Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Change is brewing

I’ve been following Maggie and kitty’s Consent Culture work from the sidelines because I suspected, not incorrectly, that it would be too sensitive (read:triggering) for me to engage with directly. I have mentioned on occasion and often cryptically my own experience with sexual violence. More frequently, I bit my tongue, writing this about six months ago:

Over the weekend I was sitting with some friends, all of us engrossed in digital tasks, when a conversation spurred up about knowing someone who has been raped. I think there was a twitter meme, “retweet if you know someone who has been raped.” as my friends discussed knowing that they must know someone but not knowing who of their friends, I was tempted, several times, to raise my hand and each time I decided instead to ignore the conversation and go back to my own screen.

I’m actually having a hard time getting the words “survivor of sexual violence” out on (digital) paper, not because of demons from that day but because I don’t want to open myself up to well meaning remarks of “you can get through it” suggestions of “safer” sex positions (wtf ppl?) and offers of dates that involve take back the night rallies.  That’s all great, really it is, but a decade after the fact I have been more victimized by well meaning feminists than by my attacker – and I don’t say that lightly.

My experience, like the experience of one in four other American women is my own. It’s private and it’s personal unless and until I decide to lend it to your political movement.  I am tired of being a statistic, an example of “what young women face,” a rallying call, a funding reason.

Furthermore, I shy away from giving anyone a reason to discredit my work around sexual freedom and social justice on account of it must be driven by the violence I experienced. I was doing this work already it was neither the cause of my political action, nor caused by it.

I’m sorry guys, I’m just not the poster child you’re looking for.  Please respect my privacy and move along.

And then, about a week ago there was a sort of avalanche. First the #ididnotreport tag circulated through my twitter feed prompting me to add my experience still cryptically. Then at Bawdy Storytelling one storyteller shared the story of her rape prompting me to cry in the bathroom to knowing and sympathetic glances from other patrons. Finally, in a moment of desperation over how illegible I felt, I told one of my lovers what had actually happened. To my amazement, he didn’t discount my experience, he didn’t question that this was rape, he was patient with my need to defend my experience but never asked me to do so.  Emboldened, by this I told another person 48 hours later…the 3rd person I had talked to about the details in, well, close to ten years.  Finally, on a morning flight I read this Yes Means Yes post, and suddenly my experience wasn’t unique.

This is still very hard for me to share, and for that reason I’m going to do something else I’ve never done, I’m going to disable comments on this post.  I’m doing this because I’m not ready for reactions but I do want to put this out there for everyone else who is similarly not alone.

My attacker was a woman.

Let that sink in.  My attacker was a woman and I never had the language to talk about what happened because “sisterhood is powerful.”  In every other sense this was date rape plain and simple.  I was 17, about to start college, still living at home, politically active and highly opinionated.  I knew about women’s lib, about rape crisis hotlines, and queer community.  I knew what rape that looked like, and how to talk about it.  I knew that it wasn’t the victim’s fault, and that it’s important to believe people’s experiences.  But I also knew that this isn’t something women do, that rape is done by men to women, that this must have been some sort of mistake, that there had to be a different word; and more importantly, I knew there was no one in my community who would believe me.

So while I occasionally told my sexual partners, I never told the world at large about the moment when I stopped fighting, when I realized that I was about to be raped, and when I stayed perfectly still because in that moment I was certain this was going to happen and then it would be over, and I was ready for it to be over.  I didn’t share the moments afterward when she apologized and told me that if she was a man I would have said she raped me, and that she was sorry.  Because she wasn’t a man, so it couldn’t have been rape, just, you know, a misunderstanding between two women.

It’s time to break the walls of silence, call a spade a spade, and shatter the excuses.

Written by kinkinexile

March 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

2 Responses

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  1. There’s all sorts of information out there that women rape men, women rape women, men rape men, men rape women – but it doesn’t fit many political narratives very well to talk about any rape other than men raping women – and sometimes male rape of other men, usually in places like correctional facilities.

    That’s the sad fact of our world. There are lists of “approved victims” – and then there is everyone else.

    Even though his blog mostly exists to give space to male victims, this guy has a link to quite a few resources that deal with rapes like yours as well as other forms of sexual abuse:

    Hope this helps if you ever need to explore your feelings or experience more or get help for any reason in the future.

    Clarence in Baltimore

    April 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm

  2. Thank you.


    April 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm

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