I’ve always been notoriously unlucky. School raffles never led to prizes, Murphy’s Law was a good friend of mine, and the odds were never in my favour. It was only when I came to college that things seemed to change. Suddenly, I was the luckiest girl in the world.
I was a lucky girl even when I woke up with regret, shame, and a crippling sense of anxiety towards last night’s antics.
I was a lucky girl even when I lost purses, make up, and phones – plural. Sometimes not my own.
I was a lucky girl even though I’m on my fourth student card (Oh, the irony of having to attain a new ID after too many nights of not being myself).
But I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve woken up with nothing in my memory but an unforgivable darkness. (I’ve learnt not to get drunk with people I don’t trust).
But I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve woken up with the lingering stench of someone else’s vomit in my vicinity. (I’ve learnt not to mix drinks).
But I’m one of the lucky ones.
I haven’t been beaten to a pulp yet. I’m lucky that the strangers I’ve encountered have been satisfied. I’m one of the lucky ones. I haven’t yet been forced into something non-consensual. I haven’t yet been sexually or otherwise violated. I haven’t yet had the privilege of personal possession over my own body stripped from me. I haven’t yet been forced into feeling like a criminal for a crime I didn’t commit.
I haven’t yet had to prove that I screamed and said no and cried out for help for anyone to PLEASE HELP ME. I haven’t yet had to stay silent and pretend that it’s not happening to me, it’s a nightmare that I’ll soon wake up from. I haven’t yet had to sit my parents down and tell them I was a victim, to watch their hearts break in front of me. I haven’t yet had to see a psychologist because of one nameless boy who didn’t understand or care that no means no. I haven’t yet had to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because my first experience of intercourse was literally forced on me.
I’m one of the lucky ones. And I wonder how long this will last. It’s pure luck that I am not yet the victim. It’s a handful of friends who sacrificed their nights to make sure that I got home safe, to make sure that I was taken care of, to make sure that nothing worse would happen.
I have sisters. Statistics say that one of us will be a victim of sexual assault in our lifetime. I look at my older sister, who makes jokes about creepy encounters she’s had and I hope to God that it won’t be her. I look at my younger sisters, and my heart breaks and my blood boils at the thought of someone taking advantage of these unsuspecting, innocent girls.
This can’t go on. We cannot continue to ignore this crisis. Thousands of men and women in this country have haunting stories, experiences, and memories that they’ve been forced to bury deep inside themselves for fear of being branded a liar. Some people may be sick of reading about things like this. They’re very privileged people. How lucky are they that they can get tired of reading about rape? How does it feel to be bored by a topic that puts the fear of God into parents and children alike? “Ugh, again?” – these people say. Sorry to bore you, but this is our unfortunate reality.
I’m being facetious. This has nothing to do with luck. It’s about a sexual education that fails generations of young people. It’s about lack of understanding. It’s about the ominous, underlying remnants of an overtly Catholic state. It’s about an inability to see women as more than an object to have sex with. This is everyone’s problem. It’s mine, and it’s yours. A prevention is better than a cure.