My Reality: To Want to Kill a Rapist

by | January 27, 2013
filed under My Reality

cryingby Rachael

[Trigger Warning: rape]

People say that there is no right way to break, there is no right way suffer, no right way to get over things as traumatic as this. Yet growing up I got the distinct feeling that there were certain expectations. That there was a certain degree to which “Yes, this is normal”. But if you crossed that unspoken line, then you were either in denial or maybe it just wasn’t such a huge deal after all. If you reacted in the wrong way, people might think that maybe you yourself were ill.

Women aren’t supposed to feel the rage that men do: that would be wrong [insert sarcastic tone here]. That was the subliminal message I got as a child and a young woman. Hence, if I didn’t break down the way I was “supposed to”, I would force it. I was always scared that people wouldn’t take my pain seriously if I didn’t. I knew they wouldn’t because they hadn’t in the past. The irony of this, of course, is that in following the unspoken script put out for us girls I never really dealt with anything. Things don’t go away if you have to force yourself to cry, they don’t get resolved if you have a faux nervous breakdown. If you don’t embrace your own unique way of letting things go they will stay with you endlessly.

While for life’s smaller injuries and incidents the rules have become more relaxed, society still hasn’t fully accepted that there are more reactions women can have when it comes to things like rape than denial or teary breakdown. There is a standard narrative put out for us rape victims. Even today we are often times expected to behave a certain way, and feel certain things. Thing is, not all of us fit this narrative. In fact many of us don’t.

After I was raped, I expected the reaction to happen like they said it should. I’ve spent the last 4 years feeling like damaged goods because it never did. I was supposed to cry, I was supposed to have the perfect breakdown like all the women I’ve seen on TV. I was supposed to go through steps A, B and C. I couldn’t fake a reaction to this, though; funerals sure, breakups no problem.

Not this.

How I feel now is how I really feel. It has little in common with what you see on TV or in the movies. It’s no Girl Interrupted scene. It’s not a magazine article. I don’t feel like anything was stolen from me. Rather, I feel like I’ve had something thrust upon me which I can’t get rid of. Like a victim in a car fire, the plastic’s melted into my arm. It’s become a part of me.

I don’t relive the experience exactly as it happened every night. Rather I find myself sleepless and paranoid at 3:39 AM searching Google for “How many guns can I legally own?”, “How difficult would it be to build a subterranean bunker?” or “Are T-72 tanks legal in this country?”

I don’t want to cry. Rather I’m volatile. I’m gripping a metal pen in my fist, waiting, while I walk home at night, for the next man to try me. I dare him. I’ll plunge it into his neck the second he tries to touch my breast. This is how I feel.

I feel hate like I’ve never felt before and I wish I could make it go away without having to say anything. It’s searing, roiling, burning hatred for people that take advantage of other people. I don’t watch shows like Law & Order or The Mentalist anymore because I find myself screaming at the TV, begging the officer with the gun to shoot the fucker standing over the beaten child or assaulted woman. All I can hear myself say is, “Kill them, kill them!”. I have grown cold in a way I am not comfortable with.

This is why I haven’t talked about this. It’s all considered atypical for women. I’ve always been scared that this reaction would somehow disprove my suffering. Scared that people would simply write me off as a “man hater”. Scared that people would think I was ill or creepy for unsympathetically watching a rapist get the royal crap beaten out of them, for watching as they were crushed with absolutely no guilt or emotion. for wanting to actually grab the nearest blunt object and help out, all the while screaming: “How does it feel?!?”

This just left me feeling even more damaged. It took me seeing other women expressing the same anger for me to start making peace with my own feelings regarding this. The rage I feel is not merely an individual  experience. It’s normal to want to protect yourself. It’s normal to become paranoid after being sexually assaulted even once. Asking yourself if every stranger that smirks at you will follow you home. Asking whether the guy with the black hoody sitting behind you on the bus is staring at you. It’s normal to want to hurt the people that hurt you. It’s normal just like crying and denial.

Plastering things over with an emotion that isn’t yours in the moment doesn’t work. Everyone reacts their own way to rape. There is no homogenized, scientific, rule book entitled: “The Proper Reaction to Being”. We each react in the way that best suits us.

This is how I’m dealing with the assaults I’ve suffered. It doesn’t mean I hate men, or that I’m a violent psycho. I’m not going to kill anyone, and I have nothing against men because I know most of them aren’t rapists. I’m not going to buy a gun. I’m not going to steal a tank and go barreling through the city searching for the men that hurt me. This is how I feel right now though, and it’s ok, even thoughit’s scary,

I’ve never felt this cold, never laughed when someone on TV was beaten to a bloody pulp. I miss sleep, and I miss the ability to feel safe in my own house. But I will heal. I will feel safe again one day. Right now though I’m going to speak out, go to a SlutWalk, join a protest movement.

I’m going to school anyone that makes a rape joke. I’m taking a kick boxing class. I’m going to teach the men I meet about rape culture, because while most men aren’t rapists, most men also don’t understand how their inaction contributes to its perpetuation. I’m going to make it clear to people that wearing a miniskirt, being drunk, walking out late at night, wearing heels, dating someone, being high, or any combination of those things does not justify rape.

I’m mad as hell and I’m not scared to show it anymore. The first thing I’m going to do is this. Write this. To tell anyone who reads it, that you are not damaged. If your reaction to this is different, it’s ok. No one’s reaction is exactly the same.

Author’s Note: Thank you to Keisha Bond, who shared this video with me, which inspired me to write this:

(photo of crying statue via Wikimedia Commons)

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  • Alicia Costa

    Powerful piece. Thanks for sharing.

  • Roxanna Bennett

    Thank you so much for sharing this courageous piece. I know exactly how you feel.

  • Marti Guest

    I understand completely. If I’d had the knowledge then that I have now, there would have been bodies discovered decades later and a mystery of who and how they got there.

  • christina

    I have been treated like crap from my certain people from my family and certain others ( slowly trying to regain the ability to trust others) who claim they wanted to help. All they did was tell me “to forget, let go,” which doesn’t do nothing but make it seem like it’s my fault. I even had a s call professional person tell me( after years of therapy) that it was my fault for being rape. Everything that others have told me about not fighting has hurt me worst, because then you have to hold or keep things inside. It hurts you more, by me speaking out and showing my anger ( even if all i gotten is a backlash). I will not be shut down, it seems that everyone who has helped the rapists instead of me wanted me to stay a certain way, quiet, fake happy, to make them feel like they are these experts. I say, I’m going to box, and tell everything that has happened to me.

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for this piece. I know it must have taken a lot of courage to write. The level of identification I felt with much of what you wrote is so powerful it has moved me to tears. I get it. Thank you.

  • milou

    Thank you for this!
    I watch quite a few rape revenge movies to deal with these kinds of emotions. My secret favourite movie of all time is “Hard Candy.”
    I totally recommend it.

  • I recommend the film “American Mary” which I found very therapeutic but alas the victim doesn’t have a happy ending either.

  • jme

    Thank you, WE are not alone in feeling this way. They took some part of our humanity.

  • Photon

    Revenge! Do to the perpetrator what was done to you! 10 times worse! Learn self defense, how to handle deal with this kind of situation. Get confidence in yourself. How to incapacitate a man. Go for the eyes. Windpipe. Thought and practice (in a controlled environment) would give confidence. Use keys in fist. Keep thinking things through. Revenge leads to freedom!

  • Red

    “Men’s inaction contributes to rape…” No, I don’t think so, not when it’s incest.

    I detest the assumption that all rape is date rape and that all rape victims should feel it’s okay to wear heels and get drunk. With incest, this is irrelevant. It alienates incest victims to focus primarily on date rape and it stereotypes rape victims in general as women who want to be free to express their sexuality without fear of violence. Some women don’t want to express their sexuality at all, and that is their right.

    Men’s inaction doesn’t contribute to incest because it takes place in the shadows. Nobody knows.

  • Red

    My point is, what will any of this do to stop incest?

  • Kaname Fujiwara

    The punishment for rape is death – yes, I agree.

  • gambit18888881

    I honestly wish I could personally kill a rapist. I’m a male. It’s fucking sick and saddening..

  • deedee

    I am seriously struggling with rape
    my son was a product of rape and i couldnt cope with him and i hate myself for it i gave him to his dad cause i had no one else
    i was repeatedly raped during my relationship even beside my son after i breast fed him
    my ex (rapist) has my poor son now and plays games calls me a bad mother etc
    he imprisoned me beat me tortured me and thought i was cheating on him throughout. This was years ago when will this bullshit end
    i fantasise about killing him because the altermative is myself
    i cant cope much longer im sick of putting on a brave face anti depressants dont work

    i have resumed somewhat of a normal life but the only thing that makes me feel better is considering killing or mutilating his genitals….
    which i know i wont do cause im a weak human who cant go to prison or leave my older children
    i hate my life

  • Elkie Pointer

    I am so sick of rape. I am so sick of the idea hat these fuckers get to live their lives like nothing happened because there is no justice. The courts are a joke, the police are a joke any sense of safety for women is a complete and utter joke to the point where the message we seem to get is just, comply with it, deal with it. I am sick to /death/ of living that joke and watching other women live that joke.

    The fact is I want Justice! I don’t want to sit here thinking about killing a random rapist who tries it again, I want to hunt down every fucking rapist and mutilate them to the point where they feel it. When I see mobs of people in india taking justice into their own hands and beating rapists to death it makes me happy, it makes me think.. finally /someone/ is doing /something/.

    I don’t understand why if they can make us suffer without any repercussion we can’t make them suffer without worrying about going to jail.

    I am beginning to think maybe we should use the same leagal loophole they use to avoid penalty of any kind to fuck up their ives on the same level. Poison their drink, drag them off, fuck them up and then say “Oh but he wanted it.” I am starting to think the only justice we will ever have is the justice we take into our own hands. And I’m not apologetic, I’m not upset, I don’t feel broken. I don’t even feel remorseful. I feel good. I hate rapists so violently that my hate for them spills out onto the justice system that sympathizes with them, that lets them off to do it again and again and again. That pushishes women for defending themselves.

    I am educated, yes. I understand that laws are there to keep order, because if everyone took justice into their own hands the alternative would be utter chaos. But the fact is it is already utter chaos, there is no justice for rape victims unless it is by mobs of vigilantes. So if the laws continue to support them I feel like I just might opt to bring the chaos until they change.

  • mark pullen

    If the police didnt let so called rapists off scott free, they’dd all be doing 10 years a piece and upwards and getting abused and bad mouthed by screws and other inmates and weaker ones getting used as punchbags, simply because they got a bit drunk one night with a nice lady and had what was essentially a bit of harmless fun, to which more than likely the woman did consent, but just wished she hadnt afterwards. Far better to let them off like this than ruin their lives like some woman would totally wrong condone. I can see no logical argument for doing this to any man including aldolf hitler or my worst enemy, let alone someone who just got lucky one evening. At the end of the day the lady can just go home and forget about it. The mans life would be ruined needlessly if the police did it any differently. If I saw a man in india being kicked to death, Idd rather rescue the poor guy and spray mace in the faces of any angry men wanting to hurt him. So I fully support the police in freeing rape suspects. This is justice as it should be, justice for the good men who like a shag.

    • Alex F

      Everybody stop talking about rape, guys. Mark the rapist feels personally attacked.

      I’ll weep for you.

  • I’m pissed

    I feel the same. I do not for the life of me understand how men can not accept that some of us are furious and aggressive when that is exactly the way I feel like most of them would react. Our society, at least mine, has no sympathy for victims. We are blamed and even if it’s “acceptable” for us to react with weakness, we are seen as pathetic for it. So there’s the options: be weak and accepted but revicimized or be pissed and be misunderstood and labelled a man-hater. I know which one I pick. There is no justice or retaliation so it’s be angry or be a victim. I’m ANGRY