#notavictim - Violet Paley
I was working at a camp with one of my best friends, I'd just turned 18, we lived there in a big cabin and at night we would go to the forest to get drunk and stuff. On Fourth of July, there was a party with the staff of another camp. I remember maybe a having one or two shots and then one drink and then just bits and pieces. Then I was on the couch, laying on someone's shoulder and this guy Johnny, he was in his mid ‘30s and I guess he thought that me leaning on his shoulder was being flirty and stuff. He carried me to this bedroom and then I remember it hurting and me freaking out and I pushed him off of me and I threw a lamp at him and I was screaming crazy shit because I was drugged and I knew it even then (later when I took a drug test, Roofalin came up). In the morning I woke up and was covered in piss and I had blood and semen near my vagina.
My friends and I were trying to figure out what happened. I had to go get Plan B. I used my whole paycheck to afford it. We went back to the camp and I told my boss that I thought Johnny had taken advantage of me and she told me that if I said anything, I'd probably get fired because he had seniority and that I was drunk so I probably wanted it.
I was really bruised and limping and stuff and then I see Johnny and I go up to him and I'm like
"Hey, I'm not going to get you in trouble if you tell me the whole truth. What happened last night."
He said "We had sex."
I was like "I didn't want to have sex"
He said "You were leaning on my shoulder and blah blah blah."
Then he was like "OK well like I probably shouldn't have done it I'm sorry."
I'm like "Thank you. Tell me more about what happened."
He's like "You were like falling off the bed. You were like passing out. And I don't know. Then you started acting crazy and I got up and left."
I said "Oh so you didn't come?"
He said "No."
Then I realized he left me naked in a bedroom at a party.
There were a lot of people we didn't know because there were a lot of counselors from other camps. He did rape me, but it was rape because of a lack of of sexual consent and knowledge and education. He was like “I'm going to fuck her even though she's passing out and falling off the bed.” But there it is. I have a feeling I know who it was who drugged me because there was this guy who made really gross sexual comments to me all the time when I was working there. Things like “I want to fuck you, but my dick would probably split you open.” I was like, “Really? Gross, you've said enough.” My boss told me not to tell anyone. This was in 2012.
Quickly after that I started getting into drugs. I'd like done drugs at high school parties and stuff like that but nothing crazy. Then, I became suicidal. I had just got my heart broken for the first time. A week later, I got into a car accident and had to go to the hospital and a week before the car accident, I was raped. I felt that I was damaged, I'm no good anymore, I will have this problem for the rest of my life. I felt like I'm this damaged girl.
I got really mad about how the rape was handled so I wrote a blog post about it. That guy, Johnny, Facebook messaged me cussing me out saying I liked it. My old boss messaged me and she actually said she was sorry, she was just a 26 year old woman then, if she only knew then what she knew now, etc.
I began doing EMDR which is really good for PTSD and TMS, which is a new thing that's really good for depression. It feels good to know that my words and my bravery made it easier for someone else to speak up. It feels like it might be like my purpose in life to help others, like this horrible thing happened to me but now it's my goal in life to change this system. I'm looking into writing and getting going as a legislative author in writing a bill that demands sexual consent classes in high school in California. Some guys rape for power. Then there are other guys who are idiots and poorly educated and they think they're entitled. That's a big one. They think they can do what they want to a drunk girl or someone who's crying or someone who is in a less powerful position than them and can't say no or they won't say no because of the position they're in. I felt that way: I was working at a camp making like eight dollars an hour. I was too scared to say anything because I was scared of getting fired from that job.
I'm not scared of these fuckers anymore. I fucking dare someone to try something with me. I was hanging out with these other girls who were assaulted by the same famous guy and we all got together and hung out and it was therapeutic. All four of us eating Taco Bell and sitting in someone’s car, I’m smoking weed and all of a sudden these guys come up on their motorcycles right next to us and are hitting on the girls really aggressively. I'm high and not really paying attention and they're saying, “Come for a ride” or something like that. I got up and screamed at them, “I’m going to call the police.”
The first three days after I came forward about this famous actor were the scariest days of my life. I had to call the FBI because I was getting death threats, people were posting my address, every little thing that I've ever said on the Internet or picture I've taken of myself is out there and I was being harassed hardcore by people I don't know. I regretted it so much and Sarah Tither-Kaplan regretted it too because of the harassment. Then a few days passed and Scarlett Johansson made a speech standing up for me at the Women's March saying it brought her back to when she was 19 and had to be the cool girl and she couldn't say no. And then I was like fuck it, Scarlett Johansson has my back. Fuck these random, angry misogynists.
Now I get harassed on the Internet and laugh about it with my mom. Someone made a Twitter page called Hi I'm Violet Paley and I'm a whore. They tweeted "Hey, I love sucking cock." There are people who are really conflicted because that actor is a hero or their idol. So I respond to women who yell at me on the Internet and call me names. I say, “I want to talk to you because you're another woman.” I talk to them and I'm just real and say I'm so sorry you're hurt by this. I'm hurt by it too. We end up talking and opening up to each other and having a conversation and then they're like "I'm sorry I attacked you.” They're really really grateful that I talk to them and it feels good at the end of that interaction. It's hard too, but I can't just ignore other women. It is awesome when you have someone who is literally calling you attention seeking fame whore, then at the end is like “Thank you so much for letting me open up to you and I'm sorry and you're amazing."
Any man who looks at me like I'm a victim, I don't want to be with him. I'm Violet, I'm not Violet, the rape survivor. I'm Violet and I have like this crazy shit that's happened to me, but I also have a lot of normal things and funny stories too. I'm a person, not this sad character. There will be moments where I'm like "Oh my god, I'm never going to be normal sexually” or “Am I normal sexually to begin with?" I guess what I'm wondering is what is normal. It's definitely made my taste in men better. I want to be with someone who I feel safe with, so I can try different things, like maybe explore like different fetishes or whatever. For me, right now, I want to learn about what I like.