One night in January after a lot of dancing at a friend’s house party in Brooklyn, a male neighbor and I made our way back to our building less than a mile away. We’d both consumed alcoholic beverages but nothing unusual for twenty-somethings on a Saturday night. My roommate had a new love interest at home with him, so to give him some privacy I went back to the neighbor’s apartment to crash, which I’d done several times before. I felt safe going back there as I’d spent a lot of time with this neighbor in a Will & Grace, Glee-watching, Katy Perry-listening kind of way. He’d had a homosexual relationship for more than a year prior to our being neighbors and for all intents and purposes I thought of him and treated him like a gay, male friend.
The next thing I know I’m feeling my pants being pulled down off my body. I heard the neighbor mutter, “Time to take charge of this situation.” And then I felt a small penis trying to enter me from behind. “No. Stop. No. Stop.” I kept repeating. I was in complete shock as I felt him enter me twice while I continued to say, “No. Stop. No. Stop.” I then felt him lift his weight off of my body and retreat. I felt frozen and totally incapacitated.
I didn’t realize fully what happened to me for at least 24 hours after the incident. I was stunned that this neighbor had just sexually violated me. I felt I had no one to turn to and no one who would understand. I looked into possible charges I could file but ultimately chose not to. There was no point in a restraining order, either, as this neighbor lived on the floor directly above mine and there was no way to avoid his constant proximity. I felt extremely uncomfortable in my own apartment building from then on. I informed my landlord of the situation and he did nothing.
When I finally felt able to tell people what happened, I was asked numerous times about what I had been wearing and if I had anything to drink. The fact that I was wearing grey pants and a black sweater and had consumed alcohol that evening should not have any bearing on what happened to me that night in January. That neighbor has since relocated to Florida. Part of me hopes it was the guilt from the crime he committed that drove him away. SlutWalk NYC wants society to know that it’s never acceptable to violate someone sexually and we need to stop blaming the victim after they have been sexually assaulted.
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In April I started seeing articles about this movement to end sexual violence that began in Toronto. After a rash of sexual assaults across the York University campus a police officer told a group of college-aged women that in order to avoid being victimized they “should stop dressing like sluts.” This set off a wave of marches across the globe dubbed: SlutWalk. SlutWalk means many different things to many different people. The premise is simple: anyone who is raped did not deserve it and certainly doesn’t deserve to be blamed for the attack. To suggest it is a woman’s fault that she was raped because of a dress she may have worn is completely ludicrous and disrespectful to humanity. There have been over 70 SlutWalk marches worldwide since April and now it has come to the greatest city on Earth.
SlutWalk NYC, October 1 in Union Square, is a march to end sexual violence and rape culture. Join us at noon for the march and at 2pm for the rally. I’ll be there representing every person who has ever been sexually assaulted but never reported it, for whatever reason. We welcome anyone who believes that rape should not be accepted by society any longer. We welcome anyone who believes that nobody deserves to be raped and nobody should be blamed for their attack.
SlutWalk NYC is about eliminating phrases from our cultural lexicon like “she asked for it” with regard to a rape. SlutWalk NYC is about bringing people together to get a dialogue going about sexual violence and what we as citizens can do about it. SlutWalk NYC is about learning how we can all enjoy safe, healthy, consensual sex from now on. SlutWalk NYC on October 1st is just the beginning of this movement! Hope to see you there!