Let me start off by saying that listening to this video was difficult for me. It brought back some very nauseating memories. I believe it is so important to discuss how rape is viewed and handled because it needs to change.
In 2006 I was living in Las Vegas and I had had enough. I desperately needed a change and while talking to an old friend of mine, decided to move to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I remember packing up my locker at work and telling my girlfriends that I was off to meet my future husband. In August, I jumped on a plane and actualized those words and off I went on my new adventure.
2005 and 2006 had been very difficult and challenging years and I had dreams of starting fresh, somewhere new. I could be anyone and do anything. I felt alive and hopeful for the first time in a long time. When I arrived to this little military town, I stayed with one of my lifelong friends and his family. I got a job right away at Marina and was off slinging drinks and waiting on tables before you could blink an eye.
While working at the Marina, I met a young Marine who kept flirting with me. Although I was friendly, I was very clear when I told him that I wasn’t interested in dating him. I told him that we could be friends, but quite frankly, he was too young for me.
One night the young Marine came into the Marina, had a couple beers and offered to give me a ride home because it was late and I didn’t have a car at the time. I accepted the ride. Unfortunately for him, he got pulled over, the cop smelled the beer on him and arrested him. He asked me to take his car home so it wouldn’t get towed, so I did.
The next day, he was out of jail and I was out with a girlfriend. (I made friends pretty fast out there). I told him he could meet us to pick up his keys. I told my girlfriend that he was so persistent on flirting with me and to please be sure not to leave without me, as I would have no way home. The last thing I remember after he arrived was that my girlfriend was going to the bathroom. After that, I only have bits and pieces of memory. I will never know for sure if I drank too much or if my drink had been spiked. I believe it was the latter. I have a flash of memory where he walked me to his friends car and put me in the back seat. I remember asking him where my girlfriend was and asking why was he putting me in the car. He told me she left me and he was going to take me home. I was too weak to move. My body went limp. I had a flash of memory where he was covering me with a blanket, like he was tucking me in, in a room I had never been to before.
When I woke up in the morning, I was completely confused. My bra and panties were not on me. He was getting dressed in front of me and I couldn’t understand why. I asked him what happened. He told me that I passed out in the back of the car during the short drive to the barracks. He said he tried to wake me for 15 minutes before he picked me up and carried me up the stairs and put me in the bed. He casually told me how we had sex and how I “wanted it”. Yes, you heard that correctly. I “wanted it”. He then offered to take me home.
Even though none of this made any sense, I still didn’t realize that I had been raped. It wasn’t until later that evening, when I was explaining what happened to my friend’s wife, that things started to click. This guy was dead sober. I blacked out shortly after he arrived. He tricked me into thinking that my friend left me and he was going to take me home. How could I possibly “want it” when I was not even remotely attracted to this guy and more importantly, I was UNCONSCIOUS???
I stayed in that town for two and a half months longer because I wasn’t going to let this defeat me. I wasn’t going to let him get the best of me. No fucking way. I’m a strong woman and I would deal with this. But the truth was, I wasn’t strong enough to deal with the PTSD that came afterwards. For two and a half months this little shit roamed the streets free. To add salt to the wound, he had a twin brother that had joined the Corps with him. So if I wasn’t running into him, I’d run into his twin. I started getting panic attacks, hyperventilating. Then finally one night, I lost my mind and had a really bad exorcist-style incident and decided that I needed to get the hell out of there.
I did press charges against my rapist. His punishment? An uncharacterized discharge from the Marine Corps. All that time I spent questioning myself. Did drink too much? Did I “want it” as he said? I was going crazy inside and the crazy was coming to the surface. All he got was a fucking uncharacterized discharge? Are you fucking kidding me? It is 10 years later and I remember his name. I remember his face. I remember how I felt when I realized how he violated me. I remember sitting in the hospital being having a rape kit done on me… all those people and the questions and the tests. I remember going to court by myself to face him. I remember the panic attacks. I remember the shame. I remember wanting to crawl out of my skin. I remember knowing that he was going to probably walk a free man and I would just have to come to terms with that. I remember the feeling of loss and defeat when they let him walk out of that courtroom a free man. One of the worst things I remember is telling my family, my friends, and my children what happened and feeling their hearts break.
Every time I hear of a story like this Stanford case, I remember you Daniel. I hope you remember me too. I hope when you think of me, you think twice before putting your hands on an unconscious woman or a conscious one for that matter. I hope when you hear these stories of guys “having sex” with unconscious women, you realize that is not having sex. It is not consensual. She doesn’t “want it”. It is R-A-P-E.
We need to change how our society views rape. We need to stop victimizing the victims. We need to hold those committing RAPE accountable for their crimes. It is not easy for me to listen to this Stanford woman’s letter. It is not easy for me to write this post, but I know that we can’t hide in the shadows ashamed for what was done to us, allowing the blame to be put on us for something someone else did. To the Daniels and the Brocks of the world, YOU are to blame. You chose to violate another human being. You are not the victims. You are the criminals. I hope that society starts viewing you as such rather than making excuses for your loathsome choices. It is not a mistake when you rape another human being. It is a crime. Enough is enough.