I was engaged to my rapist– had been engaged to him for almost a year by the time he raped me. He sexually assaulted me… I honestly don’t know. The number of times is probably in the hundreds. Looking back over our relationship, he had been grooming me for that moment for literally years. It had started small– minor things I could brush off as cute, as innocent, as harmless, but things still done to me without my consent. Slowly, so slowly I couldn’t tell what was happening, everything intensified. And, through it all, he made absolutely certain that I knew beyond all doubt that there was no such thing as no. If I said no to anything– if I didn’t instantly answer when he called, if I didn’t immediately change my clothes when he told me to, if I didn’t comply with every request the second he made it, I was punished.Another aspect of this sort of grooming is that victims can end up initiating physical encounters in public even if they don’t want to. This can ruin the victim’s credibility if s/he later reports abuse:
He also made it brutally, horribly clear that he was not interested in only demanding and taking– if I was not at least a semi-active participant in my own assault, he would punish me for that, too.
He would have directed me to his parents– because he had made sure they witnessed me “initiating” physical things, like cuddling and touching and kissing. He had the entire campus on his side– he leveraged his popularity and his fame against me, deliberately doing everything within his power to discredit me as that “crazy bitch.” Years after I’d graduated, students still knew who I was, and what I’d “done to him.” And the police would have marked my report a false allegation, and I would have been dismissed as a liar.Forgedimagination also wrote a previous post, this time about consent. Inevitably, some random man turned up to explain to her how false allegations of rape are really bad.
This is why bringing false allegations into conversations about rape and consent is so damaging. We aren’t reacting negatively because we don’t think that false allegations are horrible, or that false allegations are insignificant and easily dismissed, because they aren’t. We are reacting this way because we live in a world where false allegations are the dominant narrative. Because false allegations are a nearly-universal part of any conversation about rape, when a woman says that she is a rape survivor, one of the first things that becomes a part of that conversation is suspicion, cynicism, and dismissal.That, that and especially that. Read the whole thing. It’s hard. But read it anyway, if you can.