Coming Out, Again

When I was in college, I was interviewed for the school paper and I talked openly about being a lesbian.  After the issue hit stands, a professor told me how brave she thought I was for coming out in our small town.

I didn’t even think about it that way, but I’m remembering that story now.

Why?

Because here’s something I haven’t come out about.

A year before that happened, I was raped.  I was a freshman in college, 18 years old.

I was starting to realize that I was attracted to girls and I was dating guys so I wouldn’t have to deal with it.  One night, I went to a guy’s house to watch a movie.  Here’s how dumb I was; I didn’t even realize that it was code.

I said no and he didn’t listen.

I didn’t go to the police.  I didn’t tell anyone.  There are a lot of people–most people in my life, including my entire family–who don’t know.

Why?  Because shortly afterward, I came out.  And I was afraid that everyone’s reaction (from my born again best friend to my wonderful but conservative family) would be, “You’re just gay because of what he did.”

Or, worse, that they wouldn’t believe me at all.

And I blamed myself.  I blamed myself for going over there at all and for just saying no and not fighting as hard as I could.

And I kept it a secret for over a decade.

So why now?  Because, like the main character in Speak, I gave up my voice (just on this subject; not altogether) rather than say what happened to me.  And today, I read that Speak is viewed by one guy as softcore porn.  Why?  Because she was raped.

There’s nothing hot or sexy about rape.  I know, and so do thousands of other women who were sexually assaulted.  If I had read Speak around the time it had happened, I would probably have talked about it before now. 

I’m speaking loudly because this man offends me and because, through his efforts to ban the book, he is taking this book away from the teenage girls who need to read it, the girls who may also lose their voice if he has his way.

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19 thoughts on “Coming Out, Again

  1. Kelly, I’m so sorry that this happened to you. I’m glad that there was something out there that gave you the courage to speak out. I can’t imagine what you must have gone through, both at the time when it happened and since then, both the mental and physical pain.

    I followed the links to the original article and have to say that although I haven’t read Speak, and don’t know anything about that guy, he sure seems to be missing the point of what the book is about.

  2. Thank you, everyone. :) I’m sorry I didn’t discuss this before. I know I need to give people a chance to be supportive and wonderful.

    My life is richer for knowing all of you. :)

  3. Kelly, thank you for finding your voice and speaking out. It takes incredible courage for you to share your story. If you can help someone else find her voice, you have made a tremendous difference.

  4. Oh my god, Kelly. (((Kelly)))

    And dude, going over to a guy’s house for a movie ISN’T code for anything except, Hey, I think this guy is nice and we’re going to watch a movie.

    I will cut a man who considers a woman’s rape soft core porn.

  5. Wow. A very powerful, thought-provoking post. You’ve made a difference just by telling your story.

    I’m sending you a hug, a “you go, girl” & chocolate through the ether now. You are a brave woman. Speak!

  6. You are amazing for sharing this. I do not know anything about the book, but I do think that guy was wrong to call any book that is about a rape, soft core porn.

    I agree with Steve, we are all better for having you in our lives.

  7. So brave, you are. :)

    I can empathize: I was raped (among other things), all at the age of 20.

    I figure if you’re willing to put it out there, I will too. :) It doesn’t touch me the same way when I tell it now, but no matter what: I still get mad when stupid people interject stupidity into the dialogue.

    As for idjits.. f***’em. And how amazing it is, for all these people to comment, and come round you in support while sharing something so intimate.

    Such a truly brave woman, you are. ;)

    They are banishing the dark with light…and how powerful it is.

    (hugs)

  8. Kelly,
    I’m so sorry you had to go through this! It’s not easy at any time in life, and even now, so many years later. I wish I could Hug you for speaking out now – especially against that Git who says this is soft porn. There is nothing sexy about rape. If we ever meet, I’ll buy you a drink of your choice for standing up for this. :)

  9. I am so sorry for what happened to you, Kelly. Thank you for being brave enough to write this blog and raise awareness of what if that Scroggins idiot had his way would keep rape victims in silence and shame and despair. Thank you for defying him and speaking out!
    Katie x

  10. There are not enough parentheses in the world to show how much I want to give you a hug… ((((kelly))))

    Thank you for speaking about this. I admire your courage. Love you!

  11. Kelly, you are wonderfully brave for talking about this. I am really sorry to know about what happened to you and I can’t imagine the agony you must have gone through at that time. As your other friends have said I am glad to know you and my life is richer for having met you.

  12. Kelly, this is a very courageous post and I admire you for posting it. It’s sad that people feel they need to constantly judge others. I’ve added Speak to my TBR list, and I will be reading it soon. Teenagers need to express themselves, and they should never be afraid to speak.

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