This is “newly” empowering campaign started by activist Tarana Burke, that I have witnessed numerous women bring forth onto their social media. In itself this phrase symbolizes the voice of women (of color in particular) who have ever been sexually harassed or assaulted. The goal of this movement is to educate individuals regarding the extent of consequences resulting from sexual assault. This is my story:
Ninety-four days ago on Monday night around 11:10pm I was raped…To be honest I’m not sure what’s worse: seeing these words form as I type them, or simply just typing them… I was raped on August 21st, 2017 by a man who was supposed to respect me. A man who was supposed to grasp and digest the words “No” and “Stop” and listen. A man who was supposed to be man. Instead he took it upon himself to disregard me, my temple, and my lack of desire, and enter anyways.
The man that raped me is a firefighter/EMT for one of the neighboring counties where I reside. And that is how the two of us met. I work in the healthcare field as does he, so we naturally had a good amount in common. We formed what I thought to be a mutually respectful companionship. We spoke on a regular basis, went out for a bite to eat, and joked all the time with one another. He was sweet. Very… mannerly you know? He was the type of man who appeared to be raised by women. He always spoke with a “Yes ma’am. No ma’am. And never forgot to say “Thank you ma’am”. That didn’t matter anymore.
The night of my rape, the two of us were supposed to “hang out”. Nothing more. Nothing less. And I made that very clear prior to my arrival. Now looking retrospectively, I know that he had opposite intentions. I met him at one of the fire stations that he was assigned to and as usual we conversed, joked, and talked about what was new. Nothing was different. His actions were consistently entrenched. Met me by my car, held the door, and walked me inside. Nothing was different. We watched some show on television, and eventually agreed to go to his quarters. Once we got there, I expressed to him (once again) that we were not going to be intimate once again. I told him aloud. “We are not having sex”. He mocked me by repeating what I had just told him.
“ I know we’re not having sex.”…
To this day I can still hear those words in the back of my head, and still see his precarious grin across his face… By this time, he was undressing himself and started towards me. I said it again.
“We are not having sex.” -For those thinking “I should have known where this was going, no one knows when they’re going to be violated. I vividly remember him being on top of me, unfolding my tightly closed legs like a premature blossoming flower… I fought him from going any further but eventually just gave up. He was too strong. And at this point I did not want to risk being raped and beaten. That was honestly what crossed my mind…
When he was finished, I just laid on my right side facing the wall in the dark. The room was so quiet, but the shame burning inside of me was loud. I remember getting up after lying there, getting dressed, and walking out. He asked me “what’s wrong?”… And I just kept going. I remember him walking me to my car, and telling me to let him know when I arrived home. I never did. And to this day he never contacted me again….
I balled in the car all the way home. All 27 minutes. When I pulled into my driveway, my tears had dried and it was time to pull my shit together. I could not confide in my parents. I mean how could I? So it would break their heart? I couldn’t do that. Not to them. I did everything in my powers to never have to disappoint them. I just couldn’t.
The next morning, I called my aunt and uncle and told them what happened. My aunt and I went to the Police Department. We spoke to a detective, and I received a SANE exam at a hospital up north. I didn’t shower, because I knew I needed them to swab my body for his DNA… I went 14 hours with HIS DNA all over my temple. And in these 14 hours, he had yet to contact me. Three weeks went by and I received a phone call from my detective stating that there was “not enough evidence” for a solid case. He then proceeded to tell me “It’s a he- said she- said case” and that I didn’t have any “visual bruises”.
But what about my emotional bruises? What about my mental bruises? What about that?
Having to tell my family and best friends was one of the hardest things I had to do. I actually debated taking my rape to my grave. One of my best friends did not speak to me for thirteen days, because she was so hurt. She sent me a text apologizing, and stating how her first reactions were “Why are you so nice to people Brittany”. -Maybe she was right. Maybe I was too nice. He would have done it anyways. I had to let that go, and know she was not being malicious, just protective. However it made me reflect on who I was. My rapist gets to wake up every single day with the satisfaction of knowing that he walked away with a part of me. I on the other hand have the satisfaction of knowing that even with that being true, he did not walk away with all of me. He almost walked away with my strength, my light, and my voice… And for the first few months I let him. Then I remembered who the hell I was.
Today November 23rd, 2017 I heard his voice for the first time in 94 days… And it sent a chill up my spine that went down my arms and paralyzed my legs. It brought me to tears and made my heart beat slowly. It was the kind of chill that made your senses go dull, and your pupils constrict. The kind of chill that makes you relive it all again…He was wishing my co-workers a Happy Thanksgiving, and I just so happen to have stepped away from that particular area. Funny how Satan works hard, but God works even harder. I’ve seen him since (at work), but it was always from afar. Today was up-close and too- close for comfort.
I wanted to publish this post some time ago, but I was not ready. And I couldn’t force myself to be. I was afraid of being judged, and labeled. Most of all I was afraid for being looked at differently from everyone that I know. Friends, family, co-workers, and strangers. But then I remembered who I was, and the reason I made Mindmymelanin. I made this blog as a coping mechanism for myself. I made this blog to heal, and help other women heal with me. I made this blog to be the voice of those who don’t know they have one yet. I made this blog to somehow be free within myself again ya know? My anxiety, depression, and rape do not define me. One of my most beloved friends Pauline and I face timed for the first time in months. She is a teacher in China now, so we both live busy lives. She confided in me about her grandmother’s newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s, and how that was her new demon she was battling. This is someone whom she loves so much transform into what could possibly be a strang
er. Yet she still finds peace, and God. One thing I’ve learned about God is that he makes no mistakes.
“We have to walk on thorns to fully appreciate life; and we have to take the thorns out of our sides to fully enjoy the flower”-Pauline