Atlas and Alice Issue 4

Page 15

Atlas & Alice | Issue 4, Summer/Fall 2015

Why Your Rapist Will Always Win Here’s what will happen after you’re raped: Most people think the worst part of rape is the rape, the fast and few bleak minutes after you say no when you are held prisoner by “drunk girls are asking for it” and a pair of arms too strong to push away. It’s not. The worst part is everything that will happen after. It will be the forty-five minutes of scrubbing viciously in the shower. It will be standing naked in your bathroom, probing your soreness and wondering if you even had sex, because your vaginismus makes it impossible for you to even have sex when you want to half the time; how could anyone have sex with you when you didn’t want to? It will be six years of feminist training screaming inside your head to override guilt and revulsion to convince you: “You were raped!” It will be huddling in your most comfortable clothes for hours watching Netflix until you call the boy you used to trust the most, ignoring your currently-fraught relationship because you have to talk about what happened and ask for validation. It will be not knowing whom to trust enough to burden with this horrible, dirty secret. It will be weathering a surprise call from your grandfather and having to pretend everything is okay long enough to make small talk. It will be lying in a scratchy hospital gown for three hours while one of your only indignant and understanding friends sits nearby, while you feel exposed and cumbersome to the unsympathetic nurse, watching a silent television panel of doctors, trying to guess what they’re saying about the trivial topic of dieting. It will be the stripping of the sheets on your bed, sheets that were once comforting and now feel dirty to your exposed skin, resisting the urge to burn them, instead replacing them with the softest sheets in the cleanest shade of blue that Target had to offer. It will be finding your rapist’s sock on your floor and spending five minutes working up the nerve to touch it long enough to throw it away. It will be calling your mother. It will be the five days of aching underneath your once-protective jeans, feeling a soreness that once—eons ago, now almost outside the realm of your memory—signified a night of rarely engaged-in pleasure. It will be clutching a black coffee in a cold and dark coffee shop, pretending to talk normally with that it’s-still-weird-between-us boy, while you wait for your doctor’s office to call back and explain the sudden and unexpected current flowing from between your legs. It will be waiting anxiously through your favorite class, pretending you care about the workshop when in reality you’re waiting to go home and take a pregnancy test. It will be wondering if the pooling blood soaking into your O.B. Super Plus tampon was once a life spark in your uterus, trying to reconcile relief that if you were pregnant, you wouldn’t have to decide whether or not to get an abortion, with an undercurrent of regret for what may have been a potential little you. It will be panic attacks in the shower. It will be the violation of your space, somehow worse than the violation of