I grew up in a house where telling a woman what to eat would get you dead.— The Other Jane (@OrphanageRules) May 3, 2020
WARNING: THIS POST MAY TRIGGER SOME PEOPLE DUE TO THIS BEING ABOUT RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE. PLEASE READ WITH ALL THE CAUTIONS.
I did not grow up in such a house. I grew up in a house filled with people who made it their mission to forget I existed outside of the identity they built around me, so that I would be more acceptable to their sensibilities.
It took me a long time to learn to say “no”. Period.
It took me a long time to finally release all my anger, rage and pain at the world, into the world, and I did it by getting high.
I will never forget standing in the center of my living room screaming out loud, about all the things that had pissed me off over the past thirty-four years of my life.
I spent a good two hours screaming until my throat was raw, and until I heard a voice tell me to sit down, breath and shut the fuck up. It was a friend, who was pretty much over hearing me scream and rant and rave like a lunatic, and while I don’t blame him for being annoyed with me, I am still grateful he was there.
It was the first time in my life I had ever tried, genuinely, to be honest about the reality of my situation, and the unfairness of it.
When I was a teenager a group of men broke into my bedroom and raped me every night for weeks. They threatened to murder my family and convinced me that they were Hell’s Angel’s, and at my tender age I was too afraid to say anything.
When it stopped, when it was finally over, I found myself sneaking out of the house just to go for walks, subconsciously, because I was afraid they would come back and this was my way of escaping. I told no one what was happening to me, and no one noticed that there was something seriously wrong.
Largely because I had a life time of Doctors who convinced my mom that I was too badly behaved, too hyper, too crazy, I spent years taking one medication after another until I was thirteen and Doctor Golden, who turned out to be a child rapist, told me that I was allowed to say no, in an effort to get my attention.
I learned from a pedophile that I could say no, and after they locked me in a mental hospital for three weeks, I decided at the ripe age of fourteen that I was done. I was done taking pills and I was done seeing doctors, and in BC fourteen is the age of consent, so there was nothing my mother could do to control me anymore with drugs.
Her only option was to accept my choice or put me in Foster Care, she chose to put me in a program called Respite where every other weekend I would go and say with a man and his wife.
I started sneaking out of the house at night there too, not because I was afraid of the bad men coming back, but because I wanted to explore Downtown Vancouver at night. Needless to say they weren’t impressed, but I didn’t care.
I had spent a life time of adults blaming me for my behavior, instead of being there to support me through the worst days of my life. I will never forget my Youth Care worker taking me to get my hair and make up done after I confessed to her that I had been raped at sixteen.
I didn’t tell her about the men in my bedroom, I wasn’t that stupid, I told her about the time a boy took me to a rail road track and raped me while he threatened me with a knife.
I tried to play it off like I was cool and fine, but that experience only made me slink deeper and deeper into myself.
It took me years to come into my own, to accept that I am fucking not perfect, but I have survived hell and damnation, and I did it with very little help or support up to this point.
I am finally in this place where I say no all the fucking time, especially to men, but lately in particular it feels more and more men are trying to police the way that I talk about rape on social media and I am not fucking having it.
We’re allowed to be angry that we were violently violated.
We are allowed to be pissed off that our safe space was destroyed by the wickedness of a rapist.
We are allowed to stand up for ourselves.
We are allowed to read what we want, wear what we want and be who we are, without someone anyone, telling us that we’re not good enough because we don’t live up to your standards.
We don’t have to actually care what you think, and surprise of all surprises we don’t care. Those of you who criticize the way we speak about rape are not here to support us, you’re here to destroy our sense of safety community and self love above all others.
You exist to challenge our belief that we deserve to be in the fight for a better world for our daughters and sons. And you’re fucking failing.
Women and Men who have been abused have already been to hell. They know what it feels like to lose a piece of their soul, they understand what it means to fight against the demons that threaten to take their sanity, and they know what it means to survive.
That doesn’t mean that every day is a fucking cake walk. Some days are spent just trying to come up with one excuse not to end your life, or trying not to hurt yourself so that the pain feels more real.
Some days are absolute gems of beauty, and some days are hellscapes of demonic proportions.
But I can’t bring myself to ask you to go easy on me. Sure I want you to shut the fuck up when your first inclination is to tell me the number of ways being raped was my fault, but every time you try to convince me of that fact the more committed to the belief that I am a fucking bad ass bitch who survived twenty years of being raped by the scariest most fucked up people on the planet.
The more convinced I am that the Universe has nothing left to challenge me with, because if you think that words on a screen have been a challenge, you haven’t been paying attention.
Pull your head out of your ass and support rape Survivors, or shut the fuck up and get the hell out of the way.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall