THIS POST was about me. I’ve tried to be strong, tried to pray and hope for the best. It’s not enough. I’ve contacted RAINN and my local rape crisis center. I’ve reached out to a therapist and retained a lawyer. They point me in circles, point at each other and tell me to “hang in there.” Where? Here, constantly between sickness and sleep, between fear and worry. Hanging here, in the balance, where my entire life is uncertain. I heard once that you should “be the change you want to see in the world.” So now, by regaining the voice that was stolen from me when I was raped, I’m going to.
I started working at a residential group home for abused and neglected youth because I wanted to help heal the broken. I wanted to show those hurting kids that hope was on the horizon, that dawn would break no matter how long the night. I made myself vulnerable. I loved. I trusted. And then one of those kids betrayed it all and raped me. Horrified and humiliated, I told no one. So he did it again. And again. And again. And again.
When he told the administration that we’d been having “consensual sex” as a way to avoid being punished for fighting with another student, I finally had to come forward with my secret shame and horror. I’d lost twenty pounds in four months, was constantly crying and having panic attacks at work, was constantly covered in bruises inflicted by this underaged monster… but it seemed like none of this mattered to the police. To the police I was a criminal. To the police I “got into a situation that went a little further than I wanted.” To the police I “never had any boyfriends, so I probably liked the attention.” Because I hadn’t come forward “first,” I was guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree. I was guilty of statutory rape.
…Except I’m innocent. I was raped. I lost a job I loved for being raped. I lost health insurance I needed for being raped. Now I’m facing 20 years in prison for being raped. I never told because I was scared, because I was constantly threatened, because I barely knew my own name through all the trauma and horror. 80% of all rapes go unreported. I WAS RAPED. THAT IS NOT MY FAULT. I’m not a criminal; I’M A FUCKING CRIME VICTIM.
So I need your help. Be the change you want to see in the world. Help spread rape awareness and let society know that RAPE CULTURE IS NOT OKAY. I’ll be arrested within the next week, but hopefully this signal will burn bright enough to reach even the coldest, most indifferent hearts:
VOCAL @ facebook: http://www.facebook.com/getvocal
VOCAL video log #1 @ facebook: http://www.facebook.com/v/10100449563877217
Spread awareness on Twitter by re-tweeting these updates: http://twitter.com/#!/feraldolce/status/134026228846960640 http://twitter.com/#!/feraldolce/status/134349093983100929 http://twitter.com/#!/feraldolce/status/134405324349243392
Use hashtags #getvocal and #ihaveavoice to show support and share your own story. I know it’s hard, but you’re not alone. There’s 80% of you out there that know not coming forward is common, not a crime.
Guys, this is one of my best friends. She’s talked me off of ledges, helped me through some of the hardest times of my life, and just generally been there for me whenever I needed her- now she needs my help. Now she needs everyone’s help, because she is facing up to 20 years of JAIL TIME. FOR BEING RAPED.
Please, take just a moment to read her post. Reblog. Check out the GETVOCAL facebook page and read the story there. Like the page. Share her video blog (linked at the bottom of her post.) Spread awareness.
It’s been suggested that doing so won’t help her situation, and maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. But I can tell you that staying silent definitely won’t help her.
Rape is never the victim’s fault. It wasn’t Candice’s. What’s happening to her is one of the most appalling failures of the American justice system I have personally witnessed. She’s scared. She feels alone. And all that she’s asking is that people spread the word about the living nightmare her life has become so that maybe this won’t happen to someone else.