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To Break the Silence, I Rise

Today's post comes from Vagina Warrior and 2013 Vagina Monologues cast member, Amy Mullen.

I rise because last month I had non-consensual sex. It started out consensual. Then he took the condom off.

I rise because once I noticed – too late – he told me it was no big deal.

I rise because it is a very big deal.

This is someone normal. He did the same faith-based post-graduate volunteer program as me. He graduated from the same Catholic college as my little sister. He works at a non- profit, talks animatedly about social justice, and gives absolutely no indication that he disrespects women.

I rise because he asserted his preferences over mine, automatically, without question. I rise because he thought that I was not on birth control and still forced me to have unprotected sex against my will and without my knowledge.

I rise because he put his desire for physical pleasure above my right to remain free from STIs, pregnancy, and the permanent emotional scarring that comes with being violated.

I rise because I am sad.

I rise because I am ANGRY.

I emailed a friend about this experience and my desire to write about it, and in her response she wrote:

“I had a disturbing revelation the other day when I realized that [current partner] is the first guy I've slept with who is no nonsense, no bullshit about condom use. For whatever reason, there are a number of men who think they have permission not to use condoms, and it always ends up on you and me and some teenage girl somewhere who just wants to finish high school without a baby to insist on condom usage, and that is simply absurd. And until now, I thought that was normal. And it's not. It shouldn't be.”

I rise for the others to whom this has happened. I rise for those to whom it will happen. And I rise for a day when it happens no longer, when we stop accepting abuse of women as a given. When we collectively affirm that we will not stand for it. Some cases of abuse involve physical violence. Mine didn’t. It was still malicious. It was still rape.

I rise to end a culture of rape. I rise to bring voice to what is so often unspeakable, attention to what is so often shrouded in silence and shame. I am not ashamed and I will not be silent.

I will rise.

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