I was twenty.
He invited me to a party.
He did not ask if I wanted to be raped.
It should have been safe.
It my brother’s friend’s apartment.
But it was not safe.
They laughed and someone handed me an open can of beer.
I took a few sips.
Everything got fuzzy.
I now knew I was in danger but I could not move.
They said I wanted them. I said “No!”
They raped me for hours as others watched and laughed. We were co-workers. He was my brother’s friend.
I tried to fight but my body would not cooperate.
I begged them to stop. They did not.
My brother’s friend said “enough!” And they stopped. Male power.
My brother’s friend threw me out.
I do not know how I got home. I only recall being in the shower trying to wash off the shame.
I washed the evidence down the drain.
No evidence=Not raped. Not true.
No convictions=Not raped. Not true.
Rape culture says it was my fault. It wasn’t.
The next morning I packed and returned to college. I grieved, came out of my room and went to class.
I did not tell anyone until…
My brother’s friend and my rapists would be at my brother’s wedding.
Rape culture says they must be good guys because they had friends. It does not.
Finally, I told my brother. He did not believe me. He asked his friend. His friend said I was crazy.
Rape culture says it is a he said, she said misunderstanding. It is not.
I told my parents. Rape culture made them ashamed of what happened to me.
Rape culture told them it was my fault. I was a girl. It is always the girl’s fault.
Rape culture encouraged them to call me a “slut” and a “liar”.
Rape culture gave my father and brother permission to beat me up while my mother encouraged them.
Rape culture is why my mother asked why whores are surprised when they are treated like whores.
Rape culture told me it was my fault. It wasn’t.
Rape culture made me guilty of something I couldn’t prevent or stop.
Rape culture kept me from reporting it.
Rape culture kept me from talking about it.
Rape culture kept me imprisoned in shame.
Not for just one hour. Not for one day, one week, one month or one year.
Rape culture says it was a long time ago. Time to move on.
I never forget. I did not suddenly remember.
And my rapists are not nice guys.
It does not matter if they have a mother,
a good job,
It does not make what they did to me okay.
It took me over sixteen years to break away from the rape culture that kept me silent and caged.
My therapist believed me. My therapist gave me the key to break free of the shame to become a survivor.
But it still happened. I was raped thirty years ago whether they admit it or not.
They raped me.