I Was The Girl Asking to Be Raped

Saturday, May 23, 2020
TRIGGER WARNING. This story is about sexual assault and self harm.  If this story is going to put you in a rough spot right now, please protect your own well being and don’t read it.

I spent most of high school trying to get raped. 

Not the first time, obviously.  That first time I just wanted to feel grown-up and cool.  It was the summer before grade 9.  I wore a black silk nightie as a dress, with fishnet stockings and a retro orange leather jacket that once belonged to my favourite aunt.  I wore too much eyeliner and knee-high Doc Marten boots that I had saved for months to buy.  I looked the part of a girl asking to be raped.  But I wasn’t.  Not yet, anyways.

He had a tall green mohawk, ripped jeans, a chain on his wallet.  He was the lead singer and guitarist for one of the crappy teenage garage bands that was competing in the battle of the bands.  We were at a rambling old concert venue down a dirt country road. His set wasn't until later in the night so we hung out in the back of the van he'd borrowed from his mother and drank peach schnapps in big red plastic cups.

We went for a walk down the country road, away from the concert hall, away from the pulsing music and the safety of crowds and street lights.   My tummy was warm with schnapps and my legs were cold in the fresh almost-autumn air.  He began to lead me over a split rail fence into the woods.  I stopped.

"Look, um...."  I was searching for the words.  Or maybe the courage to say the words.

"I don't want to have sex, okay?  I'm a virgin."

He assured me that he didn't want to have sex either.  He was a Christian boy, saving himself for marriage.  He just wanted to spend some time with me. He put his hand on the small of my back and I felt safe and sexy and so grown up, so I went.

We were barely into the woods when he threw me to the ground and raped me.  I begged him to stop.  I could have fought harder, but I didn’t.  I watched the stars spin above me and waited for it to be over and cried on the forest floor after he zipped up his torn jeans and left.

I took off my boots so that I could remove my ripped pantyhose.  Assembled myself.  Picked leaves out of my hair.

When my father pulled into the parking lot, I still had my ripped pantyhose in my hand.  I was holding a cheap warm beer in the other hand and my thick black eyeliner was running in streaks down my face.  I slipped silently into my dad's big white Lincoln. I had called him in hysterics from the payphone in the lobby, begging him to come pick me up early.

I began to form together words that felt thick and sticky on my tongue.

"Dad, I was..."

"I don't want to hear it."  We drove silently home. I took a long hot shower, so hot that it hurt, and then I crawled up the stairs to bed.  I didn't tell anyone I'd been raped.

But I needed someone to know

My grades slipped.  My friendships suffered.  I stopped going to class and started spending my days getting drunk or high. Nothing seemed to matter anymore.

That year, I remember reading in Seventeen magazine about girls who cut themselves.  It said that there seemed to be a correlation between self-injury and sexual assault.  So I began cutting myself. I made my pain bright and red and visible.  I barely hid it.  I cut the word "whore" into my thighs.  I desperately wanted someone to see and ask me what had happened to me.  People saw, but they didn't ask the question I really needed them to ask.

I wanted a do-over.

I began daydreaming about being raped again.  I imagined being brutally raped, maybe even stabbed, dropped from a black cube van on the side of the road.  I wanted people to know. I wanted wounds people could see. I wanted a rape kit and a court case.  I wanted people to tell me it wasn't my fault.  I wanted counselling.  I wanted to be able to talk about how scared and alone I felt.

So I gathered the ingredients.  All the compromising ingredients of my first attack. I went to rock shows and drank reckless amounts of rum and flirted with edgy looking boys and walked where they told me to walk and did what they told me to do.  I wore little black dresses and fishnet stockings and big hoop earrings.  By all accounts, I was that girl asking to be raped.  I did all the things girls are told not to do in the interest of safety.  Because I wanted the unthinkable to happen again, and this time in a way that nobody could ignore or deny.

I had some wretched weekends, but never the brutal rape I had hoped for, never the horrific event that would leave me with no choice but to talk about what happened and get help.   Despite my own best efforts, my risqué outfits, copious amounts of alcohol and bad choices, I could not will a rape to occur, because  I was missing one key ingredient: a rapist.

Finding my Voice

Eventually, I sat bleeding in an emergency room from a self-inflicted wound that had gone too deep.  After stitches were made the doctor asked my father to leave the room. He paced in his white coat and kept his hands busy, avoiding eye contact.

 "There's a huge correlation between teens who do this to themselves and teens who have been sexually assaulted."

I knew that.

"Is there anything you want to tell me?" He asked, finally looking me in the eyes.

This was my chance. I could come clean about that walk in the woods and the boy with the mohawk. About how I told him I was a virgin, that I didn't want to have sex, about how he assured me he was a good Christian boy, waiting for marriage, before he threw me to the forest floor and raped me. 

I tried to tell the doctor, but it was like a nightmare where you open your mouth to scream and instead your throat closes tight and vocal chords vanish and nothing but a strained murmur comes out.

"Nope. nothing." I hung my head.

It would be another year before I would tell anyone, 8 before I sought counselling, and a decade before I could be free and open with this truth.

For years, I thought the answer to my pain was to have it happen again, this time more brutal and public, to force the people around me to see my pain and talk about it.  But instead I slowly found my voice.  

I was eventually raped again.  

Years after I gave up this plight to have people know what had happened to me, after I stopped wanting to wear lingerie as outerwear, I was gang raped in the woods of Ottawa.  That time I was wearing men's jeans, a sweater, a pony tail hanging out the back of a baseball cap.  No eyeliner, or rock shows, or schnapps in a van. None of the perfect storm of slutty ingredients that I had felt caused my first rape. That time, I wasn't asking for it.

It turns out that rape doesn't really have anything to do with what I was wearing or doing.  But it does have an awful lot to do with whether or not there was a rapist present.

I know that 13 year old me isn't the only one who needs to hear this:

Friend, it was never your fault. What happened to you and I should never have happened. We’ve deserved, in every moment and every circumstance we find ourselves, to be treated with dignity and respect. Instead we were taken and used and betrayed.

No matter where you went or what you did or what you wore, it is not your fault.

You weren't raped because of a choice you made or didn't make.  Knee high boots and little black dresses can’t give consent.  You were raped because a rapist chose to act violently towards you. End of story.

Please don’t own the shame for another gawddamn minute.  It's not yours to carry.

Friend, you aren’t alone, and it's not your fault.






2 comments

  1. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. Thank you for the words you share with your readers.You are truly God's gift.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurie, Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. <3

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