Why do I want to talk about this? Rape! Its a biggy! Moreover, why do I want to be so frank and honest? First of all, this is a personal opinion, drawn only from my own experience. Second, I want to talk about it because others, can’t, don’t and some choose not to, and they are not necessarily the victims. I want to be frank about it because had people been open and honest with me in the past, I might have dealt with it sooner, and if they were able to be open to the discussion now, they might learn something and raise awareness, rather than keeping it taboo, which only serves to make victims like myself feel all the more isolated!
So why is talking about sex so vitally important? For me as a child, sex was taboo. It was dirty and wrong, and as the telly was turned over and we all fidgeted with unease in our seats, the message was clear. Sex is always, always a dirty, unclean and morally bad thing.
Unfortunately at the age of thirteen when I was raped the first time, it hadn’t occurred to me that my being relied on this very event. I had not yet squirmed on finding papas condoms, and had never seen my parents kiss. It just never occurred to me that they did such a dreadfully sickly thing. So when I was raped, telling them was not an option.
Turning up at school the morning after, wearing the same grass, bloodeed and piss stained jeans, with makeup all over my face, and what must have been an ‘away with the fairies’ look was an attempt to highlight that something wasn’t right. Nobody seemed to care, let alone notice!
Having cleaned myself, well, up to a fashion, I went home, and carried on as normal. After all, I had been dressed ‘like a tart‘ as my father would say, I had drank cider, and for the first time I had sniffed glue. But the black eye and swollen ribs I was sure I didn’t deserve. Worse still, I had wet the bed, and my so called friend knew. The stigma, oh my goodness!
Having decided that it was no more than I had deserved, and that my boyfriends failure to protect me was a out of line, I decided, a lesson was learned. Having sniffed glue once, it would never happen again. And after all, I didn’t want to sniff the glue, I’d never done it before, I had been forced after that man, Kevin Rankmore had throne me in the sewage water. I hadn’t meant to spill his precious tin of Evostick. And by the way, what did parents know anyway? Spots around your nose from sniffing, ha bloody ha! You had to breath the stuff in through your mouth. They were obviously wrong about all drugs!
The pain of the beating my boyfriend had given me after the rape hurt a lot. At the time, more than the rape. It was obviously because I had asked for it. Of course. And as dad said, I was just a little shit, a tart, mum new nothing, she was blind. The teachers saw me the same way dad did. And of course they were right. I was violent, I drank alcohol, and I smoked. Yep, I’d have to be more careful in the future.
I was sixteen when I told somebody. My first serious boyfriend. He got angry… I left it. It wasn’t comfortable to talk about, and this was the one. I was in my twenties when I told my husband. His response was much the same. ‘Well, I suppose these things happen when you’re stupid eh’!
The thing is, I didn’t really move on from that until much later. Yes it kept cropping up. But always, people felt discomfort. I didn’t want that. I kept it to myself, and well, I had sex…..after wine, and to the horror of my husband, wished never to discuss it afterwards.
I’m 40 this year! And here I am trying to make sense of it all. It’s no longer the rape, I was over that years ago. I have a wonderful sex life, quite a strange one, but its great. Sex is no longer dirty thanks to a dear friend who once said “Sex is ‘play’ for adults”. That and a bit of Nat Geo, confirmed how natural sex was. No, it’s people’s response to sex that fascinates me, worse still their selfish response to rape. The frown, the tone of voice, oh and worse of all the sympathy and advice. Ask me a question about it for god sake! I’m not a victim anymore!You give me advice after presuming I am a victim; I’m OK with it, are you?
At the beginning I implied that I had been raped more than once. Technically, this is true. But for me, the rape I have mentioned is the one that matters. The one that used to give me shudders, and now drives my passion for open dialogue about tricky issues. Every rapist was not the same. As a frigid sixteen year old having given some poor chap the idea that I was game for anything, and then letting him down right at the last, only to wake up with him inside me was a hard lesson learned. He wasn’t some predator. He was, like me, a youngster, finding his way, making mistakes. The boyfriend I had for two years and never let him near me, but loved to frustrate him. I had the power. Perhaps a way of dealing with the ‘woman‘ issue, and how we are often the object of sex.
No, with forty just around the corner I still use my sexuality. Every time I go to work the first words I say are “do you have some hunky good looking guys to help me with my gear?” And I have power, as woman! Perhaps this is learnt behavior? Quite amusing that my children are boys and a girl, (not that I was expecting aliens). Are they different because we have made them so, or just because they are two different sexes? I would suggest the former is true despite a long running battle. But of course, if people cannot discuss sex, openly, honestly, and frankly, that will never change.
It will always be OK for males to act a certain way, and for women to do the same. Sadly part of the latter entails an acceptance that ‘men just can’t help themselves’ and that women are very attractive because of the tools they have accepted access to. That men need to be masculine, the more the better.
Well I’m sorry to shatter that illusion, but the truth is, some of us women can’t help ourselves either. And if that’s not your experience lads, you need to think about what you can do for us… And that means so much more than sex, but ultimately, the best sex you’ll ever have. Where we feel comfortable with you. And that can only happen after discussion, and when it’s been good for you, has it really been that good for us……or did we just want it over and done with? If you believe it was good, and she didn’t climax three times ask yourself why. Three hours is good for a woman if you’re doing it right. (SORRY HAD TO THROW THAT IN).
I am a thirty nine year old bi sexual woman. Probably so open as a result of being suppressed. Humans wouldn’t be where they are today without having talked. It’s a necessity. Nothing should ever be taboo. Ever! I love to listen, I try to question, I aim to challenge norms, and accepted truths. Why? because it is the normalization of men as men (sixteen tons, Johnny Cash) and women as women (Jolene, Dolly Parton) that stereotype and give us part of our identity. But I like being a woman, and I like men to be all sixteen tons…(well in attitude anyway). We need to talk, and we need to understand that silence never lasts. Silence causes anger. Silence is ignorance. Silence causes silent pain. Sex is a natural, and when experienced in the right way, wonderful, even perhaps the most enjoyable part of life. Hence we all reproduce. We are not all the same. For whatever reason, we like different things, therefore, before sex can ever be enjoyed, good honest conversation is essential between, parent and child, child and child, lovers, friends and the general public.
Not all the people who raped me are rapists. I was a confused girl. They were confused too. There are bad men, and women too. We need to be aware of them all. We are, each and everyone, precious. Our bodies and minds are our own. But they are the only one’s we have. What we do with our bodies will play on our minds. What goes on in our minds cannot be discovered if we do not talk openly. An open conversation about sex, (non explicit, perhaps simple animal reproductive sex, like sex education) will highlight problems and frustrations in children early on, and it will enable children to ask for advice. It will enable them to talk without embarrassment. It will enable them to consider issues internally having discussed things openly. They will have been opened to different perspectives.
And so I leave you with some questions, and hopefully some food for thought. How do we begin to talk about sex? I don’t know that my way is right, but personally, I believe there are no lines in the sand. Consenting adults do what they do….lets call it ‘play’. How do we talk to kids, without making sex OK to go try? For me, its a balance between your body, your dignity, your wants and absolute personal comfort. Likewise and more importantly, you have to be convinced that the other person is happy to share their body with you, that you are treating them in a dignified manner, that they want sexual activity to continue and that they are comfortable. This can only be done through dialogue, and that is not oral sex!.
Explanations of how uncomfortable it can be when love is absent, how used and abused you can feel, and how utterly dreadful it can be when all of the above is missing. Highlight that the other persons experience can be exchanged, and if things are not right you may look a fool. I think INSTINCT is EVERYTHING… every time it happened, I had sensed something was wrong, I often felt obliged. That’s not rape, but can often feel as bad.
I led a very free life from eleven years old, living with sisters and so on. I had too much freedom. Mum and dad were busy making money and had NO TIME. TIME is key, know your kids and everyone around them.
Get to know your kids. My parents never new me..and now its too late. I would never have had these experiences had my parents talked to me and spent time with me. All the computers, video games, bedrooms and friends are great, I had everything………………………………..BUT….Time and talk. x