a partially opened can of worms


The posters read:

1. “it’s just like tickling, just better” (age 7) -Male babysitter

2. “just tell your Mom you got hurt in the garage.” (age 8-10) -Mom’s boyfriend

*as an explanation for the rope burn on my leg from him tying me up on an exercise bench and raping me for hours

“Oh you were raped by a man as a young child - no wonder you’re a lesbian” -response from many when I “came out”

Photographed in Slippery Rock, PA on September 11th.

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This is precisely the sort of shit that infuriates me to no end.
Having to go through the hell of being raped countless times, having to carry those experiences with you in your mind every day, all the while presumably trying to move on, and live a normal life.
And when you discover your sexuality, and gain the courage to come out, your identity isn’t legitimized because of those assaults.
Why do many queer rape survivors hear these same responses?
I know that partly, it’s due to ignorance. Many well intentioned people think that rape and sexuality have a lot to do with one another.  
This included some of the folks in my rape crisis training class, until thankfully, one of the staff members debunked that.
But seriously, for all the folks who might wonder about that: You DON’T become gay after being raped. Gay people are gay because they are attracted to people of the same sex. Rape survivors are rape survivors because they have, unfortunately, been sexually assaulted. Some people are gay, some are rape survivors, and some are both.
So, get THAT straight. Please.  
Also, there’s nothing wrong with being queer.
By suggesting to someone that the only reason they aren’t straight is because of sexual assault in their past also suggests that they “chose” an orientation that is somehow inferior. 
So, people of the world, the bottom line is this: 
Based on statistics, chances are, you know a rape survivor. You probably know at least a few. There’s a good chance you aren’t aware that they are, because coming out as a rape survivor is just as hard, if not harder in some ways, as coming out as queer. Lots of people aren’t open about it, and that is completely ok.
Survivors will tell you if they choose to, when they choose to. If they ever open up about that to you, they are doing it because they trust you.
DON’T betray that trust. Especially not with thoughtless comments, like the ones written on the right. 
Giving a survivor any reason not to trust you after they’ve disclosed this highly personal information to you can be just as damaging as the rape itself. 
And think before you speak. There will be people who will never tell you that they are survivors, so naturally, you can’t always know who they are. By saying insensitive ignorant shit, you never know who you might be wounding. 
We’re all fighting some hard battle. Don’t make your peers’ duels any worse.
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