Hmmm...what’s the recap here? Oh yeah, I was like super excited to start dating in New York City with my new found self-respect and assuredness when 1. Donald Trump was elected president and 2. I got raped by a Saudi Diplomat. 2017 was clearly going to be my year.
After I finished scheduling my post-rape protocol doctors appointment (this is a link. Anything in green Dancing Script is a link. click away to learn more on the highlighted topics!), I was shocked to find a text from Diplomat on my phone. What could he possibly be sending me?“Hey sorry I raped you last night, won’t happen again!"? Like, what the actual hell? Turns out he was texting me to let me know he had a great time and would love to see me again soon.
Ummm...wut? I suppose if I sexually assaulted a person, I’d be sure to ask them out the next day. Normal relationship progression (I’m joking).
I didn’t know what to say, although my immediate reaction was to...defend him?
He must not know what he did, right? Like maybe he thought things were totally fine because we’d been drinking and his judgement was altered.
That’s what women are told anyway. If alcohol is involved, men are not responsible for their behavior! Yes except that when I am drunk, I want to eat Taco Bell and pass out in my heels --I do not want to rape a person. I decided him simply not knowing he raped me was possible if he were very stupid, but not likely since he can speak 7 languages and understands how to draft a UN resolution.
I contemplated never texting him again and blocking his number. I just wanted it all to go away. But then I decided I had to speak up. What was I afraid of? Offending him with my accusation if it indeed was a total surprise to him? Maybe it will be, but he needs to know.
So I sent this text with my hands trembling:
Hey - I think I should let you know that I'm physically ill today because of last night for a lot of reasons. From the very beginning, when you invited me over, I told you I was hesitant because I know what "coming back to my place" means and I did not want to have sex with you. And you assured me that's not what you were after. I was having a good time and you seemed great so maybe I trusted a little too quickly that you would respect what I said. Even after we got to your place and started making out, I know I told you I didn't want to have sex at least 3 more times. The alcohol drowsies hit me and I was ready to pass out when you started fingering me. And before I knew it you were inside me. No condom. No asking. How did you think that was okay? And how did you think that after I stopped, it was okay to keep pushing for more? All. Fucking. Night. I SAID NO. I said no because I don't have sex with guys who aren't my boyfriend. Those are my values. Thanks for asking. Now I'm gunna trek to Planned Parenthood to get tested because you stuck your bare dick inside of me without my consent.
I had already told you MULTIPLE times I didn't want to have sex and at that point I was scared. I should have just left. I could have done so many things to make the situation different. But that does not make what you did okay. I'm sick to my stomach today thinking about all that. Me saying no once should have been enough. More than enough. I think maybe you should know that when (women) say no, we mean it.
I was apprehensive to write this because I think you probably don't even know you've done anything wrong. Men are just programmed to think they can do whatever to women and it's supposed to be okay. Well it's not. And simply put, last night was unwanted, CLEARLY STATED, unwanted intercourse. Which is rape. Just know you did that. And I would like to never see you again.
His response was as I suspected -- he was totally taken aback. He said he thought it was consensual, but didn’t deny my accusations. He spewed platitudes while not answering my repeated question of how he could have possibly thought it was consensual. The next day he told me he’d recently been exposed to chlamydia. Cool.
After that lovely exchange, I made the trip to the ER as advised by the counselor at Planned Parenthood. As I sat in that hospital waiting room, wondering about what exactly happens to rape victims when they ask for help -- are they gunna need to touch my vagina with scary instruments to see if I’m lying? Is this basically going to be an interrogation? The counselor mentioned medication… am I going to be okay? Jesus what if I have chlamydia? Herpes? HIV? * -- I felt truly helpless.
*Despite what they told me in high school abstinence class, nowadays most STI's are totally treatable or manageable. HIV, Chlamydia, and EVEN Herpes are not your end of sexing having or relationships. It wasn't so much the logistics of having an STI that was concerning, as was getting it from a person I didn't even want to sleep with in the first place. And knowing the massive shame people endure for contracting something sexually because of the stigma society attaches to them (when they aren't any different than getting mono or the flu). I didn't want to shamefully carry the infection/disease as a physical reminder of what happened to me, against my will.
The word “meek” kept popping into my head. In the Bible, meek is often used to describe an ideal follower of God —which I could never get on board with. Who wants to be meek? That sounds boring as hell! I want to be in the army of God, slaying dragons of sin and shit. Meek? No thanks, JC!
But in that moment, sitting in that waiting room, I did feel truly meek. I understood the desperation for God's help. All of my confidence, excitement for life, and comfort in my own skin had been completely stolen from me. I thought about how people looked to me as an example of adventure, drive, and fearlessness. That was gone.
Now I was just fucking angry, sad, and scared of everything. I thought of my dad and his favorite saying to me, “Never lose your spark, baby girl!” I’m sorry, daddy. My spark is gone and I don’t know when it’s gunna come back.”
And worse, I felt like I had done all of this to myself. If only I had gotten that Uber home…If only I’d not had so much champagne...if only I hadn't madeout with him...if only I’d punched him in the balls, run away, and trained to come back and kick his ass like J.Lo in that one J. Lo movie...
Someone had violated my body, my being, and yet I was the one left with all the responsibility. And he didn’t even know he did it? Can that be true? How was this my reality..
Diplomat reached out a few days later to let me know he’d been tested and the results were negative. I said thank you but I was also pretty mean. At the time I was so angry at everything going on to me and around me. I was physically and mentally pummeled by the subtly pervasive sexism in America that led me to this moment.
The worst part was, as much as I wanted to vilify and throw actual stones at Diplomat’s head, I didn’t believe he was a “bad guy.” I think he, much like most men, are also pummeled by the pervasive sexism in society. So that, in their moments of mental and physical inhibition, the subconscious belief that women’s bodies are for their pleasure, takes over and they exert the power they’re told they have a biological right to.
It doesn’t make it right AT ALL. I’m just saying, men are allowed to exist in a certain way for literally all of their lives, and then suddenly someone is like “Hey this behavior everyone has told you is okay, actually isn't. It's heartless and ILLEGAL.” They're probs totally confused! And terrified that someone called out behavior they've known all along was not okay. But no one is holding them accountable, so why stop?
Men and women are existing in different realities. So things that seem like a total no brainer to women, are news to men because we receive different messages about our roles starting at such a young age. Little boys learn that the worse thing to be as a little boy is "Like a girl"." “Don’t be a sissy/pussy/wuss.” “You throw like a girl.” If they express emotion at all, they’re considered feminine, called "gay" as an insult, and are bullied.
Anything associated with femininity is defined as inferior, so we end up with emotionally repressed adult men who subconsciously believe they're superior to women.
No one is adequately teaching young men about sex (I mean women either but...so many blogs about this subject…), so they learn about it from porn. I’ve watched a fair amount of straight porn, and let me tell you, it is a disgusting display of misogyny. I don’t know how any woman gets off on that garbage (but, again, another blog…). I know this is a stretch for some people, because we all love our porn! But I really think there is a huge correlation between sexual assault in this country and porn viewing. If you’re a parent leaving the responsibility of your adolescent son’s sexual education to porn actors, don't. I know you’re busy, parents. But do the world a solid and step in on this one, please.
In my high school we were taught that “girls use sex to get love, boys use love to get sex.” Concluding, of course, the best way to avoid “getting hurt by a guy” is to simply not sleep with him. Interestingly, the emotionally manipulative guy using his girlfriend for sex when he knows she's in love with him, was not even acknowledged! Our abstinence teacher REPEATEDLY told us girls not to have sex, but never once was like "And dudes it is never okay to be a manipulative dickwad who objectifies his girlfriend."
When Diplomat raped me, I called Planned Parenthood and said “I got raped.” Diplomat is not even present in that statement and yet he is the perpetrator! I put all the focus on myself. I unintentionally protected him from responsibility for the rape with my choice of words, and I’m a total feminist!
What I’m saying is, no one is invincible in this subconscious battle of protecting the patriarchy.
We don't teach boys how to properly engage sexually, we condition them to belittle anything that is feminine, to believe their shitty behavior is “boys being boys," and believe they have biological right to power in society. Why is anyone surprised at"normal guys" sexually assaulting women on dates, in the workplace, or in relationships (you know men rape their girlfriends too, right)? Or that domestic violence and mass shootings are overwhelmingly inflicted by men.
Sexual assault and violence against women is not a women’s issue. Do I think what Diplomat did was absolutely awful and should reap consequences for his actions? Abso-fucking-lutely. But why is it up to me, the victim of his action, to make sure he's punished? Why isn’t society punishing this behavior from boyhood so that the idea of sexually assaulting someone in adulthood is deplorable, not a casual Saturday night where they simply “drank too much.” Why aren’t more men standing together to combat this issue? Men, this is YOUR responsibility to resolve amongst yourselves. Not. Mine.
“If blessed are the meek,” I prayed, “send your blessings and QUICK, God.”
And She did, in the form of a social worker and doctor at Mt. Sinai on the Lower East Side