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Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Rapist and Me

What would you do if you spent 6 years behind bars because somebody falsely accused you?

6 years.

In 6 years I got my Bachelor Degree in Medicine, halfway through my education to be a GP in Indonesia. In 6 years I lost a love, found a new one, have a new family complete with stepkids MIL FIL SIL BIL and the lot, lost it all, and found myself. In 6 years I relocate from Jakarta to Bali to Orange County to Tucson to Los Angeles. In 6 years I work in Wedding/Event Industry, Health Supplement company, Financial industry, and my first book will be released in Indonesia this August.

In 6 years all Brian Banks could do is looking at the prison walls, convicted for a rape he didn't commit.

"[The accuser] was quoted as telling Banks: 'I will go through with helping you but it's like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don't want to have to pay it back.''

Women, who are we? 

We are Queens. We are Empresses. We are Maharanis. We are Sovereigns and Duchesses. We are Goddesses. We do not, I repeat, we do not commit such atrocities to people. 

"But real rapes do happen, let's talk about that instead and how the pigs got away with it!"

You are right. Let's talk about that. Let's talk about how in the future it'll be even harder to prove and convict rapists because of Wanetta Gibson's [family's] action. Let's talk about how next time the victim would be asked "Are you sure it's not consensual?". Let's talk about how victims will potentially considered as 'raking the money'. Does that $1.5 million really worth such setback? If yes, what a low, low price we put our fellow women at.

Rapes do happen, and the system seemed to be set against us women. "You shouldn't drink that much", "you shouldn't wear the whore outfit", "you shouldn't go out by youself", "you shouldn't go out, period". Ideally we can shout out "Well, you should keep your dick in your pants!", right? Guess what, ideally we already have flying car by now, but we can't even make a non-combustible hovercraft.

If we have no say on advances, we even have less to say when we already gave 'permission'. How many of us have to endure painful sex even when we said no? How many of us is forced to keep 'doing the deed' even after we changed our mind? How many of us felt obliged to do it because we already said yes at first? If it's a no but you are still forced, it's a rape. It's akin to dining with somebody and you choose to stop eating, but that person keep force feeding you. It can't get any clearer than that. 

I was 'raped' when I was 28 years old. I put it in quote because there was no physical threats, so technically it is not a real rape, right? But I felt so dirty. I felt violated. For years, even now, I still think I deserved it, that I'm asking for it. We chat online, we met, we fondled, the next thing I know I was fucked for hours. All the time I said to myself to run, to stop, all the time loathing myself for being so weak. I came back the next day, as per his order. Why resist? I was ruined anyway. I asked for it by meeting up with a stranger. 

I put on a triumphant smirk when my friends asked how did the date go, even though I want to skin myself alive to remove the ickiness I felt. I laughed when his wife (that I did not even know exist) called and yelled at me on the phone, even though I was screaming and dying inside. I had to weather the doctor's nasty look when I explained that I, a non-married woman living in a country where you can't even get frickin birth control if you have no husband, need an STD test because I had sex with a stranger. I had to do and deal with the possible outcome of HIV and pregnancy test all by myself because I can't tell anyone what I did. I mean, I asked for it, right? 

Good girls don't go meeting strangers. Good girls don't let themselves being touched and groped by stranger. I did it to myself. One boyfriend left after I shared the story, claiming that he can't be with me if I already been with another man. Another one left because he was disgusted with my action. I understand. I did it to myself. Oh, and the mutual friend that encouraged me to hit it off with this person? He claimed he did not know this person already has a wife. Claimed.

I would give anything to let that woman in Indonesia know that she can say no. That it is not her fault. That she did not 'ask for it' and it did not make her less of a person. I would give anything to have somebody saying that to me, to have some kind of support, instead of feeling like a whore and worried somebody will found out what a whore I am. Even with all my newly-found self confidence from surviving in Los Angeles, I still hesitate to tell my best friend about my dates and escapades because I am worried I'll be seen as a slut and got left behind. Again. After all, I asked for it, didn't I?

But I got it easy. What I experienced was nothing. Countless women have to suffer many, many times more. Some carry not only emotional scars, but also physical scars. Some are left disabled both physically and/or mentally. Some do not live to tell their story. The surviving victims walked in a varying degree of darkness, trying to find a way out. Wanetta Gibson and her family sold us all for a mere $1.5 million. 

If you know story is made up and lies are told, speak up. If you know crime is commited, speak up. If you think you are doing the world a favor by putting 'filthy man' in prison using lies and deceit, you are not. Any deceit done by or on behalf of women will only take us women many step backwards. We're already in an unfavorable position, courtesy of millenias of (mostly) patriarchal cultures. Please do not destroy the small progress we had out of spite, or worse, out of greed.

And if the writing above does not convince you, remember that we women are mothers, wife, sister, aunt, niece, and many more. Brian Banks could have been our son husband, brother, uncle, nephew, and many more. Don't close your eyes to injustice with the excuse "There are many rapists that got away!" Don't make a person a sacrificial lamb for other people's misdeed. 

Somewhere right now somebody is being raped. Men, women, children, adult. Their rights and their bodies are violated, broken from the inside out. Most will keep silent, some will seek justice despite knowing the treacherous path that lies. All will struggle with themselves, walking the dark road that seemed to went on forever. All except those who are here no more. I hear you all, my siblings. I weep for you. I pray for you. I wish you peace.

And Brian Banks, good luck. I wish you all the best in your newfound freedom. You deserve it. Best of luck, brother.

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