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 and how to heal. They don't want to be retaliated against.
This is the harsh reality. But I can’t get myself to say, “I don’t want to be treated differently.”
Because I do want to be treated differently.
I want the objectification to stop.
It wasn’t just November 18th, 2018 that I was objectified. It was the first time I was raped, but it wasn’t the first time 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. I don’t want other victims to be in this situation and not know what to do. I want to normalize speaking out. I want to normalize getting help. I want to normalize NOT being ashamed about what happened, and NOT being blamed, but rather being validated.
I want my memoir (coming out in July) to be someone else’s survival guide. I want my blogs to show survivors that how they think they may be feeling is a normal response to trauma and they are not crazy. I encourage survivors to network, identify their feelings so they can work through them, and utilize 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. I want to be validated and heard.
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).