When I was told I had automatic name suppression I wasn’t sure how I felt.
I think it’s an important and a respectful idea and I completely understand why this exists as a law to protect victims of sex crimes.
But I wasn’t sure how I felt as it had already taken me 7 years to come forward and now that I finally had it was a very difficult thing to get my head around that I was being silenced once again – this time not by myself but by the courts. I had no choice in the matter, it’s not just to protect me but also to protect my family they said.
It added to my feels, I should protect my family, make sure no one knows this happened to me, they might feel embarrassed, what if one of my nephews or nieces gets asked about it at school.. But I feel no shame in this. I believe I will make my nieces and nephews proud knowing that I came forward to the police, I know it.
We are so wrapped up in the shame factor.
I’d spent all that time, 7 years, feeling ashamed in myself and responsible for something that happened to me, the walls of guilt that I built up around myself were like a name suppression in their own right and I was locked down within that embarrassment of something that was not of my control.
No one wants to get raped. No one chooses to be sexually violated. I don’t understand why I should still have to feel shame over something that someone else did, yes I was victim to it, but I did nothing to feel ashamed about, the only person worthy of those adjectives is the rapist.
I wanted to hold my head up, I wanted to feel proud, feel brave, I wanted to bask in my new found freedom which was that I was NOT responsible for what happened.
I couldn’t. I couldn’t tell a soul about what was happening, I couldn’t now talk about something that I had kept secret for so long. It felt like the shaming around rape was smothering the fire of strength I had just lit beneath me.
The courts were on my side, they wanted accountability for this crime committed against me, yet by my automatic name suppression I felt they were telling me I should be embarrassed; not to put my family through the grief of finding out what had happened to me 7 years before.
I was so confused, so conflicted. I think if I had been given a choice I would have chosen the name suppression but the fact that I had no choice felt violating in itself.
It concreted in those feelings I was trying so hard to strip away. Rape culture is not going anywhere if we continue to have this secrecy and shame surrounding the sex crimes. Absolute respect for anyone who doesn’t want to share the story, and after going through the entire court process I know it was definitely the right thing to have name suppression and I wouldn’t want it to have been any other way.
So it’s not in anyway a bad thing to have automatic name suppression. It’s one hundred percent the right thing to have, it absolutely protects the victim in so many ways. I do wish that it wasn’t such a process to have it lifted. , for it to have to go before a judge to decide whether or not it would be.
It’s a crazy thing, it empowers and disempowers me all at once.