The ugliest word.

Today in the news, I read an article about two University of Central Florida students who took turns raping an intoxicated female. The girl was in and out of consciousness and at one point she awoke to the men saying “My turn. My turn.” I read these types of stories daily. I wonder how long before this story is completely forgotten about. I wonder if this will end like another Brock Turner case where the term “rape” gets downgraded to sexual assault. Why can’t we call it like it is? It’s RAPE. Yes, that word is very ugly. But to victims, to be able to say it like it is, to be able to call it rape is where power is held.

I remember so vividly, going to the police after my rape and it was constantly referred to as an assault. Yes, I agree that I was assaulted. But why, Mr. Police Officer can’t you look me in the eyes and use the word “rape”? Is it because I was incoherent, but somewhat conscious and there was no knife held to my throat? It must not be rape then right? Let’s just call it an assault because rape is just too harsh. God forbid we call a man who does things to an intoxicated woman’s body without her permission a rapist.

Maybe he didn’t have intercourse with me, but he did things to my body. Let me say that one more time for those in the back……MY BODY! To this day, I don’t know if I was drugged. I blacked out for roughly 12 hours. I remember bits and pieces. I was in a lot of pain the next day. I was bruised. My mind was foggy for two days. I called the rapist to ask him questions about what he did to my body. The phone call was recorded by the detective. Fast forward nine months and I receive a letter from the
district attorney’s office stating that there just isn’t enough evidence to convince a jury that I was assaulted. I guess it wasn’t a big enough deal to pursue.

The most disturbing part about my story is that I’m not the only one. Another woman came forward about my rapist after I did. Her story, according to detectives, was almost identical to mine. But that’s still not enough to convince a jury that it was an assault. On the phone, I asked the rapist why he would do those things to my body. His response was that he thought I wanted it. Because I was not capable of saying no. I was also not capable of standing up.

Rape doesn’t always mean violence. Rape doesn’t always mean forceful penetration. Rape comes in many forms. If a woman cannot consent, it is rape. Period. When are we going to be bold enough to speak up and say it? Tell our stories. That is how we create change! We make those perpetrators so afraid of our loud voices that they know better than to mess with us! We create an environment where a perpetrator reconsiders violating someone because they know there WILL be speaking out, there WILL be speaking up.

One commenter on the news article that I just read stated “Not excusing the men, but why do women put themselves in that type of situation?” Well, because women like to party and have fun too. Women are allowed to have a social life. Women are allowed to be around men in a fun atmosphere. Women should be able to dance however they want and wear whatever they want without FEAR OF BEING RAPED!

“But she was drunk, what did she really expect?” “A hangover. She expected a hangover”.

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