Post Letter: Misplaced blame needs to be put to a stop

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The first time I saw my rapist after the attack, I struggled not to cry in front of my friends.

The second time, I nearly had a fit of screaming rage. The third time was enough. I decided I had to change my route to class because I no longer felt like holding my breath and looking down at the ground when I passed him on Morton Hill.

I decided to give in to my fear. How many people on this campus, like me, have to see their attackers walking around freely because no justice was served? How many survivors, like me, feel their heart clench in their chest when they see someone who is or looks just like their rapist? Fear ruled my life here for a time at Ohio University. I feared my own reaction to simply seeing a person who made me feel dead inside for months. I feared that maybe it really wasn’t rape, that maybe it really was my fault, that I shouldn’t have had all those drinks. I feared that maybe I said yes without knowing and that it appeared to be consensual.

However, no one but me has any power over my feelings and memories. There are too many misguided opinions and misplaced blame when it comes to rape; this was exemplified last weekend after the incident outside of Chase Bank. Nobody knows how that woman felt or how she is currently feeling, but I do know that to hear a million times that ever-so-popular phrase: “Well, you were drunk, so what did you expect?” will make a person lose hope. And the minute anyone loses hope is when the rapists and their rape culture win.

That can’t happen. We can’t allow that to happen. We can no longer stand by and let this rampant rape culture continue; we can’t let people rape, record a rape or dismiss a rape without consequences. I will no longer accept feeling fear at my school anymore, and I won’t let anyone else feel that way either. I never want anyone to experience or feel the way I did.

He is a demon of my past that haunts me still, but he doesn’t get to rule my life anymore.

Ignorance, hatred and blame toward survivors from other students on this campus only serve to advance the already deep-seated rape culture. It’s no longer enough to break the silence. ­­We must combat our fear and find hope so that we all can one day feel at peace.
 

Maura McNamee is a junior studying journalism.

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