Logo created by Sean Bucknam of inadvertentDESIGNS

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and it seems only right to bring to light some of the statistics. Sexual assault against women is not just an unfortunate occurrence as much as it is more of a common fact, particularly when looking at the data. According to Feminist.com, "22 million women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime." Rainn.org reports "there is an average of 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of sexual assault each year" and “97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail." These tragic numbers are all too real for a friend of mine who I interviewed for this blog post.

My friend, who I will call Amanda, graciously agreed to talk to me about her tragic experiences so that I may share them in the blog. The first time she was ever assaulted was before she was even in elementary school. Amanda recalls being fondled and rubbed up against by the sons of her grandmother’s friend, whom they would frequently visit. Confused by the situation, Amanda never told anyone about these attacks; so this innocent child had to continue to live with these attacks in silence.

As she got older, the attacks got worse. As a pre-teen, Amanda lived with her grandmother and her grandmother’s two stepsons. The younger boy, who was about eight years Amanda’s senior, began to sexually assault her by doing the same things the sons of her grandmother’s friend would do; he would touch her and rub up against her. These attacks happened for years, but the real shocking and unexpected attack occurred one day when she was eleven-years-old. She was home alone and doing dishes, when the eldest stepson came home. Amanda wasn’t sure if he was drunk or high, but he just came into the house, turned off the kitchen light, and proceeded to force himself on her. A few minutes into the attack, her grandmother walked into the house. She knew that something was wrong, but didn’t bother to investigate or ask Amanda if everything was ok. This lack of investigation by her grandmother, or the consistent attacks by the younger stepson coupled with the attack by the eldest son, were too much for a child to handle and Amanda began running away from home; this was the quickest solution to get the attacks to stop.

On one of the occasions in which she ran away, Amanda ran into an uncle, who was only about nineteen years old. He told her that she should stay with him, that if she was going to run away then she should stay with family, which would be safer. At this point in Amanda’s life, after so many attacks, she had begun drinking heavily, and this particular night was no different. She and her uncle started drinking, and at one point Amanda blacked out. When she finally came-to she was in a bed in a dark room, with the Gorillaz playing loudly on the radio. A few moments later she realized that her pants were off, then she felt her uncle’s face in between her legs. She tried to kick him off, but he over-powered her, and all attempts to get free from his grasp seemed futile, and that was when the rape happened. Amanda recalls that her uncle seemed to have gone mad. During the entire ordeal he kept telling her how much he loved her, and had always loved her. He also stated to her that he wanted them to get married and her to be the mother of his children.

After all was said and done, Amanda’s uncle refused to let her leave his home. For three days, not only was she a victim of rape, but also was kidnapped by her rapist. He missed work, would make her sit on the toilet while he showered, and was not allowed near the door. On the third day, she bolted to the front door and managed to get free. Once out the door she ran. Amanda ran until she couldn’t run anymore and stopped in the middle of the street. When the cops approached her she began to cry uncontrollably. Unable to calm her down, the cops waited until her family arrived. Her family told the cops that she would be all right and that this was just one of her tantrums, but nobody knew what she had endured those past three days. Even years after this incident there are still only two or three other people know what really happened.

I asked Amanda if she ever thought of reporting these attacks, or if it would give her closure to report the attacks, especially the rape and kidnapping. She calmly stated that she wouldn’t report the attacks because she didn’t want to stir up any drama. Oddly enough, I understand. I know that there are many people reading this and thinking that she should still report it, but this is a choice that she has made. She didn’t have a choice when she was sexually assaulted, but this is one thing that she does have control over, and she chooses to not report this. Amanda is very much aware that she is contributing to the statistic, but she is still dealing with the repercussions of the attacks.

In my opinion, for her to share this story with me so that I may post it in a public forum, even if it is anonymously, is a big step. I think that one of the reasons she was willing to share her story was because I told her that it was Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and in the spirit of awareness decided to recall these tragic events. My homework for everybody reading this who has younger siblings, young nieces, or young daughters, is talk to them about their bodies. Let them know that it’s not ok for other people to touch them where they don’t want to be touched. Most importantly, though, let them know that it’s ok for them to talk to you if anything should ever happen to them. Encourage them to talk to you if they feel like someone violated them in some way. Let Amanda’s story not become someone else’s story; that of a young girl who was afraid to share her tragic attacks. Amanda is in her mid-twenties and is still healing from these atrocities. Maybe, if she felt that there was a safe environment for her to share her story when she was younger, she might have never had to endure so much pain. I will say this about Amanda, and other women that are survivors of such attacks, they are strong women that still find the power to push through.

Until next time, stay excited! But most importantly, stay safe!

If you have a story you would like to share please email me. Also, if you have any suggestions for future reviews, topics, or questions please feel free to post it in the comments section or email me at DilDosNDilDonts@gmail.com.

If you, or someone you know has been a victim of any kind of sexual assault, please call RAINN's (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE (1.800.656.4673).

No comments:

Post a Comment