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.
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.