Posts Tagged ‘rape culture’

#metoo

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

A meditation on what comes after #metoo

After a long few days I finally crashed like a brick last night. I am so tired. I am so tired of the groupthink onus being on victims of abuse, to rehash, to out themselves, to display their pain, to direct. What can you do? Figure out why you don’t actually care. Figure out why your problem solving skills, your observational skills, your creative solutions, your inventiveness, your ingenuity, is inaccessible to you regarding the topic of rape and abuse in yourself and your community. Figure out why, even though it is fundamentally imbibed in our society, even though it is everywhere, including in your own life and your own actions, you can’t see it. Figure out why you spend your resources and energy trying to invent external accountability incentives that don’t exist in a society that bred this into all of us and rewards it. Figure out why you feel entitled to victims having to attempt over and over again to convince you to leverage your power to choose to be accountable, to choose to be observant, to choose to question yourself — and to choose to question other men. Figure out what is stopping you from taking responsibility, what is stopping you from even wanting to pay attention when there isn’t a bi-annual mass movement of mobilized agony being shoved in your fucking face forcing you to look, what is stopping you from stepping in to take on your share of the labor in evolving YOURSELF and YOUR PEOPLE who benefit the most from how things are. Figure out why you see that lack of motivation as an answer you’re entitled to be given by someone else rather than the personal work of actualizing your own damn self. Figure out what the fuck is going on with you and then take action to address it. WHAT CAN YOU DO? Do the work. Do. Your fucking. Work.

I’m grateful for the positive outcomes and breakthroughs that came and will come of this, and future campaigns like this. And I am also thinking enough is a fucking nough

From my angle, #metoo is where we the privileged once again ignorantly twisted the existing healing work of black women, this time launching into another traumatic upheaval rife with the mass demand for further extraction of exhausting, gut-wrenching labor. We did it in the incompetent medium of a digital suckwound, in order to step, again, into the unattainable responsibility of educating and reforming the benefactors of our oppression, and those who are complicit in their behavior.

Did it ‘work’? Seems so. And, I am critical of the further damage being done to women of color in how the campaign was launched, how #metoo is being capitalized upon now by one of us without compensating the originator (that fucking disgusting hat!!), and the damage done to every abuse survivor that is ripped open again right now as a result. I am critical of the (irresponsible, frankly) mass reanimation of trauma I am myself experiencing and witnessing the consequences of. I just don’t think we have the fucking resources for that, the support network, and as I sit with it, I am coming full circle back to the deep roiling anger that motivated me to come back on fb, to participate, to inform my rage at being called AGAIN to say ME TOO, rather than stew in it from the sidelines.

Is #metoo a net positive? I’ll work to think of it that way, for my own sanity. But listen: There are better ways to be doing this work. Even online. Less painful, more connecting, more effective. I know it. And I know that it’s not Alyssa fucking Milano and her friends who know how to do it better.

White women: We share in our abusers grooming, at the very least as part of white supremacy. We share in the violence of oppression, the disconnection of hierarchy, and the familiarity of manufacturing agony in order to feel.

Why the FUCK are we still trying to lead this shit, y’all? Why are we still listening to the half cocked ideas of out of touch celebrities on top of that?

Where is OUR accountability?

Is our lack of it part of the reason we periodically enroll feminism in performing its suffering to all-but-guaranteed pain for dimished, shot-in-the-dark returns?

And how much of this gaping maw in my gut is really because we, I, us, ultimately, still, have yet to reconcile and address our own incompetence, our own culpability in our cultures abuses, even within our own movements?

Why are we still doing it this way?

Like how many more victim-centric campaigns gotta morf into victims-teaching-abusers, holding space for people who dont get it, doing all that work, before I act like I understand that my pointing my griefguts at perpetrator recovery ain’t being accountable, but punishing myself. One fucking day of going to bat with #metoo and I felt drained, disrespected, misunderstood and want to curl up in a fucking hole — and that’s dealing with the well meaning and not a single fucking troll. I wish it weren’t so hard to GET that I am worth treating myself better than this, but I think part of the issue is that I don’t see another way to handle the tension and energy yet. Just hearing #metoo was happening put me in a spin, fucked up my appetite, raced my thoughts, and called me back here. I care about this shit, but fuck man. The waves won’t stop coming, and I won’t stop caring, so I hope this last wave is the one where I finally learn how to be involved in this cause without putting myself through a fucking meat grinder every time.

Revisiting The Rape Song

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

I’m tired of pretending what you did wasn’t rape
I’m tired of making creepy shit be ok
With me
So I’m writing this song
Calling you out
I’m calling you out
I’ve been hoping too long
You’d get some help
Some psychological help
Cause fucking me while I was so drunk I couldn’t stand up
Negotiate no condom on a boundary I’d held steadfast for a year
That’s rape
Push your way inside of me I’m so dry disinterested
I’m curled in a fetal pose I’m glassy eyed and silent
That’s rape
Yeah, that’s rape
OH! Finger me while I’m asleep but never even asking
If it was ok with me
Well honey, there’s a word for that.
It’s rape.
Fuckin’ rape.
See it took me far too long to figure this out
Been so full of doubts
How we’re playing, it’s fucked up
And I’m calling you out
Calling you out.
So just in case you’re not pickin up what I’m puttin down I’m done with all you Rapey McRaperson rapers who rape
Nah. It’s not a date.
Yech.
No thanks
I wont pussyfoot around it I’m angry and fed up with softening my language around this shit fuck it it’s rape
The veil is raised
What I’m saying is I’m done helping you out
By keeping my mouth
Shut (Full)
Don’t believe me? look it up for yourself
Look it up for yourself
(Wow they actually wrote that down somewhere?) YEAH!
RCW
9a
.44
.050
Never. Again.

I wrote that song over three years ago, but I never, really, called him out. The glassy-eyed and fingering verses are references to periodic experiences I’ve had with many sexual partners in my life – starting with this one. The song, though motivated by certain incident, is not solely about him.

I said his common first name a few times #onhere, where I know virtually no one follows anymore. This blog, that isn’t indexed by search engines anymore, that I link to a handful of times a year, usually from my Patreon of 50 supporters, most of whom I’m pretty sure don’t actually read my posts. That was me ‘calling’ him out.

I am tired of protecting his identity and beating around the bush when I talk about the shit he pulled on me and how that effcted my life. I am tired of being what I claim to abhor; someone who protects predators in the sex positive community.

I am tired of carrying it in my guts, with me, I am tired of concerning myself with backlash by calling him out; because he is nice and charming, because he is a lawyer, because he didn’t come to my office that night maliciously intending to rape me, because I sucked it up and performed a house show for y’all with him days later, because I refused to focus my energy on reporting or prosecuting him rather than focusing on healing my own damn self.

I also didn’t trust the community to listen to me after Clayton Hibbert, who I experienced as being a selfish, vindictive, predatory, abusive, manipulating, intentionally deceitful, cheating, gaslighting, malicious, horrible excuse for a human being; Way worse than the guy I wrote this song about, frankly, and a lot more dangerous, too. But communities don’t really care all that much about that, and cared even less in 2007 when that shit happened.

But I am tired of refraining because what David did wasn’t as bad, as prolonged, as devastating as what other people have done. I am tired of avoiding validating any other women who experience similar with him because of the pain I still feel from people who were supposed to, I thought, stick the fuck up for me and didn’t.

I am tired of believing the apologist bullshit other people fucking said to me in order for them to avoid facing and dealing with what the fuck he did.

I am tired of being cagey out of fear that shitty things I’ve done in previous relationships will surface in retort; Which is fucking ridiculous, because one of the most challenging steps I took in my recovery included writing a god damn screed about it that’s been read tens of thousands of times. https://medium.com/@courtnee/i-dont-like-being-raped-4fcd0320dd5d#.fwpmkndt0

I am tired of holding this, insulting my own soul, and being a fucking coward. It’s high time I walked my talk of no longer viewing to rape victims as mothers and daughters and honestly calling out the men who have raped us as fathers and sons. And friends.

As of 2014, David Cohen was a serial boundary pusher toward me who eventually crossed over to date rapist. We had many conversations about his unsettling behavior over the years we dated, in which the pattern was his enthusiastic appreciation for the feedback, because he didn’t want to ‘be that guy’, gobbling up advice on alternative actions to take to replace the hurtful ones, and then going back to the same fucking thing again.

In addition to that seemingly well-meaning density, he confided in coercing an unsure women into having sex with him at an out of state blues dance convention (and questioned after the fact if she might have been a virgin because the sex sucked) and it literally made my skin crawl. There were other stories he shared that caused me discomfort, but that’s the one I really, truly remember, because it was toward the end of my relationship.

After he raped me without a condom while I was in hysterical emotional crisis, shitfaced stumbling drunk and suddenly saying I didn’t care about protection, he proceeded to make each of the few conversations we had about the incident thereafter a coredump about how awful he felt. This included the conversation in which he violated me again by contacting me after I’d told him not to, in order to tell me, for the third time, how badly he wanted to stay friends (we dont even have to keep having sex!) and how important it was, to him, to be a trusted fixture of my recovery… from him.

Oh, and I found out only after he’d raped me, that he’d stopped using protection with another partner months before. Cherry on top!

When I caught up with one of his friends months later, whom he had lived with for a notable amount of time, their reaction to the news when they asked me about him was a nod and a comment about having observed his ‘selfishness’ in that area (in-fucking-furiating). I, thusly, know at least some of y’all close to him have seen it.

Perhaps a year later, David was claiming to just not understand what he did to upset me, or why I won’t have anything the fuck to do with him now, to a mutual friend he was attempting to have sex with. She mentioned to me then that he still seemed upset and confused about me cutting him off.

How the fuck that man could possibly tell anyone he did not know? I left my primary partner over their tone policing of my angry, pointed, bitingly truthful, scathing fucking explanation of what an underhanded fucking asshole I thought he had been, how fucking infuriated I was at him contacting me. I emailed him a final email explaining why he would never hear from me again. I removed him from the show I was producing and avoided and ignored him when he showed up to that festival anyway like a selfish fucking weasel. He had been apologizing profusely and centering the living shit out of how bad he felt about what he’d done, but then he was playing the dumb butthurt victim while trying to get into my friends pants?

That is a simply fucking inexcusable and a flat out predatory Sanford frat boy rapist-level fucking lie. Surprise! Guess who went to Stanford?

This was my experience with someone who has been historically active in Seattle’s sex positive and social dance communities, and who in my both personal and professional option did not show promise of improving these harmful and unacceptable behaviors while we were still in contact.

David is intelligent, well liked, generous, well known, teaches dance. Regardless of those qualities we all appreciate about him, these are the memories that linger for me from that relationship. It was impressively traumatizing, subversive, and difficult to pin down or call out, even while I intuited that he was doing this shit with other people by the stories he would tell me.

If you have a feeling about him being dangerous for you now, it might be because David Cohen is a rapist. I encourage you, to heed it.

Meet the woke misogynists. Surprise! They’re pretty much everywhere.

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

This is my lived reality.

With former boyfriends, with former peers in the supposed sex positive/healing communities, with men in the intersectional feminist movement, with lauded teachers and self proclaimed sex healers; Every single fucking feminist woman I know who tries to date men and talks with me about it has been traumatized by this ‘Bob’ creep just like I have. Over and over and over again both personally and witnessing it go down with others.

We are constantly seeing vulnerable communities tolerating foxes in the henhouse who are ‘trying’ to learn how not to hunt and slaughter the god damn chickens, often with the added intensity of witnessing these men rise to leadership and power positions over the people they systemically oppress while invalidating our own signals of danger, like we’ve been fucking trained to do, and it’s utterly crazymaking. We observe this while denying to ourselves it’s happening until we find out about someone geting really hurt, and it’s destructive to ourselves and one another.

We are counting days between learning that one more fucking high profile feminist guy we let ourselves believe was doing it right is actually serially abusive or a flat out sexual predator. We allow the truth to break only once one of us is brave enough to scream loud enough about it to give the rest permission to speak, and frankly, it’s devastating. 

Additionally, these dudes are naturally padded by coward rape apologist niceguy’s who take their sides and feel sorry for them having to face the fucking music, by women still struggling with internalized misogyny and the social conditioning to leverage their understanding of this shit to cape for/protect/try to teach their abusers and predators not to be abusers and predators (guilty!).

In fact, I can count on less than half of one of my hands how many people over the last THREE FUCKING YEARS of my periodically talking openly and publicly about the person who raped me in 2014, how many people have asked me to tell me who he is. For a long time, I thought it was because everyone knew. But over the years it’s trickled out that people don’t know. They don’t know, and they don’t ask, because they don’t want to fucking know.

Abusers, by the very nature of our fucking society, are shielded by their powerful allies, and the snowed communities of followers of which they hold power or interest over. They invariably leverage that power to maintain that stasis they seek to maintain, despite being disgraced, at the expense of the people in those same communities who are betrayed, violated, and hurt by the shit they’ve chosen to do. 

So, so often, they double down. They make excuses. They go silent, disappear, and hide like fucking cockroaches when the lights come on. They refuse to resign their positions as presiders over people who are systemically vulnerable to their flavor of abuse. They gesture as though they are stepping to the plate, but don’t. And in alternative communities like feminist communities, kink communities, hacking communities, queer communities — where already marginalized people seek out solice — we seem to be even more apt to automatically fucking protect the living shit out of them until it is far, far too late.

At one time I fantasized of dating that mythical, truly dedicated openly feminist man who was into fighting for my humanity as much as I am. I really wanted to believe we as a collective were ready for that to actually exist. And I was still very attached to the possibility of finding a mate to grow with indefinitely.

But you don’t domesticate the fox by just letting them hang out with hens a bunch with a fucking bowl of kibble tucked in the corner. Now, I have adopted a zero-tolerance for supposed ‘consent accidents’ in the rare instance I find myself willing to even consider fucking any of these lingo-slinging space-taking dudes, who I generally won’t even give the time of fucking day to after the camel-breaking shitshow straw that was Charlie Glickman’s public “apology” to his ex, and how disgusted and manipulated I felt by having ever ended up a part of that.

Because while restorative justice models exist and are gaining momentum, I have yet to personally see a feminist man who has violated women in his community truly commit to and complete that process. Because, frankly, they don’t fucking have to.

Now, I only remotely entertain the posibility of trusting ‘feminist’ men who make their own space feminist, religiously credit the women they are learning from, and fight the fight within their communities of OTHER MEN in their feminist activism rather than buddying up with their female teachers and their circle of women activists.

Protip: if a man says he’s feminist, but mostly only hangs/talks shop with feminist women, and you don’t see him out there being the change in front of other men, he’s at best a cowardass crap ally in it for cookies and free education/emotional labor (that the women near him will both supply AND pay for), and at worst is a rapey gaslighting predator fuck who will then use the knowledge he’s gleaned to weasel out of being accountable to the same community that has invested pricelessly in his growth and resulting status. 

You are NOT WRONG to mistrust these guys, or to be angry as fuck that you have to. 

You DO NOT have to be polite, tolerant, or accepting of men in your community who give you the fucking creeps, violate your consent, rape you, abuse you, gaslight you, even if they are ‘nice’, and even if they tell you what you’re seeing isn’t true.

People who truly want to learn to dismantle their oppressive behaviors in order to take their fucking boot off your neck will find a way to do it without your having to further sacrifice yourself for it. They will find a way to do it without demanding that you be nice about it or prioritize their fucking feelings. They will find a way to do it without leveraging the social capital the have over you — be it money, or being straight, or white, or male, or being socially entitled for centuries to your validation and obedience — and when they fuck up they will fucking own it, air it, apologize like a fucking grown up and move the fuck on.

You don’t owe people who don’t have the skills to respect you, who are clearly struggling to see you as an actualized fucking person worthy of the breath meant to pass through your own neck, a god. Damn. Thing.

me, Clayton, rape.

Friday, April 15th, 2016

me, Clayton, rape.

It wasn’t rape because that’s what he growled at me the first time he overwhelmed and coerced me when I’d just said I wanted to wait before we started having sex together.
It wasn’t rape because he’d only gone down on me and fingered me and heroically resisted sticking his cock in my body.
It wasn’t rape because when he walked out without fucking me, saying “That’s all I wanted”, licking his lips at my door, I smirked.

It wasn’t rape because if it had been rape it wouldn’t have signified the start of a long term relationship.
It wasn’t rape because I came so many times, every time.
It wasn’t rape because I’d agree to do things I’d said I was uncomfortable with after he said over and over that he needed them.
It wasn’t rape because I’d agree to try things I was scared of and it would be my fault he wasn’t satisfied with the outcome.
It wasn’t rape because we were “the power couple”
It wasn’t rape because he was the “top”

It wasn’t rape because I tried to leave him 7 fucking times and kept going back.
It wasn’t rape because I suspected I was with a sex addict and still stayed with him.
It wasn’t rape because I suspected he was a sociopath and still stayed with him.
It wasn’t rape, because he was cheating, and it has to be one or the other.
It wasn’t rape because gaslighting.
It wasn’t rape because manipulation.
It wasn’t rape because power struggle.

It wasn’t rape because ‘his sexual needs’
It wasn’t rape because I became accustomed to never not having sex when we were together.
It wasn’t rape because he made sure I got off before he did.
It wasn’t rape because any critique of his treatment of me was immediately escalated to my accusing him of it and rape is a bad, bad word.

It wasn’t rape because I’d done the same toward others and couldn’t face it.
It wasn’t rape because I knew I’d ‘met my match’ in him.
It wasn’t rape because I was trying to be less controlling — surrendering was the whole point.
It wasn’t rape because we were ‘sex positive’

It wasn’t rape because I was already damaged.
It wasn’t rape because I had to be Good, Giving and Game
It wasn’t rape because I was learning.
It wasn’t rape because I was getting what I deserved.
It wasn’t rape because love is hard.

It wasn’t rape because my life revolved around being good at sex.
It wasn’t rape because I suspected he was in love with Zita, and not me.
It wasn’t rape because he bought me dinners and marathon texted.
It wasn’t rape because he invited me to meet his family.
It wasn’t rape because there was something wrong with me.

It wasn’t rape because losing my mind in that relationship was my fault.
It wasn’t rape because I was the one who screamed and yelled
It wasn’t rape because I could see the scared little redhead boy he kept trying to cover up
It wasn’t rape because part of me wanted to make babies with him
It wasn’t rape because part of me wanted to marry him

It wasn’t rape because I let him get away with it.
It wasn’t rape because I knew no one would take my side.
It wasn’t rape because I’m not supposed to have to need anyone to take my side if I’m telling the truth.
It wasn’t rape because I didn’t want to be in love with a rapist.
It wasn’t rape because I didn’t want to have been a rapist.

It wasn’t rape because what about the theater we worked at together.
It wasn’t rape because it was my fault his ex’s wouldn’t talk with me about him
It wasn’t rape because all those other girls are just jealous of you, Courtnee.
It wasn’t rape because I was the dangerous one.
It wasn’t rape because I was the evil one.
It wasn’t rape because I was the powerful one.

It wasn’t rape because fighting for my sanity was exciting.
It wasn’t rape because I was the one who was so fucked up I’d get suicidal
It wasn’t rape because when it all came crashing down, I was the one the ‘sex positive’ community ditched.
It wasn’t rape because he succeeded at peopling and I failed.

It wasn’t rape because the Judge clearly hated me and sided with him.
It wasn’t rape because his pretty ex girlfriend made amends with him just in time to show up in court by his side.
It wasn’t rape because the other woman he raped and then pretended didn’t exist ran and hung me out to dry.
It wasn’t rape because I needed to burn the shit he had given me and that’s just crazy.

me, Clayton, rape.

So I watched Jessica Jones on binge a few months ago. Alone.

I shouldn’t have been alone for something like that, but I didn’t expect for it to bother me so terribly.

It bothered me so. Fucking. Much. I hated her so. Fucking. Much. I spent the second half of that show vehemently wishing she would kill herself. I kept wanting to see her kill herself and when she did it I would have woken the neighborhood celebrating. I fucking hated her fucking dramatic drinking and her stupid decisions and I fucking hated how fucking weak and pathetic she was. I wanted to see her die.

I knew when I was watching it it was bringing up some massive shit, but I couldn’t figure out from where. It couldn’t have been from David. David was a fucking meatheaded boundary pushing fucking emotional moron who finally went too fucking far, not a god damn Major of Psychological Warfare like Killgrave.

So what the fuck was it? What the fuck was triggering me so badly?

Yeah. OH.

How did I write this, without seeing ^^^^^^ this ^^^^^^? I don’t know. I’m not supposed to know everything. But I’m going to Keep Going. I am, perhaps naively, looking forward to a time in my life when my gnashy, suicidal trauma surfacings don’t revolve around figuring out/remembering who in my distant past fucking raped me. This broken record shit is getting really, really old.

Still pooping on rape culture

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

So I was told yesterday that comically centering my own nonsexual nudity in any of the constant reminders I post about my patreon existing is disingenuous, because I rail against rape culture.Mmmkay.

I was told that it’s ok to use nudity in my art, which I have done for over 20 years, but it’s not ok to make a joke about posting boobs on patreon so haha sign up.

Mmhmm.

I was told that harnessing my own agency and inviting people to support me in a way that ever centers that portion of my body of work devalues everything else about me.

*files nails*

A man, who has been at times clearly conflicted with his own attraction to me, which is what he centered when stating his ‘honest opinion’ about his perception of not being able to afford to see my tits (the image is public, actually, in my modeling portfolio) told me this, and claimed to be trying to point out what he viewed as internalized sexism.

*yawn*

He told me I couldn’t have it both ways, that I couldn’t critique and work to transform a culture which seeks to objectify and shame my body without my consent, and ever consent to being gazed upon with my nipples showing and having the audacity to suggest that it’s possible to be financially supported in that.

*side eye*

He told me this in response to the first post I’ve penned in almost two years in which I centered my nudity, much less in good humor, and, even though he is a fucking therapist, failed to recognize how deeply vulnerable and brave of a step that reclaiming was for me in my healing.

*scowl*

This is an aspect of rape culture. That women are not allowed their own pride, agency, or to make money with their bodies, as long as any old man who gets a boner doesn’t have free license to objectify her any time he wants.

It’s a part of rape culture to hold the belief that a womans figure, nudity, sexuality is consumable only if she’s giving it away freely, and doesn’t expect compensation unless she sits down and shuts up.

I am officially on record as not here for that shit.

I’m not here for being shamed and diminished by some creepweasel fingerwagging shitbiscuit just as I’m rising from ashes and reclaiming an openness about my own fucking body  — an openness that has brought me joy and exhileration and freedom and makes me laugh and allows for me to return to a more complete expression that I’d long since lost to fucking trauma.

I am not here for shaming nude artists of any form, including my friends who are porn stars and sex workers, or even remotely implying that their willful participation in that negates their stances or validity as rape culture critics/consent culture advocates.

So you can thank this asshole for the verocity of the flood of nudity that is likely to become present in my immediate work.

And you can sign up to support that work, along with my book, my music, my neverending nomadic journey, at http://patreon.com/courtnee

*sips tea*

Revenge: A feminist manifesto

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Patriarchy. I am so fucking angry with you, sometimes I just can’t even.

Angry for me. Angry for them. Angry for what I’ve endured because of how you’ve emotionally lobotomized them. Angry for them because of how you taught to me to push them to be big but force them to stay small. Angry for all of us because of what we’ve done to each other because of what you’ve done to us. Angry. I am fucking angry.

Mostly, I am angry because I don’t know how to be angry with you, and not also with them, yet.

And I’m angry because you fucking taught me that, too.

But I full on fucking see you, patriarchy. I am learning.

And I’m a fast fucking bulldog thrashing typhoon of a fucking learner.

My days of being confused and misdirected by your conditioning are dwindling. One by one your patterns in me are shattering.

And I am coming for you.

With all my moxie and my fury and my cleverness and deviousness and getshitdoneness and my huge broken battered swollenass fucking heart and everything I’ve ever fucking learned from fighting, from watching, every day of my life, I am fucking coming for you.

I’m coming to avenge my pain, to avenge my loneliness, to avenge the safeness I have never had the opportunity to feel because of what you’ve broken in every single person I’ve ever fucking met.

I am coming to avenge the men I’ve loved and fought so hard to help heal from you while being myself encased in your unending dry heaving treachery.

I’m coming to avenge my failures.

I’m coming to avenge him.

And I’ve got people, patriarchy. I’m healing in community, where I am seen, and I spread. All around me, in tiny electrical impulses, I’m helping other people wake the fuck up, laying down the synapses, supporting more people than I’ll ever fucking know in moving beyond your brainwashing.

I’m barreling on a crash course up your fucking ass, patriarchy; dragging mines.

And when I get there, I am going to spend the rest of my fucking life ripping your motherfucking guts out.

FuckYouDelete

Friday, January 16th, 2015

It’s become so amazing to me how much commonly-accepted forms of dialogue are just flat out silencing, erasing, entitled fucking bullshit.

Not long ago I would feel ‘irrationally’ slighted over it, and blame my ‘damage’ for my ‘sensitivity’ and wonder what was wrong with me.

Fuck that noise. I ain’t internalizing that manipulative crap anymore.

“Grow some balls and smile” while I systematically minimize and belittle you, little girl… unless of course I am appreciating how hot I think you are. FuckYouDelete

“Feel free to delete this patronizing, uninformed comment” that I as a complete stranger have left on your accessible facebook post about feminism, which I see as my right as an entitled white guy rather than a courtesy you offer. (I did).

“Notice now how I’m coming in here to point out something completely irrelevant which paints you as a naive overemotional idiot so I can talk about this thing I think is more important. Also I didn’t read the article this conversation is linked to” FuckYouDelete

Y’all. These are just some of the silencing, minimizing tactics used on me this week. It’s rather incredible how utterly common this shit is. But in particular, here’s my thing lately:

“You should be helping more caustic abusive men because they’re just wounded, not calling out the privilege and misogynist sexism which keeps them from seeking help for themselves in the first place”. Mmmm. Right.

I have a soft spot for these privileged, wounded geek males who are whining about how mean girls are being to them by insisting they wake the fuck up and level the playing field by, I dunno — unlearning their ridiculous fucking programing and not treating women like subservient magic objects that are supposed to make your life worth living for you, maybe.

I grew up with them, and in a lot of cases, they’re still basically exactly where they were back then, stuck in their same old patterns, which basically look like: ‘your poontang would save me if you’d just give it up more/differently/better/easier/whatthefuckever’ or ‘your poontang scares me’ plus ‘and that’s your fault somehow’, even though I’m so immature and emotionally stunted all I really have to consistently offer is paying for shit and standing around impotently when life hits the fan and you actually need real loving support and some fucking backup.

Hearing their tales of misguided blame and agony is sad. Even though 5000 years of women being treated as livestock and sexual property is immensely sadder than the plight of these nerdlords who still think they’re being oppressed by society into the bowels of their parents basements, I recognize that they are fucking trapped, and I’m all about doing what I can, safely, and within my scope of skills and ability, to combat the consequences of the capitalist patriarchal conditioning that’s causing these guys (and ME) so much pain.

AND: It is not feminisms, or women’s, job, to heal the men who make feminism needed right now. It is the job of feminism to work toward equity by raising up and supporting the people who are systematically beat down by the existing structure of inequality (women: US. WOMEN.), and to point out how the privilege of that structure is hindering the powerful from healing themselves (and one another) so they can address the power dynamic they perpetuate among themselves.

The idea that a feminist should shift to focusing on healing men is simply another symptom of the patriarchal ideal that women are supposed to sit around taking this shit and ultimately focus their efforts on feeling Stockholm syndrome for, and going out of their way to ‘help’, their oppressors.

And most importantly; no one, woman or otherwise, can help a person who doesn’t want help. No woman with any sense of self preservation will willingly engage in ‘trying’ to heal a person who a) hates them and b) isn’t asking for help.

“An overwhelming majority of us come from dysfunctional families in which we were taught we were not okay, where we were shamed, verbally and/or physically abused, and emotionally neglected even as we were also taught to believe that we were loved. For most folks it is just too threatening to embrace a definition of love that would no longer enable us to see love as present in our families. Too many of us need to cling to a notion of love that either makes abuse acceptable or at least makes it seem that whatever happened was not that bad.”
—All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

What men are suffering from is the same fucking childhood traumas we all suffer from PLUS the dark side of their supremacist status in patriarchy. I truly hope you break free some day. To do that, ‘men’ need to step up to the plate to heal themselves, and then one another. Men need to learn how to do that, rather than insisting that the ‘women’ they benefit from collectively (and often subconsciously) erasing and raping and blaming step up to help them fucking do their god damn work for them.

pa·tri·arch·y
ˈpātrēˌärkē
noun
a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.

The nature of this sad state of affairs that none of us signed up for is: This is your fucking supremacist shitshow. Without your active engagement as the empowered group, we all stay fucked in this soup of fuckary. You are the ones who need to use YOUR fucking resources to pull your shit together and then help US pull this bullshit paradigm apart. Use the fucking money you’re making to get some fucking therapy, use the power your voice inherently has to influence others as you learn, stop trying to suck your healing from us for free using your fucking sideways patriarchal shitbaggary against us. Grow some fucking integrity.

If you want help to heal, I will fucking walk with you through burning pillars of dog shit to do it. I will bare compassionate witness with you through your patterns worst petty death throes. I will stand firm while I get hit with the ripples of your previously unfelt agony. I will hold a safe, intentional container for you while you lose your fucking mind and everything you thought you knew about yourself dissolves into a shadow. I will teach you every fucking thing I know about overcoming that shadow. I will fucking remind you over and over again how brave and powerful and strong and viable and good you are even when you make mistakes. And I will call you on those mistakes so that we can work together to ensure you have what you need to do better next time. I will blow your fucking mind by being the best teacher and champion you’ve ever had, if you want (and pay) me to do that for you. To HELP you, support you, guide you, as YOU make the effort to work through YOUR OWN fucking shit.

What I will not do is cater to those who presume I should spend even one more moment of my life martyring myself for stubborn, privileged men who deeply, profoundly, subconsciously fucking hate me AND WANT TO KEEP HATING ME.

What I will not do is ever, ever be in an intimate relationship, professional or otherwise, with another person like that, ever, the fuck, again.

What I will not do is spend another fucking moment of my life making the pain of wounded manchildren with their fingers dug into their fucking ears more important than the devastating impact their sickness has on me.

What I will not do is pretend that these unwoke guys don’t sit on thrones with fistfulls of cake while insisting that women set aside their fight for their own sovereignty and female equality to bring them fuckers more fucking cake. Often so that said cake can be thrown back in our pretty painted faces for us not being capable of magically chewing it and swallowing it for them, as well.

What I will not fucking do is spend even another second of my life ‘trying’ to do your fucking work for you so you can sit around fat and happy and fucking ignorant, syphoning the energy I generate.

If going back to doing any of that is what it is you think I am good for, if that’s what you think I should be doing with my life and my work and my social justice efforts: FUCK YOU.

Truly. Fucking fuck you. I been through way too much growing and pain and subversive fucking abuse to fuck around with y’all. Not even a little. Block, delete, go fuck yourself, byebye.

That one time rape made me racist

Friday, December 26th, 2014

When I was in my early-20’s, I spent some time as an escort. In that time, I had many lovely experiences, some weird experiences, some forgettable experiences, and some gross experiences; three particular gross experiences with Asian clients, which seemed a notable pattern, and one awful one (which ended my career) wherein an Asian man attempted to rape me.

I was doing sensual bodysurfing stuff (and didn’t offer sex as a service), so when he physically attempted to force himself in me, one of the things I recognized immediately was that I had hundreds of dollars of expensiveass equipment with me — and was trapped in the guys house.

My response was to coo redirections at him over and over with a pained ‘we cant do that’ face and pet him and still get him off, while he continued multiple other physical attempts to force me back on top of him. It was like some kind of fucking surreal fake mating dance with a psycho, who belonged to a demographic I’d already begun to experience as high maintenance in my extremely dangerous (and lovely) and vulnerable (and empowering) work.

As soon as I was out the door I was utterly sick to myself. I hated, hated, hated how weak and accommodating I had been. I hated how afraid I had been that if I had been more forceful he would give me a bad review. I hated how all the smart verification hoops I made prospective clients jump through before they were able to see me didn’t protect me from this guy. I hated how if I had been more forceful he may have turned (more) violent.

No sooner had I stepped out that fucking door, I started in on myself. Ruthlessly. I couldn’t even let myself be hurt or afraid because he hadn’t actually managed to rape me (ladies, take note: this is what internalized misogyny looks like), all I could think about was what a fucking doormat whore I had acted like.

Part of me wished I had fought, so that at least I would have had my dignity even if he butchered me. Part of me wished he’d butchered me so I could have torn his fucking face off his skull. I toiled over and over about the things I must have done wrong. My instinct had taken over, and I am sure now it served me well. But back then? Fuck was I mad. At me. Stupid whore.

For years after, I proudly and loudly expressed to my friends that I wasn’t racist, but I hated Asian men. And I had reasons. By George I had reasons. The stories were funny and engaging, too. News of my distaste spread like fire ants through my group of friends and soon none of them could think of an Asian man without remembering my horror stories of lizard kissing and smegma plugs stuck to my back. It was a grand old time.

Funny how I mostly avoided telling that rape story, though.

The truth is, I never hated Asian men. I had trauma associated with experience and used an accepted avenue: racism, to vent it.

Because vulnerability wasn’t as kosher as racism was.

It wasn’t safe to talk about how trapped and helpless and fucking violated I felt, it wasn’t worth the potential silencing, being mishandled, to open myself up and express my frustration and regret in how my autopilot maneuvered my shock and being in danger.

There wasn’t a place, with my friends or in me, for the truth of my feelings. That I was hurt, that I was injured, and that I had lost faith in doing a kind of healing work that I valued and had been truly gifted at. 

Racism was how I coped.

Even after I had my big racism get and I was fiercely tackling my automatic neuroassumptions about Black people, I hung onto my distrust of Asian men. I backed it up with cultural criticism of how they treat women ‘over there’, I made myself feel all smart and rationalized about it, and for a while, I even dropped the “I’m not racist” for “I know I am racist.” and kept on keeping on like that for a bit. For real.

What allowed me to begin to heal my prejudice around Asian men (I say begin because I am still on constant alert for it, though it looks very different now when it shows up – like a toilet bowl in need of a new blue bleach cake thing after lotsa flushes) wasn’t even race related: it was addressing my internalized misogyny, including how I devalued and shamed myself for being a sex worker, by healing my issues with my mother.

Of many things that were passed down through my parents, my mother passed internalized misogyny down to me, and then behaved in a manner that allowed me to corroborate why all women were hateful deceitful lying abandoning bitches (my dad helped). The hurt wasn’t about race, it was about my response to being violated by someone else’s choices being to, frankly, hate myself for it.

Of course it wasn’t only from my parents that I developed these tactics and beliefs – we are all steeped in it as a culture – however, when I got to the place in my healing work where I started working on my family of origin stuff, the murk in my race water cleared drastically. It was the combination of absorbing, listening and learning about the struggles of Black women, and being in my own therapy, that did it.

And this brings me to the thought I want to leave you with; I want you to consider that not only are you racist, (Spoiler alert: You are.), but I want you to consider that you are racist because of trauma.

I want you to consider that racism in and of itself is derived from pain and hurt and heartache that’s been buried and mutated – whether by direct experience like mine with Asian men, or by osmosis like the Black and Brown racism that I inherited from people around me, or potentially by something that may have absolutely nothing to do with race at all.

I want you to consider that racism as a systemic civil structure (and as a climate you learned to cope within) is also perpetuated and sustained by our inability and unwillingness to process our traumatic experiences. To believe we are superior than weak people who need that kind of help and guidance.

And I want you to consider that perhaps one way to transform your confusion and frustration and guilt, to rise above the status quo, is to split off a thread or two, and invest in healing yourself, for real.

Consent is IDEAL

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

When I came up with Empathic Consent (aka DELI) back in May, one of the things I wrote about was that I had countless opportunities to practice DELI outside of my sex life.

Which is good, cause right now I’m celibate and uninterested in romance, and well, every relationship benefits from both parties understanding what’s being agreed to.

While I’ve formerly written mostly about rape and that trauma, those of you who follow elsewhere will probably already know I agree with this author (who is also a very good friend of mine): We need to rethink the importance of consent on a very basic level in all human interactions.

In fact, my most recent experience with the kind of consent ambiguity I’ve been talking about revolved around a completely unsexual friendship, when I accepted someones offer to half-live in their house when I knew damn well it wasn’t feeling right for either of us.

Consent is a fundamental element of shifting our culture around rape, in addition to addressing the sexism and patriarchal shaming elements of our society which make getting sex from others the most accepted means of belonging and validation.

And how do we get sex, usually? Sex that matters to us, and can seemingly fill those voids? We get it through relationships. How many relationships of mine have actually been consensual in the terms outlined below? Zero.

If we haven’t practiced skills in consent in areas outside of sex, and pressure to have it is coming from everywhere around us including our confusing and overwhelming bodily responses, how the fuck are we supposed to know we’re on the same page and not raping somebody? Even *without* intoxicants at play?

I really like this derivative of DELI consent, and not just cause the acronym IDEAL is like.. SO way better. It illustrates more succinctly the ’empathic’ part of the consent model that the original name I’d had for it spoke to, which was lost when I changed to an acronym — the part where you’re in touch with yourself, and are in touch with your empathy in regards to the other person, and you *stop to address it* if actions aren’t lining up with words.

Really happy to see the improvements and the continued conversation that’s been happening around all this since I wrote I Don’t Like Being Raped; Apparently That Makes Me a Weirdo. Nice work, Ava of Attractive Arts.

IDEAL (Informed Direct Engaged Aligned Lucid) Consent is:
INFORMED
I am fully aware that I am being propositioned, and what it is I am being propositioned for. I am aware of any surrounding circumstances that pose a risk to me. I am free to ask questions and am given clear and honest answers.
DIRECT
I have communicated clearly and emphatically through my words and/or actions “I want this.”
ENGAGED
I am interested in what we’re planning and I’m enrolled in that process as well as in the results. I am decisive; even if that means I have decided that I want you to decide what it is we do.
ALIGNED
My words and actions match up, there is no contradiction between what I say I want and how I am behaving. Furthermore, this activity is aligned with my values as I understand them; my overall feelings about participating in this activity are positive.
LUCID
Lucid means I am awake, I am conscious, and I have control of myself.

These are the places rape culture starts

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

This is an amazing account of the very real corrosion and trauma that results in loved ones blaming the victim of sexual abuse/assault in the name of trying to make everything ok again. I related to this, and I am glad I got away.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/michelletea/my-stepfather-the-peeping-tom

In black and white.

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

As some of you may know, part of my Year of the Nee (my year of celibacy and no intoxicants) that I began in May (Half way!! WOOO!) included seeking out a more formalized psychotherapy approach.

In doing so, I ended up at the Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress unit at Harborview with a diagnosis, finally, of clinical PTSD, engaging in Cognitive Process Therapy since June. (They are amazing, and I highly recommend them).

I’ve filled out many surveys, usually every couple of weeks, tracking my PTSD, Anxiety and Depression symptoms. I’ve completed many worksheets and modules, made improvements, and things were kind of clicking, but it wasn’t quite.. complete, seeming. I still felt like my wheels were spinning for some reason, and even with all my supplemental healing strategies, I was water logged.

In my third post in my series about rape culture on Medium (the one that goes into how I am healing from it), I talk a little bit about having to be willing to be lonely. To be willing to cut people out of my life who don’t align with what I’m discovering are my core values.

I’ve had to do this multiple times — when I quit doing drugs was one of the biggest, because at that time in my life, my friend base was based on basing. I had to start over, and it was fucking scary. But.. I found new friends. Good friends. People who are still my friends, after many a transformation since.

What you’re seeing above is my depressive symptom graph. The spike is the sprint time period in which I was desperately attempting to keep engaged with the last of the rape culture intimates in my life. The last throes of my incredulousness as to where he stood. The drop is when I finally picked up my jacket, walked away, and didn’t look back.

Not everyone has the gift of this kind of visual feedback in their process. Even as I’ve felt my fog lift, even as I’ve settled into my sense of self that I have, even with how clear I have been about being done with that relationship, seeing this visually was incredibly profound.

Maybe you’re in a struggle right now. Maybe you’re trying to find your way out of something, surrounded by people you know aren’t good for you, people whose positive traits you’re weighing over your own needs, people you know in your soul are bringing you down and holding you back.

For you, and for those like you, I wanted to post this, in black and white.

You are worth dropping the cement blocks that keep dragging your face under the water.

You are worth that.

Thanks for that, dude.

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
― Edmund Burke

This Ghomeshi thing, how his friends and community are admitting to knowing he was up to some shit, brings to light some ugly things for me. Ugly things that encouraged me to continue raping in my sex life. Ugly things that effected me when I broke out of my own cycles of abuse at the hands of others.

I’ve been thinking about that Edmund Burke quote a lot lately. Thinking about myself, thinking about the agonizing impotence of many people who have let me down, standing aside, watching. Thinking about how that contributed to how long I remained an unconscious rapist. How long I remained in corrosive situations that deeply, deeply damaged me.

Most pointedly, these events have been reminding me of something a man I know said. Something that angers me, and has been the perfect surface from which to reflect my collective grief and rage.

It was something this person said about the man who raped me in April, when I told them — a close friend of his, who had lived with the rapist for a period of time — that I didn’t know how said rapist, whom he hadn’t seen in a while, was doing, because I didn’t speak with that guy anymore (and why).

His response was: “Yeah, I’ve seen how.. selfish, his maleness is.”

Yeah. No. This shit needs a do-over.

Let me tell you a little story. See, me, as a woman, and the friend of mine who was also dating the same man who raped me this year, as a woman, both talked with him about his creepy behavior. We talked with him about it in the context of our own discomforts and boundaries which he sucked at respecting, was always rubbing up against and trying to push past. But it went even farther than that.

We figured out we both got the creeps from him in the same way and, because we considered him a friend, we had a *fucking intervention* with him about it. He was all appreciation and ears, as he normally was when we were swatting him on his fucking nose about being a pushy cockbrained asshole; wanting to know how he could do better, because he didn’t wanna be “that guy”, even though it turns out he, acting like “that guy”, and continuing to return to behaving like “that guy”, was totally “that guy”.

QUACKs like a duck? Hmmmm.

A few months after this friend and I took him to dinner and schooled him, the guy I’d had consistent confusion around and periodic boundary conversations with raped me after witnessing my getting shitfaced drunk while choking on massive waves of grief.

Additionally, he had sex with me without the condoms I’d had to constantly insist that we fucking use because he made sure to remind me every time we had sex that he’d been ‘tested’, and for a special added bonus, did so without having told me he’d stopped using protection with one of his other partners months before.

The next morning, and throughout the week-long shock period before all the elements of his dickbaggary had come to light and I dropped him like a sack of hammered shit, he’d already started bitching to ME about how bad *he* felt, expecting me to be his fucking support system for it.

Here’s a thing that I think people on the more powerful aspect of this sexist patriarchy spectrum are missing: Even when the courageous miracle happens, where someone who is being leveraged upon by this system of ours that has trained us for thousands of years to see femininity as property, stands the hell up for themselves within their relationship, it *doesn’t work*.

The women these people are fucking have zero power to influence the unconsciously indoctrinated cultural behavior of these men. Zero.

The reason for this in my experience is that there’s not enough incentive, when women these men are already getting their toxic masculinity validating sex from, speak up. They are the people with whom that creepy fucking approach was proven to work on already. They are the people who have shown investment in that approach, and in the person behind that approach. They are the people who have already volunteered to represent what is silently and unconsciously hated and objectified, people with whom that physical bond is already established.

It’s like throwing a toothpick into a volcano when a woman who is in an active loop of this behavior stands up and says that shit actually, well, stinks. They are the people who have been putting up with the fucking shit and listening to the fucking excuses and still giving up that good ol’ validating sexual property.

I suspect it really doesn’t work from that being-fucked position when attempting to influence people who apologize for this behavior, either; The men who stand on the sidelines listening to the struggles the women they fuck are having with the pushy abusive men in their lives, or the harassing ‘nice’ guys on the streets. I spent the last 7 fucking months, learning that one.

It’s really easy to sit back and say, ah, well, let her handle it, when you know something is wrong. It seems like the really nice, polite, proper thing to do; mind your own business, and as a bonus, cover your own yellow ass.

It’s also really REALLY easy to look at the results of a mans misogyny and abuse manifesting in the woman they’ve been dating, and decide she’s just off her rocker and that’s more of a problem than what might have been wrong with the way she was treated by the guy.

I know how easy that is, in part because it is what happened with the one “top” (HAHAAHAH) I dated, who used to get pissed and entitled toward me for not liking the sex he’d pressured me into trying in the first place. Who had been gaslighting and lying to me about the multiple people he’d been cheating on me with for the entirety of our relationship. Who had been systematically breaking down my psyche with his lies and selfishness, and done that while he was using the Edward Cullen stare on me and talking about babies. Who I had been calling out on his shit over and over and over again and being met with lies and accusation.

When I finally, finally cornered him in his lies and that relationship finally, finally hit the fan, everyone who seemed to have had any influence on the fucker, including prominent voices in the sex positive and BDSM communities we had both been a part of, stayed ‘neutral’ and watched bewildered as I had a fucking nervous breakdown. Many of them lifted the abusive sociopath to the top levels of the festival community I had once been a part of, all while failing to understand and even shaming me for being so fucking angry and betrayed by them for it, not seeming to grok how I could feel so abandoned and unprotected by their complacent niceness toward him.

You effect what you have your attention on. And too many of you have your attention on proving women aren’t being truthful, proving that you’re the good guy by standing back and doing fuckall to actually act like one, proving that it’s women who should be accountable for some boundary pushing asshole that YOU KNEW ABOUT ALREADY raping them and “making” you feel like cowardly shit.

Well you know what? You *should* be feeling like shit, hiding your real power behind willful impotence and listening to yourself talk over the women who you claim to give a fuck about.

Use your fucking privilege and get the fuck in the ring with us already.

I know you’re dying to throw it around, because every time I talk about this stuff, there’s a gallery of you at the ready to chime in and tell me about your intellectualizations of my life as a female. There’s always a few of you to press your resistance toward accepting that my life experience is real into my conversations. There’s always a few of you to talk about what you think from your objective perspectives needs to be “done”, and usually it has to do with what you as a fucking man think *I*, or “they”, need to be doing.

I’m telling *YOU* what needs to be fucking done, you clueless wounded fuckers: Drop your own sexism, that shit that helps you think your philosophical opinion of this issue trumps the lived experiences of the people who actually fucking deal with it, take your incredulous self-involved topic-shifting bullshit the fuck out of my facebook threads, and then go work to drop the act that being neutral about the abuse, sexism, rape and misogyny you see in other men is anything but fucking cowardice.

This is tough love purification by fucking fire. This is ending thousands of years of conditioning and inertia. Your greatest self can only rise from the fucking ashes of the lesser you, and here I am the motherfucking flame thrower. Stop telling ME you’re not that fucking guy: tell other MEN you’re not that guy, and tell them WHY, and actually BE NOT THAT GUY when you fucking say it, or I will FUCKING INCINERATE YOU. Grow some FUCKING BALLS and stand the fuck up for the women in your life, stand the fuck up for the men you want to see other men grow to be.

That best friend of yours isn’t a “White Knight”, he’s a sexist who thinks women need his saving, and he probably hates them for it and abuses them and that’s why all his girlfriends are fucking crazy and can’t seem to function. That friends boundary pushing-coercive maleness isn’t ‘selfish’, it’s fucking rape, and it’s probably why all the women he dates eventually refuse to ever talk to him again. Use your fucking privilege to be the fucking change.

And yes, it IS fucking street harassment, and here’s a guy doing what you should be doing: Working his ass off to walk the fucking walk, and contributing to other guys on how the fuck to walk it too.

But there he was, that close friend of the man who raped me, a person that the guy actually valued, listened to, had meaningful conversations with, looked up to, a person who wasn’t relied upon for their dick-wetting validation, tsk tsking in the seat next to me — because aww, how unfortunate that male mans selfish maleness had bit me in the ass, too; that maleness he’d seen and grimaced at and knew was fucked up — who had been in the position to take a stand and to make a difference. And he didn’t.

Thanks for that, dude.

And by thanks? I mean fuck. You.

Integration phase: To approach or not to approach?

Monday, October 27th, 2014

On twitter today, someone asked me: “Have you spoken to (and asked for forgiveness from) any of your rape victims? Do you think about them and their healing?”

This person seemed surprised when I said yes, of course I think about that, that I had spoken and apologized to some, but that a) I had not asked them to forgive me, and b) I had not encouraged people to try to make amends with their victims in my writings (which is why she assumed *I* hadn’t).

In fact, my stance on forgiveness evolved not long ago to being something completely personal to me. I don’t ask other people to give it to me and I don’t tell other people when I’ve forgiven them, anymore.

“Will you forgive me” is a way to pressure someone into accepting your apology, and the only reason I’d need to ask it is if I wasn’t -actually- apologizing to them in the first place.

“I forgive you” is a backhanded compliment that’s actually an attack. Incidentally, the last time I used it was to someone who had raped me, while I was still ignited in hurt and anger and in the same email was also telling him I would be removing myself from his life indefinitely.

Since then I’ve realized that there’s better, more accurate and authentic language to use around accepting the faults of another and making the decision to work through and past the hurt they’ve caused — language that doesn’t come off as me being a self-righteous tool.

This person’s take on twitter was that it might be helpful to the healing of the people I’d hurt to hear from me as the perpetrator that they weren’t at fault for what happened to them. And my response, essentially, is that sometimes the people we have hurt are not also the people we can help.

I know, for my part, that while I could handle it, I don’t particularly want to hear from people who have raped me. Especially about how they raped me. I am actively distancing myself from those people who had remained in my life, in part because most of them aren’t ready to own up to what they did.

But even if they were, even if they were just like me and turning a massive corner, the last thing I want is for someone from my past who is in my past for a reason to come out of the distant blue to ask me to fucking forgive them for having raped me a lifetime ago.

Here’s the thing: “might help” is relative to the relationships I shared with these people, and whether revisiting them is wise. In most cases, it’s not, and often the relationships were mutually abusive and damaging in multiple ways.

In some cases, though I can see where I raped and have opportunity to make amends, the abuses I suffered at their hands make it completely unsafe for me to approach these people at all. And sometimes, I was such a fucker to them that enrolling them in my healing process is not even remotely respectful of their path which diverged away from me.

My admissions and the steps I’m taking to right them are public. I have no doubt that people I’ve effected in my past have access to this and may have in fact already read what I’ve written. From where I stand, if these people want to talk with me, if there is some way other than what I am doing to right how they’ve been wronged, they will. It’s up to them, not to me, whether they want to open themselves up to that interaction or not.

But let me say, in response to the thought process this woman’s questions on twitter spawned for me today: if you are one of those people, and you’re realizing at some point that I hurt you, and you want to come to me about it and resolve it with me: I want to hear from you, and I want to make things right with us.

I didn’t much know how to right things very well for a long time, I didn’t much know how to deal with people being angry with me for something I’d done, I didn’t much know how to deal with being hurtful, and it might even be that I tried to resolve it before, and made things worse. It might be that I don’t even remember what I did, or know that there was anything to resolve in the first place.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about having hurt your feelings. If having me involved in your process of letting that hurt go will help you, then I want to be a part of that process.

Full Circle Zita

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

My signature (nude) aerial silks piece started as a homage to sexual relationship, to not giving up on loving someone, even when you get bucked off. The act began as a physical illustration of the struggle to shed the defenses that bind us, finding strength in being vulnerable, and how sex can contribute to the art of self discovery.

This character is established earlier in the show as someone who is timid and quiet – until they find themselves seemingly alone with their obsession.

The piece morfed meaning, and genders (I now know I am non-binary) over the years as I performed it, representing first a specific relationship, then love and connection as a whole, and then my relationships within, including the one I have with my sexuality, and lastly the one I have with my darkness — which I performed on black silks rather than red.

When I first started performing the piece, and for quite some time thereafter, I had to get to the green room right away when I came off the silks, because the wave of what I now know as grief was so strong I would convulse and sob uncontrollably.

Often the deep sobbing would start while I was still curled up inside the silks, and I’d come down as quickly as I could, choking down a river. When I was safe I would completely loose my shit, and something totally overwhelming would rip through my body like a hurricane, and last for extended periods of time.

Sometimes, when I was lucky, there would be a puzzled someone or two there to hold me.

Though I’d come to many theories about it, and over time that response softened, I had no real idea why it was happening.

Due in part to this reaction, I didn’t perform the piece often, perhaps once a year or two. The opportunities to perform it always coincided with a big level up in my personal growth, often cauterizing what had been a long psychic process.

Each time I performed it, the dramatic swell into my big drop felt angry, and forceful, and nearly always, sexual. It represented for me both what I valued about my personality and what I felt deeply ashamed of. That inevitable struggle for power that would result in me being batted away and hurting.

Now I know why. Now I see what I was trying to tell myself.

The following video cannot do this act justice. People who saw this in person were transformed along with me, and due in part to the nudity, the opportunity was rare. Zita was something special, this act was something special, and I am honored to have had the courage and the support to have done this in my life.

Performed June 9, 2010, four years before I wrote about my epiphanies regarding rape culture, for “There must be something in the Air”, a benefit for Versatile Arts, the aerial gym I call home.

The music is from the Batman Begins soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. Video footage courtesy of Block My Eye Films, which I edited over one insomniatic night.

Integration Phase: Thoughts on Rape Culture and the existence of Lady Privilege.

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

As my rape culture post has circulated on Medium, and the conversation has continued, I’ve found myself annoyed. The men who are talking, nearly invariably, debate. They argue the definition of consent, they argue the definition of rape, they tell me I’m being too hard on myself and others, they worry about the definition of rape being too broad, they dominate the conversations with their resistance, their confusion, and their privilege.

Not all. Most. Overwhelmingly most.

I’ve found myself seeing patriarchy, seeing questioning as confrontation, seeing a culture who does not want to give up its rape not wanting to give up its rape. I’ve found myself caught between wanting to be heard by the power population who has the most weight to throw around, and being utterly fucking exhausted by including them.

More than a few times I’ve caught myself demonizing a friend in my head because they are a man who is asking me to clarify myself. And more than a few times I’ve responded internally to the support and the bravery of women who identify with what I’ve said, claiming their own rape culture transgressions and vowing to cease them, with ‘why the fuck aren’t more men doing this?’.

Especially when I know, personally, multiple men who I strongly, strongly suspect relate with my stance on this issue, and aren’t speaking up. *Yes I’m looking at you.*

I think one reason more men aren’t coming forward in support of this idea is that it’s unbelievably tricky for men to voluntarily be accountable for violence. Of any kind, but especially of this kind.

When, in my life, I’ve taken accountability for being an abuser, for being violent, and now for being a rapist, I’ve overwhelmingly been called a fucking superhero. Though I feel a bit like I’m flapping in the wind and it’s not even close to easy to be putting myself out there the way that I am, in this way, I have it easy here, and I know it.

I have rarely seen that happen for men who have done so, or more to the point, who are struggling to do so and are stumbling through it. I think it’s important to weigh this, as we move through this conversation. To consider that, in our culture, it is more ok for us as women to stumble through taking ownership of our violence.

Yes, we are discussing an indoctrinated violence that begat violence that was perpetuated by patriarchy and we are part of a rape culture which severely effects us as women. In the existence of rape culture, it is men who have the privilege. When I see women taking this on and speaking out about newly seeing themselves as having raped others, part of me is scowling. Why the fuck is it that the underprivileged rape culture population is the one that seems to be showing the most contrition for the existence of it in ourselves?

Well, I wonder if it’s in part because in transforming views on rape culture by blowing the lid off of its pervasiveness and paving the way for a different view of common behaviors by calling ourselves out for having them, it’s us that actually has some privilege.

I wonder if, actually, in the cause of exposing how pervasive rape culture is in our lives, and how much of a HUMAN issue it is, I just really wonder right now if we as women, with our vulnerability and courage, are in fact the ones who have the most weight to throw around to tip this god damn thing over.

Friday, September 12th, 2014

I am no longer
Paralyzed
By the prospect
Of outgrowing you

Listening: The Secondary Trauma.

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

“If you are a man who is becoming upset/depressed/overwhelmed/hopeless/defensive when you listen to the women in the world/your life talk about their experiences, you need to talk about it. With another man.

I really, really mean this. You absolutely need to talk to another guy. A guy you are friends with and who you trust is ideal.

If you don’t have that kind of guy in your life- and, seriously, you are not alone in that area- then you have the very hard, critical work of figuring out how to make that kind of friendship ahead of you. If you are feeling a restless helplessness over all of this, that can be your challenge.

And if you are a guy who has already figured this out- if you’ve already figured out the circle thing and the male friendship and intimacy thing and how to be supportive of women thing- then my personal challenge to you is to go and find the guys in your world who haven’t totally made this connection, and pull them into your circle. Mentor them. Teach them how to do what you’ve figured out to do.

Seriously, I can’t do that. Your girlfriends and lady friends and moms and sisters and classmates and bosses can’t do that. But you can, and that is absolutely invaluable.

Women need men to learn how to be emotionally connected to other men. We need men to learn how to draw emotional support and nurturing from other men. Not to do that in absence of us, but in addition to us. Because men being isolated and lonely- it really, really is killing us.

Men and women, it is really killing us.”

Notallmen/Yesallwomen, secondary trauma and relearning everything for the sake of not killing each other

We need Allies, not Gentleman.

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Learn to be an accountable presence working on your shit, not merely a non-rapist or a non-murderer. Because communicating ‘It’s/I’m not like that’ instead of ‘I’m so sorry that happened, what do you need,’ is being ‘like that.’

http://www.mediacoop.ca/blog/norasamaran/30866

A Gentleman’s Guide to Rape Culture

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

If that pisses you off, read here for some well thought ideas on what you can do about it. If it doesn’t piss you off, read here to learn why it should.

View story at Medium.com

#YesAllWomen

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

@TweetOfNee
Because it takes a hashtag to bring to the surface the extent of what I do subconsciously to protect myself. Every single day. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because our hypervigilant managing, scanning, and strategizing in attempts to shake subhuman social status doesn’t work. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because 5000 years of women being seen as sexual property will not end by women continuing to be programmed into staying small. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because seeking justice regarding sexual assault being ‘feminized’ (aka, weak) hurts men who are victimized by women as well. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because my abortion was none of your fucking business. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because I’ve learned the best course of action while being leered at on the bus is to steep silently in the discomfort #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because my guts turned inside out when a man called out to me on the street to ask for directions last week. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because women who beat on men get away with it. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because the only way to be seen and heard so often correlates to leveraging corrosive sexist double standards. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because my boyfriend of 3 years empathized with my rapist. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because incorrect response to sexism keeps good loving fathers away from their kids. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because “I’m someone else’s already” is so often the only rejection that works. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because breaking compliant silence to stand for myself is seen as ever so stunning. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because saying to a stranger in response to #YesAllWomen “Bitch, no one wants to harm you.” somehow makes sense to people.

@TweetOfNee
Because my ex’s response to my boundary-insulting rapist continues to include “But at least he is not malicious” #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because men who say they ‘agree’ with #YesAllWomen still stay silent, blind, and defensive to the reality they are perpetuating.

@TweetOfNee
Because former guy ‘friends’ saw me first and foremost as a potentially accessible vagina, don’t see anything wrong with rape. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Dear #YesAllWomen defensive reactors: Consider that if there were no truth in it, it wouldn’t fucking bother you.

@TweetOfNee
You’re right. How dare I challenge your blistering sexist arrogance when I was supposed to be helping you deal with my rape. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Because I cannot even fathom a partnership with a man that is based on being encouraged to trust my own thoughts and feelings. #YesAllWomen

@TweetOfNee
Honor each others’ boundaries; #rapeculture is not a question of limiting or repressing male sexuality. #YesAllWomen http://clarissethorn.com/2011/01/02/men-dont-deserve-the-word-creep/

Revenge of the nerds.

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Due to recent experience and lessons therein, I am purposely avoiding reading about the sorority murders or following the story right now.

But what’s most interesting about that, is how little I need to follow that story in order to grasp what’s going on.

Of all the murmurs I have heard about Elliot, and what this all means socially, the write up I chose to read ended up being this one by Arthur Chu:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/your-princess-is-in-another-castle-misogyny-entitlement-and-nerds.html

Reading that dailybeast link made me cry with somber recognition. Crying for the vulnerable little girl who thought she was safer and more respected by these nice timid geeks than I would be by the other manifested forms of sexism and misogyny that plague our interpersonal landscapes.

I am crying for all those times my illusion of escaping that plague unraveled when trusted friends crawled out of the woodwork asking for romance whenever a relationship of mine ended.

Crying for all the chances I gave people I knew weren’t up to snuff because they were around, appreciative, and not violently raping or overtly abusing me.

For all the confused acceptance and inclusion I have done in my life when I didn’t feel right about it, and how that furthered this unintegral dynamic.

For how few — how absolutely very few — men; people, in the geek subculture have an understanding, or an interest in understanding, how rampant this problem is, and most importantly, how they play into it.

For how I have played into it.

“So, a question, to my fellow male nerds:

What the fuck is wrong with us?

How much longer are we going to be in denial that there’s a thing called “rape culture” and we ought to do something about it?” – Arthur Chu

As part of my recent wake up call, I ended a 16 year friendship with a nice geeky guy who was loyal, generous, available, and among many things, perpetually incapable of accepting my sexual disinterest in him.

The connection I had with him had been limping along for years, and had been peppered in the distant past with ill consented sex, bad boundaries on both sides, opportunistic leveraging of substances, obsession, and a lot of whining about how he only wanted me and didn’t know how to move on from that (but also hadn’t really tried).

I blamed solely myself for his attitude for many, many years. I had at times slept with him, after all, even cheated on my husband with him a lifetime ago, and felt responsible for his paralyzed inability to accept when I had moved on. …Or to even take a small step in the direction of moving on; like take down the myriad of images of me in his house.

For years, I attempted to integrate this waning and uncomfortably pressuring friendship from my misguided youth into my intimate life, with infrequent pity sex, ambient inclusive gestures like including him in the description of ‘my boys’, ignoring that we had less and less in common, and constantly stuffing down my creeped out feelings about what we both had done.

Once it became clear I could no longer maintain that, I cut him off from any sex officially and I mostly avoided him, again for years, unable to determine how I would be capable of ending such a long complicated friendship without doing more damage; until I was raped, and he reached out to offer support to me, and found I could not pretend to trust him any longer, or pretend that he hadn’t done the same.

This friend, while of the extreme, was not an isolated dynamic in my life.

“What did Elliot Rodger need? He didn’t need to get laid. None of us nerdy frustrated guys need to get laid. When I was an asshole with rants full of self-pity and entitlement, getting laid would not have helped me.

He needed to grow up.

We all do.” – Arthur Chu

It is not just the men who are suffering from this Princess in Another Castle syndrome and need to wake up and grow up; women are bred and conditioned to give chances, make exceptions, and throw a guy a bone because they’re ‘nice’, claim they are ‘nice’, and gosh darn it, they really like you.

Don’t shit on the nice guys, we are told, and are telling each other. Don’t let that nice guy get away, cause they’re a rare breed, honey, and to be an evolved woman means leaving the cheating jerk bad boys behind.

Even now, removed from the intimate relations, I see more evidence of this culture in my solo life; It’s piling up, like sightings of the make and model car you just bought, showing up everywhere in my memories, in media, in the interactions I witness between people. And it’s profoundly disturbing.

“But I have known nerdy male stalkers, and, yes, nerdy male rapists. I’ve known situations where I knew something was going on but didn’t say anything—because I didn’t want to stick my neck out, because some vile part of me thought that this kind of thing was “normal,” because, in other words, I was a coward and I had the privilege of ignoring the problem.” – Arthur Chu, you may just heal my long-learned distaste for Asian men yet.

And why would these guys think they weren’t entitled to what they want from me, whatever that is, or that I would actually stand by what it is I am asking for, and be capable of letting a connection go that continues not to fit?

I had told them all no, first. And then I eventually said yes; Because he was nice, and available, and persistent, he didn’t push me to have sex with him or pester me about it (or he did), but most importantly: he’d decided he had found his princess.

From the first male figure in my life until now, he wasn’t who I needed, but neither was I; So his princess is who I became. Over and over again. Because that’s normal. And romantic.

When these people let me down; by raping me, resenting me, stalking me, empathizing with one another, defending rape jokes, stewing for years in their stale self-pitying mediocrity — as horrifying and devastating and frustrating as all that was — it was actually on me to recognize that as being the only honest response they were capable of.

Rather than asking how they could choose to be so perpetually fucking clueless and self centered, what I really should have been asking was why in the world I expected anything other than that?

Rather than chastising myself for not having respect for these people, thinking I was somehow defective for not accepting their ‘niceness’ at face value, I really should have recognized that by standing on their pedestals I had no choice but to look down on them.

“Other people’s bodies and other people’s love are not something that can be taken nor even something that can be earned—they can be given freely, by choice, or not.

We need to get that. Really, really grok that, if our half of the species ever going to be worth a damn. Not getting that means that there will always be some percent of us who will be rapists, and abusers, and killers. And it means that the rest of us will always, on some fundamental level, be stupid and wrong when it comes to trying to understand the women we claim to love.” – Arthur Chu

I really must thank these boys (and Arthur, for growing up and writing what he wrote) for the light they collectively switched on for me; for the role they formerly played in my life.

It took me a long time, but this is now one of those things, like the day my boyfriend punched me in the face for the first, and the last time, that will go down in my history as one of the most illuminating and transformative experiences in my life.

Like finding that wall with my intolerance for being hit, I have made my way to this edge, and what I have here seen cannot be unseen. My landscape has changed, my world is different, and I will not tolerate this shit remaining in my life.

Once again, I am shedding ties, and leveling up.

I’m sorry, but your Princess is in Another Castle; and that is not my fucking problem anymore.

Compassion baiting is bullshit and I don’t put up with it anymore.

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Ever wonder why being judged for responding ‘too angrily’ pisses you off even more? Good insight here. http://www.buddhistpeacefellowship.org/5-big-problems-with-compassion-baiting/Twitter

I discovered “5 Big Problems with Compassion Baiting by Katie Loncke” a few months ago, and loved it. I related to it in terms of the obese shame demon the article had helped me figure out I’d brought back with me after doing a 10-day silent meditation retreat in January.

I really needed to hear it at the time, to allow for it to be ok to feel the gamut of human emotion again, not just the zen shit.

Recently, I really needed to hear it again, for entirely different reasons.

Fuck compassion baiting. Bunch of invalidating patronizing horseshit.

Slimed

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Cue struggle/recovery phase in which I am frequently brain accosted with the image of being penetrated by a greedy indiscriminate budging phallus slicked with primordial snot and covered in an oppressively thick layer of tiny diseased insects frantically climbing over one another.

I am haunted by images like this; Not only was I incapable of consent to the sexual activity in itself due to being ranting breakdown drunk, we ‘negotiated’ foregoing my long-established boundary that we always use protection without my having the knowledge that he’d been fucking someone else without it for months.

When that visual strikes me, I feel marked. I feel slimed and profoundly disgusted. My legs close tighter, and my guts fold over themselves like I have been invaded by an evil opportunistic disease. Occupied by lies and self serving opportunity. Like my body, and to a degree my trust, simply isn’t mine, anymore.

Oftentimes I respond involuntarily with coughing and deep gagging. I stop and wretch periodically, for seemingly no reason, to the outside world.

When this started happening with me a few days ago, I slowly realized that I was also plagued with another issue: My throat has felt constricted and closed off, as if I were being physically strangled by tiny ghosts.

After a little noticing, I realized it was because I felt like being vocal at all about how what happened is manifesting in me, and being honest that it fucked me up and continues to be something I am struggling with in the back of my mind and in my body, is somehow a burden, or too raw, or too.. something. Like my experience wasn’t violent or malicious or horrible enough for me to deserve to be seen about it.

I wondered if owning that it was textbook second degree rape made me the bad one somehow, and maybe I felt self stifled because I should stop using that awful triggery word in favor of contriving something more poetic and approving.

I wondered if my trepidation regarding my concern that any person I approach with vulnerability about this will dub my response as unjustified, or choose to empathize with the poor guy who chose to rape me and violate some of my most important personal boundaries, was stronger than the rest of me. If I really believed I would just feel more alone and fucked up about it than I did in my silence.

After about two days of this, I shared these visuals with someone, to work my way out of that shame and tinyness. And it was a good choice; He was empathetic and right there with me, wretching a little bit himself. It was an important step, and it helped us know one another better.

Seriously. Fuck that shame and tinyiness. I was taken advantage of by someone who chose to be a self serving opportunist and betrayed the depth of his continued disrespect for my established boundaries as well my personal well being. I was raped by this person and it fucking sucks and it feels horrible and I’m responding exactly as any sane visual processor artist type person would.

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life…….”
― Akshay Dubey

These visions are good for me. They are healthy. Being appalled and self protective is healthy. Feeling violated is healthy. I know this, because I know what an unhealthy response looks like. And I think, having known only that coping before, it just took me some time to get used to who I am now.

So who am I now?

I am, in fact, not armoring up about it, staying enraged, going on a revenge rampage, trying to complicate his life or hurt him out of spite or a need to get back at him for anything, like part of me still expects I should.

Instead, I am taking care of myself, continuing to live my life, investing in my own future, and feeling things other than this fucked up creepy stuff. I am taking worthwhile emotional risks in my friendships, setting healthy boundaries, and trusting in fewer and fewer people; only those who have genuinely earned and continue to earn that trust.

I am not internalizing the bad behavior I am allowing myself to be feeling the effects of (BRAVELY, MIGHT I ADD; SUPER HARD FOR ME KTHNX) by acknowledging the reality of what that is looking like. And I am not being a bad person by having the stones and the desire to share my story with others.

Most importantly, and probably most uncomfortably, I am not making excuses for what this person did. I am not compassion baiting myself, shaming myself for not spending more of my effort feeling sorry for him, or spending my precious energy trying to see things his way. I have no interest in being a part of his recovery or his life. And I am not feeling as though I can’t move on from him or the trauma without reconciling, or making my trust being violated by his choices my fault.

Acknowledging is not the same as wallowing. I am far from comfortable; but I actually think I’m doing pretty fucking well, all considering.

*shudder* ick.

In defense of the men

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Lately, I’ve been observing a few racial and feminist activists on twitter complaining about white people and men (especially white men) butting into their conversations about their experiences of oppression. It’s been an interesting ride.

I mirror a number of the sentiments and questions those white people have posed to black activists, and very much dislike the judgement focused on ‘all whites’ in response to them asking.

At the same time, I absolutely want to be more educated and more empathetic to the oppression that surrounds me, because as a white-cis female, in many respects I have had the opportunity not to have to look at it.

I want to look at it. So I can reduce the ways I unconsciously encourage the status quo of dehumanizing people of color and QUILTBAG‘s. Because fuck that. I worked through my distaste for how white people I identified with were being railroaded and vilified and kept watching.

Ultimately I learned a fuckton developing an understanding of what it means to be an ‘ally’, and where best my voice fits in the social justice chorus (hint: It isn’t in the conversations of black women feminists).

One of the many indirect things I have learned from having looked deeper at this, is that sometimes the reason men insert themselves into feminist conversations is not because they don’t see feminism as viable or because they don’t recognize that something is wrong; it is because they do not feel they have voice on the issues of their own sexual and physical abuse.

They see women speaking of their own oppression in the patriarchy and want to let them know, in that completely inappropriate moment, that men suffer physical and sexual abuse as well. They want to be recognized as going through the same things as women are.

In many ways, this is an exercise of their privilege and power to make yet another conversation about them, and it’s not ok to do that. Which is why, for the most part, men will find that this is not an effective way to be heard.

I recognized the need for men to have more safe places to talk about their stigmatized life experiences, even though they like, own everything and everyone and have all the stupid power and all that. Just as I need safe places to talk about my issues even though I’m like, white and cis and pretty and all that.

So a few weeks ago I started a conversation on Facebook inviting the men in my life to discuss their abuse stories, and immediately, the first thing a dear friend of mine feared, was that I was being sarcastic and insincere.

My opening a space for him had triggered his lifetime experience of abuse and subsequent neglect and dehumanization.

This, too, is rape culture, people.

We don’t talk enough about sexual assault against males (or other identified genders besides men and women, for that matter).

I know it happens because this study Slate talked about says so, and also because I’ve unconsciously sexually assaulted men in my past.

If you are a man who thinks they may struggle with the remanence of abuse experiences in his life, 1in6.org is a nonprofit specifically for men, offering tools for thinking about childhood or teenage sexual experiences that may have caused or contributed to current problems.

The site exists as a safe haven for men in specific, and the information here is humanly universal. The depth and quality of it is priceless, and I am very, very glad it exists.

Sadly, it is not enough that this wonderful site exists. We also don’t talk enough about lack of resources for men who are victims of domestic abuse or the realities of the anti-male bias in our court systems.

Plenty of options and resources are openly available for women suffering from physical domestic violence, but for men, as told in this piece published by the also amazing website The Good Men Project, the situation is all too often hopeless and bleak (and utterly heartbreaking).

http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/brand-what-do-you-do-when-a-girl-hits-you

This story indirectly mirrors my own teenage experiences, in which I would periodically break down in rage and hit my boyfriend. Many times this would happen in front of others, often at parties. I would be held back, and he would be encouraged not to hit me.

This went on for years, until one day, he pinned me down and beat the shit out of me.

When that happened, most of our friends rallied, I was granted a restraining order from him, and the court system prescribed mandatory therapy and kicked him out of the state.

Over the years as I’ve healed, become more aware, able to better control rage when it comes (much more rarely than before), and moved away from behaving like this, I consistently see the effect this double standard has on our society.

Most recently, it showed up in the form of a male lover, when, after being told I was violently triggered for the first time in years and isolating myself because I feared I would potentially hit him, said “That would be ok.”.

No. That would not have been ok.

Years ago I experienced a breakup in which violence was not a concern from me (the other woman, however, had assaulted him and was having fantasies about beating and knifing him.. but I digress); I wanted nothing to do with him under any circumstances.

However, that person chose to file a restraining order against me which disavowed even the existence of the other women, letalone her presence during the confrontation surrounding his infidelity in which he claimed I did what she did.

Though it was a dick move from a calculated self-serving lying jackass, had he actually been in danger, very few people would have believed him over me. Simply because he was a he. And that’s not ok.

Patriarchy is fucking *everyone*. Tear it down.

We need more safe spaces for men to be heard and understood about their experiences with abuse.

We need more education, dialogue and awareness of this problem and the needs of men and boys in abusive situations.

We need more awareness of female violence and resources to help women who hit people as coping mechanisms.

Shame needs secrecy, silence and judgement to exist.

It cannot survive being spoken and recognized.

Note: For another look at the machine of patriarchy, rape culture, of women needing to be the gatekeepers of sex, of the commonality of acceptance of rape in our society, and the reactions to sexual scarcity that I’ve been writing about lately, check out my friend’s thoughtful fairy tale version from an imaginary male child perspective: Rape: A Fairy Tale

The infirmary

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Injured, fed, home. Playing the walking dead game, sitting in the perception that there are worse imaginable things I could be going through, like it were a mental stitz bath.

This has let me feel something, other than my mental anguish, my how the fuck could they, my I can’t believe this happened, my why is this all happening now, for the first time in a week.

When the sensations come in my guts I stop to hear them and experience them arise and pass away, and that calms my mind down. There’s no room if I just focus on the roller coaster in my gut without thinking things to go along with them. Just focus on what my body is saying.

Not how disgusted I am at person one. Not how utterly gutted and horrified and crestfallen I am about person two. Not how focused and guarded and exhausted I am.

Being able to tune that out to see deeper now brings me hope. I’ll heal. I know how to now. I can feel myself doing it. I’ll be stronger after this. I’m already stronger after this.

Perfect clarity helps with that; I am so. Fucking. OVER, weak men.

The biggest part of the reason I am in this place now is the people who have shown me allyship. The ones who allowed me to be in my experience while I’ve processed this without judging me, expecting me to rise above it, or inserting themselves into it.

To be able to hold space for someone in true crisis like that is a virtue, and I’m glad I have people around me who can do it better than I can most of the time.

Without those people, and my courage in finally opening up to them, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to trust anyone again to really turn to or talk about it with.

This experience has been such an eye opener. Such a lesson in rape culture and shame and utter betrayal and loss and stunning confounded amazement.

If I were to describe it, I’d say it feels like someone stumbling down an ally who just got buckshot in the gut, but isn’t dying.

It didn’t even occur to me not to spend this weekend alone until someone on my tiny person list really saw me and asked me over to be with them. Being with people has helped.

I’m a zombie. I’m in shock. I can’t do a lot right now and I locked myself out of my house accidentally. At best, I can stomach about half a meal in a day. I cried at a directors meeting. I’m a wreck.

And that’s what I’d expect I’d be, and that’s probably what I’m gonna be for a little bit longer. Not too long. But at least until my art and music stuff is out of that house and back with me, and I no longer have any ties remaining with either of them.

I’ve had a spoken word piece materializing as I learn this lesson and write the closing chapters of a long, long story in my life. The story of a rapist I’ve known since I was a kid and how their voice has effected me. I expect when I return to open mic, that is what I will have to bring.

I made new art today with Jim Wilkinson modeling for his SEAF project this year. I’ll see if I can post the pictures of me after the festival.

Time to go cry a little more now, and try to draw.