I think this is an important thread, Michelle, and while it's led people to write about their hurts, you starting it hasn't hurt anyone. Make sense?
First, I want to say Michelle that you are beautiful. I love to read your posts. Peronally, I find so much truth in what you say, and I relate so well with so much of your experience. I don't know what you look like. And frankly, it doesn't matter to me or, I think, anyone else here. The old saws "beauty is only skin deep" and "it's what's inside that counts" ring true.
It saddens me immensely to think think that you felt you couldn't talk about what happened to you because you didn't think you were pretty enough to merit "that kind" of attention. And I'm so happy to hear that you've broken through that barrier.
It's been hard for me to separate sex from rape, to finally view rape as a violent power play that has nothing to do with what sex really is (or should be, ideally). This whole discussion of I'm not pretty enough/some people think I'm too pretty shows, in my opinion, how big a struggle this is for many of us.
I'd also like to share my experience with the too pretty/not pretty enough side. I was raped when I was 16, at the house of someone who I thought was a good friend. She was extremely competetive with me in some weird ways. She decided that I was pretty and she wasn't, and this bothered her. Therefore she act as though I was good looking but stupid and talentless, and that she was unattractive but extremely intelligent and artistic. I tried to ignore this dynamic, and remain unaffected by her constant cutting remarks, and also to assure her that I thought she was smart, talented, and also quite attracitve albeit in a different way than me.
It got harder to ignore when she started spreading vicious sexual rumors about me which were totally unfounded. I never did figure out where she came up with all that. One night at her house, I was attacked by a man who we both knew while she was not at home. I always wondered if her rumor-mongering contributed to that. I'll never know. I also wondered how my physical appearance contributed to the rape. I'll never know that either. Attention from men since has often been, understandably, really hard for me to handle.
But in the end it's a trap, this questioning about how we look. The people who hurt us are sick. It wouldn't matter if we looked different or wore something different. I think sometimes we're looking for some way to have control over what happened by attributing it to the way we look or what we wore.
Anyway that's my (very long) two cents worth. It's all so complicated. It makes me so sad to read about some of these experiences we all have had. I could climb up on my big soapbox and talk about how I wish society could view us for who we are rather than how we look but this post is already too darn long, and you all already know it.