A friend of mine recently shared this story with me and I know that this may help someone.
I Was Raped
I was raped. There. I said it. And now you know. I’m not telling you this because I want your sympathy and I’m not telling you this because want your attention. I do, however, want some of you to stop being so goddamned judgmental. I want you to have empathy for a woman who has survived a sexual assault. Today, I’ve seen so many of you (here and on twitter) cast your judgments upon many of the Cosby accusers (i.e. “they should’ve said something when it happened” and the one that pushed me over the top and encouraged me to tell about my experience – well, now that a “real/prominent (insert whatever adjective you’d like)” woman like Beverly Johnson said something then maybe he did do it). Some of you who have made these comments are people that I consider friends. People whose opinions I value. For these reasons alone, I’ve decided to tell my story. Again, I don’t want your sympathies…I want you to stop being an ass.
Just a few days after 9/11 a few friends (or people who I thought were friends at the time) and I went to Memphis. One in particular – let’s call her Annie – wanted to go down to hang with some of her radio station friends. That was nothing out of the ordinary for Annie and me; I was often her traveling buddy when she wanted to network in other cities (Annie wanted to be in the entertainment industry). On the first night there, we went to dinner with some of Annie’s radio station friends. They all seemed nice. Afterwards, we all went out to a club. I had just made 21 a few months earlier and hadn’t learned how to manage my liquor intake so I got drunk. And I don’t mean drunk, I mean DRUNK. I had at least 15 – 20 shots of tequila. I was started blacking out. Annie asked one of the guys – Bryan – who was with us to escort me to the car and made him promise that he would look after me. I was coherent enough at that point to get one of my close friends on the phone, whose sister actually knew Bryan. They spoke to him and made sure I was okay. After that, I don’t remember much.
I remember waking up in a car and no on was there. I remember waking up to a man in front of me. I remember waking up to go into my hotel and my shoe was missing. I remember that when I woke up last time, I felt weird. I got into the hotel and noticed then that my panties were wet and my body felt like I’d had sex. I told Annie and the other friend. They took me to have a rape kit done. While talking to the detective, Annie and the other friend told the detective that Bryan had come into the restaurant and put a gun on the table and demanded his keys. They said it was odd and they didn’t understand why he was so angry, but they complied.
At that moment, I freaked out. I couldn’t remember anything and I had just heard that this man threatened my friends with a gun. So when the detective asked me if I wanted to pursue charges against Bryan I froze. I was scared. I was embarrassed. And quite frankly, I didn’t want anyone to know. I was disappointed in myself. I blamed myself. I hated myself for being so stupid to have gotten so drunk. I was suicidal. I often thought of hurting myself. I was almost committed. I became reckless. I started making irresponsible decisions. I pushed people away. I continued to drink so much so that at some point I was able to out drink grown ass men. I was a mess. And for all of those reasons, I did not follow up with the detective to give a formal statement.
It took me many, many years to heal and to pull myself together from all of the broken pieces that this experience created. And it still hurts. Especially on days like today, when I see people that I know and love blaming a woman for being sexually assaulted. It hurts me when I see some of you judge these women for not telling the their stories sooner. It also hurts me when you validate one woman’s experience as true and disregard over 20+ other women’s similar experience.
It took me a very long time to get over the guilt and the shame of what happened to me. It took me just as long to stop blaming myself. There are still days when I get pissed that I wasn’t strong enough to say fuck everyone else’s opinion and give a formal statement. And the guy that raped me wasn’t even a celebrity. He was a “regular” dude. I can’t imagine how these women felt going up against the machine that is Bill Cosby while he was in the prime of his career.
So take a few minutes and think about that. I mean, really think about it. They probably experienced some, if not all, of the same feelings I had – if not worse. You have no idea what these women have been through – the shame, the guilt, the embarrassment. None of it and unless you’ve been violated in the way that I have you can’t say what you “would have” done if you were sexually assaulted. So take your judgment and shove it up your ass. Think before you speak because you don’t know what it’s like until, God forbid, you know what it’s like.