I don't want to be treated differently.

This is one of the many reasons survivors don't report or talk about having been raped or sexually assaulted. They don't want their friends to look at them differently. They don’t want pity. They don't want to be viewed as "damaged goods." They don't want their spouses to leave them. They don't want to be told what to do.

I agree with all of the above, but I can’t get myself to say, "I don't want to be treated differently."


Because I do want to be treated differently.

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Of course I don't want to be treated like I'm fragile. I don't want to be treated like I'm broken or damaged. But I do want the objectification to stop.

Objectification is when you degrade someone. It's when you take away the worth, personality, values, heart and soul of a person, and you treat them like an object. With objectification, nothing matters (to the perpetrator) but the person's (victim's) physical body.

For me, the benefits of talking about being raped outweigh the chances of being treated differently in ways that I don't want.

It wasn't just Nov. 18, 2018, that I was objectified (I refer to it as "That Morning" in my memoir, "Four Pounds of Pressure"). It was the first time I was raped, but it wasn't the first time I had been sexually assaulted or harassed.

I woke up at 4 a.m. at a good friend's house with a man on top of me. I wasn't threatened by him, and I got him off me, but I had to leave the room and "sleep" (sitting up, nodding off until it was a decent time to drive home) in the living room. I've had another belligerent person's hand down the back of my pants in a public place. I've been touched by a friend's husband. I've been harassed in a situation in which someone was of higher status than me, and at the time, I had no idea what I should do about it.

But I do know what to do about it now, and that's why I talk about what happened to me That Morning and in the other situations. I don't want others to be in these types of situation and not know what to do.

I want my words and memoir to be someone else's survival guide. I want my voice to show women that how they are feeling is normal and they aren't "crazy." Networking with other survivors helps normalize the feelings we have in the aftermath. Identifying feelings and why we're having them helps us work through them. By talking, we're also presented with more resources.

So, to my point: I do want to be treated differently. I want to be treated like a human, appreciated for my values, personality and ambitions.