We are all someone, but we could also be your father, your mother, your sister, your lover, your child, your teacher, your friend, your cousin, your colleague, the person at your checkout, your tv star. You don’t know all of us, but our stories are anonymous, because you will know some of us. NZ is a small place.
I think I’ve done well with the family I’ve got. When I told my family I had been raped they were upset for me and outraged. They believed me. But they also told me not to tell anyone (I had already gone to the police). Implying this is blemish of mine and something that is bad to tell friends. My family support me but when I say I might go see my aunt and uncle if I need support they say do I really want that side of the family knowing I was raped? Clearly they think it is embarrassing for me to have my extended family know I was raped. Like its a shame I have, with their support they also tell me somehow I’m at least partly at fault, or my extended family have that view.
They say there’s nothing wrong with me, and it’s not my fault. It’s not a flaw with me that made me a target and a victim, but when they learn there was more than one rape they ask over how many days the rapes happened. I refuse to answer, because no answer is right. They then ask how I could have let myself be repeatedly raped. If I was really letting it happen, it would not be rape, it would be consensual sex.
How could I have not known it was rape at the time? Because it’s easier to tell myself it’s my fault it happened and I had control than to admit I didn’t really want it and had at that time become powerless. It’s easy to say rape is a big thing, this is little and lets just bury and forget about it.
As an adult and sober I was coerced, manipulated, groomed and taken advantage of to do sexual things that I didn’t want to do, by my support person. Is the self blame, giving him the benefit of the doubt, telling myself I lead him on, he didn’t understand, I owed him because he was helping me with my stressful job and health scares, the insecurity and pressure felt over my lack of sexual experience and interest all because of our rape and sexual culture?
Oh and compared to what I thought, being in court is easy and empowering and great. He was found not guilty, so can go on to attack others. But he also clearly learned it was rape, whatever made him think he was not raping me was wrong, and it was clear enough to go to court. I chose to stand up and face him, and face the chance of people judging me, in the court and in the street. It was worth it, and my imagined fears of court were far worse than what actually happened.
Oh and why is it bad to see the hearing in NZ? Justice needs to be seen to be being done, and the person who most needs to see justice, is the victim.