August 2020 marked the four year anniversary of being drugged and sexually assaulted. To reclaim this harrowing anniversary, I created THIS IS NOT FOR YOU, a short film in which I address my rapist for the first time.

I will likely never have justice, but that does not mean I will be silent. Contemporary society continues to silence and confine women in its treatment of victims of sexual assault. Even when survivors are allowed to tell their stories, they are typically constrained by the necessity of depicting a rapist’s projected experience or rationale, and are therefore stripped of the control over their own narrative. 

The film was shot in Washington, D.C., in the spaces between the bar where he drugged me and his apartment where I woke up, all between the hours of when my memory was erased (8pm to 5am). It attempts to piece together a night stolen from me; to retrace steps that I must have taken but can never recall; to show a memory that does not exist. Only DNA evidence offered pieces of what happened that night. 

With THIS IS NOT FOR YOU, I frame my own experience within the history of rape culture, and looked at how our society continues to let down survivors of sexual assault by upholding popular "rape myths." These myths work to exonerate the rapist and shift blame onto the survivors. "What were you wearing?" "Were you drinking?" "That's not a real rape." "You wanted it." These myths are relentlessly recited whenever the topic of rape is mentioned. Historically, men have written the narrative around rape: they wrote descriptions of what the “rapist” was, they wrote laws to accommodate other men, they established cultural precedences in how victims were treated, and they determined the methods to stop rape. In no other crime in our society is the burden of proof of innocence placed on the victim. Where was my story in all of this? 

I refuse to let my story be written by my rapist, and I am reclaiming the narrative with this film. This film represents taking back control and demanding justice for a crime that statistically lets down survivors not only in legal justification, but also in society's treatment of them overall. My autobiographical piece works to show the realities of rape and its aftermath, change how we treat the rapists versus the victims, how both are represented in popular culture, and how we as a society talk about sexual assault.

This is my testimony.

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