Trigger Warning: Rape, Intimate Partner Violence
I wanted to be like in the movies. I wanted to have bruises. Each over a separate part of my body. I wanted a purple, red eye. I did not want shock, but I did want a reaction. I did want to cry. Hysterically. To people. I wanted to be like in the movies. I wanted to have known that what happened had been rape. Not love. Not a mistake. But, rape. I wanted to have known that I had been sexually assaulted. Immediately. The moment of.
But life does not operate in the same lens. It operates in the in between. In the gory. The places that you desperately seek to define, but are unable to. Life operates in the remnants. Of a human, of a body.
You clasp the hand of the person next to you. You knew that he had studied finance. Economics. But you did not know that he studied in the same school. As you. It meant that he walked the same aisle as you are set to. For graduation. You see his face in the crowd. In a blue cap and gown. You fall silent. You want to cry, but you need to appear presentable. The auditorium has been adorned by camera after camera. You do not want people to see you cry. So you clasp the hand of the person next to you. She tells you to breathe.
When the person that you trusted, that you cared for – what occurs when that person rapes you?
Life became a shade of gray that I could barely fathom. Discern.
You place love in another human. You place it out of a trust. That is what you are taught to compose a relationship. A mutual care. When the person that you trusted, that you cared for – what occurs when that person rapes you?
Rape – I have learned – operates on a spectrum from legitimate to illegitimate.
Legitimate rape is the perfect amount of sadness, desperation, and physical scars to support the claim. Like in the movies. A stranger. A big built, can-easily-overpower-you type of individual as the assailant.
Legitimate rape is the perfect amount of sadness, desperation, and physical scars to support the claim. Like in the movies.
Illegitimate rape is when that person is not a stranger. It is a person that you may love. That you may have been sexually invested in but not emotionally. Or vice versa. That is when rape becomes questioned. Scrutinized.
But, rape does not operate on the same gray that life operates on. Neither form of rape is more legitimate nor illegitimate than the other, but they are made to be. Rape, consent – neither can be a gray. They are, nonetheless, made to be.
In that, you fracture. Break. Piece by piece.
I had been sexually intimate with my assailant, before the rape. I had been sexually intimate with my assailant, after my rape.
I did not perceive that my disintegration, my dissolution had been the byproduct of sexual assault. By a person that I placed care in. Trust in. And, when that trust is broken, by a person that you had known. You deny. You do not react. You doubt. You do not shout. You soak in a heavy, burdensome silence.
Rape, consent – neither can be a gray. They are, nonetheless, made to be.
I sought to deny what my mind carried. As I slept – I dreamt of that night. I felt the physical weight of his arms holding my body down to the twin sized bed of my junior year dorm. In each nightmare, the blood, the inability to move. Blindly witnessing what my body was enduring, in a heavy, burdensome silence. Each part of my being pointed, attempted to guide my conscious mind to an acceptance that it could not grasp. To see it as what it had been. Sexual assault.