stole from you—and he’s walking around with kids and a job and friends. He’s happy, he’s carefree. Nothing’s ever happened to him. He hasn’t even been inconvenienced by his unconscionable actions. No one—but you—will even know what he’s done.

But no. If someone had asked me to think about this when I was standing in the hospital 17 years ago, I still would have gone home. Between “You’ll regret leaving” and “I cannot stay,” cannot wins. But know this too: Right now? These next few minutes and hours and days? They’re going to be really hard, regardless of whether you stay or leave. By staying, at least you’ll be able to calm a few of your fears. You can get a checkup, to make sure you’re in good health. You can get prophylaxis against STDs, to make sure you stay in good health. You can get the morning-after pill, to make sure you’re not pregnant. I think you might feel better knowing that you’ve made an effort to take care of yourself, even while you’re going through something that most people couldn’t even handle.

All this is not to say, however, that you can’t leave, or you shouldn’t leave—we trust you to know what’s best for yourself. If you need to go, believe me, it’s understandable.

But I really hope you stay.


Your Aunty Christ

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