I often feel like it is easy to pass judgment on people, make assumptions and even force opinions onto others when it is but an ideal. Often generalizations are blown when faces can be put in front of the issues, opinions or assumptions. Society teaches us to dehumanize one another and thus it is that much easier to discard the responsibility we really hold for our community.
These thoughts become ever present for me when I hear of politicians speaking about women’s rights and making ignorant statements about those who have been victimized by rape. The news is buzzing around certain GOP representatives referring to definitions of “legitimate” or “forcible” rape and even statements that rape victims rarely get pregnant.
I cannot measure the amount of anger that has come from these statements but I can say that it makes me furious. Behind my intense anger and frustration there is a part of my soul that is hurt.
I am a survivor of sexual assault/rape. I was 14 years old.
I have had to work hard from the time I was in 9th grade to understand that victims are not to blame for what has happened, rape is about power and I am no less of a person because of my experiences. Some of these concepts took a more mature mind to understand and it is one of the reasons it has been a part of my process as I grew into womanhood to grasp what this experience means to me.
As a woman, now 22 years later, I know that my experience has become a part of my personal story. I use that experience every day to have empathy for and support victims of all kinds. Whether someone suffers with victimization from society, drug abuse, poverty, crime or rape, it is a road that feels lonely and painful to come back from. My experience is different from many others but the pain, confusion, powerlessness and the fear associated with this type of harm is something I can relate to.
The Goddess was a part of my path to healing and understanding the power of womanhood. The Goddess showed me a vision of my sacredness; the swell of my breast and the folds between my thighs were gifts to be honored and not abused. The Goddess used my reflection to mirror divinity so that I may see it every time I look at myself. I began to trust in myself as I was able to trust in her.
What does this all mean? We have to start putting faces to the names of those we wish to make decisions for, those we judge and those we harm in an attempt to force one set of views on. Rape is not just a physical act.
As a society we also have to learn that our words act like swords and can cut deep to the core of a person. There are plenty of people who are in the process of recovering from some of the most unimaginable violations and crimes. These statements and verbalized viewpoints cause harm to those who are the faces on the other side, those who are or have been vulnerable from the violence and pain of these experiences. We must remember that these wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, granddaughters and grandmothers make the world go round and deserve the respect for their bodies and their place in society.
I don’t define my experience with words like “legitimate” or “forcible”, instead I call it what it is…. Rape.