Once my face burned with the shame of rape; now I smolder with anger.

I’ve spent the entire day burning up from the inside out about the Oregon case in which a rape victim was found guilty of filing false charges after prosecutors decided not to purse a case against her attackers. I feel like the sun itself has settled in my gut and any moment I’ll just explode into a puff of smoke and ash.

The only thing that’s keeping me whole is knowing I’m not alone in my outrage. Or in my experience. Check out this excerpt from The Heretik:

FROM AMANDA MARCOTTE rape survivor: I wouldn't have prosecuted except I couldn't bear the guilt if he did it to someone else. I still almost didn't, except at the insistence of my boyfriend at the time that it was wrong to just roll over and pretend it didn't happen. It took me a week to work up the courage. I wouldn't have done it if I'd thought I'd get in trouble with the law for seeking justice.

FROM LAUREN BRUCE rape survivor: Shakespeare’s Sister (HT) discusses false rape reporting and the notion that there is a “right” way to act after rape. There isn’t much for me to say because she and Kevin have said it all, but I, after I was raped, was not believed either. After all, I turned around from the incident, cleaned up the blood, and went back about my family vacation like nothing had happened because I thought I had done something wrong and didn’t want my parents to know. I was barely thirteen. Nevermind the promiscuity and drug addiction that followed, by god, I wasn’t traumatized and therefore was not raped.

I have a particular therapist to thank for convincing my support system not to trust me, the unqualified piece of shit. Shame, shame on this judge.

FROM SHAKESPEARE'S SISTER rape survivor: There is no such thing as a “typical” response to rape. Immediately following a rape, some women go into shock. Some are lucid. Some are angry. Some are ashamed. Some are practical. Some are irrational. Some want to report it. Some don’t. Most have a combination of emotions, but there is no standard response. Responses to rape are as varied as its victims. In the long term, some rape victims act out. Some crawl inside themselves. Some have healthy sex lives. Some never will again.

THE ISSUES ARE LARGE the victims made smaller when we fail to listen, when we fail to look. You know a rape victim, but you might not know it. Look for the woman who had lively eyes who now seems dead inside.

Klondike Kate, rape survivor, adds in The Heretik’s comments:

Over 30 years ago throughout circumstances that stretched over a five-year period of time I was raped four times. … When I tried to call once, after being held on the frozen ground at knifepoint (I still had mud, leaves, and a trickle of blood running down my neck,) I was told not to bother: since I was hitchhiking -- I was "just asking for it." … Have we really come a long way since then? It would appear not. I feel such a deep sadness for all the women of the world who go through this act of soul-killing violence, perpetrated every single second of the day.
And Kevin Hayden, who knows the victim, adds in my comments:

Other things the detective found odd: she did not shower for two days after. The detective said most overshower because they feel dirty afterward. So why did this woman not bathe?

Because she was afraid to be naked. Why's that so hard to believe?
It isn’t. It’s just heartbreaking.

The Heretik has more to say here. Additional commentary from Kevin at The American Street, Dave at Seeing the Forest, The Heretik, Amanda at Pandagon, Lauren at Feministe, Once Upon a Time, Liberty Street, Radioactive Quill, Ded Space.

(Thank you to all those who are giving this story the attention it needs and deserves.)

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