Unconscious, awake, a stranger or friend.
These are the stories we must defend.
Far too often we make excuses for these offenders,
But any time you force sexual activity you are a contender.
Was it what I wore? Was I asking for this attention?
They’ll think I’m a whore and there was no dissension.
I laid there stripped of my dignity,
Questioning if it was wrong to speak malignity.
Maybe it was my fault and I’m the one to blame,
After all I am the one with the ripped clothes left bloody and bruised, feeling ashamed.
But how many girls have you done this to and thought it all the same?
I wanted and told you to stop after an innocent goodnight kiss,
But there you ended on top, too weak to fight back all I could do was submiss.
You moved my hand, I removed my hand.
Don’t you understand, what don’t you understand?
This is more than i can withstand.
What if I didn’t even know you and I was walking down the street.
You pushed me down and dragged me somewhere discrete.
Did your actions help make YOU feel complete?
Did I not scream NO loud enough?
People will think this is all a bluff.
Because there are sick people out there that make up this is stuff.
To take away someone’s life and put them in handcuffs.
But you took mine away, and it didn’t seem tough.
It only took you a few moments for you to take everything you stole,
But believe me your everlasting presence has taken much more than just its physical toll.
This weight that I carry as a burden is weighing me below.
I felt worthless and useless, you took my dignity and beat it senseless, you selfish….
There are no words to describe people like you.
This only depicts half of what people go through…
About one in six females are raped throughout their life time,
And out of that about 33% of these women report contemplating suicide while 13% actually do.
This leaves a deeper more permanent mark than any fucking tattoo.
Talk about permanent, let’s talk about pregnancy.
What a constant reminder to live with endlessly.
And that’s not even where it ends because now you gave me an std,
The results came back and read, hepatitis b.
And let’s talk about men that get raped because I know one that has been.
But with a man what excuses will our society begin?
Isn’t he supposed to be tough?
He must be into that stuff…
We’re finally hearing out women isn’t that enough?
Listen to me when I say we have the right to say no without a reason.
A no does not give you the right to continue, that’s treason.
We’re stronger than you now and fighting harder,
There will be change this is just the starter.
At what point will you realize it isn’t yours to take?
Because clearly it didn’t matter that it was our life that was at stake.
I, first, want to start off by saying that I have never been sexually assaulted. I decided to talk about this matter when I first saw Ana Mendieta’s work, Rape Scene, and was further inspired by all of the USA gymnastics sexual abuse charges. I wanted to recreate the details that Mendieta did within her photographs, to accomplish some of the same feelings that come up, by writing a poem.
This topic is extremely important to talk about as there are so many different forms that rape can come in. As I mention in the beginning, we can be unconscious, awake, and the perpetrator could be a stranger or a friend. They can do it in a very aggressive manner or simply by ignoring your voice, body language, or discomfort. When alcohol is consumed on both sides it becomes an even trickier topic because most of the time people are unaware of what they are doing or what is happening. In addition, if it is a person you know you would not want to get them in trouble, so it is easier to stay quiet. I’m sure guilt plays its role as well, while you blame yourself for drinking that much or putting yourself in such a risky situation that possibly could have just been avoided. This is not the only time that guilt plays a part in rape. There are many times when people think that it is their fault for something happening to them, that they somehow asked for it or should have been more resistant. Unfortunately, most of societies feedback tells them the same thing. They will tell you, “you have to take some responsibility for your actions, you shouldn’t have been in their room in the first place,” or “you should have left” . They will ask you “Well what were you wearing?” “How much did you have to drink?” “Did you lead them on in any way or flirt with them?” Firstly, I can assure you it is not always that simple, and secondly, we should be able to go over to hangout with someone of the opposite or even same gender without being forced into something we are uncomfortable with. Giving consent to some things does not give them consent to do everything and consent can be revoked at any point you choose. Women, we are allowed to say no without feeling guilty or being seen as anything but having respect for ourselves.
No one should feel ashamed about being sexually assaulted because if I have learned one thing, it is that at the end of the day what a person does to you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. If someone chooses to ignore and go against our voice and resistance, we will fight against them harder by using our voices and empowering those that come next. We will teach the world to stop putting a stigma around sexual assault victims and show everyone that they will never get taken advantage of again where it actually counts. We will teach the world the everlasting effects that rape can have so that maybe, just maybe, someone will think before they act or listen to someone when they say no. We will teach the world that this stuff happens to men too and when men come out I hope that we are more than open minded enough to listen and understand. We need to understand that when a man gets taken advantage of by a girl that it is not a laughing matter and should not be seen as just another prize. We need to understand that this can be just as detrimental. And when a man gets taken advantage of by another man, we must be more than understanding because that takes a lot of humility for a man to stand up and admit that.
It is obvious that there were years of fear instilled into the gymnast that were taken advantage of and a lot of them weren’t even old enough to understand what was happening at the time. It came from the entire atmosphere we were put in and when someone did come out, they were either paid off to stay silent or the evidence was swept under the rug and ignored.
It is beyond time for change and I stand behind each and every survivor! Together there will be change. Time is Up!
9 Replies to “Sexual Assault”
Hi Katelyn, I spend a lot of time thinking about strategies for parenting. I have one child (7 yo girl) and one of the things I’m interested in learning about is how as a parent I can get past the sigh. You know. The sigh that I’m going to get when my daughter is in the almost teens or teenage years and I try to warn her about this and have a discussion about how to live her life in a way that she’ll never have regrets. Any thoughts or advice on that? My current idea is to just push past it. Point out the behavior. Ok, you’re sighing right now, I promise your time is not more valuable than the ideas and lessons I can give you for how to live your life with no regrets. Any ideas that might be better for what to say? Thank you for this, and for your article about eating and how those horrible comments made you feel. I’m a big fan of not only yours but some of your other teammates I think you can win the NCAA this year, but admittedly, knowing about the culture of gymnastics, and not just the Nassar type PURE EVIL almost gives me pause…. When you “hang them up” after your senior year or whatever, I would like to read your insight on was this all worth it for you. Maybe you already know that in the affirmative as something that has been a tremendous source of pride in totality, or in the negative and would have liked to just have never had this in your life. Katelyn, keep speaking out and writing.
Hello, I think that growing up is a process and all a learning experience. You can be told not to do certain things to not have regrets but at the end of the day the only way of truly learning is by making mistakes and learning from them and growing. Of course educating your kids about things that could save them in the long run is extremely important but I would say not to be overbearing. But yes, you could point out the behavior and educate her on why you’re telling her the things you are so it’s more of an understanding and less of orders. Anyways, I already have my answer for the last question but I will save that for another year or so.
Thank you for this. Katelyn you are so brave and your writing is phenomenal. This was so raw and real. Thank you.
I am a survivor of rape in college. This was triggering but so accurate. I appreciate the trigger warning on this post. I did not report my date rape and told no one for years. Watching this trial of the monster doctor (I refuse to speak his name.) has been emotional for me but I have found a bit of healing and am in awe and admiration for the brave survivors.
One more thing-
If someone says they don’t know anyone who is a survivor they are wrong. We are everywhere.
Thanks again for this post. ❤️ CJ
This was an eye opener Katelyn. Well, In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.
Thanks for this post you have all reason a lot people need have a differents things about this. ?