I don’t want to be treated differently.
This is one of the many reasons survivors don’t report or talk about having been raped or sexually assaulted. They don’t want their friends to look at them differently. They don’t want pity. They don’t want to be viewed as damaged goods. They don’t want their spouses to leave them. They don’t want to be told what to do.
I agree with all of the above, but I can’t get myself to say, “I don’t want to be treated differently.”
Because I do want to be treated differently.
Of course I don’t want to be treated like I am fragile. I don’t want to be treated like I am broken or damaged. But I do want the objectification to stop.
For me, the benefits of talking about being raped outweigh the chances of being treated differently in ways that I don’t want. In fact, I haven’t been assaulted since November 18th of 2018.
It wasn’t just November 18th, 2018 (I refer to this date as “That Morning” in my memoir) that I was objectified. It was the first time I was raped, but it wasn’t the first time that I had been sexually assaulted or harassed. I’ve woken up at 4:00 am at a good friend’s house with a man on top of me. I wasn’t threatened by him, and successfully got his belligerent ass to get off and stop touching me, but that entailed me leaving the room and “sleeping” (sitting, nodding off until it was a decent time to drive home) in the living room. I’ve had another belligerent person’s hand down the back of my pants in a public place. I’ve been touched by a friend’s husband. I’ve been harassed in a situation where someone was of higher status, and at the time I had no idea what I should do about it.
But I do know what to do about it now, and that’s why I talk about what happened to me That Morning and the situations I endured prior to that as well. I don’t want people to be in this type of situation and not know what to do, like what happened to me (prior to That Morning).
I want my memoir (coming out in July) to be someone else’s survival guide. I want my blogs to show women that how they are feeling is normal and they are not crazy. Networking with other survivors helps normalize the shit we feel in the aftermath. Identifying feelings and why we’re having them helps us to be able to work through them. By talking, we’re also presented with more resources.
So to my point – I do want to be treated differently. I want to be treated like a human, appreciated for my values, personality, and ambitions.
Narcissism, control, and power – these are some of the ingredients that make up an abuser (as well as violence during childhood years). Put aside your narcissism and understand that just because you may be a bigshot doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want to whoever you want.
It’s time we start shifting the “problem” from women to men (or the perpetrator, whatever gender that may be).