i learned that people can easily forget that others are human.
Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.
I just want to be slightly drunk, half naked, and completely on top of someone.
When I was maybe 13 years old I laughed along to rape jokes, just like everybody else. At first it’s a shock, then the edginess seemed funny and then you become numb to what is actually being said.
I was fourteen the first time I heard of someone I personally knew getting raped, she was a year above me at school and used to get laughed at and called a slut and would sit on the back field crying.
Later that year I developed feelings towards a girl, two years older than me. The feelings were mutual but nothing romantic ever grew from it, I asked why. She was raped repeatedly by her grandmothers friend from the ages of six until nine. Her parents told her to forget about it and not to stir anything up. So she didn’t. As far as I know she’s finally with someone and I hope he takes care of her and makes her happy.
The jokes weren’t too funny anymore. I started going to parties properly when I was fourteen. That’s when I saw girls getting taken advantage of for the first time. Girls who older boys had supplied and filled up with alchohol. Then taken around into the garden or an alleyway when they could barely stand. Sometimes they would need to be carried. Then at school these boys would brag about getting laid that night. I couldn’t fathom how fucking a girl who can’t move or control herself constituted as consensual sex, but everyone seemed to accept it, so I blindly accepted that aswell.
I lost my virginity that year. Nothing special or amazing, just me and a girl I had been talking to for a while decided to do it. She was older and had been having sex for a while, so I hoped she wouldn’t see it as a big deal. Although that’s when I really understood the intricacies of sex and how that is not what was going down every weekend at these parties.
Then one of my friends got raped. I wasn’t there that night. She came to me in years. Saying what had happened. Blaming herself. Everyone blamed her. People didn’t see it as anything other than she was embarrassed. She was completely off her face drunk and didn’t say no but didn’t say yes. She couldn’t stop it. I felt so helpless as I sat there holding her and I didn’t know what to do to ease her pain. When she spoke to me in that moment I was her and felt the powerlessness and distress that she had.
More times it happened. A girl I was seeing had been raped by her cousins. Another by her uncle. Another by her step dad. A few by guys at parties.
I lost respect for guys at my school. Joking about rape. Boasting about having sex with drunk girls, usually younger than themselves. I couldn’t take it, my friend group ended up being me and my best friend in a group of us guys and fifteen girls.
One night someone tried to do it to my friend. She went to use the toilet in a park but he pushed her into the bushes and mounted her. I was worried why she had been gone so long so went looking and found her underneath him in tears saying stop. I ripped him off, took him to the toilet and put him through the toilet, jumped on his head and took my friend home.
From then on I never let it happen. I would pounce on guys trying to assault girls. I became the predator of the predators. Most of that isn’t worth going into.
Point being, I never understood or could relate to the animalistic behaviour that so many of these teenagers and young adults were exhibiting. This obsession with going on the pull every night out and trying to get laid. An obsession that they felt they were completely entitled to.
My dad spent two years as a prison guard when the economy went bad and he couldn’t do anything else. He would come home late when only I was still up and over a few drinks tell me the stories of how these men operate and what they do. As he drowned his stress and frustrations and spilled his thoughts to his impressionable teenage son, my anger and disgust began to boil over.
What I did to these guys got worse and more intense. But I couldn’t get all of them and I couldn’t stop it happening more times to other friends of mine.
I couldn’t stop it but I tried so hard.
Eventually I stopped going out as much. Any parties or anything of the sort always ended up in trouble, and I didn’t want to end up arrested again. I tried to start a group to help people, set up a counselling service at school, a website. But nobody was interested. Some people went as far as to say I was only doing it to meet and get with girls. But nothing could be further from the truth. I knew their lonely suffering and just wanted to lend an ear and let them know it’s not all bad.
October 2012 was the worst time of my life. I was at the pub with my dad and got a text from my fifteen year old sister. She had been seeing a boy who was twenty, I had just found out. A boy who I knew and would have considered me a friend of his. But he was not one to me. I knew he had tried to assault a twelve year old a year ago, and made it clear I wanted nothing to do with him. He had raped my sister repeatedly in every way and place possible. When we thought she was staying at a friends he had forced her to stay at his and be subjected to abuse all night long. Me and my dad went to his house, kicked the front door in and confronted him in the middle of a family barbecue with his large family all there. My dad told him to leave the country or he would kill him. We left. We found my sister. We went home.
When the gate was closed behind us all hell broke loose. We told my mum what happened and then my dad and her both broke down in tears. I remember trying to grab her to console her but she just fell to the floor dragging my dad with her, both of them screaming with tears pouring down their faces. I felt the same, but I guess I had to be the strong person in that situation. I wiped the tears from my face and held the rest back, I held my sister and told her I loved her and that it wasn’t her fault. We went for a walk and a cigarette together. She said she wanted to tell me before but didn’t know what I’d do. I asked what she meant. She said she didn’t want me to kill him and go to prison. I told her I would kill him anyway.
The police did nothing. My sister refused to say anything happened because she was scared of his family. The police felt we were overreacting. The male and female officers were both rude and arrogant and took a long time to come around but left in a flash.
I filled four petrol cans and left them in my friend’s with a plan to burn his family home and all of them to the ground. My dad bought a machete. My mum had a knife in her handbag. We all found out at the same time and made a promise none of us would do anything if the others didn’t either. And it was left.
For two years, seven months and ten days I have thought about what happened. I’ve spend two years and six months regretting that I did nothing. Not a day goes by I don’t remember it. The fact there was nothing I could do to protect my little sister and that I still can’t do anything to take it back or to make it better. And if I could I would do absolutely anything to change what happened to her.
For all my complaining and anger and frustration and ranting and raving and fighting and threatening and attacking and vigilance and pride I still couldn’t protect her.
There’s still nothing I can do.
And every single time I think about it I feel so impotent and helpless, then I feel selfish because that must be nothing compared to what she went through.
Nothing compared to what any of these victims go through.
I saw a comment just today somewhere online, a picture of a tweet. It read something along the lines of, ‘Why are people complaining about getting raped. There’s children in Africa starving and you’re here getting annoyed that someone wanted to have sex with you so bad they raped you, grow up,’ and people had retweeted and liked this comment. Mainly men. Even some girls. I cannot understand this mentality and nor do I want to, this comment to me sums up peoples ignorant mentality towards the issue.
Rape isn’t funny.
So, maybe we’re the
generation of the selfie,
but we’re also the generation
that grew up in a tainted,
with every impossible beauty standard
shoved down our throat
through a tube
because eating has become
a guilty pleasure
and condemning beauty ideals
won’t go straight to our thighs.
And if, by chance,
we are able to destroy the
demons that you’ve planted
inside of us with your
constant advertisements and rules
that play behind our eyelids and
take root in our brains,
then let us take our fucking pictures
and capture that moment when
we felt beautiful because all this world
has taught us is that
our beauty is the greatest
measure of our worth.
Scoff at our phones all you like,
these delicate extensions of
our fingers, but know that
through this technology
that you couldn’t even
begin to understand,
we have smudged the entire
world with our fingerprints.
We are the generation of knowledge,
and we are learning more than
any that came before us.
So, frown at my typing fingers;
I am using them to grasp power
by the throat.
Try to invalidate us,
but we’ve heard our
parents talking about
the world’s crashing and burning
since we had sprung from the womb.
We know you’ve fucked up,
and we’re angry about it-
the kind of anger that
that I feel in my veins every time
I read the news from my phone
that sticks in my throat like honey
in a debate;
the kind of anger that simmers,
that sharpens teeth into daggers,
that makes this generation more dangerous
than you could have ever imagined.
We are the generation of change,
and goddammit, we’re coming.