I don't want to write about rape right now. I have so many other subjects where I have something to say. I want to write about why national education standards are considerably less benign than they sound, and refute the idea that companies that produce health supplements are run entirely by fluffy bunnies.
But then I read a headline that says 'stranger rape brings 11 year jail sentance' - and the writer of the article thought that the fact that the woman who was raped was a virgin was pertinent information. The messages our criminal justice system send about consent and rape are so appalling that I can't stop writing about it. For example, in this case the judge took into account that the crime was 'premedidated' and deemed that a factor that made the crime worse. If a man doesn't plan to rape a woman, if he thinks she's going to consent, and 'only' rapes her when she doesn't - then that makes it less bad.
That story, that anger, wasn't what drove me to write this post. It was my admiration of another woman. Rape crisis centres in Taranaki have reported that nine women had come to them reporting drug rapes in a four day period.
One of those women wrote an e-mail about her experience and asked that it be passed on:
How do I feel? Everyone keeps asking.
I know that I would like to know what happened and why, I would like to know why he chose me.
What was it about me that made him think he could drug and rape me? Was it something I did? The lady in the paper said we go out looking sluttish. I was in jeans and a hoody. How sluttish is that?
I would like to know what he looked like, because now I am afraid of everyone; I keep looking at every man and thinking, is that him? I'm afraid to be alone.
I go out of the house and think that everyone knows what happened to me. I see in the paper that they are urging us to come forward to the police. What would I tell them? I can't remember anything. What did he look like? I don't know. Where did he rape you? I don't know. Had you had anything to drink? Yes. Were you drunk? No.
Are the police going to believe me? I don't know.
Does anyone believe me? Am I going mad? I don't know.
How do I feel?
Ashamed, nervous, dirty, angry, confused, and jumpy, but mostly I'm afraid.
For the man that did this, f–- you. Karma will come around and get you. F–- you, you bloody coward. How dare you do this to me, how dare you do this to anyone and all you other rapists, f–- you too.
To any other women out there who have had anything like this happen, find someone to talk to, it is helping me understand a lot. I hope one day I can move on. I know one day I will move on.