A common misconception when it comes to rape is that we as women "ask for it" because of the clothes we wear, the way we present ourselves, how much we drink. This is how my sexual assault was labelled. An act that was entirely my fault because of who I was as a person.
I am white, blonde, with a small frame but a large chest. While this may sound like me 'bragging' to some readers, it has been a constant source of difficulty in my life. In no way is my body perfect. By the age of eleven I was bullied in school for being a 'slut' because of my physique; once a rumor was spread that I had already been pregnant and got an abortion. This was before I had had my first period, or even my first kiss.
At 16, I was going back to high school after summer.
At 18, he was going to university.
I went back to high school a victim of rape. He went to university a rapist.
We had a few drinks and ended up kissing. My 16 year old heart fluttered, because this guy two years older than me found me attractive.
He pulled me into a tent, still kissing. That's when things started to get confusing. He pulled down his trousers and when I said no, he told me I had "asked for it by coming into the tent." He told me that "your body was so sexy, you must want sex." He was bigger than me. Stronger. My no was his yes. Because I had kissed a couple of other boys at other parties apparently that made it his right to decide that I obviously wanted it. Eventually I stopped struggling; it was doing nothing but making it last longer. So while I listened to his groans, I lay there crying inside waiting for it to end.
To this day, I have only told my best friends about this experience. I kept silent because when I came out of that tent all I got was people's praise for having sex with "the really cool guy two years above me at school." I was scared to say I was raped for fear of them saying exactly what was told to me during the act, that I had "asked for it."
To this day sex makes me uncomfortable. My body makes me uncomfortable. I hide it away in baggy clothes to make my hips and bum less obvious and ill fitting bras to make my boobs look smaller. While I was once one of the few lucky girls who took pride in their bodies, I now de-sexualize it in hatred and fear.
And the scariest thing is, that to this day, I still feel like it was my fault. The morning after I found myself wishing he would come talk to me, sit down with me and hold my hand.
The words "you asked for it" are clearly more powerful than people realize. They need to be stopped.