Antheia at Mad Melancholic Feminista writes about her experiences surviving rape, what it means to “get over it.” Read the whole thing — her story is written with incredible clarity and honesty, and does a great service to survivors everywhere:
We teach our daughters to fear the possibility of rape occurring at the hands of strangers which oftentimes leads to their reluctance to report rape at the hands of their fathers, male family members, teachers, and boyfriends. We teach our daughters that rape is about sexual oppression when it should be viewed as GENDER oppression. We preach the “potentially lethal lie that if you don’t do anything wrong, if you’re just careful enough, you’ll be safe.”
Antheia walks the same thin line that so many survivors do: She puts her experience in a greater context, she understands it as part of a systematic problem, she positions herself as a survivor and not a victim — but she still has to deal with the day-to-day task of surviving.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my rape, there’s not a time that I don’t hold my pepper spray when I walk home alone at night, there isn’t a moment where I can walk towards a man on the sidewalk and not feel my body tense up until he passes. Asking me when I’ll be “over it” is like asking a victim of the hurricane when they’ll be over the anguish that they’re experiencing right now, like asking a mother when she will be over the loss of a child. You can try to forget; you can build a new house after the storm, have another baby to fill the cradle, and start engaging in sexual relationships with other partners, but is this “moving on”? And is attempting to cope with the tragedy considered “getting over it”? It’s amazing how short a period of time 10 minutes is in the scheme of things, and yet how easily the mind can continuously remind you of that time, in the brilliant words of John Irving “your memory is a monster. You forget, it doesn’t. It just files things away; it keeps things from you, and brings them to your recall at a will of its own. You think you have a memory, but it has you.”
I simply can’t do her post justice here. Please, read the whole thing.
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