PO Box 29
Athens, OH 45701
Maybe we need 100 new words for when our friends or acquaintances or partners assault or rape us. One word to describe “I let you because I was half asleep and too tired to do anything else,” one that’s “I was sick of arguing about it,” one for, “It’s fucked up and scary the way you talk to me,” one for “I told you I didn’t want to do that,” one for “why didn’t you notice I wasn’t present anymore,” one for “we had an agreement you would use protection,” one for “You said if I didn’t do it you’d leave me. What choice did I have?”
have the courage to hear “You raped me”, or “That was assault.”ions defined that way. They don’le of rape or assault. They don’ts to do these things. They don’ Every time I’ve tried to talk to someone about sexual stuff that they did to me that I didn’t want, their first reaction is to (usually frantically) try to explain it away. They want the story to be different than the one I’m telling. They want me to see it through their eyes and absolve them. They say “But I thought,” they say “I never would have,” even “No, that’s not what happened.” (as if their experience was the only one.) They try to make me out as crazy. They say I am blaming them for things that are really just stored up from my past.
I am not crazy. I am aware that capitalism and patriarchy and all systems of control depend on the denial of both the oppressor and the oppressed. I know that patriarchy values logic over emotion, and that “too much” emotion, too strong of a response, will label you crazy; and that women especially are considered crazy lots of the time. We are not crazy. What happens to us is real. All the attempts to silence us won’t change this reality.
I carry with me a whole history of sexual abuse, and so do most of us. Each sexual act does not exist in a vacuum and I’m sick of people treating it as if it does. I never want to hear the fucking words “Well, why didn’t you stop me?” again. I want to hear “Oh my god, I’m so sorry” and then I want them to want to hear my rage. I want them to ask what it’s done to me, ask for my story. I want them to be able to take it instead of asking for pity. If I tell them to fuck off and leave me alone, then I want them to respect that. If it’s someone I love, I might want them to hold me so I can cry. If it’s someone I hate, I want to be able to punch them without the community saying “dude, that’s so fucked up! She hit him!”
I want all of them to say “I believe you. I’m taking this seriously. I hate what I’ve done and I’m going to change. I’m going to commit myself (or recommit myself) to looking deep inside of myself and changing my behavior, and looking at this world and what it’s make me in to, and it’s my responsibility. I’m going to take this seriously. Thank you for having the courage to tell me. I’m going to work as hard as possible to make sure I never do that to anyone ever again.”
I want them to say that, and feel it, and mean it, and follow through.