TW/CW: Sexual Violence, Rape, Abuse, Suicide
#FreeKesha matters for numerous reasons. What’s sad is that this sort of thing happens to women every day and by that I mean the R word. Women are actively encouraged to go to the police when they are raped. Sounds simple right? Well… not so much. The repercussions of speaking out about rape are huge. Especially when your rapist isn’t some stranger in the dark, but is more likely an acquaintance, a mutual friend-of-friends or a family member. We can encourage women to go to the police all we want, but that doesn’t defect from the huge problems in the Judicial system that stop women from doing so.
I’ve been wanting to write my story since I read New Age Maiden’s post a few months ago. Even now, I’m scared of repercussions as I don’t want it to reach the eyes and ears of my rapist. Even the phrase ‘my rapist’ is difficult for me to say. I don’t like the judgement or the victim mentality, the look of pity people give you when they know. The looks are the worst, like you’re some abused animal they must pity because they don’t know what to say. No, I don’t want pity. Yes I was very much mentally-terrified at university as this was where it happened, I cried, I had triggers, I’ve heard my fair share of rape jokes. #FreeKesha represents everything about this.
I was in a constant state of denial for a while, stating ‘it’s just sex it doesn’t matter’, ‘why am I making such a big deal out of it?’. Everybody has sex right? Well this is the thing – It isn’t sex. Going forward to the police is terrifying. You know why? Because there is a chance it could become public what would happen to you. Everybody would know ‘oh you’re that girl that was raped’ and that’s all you become. Or you could have the opposite.
Rape is getting spoken about more. But what annoys me more are the people that think they understand rape. No, you don’t. If it’s not happened to you, you don’t understand. Victim-blaming happens a lot, and ironically I met a lot of people so ignorant on how to talk about it but claimed to be an ally. I was blamed because I hadn’t come sooner – “it will happen to another girl” in the words of one student Councillor.
So you wonder why rape victims don’t want to come forward? Because of the repercussions. What point is there when it feels like everyone: police, councillors, fellow people will know? You put your record down and chances are you’ll never hear from the police again, which is all well and fine. But the complete opposite can happen and everybody will know.
Supporting those who have been abused, sexually assaulted or raped goes further than stating you are ‘anti-rape’ or ‘are there for them’. I want to be treated like a person, an individual that deep down still is the same person underneath the tears, suicidal thoughts and anxiety. The point that I’m making is actions speak louder than words. It sounds like a cliché, but rape moulded me into a different person. I don’t really trust many people. At this point I am just angry that this same thing is happening to women all around the world.
#FreeKesha matters for so many different reasons. The level of discrimination is just ridiculous. In one sense, it reminds me of a pseudo-term in The Handmaids Tale (Margaret Atwood) – It reminds me of being ‘unwoman’. Her career has been demolished – She’s being punished for something horrific that happened to her. Oftentimes, rape crisis centres are struggling for the extra cash for these issues and a 6-9 month waiting list is common for these reasons. And we wonder why rape victims don’t want to speak out. I feel as as if we’re in a dystopian novel at this point – The whole case just doesn’t seem real.
As you can see in my case, people don’t know how to talk about rape. This is one of the biggest problems about it – even my student counsellor didn’t know how to talk about it. There are little to none services for rape victims as a result. It’s not so easy (or logical) for rape victims to speak out about their experiences and no it isn’t my obligation to protect other women from this happening to.
#FreeKesha is a good example of what is wrong with the Judicial system, how women are punished for what has happened to them rather than it being the other way round. Well this was certainly a sad post to publish, but it had to be done. I’ve read other posts like this and honestly it just makes me feel a bit more ‘normal’.
UK helpline: Rape Crisis
What is sexual violence? (Rainn resource)
This is Abuse (Recognising the signs of abuse)
I’m Eleanor, a UK Manchester based Lifestyle & Beauty Blogger. I write about beauty products, feminism, mental health and my adventures in the big city of MCR.