So the photo you can see is 6th November 2013, not a photo actually taken on that date, but a photo I chose to have as my profile picture on facebook, because it’s a happy smiling face, happy is something I was not, 6 days before this I was raped, but I was not ready to let the world know.
My world had just fallen apart and I was being forced to put on a brave face for my daughter, things like this I believe are age appropriate, rape is not something little ears should hear about, however ‘big ears’ should! but at the time I did not know this.
Why do we find it so hard to talk about rape? It shouldn’t be a hard subject for adults to discuss should it? For whatever reason it makes us feel awkward, is it because we are talking about sex? Is it because we feel bad for the victim and don’t know what to say to them? Maybe the subject is so sensitive because we have been led to believe that the attacker is innocent until proven guilty? But doesn’t this suggest that until the attacker is found guilty then the victim is a liar?
I got asked the other day, by a potential love interest, ‘tell me something about yourself that only your friends and family know?’, my initial thought was why would I tell someone I don’t know something about myself that is so personal, but then I thought why not? I’m not a fan of keeping secrets anyway. So I went on to explain that I had been raped, he asked questions about it because he obviously found it interesting, but then when it got to the end of him finding out all that info and opening me up, he said ‘really this is something you should keep a secret’, I was so shocked and couldn’t quite understand why this was such a big issue. I’ve been told before that I am broken, maybe that was this guys thought too? But what makes me broken? Someone else taking advantage of me? Why should I be made to feel that I am broken, it wasn’t my choice to have that happen to me, so why should it be such a taboo subject and something I am ashamed of talking about?
The other day a friend called me and said to watch BBC1, unfortunately I missed it, but she gave me a brief overview, I got this info second hand so please do excuse if not all the facts are correct. A woman was talking about how she was treated by the police during her trial, she was treated so badly she pulled out of the trial and moved to Australia to get away and now the rapist is walking free! I have written an in depth blog before about my rape, I chose to delete it so I could move on from it, I didn’t want to become it, but now I feel I can take control of it instead, so here I am again writing about it, hoping other women or even men can relate. This ladies story made me realise I was not the only person to be treated so poorly after being raped, the rapist was treated better than I was, one example of this is him being able to walk into the canteen and get his lunch whilst I was kept locked away in a room to watch my video statement and relive my nightmare, by the time I was allowed out and he had got his lunch, there was nothing left to eat and I had to settle for a packet of crisps before I was put on the stand in front of my rapist. Its not about the food, it’s about the criminals needs being put ahead of the victim. When you’re raped you’re totally out of control and by putting the rapist first, he is being kept in control and the victim sinks even further.
The way victims are treated after being raped needs to change, we need all the support we can get and gentle encouragement to help us get back in control.