opinion

Amy Schumer doesn’t have to say she was raped. We all get to define ourselves.

Today, I have a new reason to love Amy Schumer even more.

With beautiful trademark honesty, in an interview with Marie Claire, she’s revealed her first sexual experience wasn’t consensual.

The realisation only dawned on her, she says, when she was reading over old journals, working on her memoir.

“My first sexual experience was not a good one,” she says in the interview. “When it happened, I wrote about it almost like a throwaway. It was like, and then I looked down and realised he was inside me.’ He was saying, ‘I’m so sorry’ and ‘I can’t believe I did this.’”

When asked whether she would like to punish the man she replies no, “this was 17 years ago” and he’s no longer in her life.

It’s what she says next that really resonates with me; she doesn’t consider herself a victim. Amy can bravely reveal her experience of non-consensual sex, but she doesn’t have to see consider herself a victim of rape. Similarly, I’m open about being in abusive relationships but I will never say I’ve been the victim of domestic violence. Why do I want to give someone so much power? To me, that’s a very different headspace. It’s not how I want to perceive myself.

I choose to be open about being in abusive relationships because I firmly believe speaking out will help others. That doesn’t mean my experience is the same as anyone else’s, my psychological reaction to it has been identical, or that I choose to use the same words to describe it. My internal dialogue is unique.

I’ve made peace with my experiences, in my own way, and that is absolutely my right. My experience, my headspace, my choice.

Watch: Twitter users share their experience of sexism and harassment. Post continues after video. 

I feel defiant when I say, ‘My dark experiences don’t define me’. I have lived through dark chapters of DV but they aren’t my entire novel. I have other chapters I’m very proud of; they gleam and glisten with laughter, they twinkle and sparkle with smiles, success, achievements and happiness.

I choose not to use the word ‘victim’ because it mentally assigns power to someone else who has already selfishly stolen that power. Having already lost power at various times in my life, I’m fiercely protective of it now.

I’ve worked incredibly hard to move on and fight for my future even when dark hands of depression tried to bury me. I’ve made extensive positive changes in my life to empower myself; to give myself reasons to live and fuel a newfound confidence.

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I don’t look back – I look forward. If I glimpse over my shoulder to remember where I’ve come from, or it flashes before me uninvited, I take a breath and focus forwards again.

Dark experiences don’t have to breed hatred.

I loath photo shoots. But not this one. A photo posted by @amyschumer on

I choose to peek at my past and see how much stronger, wiser and kinder it has made me. I recognise signs, red flags and warnings in relationships and know without doubt that toxic relationships don’t have happy endings. If you’re in one and think it will change, please get out. The world is sunnier elsewhere, I promise.

I choose to focus on my life and my growth rather than becoming consumed in darkness, even when that’s a million miles from easy.

I don’t dwell on the past because I don’t live there any more. It’s not my home because there’s no warmth there. I live with purpose and with passion in my heart. I set myself goals and pursue them with every ounce of my being, even if they’re small. I challenge myself to be better, more compassionate and stronger.

When I’m frustrated, haunted or drowning in fear, I storm along the beach kicking sand in my path – but I do no harm.

I fire people from my life who thrive on negativity because I have no interest in residing in that bleak void. Instead, I have positive influences around me who have a hand gently supporting my back, pushing me forwards rather than letting me stumble or drift backwards.

I’m grateful for all I have experienced because it’s made me stronger.

It’s because I have lived in darkness that I can find immense joy in the smallest things. I dance, I sing, I laugh until I shake – I’m doing okay.

I will never be a victim. No damn way.

If you’re experiencing sexual assault or domestic or family violence, call the 1800 RESPECT 24-hour national helpline on 1800 737 732.

 

For more from Corrine, follow her on Facebook here

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