Iâm really upset by the abnormal psych class I just came from. And I mean really upset, like maybe irrationally angry kind of upset. I like my professor. I think heâs a nice enough guy, even though heâs pretty full of himself, and he works with victims of violent crime for free and is overall pretty cool. But tonight we were talking about PTSD, and he just crossed so many lines and made me furious.
He was talking about how in order for people with PTSD to be able to function in society and be able to live their lives in even a semi-normal fashion, they have to be exposed to the conditioned stimulus over and over again until they are able to realize that yes, it was a terrible thing that happened, but no, itâs probably not going to happen again and not everyone person who wears the same cologne as my rapist is going to rape me, and not every person who waits at the bus stop where I was mugged is going to mug me, which makes sense. Youâre not functioning if each time you pass by a person wearing Axe deodorant, you have to lock yourself in your room and miss class for three days. I agree with him up to that point.
But then he starts saying that if you have a rape victim who was wearing âsluttyâ clothing when she was raped, and she thinks she could have prevented it by wearing a different outfit that night, you should let her think that itâs true, even though itâs not. You should reassure her that the responsibility belongs entirely to the rapist, but you should also tell her that she probably could have prevented it by dressing more conservatively/not drinking/not walking down the street by herself, in order to preserve her internal locust of control. At this point, Iâm thinking, âUm. Victim blaming? Is he really advocating we blame the victim, in any way, for what happened? Certainly not. Iâll forget about it.â
So then at the end of the class, he says, âIn summation, any girls who are walking home tonight are idiots, because youâre probably going to get raped, because one in four women are raped in Charleston and youâre the most targeted demographic. If you donât have someone to walk you home, you need to call and find someone to pick you up. Youâre asking for it if you donât.â
And that really upset me because a) he didnât take into account that if one in four women in my city are raped and college students are the most targeted demographic, that means at least one of the women in the class has been raped and werenât we just talking about PTSD?, and b) what he said is full of shit.
Most women who are raped are raped by their acquaintances: relatives, dates, boyfriends, friends, etc. I certainly wasnât going to volunteer to share it with the class, but I have been sexually assaulted three times in my life. Two of them took place while I was in college and both times, I was assaulted by the person supposed to walk me home. In fact, in one of those cases, I was assaulted by the person (people?) who I literally asked to walk me home.
This made me really upset mostly because I have a big psychological statistics exam tomorrow afternoon that I desperately need to be studying for, and instead here I am, writing this entry about his stupid class, and obsessing over the details of the assaults and what a fucker I am, because even though I know itâs not really true, I was drunk one time and dressed scantily the other, and what? That makes it my fault?
It was my fault that I was fourteen years old and a 21 year old man lied to me about his age, convinced my parents to let him stay at our house, and then forced me to have oral sex with him? Why? Because I went out with my friends and met him at a âfor teens onlyâ event that should have carded him at the door?
It makes it my fault that the people I was supposed to be able to trust the most, my boyfriend and my best friends, couldnât be trusted around me when I was intoxicated or wearing shorts? Seriously? Itâs my fault that I got really drunk and then made the mistake of asking the girl who had been my best friend all throughout high school if she and her boyfriend (who I had also known for the last four years) could take me to my apartment because I was too drunk to think or walk? It was my fault that the guy who had taken me to the house, who was my ex-boyfriend and good friend and supposed âdefenderâ of honor and integrity at his military college freaked out when he found himself participating and left me there to be assaulted? It was my fault that when I said my head hurt, they would lift my head and force me to drink more until I passed out, and then turned it around when they talked to my roommates to make it seem like everything had been consensual?
It was my fault that I invited my boyfriend into my house and kissed him? And my fault that he weighed 100 pounds more than me and could hold me down when I told him I wanted him to stop?
All that thinking really made me realize something. I am at fault for one thing. I am still in contact with/friendly with everyone who did these horrible things to me (with the exception of the guy when I was 14). One of them reads my fucking journal and leaves comments and sends me presents. I still talk about these fucking people like theyâre my friends. And the weird thing is, unless Iâm in situations like tonight where something triggers me to think about it, I donât. I donât remember it or think about it at all. I can hold conversations with them and it will not pop into my head. We go to lunch. I send them postcards. I give them hugs when I see them in the street. What the fuck.
Whatever. I can't write about this anymore.