I have some other (happier) things I've been wanting to write about but I think that'll have to wait a bit. The end of the school year gets so busy with kids!
Anyway... in light of the trending of the #YesAllWomen that I was just reading about , I wanted to chime in real quick. I'm not on twitter and I feel like it's a bit much for just a facebook post.
I am shocked at how many of the hashtags I relate to and can understand and empathize with.
I don't know why it shocks me anymore.
I find the timing particularly of note as I have been working through owning my stories of rape these last few weeks.
The R word.
My experiences and responses to the #YesAllWomen would be something along these lines....
- Because pornography viewing at a friends' home at a very early age put into my mind that rape and violence were a normal part of a relationship between a man and a woman and even something to fantasize about.
- Because a close family member, whose opinion was of high value to me, told me that it was the woman's fault if she was sexually assaulted or taken advantage of and that a husband deserved whatever he wanted from his wife.
- Because when the 8th grader put his hands under my clothes he said it was what I wanted, and I believed him even though I didn't feel that way.
And then when the 11th grader (me in 10th) grabbed me and tried to force things further, he said that I was asking for it because of how I was dressed (a flesh colored shirt). I believed him too. I didn't speak up and someone thankfully showed up just in the nick of time, but I showered and threw that shirt away and haven't been able to wear a similarly colored shirt since.
Because the 11th grader said I asked for it by simply showing up, being me, when he tried to rape me- with his friend watching and laughing. I will still never understand how I got away, but feel grateful that I did. Because the shame of these things and the belief that I had brought them upon myself, not that these boys were fully responsible for their own actions, shut my mouth and closed off a part of me for far too long.
- Because the trap of pornography teaches men (and women for that matter), good men, that this is what women want.... to be dominated or abused or even just plain used. They may be so wrapped up in the web of lies that are being fed them and reinforced through chemical responses in our brain, that they don't even recognize the inherit lie being sold.... That we are all individuals. That each person is a person. Male or female. Each deserves to be treated as a human being, not as an object. Not as a thing to be used. A marriage does not provide opportunity because it does not mean that the other person is your property. Marital relationships are not grounds for 'anything goes'. The idea that a woman must service her husband to fulfill his need for sex or that she must do something she feels uncomfortable with because that is the way to show love, is a falsehood.
- Because people can change and patterns passed through generations can be stopped and changed. There must be a communication. There must be a conversation had about these unhealthy attitudes we have been taught, fed, or have been propagating ourselves. There must be victims and perpetrators alike, willing to be brave and courageous and share their stories. So many people think their stories are so far beyond hope and so unique to them. So many stories, when shared, are found to have so many similar patterns to them.
- Because even rereading this I know (or maybe just fear) that some will say that it was my fault....that I was asking for whatever came to me because I'd had that reel playing through my mind from the age of six from that video I was made to watch. And the part of me that hears the voices of society and struggles with Satan's tricky words wonders if maybe they are right....maybe I secretly wanted it and put myself in those situations for some sick and twisted reasons. Because even if that was the case, I deserved and still deserve better. My victimization from a young age at the hands of someone else may have led to further victimization of myself by myself, but that doesn't make me a bad person or an object nor does it justify those boys' actions.
- The first time I went to a therapist she asked me why I was there and what I hoped to get out of being there. My answer was "I have realized that there is a pattern among the women in my family of being abused by men in their lives and I do not want to pass that on to my daughter. It stops with me."
Read some of those hashtags and tell me you don't see it too.
This is my story that I own. I won't let shame own it any longer.