WARNING:  I said I few months ago I was going to start talking more about my experience as a multiple-times abuse victim and, ultimately, as a survivor.  So, this is not a humorous blog, nor is it a place where things are to be taken lightly.  If you mistreat this subject in the comments, I will delete and block WITH PREJUDICE.

So, I saw this article yesterday.  TRIGGER WARNING: ABUSE, RAPE, VERBAL VIOLENCE.  I probably shouldn’t have read it, much less watched the accompanying video.  Much of the content was absolutely sickening, especially as a sexual abuse survivor.

There were no graphic images at all.  All the triggers are verbal and if anyone doubts the power of words, this is the place to learn it.

The article is about rape culture within comedy (and the wider world, as comedy is a reflection of it).  The writer, Lindy West of Jezebel, entered a debate with a male comedian, Jim Norton, about the appropriateness of rape jokes.  Norton argued that comedy is how we deal with terrible, horrible things and nothing should be off limits.  West argued that the jokes perpetuate victim blaming and perpetrator glorifying and that, in that case, some things should absolutely be off limits.  I fall somewhere in the middle of these two sides of the debate, but appreciate that the debate is out there.  As a survivor of one of the most shameful things a human being inflict on another living thing, I cannot fight my own shame (personal and social) without these discussions.

The response was truly horrific.

Months ago, I learned of Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency.  I LOVE her (though I don’t always agree with her). She talks about things that must be discussed.  She talks about women’s roles in popular media (including video games, which are rarely the target of feminist critics).  This brought a vicious hate campaign to her doorstep.  An online game centered around beating her bloody was created just because she dared to say video games could treat women better. She responded to the campaign and the threats by continuing her work and talking at TEDxWomen 2012.

The responses are truly horrific.  Still.

These are places I probably shouldn’t go.  They trigger so many things for me – awful memories; feelings of helplessness, faithlessness, terror; terrible shame.  I’m still trying to balance being part of the discussion and being so part of the discussion that I’m feeding my brain poison.

But I needed to talk about one facet of the abuse of these women that I just cannot let stand without some of my own words, and it is the comments along these lines (AGAIN, TRIGGER WARNING):

“Noone would want to rape that fat disgusting mess [West].”

“Jaba [West] has nothing to worrie about, not even a prison escapee would rape her.”

“I would totally rape Anita Sarkeesian.”

These are a TINY sampling taken from a horrifying amount of rape threats, death threats, other personal safety threats, death wishes, and name calling, among other harassments.  But these are FAR MORE disturbing to me than those other abuses.  They seem to be innocent, but the attitude they represent is downright alarming.  And that attitude is this:

Rape is a compliment.

I’m going to let that soak in for a minute.

.

.

.

Rape is a compliment.

WHAT?!

The wrongness of this cannot be expressed.  Many other comments spoke about the rape fantasies West must surely have, West’s disappointment at being too fat for them to be fulfilled, and other inherently disgusting things like unto that.

Some of the other inexcusable attitudes expressed by these comments are: women who don’t fall “in line” deserve rape, over-weight women don’t deserve physical affection (violent or otherwise), and women wish for these violations to confirm their desirability.

Ew. Ew. Ew. EW.

Those attitudes are bad enough and thoroughly sickening.  But that over-arching tone of “rape is a compliment” makes me physically ill.  Why does this exist in our society?  Why is this remotely okay?  Useless questions, I know, but they should be asked and answered, if only to help some people think.

In the mean time, let me set this record straight:

When I was sexually abused, it was not a testament to my desirability.  It was not a compliment to my sexual attractiveness.  It was a complete and utter disregard of me, an affront to my humanity.

It was my babysitter, my fiancé, my boyfriend’s need to control a situation and an inherent selfishness in which the desires of the one (them) were more important that the needs and safety of the other (me) or the whole (the relationship).  I was not sexually abused by my babysitter because she saw me – a sexually immature seven-year old – as sexually desirable.  I was sexually abused by her because she felt I deserved the most shameful of punishments for being a typical, annoying seven-year old.  She made that patently clear.  She also made it clear she enjoyed abusing me.  She did it for recreation.  Her pleasure, sexual or otherwise, was more important than my health, safety, or needs because she was older, wiser, more behaved, and – in her mind – better.  She felt she deserved that pleasure more than I deserved a loving, caring, or protective relationship.

I cannot speak so clearly for my other abusers, because they weren’t nearly so open with me as to why they abused me.  But I can tell you from their behavior that my needs and wants were always subordinate to their wishes and whims.  I do not say needs because abuse is never a need, just as it is never a compliment.  It is a choice, a choice that should not be made.  It is a choice to discount the needs of a living, breathing human being because it is inconvenient to see them as anything other than a tool for the abuser’s wantonly selfish fantasies.  It dehumanizes beautiful, ugly, skinny, fat, exceptional, and utterly ordinary people alike, because rape and abuse are NOT compliments.  They are power plays and selfish expressions of this simple and terrifying attitude:

The only person who will ever matter is me.

And if I have to scream from every rooftop in Christendom that THIS IS WRONG, that is what I will do.  I will speak out.  Because no matter how unhealthy it can be for me to read these things and be in these situations, there is NOTHING less healthy than letting these things pass me by.

I will speak out.  And I will be heard.  And I fight until these attitudes, or I, are gone.  There is no other option because too many people are silenced.

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As always, if you are a victim of abuse, please reach out to me.  I will help in any way I can that is respectful of your and my private lives.  You are not alone and you never have to go through that again.

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