No Pamphlet Can Prepare You For a Sexual Assault

As Ricky Ricardo would say, “Lucy, you got some explaining to do.” After all, this blog post isn’t exactly easing my way back into the swing of things. But I have always tried to be honest with you, the readers, even if it’s something heavy and sensitive. Although I don’t have to explain anything, I am compelled to in the hopes that you will understand and maybe even appreciate where I’m coming from and why I’m coming at you in such a straight forward way.

See, it’s funny how my life works in mysterious, yet deliberate ways. For our family bonding time Saturday, we went to Berlin Auction. I decided to check out the book store because I really wanted something to read. I brought Speak. I had bought the book before, but lost it so what the hell. I like it enough to have two copies.  

As I was reading, my sister and niece came over looking for dinner. (We hadn’t really planned on having an official dinner.) Shrek was on the TV. My uncle had retreated to his room to watch Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and came out and told us about it. My sister said she liked SVU too, hinting for me to turn to it. (I got the privilege of holding the remote for the day.) Well, with reading a book like Speak, I was a little sensitive to watching the show, found my voice, and told her so. My sister proceeded to tell me how she and my niece watch it and she likes it because it educates viewers about rape and sexual assault. She then told me how she even gave my niece pamphlets to read about rape so she knows what do in case someone tries to rape her if she is raped. That’s when I told my sister that no pamphlet can prepare you to be raped and I pray to God my niece will never have to find out how to deal with it. 

As a rape victim, nothing you read or see on TV can prepare you for it (God forbid it happens to you). I watched Law and Order Special Victims Unit ALL the time. I read books, pamphlets and wrote reports on rape and sexual assault. But when it’s happening to you, it’s a completely different story. I’m the perfect example.

Here’s what you’re SUPPOSED to do:

  • Don’t shower
  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Alert the authorities
  • Don’t wash or dispose of your clothes.

Here’s what I did:

I went to the rest of my classes. I peeled off my clothes and left them in a toxic pile in the corner of my room. I showered. Confessed to my now ex-boyfriend. Confessed to my mom and close friends a couple days later. Waited to go to the hospital a week later. Did not file a police report or tell the cops. Washed my clothes shortly after I got taken care of at the hospital.

Although I knew what I was SUPPOSED to do, I didn’t do it. Why? To this day I cannot tell you that. The only thing that I can tell you is that showering and washing your clothes doesn’t make you feel any better than if you hadn’t and done what you’re supposed to do.

It’s been over a year now and I have made a lot of progress. But I still struggle with what has happened to me. Most of the people in my life just don’t understand what it’s like to be a survivor and how I am forever changed. They don’t understand that it’s not something you get over. It surely wasn’t something I was prepared for.

Although those pamphlets are informative and helpful, they don’t ease the pain and they sure as hell can’t prepare you for rape or sexual assault. Let’s face it. Although 1 in 4 women are raped, we never expect to be that one until it happens.  It’s not like an earthquake, fire or flood. There are no drills, no emergency preparation kits.  All you can do is be cautious of your surroundings and pray that it never happens to you.

2 thoughts on “No Pamphlet Can Prepare You For a Sexual Assault

  1. I can’t imagine any pamphlet preparing you for the experience. I showered immediately, never told anyone, and went about my life as if it hadn’t happened. NOT the right way to handle it, I’m sure. It’s taken me decades to speak out. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story 🙂

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