So on Thursday I left class ten minutes early. It was dull, I just wanted out. I thought we were done, packed my stuff up, and then realized there was ten minutes left and he was going over another poem. So I bounced. I knew Take Back the Night was doing a march on campus that day, but it started at 6:30 and I had class. When I left it was just before 9 and figured it was over. I heard them march past our classroom, screaming some chant about ending domestic violence, and as their voices faded away I figured that was it. But as I was walking down College Ave I came across a group of about 30 or 50 people surrounding a microphone. A girl was giving a spoken word about being raped, and I stopped to listen. Actually, I jolted to a stop. The next person went and I listened intently and began to get tears in my eyes. It was really emotional for me. A few more people went, some talked about rape, others about domestic violence, and I felt myself saying, “You have to go up there.” I knew I’d be so disappointed in myself if I didn’t. After seeing there wasn’t a line or a list or a roster, I crept up to the front of the crowd. A girl stepped down and the mic was open, and no one went up. All of a sudden I just dropped my bags and walked up to the mic. I was so nervous, and I looked at the crowd on the busiest street in school, standing at the microphone, and just opened my mouth and said, “Three years ago I was raped,” then I took a moment and felt myself wanting to cry so I followed with, “And if I start crying it’s not out of weakness but because the fact that I can stand up here and say that to all of you shows how far I’ve come.” Then, to my surprise, people started clapping and cheering, and I took that moment to recollect myself. I went on to tell the story, the aftermath, the people saying “it was fucked up but it wasn’t rape.” I explained how I had to see him continuously after that, how he ate lunch with Shari and I. I told them about telling my mom and how for so long I had no voice. But then I explained how I started talking about it- to my class, to my family. And I explained that the moment you stand up on your feet and find your voice again is the moment you begin taking back the night.
Afterward I was really emotional. I was shaking and crying, so I called Rachel and cried pretty hard. Then I called my mom and cried some more. It wasn’t an immediate catharsis like I imagined it would be. Instead it made me realize that I’ve never dealt with it. If hearing those other girl’s stories could make me cry then there is still scarring on my heart that needs to be addressed. Also, if I cried so hard after telling my story then there is definitely scarring I need to address. It’s just that I still tell myself it wasn’t rape. But I said no, and I’ve been so affected by it that I can’t deny it. I owe it to myself to say, “yes I was raped, and yes I am affected, and no it wasn’t okay!” But my question is, if you heal from it, do you forget it? Does that mean you’re over it? Does that make it okay? It doesn’t I guess, but I think I want to be mad at him. I told Rachel shortly after it happened that I genuinely forgive him, but I don’t! I don’t. And he never had any repercussions so I feel like by holding on to it he isn’t getting away with it. I guess if I healed and forgave him completely I’d feel like he really got away with it. And since it’s way too late to report it, by letting it stay within me I’m keeping him from getting off totally scotch free. But why should I have to be the one to pay the price for him? If he can go on with his life, I deserve to go on with mine. And though he never suffered any legal or worldly consequences, my faith is that he will or has suffered consequences that I just can’t see. I think I should go to a counselor and talk about it, in order to start the healing. I firmly believe in counselors, I think they are so beneficial and help you to realize things you can’t realize on your own. Or at least things that would be supremely difficult to realize on your own. Maybe I’ll do that next semester… go to the school counselors that is. But, never the less, speaking in Take Back the Night was a life goal of mine and I’m so proud of myself for getting up there.. completely alone.. no one in the crowd who knew me or to support me.. and telling what happened. Proud of myself for admitting it out loud. Maybe it helped some one, but even if it didn’t, it at least helped me to realize I still have healing to do.
In other news, last night a bunch of us went to the Chapter House because it was Anjel’s 23rd birthday. They were holding a raffle for a 3 day 2 night stay at a hotel in whatever state you chose. I told John that if he won he should take me and that if I won I’d take him. I don’t know why I said that, maybe because we were splitting so many tickets. They were free and Haas was bar tending and she gave us a huge pile of tickets. I ended up winning! So we picked Myrtle Beach because Katie and Tim live out there. We could hang out with them without putting them out, go to the bars, see Vinny. It’s going to be fun. Alana and Bobby might go to SC that weekend too and stay with KT and Tim. If we get 2 beds Brittany can come too and maybe even Kari if she can get off from work. We’re planning on going in August.
Tomorrow is going to be beautiful and we’re having a BBQ at Maureen’s. It’s going to be so nice and maybe I’ll even get some color! I should wear shorts to be sure.