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Everyone’s Fault

October 3, 2009

The Polanski arrest has everyone talking, and Lauren has again revisited her personal story, which can’t be easy.

Lauren’s a friend, and I’ll say publicly what I’ve said privately before. If a girl or a woman gets raped, that’s the rapist’s fault. If she doesn’t know who she can tell or if she can tell or whose side people will be on or if she’ll be blamed or if she can get the support she needs … then that’s everyone’s fault. The whole system, the whole country, the whole culture failed Lauren. And Samantha Geimer. And every other girl and woman both who have survived and who have not. We failed and we keep failing and that’s a shit sandwich that we all get a bite of.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Wendell permalink
    October 8, 2009 4:59 pm

    “It’s not that my feelings toward my rapist have changed; it’s that what closure I have was hard-won—and I fiercely protect it.” This sentence Lauren quotes from Melissa has two things that strike me. The first is something I admit may be reading [i]way[/i] too much into, and could in fact be wrong about: the phrasing “my rapist.” This to me could be a sign of how we as a culture fail the women and girls who are raped. It feels to me like the remains of the culture of shame and guilt comes through when the implied ownership of “my” is used to describe not the experience (which she owns and I hope to do some justice to in a moment) but the man who committed the rape. I admit there could be another way of looking at this that I’m missing.

    The second thing that moved me in the above sentence is that the utter hell she went through–from the crime committed by the rapist to the crime committed by the culture failing her–is something she battled and fought and is proud of her fight. She has every right to be proud of the strength she has gained from dealing with her suffering. The phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” feels like it leaves out the [i]work[/i], the emotional labor that goes into something this “hard won.”

    More generally, I’m moved by the act of women sharing their stories. Among many things, it’s a huge ‘fuck you’ to those who would wish to see the issue swept under the rug.

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