I recently published a blog piece here and here about being raped almost forty years ago. I spent weeks gathering research, examining my personal history, exploring painful childhood experiences and struggling with whether to publicly share such a personal experience. I finally decided to publish it because I believed if one person read it who had any similar traumas might find information or comfort that would help them heal.
At first, I was relieved when I hit the publish button. Then I started doubting the wisdom of sharing so much of myself. But I continued to think, “If one woman is encouraged by the thought of not being alone in her trauma it’s worth it.” Instead I believe it’s an irrelevant revelation in a society where people only want an easy, short read. My story isn’t an easy one to read – I actually pulled from scholarly sources to help myself and others understand the relevance of the information I was sharing. Nor is it a short read – at over 5500 words it’s an anomaly in a society where we read a headline, react, and scroll down to the next one.
So here’s the revised version and my perceptions of how it’s been received.
- I’ve been having significant issues since the presidential election of a president who has been known to publicly demean and assault women in the past. (“Aren’t we all having some sort of emotional reaction after this election even if it’s euphoria at having someone confirm our prejudices and biases?”)
- A really bad childhood that I was afraid to talk about but which I found research supporting the link between that and my being the victim of rape. (“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy. Research quotes? *Yawn*)
- My teen years were marked by a great deal of emotional trauma. (“Isn’t everybody’s? Time to get over it.”)
- I am a survivor of date rape and the research I did found that “ age at rape and knowing the perpetrator were independently predictive of delayed disclosure”.and in writing this updated piece I found Department of Justice statistics show that “In 8 out of 10 rape cases, the victim knows the attacker”. (rape, “not another story of some woman whining about being raped”, research, Blah, Blah, Statistics, *Yawn*)
- Trying to provide a context for all of this and how it affected me involved sharing a lot of personal details. (“TMI”)
- My reaction to the election of Donald Trump’s election and trying to understand how he could be elected when he had such a history of disrespect for women. (“It’s over”, “who cares?”, “Snowflake”.)
- 5500+ words (“OMG! Will this piece ever end? *stops reading about 1/3 way in* *scrolls to the bottom to see how it ends*)
I should have known better than to expect anyone to actually read the whole piece with all the connective details, any meaningful dialogue to result or to be taken seriously as a woman relating a 40-year-old rape story filled with personal details of abuse.
I want to apologize to my readers for this diversion from my normal work. I’ll be going back to writing about how I create my artwork and photographs of, and information about, flora and fauna.
There, 561 words! (I can take enough time out of my social media liking of cats, dogs, and pregnant giraffes to read that.)