Hayley's Comments

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Hayley Rose

Hayley Rose
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HayleysComments.com, Connecticut, TheVeggieStand.com
Birthday
December 31
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HayleysComments.com
Bio
I was born when Halley’s Comet last appeared overhead and named accordingly. Since then, I've become a writer, artist, and columnist. In addition to Open Salon, my work appears frequently in The Huffington Post, All Things Healing, Gender Across Borders: A Global Feminist Blog, and several other publications. I blog daily at my site HayleysComments.com I recently published my first book, "I Know Why They Call a Shell a Shell." The book is about domestic violence, a topic that I am very vocal about. It chronicles my journey away from tumultuous love affairs by weaving stories of her past with stories from literature, music, and visual art of both modern and classical significance. Find me on Twitter @HRoseStudios

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FEBRUARY 1, 2011 7:36PM

Dear Congress, Don't Invalidate Me Further

Rate: 29 Flag

            I never thought I’d speak publicly about the details of what happened to me but now I know I may have to in the name of rape-victims and future rape-victims everywhere. Ten years ago I went to watch the Super Bowl with two older males who I considered friends. The last thing I remember was the pattern of the tiles on the ceiling, as the game began. They had put something in my drink. When they were both done having their way with me, they drove to my house and tossed me out of the car, leaving me on my front lawn like garbage. I was fifteen years old when it happened, and I never went to the authorities. This was the second unreported rape I'd experienced in my lifetime. Does this mean I wasn’t raped? Maybe to the 170-plus people in this room who want to vote in this bill, it does, and you wouldn’t be the first people to take it upon yourself to judge me and invalidate my claims.

 

            As a sexual assault survivor, I have found that for some reason, many people like to invalidate rape victims. I refer to these individuals as rapist-sympathizers. There are some common excuses they like to use,

 

            “She was dressed like she wanted it,”

 

            “She has a history of promiscuity,”

 

            “If she didn’t fight back or say ‘no’ then it wasn’t rape,”

 

If you have used any of these terms, you may be a rapist-sympathizer, or you may be uninformed. Even the most educated people often think of rape as a sexual act. This is a common misconception. Rape is a violent crime in which sex is the weapon. Even the former republican Governor of my home state, Jodi Rell was quoted on the subject of rape crime saying, “It is violence of the most personal and devastating kind, as brutal in its own right as murder.” She is indeed correct. The only difference between rape and murder is that when someone is murdered, after the crime has been committed, the victim’s friends and family are left to bear the excruciating pain of losing a loved one. When you are raped, it is like a part of you has been murdered, and you, like the friend or relative of the homicide victim, are the only one initially left to mourn this loss.

I don’t understand how anyone can be in favor of slyly incorporating the redefinition of rape through this bill. As an outsider to the political process of congress, I know that many of your votes are financially motivated, and not always in the favor of the people you are here to represent, but I cannot justify in my conscious that this is your only motivation. Perhaps there are people in this room who have gone to a bar and gotten a woman inebriated with the intentions of wearing down her inhibitions so you could have sex with her that night. Perhaps you’ve done this more than once, perhaps with several women. Perhaps you have adult children you are try to protect who you know engage in this predatory behavior.

 Regardless of the reason, protecting rapists by changing the definition of rape does not change the fact that they are still indeed rapists.  It does however do a disservice to the one and six women and one in thirty-three men who will be sexually assaulted in their life times. One in six women is a scary number. I’m sure if you gathered your circle of girlfriends, one or two of them might admit that they had been sexually assaulted or abused at some time in their life. It’s not something we sexual-assault survivors  like to talk about because of some of the people who share similar ethics with the 170-plus people in this room who are going to support a bill that will redefine the definition of rape for the worse. Let’s go over that definition for a moment:

The term rape originated from the Latin word Rapere, which had no sexual connotation, and meant “to seize or take by force.”  Ladies and gentlemen, rape means to steal, and if you are someone or you know someone who has been raped, you can testify that this definition is still applicable to this verb. I hope that your daughters and sisters will never have to experience sexual assault, but with such staggering statistics some of them will.

A lot of men who write in to my column have trouble putting rape into perspective and in order to empathize with my articles put into perspective how they would feel if their sister or mother was sexually assaulted.

I know there are a lot of Christians in this room, some of you might even consider yourselves good-Christians. If you good-Christians and vote for this bill in the name of limiting federally funded abortion coverage, don’t think for a second going to church every Sunday is going to absolve you from the destruction you will be causing the rape victims that will indefinitely be affected by this bill. It has always amazed me how conservatives against abortion often support less stringent gun regulations. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Tucson. These recent and infamous events in American history are just a handful of events that represent gun massacres and violence that were procured with legally purchased weapons.

I think that we as American’s have lost our sense of community. I think that we have stopped looking out for each other in favor of financial self interests, and I think voting for this bill, a bill that wrongly redefines the terms and definition of rape in the name of your private personal gain (whatever that may mean to you) is the epitome of kicking a person when they are down, and I will close by reading you the following statistics of what happens to a man or a woman after their world has been shattered by one of the most violent crimes known to man:

 

"Victims of sexual assault are:

 

3 times more likely to suffer from depression.

 

6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

 

26 times more likely to abuse drugs.

 

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide," (Taken from RAINN.org)

 

 

Do we really need to invalidate these victims and survivors by voting for this bill? Can’t we as American’s find it in our hearts pull together to protect these wounded souls who have already been through so much?

Please sign this petition to prevent congress from further invalidating rape victims and taking away their rights by redefining the term "rape." This deplorable notion has been snuck into a piece of legislation to limit federally funded abortions further.

I forwarded this post to moveon.org, my senators, and my state rep.  I just got off the phone with my state reps office. The woman I spoke to told me that if there are other people who are as infuriated by this as I am, that I should encourage them to also  contact their state rep and senators. You can contact your state rep here and your senators here. If you feel as angry about this as I do, please make some noise for the one in six.

Thanks, Hayley

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

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Hayley I am late to the party here as I just finished my paying job now..:)
Everything about this upsets me
How dare they!!!
rated with hugs and more hugs
Thanks Linda! I am so mad about it, it is something that I never thought I would have to defend.
As another survivor, I'm truly livid about this bill. LIVID! Who the hell is Chris Goddamn Smith to judge if a woman has been through "real" rape?! I wonder where his support for gun ownership would be if say a few hundred thousand survivors greeted him on his front porch some morning, locked and loaded? and said "We want a couple hundred four letter words with you, Congressman." Yes, I, the absolute non gun-owner would really enjoy that scenario and see how that nasty little weasel would handle that situation?
Thank you for posting! Rated!
This House's priorities are all despicable, but none as much as this one. If men were raped as much and women and could get pregnant, this would be a non issue. Fuming with rage. Rated.
Thank you for posting this. Rated
When I first read about the proposed legislation, I couldn't believe it. I can't figure out what infuriates me more...that it's always a stupid man that dreams up this delirium or the fact that female Congressional members are not outraged and pushing back with everything they've got.
Please tell me that you actually sent in this letter to your representatives. Don't stop here with this blog post. Keep going!
Rated and I'm sorry that you have endured this horrible experience.
I learned this with a lot of disgust, being a victim of rape myself. I discovered this late, but I hope those bloody bastards in congress have second thoughts! This drive me mad!
Every man should see "The Rape of Richard Beck (TV 1985)"
Starring Richard Crenna as a cop whose view of rape was much the same as the supporters of this bill. It's a real eye opener.
Thanks for addressing this!!!
I must take you to task because you have failed to give me the specific facts I need to understand your argument. You seem to be arguing against a specific piece of legislation but, in order to understand your position, and support you, I need more detail, like the name of the bill, the sponsors, so I can track them down. Remember, in the blogosphere, articles are often read out of context, so you can't anticipate that your readers already know the basics about the story in question.
Well said! This is important and I'm glad you are getting the word out. I wrote my congressional representatives.
The only people who get helped by this bill are the rapists who now have more loop holes to avoid conviction. I've forwarded the petition to my friends and family.

Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.
Sagemerlin if you would like to know more you could google "chris smith bill" or the "No-Taxpayer Funding for Abortion bill".
With you Hayley, signed, plus that extra click. Thank you for posting this. (r)
Signed, rated, and reposted on Facebook. Thank you for telling it like it is.
Hayley, thanks for posting this. I had just read about the bill on Huff Post. As a survivor myself, I honor your honesty. Also, I posted the moveon.org petition to my FB. Good work!
As a survivor myself, I wonder if the stats really are like 1 in 3 for raped females in this country. Many women I know of have had this experience. Rated!!
How many times do we hear of male athletes (especially, but not exclusively, football players) who molest and rape women and get away with it, even with laws against it? Does Rep. Smith really want to validate that? Arrrr.
Truly shocking! I can't believe people could be so stupid and insensitive. Then again, I don't know why anything would surprise me anymore. Shame on them!
Keep telling the truth Hayley. The world needs to wake up to it.
Thank you for putting your heart out there ......I am so sorry that something so monstrous happened to you......Rated , with a hug ......
It may have just been an oversight that is now bringing cries of bloody murder. If someone asked me what rape meant I would probably say sex against someones will. Without even thinking of date rape drugs. Sex without legal consent would be a better definition. Has anyone asked to change the bill, or do people just love being outraged all the time by something or other? In universities they are considering rape sex without written consent. Or sex after a few drinks. Clearly some realistic definition should be made. So rape me with his eyes is not a federal offense, but date rape, drugged rape, statuatory rape, remain in the definition.
Rated and posted to FB. I don't even know you but I love you to pieces. Thank you for this!
Thank you for being brave enough to stand up and tell your story, for all of the survivors who aren't yet at the point of being able to talk publicly about what happened. I'm so angry I want to punch someone. In a "non-forcible" way, of course.
Thank-you everyone for reading this post and supporting it so strongly. I am so lucky to have met such wonderful people through the OS community. I spoke to my editor at Gender Across Borders, and she will be publishing a similar version of the above article, which will hopefully create more awareness about this atrocious bill. As many countries move towards equality for women, it is sad that ours appears to be trying to take more of our rights and protection away. I did not expect that in 2011, I would find myself fighting for women's rights in this country. Thanks again, and please keep in touch,
Hayley
Did you hear? Because of the publicity, they have pulled the word "forcible" from the bill, thus making it as it was before--covering all definitions of rape..but still unnecessary since it is already law that public funds aren't used for abortion. But they did pull the word.
Thank-you for bringing that to my attention! That is great news! The bill is still a bit draconian however.
Hayley I, too, am late to the party but I am with you all the way! As a rape survivor and one who got pregnant as a result, I just want to say thank you for sharing your story. How can they do this in the 21st century? In 2005, Kuwaiti women finally won suffrage; in 2011 American women are (once again) fighting for the rights to their own bodies. If men had to carry the burden of a pregnancy due to rape, I do believe things would be different but, until such time as that happens, we can only continue the fight! Do you hear this "Women of Congress"? Fight for us; fight with us before we lose the right to fight! Rated. Keep trucking Hayley!
Thank-you for sharing your story Annie! We need to continue to put faces behind the women (whose rights congress continues to trivialize)