I hate checking my email now. Every time I see an email from the OUPD I almost want to delete it without even reading it. Almost all of them say "wanted for rape."
Ohio University has been averaging almost one rape per week this semester, and seeing the reports make me sad, but seeing other's reactions upsets me even more. It all just takes me back to my own experience.
I was 16 and it had been eight months since my brother's best friend assaulted me. I finally decided it was time to tell someone and try to get some resolution/justice for what happened to me.
There was a prayer team at my church that Sunday, and I was so nervous, I decided to pray with one of the members before telling my mother. I walked up to this younger woman sitting in a pew with a prayer shawl, and with a shaky voice, I told her what happened to me and how I was trying to find the strength to tell my mother. She was very kind and sympathetic, until she started to pray.
First, she prayed that my attacker realizes what he did was wrong. Then she prayed that he forgive himself for what he did and that he not get into too much trouble because he is so young because this could ruin his life.
I was dumbfounded. The first person I'd ever had the strength to tell, and she was sitting here praying for the guy who took such a big piece of my confidence from me? I had been bombarded by nightmares and flashbacks for the past eight months. I couldn't help feeling disgusting every time I wasn't clothed, I couldn't sleep, I was psychologically damaged. But hey, he doesn't deserve to have his life ruined by such a simple mistake, right?
Forgetting to wash the dishes is a simple mistake. Rape is a violent crime. People who rape don't just violate their victims, but they take something from them. They take their sense of security and their personal power. It took years for me to feel powerful again. Some days I still don't.
Every 98 seconds, someone in the United States is raped. That's about 320,000 cases a year. 94 percent of victims suffer from PTSD, and 33 percent of victims contemplate suicide. Out of every 1000 sexual assaults that are reported, only 7 cases will lead to a felony conviction.*
Think about that. 933 out of every 1000 victims do not receive any justice for what was done to them. 933 rapists get off scot-free. Unfortunately, mine was one of them.
Rape culture is disgusting. It allows us to blame the victim for a crime that wasn't their fault. It allows us to make jokes and make light of damaging psychological abuse. If you knew that someone was a sexual assault survivor, would you look into their eyes and tell them "That exam just raped me"? Didn't think so.
I've had four years to process what happened to me, and I was lucky enough to have access to good therapists who helped me through what happened. Not everyone has that. My heart truly goes out to everyone that has ever been assaulted, or harassed. Stay strong.
*Statistics taken from RAINN, The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. If you are a survivor of sexual assault, feel free to visit https://www.rainn.org for help and resources.