Why Didn’t She Report It?

She did.

  • Because she was found, bleeding and crying, by someone who took her to security
  • Because the nice security guard asked her what had happened
  • Because the police came, and were gentle
  • Because the adults responsible for her came, and were sympathetic
  • Because she thought she was safe

Why didn’t she tell the doctor everything?

  • Because she didn’t want him to touch her
  • Because he was matter-of-fact, and she was embarrassed by the words
  • Because she had her period, and thought that would disguise what had been done
  • Because she had swallowed, and thought that meant consent
  • Because it had been a stick inside her, and she thought that meant it wasn’t rape
  • Because she had a headache, and was in pain, and needed to sleep

Why didn’t the police act?

  • Because it was her word against his
  • Because she and he had been laughing together the night before
  • Because she didn’t have the words to describe what had happened
  • Because she was unclear about the order in which he did the things
  • Because she was two days past her sixteenth birthday
  • Because he lived in another State
  • Because when she said she just wanted to go home, they believed her

Why didn’t she press harder?

  • Because she couldn’t remember all of it
  • Because she was away from home, and didn’t want to make a scene
  • Because rapists were strangers and he wasn’t a stranger and maybe she’d led him on the night before
  • Because she was asked ‘Why did you leave the path?’
  • Because she was asked ‘How many times did you say ‘no’?’
  • Because she was asked ‘Why didn’t you scream?’
  • Because it was 10 o’clock in the morning, in winter, in public
  • Because she was embarrassed by her period
  • Because it was her period that made him push her head down
  • Because it was her period that made him use the stick

Why didn’t she tell her friends?

  • Because they weren‘t there
  • Because they weren’t friends, just people who tolerated her
  • Because she didn’t have the words
  • Because they wouldn’t understand
  • Because she was ashamed

Why didn’t she tell her parents?

  • Because the responsible adults told her she didn’t need to
  • Because the police said she didn’t have to if she didn’t want to
  • Because she thought they would do things, and she just wanted it not to be real
  • Because by the time she understood how the adults had let her down, she couldn’t hurt her parents like that

Why didn’t she speak out later?

  • Because she didn’t remember enough
  • Because she was damaged
  • Because the damage was irreversible, even after she thought it was behind her
  • Because she eventually told the one person who counted
  • Because the doctor who told her she couldn’t bear children turned out to be wrong
  • Because her parents were still alive
  • Because she didn’t have the words

IRL is real

So, something just happened to me that I’ve only ever read about: IRL.

In Real Life. Sometimes referred to as meatspace.

I’d only been blogging for about 10 minutes, and suddenly I had a case of IRL. Nothing horrible, just utterly time-consuming. And inconvenient. I had finally sorted out a publishing schedule – sort of – and had 4 posts all but finished, when bam: IRL. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t carve out the time needed to take those posts from all-but-finished to completely finished.

I blog for me. I don’t need a schedule; I don’t need exposure; I just like to write. And as I get older, and my memory less reliable, it’s a way of keeping track of what has taken my fancy and how my thinking has developed (or not). So it shouldn’t be an issue that I can’t get near a blog post for a month. It’s just something I do for fun, in my downtime, in the spaces of my real life.

Except that’s not quite how I feel about it. IRL has been a nuisance, interposing itself between me and my writing. Time and time again, I’ve tried to snatch a moment to post, only to have that moment evaporate. I’ve snapped at my IRL family and colleagues; I’ve postponed sleep; I’ve sighed heavily at having to perform all those tasks necessary to the continuance of real life.

So, what have I been doing? Working two jobs, check. Cleaning up after a minor disaster on the homefront, check. Supporting a friend through a family crisis, check. Holidaying, check.


I think I need to reasses my priorities.

What I’m reading: Helen Garner’s This House of Grief

Once there was a hard-working bloke who lived in a small Victorian country town with his wife and their three young sons. They battled along on his cleaner’s wage, slowly building themselves a bigger house. One day, out of the blue, his wife told him that she was no longer in love with him. She did not want to go on with the marriage. She asked him to move out. The kids would live with her, she said, and he could see them whenever he liked. She urged him to take anything he wanted from the house. The only thing she asked for, and got, was the newer of their two cars.

This House Of Grief

It’s a clever beginning. Garner frames her story as an old-fashioned country song – a typical, plaintive she-done-him-wrong song. The story of a good bloke knocked sideways when the woman he loves suddenly ends their relationship. You can see the music video in your head, and bet on how the story ends: continuing heartbreak; recovery and a new beginning; or forgiveness and reconciliation? Continue reading