“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson
Like many, I’m sure you’ve seen the photo shared across facebook multiple times in the last week that shows a nail polish that changes color when it comes in contact with “date rape drugs”. My brain swirls when I think about it and what needs to be said and addressed not only regarding the nail polish, but also regarding the topic of rape. The statistics say that 1 in 3 women have been or will be raped and the stats for men are similar.
While I could share with you more than one personal story about rape, I’m going to share with you my story of when I was given a “rufie” – aka “the date rape drug” and how even if the nail polish was available, it wouldn’t have affected the outcome.
[box] I had known for a while the marriage was over. I just didn’t have the nerve to end it or walk away. Walking away would mean that I had failed…again. He was an over the road truck driver, typically gone during the week and home on the weekends. It was 2005 late summer and he had come home on Friday and we had a pretty uneventful, albeit distant, evening. Saturday we spent some time in the yard, ran errands, and visited his family. All in all it felt like a decent day, although something just seemed “off”. Ignoring it, like I had done many times before, we agreed to go to dinner.
Going out to eat in our small town didn’t leave too many options and we headed to Perkins. He always enjoyed their large portions and home-style heavy meals. My daughter (then 8 years old) was with and the three of us talked the entire time. On the outside it appeared like we were a happy family just enjoying a meal out. Meanwhile, I was dying inside. Postponing the inevitable of going home, I excused myself to use the ladies room. Upon my return, I was encouraged to finish my soda so we could get going. (The following is unedited and taken directly out of my upcoming book, Dying to be Good Enough, A journey of acceptance and discovering ultimate love.)
The rest of the evening is a blur to me.
I woke the next morning feeling groggy and uncomfortable. After lying in bed for a moment, I got up and padded my way to the bathroom. As I was using the bathroom, I immediately felt a burning sensation and an enormous amount of pain. When I finished with the toilet paper, I let out a whimper from the light pressure from my hand. I felt further and realized I was swollen. I grabbed the handheld mirror off the bathroom counter to see what was going on. My entire area ‘down there’ was bright red and there were even a couple small cuts. I remember feeling dumbfounded not knowing what in the world had happened to me. I washed my hands and headed back into the bedroom. By this time, he had woken up and I shared with him what I noticed. I asked him if he knew what was going on. His words shook me to my core.
He proceeded to tell me that at dinner he gave me a roofie (Rohypnol – a drug used as a hypnotic, sedative, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic and skeletal muscle relaxer) the night before in my Coke because he wanted to get some from me and knew that I wouldn’t. He went on to tell me that he had tried for nearly 5 hours. He was so blasé about it and very matter of fact. He then shared that he had been with other women while he was on the road and if he’d told me that the night before that I really wouldn’t have done anything with him. And because I was his wife, it was my duty to make sure he was taken care of.
At this point, I would love to be able to tell you that I left or that I kicked him out of the house. I didn’t. Instead, I took a shower and while I showered, I rationalized all of the actions and what had happened. I told myself that if only I’d have been a better wife to him, maybe he wouldn’t have done this to me. If only I’d had taken better care of his needs, he wouldn’t need to go elsewhere. I remember reminding myself that I wasn’t good enough so just deal with this because it’s unlikely I’d ever find anyone else. The fear of being alone and unwanted gripped me and held on tighter than anything I’d ever faced.
I stepped out of the shower and dried off just as he’d come into the bathroom to see what I would be making for breakfast. As quickly as I could, I got dressed and headed into the kitchen to get the coffee started. As I started the coffee, he came up behind me and put his arms around me and told me he loved me and he was sorry for what had happened. He asked if we could just forget about it and enjoy the day since he was on the road again in the morning. Against the pressing of my small still voice, I turned around and completed the hug by wrapping my arms around him and I told him that it was okay and I understood, it was probably my fault anyway. It felt like a little piece of my soul died that day.[/box]
Although a piece of me did die that day, I have so much more of me that continued living on and I’m much stronger because of the experience. I share this story not so that you’ll feel sorry for me but instead because I believe it takes all kinds of people that are willing to stand up and share so that the message can be spread further. I share so that someone somewhere that reads this will recognize that she is not alone. I share so that there is an understanding that no matter what the relationship, no means no and giving a rufie to anyone is not okay.
While the nail polish is an interesting creation, we need to do more. We must have bigger and deeper conversations about what is really going on. For a long time I believed that it was my fault he did what he did to me – in fact, I was told (by a Pastor, friends, and him) that as his wife it is my responsibility to be taking care of him, no matter what. Why is this message okay? The answer is that it’s not okay.
With the creation of the nail polish, though, we are not getting to the root of the problem. Instead we are simply saying that ‘he will rape and hopefully that won’t be you so wear this nail polish just in case.’ I believe Elizabeth Plank, a Senior Editor at Mic, is doing a wonderful job with sharing some deeper ideas and thoughts regarding this issue. In her recent writing, 11 Ways to Solve Rape Better than Nail Polish, she brilliantly breaks down some real points that need to be considered.
No, these conversations aren’t easy to have and often not easy to read or hear about. It’s easy to bury our heads and think it won’t happen to “me or my daughter”, yet look around. If you are with your two best girl friends, it’s likely it’s happened to one of you already. That statistic needs to change.
What do you think needs to happen for change to take place?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
As always, please share with me. I’d love your comments and feedback.
Sending you heaps of love, peace, and understanding.
Make a Difference . . . Lead with Love