How I Learned to Be Fearless

Gawker features an essay by dream hampton, originally from Rebecca Walker's collection of essays, Black Cool, on her near-rape experience and how that situation taught her to be bold.

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Few rape victims want to write about what happened to them, but dream hampton wrote about her experience at Gawker. Originally published as part of Rebecca Walker's Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness, hampton's essay describes the day a group of neighborhood boys tried to attack her, and she learned that her will to survive was stronger than her fear. 

The three boys, who were all older than 16 (I'd learn this later, from Friend of the Court documents) pushed my brother aside the moment he cracked the door and chased me upstairs, where I was hoping to lock myself in my room and use the fire escape ladder my dad bought me to run to my neighbor Ms. Erma's, across the street. I remember having that plan in my head. But they ran faster than me. And were stronger. And they threw me on the bed in the playroom, where Bo sat frozen, and pulled off my panties. There was an attempt, many attempts, to pin me down, to keep my legs from kicking, but I would not stop kicking. I kicked and I punched and I screamed and I spat and I squirmed ...

I've told this story three times. To my two best friends and to a lover I trust. In the sister circle where I sit, or the many friendships where my girlfriends have asked me to witness the telling of their own rape stories, I've stayed silent. I always felt my not being raped because I refused to stop fighting would seem an indictment of their stories. And I don't feel that way. I don't believe they weren't strong enough or should have fought if they didn't or that their rapes were in any way their faults. But I never tell my own because of a kind of survivor's guilt. That, and the deep contempt I hold for Bo and my brother. But now, here, I see it all differently. Now I know I tapped into something bigger than me.

Read dream hampton's entire piece at Gawker.

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