One of the things I have been the most scared of happened to me. I have been raped. Traveling solo as a woman is so brave they say, it’s so unsafe for single women out there they say, … and so on. I even took a self-defense class to learn how to protect myself. But this didn’t happen because I was alone, it also didn’t happen because I was traveling. This could literally have happened anywhere and at any time. And it does, to 1 on 3 women in the world at least once in their lives. Let’s get rid of the normality around it. I’m finally ready to share my story.
Until he suddenly forces his penis inside me. I was taken by surprise, freezing for the minute it only lasted for him to come, … ‘Please, smile for me with your eyes again’ he said. I left with a strong sense of shame, confusion, sadness, anger,...
I almost didn’t sleep that night, my body being so tired. I didn’t cry that day, but my eyes were irritated from the dust in the town, distracting a tear every couple of minutes. (Oh, the body is such a mirror of the soul, isn’t it?) Hiding with sunglasses on in my room almost all day, I talked to a few female friends about it. Feeling so confused about the whole experience, not really knowing if I was downplaying or exaggerating it… It’s not that it was an extremely violent act in a dark alley as I and most people see rape. But it was my experience, my pain, that first of all didn’t really care of which definition it carries. Rape is not black-or-white, there are so many grey zones. Most of my friend's reactions were not very helpful.
“Do you really want to call this ‘rape’- it’s such a strong word?” “Did it really feel that bad when it happened?” “Was your ‘No’ clear enough?” “You shouldn't have gone with him in the first place.” “You've had sex before with people, how is this so different? Don't make such big deal out of it.” “It's in their culture, you said yes to sex the moment you kissed him.”
I could feel so much blame underneath those words on me for what happened. But coming from my mindset, even I believe that I have full responsibility for everything that happens in my life, I KNOW this was not my fault. I believe that we can learn a lesson from every person who crosses our paths, that there is no such thing as coincidence. I took my responsibility to express my boundaries, HE decided not to respect them. I was a VICTIM in that minute, he was a VIOLATOR. Now, I have the responsibility again to decide how I want to deal with this.
I have the choice to not be a victim for the rest of my life. I have the choice to forgive him. Not because he deserves it, but because I deserve the peace. And he doesn’t need to stay labeled as a rapist the rest of his life, he’s not a monster. I even believe he never had the intention to hurt me, he was just not considering me and using my body as if he was entitled to use it for his own pleasure. He’s just a person, who did a bad thing and didn’t reflect on this mindset before of how to treat a woman correctly.
How can we prevent this? I have no clear answer on this. But a good start would be acknowledging the problem that this happens to so many women (and men). Calling it by how it is, without blaming: Sexual intercourse without consent is rape.
AND YES, that is scary! Because if this is what rape means, then chances are big that I have many more female friends who have experienced this. Also, it means, that if the rapist is not a monster or a sociopath, some of my male friends must have done it. Maybe school and parents can teach us, rape is not a black and white. It can happen between lovers, in your sleep or… No one ever told me that I could be raped while being sober and that I wouldn’t scream or fight back. When are we going to start talking about it? Educating each other about the meaning of CONSENT?
I’ve created this blog to open up taboo’s about sexuality, the pleasurable and the painful stuff. I’m grateful for the safety of growing up in a country where I’m allowed to express my voice about this topic. Even if it feels super uncomfortable to speak up about this, I feel obliged to do it, for those who can’t. I’m feeling extremely vulnerable to have shared this experience with you, but if it can make at least one more person more aware of CONSENT,
I’m happy I did it. I’m open to everyone who wants to have a respectful conversation about this. Happy to listen to the women who need a non-judgemental ear to express their experience, open to hearing a man’s uncertainties on how this affects your fears on initiating sexuality… Send me a private message if you want.