I want them to be walking around in a public place, like a grocery store, and suddenly recognize what they did and dissolve into panicked tears. I want them to lie awake at night and spend hours replaying those scenes wishing through choking, pathetic sobs that they could change the endings. I want them to be terrified of being around the opposite sex because it might happen again. I want them to be so deeply ashamed of themselves that they truly believe their own parents would stop loving them if they really knew the truth. I want them to get the cold sweats and shakes whenever someone mentions the word “rape”.
I want them to look at other people who are happy, who have healthy and pleasurable sexual relationships, and feel broken. I want them to feel enraged whenever someone spouts off “just world” philosophy bullshit. I want them to avoid mirrors because they can’t stand to look at themselves. I want them to spend countless nights getting drunk so they’ll finally have the courage to commit suicide only to realize that they’re a coward (just like they already knew). I want them to spend 15 minutes of every hour in the handicap bathroom at work trying to calm themselves down. I want them to feel inescapable panic about half of the time they have sex for years after the fact. I want them to think about my face any time they’re feeling sexual pleasure or getting naked or masturbating and I want that image to crush any hope of arousal.
I want them to explain to a significant other, through hysterics, exactly what happened on those nights. I want them to fear being out in public because it feels like the truth of those experiences is written on their faces. I want them to spend years in therapy. I want people to tell them that their pain is not a big deal and that they should just stop thinking about those nights because honestly, what is it really helping? I want them to feel a deep, unabiding sadness when people tell women not to go out alone or drink too much or wear sexy clothing because they know it’s not going to help a damn thing.
I want them to feel like I know them better than anyone ever could because I was there, I know what they look like when they rape someone. I want them to feel like I’m inside them, all the time, mocking them for every failure, panic attack and sick day. I want them to believe that it’s always going to be like this. I want them to feel like trash, actual use-and-throw-away trash. I want them to feel angry and have no outlet for that anger except their own body. I want them to feel weak and useless. I want them to feel DEFINED by those experiences. I want them to feel like a monster.
I want them to feel like me.”
In response to the Steubenville, Ohio teen rape case, West Virginia U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld is launching a program to teach high school athletes not to post evidence of rape online.
It’s called “Project Future,” and his goal is to teach teens how to avoid getting in trouble with the law by using cell phones, cameras, and social media “responsibly.” Instead of teaching teens not to rape, the U.S. Attorney wants to teach them not to get caught.
This is rape culture at work: The very people who are in charge of enforcing our laws look at a cruel, brutal attack on a young girl and think, “If only the teens hadn’t posted photographic evidence online.””