...we learned a lot about rape.Peterson recounts stories about harassment, creepiness, horror, and the frustration that THESE KINDS OF HARASSMENT, CREEPINESS AND HORROR KEEP HAPPENING. The trial she describes: that's a particularly tough part.
What we were not prepared for was everything else. Rape was something we could identify, an act with a strict definition and two distinct scenarios. Not rape was something else entirely.
Not rape was all those other little things that we experienced everyday and struggled to learn how to deal with those situations. In those days, my ears were filled with secrets that were not my own, the confessions of not rapes experienced by the girls I knew then and the women I know now.
...My friends and I confided in each other, swapping stories, sharing our pain, while keeping it all hidden from the adults in our lives. After all, who could we tell? This wasn’t rape - it didn’t fit the definitions. This was Not rape. We should have known better. We were the ones who would take the blame. We would be punished, and no one wanted that. So, these actions went on, aided by a cloak of silence.
We need to be better to each other. Damnit, it's a platitude, but it's true, and after reading the piece I don't know what to say beyond platitudes.
So please just read the essay.