One of the saddest things, for me, is that these so called “good men” don’t seem to have a clue that many women who are victims of rape or other forms of sexual assault gain weight or otherwise, consciously or unconsciously, take steps to make themselves “less attractive” — cutting their hair, no longer wearing makeup or fashionable clothing — so by criticizing the women’s appearance they’re not only rating her “rapeability” (totally ignoring the fact that infants and senior citizens can also be victims of rape) they’re not only calling her a liar, their belittling the visible scars of her assault.
And, thank you, guy above who mansplained to us poor stupid chicks that if we don’t come forward for ten years the evidence will be gone and nothing can be done — how does that differ from the nothing that will be done when we report the crime right away? How many rape kits languish untested, how many victims are treated as liars and exaggerators and browbeaten by the authorities, how many mothers, HR reps, principals, University authorities either shrug and say “That’s how men are, dear,” or “Don’t make waves,” or “Don’t ruin his life over one mistake.”
I first experienced “locker room talk” a a week after my 11th birthday (I was what was referred to, back then, as “gently bred” — religious, modest and shy), from a group of grown men, some of whom were old enough to be my grandfather. Just guys being guys, right? Harmless fun? My second major run-in was at age 16. I had my first real job in the kitchen of a nursing home owned by a deacon at my church. He’d look for opportunities to corner me, grabbing my breasts or rubbing his crotch against my ass. The first time it happened, I told my mom and got a lesson in the way the world works — as in, keep your mouth shut, keep your job so you can save for college, try to avoid being alone with him. When I was 22, I was raped at knife-point by the best friend of a close friend. Despite internal tearing, a concussion and knife-cuts to my throat, I was told I was to blame for accepting a ride home late at night. My rapist, son of a wealthy man, laughed as he raped me , telling me he’d done it before and he would do it again. I have no doubt he told the truth. My supposedly dear friend sided with his bestie. My final encounter was with my own uncle, a man 38 years older than myself and married, on Christmas Eve when I was 25. In the same house were my aunt, both his children and their spouses, two of his grandchildren, and his mother (my grandmother). He groped me in much the way endorsed by Mr. Trump — but that was okay, because he wasn’t my “real” uncle (my mom was adopted), and he’d had too much to drink, and what would it do to the family — think how saying anything would embarrass my aunt and my cousins and, after all, I wasn’t really hurt, was I?
Only in my soul, guys, only in my soul. Forgive me if this has become incoherent as I told my story(ies). We women are like that. Emotional.