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A Friend’s Response to Rep. Akin.

20 August 2012

I’m a bit at a loss as to how to introduce this piece. After Todd Akin’s reprehensible comments about rape and reproductive freedom, much of twitter and the blogging world reacted with anger. So often, political anger seems feigned and agenda-driven. Not this. Today I was approached by a friend who was looking for a place to publish her own response, her own story.

Infactorium serves many purposes for me. One of the things I’ve always wanted to do, but have not yet done, is occasionally to allow it to serve as a platform for people who have their own stories to tell, about trauma, about recovery, whatever form it might take.

So here is the first Guest Infact.

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The year I was 9 was pretty shitty for me. I’ve managed to block most of it out. I can remember some of the highlights, or in this case, traumatic events.

I remember the house falling off the foundation because of the rains. I remember my dad almost throwing my mom off of a 3rd floor balcony in an alcohol fueled rage. I remember my brother being really sick. I remember living in the neighborhood next to the projects. I also, and perhaps this is the thing that has formed most of my life because it happened to me, remember almost being raped by my friend’s older brothers.

The friends that I were close to during this period of life were all brothers and sisters. They were a little feral, and there was very little supervision that I can remember.

It was a Saturday afternoon, which meant that I pretty much went to the library and wondered the neighborhood, mostly trying to go work on the treehouse everyone was helping with. I had chosen to go to the treehouse because it was a sunny day. When I got to the treehouse, I saw the older brothers. Older than me, but not too much older, and one of them was in my grade, so he probably was held back at some point. I asked them where their sisters were, and they came to surround me. I’m little, so they easily were 5 or so inches taller than me. They circled me, like I was prey.

I don’t really remember the conversation too much. I remember something about them thinking that they decided that they needed to try this sex thing, and they kept talking about exactly what went where, and they were planning on taking turns. One of them had grabbed my belt and pushed me into the dirt. There was a hole dug in the ground where my ass went, and I couldn’t just roll over to get away. And they held me down. And they were laughing. And my jeans made it down to my knees. They pinned my legs to the ground. And I was pushing back and screaming every moment of this. And as the younger brother started to put his hand on my stomach, the older one stood up and started laughing. The things that I remember most are him laughing, and how white his teeth were.

I was a precocious 9 year old. I knew that this was wrong. I knew how sex worked, but I was still young enough to think that you could only have sex if married. Is 9 too young for it to be considered attempted rape? Was this a run through?

Laughing at me was probably their big mistake. Instead of pounding on this kid with my miniature hands, I started trying to push myself up. As I reached around trying to get purchase on the dusty, dry ground, I managed to get a hunk of sandstone. It was triangular, a few inches thick, and I could get a good grip on it.

I didn’t watch myself hit him. I swung my arm in a large arc and connected with the orbit of his left eye. He immediately stopped moving, and started crying in pain. His brother quit laughing. A steady stream of “Oh my god, you let a girl hit you.” and “You ok?” went from one boy to the other. I stood up and wailed the rock at the kid on the ground. I pulled up my pants, and ran back home.

And then I hid in the basement and cried for hours.

I’ve never told this story before. No One. No family, friends, therapists. This is something that shapes me. I was almost raped. Sure, I was young. And I’ve always felt that had I told my mom, it would have been dismissed with nothing more than a plea to quit playing with the boys, and that boys will be boys. (If I had a dollar for every time I heard that growing up, I’d have more money than Apple).

I feel that in spite of the shit that has been handed down to me by humanity, I turned out pretty well. I know what I can take, what I can’t, when to be strong, when to ask for help, and when to kick ass. Friends of mine haven’t been so lucky. I’ve been the one on the phone telling a friend to go to the hospital because she was raped. I’ve been the one to take all the knives out of her house because she was irrevocably and undeniably mentally injured by this. I may not have done myself any favors for never telling anyone, and I may have even hurt myself, but these were choices I made, and while I will never be certain that they were the right ones, I am certain that I made these choices of my own free will. If anything, this whole experience taught me that choices are fucking hard and I am as strong as I choose to be.

The reason why I’m telling this now, is because I heard something that was so offensive to me, that I needed to respond. Generally, I let idiots wear themselves out.  Representative Akin, every rape is legitimate. No one has the right to do anything to my body without my permission. *Even Legislators*

Mr. Akin, you were right on one thing, we, the females of the species, do have a body that will ‘try to shut that whole thing down’. You know what the most important part of my body in that process is? It’s my brain. So here’s what I do: I call people out when I hear bullshit. I reason, I fight, I learn. I don’t make someone feel bad about themselves for something that they didn’t do. I smile at the people that escort the planned parenthood patients through the onslaught of pro-lifers. My brain helps me make choices. So you should respect that we have a mechanism to regulate the aftermath of such a wretched experience. You don’t get to make my choices for me.

I am a compassionate, loving, respectful human being, you should endeavor to be the same.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mona permalink
    20 August 2012 19:13

    What a great post. These are the stories people don’t think about when they make stupid comments. It’s great to see it posted here!

  2. 20 August 2012 20:12

    Thank you for sharing your story. Maybe one more knucklehead will read and finally get it. I salute your bravery.

  3. 20 August 2012 20:28

    Thanks for posting this. Akin is an idiot. But perhaps he may realize something from the shit storm his words have created. Your words strengthen my resolve for fairness and equality in the face of ignorant people who seek to repress others.

  4. 20 August 2012 21:03

    When the heart and mind connect all obstacles melt…your journey of empowerment begins with naming the abuse and examining the assumptions that organized you to be silent to violence against women, felt in your whole body! We humans are wired for stories and your pain and suffering needs to be mirrored for you to meet the underlying fear about it all being your fault.

  5. 22 August 2012 21:08

    Thank you for the strength in sharing, and in surviving.

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