This won’t be popular.
I’ve never been raped. Or sexually assaulted in any way. To my knowledge, at least. I don’t have repressed memories about that kind of thing. I don’t wake up screaming in the middle of the night.
Forty plus years later, I still am upset that my family didn’t have a car to drive me to hockey and I was at the mercy of other parents to pick me up on the way to the rink. I’m still eternally grateful for their generosities but I resent my dependence on their generosities. One family was always a bit late, to a point where when we were on the competitive travelling team, my friend and I were always on the verge of suspension. I think it led to my perpetual anxiety about being late for events. It drives my wife nuts. She wants to be on time and I want to be ten minutes early. Because I can finally control my own destiny in this regard. Years as a preteen, feeling helpless about whether I would make the game on time or get benched because I didn’t, all things out of my control, well now I wanted to take charge and I’ve never been late since for anything unless something out of my control occurred.
My unsophisticated point about all of this is, while even the most seemingly mundane aspects of my childhood have stayed with me and bothered me for most of my life, it can’t compare to real trauma.
I can’t imagine.
I can’t imagine having an abortion. I’ve known friends who have. Good people. And religious people.
I can’t imagine miscarrying. My grade six teacher, Ms. Cecchetto missed a couple of weeks from school and when she came back, she tried to explain what had happened. She was very religious and she was in tears telling this story to thirty eleven year olds in 1977. I think she was twenty years old.
I’ve known friends who were murdered. Friends who died in their teens and twenties of disease. Friends who died in horrific accidents. But I was never aware of anyone who had been raped.
It’s kind of like the one in ten principle about gay people. The stats are there and I’m sad to say that I’ve probably known a hundred people who were sexually assaulted or sexually abused. Maybe in some cases it was a drunken night in a dorm, maybe sometimes it was repeatedly at home. Fuck, there are a lot less worse things that happened to me that I never would have wanted to share with anybody.
The floodgates have started to open. It was less than a year ago that I learned that someone close to me had been raped. Repeatedly. And for money. I didn’t know about this for my whole life and there’s really no way I could have known.
My loved one, my friend, never told me. And they took those secrets to the grave. I think it’s fucking time to stop taking these secrets to our graves. It’s time to shed ourselves of the misery.
This whole world has been a never-ending story of victim shaming.
Women, stand up! Men, stand up! Brothers and sisters, stand up! The more of us who stand up, the more of us who can be seen and be heard.
No one should feel the need to be quiet and ashamed in the back row anymore. Whether we are shy or bold, we all deserve to be treated like front row people.