Til It Happens To You – Lady Gaga
We have so much power as parents, my mother would tell us “no man will want you if…” being wanted by a man was the only thing a woman could hope for, a woman couldn’t survive without a man to keep a roof over her head and food on the table.
I can’t remember giving consent when I lost my virginity, I don’t remember wanting to have sex, I remember not liking him on top of me, I remember the feeling afterwards – I felt alone, empty, violated – I didn’t know what that feeling was, or what it meant. I was only 14. Eventually, I learned.
Two years later, it was my first real date, we went to the drive in, a double feature. I quit saying no, quit fighting, around intermission, he’d worn me down, I figured it would be easier to just let it happen, that it would be over sooner – I remember people walking by the car laughing at us. I felt like a slut, I was so ashamed, we didn’t use the term “date rape” then.
A year later, 17 and the 36 year old Asst Manager of the ice arena I skated at took a friend and I to his house for lunch one day, the next time he just took me. It all happened so fast, and I just shut down, I felt nothing – If he wanted me then that made me worth something right? Isn’t that what my mom said? It took me years to call it rape.
And then there’s that day still so vivid, 30 years old I’m standing in the shower scrubbing my skin raw, crying, then I realize that the guy I’d been out with had done something wrong – I was so disconnected that I hadn’t even realized I was raped.
Do you know I feel guilty when I say that. I know what happened to me was wrong but calling it rape it makes me uncomfortable, because I wasn’t violently attacked, or beaten, if I was beaten it was with words. Rape doesn’t always look like a fight.
It can look like having a boyfriend who’s wouldn’t take no for an answer and couldn’t be bothered with foreplay – so you use KY before you get in bed at night just in case.