I’ve been doing cord work over the past few weeks (really slowly, but I’m trying to be consistent and keep going). I’ve been using this book by Mary Shutan, which is a basic primer.
In it, there’s a section for working with cords that have an emotion tied to them. Today, I sat down to work with one, and it took me a minute to find just one (I had to specifically ask for “just one,” so I know I have my work cut out for me, haha), but when I did find one, it was anger.
So, in this work, you ask a series of questions, and one of the questions I asked was why the cord was tied to anger.
The answer was that I’m still angry about being raped – not that it happened, but that I had to “prove” it happened; that I wasn’t believed when I said it happened, while he denied it and was believed.
Automatically, he was perceived as a good, honest person. And I was not. He was not held responsible for what he did. I was perceived as “aggressive,” (yes, this actually showed up in the official police report, and I’m angry as fuck about it) while he was perceived as an “innocent kid” who was taken hostage by a slut.
That’s rape culture for ya. And it’s bullshit.
And maybe I’ll always be angry about it, because it’s still happening.
All the time, I hear stories just like mine where the victims of this crime were held up as a responsible party.
Oh, she was drinking, too.
Oh, she was wearing skimpy clothes.
Oh, she was out alone.
Oh, she’s a girl. An object for consumption, not a living, breathing human being who should be given the same respect as anybody else.
Let’s not forget, he was drinking, too.
He was out alone.
He raped somebody.
And he should be held responsible for what he did.
Although I don’t remember much of what happened, I do know what it’s like to be drunk and be a consenting party to sexual activity. This was not that.
If it had been, I wouldn’t still be devastated about what happened. There wouldn’t have been a report.
The only reason I made a report in the first place is that I naively believed the police would have my back, that the evidence would be there, that my story would be enough to cast doubt on his lie.
I never knew how rape culture actually works. It works exactly the way it did in my situation. Nobody believed me – and if they did, they assumed I was “mistaken,” or that it was my fault, or that I brought it on myself, that I somehow deserved it, or that I just wanted to make trouble for a decent kid who didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.
But he knew. He knew it was wrong. He knew. He held me down by the wrists and raped me for hours, and when someone knocked on the window of the car where he had me trapped as he raped me, he sent them away.
He sent away my help.
Nobody helped me. I was stuck. I couldn’t get away, because I couldn’t physically control my body.
And god, that hurt.
It just hurts.
Years later, he is flourishing while I flounder (edited to add: not exactly. I’m not exactly floundering, but I am struggling to wade through some muck and not sure what I’m doing with my life while he teaches at the local university in the town where he raped me, at the university that owns the frat house where he raped me).
What kind of justice is that??
Interestingly enough, when I look back on it now, I remember him smiling. He smiled, knowing he had me cornered. Knowing I was in pain. Knowing he had control, and I had none.
He took something from me that I still don’t have back. He took my happiness. He took my positivity. He took my patience. He took my strength.
He ripped me open and grabbed everything that was there, and ever since then, I’ve been struggling to get it back.
I had hope. I had joy. I was confident.
And now I have nothing. He took it all away from me.
But I’m gonna get it back. However long it takes, I’m getting back every single piece of me that he ripped away from me.
So, if you’re out there, Joel………..
YOU DON’T KEEP ANY PIECE OF ME.