Naming Names – It’s My Choice

I read a great post over at The Curvature this morning, Protecting Your Safety While Speaking Out is Not Irresponsible.

Cara speaks exquisitely about Katie Price and why she does not need to name her rapist.  Cara also talks about her own decision to leave her rapist unnamed:

Katie Price has not done something particularly different from what I have; she has only done it while people know her name. I have spoken about being raped, and while I have never been particularly specific about the details, I have constantly mentioned that my rapist was also my boyfriend at the time. For those who have known me for many years, that is more than enough information for them to know his name. For him, were he to find me, it is also almost certainly more than enough. And that makes it enough period.

I have not given his name. I will not ever give his name publicly. And no amount of victim-blaming bullshit is going to change that.

Why? Because I value my safety. Because I value my mental health. Because I value myself.

Because printing his name would make it a million times easier for him to find me. Because it would make it easy for his friends to google his name and find me, too. Because it would open me up to extraordinary harassment by someone who through his very narrow definition of rape, which he undoubtedly uses to maintain his belief that he’s a decent person, almost certainly believes with all his heart that he did not rape me. It would open me up to charges of false accusations, to questions about why I have not pressed charges and statements about what a liar I am because I haven’t. It would back me into a corner, because while not pressing charges makes me a liar, pressing charges means setting up an impossible case on the grounds of something that happened many years ago with no witnesses, for a crime that rarely results in conviction, anyway (something that is especially true in the UK). Because it could potentially open me up to charges of libel. I will not name him because I deserve — no, because I have the goddamn right — to not spend every second of my life looking over my shoulder, afraid of just when he will appear.

And I imagine that if not every one of these things is true for Katie Price, a significant majority are. Her choices, right now, are being called an irresponsible coward by feminists and an attention-seeker by the media, or being sued for libel by her rapist and being called a liar by every single person under the sun.

What a brilliant fucking set of options, right?

These are many of the same reasons I have chosen not to name my own rapist in this blog.  Sadly, I have had numerous comments (some of which I have approved, many of which I have not) about how I need to name him, tell his family, let the world know, etc.  Let me clearly state right now, once and for all, I am not going to out my rapist publicly. That is my decision to make. Don’t think that it is one I make lightly.  I have thought about it for years. More than you could ever imagine.  So please don’t think you need to write and enlighten me as to all the reasons I need to name names.

I am speaking out about my rape, but I have to do it in a way that does not endanger me or my family. That is my choice; that is my right – and it is the right of every other victim out there. It does not matter if she (or he) is a celebrity, an activist, or the girl next door.  It takes a lot for a person to put herself (or himself) out there. Please don’t berate her (or him) for not doing it the way you think she (or he) should.

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~ by After Silence on October 1, 2009.

6 Responses to “Naming Names – It’s My Choice”

  1. It is absolutely your right to name or not name him as you see fit, and I am sorry to hear that some people have felt as if they need to give you advice on this. You are an intelligent, articulate woman who can make her own mind on the issue.

    It would be possible for many people to work out who my own rapist was, as I make no secret of the fact that he is an uncle of mine. However, I only talk about the incident on my blog (which is anonymous) and, in fleeting moments, during therapy (except for the odd conversation about it on my blog). Even then I deliberately refuse to face the details.

    I think there’s probably a lot of us out there who choose not to name our abusers for various reasons. As long as there isn’t an obvious and immeadiate threat to someone else, I think we have every right to that anonymity.

    You are already achieving a remarkable lot by speaking out about your rape at all and I have nothing but the greatest respect for that.

  2. I respect your personal choice, however I have and will contiue to name Jesus Jazo Jr as the man who began raping me at age 12, I became pregnant by him at 14 and again at 16. He is a Retired Air Force Seargent in Alaska. My mother Greda Humphrey, gave him Legal Custody of me when I was 14, 6 months pregnant by him. For many years I have lived in fear of my life and for my children, fear of retaliation from him, his family,his friends, and a community that did not protect me or my children. I was right, and so are you. I am called a liar,torn down in court, when it is a consitutional right under the 14th ammendment for due process,DNA speaks the truth and that cannot lie. I am accused of being wrong even after Jesus Jazo admitted what he did, I have to prove I told the authorities in order to prosecute. This game the system plays has created a “System Failure”.Sexual Assault Perpatrators will not go unpunished if victims, do not grow into survivor’s and tell their truth, who the perpatrator is. The question is? Would I tell my daughter to be silenced? NO, never.Voice yourself loud and free, he did this to me, to save another.

  3. well done my friend, my surviving sister. we need to remember the rights we do have… to name or not to name.

    ultimately they all share the name rapist.

  4. I fully agree that naming names is an entirely personal choice. I have always been very open about the fact that the man who raped me was an ex-partner, although, like Cara, the only people who know his name are those who were my friends at the time – more than ten years ago now. I have only recently reached the point where I feel able to deal with what he did to me, and my view is that naming him publicly just dredges up all the hurt and pain and suffering I am now moving away from.

    I fully respect and understand your personal choice not to name names. As survivors, we call the shots now – each of us deals with our recovery in a different way. Good luck for the future.

  5. wanted to leave another comment to you tonight and say how pleased i am to see you on Five Star Friday…. this post, amongst many of your other beautifully raw pieces of writing deserve the recognition. as survivors, we deserve recognition… as people.

  6. “I fully respect and understand your personal choice not to name names. As survivors, we call the shots now – each of us deals with our recovery in a different way. Good luck for the future.”

    I agree with trickygirl.

    Stick to your guns.

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