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  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view ssilver220's profile
    Posted November 11, 2013 by
    ssilver220
    Location
    Mayfield Heights, Ohio
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Speaking up about sexual violence

    When your rape "doesn't count" (TW rape, miscarriage)

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     ssilver220 sent CNN an account of her own rape. She was 20 then and intoxicated one night when a guy she had been casually dating drove her to a covered bridge in the middle of nowhere and demanded she perform oral sex on him. When she refused, he pinned her against a railing and raped her.

    She spoke of her rape only one time. She was told it “didn’t count” because she had already had consensual sex with her rapist. And what did she expect when she was so wasted?

    “I was lucky because I survived. I learned about rape culture. I finally accepted the truth that what happened was NOT my fault.”
    - CYDFISH7, CNN iReport producer

    When I was 20 years old, a boy I had been casually dating picked me up from my apartment while I was intoxicated, drove me 25 minutes to a covered bridge in the middle of nowhere, and asked me to perform oral sex on him. When I refused, he pinned me against a railing, trapping me from behind until he was done having sex with me.

    That night was horrible. But it only got worse from there. Weeks later, crippled from pain in my lower abdomen and uncontrollably bleeding, I called a friend to take me to the hospital. I hadn't gone after my rape, instead choosing to self-medicate with a mixture of pills and alcohol in an attempt to forget the brutal truth of what had happened to me. That night, I miscarried my rapist's child. I never even knew I had been pregnant.

    The one time I spoke about my rape, I was told it "didn't count" because a.) my rapist was someone I had already had consensual sex with before and b.) what did I expect going with a boy when I was so wasted?

    Here's the thing. That message (whether it is as overt as someone telling me to my face or not) is repeated to survivors every single day. It is repeated in the way their cases are handled by officials. It is repeated in the way their communities treat them if they choose to come forward. It is repeated when politicians we elect to serve us say things like "people can't get pregnant from rape" and "it is God's will." It is repeated in the way society views gender roles and tends to blame the victim for sexually violent crimes only, and not for other crimes. The misogyny present in our culture and cultures all over the world sends the message to survivors that they should not try to be heard because they are inherently responsible for their "misfortune." Just look at the several recent examples of articles and classes teaching women how to protect themselves from rapists. It is ridiculous that we actually consider that the burden of preventing rape should fall to potential victims, and not to would-be rapists. The guilt and shame I felt because of this twisted construct drove me to attempt suicide twice after my rape and subsequent miscarriage. I was lucky, because I survived. I learned about rape culture, I finally accepted the truth that what happened was NOT my fault, and I began to use my story and my voice to try and create a shift in the way we view sexual violence and its survivors in this country. Because the truth is, sexual violence and violence against women is an epidemic. An overwhelming, widespread problem that is the result of decades of systematic degradation of the value of women compared to men. It is a problem I hope we can overcome here and across the globe because while women are certainly not fragile, in my opinion the psyche of an entire half of the population has taken quite enough battering.
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