Raped & blamed for being ‘pretty’
I was considered the classic victim by the police. A classic story of man jumping out of the bushes on a woman and raping her.
Yet my mother and the whole of my family made sure I knew I was to blame. 'I told her so many times to not walk the way home' my mother told the police. She never said that... in fact she told my dad to stop picking me up from my friends places as I was taking advantage of his good nature. While I sat there in a state of tears and grubbyness, missing a shoe and my new mp3 player left at the scene where I was raped, as I ran away after the rapist had finished with me. My mum tried to comfort me while more distressed than me, she told me 'its what happens when you are pretty'.
I wasn't pretty. I never wanted to be pretty. I wanted to be successful. Left feeling worse by my mums comments I was then forced by my parents to go through with the whole procedure with the police... waiting 5 hours in some awful house for children with toys for 5 year olds.
I was 17 and no one knew if I was a child or adult... I had no choice... thats all that was decided on my age, my parents were the decision makers and I had no voice. I was then examined by a fifty year old male doctor, exactly what I needed. He told me to comb my pubic hair, spread my legs wide open for him and. Like I say, just what I needed. Once they had finished with me... like being raped all over again with no option of saying no... I was sent home to face the rest of them.
What were you wearing? Why didnt you just run? Why didnt you hit him? I had to explain... after being strangled and screaming til the point of losing consciousness the energy drained out of me. I couldnt fight nor could I run. I was frozen, face shoved in the snow as he raped me then forced oral sex until I gagged. I had to explain I wore trousers and a long coat... yes the rapist said 'I bet you're fit under all those clothes' I didnt have to wear a short skirt to invite him to rape me.
After the family scrutiny panel came the whole community. I tried to be a normal teenager and go out with my friend. Only to be threatened by local girls who said I lied to police and accused her cousin of raping me. I don't even know the girl or her cousin. I dont l know who raped me and I didn't suggest anyone to the police.
After barely passing my A-level exams I tried to continue but I was the damaged one now. The girl who was raped. Everyone knew and they all blamed me. 'Why was she walking home alone at 11pm? It's her own fault'; the words always echoed from my family to work colleagues and people my age in the community.
I still dont know who raped me. I'm still blamed by my family. I still relive the horror daily of not just the rape but the police investigation too. It was my 'responsibility' to report to prevent it happening to anyone else. Well no one was caught or questioned and 10 years on I still feel damaged and alone.
I battle with my new boyfriend on victim blaming. He thinks girls lie about rape. I'm alone in the world as only I think that a victim is not to blame. It is the rapists choice always. I hope to keep challenging that and that's why worked damn hard to get my degree and a job in national charity speaking up for victims.
The moral of my story is... its not the police campaigns... its not the Sun newspaper.. it's people that blame victims and until that culture changes... people like me will always be alone
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A very brave post. You so eloquently sum up the tide of recrimination and distrust that falls on most survivors heads. Accounts such as yours make me question the sort of society we are that we would rather excuse violence than stand up for the violated.
I respectfully disagree with part of your conclusion as I think that key symbols/campaigns reflect people’s prejudices back at them, reinforcing that it is ok treat badly or point the finger at
vulnerable people in society. I struggled with someone online a while back who disagreed with the term rape culture. I cannot think of a better way of describing the cumulative effects of media, language and blaming behaviours that reinforce all rapists immunity in our society.
It is so important voices such as yours are heard as a counter balance. Thank you for posting.
[…] Raped & blamed for being ‘pretty’ (everydayvictimblaming) […]
You’re not alone in thinking it’s not the victim’s fault. Rapists are responsible for their actions.
Sadly this is what innumerable women and girls experience whenever they are subjected to male sexual violence. The deniers en mass declare it is the female victim’s fault never the male sexual predator(s). Even worse the female victim’s family commonly believes mens’ lies that women and girls are always responsible for preventing a male from enacting his male pseudo sex right to women and girls.
Why did the police allow a male doctor to undertake that intensely intrusive examination rather than arranging for a female doctor to be present. We have demanded for decades that only a female doctor should undertake such an intrusive examination because these examinations if not undertaken by specially trained female doctors re-traumatise the female victim.
This is what rape culture looks like – wherein strangers; friends and even family members blithely accepting mens’ lies that males are never responsible for their decision to subject a woman/girl to male sexual violence.
Note I use the term ‘victim’ because victim means someone who has been harmed and no it does not mean that person is now defined solely as a victim. No one objects to a man being described as ‘the victim’ when he has been subjected to physical violence by another male but women and girls are supposed never to be described as ‘victims because that would mean accepting the woman/girl suffered harm because another male decided he had right to inflict male violence upon her.
Its good to hear im not alone. I use my job as a way of speaking up for others who are victimised repeatedly by the criminal justice system. There is a rape culture and its imbedded in everyone through the media and society. Attitudes towards sexual violence needs to change and I hope the raised awareness and research into child exploitation helps challenge this and moves the focus from victims as blameworthy participants.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us Kaylee – we believe you.
Thanks to our commenters too, for providing support via the comments.
[…] Raped and blamed for being ‘pretty’ (everydayvictimblaming) […]