(Alt- Why I Am A Bad Survivor: An open letter to the people I am avoiding on the internet)
Forgive me for not wanting to talk about rape culture this week. Forgive me for not wanting to tell you, again, how rape culture isn't about rape.
(It's about creating and justifying rapists. It's about putting the burden of proof and prosecution on the victim. It's about constant personal fear. It's about convincing some people to feel entitled to the bodies of other people — to sex, to attention, to a policing opinion. It's about bad jokes. It's about deep unfairness.)
Forgive me for not wanting to read or contribute to #yesallwomen because it doesn't make me feel heard and empowered; it makes me feel overwhelmed and helpless and furious. Forgive me for not wanting to repeat myself, because I've been telling you all of these things for years. Forgive me for hating you a little bit when you bring a male expert onto your radio program about MRA groups and you ask him, "Why haven't we heard about this before?"
(THIS FACE. THIS ONE.)
Forgive me for being fucking furious that this is what it took to make men's chronic entitlement to women's bodies a national conversation. Forgive me for all of my uncharitable thoughts toward you when you are still willing to argue it's not a "real problem". Forgive me for wanting to rail against you with my tiny, useless fists, unheard as always, because YOU WEREN'T LISTENING. Forgive me for feeling raped again, for feeling my shouts go ignored again. For being told "boys will be boys" again. Forgive me for blaming you.
Forgive me for blaming myself.
Forgive me for being a misandrist, and forgive me for not wanting to change that. Forgive me for feeling safe only when I know that the men in my life have proven themselves not rapists.
Forgive me for dancing. Forgive me for wanting people — women, men — to fix their attentions on me when I am on the stage, and to leave me the hell alone when it's over. Forgive me for not giving a shit that I'm topless.
Forgive me for wanting to be pretty, sexy.
Forgive me for wanting to hide.
Forgive me for writing this.
Forgive me for not wanting to talk about rape culture this week.
You might not think it's my job to talk about rape culture this week, but I do. As victims, as survivors, we encounter all these extraordinary examples of rape survivors who "did something with it". Many of the people we reach out to in survivor counseling networks and in crisis services have been victims themselves. Some rape survivors are famous and vocal. Wherever I turn I see a lineup of women who have been through much worse, and who have done so much better.
On my good days, I aspire to be one of those women. On my very best days, I succeed.
(On a good day: my local SlutWalk last year.)
But not all of my days are good ones. Sometimes I lose it on my fiance because he called a sandwich a "Mc Gangbang". Sometimes I have to leave a friend's wedding reception in a panic because the song that the DJ just picked is the same one that was playing on the night of my assault. Sometimes I don't get out of bed for hours in the morning because I'm afraid that if I see myself in the mirror I'll find bruises from the dream that just ended. And sometimes I just get tired of being the broken record in the corner.
So, there it is, I guess. While I'm not actually apologizing for staying out of all of these conversations this week, for actively hiding from them, for avoiding all of my usual haunts because I am just too damned tired of the impotent rage cycle — while I'm pretty sure it's my job to take care of myself first so I don't think I'm really that sorry at all...
Please forgive me anyway.