Well, tomorrow’s the day. The episode I appear in for the two-part series The Ricki Lake Show produced on Women Who Fight Back will be aired. And all of us shall see what 10 lbs of stage makeup on my face looks like in HD. Did I mention the theatrical hair? I remember curling irons, lots of spray and digging out no less than 12 pins and clips from my mane when it was all over. Sort of like prom hair, but without the baby’s breath. I just… I don’t like my face in TV form. I never have. And it embarrasses me that my friends and colleagues will see me that way. Every time. I don’t care what nice things they say to me after. I tell myself they care about me and will erase it from their memories.
Since this is my third time sitting for a national TV show to talk about my experience, I have to say, I am surprised at my calm. I mean, I almost forgot to set the DVR tonight. For the previous two shows I appeared in, I was totally stressed out as the air dates neared. I chalk that up to the fact actors had been hired to play me and act out my assault. Just imagining what they took artistic license with gave me plenty of “Holy shit, what did I do?” moments. But this, this I know all too well. I remember mentally grading myself a solid “B” after the taping ended. In just three segments, I had too much material to work through, and Ricki kept me on a breakneck pace such that I simply couldn’t get my words out fast enough.
If you watch tomorrow (and I’ll never know if you did or not), you’ll probably notice how much I turn to the audience while I’m speaking. It was important to me to have eye contact with the women listening to me. I don’t recall looking at Ricki nearly as much. If all my segments are left unedited, I’ll be glad for it because I definitely pounded some points home that I know women rarely hear. I told them that many of us were raised to believe rape is about confusion over consent. That somehow, if a woman doesn’t say the word “No!” and clearly convey a lack of consent, then they are somehow responsible for being violated. I told the audience that notion is antiquated and total B.S. I told them rapists rape because they want to rape, not because you failed at conveying a lack of consent. I told them how I shouted ‘No!” at Marco and physically repelled him and it deterred him none. And no one had ever taught me how to answer “Now what?” when that failed me.
When Ricki asked me if I wanted to share a learning or word of caution to the audience, I elected to decline. I told her I wasn’t going to tell women one more thing they need to avoid doing, I wasn’t going to pile on to the bullshit checklist we’ve given them about how to prevent being raped because that checklist is a fucking useless mental crutch.
We tell women not to park next to vans. Great. So, they park next to a sedan in a well-lit lot as they head on in to a blind date or second or third date with the guy who winds up raping them later that night. We tell women not to walk alone, so, they let a trusted male friend walk them home and wind up being assaulted by them. We tell them a million things and the only people we should be telling anything to is the rapist. I don’t want to tell women one more thing. They are not raping. The men are.
I’ll write a follow-up tomorrow after I have seen the show. And I’ll give some updates on some fun things I’ve done the past few months. I’ve met some great people and taken some trips, and I feel blessed for all of it. The journey is never dull.
I watched the show for the second time today. Your story is so compelling, and I appreciate your honesty and sincerity. Your points are dead-on! I am sick of being told what to do or look for to be safe. If someone wants to hurt you, they will find a way. About ten years ago, I was assaulted in an attempted armed robbery at my job. The guy had been stalking me so he knew how to find me and when to strike. After, the police, detectives, and my managers all told me to start taking different routes home. Why? I hadn’t moved. He could try again at my home. It’s a very uneasy feeling when someone takes your sense of security away. What happened to you being your fault fault was no more than what happened to me was my fault. It annoys me that these “experts” give us these lists to prevent us from being harmed like it’s our fault. I wish someone would give a list to these violent men of ways to stop hurting women.
Hi! I just watch the show. Congratulations it was great! I also consider you a Hero. You are encoraging women to fight back, seek for justice, speek out, not to live as a victim, find the purpose and meaning in every thing that happend in our lives, and help others. God bless you!!!! I live in Guatemala, and Im sure the whole show will help so many women in my county and many others P.S. You look pretty on Manu
I DID see you on the Ricki Lake show yesterday. Fantastic job and I admire you for the brave woman you are. I am not a woman, so there is no way I can fully empathize with your experience other than I have been a victim of crime. What was stolen from me was something material and can be replaced but still I felt invaded. I cannot begin to imagine what you went through and what other women have experienced as victims of this vicious and horrific crime.
Again, great job in spreading the word that a victim can fight back and make sure justice is served. Bravo to a very brave woman.
I just finished watching the Ricki Lake show where you were the spotlight. Great job! And I commend you for what you are doing as a counselor.
Thank you for taking the time to find me and tell me that. I really appreciate it.
Just saw ur show. I’m not the one to be writing you. I am not a sentimental person, I’m not crying at the screen, emphatic of your pain. I really don’t know what is compelling me to come here, or now that I’m here, to comment. I CAN say that you seem like a very “real” person, like you are the exact same person as I saw on tv, no matter how private the situation. You seem like a really nice and good person, as well. I am a 32 year old man, and I don’t understand what you’ve done to me, but I appreciate you sharing your story with the world – don’t ask me why. I know this is a very strange message, I’m not trying to be weird or insulting, if it’s coming off that way. I came home to my tv on that channel, and had remote in hand to change it when you came on, and I ended up watching the rest. Maybe I’m smitten with you, and the rape subject is keeping me from recognizing the attraction, maybe I’m in awe of your struggle to escape- whatever it is, you’ve captured my attention, and I wish you well.
Thank you for reaching out. I appreciate it. I really do. Glad you didn’t change the channel.
I happened to see you today on Ricki’s show. Wow. I also loved what you said here when Ricki asked you if you wanted to offer advice (” I don’t want to tell women one more thing. They are not raping. The men are.) well put. Stay strong, you are helping so many as you tell your story and continue to fight!!
Great job and Bravo to you and your cause 🙂