This culture needs to stop

I used to think rape was something that happened way over there, to unlucky souls with no choice but to be around men who hate women. I’m in my early 30’s and have enjoyed a relatively successful, happy life to date. However, last year had what I can only describe as some type of breakdown. I was quite depressed and was having a hard time thinking straight. I’d cry at the drop of a hat and just wanted to stay in bed all day. I needed to take time off work and seek counselling.
The counselling was really difficult. I made good progress but after a few sessions it felt like we were going around in circles on why I was carrying so much guilt. But he kept digging away, and well. That’s when I remembered.
When I was 6 years old I had gone outside to my older brother’s room in our shed – he was 16 at the time. Moments earlier he had run past me sitting on the lawn, cursing and spitting at my father. They were fighting, yet again. I wanted to see if he was OK. All he wanted, it seemed, was to see if he could get me to give him a blowjob to make himself “feel better”. I’ll never forget it when he tried to get me to touch him, and explaining all the while how much better it would be if I’d just use my mouth. I wouldn’t and didn’t – and I ran from the shed knowing full well this wasn’t a story to repeat at the dinner table. I’ve never told a soul to this day, except for the counsellor of course.
During my time off I was also Skyping my younger brother living on the Gold Coast, to connect with him while I had time on my hands. I told him that I was suffering from depression and taking time off work to try and sort myself out, go to counselling, etc. He was really supportive, and almost immediately he asked if I had been raped when I was younger. I said “no”. He proceeded to explain to me that he’d had a harrowing chat with my older sister before he left NZ. He told me that she had revealed she’d been raped by this creepy old man back in our hometown, when she was just 12 years old. This man used to ride his bike around everywhere and was freaky just to look at. It broke my heart because suddenly a lot of things made sense. My sister went off the rails as soon as she hit high school, and was never the same person thereafter. She led a hardcore life, abused herself every which way you can imagine, even went to prison for a vicious assault. Her life spiralled out of control thanks to that revolting, predatory and sick man.
Thankfully she’s an amazing woman and has turned her life around 180 degrees. Her 3 kids are the best, and her husband stood beside her through the her best and her worst.
I only have one sister, but several brothers. It’s hard to believe that the two of girls have had out lives tainted by rape culture. Or is it?
Sadly these types of stories are too numerous, and too frequent. All I know is that this can’t go on. Not even for another day.

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