This entry contains imagery and thoughts about rape culture in our society. If you are sensitive to this topic, please think before reading.
I know a lot of people have disdain for the television Netflix original 13 Reasons Why. I get it… what you’re saying. I may disagree with you, but I still get it. I didn’t watch it when it first came out because I wasn’t in a good place mentally. This year I finally did, and now there are 2 seasons. And I loved them both.
But, as for the topic in hand, Season 2 (as in Season 1) touched upon the subject of rape. The difference between the seasons is that Season 2 addressed consequences of it.
After Season 1, we know that a female character (Jessica) has been raped by a male character (Bryce) when she was too drunk to stop him. In Season 2, she’s terrified that it will get out there (and it eventually does… the whole school knows), so she tries to ignore it and goes on a downward spiral. Eventually, she reports it, and now Bryce has to face a rape charge.
We only see snippets of this throughout the season, but in one episode it’s about the sentencing of Bryce. His lawyer pleads to the judge that Bryce has suffered enough. He’s lost all his scholarships and his reputation at the high school. Jessica, meanwhile, speaks on her own behalf.
And what the judge says is repulsive.
The judge decided that “both parties” should be thinking about their past choices and that since Bryce is a first time offender, he’s only given 3 months probation. All while a girl’s life has been ruined.
This is so disgustingly present in our society too. You hear it in the rape trials where the boys life would be “ruined” with a guilty conviction. And, of course, the person who has been raped feels like they just got splashed with cold water when the judge gives their rapist a slap on the wrist so that they could live their lives. And their soul is broken.
Why do boys get treated like that? And why does everyone need so much truth and “proof” from the victim of a rape? It’s sickening. The victim re-lives the trauma and the court decision while trying to get people to understand or hear them… and to believe them.
The boys get a slap on the wrist. Girls get judgement and are dismissed by others. Boys hide behind their sport scholarships. Girls are looked down upon and get told it’s their fault. Judges agee with being easy on the boys. Judges gloss-over the sexual assault and tells the girl to make better choices. No wonder no one wants to report a rape. They’re afraid that they’ll be thrust into the spotlight they didn’t want. They don’t want to re-live everything. Victims are drug through the mud. The perpetrators are given new chances.
I’m mad about this. So damn angry. Why are we to blame in the eyes of the judicial system? How could rape be “partly our fault?” We didn’t ask for it, yet we still get asked “What were you wearing?”; “Did you lead him on?”; “Have you ever been intimate with him before?” and so on.
And God forbid the victim is a male. I feel for all of those too. It must be so hard in a world like this to admit sexual assault. Most male victims do not even bring it to police, let alone have a trial about it. It’s sad.
This culture is the exact reason I’ve not come forth and told my story. You will be the first one’s to hear it. It’s why I never went to the police. It’s why I kept telling myself it was my fault. I don’t know where he is right now and I don’t want to. I don’t know if I’d be prepared if I ran into him again.
The following has slight descriptions of rape and sexual assault. Please, if you are sensitive to this topic, re-think before reading it.
He was my “first.” We were all at a friend’s house playing cards and talking. Before you ask, yes, we were drinking. Eventually we got to playing truth or dare and he dared my two other friends to go into the bedroom for a half hours. Both of us knew that they’d be in there longer than that since they were pretty much together. So it was just him and me. Just talking about all sorts of things. We had always gotten along so well. It was nice, and I really liked him as a person. And then…
When he proposed to go to the bathroom, I said yes in my drunken state. Before I knew it, he was on top of me and tearing up my insides. I tried to stop it. I said no. It didn’t matter.
After all was said and done, I was basically in shock. He played it off as nothing, and I felt the need to feel that way too, although I knew I shouldn’t.
I drove him home.
We worked together. I saw him every day.
It was so painful.
The next day is when the bleeding started. It wasn’t like your lovely monthly visitor.. I knew how that was. It felt like I was repeatedly being ripped apart. It lasted four days.
Worst of all, I joked with my friends about us sleeping together. I joked around with him just like old times. I created a new reality when talking about “losing my virginity.” I told people we had sex on the bathroom floor for “privacy.” I refused to remember how painful it was. I shoved it down inside. So deep no one would know. And in the new reality, I had consensual sex. A new reality where I took advantage of him. A new reality that made my soul a block of ice.
Rape-culture is making a lot of us hide in the shadows, consumed by guilt and fear.