mother & scribe

It Happened To Me

I've just watched part of the documentary film 'It Happened Here'.

I left the theater after yelling "Holy F(cKing Christ" in reaction to what one of these young women was told by campus "authorities" when she reported rape: 

"If you girls wouldn't spread your legs like peanut butter..."

The body stores and remembers physical and emotional traumatic experience. When trauma goes unhealed, self-protective and ultimately destructive behavior patterns are established. This because, ego is the "I survive" presence.

Silence is one self-protective survival pattern that I know very well. Triggers like the statement above can release energy stored in the body fast enough to trump the ego's guard so that the wound finds voice in a yell such as mine.

I was raped on the Indiana University campus my freshman year at a fraternity party. That was the only fraternity party that I attended. I did not report the incident and spoke of this first to my mother many many years later.

After the rape, I turned into a straight A / A + exercise bulimic-type. Basically starved myself running until I could not run anymore and started healing.

The comment this young woman received has me a touch grateful that I did not report though it pains me to think of women and men I may have helped by speaking.

I care for the boys too. Young men are socially forced into behavior that I trust they would not engage in if the social pressure were not what it is.

I don't want anyone punished. I want us all healed. Thus, Project VIRGin.

IT HAPPENED HERE, a compelling new documentary from director Lisa F. Jackson and producer Marjorie Schwartz Nielsen, explores sexual assault on campuses through the personal testimonials of five survivors who transform their experiences into a springboard for change. In raw and intimate interviews, the students describe surviving sexual assault only to be met with apathy, disbelief, blame and retaliation from the authorities when they tried to report the crime. When they tried to get justice, they were ignored, belittled and shamed, while their attackers remained on campus with impunity. But instead of hiding away in shame, they chose to speak out, and found a way to force institutional change.