This was written in response to this post by the writer of the same.
You are standing in a forest clearing on a beautiful crisp morning, the only human being for miles and miles. You are calm and content. You look up, and a bear stands before you, towering, glaring and with hunger in his eyes. You can feel his hot breath on your skin. You have nowhere to run. Your feet are rooted to the ground, your heart pounds so loudly you can hear it and the realisation that your life may come to an end is very real. Slowly, not taking your eyes off the bear, you lower yourself to the ground, searching for the cool grass with your fingertips. You know at that moment, in your heart of hearts, that you must play dead to stay alive.
The girl who wrote her account of rape considered the ramifications of her story as she sat at her keyboard searching for the right words. She wanted to pass on her experience to others, particularly those who had survived rape, to show that despite the trauma there is life after rape. She wanted to give encouragement and comfort and hope, as she had little of that herself in the aftermath of her own experience. She never considered that her story would produce such a response from readers – both positive and, sadly, negative. As she typed furiously on her laptop, a story long-buried came flooding forth and she felt an immense release.
Once upon a time, this girl had the same misguided ideas about rape, that she would defend her body at all costs. Fight. She studied karate for many years, was fit and strong. She was not afraid. However, the default setting of the human body is to survive, and this primal instinct is very powerful and difficult to resist. When faced with such danger, no-one knows how they will respond. The idealistic notion that you are strong enough to defend yourself against a violent attacker is dangerous.
Many years later, and having been to many therapy sessions, the girl no longer cares about what other people think. She did what she did, survived and is now enjoying her life, despite the occasional bout of depression. She is alive, and her family and friends are happy that is she is alive. She can hold her head up high and is not ashamed. The rapist is the only one who should be ashamed and the only one who should be questioned about his motives and actions.
Reading the comments attached to her story, the girl was moved to tears for all the love and support shown to her by complete strangers. And for those who could not offer any encouragement, who gave negative and even hurtful comments, she wishes them well. She sees that they have no understanding.
Simply, in playing dead, she assured her life.
The message should not be DON’T GET RAPED…… but rather, DON’T RAPE.
I know all these things to be true because that girl is me. Consider this: That girl could also be YOU, your DAUGHTER, your MOTHER, your GRANDMOTHER, your SISTER, your GIRLFRIEND…. That girl could be anyone of US.
Best wishes and be well, J
@being_feminist on Twitter