My Caffeine Free Diet Assault:
Edit: I am in no way implying that all unwanted sex is sexual assault or rape.
I was sexually assaulted by a boyfriend my freshman year of college. I’ve never confronted him about it, never filed charges, never even made a formal report. So as far as everyone knows, it didn’t happen. But I know it did. I said don’t do x, and he went ahead and did x anyway, even as I tried to negotiate out of it. I don’t think that it has ever crossed his mind that what he did was sexual assault.
After we broke up, he bought me dinner to apologize for the other things he had done wrong during our brief relationship. And then wondered if we were getting back together. I told him no, that we are “never, ever getting back together.” I never explained why, but I hadn’t labeled it as such at the time.
I’ve heard so many stories of sex in relationships that wasn’t wholesome and wanted. I’ve heard of duty sex, painful sex, replacement sex, etc.
But the common denominator is that the women don’t say anything, that we sit there silently, taking unwelcome sex, like inflated dolls. We don’t say anything, or just say yes to appease those that we thought we loved. We keep going, despite our initial statements of displeasure and cries of pain. And then, after the boys have rolled off and gone away, we shower, brush our hair and try to hide the shame from our eyes. We swallow our disgust with ourselves and keep on moving. Until one day it hits us that, hey, this was assault. This was coercive. This was rape. But by then, we’re too late to report, the evidence has long since washed down the drain. We have no recourse left, and all we can do is report our experiences to anonymous survey takers. We are left with anger at ourselves, at those who injured us, and we struggle to make our sexuality healthy again.
Like Elissa Bassist said, sexual assault should be a yes or no box to check, a simple binary. But the truth is that sexual assault, the experience, isn’t black and white, but comes in infinite shades of gross, icky, self-loathing gray.
So for my United States readers, today is election day. On one hand, we have a party of rape-deniers with a social agenda taken from the 1950’s. On the other hand, we have a candidate who believes that people’s fates are intertwined with each other, and that we ought to move forward as a nation. He passed legislation saying that being a woman should not be a pre-existindition increasing the cost of our health insurance. So if you value your right to choose, to truly choose, not to choose from the limited palate of options that appease conservatives, head to the polls! This is one box that you can check, that there is nothing grey or in-between about. Vote!
- Justice for Sexual Assault Victims (thecrimson.com)
- Amherst Overhauls Sex-Assault Reporting After Outcry (bloomberg.com)
- Editorial | Takeaways from Amherst sexual assault (tuftsdaily.com)
- You: Amherst Vows Rape Policy Change (thedailybeast.com)
- On Amherst Student Account of Sexual Assault (midd-blog.com)
- WATCH: Melissa Harris-Perry Delivers Powerful Open Letter About Rape (huffingtonpost.com)