Taylor Swift’s Trial Helped Me Come To Terms With My Own Sexual Assault
I’m angry. I’m angry more than ever. Maybe it hit me today because I really listened to Kesha’s song “Praying” and because you recently publicized your sexual assault case against David Meuller.
I too am a sexual assault victim. If I had to be technical, a rape victim. However, I feel “rape” is too strong of a term for what happened to me. A quick prod of a finger up my vagina — does that still count? Sure, there was half an hour of unwanted groping. My head was turned away in the opposite direction to his, purposely positioned to appear disinterested, silently protesting, whilst my boobs were being fondled and milked, as if I were a cow. Did I mention that his hand was simultaneously making its way up my skirt repeatedly? I was made to feel like the whore who provoked it. And all the while going through my mind was why had I decided to wear a short skirt. People were around, people saw, yet still didn’t say anything. Why did they normalize this behavior? Why were they not reacting?
And the reason I am particularly angry at myself is because after all of that, I stood up to say goodbye to him to avoid any awkwardness. Why? I couldn’t tell you. The finger upon the “goodbye” was the final straw. But that was only quick. Nonetheless a recognized violation.
I’m angry at myself. Angry that I took it. That I was sitting next to a drunk stranger at a house party and let him touch me continually despite me not engaging in conversation, nor even knowing him. I’m angry that I was in shock, that I didn’t turn around and punch him. Angry that I did not tell him a firm “NO.” Angry that I stood up and walked away after it was all over as if nothing had happened to me. But should I have to say anything? If you’re not a willing participant and not engaging whatsoever, should you even have to say “no?”
Shouldn’t it be implied if you’re not responding to any advances?
What made me sit there frozen? What made me take it? I’m notoriously strong and outspoken, so in the time that I most needed myself to be these things, why did I remain polite and timid? I have had enough counseling to know that shock is a common reaction, but where’s the justice in the aftermath of this reaction? I know I could and should take the incident further but something is stopping me. I’m afraid of confrontation, scared of the process and intimidated by fear of a ruined professional reputation. Logically I know that all these fears should not hold me back but they still unfold vividly in my mind.
The same questions run through my head repeatedly: Did I overreact? Did I imagine it? I know I didn’t to the latter but I still battle whether it’s classified as a big deal. Sometimes, I wish the incident was black and white. Is it sexual assault, or is it rape? Both I know are bad, but I’m so confused. Why am I so desperate to title it? Why do I keep researching what is deemed acceptable behavior? I know logically that rape does not have to be classified as “CSI rape” to live up to the definition, but I feel that perhaps I could be overreacting. Perhaps I should move on, not dwell on the fact that it wasn’t violent enough per se. Other women have been through much worse. I have these thoughts: don’t pity yourself, don’t feel sorry for yourself, you’re just looking for an excuse to feel sad.
I go around in circles.
Alternatively, I know I’m not overreacting, I am aware that it is still a violation. Without the quick prod, the ongoing groping is enough to take action. Taylor, you taught us women this. So why do I keep questioning it? Why am I still so scared? Why has it taken me more than six months to realize what has happened to me? Why did I brush it aside and not do anything about it at the time?
Logically, I know that I shouldn’t be angry at myself. The person I should be angry at is HIM. There is justice if I take action like you did. The ball is in my court. However, I have a strong sense of deja vu; I am frozen. I will never stop thinking about it until I can stand up for myself. I fantasize about my revenge because I know I will never get it. My fantasy is gratifying.
And here it is, I have made that full circle back to the hate – I’m too much of a coward to do anything. Once again, scared of overreacting, scared for my reputation, scared no one will believe in me. Angered that I didn’t move, angered that people saw, angered that I was put in the situation in the first place.
The simple solution would have been to move off the couch. I’m an adult for Christ’s sake, I shouldn’t have hesitated. I should have just left at the first sign. If someone is touching you without consent, why stay and pretend like it’s not happening? It does not make sense. I don’t understand myself and the lack of reaction.
Acknowledging all this, I know I will never be as brave as Kesha or you, Taylor. That’s the most disappointing aspect about all of this. I march for women; I rally for marriage equality. I pride myself on standing boldly for many right things. Why can I not stand for myself? After all, It’s the only way to get rid of the hate and anger, and yet I still question – is it even worth it? Is it an overreaction?
But I do thank you for validating everything I have been through and creating a sense of certainty in my mind. I’m with you all the way, girl, and even though I am struggling to follow in your brave footsteps, I will always support you.