Shameless

www.kerrichronicles.com

I want to thank  for this post written September 20, 2013. Again, this is one of those post that stopped me in my tracks. How very real this is and society is to blame.

We must work together to silence those that tell a survivor that he or she should be ashamed.

Rape is Rape just as murder is murder. We must teach ‘SHAME’ for participation in any kind violence, even if it’s just posting immoral pictures online.  We must also teach ‘SHAME’ for apathy and inaction.

Please don’t just read this post here, please go visit the site PeaceLoveandWords. Follow if you will or read up and see what else she has to offer us readers.

Shameless

If began telling you a story about how I was mugged, robbed, had my identity or car stolen, I would not worry about you judging me. The weight of blame would sit on the shoulders of the criminals. If I told you how my friend’s elderly relative was murdered after she answered the door to a salesman, you would not tell me how she was to blame for opening the door. I would wait for the sympathy, for condolences and offers of “whatever” I needed.

But if I were to tell you how I am a survivor of sexual assault, I would be fearful. If I explained how the scars on my ankle and knees are from where he drove in the knife so that I knew my life was in question or to remind me that my family would have to search for my half naked body, would you look at me the same way again? If I tell you that a certain spring breeze, a certain ray of light and the smell of Jim Beam makes me shake these 28 years later and that I can become a frightened 15 year old again, would it change how you think of me? I am conditioned to tell my story with an apology, with shame, with accountability for my part in his violence.

I am not ashamed for surviving. I am not ashamed for calming down, letting him finish, and smiling as he got into his car. My sounds changed from pleas as my virginity was painfully being ripped from me to the last words I said to him “We’re cool”. I do have real shame in my life for pain that I have caused other people. I have shame for my mean girl phase in high school. I am ashamed for the times in my life where I held my tongue instead of speaking the truth. I am ashamed that I do not speak this truth louder. I am ashamed of our rape culture: the jokes, political misdirection, use of the word victim, and the silence. All of us hiding behind our screen names are to blame, who feel the need to protect ourselves by anonymity. This has included me.

Recently, there was a headline about the arrests made in the case of Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17 year old Canadian who took her own life after a brutal rape and social media bullying. At 15, I felt the guilt too, I thought of taking my own life. I cannot image how difficult it is on today’s survivor with 24 hour streaming anonymous hate.

It is time to teach that the word victim refers to the dead and dying. Teach that there are not degrees of rape, not acquaintance, martial, stranger, date. Rape is Rape just as murder is murder. I have never seen the headline “Date Murder on the rise”. Let’s teach our sons how to not be rapists, let’s teach our men how to hold each other accountable. Let’s teach shame for participation in and posting violence. Teach shame for apathy and inaction.

I have had reasons to not speak too loudly. My children, my career, or my second future career as a writer, the labels that I didn’t want prefaced by “rape victim” seemed valid for a very long time. Now, survivors dying by their own hand make my silence so utterly selfish.

Maybe my voice today will silence one coward from throwing out judgement through the veil of social media. Maybe my voice today can silence the voices telling a survivor she should be ashamed.

To read more on the Rehtaeh Parsons case go here.

12 thoughts on “Shameless

  1. Thank you for the share and kind comments. I wanted to add that I have finished setting up my profile and needed to note that important step. I am not ashamed to show my face and name, just a tad slow in setting up my blog. This is an important conversation that we must keep alive to create a true change.

    1. You’re welcome, Shawn and it is very nice to meet you. The more exposure we can give the crime of rape and it’s scars the better when it comes to change. We’ve come a long way in the last decade but so much more needs to be done. All the best to you.

  2. Stories of rape and sexual violence against women and men appear more frequently now, thanks to social media. Despite a seemingly slight increase in rape and sexual abuse awareness, rapes and sexual abuse continue, at times, it seems unabated and with impunity. My question is this:

    As slhouchin pointed out, “Let’s teach our sons how to not be rapists, let’s teach our men how to hold each other accountable. Let’s teach shame for participation in and posting violence. Teach shame for apathy and inaction.”

    I agree completely that we need to do all these things. I place the blame for rape and sexual abuse squarely on men, just as much as we blame Adam for original sin. My quandary is this: How do we reach them? How do we teach men to respect women and hold them up as objects of love, respect and dignity, rather than objects of violence to quench the insatiable desire so many men have for control and power? Many dads don’t do it. Youth pastors don’t seem to be focusing on it. So, how do we reach them? I wish I knew.

    1. I feel that our children, both male and female need to be taught to be mindful of their surrounding, including the people that they keep, not only taking care of themselves but taking care of each other. I believe it’s about teaching our children to have love and respect for each other so they grow into mature, responsible adults with loving hearts and compassion for others.

      It’s not “girls need to do this or that” to change themselves – to prevent being raped, it’s about educating the boys too.

      The underlying problem is that boys need to be taught how to treat a female, whether conscious or unconscious. We need to teach them to take responsibility – hold them accountable – mold them just as you’d expect a girl to be molded.

      We not only need to teach our children not to lie, cheat, steal and kill, we need to teach them to respect their bodies and to hold themselves to a higher standard in their behavior, in all situations. This is both boys and girls. This should not only apply to females. Not having the same standards for both boys and girls is keeping the rape culture alive – it’s accepting that it will always be and that we as a society don’t have the power to change it.

Why hello, friend! Thanks for sharing your comments. Should you have a question, please feel free to ask it here and I'll do my best to reply promptly. Thanks for stopping by! xo Kerri