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This post was submitted to my blog, Occasional Planet, by Sue Evans. I'm reprinting it at the urging of her friend, Catherine, who is telling her story of rape survival for the first time--13 years after it took place. She lives in Missouri, and she wants everyone--particularly women who are still "undecided"--to think about her experience as a rape survivor--and the experiences of so many others like her--when they decide whether to vote for or against politicians like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock and others who view rape as a joke, as something women lie about, or as God's will.

Sue begins Catherine's story this way:

I have a friend who is one of the strongest — yet most gentle and loving — souls I have ever known. She asked me to bring you her story. She doesn’t ask for your pity. She asks only for understanding. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, there are over 207,000 sexual assaults in the United States each year. Here is my friend’s story, in her own words.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”  U.S. Representative Todd Akin (R-MO).

“If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams (R-TX), March 1990.
 “I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.” – 2012 Presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA).

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, Rep. Todd Akin, and 214 other Republicans co-sponsored the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” which would prohibit federal funding of abortions except in instances of “an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest.” (H.R. 3, 112th Congress, January 20, 2011)

I have a friend who is one of the strongest — yet most gentle and loving — souls I have ever known. She asked me to bring you her story. She doesn’t ask for your pity. She asks only for understanding. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, there are over 207,000 sexual assaults in the United States each year. Here is my friend’s story, in her own words.

Catherine’s story

I am a rape survivor.  I cannot speak for every rape survivor; I can only describe my own experience.  It is nothing like some of the recent politicians would like us to believe.

My name is Catherine.  I was 24 years old that day. I waited at the bus stop in my baggy sweats with my backpack, just having finished a long hike.  An approaching pickup truck slowed down. The driver asked me if I needed a ride. I said no. He continued down the road, then he turned around. He was out of the truck and dragging me into the bushes before I could react.

For me, this is what rape is:

It was screaming so hard and for so long for help that didn’t come.  Screaming that made me lose my voice for four days.

It was fighting so hard for myself, that when I was finally alone and could see, I saw that I had no fingernails left – just bloody nail beds where my nails had been from fighting and scratching to fight off my rapist.

It was tears running down my bloody face because I wasn’t strong enough to fight him anymore as he held me down and beat me into submission.

It was whimpering while praying as he thrust and pushed so hard against an unwilling participant, and calling on God to help me, wondering why he had abandoned me when I needed him the most.

I was raped – I did not experience the rapture of God’s intention to bless me with a child.

I was raped – it was not consensual, it was not legitimate, and my body certainly did not start working to shut down a conception process – it was too busy fighting for its own life.

I was raped – I am unable to categorize it as honest or dishonest rape.  I can categorize as violent, painful and cruel.  It was physically and psychologically scarring.

I was raped – it was unexpected; I did not ask for it; it certainly wasn’t planned.  Does that make it an emergency rape?

I was raped – for hours I fought for my life and the right to control who touches my body.  Although I lost that fight, I did not rape easy.

I was raped – I felt a lot of things when it became clear that it was inevitable.  I hated my rapist.  I hated myself.  I hated God.  There was no desire to relax, lie back and enjoy it.

Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, if you think men and women in this country are overreacting to a few comments taken out of context, sit for a moment and think some more.  Think hard about what your real, visceral reaction would be if your wife, mother, sister or daughter called you from the hospital to tell you she had just been raped.

Unfortunately, if your wife, mother, sister, or daughter were raped, you may never have the opportunity to feel a reaction, offer comfort or give support.  You may notice some intangible change in the vitality of the woman you love, but to spare you the pain and anger of knowing what happened to her without being able to do anything about it, she may not tell you.  Even if she wanted to, she may be afraid of what her family, friends, coworkers and society would think of her — because on some level, our society still blames a woman in part for being raped.  Why else are words like “honest rape,” “legitimate rape” and “forcible rape” being tolerated as part of our lexicon about this crime? My rape was thirteen years ago. I have not yet told my parents.

I have always considered the United States to be one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to women’s rights.

That is why it angers me to see the word “rape” being used without thought and bandied about as a political ideological concept, rather than a word to describe a violent, abhorrent crime against women. I was raped. I am a survivor. I was fortunate enough to live in an age when I did not have to worry about bearing the child of the man who brutalized me. There are some in America who would force me to bear that child, in the name of some warped God-directed concept of respect for life

I ask you this: What god deserves worship who would “bless” a violent, soul-destroying act with an unwanted living reminder? What nation would allow a religion to write law that dehumanizes a woman into nothing but a vessel, as my rapist saw me?

I ask you this: Think of the women you love as you choose your lawmakers.

Thank you for reading my story.

Originally posted to Lefty on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 05:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Sluts.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you. I am so sorry you were hurt. (5+ / 0-)

    I was so afraid the rapist would kill me. That sickening fear was the worst part for me.

    The Republicans have been mind raping me and other rape survivors for months now. I am so angry. I cannot say what I am thinking here because I will be hiderated.  

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 06:35:22 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for helping us understand. (4+ / 0-)

    I think rape is still to a lot of people much too much of an abstract concept. The way you told your story made it a lot more real in my opinion.

    Your question "what god deserves worship" reminds me of my recent re-reading of the bible, wherein I discovered again that that god used to prescribe death for those "successfully raped" in town because the victim obviously hadn't cried out and therefore obviously had cooperated with the rapist.

    Those raped in the country were spared because nobody could tell if they had cried out or not.

    How far we have not come since those old testament days.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 07:08:28 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the honesty and courage (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    swampyankee, CrazyOwlLady, Thestral

    in sharing this story.  How horrible!  I hope Catherine was able to get emotional support and counseling afterwards.

    Why do we absolve rapists of all responsibility?  Why do we say a woman "was raped" instead of "a male raped a woman"?  Why do we say "my rapist" instead of "the rapist"?  

    Not casting blame here at all, just wondering aloud about this.  I have wondered for a long time.  I also wonder why news accounts say a child "was molested" instead of raped. Rape is rape.  It should be called rape, and since male criminals are the ones who do it, the news accounts should read "a male raped a woman last night in the woods near her home," not "a woman was raped in the woods near her home."  We know that a troll, troglodyte, passing coyote, or whatever, did not rape her, a male criminal did it.

    Rapists are hardly ever prosecuted successfully, as I know from having written a novel about the subject.  Apparently, in the case of a rape survivor under the age of thirty, the odds of a successful prosecution resulting in conviction are about one percent. I ascribe this to the fact that ours is a patriarchal society, as are most societies in the world .

    By the way, in case someone is getting ready to accuse me of hating men, I have been happily married to A MAN for the last 45 years, have two wonderful sons who are married or about to be married, and I do not hate men at all. I think most men are regular, decent human beings.  Some are criminals.  Most women are regular, decent human beings.  Some are criminals.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 08:07:40 AM PDT

  •  Tough story to read (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your courage in telling your story so publicly. If there are any who doubt that their is a war on women in this country, they only have to look at some of the comments posted elsewhere when I linked to this story. As a man (and woman), the conservatives decried the story, labeled it false and a "political ploy by Democrats." I am sugar-coating what some of them said. No wonder, I pointed out over there, that rape is an under-reported crime: only 2 out of 5 victims contact the authorities. Shame on the conservatives. Shame.

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