The “R” Word

An episode of All in the Family, the 70’s television show, was playing on the “antenna tv” station today. I was only half watching but looked up as the mother figure (Edith) was in distress. As it turns out, a man had attempted to rape her. Over the next 15 to 20 minutes of the program, I watched Edith experience all of the classic grief reactions.

I felt them with her.

I was raped five years ago.

I’m sitting here wanting to erase that sentence with all the usual ridiculous banter bouncing around my head. Maybe I’ll offend someone. Maybe I shouldn’t talk about it. Maybe I should just pretend it never happened. Maybe I should call it something that causes less of a reaction from others….assault, sexual battery?

The truth is, I’m tired of the way we all talk our way around the issue. I’m tired of the feelings of self-blame and guilt victims place on themselves and have placed upon them. I’m tired of feeling embarrassed for something I didn’t ask for and was powerless to stop.

According to RAINN, 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault. 1 out of every 6. And while the victims suffer in silence, only 2% of rapists will ever spend a day in prison, due only in part to unreported assaults.

To all the other 1 in 6, you are NOT alone. You are not forgotten. The shame is not yours to bear. The guilt does not belong to you. It was NOT YOUR FAULT.

 

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