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Your mother was ganged raped on a bus on her way someplace unimportant now. My Persuasive Speech professor told me to begin with things like that to grab the attention of those who probably wouldn’t listen otherwise.
What if we spread stories of rape, and photos and articles showing brutal acts of violence against women in the same fashion we spread updates about Beyonce’s album? What if we were still talking about “Bitiya’s” intestines being pulled out by the bare hands of one of her rapists on that New Delhi bus? Perhaps then, we’d better prepare those 20% of college women who come home for the summer with in-betweens that no longer work properly while staring at men they no longer trust. Perhaps they’d know how to seek help as easily as they knew how to seek a salon that could get their hair exactly like Rihanna’s.
Back to your mother. There’s a good chance some man came in or on her, before or after you, and she kept quiet. She probably knows him. He probably smiles at you in the supermarket and asks about her, and you say “fine.” If not her, one of her good girlfriends. One of those women who come fix plates at Thanksgiving, sharing all the latest gossip, but not sharing the story that may save your sanity.
I’m pissed. For months I’ve been haunted by thoughts of Bitiya of New Delhi. The article gave details, and I wanted to call women I know who’ve spoken aloud and showed courage in the face of adversity and just sit on the phone not saying shit, hoping they understand that I could never understand what they went through, but I will help them tell the people if they need me. And I will make them laugh when that conversation ends.
And my friends are still going to the military after I told them there’s too good a chance intercourse will be forced upon them. A good chance they will come home for a weekend changed, and I will not stand to do my “told you so” dance, but my “point him out” dance.
I’m scared because the only advice they’ve given the unraped is “don’t get raped.” I’m scared because there are new little girls in my family, and little girls who belong to other families, and a little girl I would wake up at 4am to change on a hardwood floor, then feed and burp, while waiting for a bed to be delivered. Do I take them with me to the gun range? I don’t know because the only thing they’re telling us men is “don’t do it.”