When I was 16, a man older than me, a man that I trusted, decided that my body was his. I don’t remember the exact dates and times of each “event”, but I can tell you, in detail, how hot and fast his breath was on my neck; the feeling of him pressed hard against my back as he held me down, how he chased me up the stairs of his basement when I got away the first time; the feeling of his fingers as they entered my body; how he ripped my arms away from protecting myself so that he could make me feel his penis even though my hands were balled into fists; even his laughter, because apparently… this was funny.
I’ve been reading copious amounts of blogs and op-eds all pertaining to the blatant disrespect of the public suffering of women, of survivors.
To be honest, I thought I had fully dealt with (finally) my own sexual assault from when I was 16 and 17. I thought I had finally worked it all through last year when the Me Too movement started. I realized how and why I had the dirty, raunchy sense of humor I have grown to love about myself; or why I chose male friends, for so long, that were clearly predators; or even why I had such a hard time giving up control in any relationship, least of all with a man I liked, or more so, was in love with; even going so far as to dissect the kind of man I was in to and why I was drawn to the very particular set of behaviors (i.e. gaslighting, fickle, limbo-holding patterns) that many women know so well.
But the explosion of Dr. Ford’s testimony onto the public scene and how Kavanaugh and other white men treated her and dismissed her thoughts, feelings, and personal truth has broken open a whole new experience of trauma inside of me. It has finally awakened the rage that had been pushed into the corners of my soul because being angry “isn’t nice”.
Little girls are taught that we must be kind, nice, presentable, all the while boys are taught that “boys will be boys”. And what does that even mean? It means that they can treat girls, women, as objects. That our feelings do not matter, that our person is for them to take and not for us to give to the person we decide it can be given to and when we decide to make that choice.
We are taught, through actions, that we don’t really have a “choice”.
The world-wide rage that I have seen this past week (and I hope that it doesn’t wane) has been, in equal parts, heartbreaking but also incredibly powerful.
For the first time in my life, I’ve told men off. I’m not presenting myself as this kind, sweet “girl” who just wants to fit in for the sake of not being left out of the “boys club”; and I’ve noticed a difference already in how I’m treated. If I’m not “on”, if I’m not happy, I’m met with disdain. Disdain that this gal that people know to be super bubbly (even in a depressive episode) isn’t bubbly all the time. Men don’t understand how exhausting it is for us to constantly be on edge, to constantly work on excusing their behavior even when (not if) it interferes with our own needs.
I’ve cut out male friends who refused to accept that women who don’t come forward right away, or ever, are still telling the truth; I’ve gotten into it with men I don’t even know on social media (something I don’t ever want to invest my time with normally) because I need to somehow make it clear to them that what their opinion is on the matter is incorrect; I’ve gotten rid of a man that I routinely slept with, because he thought that the Me Too movement was ruining men (the moment he said that I knew… dude, you can never be inside of me again); and I just got rid of my Uncle who instead of talking with me about my assault, decided to preach about democracy and how everyone deserves the right to a fair trial. This coming from the man who wanted to “Lock her up!”
Something that needs to be said over and over again is this:
There is literally nothing to gain from a women (or survivor) coming forward to expose any type of sexual assault. Ever.
Now, go back and re-read that last statement.
Just look at the current state of affairs — Kavanaugh is fine, save for a few jokes about his behavior on the stand during his job interview and about how much he loves beer. His reputation will remain in tact, but Dr. Ford’s? Her life is over. She receives numerous death threats, has had to go into hiding, and more that I’m sure we aren’t even privy to, all because she laid herself out as a sacrifice for the rest of us. And we need to honor that sacrifice now more than ever.
We need to keep the collective rage we feel, ladies.
FUCK. THIS. NOISE.
I’m so fucking angry that I was conditioned by society to be “polite, sweet, gentle”.
I’m fucking furious that when I was sexually assaulted several times over a year as a teenager that I thought it was MY FAULT. And because of those assaults, I let men take advantage of my body and my heart — until now, almost two decades later.
I’m beside myself that most women I know have been assaulted and that we have all felt this collective shame from it so silently for so long.
I’m mad that so many men (and some women, but there are great op-ed pieces on this that you should google and read) still think that how they treat women and girls in such a deplorable way is totally fine.
I’m furious that we are too scared to report an assault when it happens and even more angry that when we do, literally nothing happens. Nothing. So, we’re damned if we do report and damned if we don’t, because that man is going to assault women over and over again.
I’m so mad that the individual, and collective, trauma we store inside of ourselves, shows up in the worst ways. We relive the trauma for the rest of our lives whenever we see a familiar look, smell a familiar smell, feel an all too familiar touch and it manifests in relationships in ways I still don’t fully understand.
I’m angry at how we treat sex education as taboo and thus, boys only feel entitled to whatever they want and are lauded for their sexual exploits, all the while girls who own their sexuality are torn down as “sluts”, even in our own female-identifying communities.
I’m angry that the first thing I need to ask a guy now, isn’t just “Do you support Trump?” but it’s also, “How do you feel about how our country treats women?” Because these shouldn’t even be questions I, or you, need to ask.
I am exhausted from just trying to wrap my brain around all of the bullshit “arguments” that men have as to why a woman shouldn’t be believed when she decides to come forward with her truth about being assaulted and I’m even more exhausted that when we do, we’re met with arguments about what we were wearing, drinking, doing, etc., or arguments on democracy.
Let me ask you this men — is your own dismissal of us and our trauma because you were assaulted and have manifested it into anger against women, or because you assaulted someone and you’re maybe now just realizing that was what you did and you’re scared you’ll be found out, too? Would it kill you to maybe just… listen? To maybe stop being combative and instead support your fellow humans who just happen to be women? If you could maybe talk with your guy friends and family members about how they mistreat us right when you see it happen, we would truly appreciate that.
We. Should. Always. Be. Believed. Period. End of story. Why does a man get to be believed more than the woman he stole from? Because men’s feelings and identities will continue to be put above our own, ladies, if we let our rage die down.
We truly want to be equal on all levels and that includes not being made to feel like we are “less than”; that includes being believed.
Nothing good ever came from being silent or complacent.
It isn’t a “very scary time for young men in America”. No. It’s scary time for sexual predators in America.
Because we see you. We’re coming for you. And we are fucking pissed.