CONTENT WARNING: This fortnight’s Rubyyy Jones column contains graphic descriptions and discussion of sexual abuse. This post was first published on RubyyyJones.com The Blog. Image via radziu‘s Flickr photostream.
Well… I’ve been thinking about writing this blog for ages. A blog about rape. But where does one begin with rape? It’s everywhere, it’s part of our society and, truly, I struggled to find the purpose in sharing my own story. I wasn’t beaten and raped in an alley by a stranger. I wasn’t fed drink and drugs by a gang of football players who published my violation and their glee all over the internet. I wasn’t left for dead on the side of the road after a group of men raped me in all ways for hours, eventually killing me by pulling my intestines out of my anus with a pipe they had sodomised me with. My story wasn’t like the ones that have haunted me, for the last year especially, where the level of violence, tragedy and disconnection from humanity consistently filled me with rage, sadness and fear.
It was a warm, breezy day in March and I was whizzing in a black mustang convertible through the cliffs of the Big Sur. I was with my lover and as we kept one half of our awareness on which side of the road we should be driving on, we had the other on the topic of sex and transgression. Now, I can’t remember how it exactly came up, because what followed really smacked me in the face, but I told her about an experience I had in high school, was kind of stumbling over how to speak about it really and she just pointed barked: Because that was rape! I looked out over the ocean, the waves high on a blustery day, I felt a light spray of water on my cheek as it slowly sunk into my understanding. That was rape. That WAS rape. You were raped. I was raped. I.
It was a strange, pubescent summer and I had a weird short time of dating some dude, let’s call him Ferenc, and we had ended things for I-don’t-remember-what reason. It doesn’t matter really but I wasn’t totally happy about it. I was an independent young lady and a boyfriend didn’t really suit my lifestyle but it was fun to have a boyfriend too so I was missing him. I was at a house party with a large group of my friends, we were a mix of kids from several counties in the area, farmer’s kids, teacher’s kids, small town kids; there were more boys in our group than girls. For no particular reason, just cause. It was late in the night and we were all drunk, I was new to drinking and I was speaking to one of my friends, let’s call him Chris, who was quite drunk. We were talking about Ferenc…
Chris: I don’t know Rubyyy, it’s just, why do you like him? He always just seemed embarrassed by you…
Rubyyy: *starts crying*
Chris: Come on, it’s loud, why don’t we go and talk in my room *they go upstairs*
Rubyyy: *sits down on bed* Sorry *crying* it’s just something-something-etc
Chris: Yeah, no, it’s okay…
At this point he kissed me. Chris was a boy I had known almost my whole life. We went to the same school. He went to my church and we were in the same Sunday school class. Our families are friends. All my little life I had liked him the most but he thought I was crazy and always seemed to like the quieter girls. And there he was kissing me. I kissed him because I wanted to but I stopped because we were here about another boy. I was confused. And then he started to kiss me again, moving so his weight was on top of me. I am 5′ 8″(ish) and was a size 10. He was 6′ 3″ and his weight scared me right away. I had kissed boys before this but not really and he was wildly kissing me. I was drunk and confused and moved on the bed, out from under him. He pulled off my skirt and underwear and buried his face between my legs before I even understood what was going on. The sensation betrayed me, it felt slightly pleasurable, totally confusing (I don’t think I had properly touched my own clitoris at this point) and I grabbed his hair to pull his head away from my body. I do not yet enjoy oral sex.
And suddenly he was on top of me, his weight crushing the air out of my chest and I felt something between my legs that I did not understand. And then I did. I said ‘No’ several times as he coaxed me with his words and tried to sneak his way inside me. Still kissing my mouth, my neck. His cock was large, there was no condom, it terrified me. I have always had guardian angels, in the flesh and all around, and just as I managed to say ‘No’ loud enough to break through his trance and push him off of me, my best friend burst through the door. “What the HELL is going on here?” She didn’t realize anything was up. She didn’t realize she just potentially thwarted my rape. She just thought I was getting off with some dude and I would regret it. “I’m going to take a cold shower” Chris mumbled, before stumbling to the bathroom. I quickly got dressed. In a flash of light, I bolted down the stairs, out the front door and I ran about fifty meters before I stopped dead in the street and let out a blood curdling scream. I probably screamed for five seconds. Screamed with every bit of me that felt violated, confused and ashamed. And then I ran home, my best friend running and yelling after me, as lights in the quiet neighbourhood flicked on and concerned residents came to help the girl who was almost already long home, crying, heaving and bleeding, having lost her shoes along the way.
So here is the position I found myself in, ten years later, not knowing how to talk about my own experience. In the past not giving myself the love and support enough to even acknowledge my own violation. Why? Well, there wasn’t a penis forced inside my body. Society doesn’t even accept rape in cases where that so obviously happened, what good would my sharing do? And there it was. If I don’t acknowledge my own experience and trauma for what it was – a violation, rape, black and white – I give space for those who want to find grey in rape already. Imagine if we all talked about our rape. Imagine what our rape culture would look like then. There wouldn’t be one. If we were all honest, and you do not have to write blogs to do that, about the fact that we have all, on one level or another, experienced a transgression of ourselves and boundaries, the stories that make the headlines, would receive the global outcry they deserve.
I know how much trauma and pain my story held for me in my life, so much of it shifted without consciousness, the rest becoming liberated with each step I take in conscious recovery, I can only imagine the intense pain, shame and anger that we all hold. So very many people have experiences far more horrible, I believe we all have at least one, but that’s what I’ve understood now. I cannot deny myself tenderness, healing or engagement simply because my experience wasn’t as bad as someone else’s. It was my experience. I find myself, since discovering and working through my feelings about my own rape, responding to the never-ending rape stories within the media in a different way. More engaged, less enraged. Don’t get me wrong, the anger is there but I use it as a slow burning fuel rather than a flash. It made me want to share. It makes me want to share stories from around the world: the people, the bureaucracy, the outcry. It makes me want to create art.
This post was written by RWL columnist Rubyyy Jones – Rubyyy Jones is a performer, writer and producer, living and working in London. As a writer, Rubyyy’s ethos is of love, lust and light and she has been published internationally online and in print regarding sex, erotica, feminism and LGBTQ activism. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.