I know all too well how it feels to have a secret that I wish I could tell someone, yet at the same time if I told this secret, it could potentially ruin my character. The moment after it all happened; I knew instantly that I should keep my mouth shut. I had already been deemed a young lady who was lost with a hard time finding her way. I knew it was my fault; had I just followed my intuition and went home that night after celebrating my 22nd birthday with friends, perhaps I wouldn’t have found myself waking up to him raping me.
After a night of partying way too much and having too many drinks, all that I remember is blacking out in the backseat of my friend’s car. The next morning, I found myself going in and out of sleep, not really sure where I was or how I got there, but I also felt a heavy weight on top of me. As I began to open my eyes and began to comprehend what was happening, I was finally able to process the activity of rape. I started to mumble, “no,no”. Then I mustered enough strength to demand that he removed himself from on top of me, “get off of me…stop, stop! get off of me!”
Finally, as I began to fully awake, I started to forcefully attempt to push him off. He was someone I knew. He had tried to push up on me a few times before. I ran into him at a bar the night of my birthday. He bought me and my friends drink after drink. We all later went to a house party. I have to admit, as a junior in college, I was nowhere near responsible enough to be drinking, although I was of age. I can take responsibility for not having the sense and the decency to conduct myself in a more respectable manner. I thought perhaps that was the reason he chose to rape me that night; I didn’t have respect for myself so maybe that is why he took it upon himself to violate me.
After it was over, I felt dirty, helpless and ashamed My mind wanted me to keep the rape a secret, but my heart urged for me to tell someone…so I told my, then, boyfriend. I wanted him to know exactly what happened, even the fact that I had placed myself in that particular situation; I wholeheartedly blamed myself. When I finally told him I couldn’t even use the term “rape”, because maybe I was blowing it out of proportion. I ended up telling my boyfriend I, “had been taken advantage of”. His response, “Did you want it to happen? Because you’re just now telling me this and you haven’t been checked.” I was crushed. His statement further validated the fact that maybe, somehow, I had allowed it to happen. His reaction prohibited me from receiving further help in coping with being a rape victim.
A few years later, I ended up writing a poem about my experience. I accidently left it on the computer in my mother’s room. I wonder, subconsciously, did I want her to know I had been raped. She later came to me and told me she had found my poem, “I knew something happened to you”, she said with tears flowing from her eyes. I cried and I cried. I told her I was sorry, that I was embarrassed, and didn’t want to tell anyone. She ended up sharing with me that she was also raped in the same manner. It was at that moment I was able to heal, and it was also then, that I started to believe that I did not deserve to be raped, nor did I ask for it.
Many have questioned the reasons why some women never expose the fact that they have been molested or raped. In current news, there have been several women to leak their experiences with a man so influential and powerful, and we wonder why these women would wait 30+ years to tell their story. We want to believe so desperately that Mr. Cosby, a man every one grew up respecting, would not have conducted himself in such a manner. It’s hard to believe that these women were victims of such a distasteful power trip; yet at the same time, I empathize with those women who have come forth. For some reason, we have developed such desensitization towards women who claim they have been raped. In many cases, men who are accused of rape are deemed as innocent until proven guilty, while the rape victim’s character is placed on trial; it’s pretty backwards. The feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment and a whole host of other emotions could keep a rape victim mute for a life time.
I can attest to the fact that it wasn’t until I started to tell my story, and other women began to admit that they had been through something similar, that I began to understand the power in speaking up against this type of disparity amongst women. Rape and molestation are two of the most traumatic events that we often sweep under the rug. I commend women who are courageous enough to speak out against their attackers and follow-up on making sure justice is served for them. Perhaps, there will be more mental and emotional support given to women who have been through a rape experience after such an influential icon has been accused of raping several women who I am sure has felt hopeless for years.
Kara Warner is an upcoming author, blogger, and educator from Omaha, NE, by way of Hammond, IN. She has placed much emphasis on supporting, and becoming an advocate for women and youth who struggle with self- esteem, image, and perception issues.
In 2009, Kara founded a program entitled, ‘Beauty Is Skin Deep Movement, Inc.” in order to reconstruct the perception and image of women of color in American society. She has conducted classes for the YMCA, Urban League of Nebraska, Middle School Learning Center, and Girls Incorporated of Omaha.
Kara is currently working on a book titled, ” False Feelings Appearing Real”, a compilation of experiences and stories by women who have, throughout their life, struggled with understanding their feelings and are now learning how to cope with them.
Follow Kara @Conquistanoir (IG) Livelifwpurpose (Twitter)