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02 August, 2008

My Little Demon

I wasn't going to write about this. I thought I'd said everything that needed to be said at the Corvid Diaries, but it's been chewing on me, and when I saw that Trinity had posted about it at her place and at SM-F and Lina at Uncool also said a piece, I started formulating my thoughts.

I've written about wrestling with responsibility for my assault; it's a question that has been a major part of my psyche for over half a lifetime now. It's so easy to wipe it away into self-blaming, should have known better, all the things that I could have done differently if I'd been a year, a month, a few days wiser, with the wisdom that I bought with a shattered mind.

It's so easy to fall back in the place where, well, it wasn't really a rape because he stopped just shy of that, so my pain is not legitimate, my flashbacks are appropriating "real" sexual assaults. It wasn't so bad because it wasn't a stranger. It wasn't so bad because ...

It wasn't so bad because my own goddamn mother thought it was a nonevent, just something to take for granted: of course he assaulted me, he's a man and all, that's what men do. I shouldn't expect anything different; it was a nonevent.

I had to fight the demons of guilt and shame to accept it as an event.

I had to fight the world for my right to have been hurt.

I had to fight myself, the world, everything, for recognition of the fact that my sexuality was folded around nonconsent like a car wrapped around a tree by a drunk before I was old enough to know, fully, what it was.

I had to fight to be able to say: this thing happened to me. This was real. I was hurt by it. It was not my fault. In fact, it was his fault, his choice, his decision to never ask, never realise he was pushing, that he was doing harm. And I am far more forgiving of what he did than anyone I've told the story to, still, and even I know that it was his damn fault that he assaulted me, pinning me down under his naked bodyweight while I tried to curl into a ball of adolescent neutronium.

I fought. And I won that fight. I won that fight primarily with the help of a woman I traded stories with, sitting on the floor in her house in Wales one summer night talking about where we had been and what we had seen. I won that fight with the support of my husband. I won that fight with the guidance of the outraged responses to the story that so many people have given me, letting me know that my event was a real event, something that I was allowed to be affected by.

And now I run across someone saying "All men are rapists." (I'm not inclined to chase down the link enough to link that thing there, because I don't feel like retraumatising myself. If you want to read it, the posts I linked above linked it.)

And that throws me back to fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, unable to talk about it, because my experience wasn't actually real, it was "just" an assault, and anyway it was my boyfriend, not some stranger. It throws me back to knowing that, anyway, it was my fault, I should have known that he'd try something, I shouldn't have gone over to watch a movie if I didn't expect that. It's back to being all my fault, not his responsibility, because that's just how men are, that's just the default setting, he shouldn't be expected to be a decent human being.

All my fault.

All my goddamn fault.

It throws me back there, in the whirling mess of adolescence and trauma, back when I was still flashbacking regularly, back when I couldn't face the pain because being in pain was degrading to people who'd had a "real" assault.

All my fault.

And I sit back and bare my teeth at that maelstrom and say, "No."

I fought that fight already, and I won, and no fleabitten RAPE APOLOGIST claiming to be a feminist will EVER take that away from me.

Is that fucking radical enough for you?


Trinity said...

*hugs Kiya tight*

I posted something f-locked at my place about... well, this kind of thing, if it would help you any to see it.

Lisa Harney said...


"All men are rapists" just excuses bad behavior and is used to justify ignoring individual cases. It's erasure and victim blaming.

antiprincess said...


Ravenmn said...

"I had to fight the world for my right to have been hurt."

Yes. Dammit, yes. That's an amazing thing to do in those circumstances and you deserve credit for making it through.

Daisy said...

Kiya, this is so righteous, I have read it several times now.

It wasn't so bad because my own goddamn mother thought it was a nonevent, just something to take for granted: of course he assaulted me, he's a man and all, that's what men do.

"What do you expect from them?" translates as: everything is up to US, if we know what THEY are like. Right? No exceptions; WE must be on our WATCH, like a sentry. We are the 'guardians of morality.'

And no, we shouldn't have to do that. I thought that's what feminism was all about?

Such a great post, thanks. (((kiss)))

Erin C. said...

Right on, to all of this. It really points up how some "radical" "feminist" thinking can circle right back around to affirming the attitudes it's theoretically trying to condemn. As with, as you point out, the "all men are rapists" meme. Or the "she's a sex worker colluding in her own oppression, so why is she surprised when she gets raped by a john?" meme.

thene said...

I am totally giving you a Brilliante Weblog badge. Ignore the chainmail aspect of it if you want to.

Bruce Baugh said...

Absolutely. I am really altogether damned tired of "well, it wasn't as severe as some arbitrary threshold, so it doesn't count" in any field, and particularly when it comes to pain and violation. It's pain and violation, it's not okay, and those out to suppress are the ones who need a clue administered forcefully.

Good for you for not taking it silently.

CrackerLilo said...

I'm sorry I missed this earlier.

*hug* I'm sick of those attitudes, just sick.