Menu

What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able: A difficult story to tell…

Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured in Freshly Pressed. Each week, we take a close look at…

Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured in Freshly Pressed. Each week, we take a close look at one post and why we thought it was Press-worthy.
____________________________________________

Humans endure, and so often, we endure silently. That silence can last days, months and even years, and for countless victims of sexual assault and abuse, the silence can last lifetimes.

Silence can be born of shame. Of denial. Of never having come to terms with having been completely powerless in a situation entirely beyond our control.

In “A difficult story to tell…” Misslisted was inspired to break her own silence by the very people who, unwittingly or otherwise, make it so much harder to break.

Misslisted felt moved to respond to the countless people who say that rape could never happen to them, because they wouldn’t let it, but also to the maddening politicians spouting off about “legitimate” and “God-intended” rape. While worlds apart, in either case, the suggestion is that the victims of sexual assault are in some way complicit in the brutal and brutalizing things that happen to them. As someone with firsthand experience, the author knows how damaging those ideas can be to the victims of sexual assault, and in culture at large:

I understand the “It couldn’t happen to me because I would have killed the son-of-a-bitch“ response.  But I also know it is a totally unrealistic delusion, and it is one that is extremely harmful to a victim of sexual assault or abuse.  Like my friend, I believe that it perpetuates and reinforces this kind of crime. Unfortunately I know this from experience.

This is not an easy subject to broach even in the abstract, which makes the bravery of Misslisted’s extremely personal post even more admirable. In just a few paragraphs she gently touches on her reasons for writing the post — never venturing into partisan politics or soapbox screed as lesser authors might — and then takes us with her through her own experience of being a victim of sexual assault. In gentle yet horrifyingly vivid prose, Misslisted captures the dread, the fleeting moments of ultimately dashed hope, the fear, and finally terrified resignation toward the events that took place one night far away from home and far away from friends:

 I decided that I would do whatever it would take to get through the rest of the experience as safely as possible so I could survive and get back to my friend and back to my life.  I didn’t know him, I was afraid of him, I had no idea what he might do if I further protested, and I wanted to live.

Just as powerfully, she then takes the reader on a journey, unravelling the decades of silence, sifting through, and coming to terms with what had happened. Coming to terms with the reality that this was something outside of her control, something that happened to her, something that she survived. This brings us full circle; as the post closes we’re brought back to the present, to the realization that this act of sharing, of writing, was both a part of the process of coming to terms with what had happened, but also an effort to reach out to those living with their own silences. Misslisted writes:

If by being open and honest here just one other person is given some insight, spared some shame, or has the opportunity to speak on her own behalf and not let someone who doesn’t understand speak for her, then I am grateful enough for that.

But this isn’t a piece of writing best served by soundbites or snippets. It’s a piece of writing that deserves to be read in its entirety. There’s nothing easy about enduring the weight of memories in silence, but it takes something else to turn that silence into a vivid and moving riposte to those who would keep a lid on it.

31 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this WordPress. I am blown away and inspired by the comments, love, support and motivation this has provided for others to come forward with their stories.

    1. You are strong. You said it happened. You said what exactly happened. You made a little hole on the top of your head – through it all the bad things and thoughts will go away… you made a little way for all those emotions to go away and set you free. There will be more space for smelling the orange cut in half, watching the sunshine going through a drop of honey, feeling the cat’s little paw on your forhead in the morning. And one of the most cherished positive things about getting older for me is… gaining the ability to forget… not all the memories are worth remembering, even the ones which seem vivid now, they will fade away one day. Promise
      ;o). Kisses!

  2. Well done.
    The wrong is with the person who chooses to break that trust which is the natural human state. No-one ‘deserves’ violation, of any kind, for being trusting and open. They do not make the choice to abuse.
    I hope you found peace in posting your story.

  3. Sometimes the silence lingers unconscious for years… and the silence is woken up by a trigger… and this happens to many abused women and children when they get around 30 years old…. thank you for sharing…

  4. I believe the more we hear these stories, the less uncomfortable they will become. The less uncomfortable they become, the more people will talk and listen. The more people talk and listen, the more we can do to end the silence.

  5. For those who think that the victims of rape and other hate crimes are somehow to blame for their predicament, I say you need a brain transplant. How on earth can someone wish such horror upon themselves. It is absurd that there are people with such a barbaric mindset.

    Also, for those with the “It couldn’t happen to me because I would have killed the son-of-a-bitch” response… You might also need a brain transplant as well, or better still experience the harrowing ordeal for yourself. A lot of people are always quick to put their “two cents” in without really considering all the factors. All I can say to you is “it is better said than done”.

    It is quite obvious that these nimrods lack the intellectual and humane capacity to properly comprehend and empathize the trauma of rape victims.

    To “MISSLISTED” and others out there, I say be strong and hang in there it will be alright. If strength and fortitude were like automobile fuel, I will transfer some of mine to your tanks to aid you.

    Stay BLESSED and STRONG.

  6. It’s a little unfair to describe those of us who haven’t been raped and choose to write about it as writers who are:

    venturing into partisan politics or soapbox screed as lesser authors might

    The fear of rape, the justification of it by sexists, misogynists, and religious bigots, does not mean that those of us who have been lucky enough to escape it to date, are not qualifed to write about it, nor does it make us lesser authors.

    There is a place for the personal experience blog post, and there is also a place for an analytical blog post too. Each has their merits.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, and apologies if I wasn’t clear in my intentions here, which weren’t to dismiss the opinions of those that don’t have first hand experience but rather to offer some insight into our selection of Misslisted’s post. I was attempting to suggest that one of the things that makes this post so powerful is that, while it could have become a two-dimensional, reactionary rant at the (frankly unbelievable) politicians that inspired it, instead Misslisted chose a gentler, more rounded approach to tackling a very difficult subject. It’s powerful not just for the bravery of sharing such a personal experience, but also for having beautifully married current affairs, personal opinion and a unique, personal perspective.

      1. Thanks to you both for the thoughtful comments. I thought a long time about how I wanted to present this, in fact, I wrote it months ago and didn’t think I would publish it. I thought it was just for me, for catharsis. But as I mentioned in the story, the politician’s comments and facebook comments made me realize that I needed to speak up. I eventually removed some language that sounded political because I really wanted to let my story speak for itself. Plus, I figured by the time I wrote it, most people had already heard all the comments and would be able to put it in that context on their own. But of course there is a place for a lot of different voices on the subject, and the comment thread really demonstrates that.

  7. Thank you Misslisted for having the courage to post your story. It’s women like you that make a difference in gettin things going. When we keep it in, our abusers keep the victory. Yay to you Misslisted for taking the Victory and speaking out!
    WordPress you are more than correct when you say…
    Humans endure, and so often, we endure silently. That silence can last days, months and even years, and for countless victims of sexual assault and abuse, the silence can last lifetimes.

    As a survivor of Human Trafficking in my teen years, it took me 20+yrs to openly talk about what happened. My family knew but they didn’t speak of it either…just silence. Silence doesn’t create change as we have seen with many other issues in our society. As a society we need to change our views on many situations and rape is one of them. Rape at all levels; Molestation, Human Trafficking, Date Rape, Rape, Prostitution. Like Melanie said above, the more we talk about it and become more comfortable with fact that we have these issues in our country the sooner we can begin working toward ending the silence.

    I was uncomfortable for 20+ years and it kept me silent about my severe abuse that culminated in a Death+500yr sentence for my abuser in 1989. In Dec 2011 I broke the silence and began writing about my situation and researching others. The more of us who speak up and speak out against these crimes the more change we will see. I’m new to the blog scene but can’t wait to see what everyone has to say and reading more stories like Misslisted’s post bringing awareness and eventually…Change!

  8. esta historia es interesante, a veces nos quedamos callados con temor a lo que otros puedan decir , hay que ser libres sin importar lo que pasé, todos tenemos derecho a opinar !

  9. There is so much harm in the community that has been done, and justified in one way or another, and not spoken about. It is also hard to be brave and speak out if you are that one voice that decides to do so, but sometimes just one voice starts the avalanche.

  10. I can relate to that to her past experiences with older men., who only took advantage of her when she was just a teenager. The only person she now trust is me, because I always never judge her, but the people who have taken an advantage to such a young woman who was naive. She never knew about racial, sexual,abuse. Her father was the biggest culprit and now is starting to get paid back to what he has done to his family. All the women in her family have been abused. Back in my early days before I reached my teen years,we had no laws to protect women and children from domestic abuse. This is a very touching blog and hits me to the core of some of my problems in my younger years. Thank you for sharing your story.

Comments are closed.