The “moral obligation” to report is rubbish!!
I'm angry. Actually, that's not quite true; I'm furious! Why? Because some idiot prosecutor in the US thought it was OK to arrest and imprison a rape victim to force her to co-operate with the prosecution......AND THEN a woman who calls herself a feminist wrote an article saying THIS WAS AN OK THING TO DO!!!!
I've written about my experiences of Domestic abuse and sexual violence previously. What I've not said is that my abuser/rapist had raped a woman before me. I kind of knew there was some weirdness with the girl before me. Stories didn't add up. But I only found out definitely after I left, quite some time after I left.
So here's the thing. When I found out he'd raped another woman before me I wasn't angry with her. I didn't think she'd "let me down" or "left a dangerous man on the streets". My instinct was to feel compassion for her, to want to hug her, to offer her comfort. You see, I know what she went through (pretty much exactly) because I went through it too. I felt a sisterhood with her. And I KNEW why she hadn't reported. I understood. I UNDERSTAND.
See, I've never reported either. When I first left him, I was a mess, AND TERRIFIED. I was 17. I was a kid. I didn't really understand what had happened and I sure as hell didn't want to face it. And now, too much time has passed. He's in another country. There's no evidence. It's hard enough to get a rape conviction when there is "evidence". I know all this. So reporting, would put me through hell for no pay off. He'd still be out there.
Articles like Amanda Marcotte's add to the guilt and shame survivors feel. I carried shame for what happened to me for half my life. I believed it was in some way my fault. I'm just finally realising (thanks to campaigns like @EVB_Now) that it wasn't. And now someone wants to tell me that if my rapist has raped someone else, then I should carry some of the blame for that?! That I could in some way be responsible for another woman going through what I went through?! FUCK THAT NOISE! FUCK IT!
Say it with me THE ONLY PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR RAPE IS THE FUCKING RAPIST!!!
If you're a survivor and you didn't report here's what I want to tell you: NOTHING HE DID OR DOES IS IN ANY WAY YOUR FAULT. I know what you have been through. I know what it does. And I'm here for you in sisterhood.
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Preach it, Claire!
I completely agree with you.
When I was telling those close to me about my own experience with sexual assault, one of the first questions was “why didn’t you go to the police”, I knew that if I went and reported it that it would make tough things much harder. It was my personal choice, If my attacker goes and sexually assaults someone else, does it make it my fault? did I make him rape or sexually assault another woman? why would it always have to be my fault?
It wouldn’t. It was my choice to keep my experiences to myself, it’s not an excuse for him to do it again, he’s the only one to blame when it comes to that.