I’ve been raped.So all the media this past two weeks surrounding the young woman raped behind the dumpster, her 12 page statement (which I read in entirety), the judges light sentence, and the statement from the rapists father, have created a firestorm inside my head. I think about her and I think about me. I think about how broken our world is.
It’s easy to get lost in the darkness, but the bicycle saves me. The young women wrote that she has two pictures of bicycles above her bed to remind her that there are heroes in the world. People who stopped what they were doing when they saw something wrong and they got involved. We need more people on bicycles. The problem is that people don’t realize that they are on bicycles. They don’t realize that they can help.
I will not give specific details, but I will say that there was someone who could have prevented my rape and they chose not to help. They kept riding. Thankfully it is not likely that you will come across a girl behind a dumpster, but please don’t think that you are any less powerless to help.
You are a person on a bike because you can help change the way society thinks about women and rape. Don’t laugh at rape jokes. Don’t engage in any behaviour that encourages blaming or shaming the victim. Part of why I don’t share my entire story is that I know there are some who would say it was my fault. I know because I said it to myself hundreds of times. If only I had….why didn’t I….
I’m in a place now that I know it’s not my fault but it doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t mean I can withstand others telling me it’s my fault. I believe there would be less rape victims if we took this seriously. When we think women played a role in their rape by what they were wearing, their location or their consumption of alcohol we are making more rapists. When only 3 in 100 rapists have any kind of consequence at all and that consequence is a slap on the wrist, we are creating more rapists.
Bicycle people are people who will stand up and say this is not ok. They will use their voices for those who can’t/couldn’t. They will demand change. I have been a rape victim but I am now a person on a bicycle trying to save others. Will you help me? You can’t stop what happened to me in the past but you can make a difference to stop this in the future for someone else. If you do that then you are saving me because rape victims have faces and names and families. I am one. Save me.