This might tear you open, but I’m not sorry. You’re not a banana, you’ll probably heal up just fine.
I’m just so fucking tired.
I’m tired of laughing like it’s funny. It’s not.
I’m tired of brushing it off.
I’m tired of trying to convince myself I wanted it to happen to make it more palatable somehow.
I’m tired of saying things like, “No, it’s okay. I know you didn’t mean to grope and try to kiss me now that you know I didn’t want you to. You were just drunk and feeling frisky.” Did I get that right? Was that the word you used? Frisky? Meaning playful? Where’s the harm in frisky? That’s something to describe a kitten, not someone who violates a woman’s consent.
I’m tired of thinking it has anything to do with me whatsoever. It doesn’t. It’s your personality disorder, who you grope probably doesn’t matter.
It just happened to be me there that night.
Why did I let it happen, you ask? Why did I let you in?
Because it didn’t occur to me that my walking up stairs was an open invitation for you to jam your fingers between my legs.
I know, silly me, right?
I’m tired of the double standard.
If someone treated your wife the way you’ve treated me, you would kill him.
If someone treated your daughter the way you’ve treated me, you would hurt him before you killed him. Yet you won’t be the kind of man you’d like her to grow up to be with. You don’t have any respect for me, that’s obvious. The least you could do is have some for her and set a good example.
Talking with a friend recently about the inappropriate jokes. The ones you really shouldn’t laugh at, they’re really not funny. We do anyway, to some extent. “What do you tell a woman with two black eyes? She’s already been told twice.” A queasy feeling accompanies the more groan than chortle that finds its way to the surface. The voice inside whispers, how can one even call that a joke? It’s not a fucking joke.
I laugh to keep away the darkness, I laugh to keep from crying. I laugh to have a reason to bring up these subjects in polite conversation. How else does one make a sane foray into abuse, rape, assault, suffering?
I do not laugh to normalize these issues. I do not laugh to make light of them, to allow them to be excused. I laugh because I have a love of clever wordplay coupled with an unhealthy amount of self-loathing. I can admire the way a joke is structured, even if I’m not totally a fan of the subject matter. One could argue, who is? Who is a fan of the subject of rape? I’m sure there are lots of people who wish it was talked about less. But when I put forth that 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, my friend was surprised by that number. It seemed high. When I told him I’m part of that statistic, he was shocked, appalled. His first reaction was that it must have been “someone who brutally forced me, a stranger with a knife perhaps?” I shook my head, a look of incredulity on my face. “Well then, were you passed out, unconscious?”
First amazed that he has no idea how regular sexual assault is for women and second, that he has no idea that a rapist is rarely a maniac in an alley with a knife trying to penetrate some part of a woman with his dick. Really? Do people really not know this? Is this willful ignorance? Is this a case of us needing better jokes?
To be fair, rape is a very polarizing word. Sexual assault is perhaps a more agreeable term? Perhaps more likely to encourage conversation, being that there is a tendency on the part of people being educated to resist education if it means admitting uncomfortable truths.
“I’m not that kind of person. I’ve never raped anyone in my life.”
Are you sure?
Here’s a scenario. A guy and a girl are making out at a party. He slides his hands between her legs, she makes an effort to push them away. He keeps kissing her. She keeps kissing him back. He puts his hands between her legs again, she still pushes them away. Now she’s clamping her legs together, making it really difficult for him to feel her up. He’s still trying. She liked kissing him, but she’s resisting now, she obviously doesn’t want his hands between her legs. She’s not saying no out loud, but her demeanor is screaming it.
In case you’re wondering, he did end up forcing his hand down her pants, attempting to pull them off her and go down on her though she was trying to make him stop. And she never said a word. Shortly after she entered into a sexual relationship with him. It didn’t last long, she was revolted by him, but felt a need to have some control over what had happened.
And then one day she read this https://medium.com/the-nib/trigger-warning-breakfast-c6cdeec070e6#.8ei7eq8xb
She made her rapist breakfast, because then it wasn’t rape.
Sometimes it’s simply a matter of being so tired of saying no, one stops saying no. That doesn’t mean she’s said yes, she’s just stopped saying no.
Sometimes it’s a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Sometimes one can bury it, pretend that it was a scene from a movie, that it happened to someone else. Eventually that becomes true, and the pain of it haunts less. Because the alternative is rehashing it, over and over and over again until it becomes grotesque with the garish light being shined on it.
It becomes a horror film and you’re begging her to stand up, to say no, to not get in that car, to not let him coax her away from her friends, to not be polite, to not listen when he hushes her and tells her it won’t hurt.
Maybe not physically, but there are all variations on pain that never go away. They fold themselves into skin and bone. They become weight that grows heavier with every encounter, layers added on over the years until she’s normalized being touched when she didn’t ask for or consent to it, accepting that kiss on the cheek from someone she knows will linger overlong because she doesn’t want to be rude, involuntarily pulling her sweater closed across her chest while wishing the mirror at home had informed her that “feeling good about how I look” at home translated to “on display for whomever decides to leer” in public, telling herself the morning after that she had flirted and been flattered by the attention and it really hadn’t been so bad, had it?
I’m tired of people who say, “let it go. It’s not a big deal. It’s just how he is. You should feel complimented.”
Fuck that. It is a big deal and it’s not okay.
It’s not okay.
It is not fucking okay.
I’m not okay.
And I don’t fucking feel complimented.
After so many years of pick ups and put downs, I’m struggling to hold my head high but not so high that it’s impossible for me to pretend that you’re not staring directly at my tits.
Yeah, I know my shirt is low cut, did you think I’d accidentally tripped and stumbled into a scissor factory at chest height and didn’t notice the fabric being sliced away, the way your eyes are cutting into my self esteem and making me think how I’ve chosen to dress was a mistake?
Yeah, I do have a permanent lump in my throat from all the times my breath has caught there, stuck sending messages to my brain that the person behind me might not be someone I want behind me, fingers digging into pockets hoping for something, anything that might deter long enough for escape to be feasible.
But the fear of being attacked is only slightly less than the fear of being wrong, of seeming impolite when I cross the street to gain even just a little bit of breathing room. I will stay on the same side of the street as someone I’m afraid of because I’m more afraid of hurting their feelings when they realize they’re making me nervous.
Do you understand how fucked that is? Read it again.
I will stay on the same side of the street as someone I’m afraid of because I’m more afraid of hurting their feelings when they realize they’re making me nervous.
I’m tired of being polite.
I’m tired of making excuses for others, and refusing to forgive myself for things that are not my fault.
I’m just so fucking tired.