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It's Not Funny MAG
“Hey, how was the basketball game yesterday?” Alex asks Calvin, slamming his locker closed before heading to freshman English.
“We totally got raped,” Calvin replies, laughing.
My cheeks burn as my mind explodes in a firestorm of anger. I clench my fists to stop myself from screaming.
“No, you didn't,” I mumble.
Calvin and Alex look at me. Me, the bystander, the one sitting in the hall doing math homework, listening in on the early morning traffic around me.
“What did you say?” Calvin asks.
I throw my notebook down and stand. I'm shorter, but it doesn't matter. I get in his face enough to make him step back.
“I said you didn't get raped yesterday,” I repeat. “Maybe you got your butt kicked, but you didn't get ‘raped.'”
“Yeah, whatever,” Calvin says, laughing uncomfortably.
I hear things like this every day – jokes about rape and sexual assault everywhere, in class, as I walk to my locker, in the cafeteria. Every time, I wonder how anyone can think making such a casual comparison to a violent crime is funny. Why doesn't anyone step up and say, “Hey, that happened to me, and it's not funny”?
Well, let me introduce myself. Hi, I'm 15 years old, a freshman in high school, and I was raped. It happened to me, and it's not funny.
I wrote this article anonymously because of shame, shame that follows me every waking moment. I feel shame every time I have a flashback, every time I'm in the dark, every time someone taps me on the shoulder, catching me by surprise. If I had fought back more, yelled louder, done something different, maybe he would have stopped and it wouldn't have happened. The rational part of my brain tells me that no amount of fighting would have helped. I was really young, a baby, and no match for any adult. The other part of my brain will forever blame myself.
Every time I hear the word “rape” used casually by a fellow student, there's a split second when I think that maybe if they were raped, they would stop making jokes. They would understand the pain, the guilt, the horrific nightmares. But then I take the thought back, because I wouldn't wish rape on anyone, no matter how angry their words make me.
I hope my story will inspire you to take a stand when others joke about rape. In the United States, someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes, and 44 percent of those assaults are against people under the age of 18. That means us. How can you joke when nearly a quarter of women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives? That could be your mother, your sister, your cousin, your friend – or you.
I can't change the people around me, stop the jokes, or make people understand what it's like to live with the pain of a sexual assault. All I can do is say, “Hi, I'm 15 years old, a freshmen in high school, and I was raped.”
It happened to me, and it's not funny.