Welcome to day three of ALL THE RAGE APRIL! Today, we have our first guest post of the month coming from A. C. Dillon. Here she talks about her own experiences and why All the Rage is important to her. I'm not going to give much more of an induction (I want to post to speak for itself) I'll only say it's a really powerful post guys, and I hope you'll take the time to read it.
**TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual Assault**
When I was nineteen, I was sexually assaulted in my dorm room.
I was with a male friend of several years, who happened to be a former boyfriend as well (briefly). We’d flirted off and on throughout the years, but it wasn’t serious; both of us were in relationships at that time, anyway. Not that it should matter. We’d been drinking, as friends reuniting after several months do. Not that it should matter. Because he was a long-time friend, I thought nothing of shouting, “Oh, make me one too!” when he got up to mix another drink.
Half an hour later, I couldn’t hold myself upright. I slid off the couch onto the floor. I crawled upstairs to my room at some point. I lost ninety minutes of my life. I was lucky, in that Alice Sebold sort of way: I woke up mid-assault and that startled him so badly, he fled. Still disoriented and out of it, trapped in a delirium of drug-induced euphoria blended with violation and confusion, I crawled into bed, where my frantic girlfriend phoned me. It was how I learned I’d lost so much time: she’d been calling me. Repeatedly.
It took me three days to fully assimilate what had happened, to understand that he hadn’t take advantage of me while I was drunk and passed out (inexplicably, given my alcohol consumption). It was so much worse, in my mind, because it had been far more premeditated than I’d wanted to believe. He’d drugged me, then assaulted me. It took me just three minutes, based on my program of study (Psychology and Criminology), to decide not to report the incident. Indeed, I chose to tell only a scant handful of friends, a family doctor and eventually, two professors.
Because in three minutes, I understood these truths about the world: a) with no rape kit and no blood tests for drugs from that day, I had no physical evidence to support my allegations; b) my dating history with the assailant would immediately discredit me; c) rape victims seldom see any justice, and instead, are shamed and interrogated into submission; and d) even if somehow, with the odds completely stacked against me, he was charged and convicted, he’d see no real punishment. On the other hand, reporting the assault meant I’d be forced to be re-victimized, over and over again in a police station, then again in court. All the while, I would have to hear how a so-called “good Catholic boy and member of the Canadian Armed Forces” was “accused of terrible things.”
I knew all of this because a Criminology professor of mine had espoused these views of college women leading men on and ruining their lives during a class lecture. A class I paid for. I’d complained and eventually been forced to drop the course because of his punitive “revenge marking” (my identity was not protected by the Dean). The professor continued to teach.
I stayed silent because I knew that in this world, my words meant nothing. My pain would be shrugged away. The assailant certainly wouldn’t confess; he’d flat-out denied wrong-doing in an email exchange after that night. I was alone.
When I first read the synopsis for Courtney Summers’ All The Rage, I felt like I needed to find her and shake her hand, or even embrace her in gratitude. Because someone needed to go there—to go beyond the experience of navigating the world as a survivor, and outright attack the thriving rape culture that feeds on coded language and misogyny, the culture that explains why every single female friend I have has experienced some sort of sexual violence or domestic violence — often both. When I read the opening excerpt, I burst into tears and quietly cried at my computer. Because the details may differ, but it happened to me. Because it’s still happening—to our daughters, our sisters, our friends and coworkers.
Having read Courtney’s previous work, I know that she doesn’t flinch. I know that she’s taken this book exactly where it needs to go. And that makes me desperate to read it. Because inside of me, there is a nineteen-year-old woman, sitting in the dark on her dorm room floor, clutching a phone and trying to make the math add up to anything but this. There is a twenty-year-old woman hiding in the bathroom stall of a mall, because she just saw him in the food court. And there is a thirty-something woman sitting here now, rewinding the entire supposed friendship and realizing that she can trace back the history of a man and see the warning signs that eventually, he would take what the world was telling him he was entitled to—the same world that told her she wasn’t worth protecting from him.
I need to read it—but more importantly, you do. You. And you. And him. And her.
Because until we all can see the ugly truth in the shadows, we’ll never be able to dismantle it in the light. - A. C. Dillon
Thank you so so much A. C. for being brave enough to share your story.
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)