Wednesday, December 7, 2022

I have a friend

By Dominique Sabijon

I have a friend who was raped. You probably know her, you probably don’t. You see her and you wouldn’t expect it. You know her and you’d probably hesitate. You hear her story and most would probably think it’s her fault. Well, however it was done, wherever it was done, no one ever asks for it. Rape. Rape. Rape. What is rape?

According to our constitution, rape is committed when there is use of force, threat or intimidation; when the victim is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; by means of fraudulent machination, and; when the victim is under 12 years of age. In layman’s terms, rape is a sexual act done to someone which is against one’s will, whether conscious or unconscious.

I have a friend who was raped and it was under those circumstances written above. She never told the authorities about it. She isn’t afraid that her perpetrator would come back to haunt her, she is afraid that others might judge her. She is afraid that no one would believe her because of how it happened. However it happened, it was still rape.

Saying that rape is a crime would be the understatement of our lifetime. Rape is more than just a crime. Rape is an evidence to hate. Rape is the picture given reflecting our patriarchal society, where the victims are, if not most, all women and girls. Rape is a culture. Rape, as how they want to put it, is our fault. Women. Because she wore her skirt short. Because of her spaghetti straps that shows off her great shoulders. Because she was out late at night. Because she walked through that side of the street. Because she was out drinking at night. Because she swayed her hips. Because she didn’t know it was rape. Because she was only 9. Because she can’t say no. Because she “provoked me”.

I read a post in Facebook that said something about how men should be offended when someone claims that women should prevent rape by not doing a list of stuff because it presumes that their natural state is rapist. Don’t worry, I’m not about to rant about how men are this and that or whatever, I just want to make a point because it’s not only men who think that it’s the victim’s fault why she was raped. The point is that no one deserves to be raped under whatever circumstances. We should stop teaching girls how to avoid getting raped and being very cautious so as not to get raped. We should stop fearing for our lives and let us walk freely under the moon, whatever we’re wearing. It’s not and should not be our fault. A thief steals under whatever circumstances. Even a well-barricaded house can get broken in to. If a thief wants and has a motive to steal, he will steal. So don’t blame our skirts.

I have a friend who was raped. She thinks she deserves it. She feels that no one has to know and it’s useless to let the authorities know. Her perpetrator walks among us, freely, under the sun. She hates herself for having fun that night. She hates herself for wearing shorts. She hates herself for being perceived as a carefree person. It wasn’t her first time, but she hates him for getting in her without her consent, even more for being unaware about it. She hates herself for being afraid to tell anyone. She thinks she deserves this. People will think she deserves it. She doesn’t. She shouldn’t. No one does. No one ever asks for it. No one ever wants it.

I have a friend. She walks among us. You may know her, you may not. You don’t know her story. No one does. She will forever live with this scar. Her wound can never be undone. My friend is a statistic. She is one in every three women in this planet that have and will be violated in her lifetime… and I’m afraid. 1 in every 3 women around the world will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. I have a friend and I’m rising for her. I will rise for the 1 billion women who will be raped in their lifetime.

Do you know anyone who was abused, raped, got her genital mutilated, traffcked, sexually harassed, forced into marriage, forced into labor, or violated domestically? A neighbor, a sister, an aunt, a mother, a friend, or ourselves? Let’s rise for them. Let’s rise for us. On February 14, 2013, 1 billion women from around the world will be rising for this cause, to end violence against women. You may or may not know anyone but I’m inviting you to strike and rise for them. Women, men, lesbian, gay, whatever your gender is, everyone is invited… because I know someone, and so do you.

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