Trigger Warning : Rape, Sexual Assault
Do The Hotpants is a body positive blog.This is a story about rape. While the direct line between loving your body and sexual assault may not seem obvious at first, I am going to explain to you why Caley’s story is incredibly important and relevant.
On rape and the ownership of a woman’s body:
As women we are told we don’t own our bodies. Society owns our bodies. We are told we must change our looks to conform to what society says is beautiful so we can be seen as sexually attractive to the opposite sex. And when a man wants us, we are supposed to be flattered that he has foundus sexually attractive. If he tries to make a sexual advance (i.e. catcalling or hitting on us at a bar) and we don’t accept that advance, we are bitches. Some say they enjoy it like the girls on tubev.sex. Hardest fucking, hottest porno only at Tubev Sex as an example is worth checking out. But I digress. Rape culture and the rampant misogyny that allows it, tells women that we do not have the right to decide what happens to our bodies, because we do not own them. And if we do try to own them, we are seen as defiant, we have to remember many men grew up with sites like hdpornvideo truly being their only sexual education, nothing against the porn industry just against some males.
On rape and eating disorders:
“It is estimated that almost 30% to 40% of eating disorder patients are survivors of sexual trauma. For a person already vulnerable to eating disorders or suffering from bad self-image, a traumatic incident like rape or incest can trigger an eating disorder. In stressful events like rape or molestation, the victim often feels utterly powerless, and may seek new ways to improve his or her sense of control. Our culture and society place great emphasis on body image. Being thin is equated with maximum control. As a result, victims may start avoiding food or limiting intake to dangerous levels. By doing so, some survivors of sexual violence no longer feel powerless in their lives. Sadly, commercials, magazines, and advertisement that show unrealistic bodies can keep motivating a person to indulge in unhealthy eating behavior. When survivors remember a stressful situation they can also be driven to eat more than normal. Overeating or eating comfort foods that are high caloric foods can calm the body and provide a momentary relief from emotional stress. Overrating, like starvation, may also be used as a way to avoid intimacy and sexuality. Survivors often report feeling safer when they no longer feel that they conform to the ideal of beauty portrayed by the media and women’s magazines. While much emphasis is placed on diets and new ways to lose weight, the real reasons that bring a person to use food to comfort her or his pain are still overlooked. Instead of asking an overweight or obese person, “what are you eating?” the right question would be, “what is eating at you?”
The above paragraph is takenfromAfterSilence.org
#MyBodyStory is a weekly series ofreader submitted piecesabout what it’s like to live in your body.
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And now, without further ado,
Here is Caley’sstory.
I almost took my makeup off before going to see the officer in charge of my rape case. I’m a bartender who works in a dark bar. But what looks good at work, looks heavy in person, and I was worried I would look too sexualized when I spoke to this married man about my rape.
And then I caught myself.
Because, fuck it.
I am a sexual person.
And I am also an adult.
It’s okay to dress and look however I deem appropriate.
What is not okay, is to rape someone.
The night it happened, we were out and he was the designated driver. The sky was clear and beautiful; the stars are amazing in rural Appalachia on nights like that. We were cruising the backroads when he started driving too recklessly, and suddenly took a turn too fast. We hit a tree on my side and spun out of control. We ended up slamming to a stopright next to a steep drop at the edge of the road.
We had both just come very, very close to dying.
He was afraid to call the cops and admitted that he’d been drinking, even though he was supposed to be the designated driver. Since we were both injured (he lost a tooth, and I found out later that I had gotten a concussion and whiplash) we agreed to call a ride home and deal with the car in the morning.It turns out I was displaying signs of a head injury — vomiting, slurring of words, and I had even blacked out briefly in the crash. He was a nurse, but he was so worried about losing his nursing license that he didn’t notice the state I was in.
Once at his house, I asked to sleep on the couch for a few hours because I didn’t want to go home and wake my mom up at 3 in the morning. He was worried about his niece finding a stranger on the couch, so he insisted that I sleep in his bed. I’d known him for years so naturally assumed this was safe, and we went to sleep.
I woke up less than15 minutes laterto him raping me.
There was no foreplay (or if there was, I was unconscious for it).
There was no discussion about birth control.
There was no consent.
But because I was confused, injured, and half asleep, I panicked and laid still. For a brief moment the thought of “if I speed things up maybe he’ll get done faster and I can leave” crossed my mind. Feeling like I needed to participate in my rape so it would end faster was physically nauseating to me. Then it felt like I owed him sex because he let me stay at his house. AndI hadn’t told him that I had a boyfriend. He didn’t know my body was claimed by another man. He’d never asked about my relationship status, so I assumed he didn’t care and we were just platonic friends.
The rape was overwithin 5 minutes because his sister walked in and found us. He panicked and kicked me out, and I ended up walking home…injured and sobbing hysterically into the phone to my boyfriend who was 200 miles away. I just happened to pass a hospital on my walk home, and my boyfriend convinced me to go inside. Honestly, if I hadn’t walked past it, I probably never would have gone in.
There in the hospital, I spent over 2 hours stripped naked, poked, prodded, interviewed, and refused liquids, then sent home.In only a few short hours, I had almost been killed in a car accident, raped by a friend, and forced to walk home across town in the middle of the night.And the only real thing bothering me, was:
“Is it my fault?”
The feeling that sexual assault is the woman’s fault is so deeply ingrained in our society, that even a hippie feminist with a college degree in psychology can’t completely undo it.The media has laid out the type of woman that gets raped…drunk promiscuous co-eds, ultra fit women running at night, sex workers or strippers who have abandoned their children, and innocent wives assaulted by men breaking into their house. The underlying tone is that if you’re doing anything the least bit sexual or independent, you’re putting yourself at risk to be raped. That it’s YOU rolling the dice.
Until we stop playing into the stereotypes that only “good girls” can get raped, and “bad girls” showing cleavage or wearing provocative makeup “asked for it” (and therefore weren’t actually raped), then the misconceptions will never change. And with that misconception comes a lack of support for the victims. A prejudice against them.
These ingrained beliefs won’t go away until we prove how harmful and inaccurate they are.
In the real world, rape victims don’t have a “look.” They can be 16 or 60. They can be strong enough to fight off their attacker (note: no one should ever be expected to fight off their attacker), or too weak to carry a bag of groceries. They can be loud, and prone to drinking too much, or they could be stay at home, tea drinking, Netflix watchers. They can be female, male, or genderqueer.
Anyone can be a rape victim and this needs to be drilled into our minds.
Rape needs to be made personal. It needs to look like your mother, your best friend, your brother, YOU. The faces of rape should remind you of the person you fell in love with in high school, or the person who takes care of you when you’re in need. Because as it is right now, it’s just a bloody, brutal act that happens to someone who’s totally opposite of you and your friends. Rape victims and rapists come in all shapes and sizes, because they’re comprised of all different people. And until it feels like something that could happen to you, or your kid, or your neighbor, we won’t see real change in the number of attacks and how they’re dealt with. The only way to change this is through rape victims and their advocates demanding change, which is why I’ve decided to tell my story.
I was raped by a good guy. The boy next door. The good old boy who fixes your tire when you’re on the side of the road and says “yes ma’am” and “no sir”. The type that would be enraged if he found out that his friend or sister had been assaulted. And yet, he raped me. And because I trusted him and let my guard down, I felt like it was my fault.
But I only put most of the blame on him.
The rest I blame society for.
My rape is a clean cut rape, and yet it’s not.He blatantly performed sexual acts on my unconscious body. But he also did it with the assumption that he could. That’s because we’d been out that night, because he bought me 2 beers, and because I stayed in his bed, therefore in his mindI was willing to have sex with him.This is an assumed right to a woman’s body, and is basically a branch of male privilege. These aren’t men who blatantly hate women, but society has instilled in them the idea that if they want to have sex with someone, then they can. The question of consent doesn’t even come up because it has probably never crossed their minds. They assume that if a female friend stays over, she’s down for sex, and they have a right to put their penis in her while she’s asleep.
We are so busy teaching our children “no means no” that we don’t teach them what they really need to know…
That you have to ask the question to get the answer.
How can “no” mean anything if boys don’t even know they have to ask it?
We need to teach our children that rape doesn’t just mean having sex with someone who is vocal about opposing those sexual acts. We need to teach them — especially our girls — that it’s not the victim’s fault if we don’t fight back. That it is STILL rape. A woman lying silently trying to breathe through it does not imply consent. We also need to understand that right now, until we start teaching these things, we are turning our sons into rapists. By portraying sexual assaults as only violent, extreme acts, we have lied about the definition of rape. I know it’s not sexy to ask “Are we just sleeping next to each other tonight or would you like to have sex?” but it’s necessary.
Regardless of what behavior you exhibit, you are owed the right to own your own body. You are owed the right to be asked whether or not you want to participate in sex.
You are OWED this basic human right.
Men need to learn to respect boundaries, and women need to know that it’s okay to set them more strongly. Until then, there will continue to be these “grey area” sexual assaults where someone is victimized, but the assaulter doesn’t know why it was wrong. The general public knows that violent assaults are not okay, but the rapes I’m talking about are so subtle and yet so common that they’re woven into the very fabric of our society. It is a dangerous assumption to assume that we know what type of person could rape. Rapists aren’t always entitled rich frat boys or men dressed in all black following you home…they’re your friends, or your brother’s friends. They’re the good guys. A rapistcould be a fireman, a teacher, a martial arts instructor, or in my case, a nurse.
The idea of my daughter or friends having to deal with this once, twice, or multiple times simply because we’re not teaching our little boys the problems with rampant, hyper masculinity is disheartening. Having a friend of the opposite gender can be an incredibly enriching part of life, but right now, it also comes with a warning label.
This isn’t 100% the fault of either gender. It’s the fault of an unhealthy, unbalanced society. Until we stop forcing both sexes into gender normative roles, we’re going to continue to hurt both our little boys and our little girls in tragically opposed, and entangled ways.
And it turns out they also botched my rape kit, but that’s a story for another day.
Rape is a crime. Talking about it isn’t.
Further recommended reading on this topic: