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Gang Rape and Slut Shaming

Gang rape and slut shaming

Gang Rape and Slut Shaming

By Kat Duesterhaus

⚠️ Trigger Warning: The Following Content Contains A Graphic Account Of Gang Rape and Slut Shaming⚠️

This is a 100% true story about gang rape and slut shaming. Please feel free to read it… Or not, that’s totally okay too ?

I am sharing this publicly because I hold ZERO shame or guilt for what was done to me, and I believe it’s important for survivors to step forward so we can have conversations about how to shift the culture around rape and sexual violence. PS Start by believing, Green Dot, and education are key!

Join us (#metoo), because together we can and WILL change the statistics for rape and sexual violence. ??????????
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Call RAIIN at 800-656-HOPE if you need help healing from sexual violence.

Note from the owners of TreasureCoast.com: “We applaud Kat for sharing her story of survivorship, and promise to continue supporting and encouraging her to talk about any and all important topics — like sexual violence and homelessness — which effect not only our local Treasure Coast community but our larger, global community. If you have a story to share, email us at newsroom@treasurecoast.com.”

⚠️ Trigger Warning ⚠️

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Gang Rape & Slut Shaming
Gang Rape & Slut Shaming

My name is Kat Duesterhaus. I have a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from a private art university, I am a Treasure Coast small business owner, and I am Chairwoman to the Elite Business Associates of Martin County.

And when I was 14 years old I was sexually assaulted by a group of men, repeatedly over two days Memorial Day Weekend in 2000.

It happened at a party I had gone to with some of my girlfriends. The guys at the party were older. My girlfriends and I were freshmen in high school, but most of the guys there had already graduated. We were all drinking, which was a new thing for me. I wasn’t able to fully understand what effect heavy alcohol consumption would have on my body.

On the patio, the guys encouraged us all to take several flaming shots of liquor.

The night gets fuzzy after that, but I remember one of the guys said something about the bedroom and so we all went inside. I saw my friends on the way in, and they told me to come in the living room with them. But at that time all the guys were laughing and being nice and I thought we were having fun. SO I told my friends not to worry and went in the room with them. I remember sitting on a bed, surrounded by about 5 guys. Then I heard them discussing some things I didn’t understand.

They were half arguing and half-joking around with each other. I heard: “Who gets to go first?” “Who gets sloppy seconds?” I didn’t want to seem stupid so I just sat there. Then, every guy left the room except one.

Only after he undressed and clamored towards me naked, then began tearing at my clothes did I finally understand what they had been discussing — in which order to rape me.

My friends had been right… but by the time I realized it, I was already in trouble. Someone was on top of me, and all I could do was to claw my nails in his back as he forced himself inside me. I tried to not think about the four other guys waiting for their turn.

Instead I focused on a single point on the ceiling and I became that point. I managed to successfully dissociate and leave my body for a time, until one of my rapists strangled me. Which caused me to open my mouth and gasp for air, at which point he forced himself on me orally.

I came back into my body when they were done. Laying on the bed, I felt naked and numb. I remember asking for my clothes back, but they laughed and said no and then told me to just go to sleep.

I stayed awake in terror as a few of my rapists climbed in the bed with me and fell asleep.

Early the next morning I was exhausted and still fairly out of it. I found my friends and when we went across the street for donuts I told them what had happened. My friends reminded me they told me not to go in the room. That made me feel like I had done something wrong. Survivors can carry so much guilt and shame.

Since I had run away, I was terrified of going home. I felt disgusting, and like what happened might have been my fault. I was dead inside and so eventually I told my friends to just leave me. They did, and not knowing where else to go I went back to the house where I was raped.

One of my rapists let me back in, and said I could get some sleep in his room. It wasn’t the same room as last night and he promised me “Don’t worry, we won’t do anything.” Though shortly after we laid down he raped me again.

Their friend came over, but he must have been kicked out of their rape gang… because my rapists would not let him in. When he saw me he went crazy and tried to rush the door. A few of my rapists literally fought him off. All the commotion resulted in the cops being called.

When the cops came my rapists told me to hide, and to not make a sound. They closed the door and I complied, hiding quietly like they told me, in the bedroom where I had been repeatedly raped the night before. I remember feeling so grateful to my rapists for protecting me from that guy, who was obviously a seriously violent rapist. I felt lucky I got the nice rapists. They told me I had to leave after the police left, and I went home.

I did tell someone about being assaulted. Their response was basically “what did you expect, dressed like a slut.” This kind of reaction is called slut shaming. If I were to hear anyone say something like that today, I would tell them that rape and sexual violence is about power, NOT because their victims did something to encourage it.

A part of me knew what had happened was rape, but I didn’t really talk about what happened or fully admit it for 4 years after that.

Until I was 18 years old, when I heard a woman speak about being sexually assaulted. After hearing this brave woman share her story I could no longer deny, that was what had happened to me. I confided in my professor, who directed me to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.

I had been on again off again homeless since 16, so I was hoping they could help me with getting some therapy. In order to apply for that kind of assistance, they said I needed to file a police report, which I did.

Filing a police report felt more like being interrogated, and they didn’t seem to take me seriously. At the end of my report the officer said the statute of limitations had run out so there was nothing they could do. Years later I found out that my case should have been considered aggravated rape. This is due to the fact that my assault involved multiple adult perpetrators, aka gang rape, and I was a minor.

Thankfully I found an amazing counselor who helped me heal from the abuse I endured that Memorial Day weekend back in 2000. After a couple of years of intense work I felt healed enough to pursue a college education.

If you asked me how I’m doing now I would tell you that I’m no longer just surviving… I’m LIVING. But it wasn’t easy, and not every survivor makes it out.

1.  I want you to remember all the shame and guilt survivors will feel on their own. And that even a single careless comment can cause MAJOR damage to someone who could really just use some love. I want you to remember that your words can either help or hurt survivors further. START BY BELIVING // NO SLUT SHAMING

2.  I want you to remember that sexual violence does not discriminate. It effects people of, and is perpetrated by people of, all ages, cultures, races, sexual orientations, gender identifications, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

3. I want you to remember how difficult our legal system can be for survivors when you are voting in new laws.

4. I want you to remember to teach your children about consent and to not be passive bystanders of sexual violence.

If you are a survivor: I want you to remember that it wasn’t your fault, and you are not alone. Please know it’s okay let go of any remaining feelings of shame or guilt you still carry. Start your journey to healing, and don’t stop. When you get strong enough, stand with us as we scream out to the world — ENOUGH!!!

Sadly my story is not uncommon- but we are not powerless!

I want you to remember that together, we CAN and WILL change the statistics for sexual violence.

With love and strength,

Kat Duesterhaus

PS Wondering what an appropriate respond to hearing my #metoo story? Read this.   

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For speaking availability, or to request to link to this story on your own site or blog, please email katduesterhaus@gmail.com.

 

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