Friday, August 12, 2016

Couldn't Say It - A Company Member's Story

Couldn't Say It 
A Company Member's Story

It feels odd for me to write these words down. I guess it’s because I have to admit certain things that I haven’t said out loud in a while. However, this is a story that I think needs to be heard:

My senior year of high school, I think I was assaulted. I say I think because things are still weird from that night. I hadn’t had any alcohol. I hadn’t had any drugs. I was just driving a guy home from a cast party of a show that I had directed. I say “think” because afterwards everyone that I went to about the incident just said not to worry about it. They said it was "just a guy thing." They said it really wasn’t assault since it was "a crush kind of thing."

You see I was driving a guy home, and when we stopped in front of his house, he wouldn’t get out of my car. He said that "we had a connection." He was pursuing that connection. I couldn’t say no. I didn’t feel safe saying no.

I was trapped. I did not give consent. I did not want him to kiss me and touch me. I couldn’t say no. But my body did say no. Was me trying to duck out of the way not enough? Was me checking my phone every minute not enough? Was me turning away not enough?

When he finally got out of the car, I drove home so quickly and in such a state. I experienced my first panic attack that night in the car. My second one followed right after, once I got home. Therapy became the only way to help it for the weeks after it. When I told others though, it was like an echo of O’Dell’s line “Boys will be boys.”

There is a problem with this world, and we know it. We know that there is a rape culture, but it is so hard to break through hundreds of years of stigma and presumptions. Even the kindest of people can have these myths stuck in their head. I have seen it first hand. 

I sincerely hope that our show can start a little change. Even if it is only one person that realizes their biases, that will be enough.

Although I have gone through the therapy telling me “it’s not my fault,” the guilt is still there. The damage has been done. For all the victims out there that feel guilty, please know that you are not alone. The guilt should not be there, and it isn’t your fault. I carry my guilt like a shield, but I want to use it to protect others--

for the next girl or guy until there is no next girl or guy.

- Posted on behalf of a member of the Pepperdine Scotland company

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