(TW: RAPE) If a woman has (the right to abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.
--A Republican elected official in Maine actually said this. But what war on women? (via albinwonderland)
My third grade teacher called my mother and said, ‘Ms. Cox, your son is going to end up in New Orleans in a dress if we don’t get him into therapy.’ And wouldn’t you know, just last week I spoke at Tulane University, and I wore a LOVELY green and black dress.
--Laverne Cox, speaking at the University of Kentucky (via so-nyeo-shi-daze)
The Many Signs of Revoked Consent
TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE/SEXUAL VIOLENCE
I had just gotten off an eight hour shift. I was physically exhausted.
I had just started having conversations with friends and loved ones about relationship problems. Things had been really tense lately. I was emotionally exhausted.
He was horny.
I wasn’t really opposed to the idea of an orgasm. In fact, I could have really used one. “I’m just not going to be very acrobatic” I warned him.
Sounded good to him. So there was the consent.
He put on a condom. So there was the protection.
Regardless, it became increasingly obvious that I was not into it. Despite my exhaustion, which I figured would have made me predisposed to relaxing, I remained clenched up, un-aroused.
It was obvious, after minimal foreplay, that I was not warm or relaxed enough, as any attempt to enter me resulted in a wince or a flinch of pain.
When he got up to adjust himself, I expected that we’d stop. I expected that we would sit down. Talk about what was happening. What he was feeling, what I was feeling.
What I didn’t expect, was to be pushed back down.
What I didn’t expect, was to not be able to react. Recoop. Reassess.
I didn’t expect to be held down and effectively ripped open, since I wouldn’t open up organically with arousal.
I didn’t expect to just lie there. I am a strong person. “I don’t take anything lying down” I often tell myself. And there I was, lying, face down on my stomach, feeling cold and stiff like vinyl, serving as a personal blow-up, cum-dumpster doll.
I didn’t expect it to be him. I expected it to happen. Statistically, I would have been surprised if I made it through life without it happening. But not him. Not the person I’ve known for almost seven years, who I spent two and a half years getting to know intimately. Who I trusted with arguably the most vulnerable side of myself imaginable.
I didn’t expect to be silent. I am an obnoxiously vocal, communicative person. And there I was, with each thrust, silently buried, deeper and deeper into my bed sheets only capable of breathing, laboriously. Very deliberate breaths, because all I wanted to do… was stop breathing.
I didn’t expect him to be able to cum. He couldn’t possibly have been aroused enough by my exhaustion, by my pain, by my rigid, frigid, corpse-like body, to actually climax. I didn’t expect that that would do it for him. But it sufficed.
I didn’t expect it to end so suddenly. For him to recover, pull out, take off the condom, wipe himself up and throw my clothes at me in nothing but a few seconds. Especially considering how long it took him to get there. I hadn’t even had a chance to move. I was relieved to feel my clothes take his place, laid over my back, as I lied on the bed, speechless.
"Go to sleep," he ordered. "You’re tired."
I didn’t expect my own response. I asked him if he was ok. He told me he was fine. “What’s wrong?” I kept persisting. He dodged my eyes.
"Nothing," he blew me off. "Stop being crazy.”
I didn’t expect me to take so long to process. It was a whole 24 hours before I realized what happened. And that was only after he tried to touch me again. The next night. I flinched, in the fear of the dark, and what he was going to do with his hand. “Please don’t touch me!” I snapped.
I didn’t expect him to lose his shit. I kicked him out that night.
I didn’t expect how much I wanted to help him. I wanted to wait until after his finals. I didn’t want to “burden him.”
I didn’t expect all the ways I would pacify him, rationalize him, justify him.
"Don’t write about me on your blog." he asked solemnly. "Don’t talk about the bad times with your friends."
I didn’t expect to say “alright.” But it was the only way I knew that he would leave.
I didn’t expect to still be bleeding two days later. To have to carry tampons around to soak up blood; its origin made obvious my the color.
I didn’t expect how long it would take for me to call it what it was.
"He abused me."
"He assaulted me."
"He sexually assaulted me."
"I experienced sexual violence."
"You were effectively raped," my therapist repeats for the second time.
"I didn’t say no," I reasoned.
"Consent is an ongoing thing."
"I didn’t say no." I repeated.
"That’s not all that communicates consent."
"You call it whatever you want," resolves a confidante and sexual abuse survivor. "It’s your experience."
It’s taken me six months to accept the fact that this person knew I was in pain, knew that he had to force himself in me, knew that I was almost incapable of voicing opposition. It’s not like we hadn’t communicated hundreds of times before…
It’s taken me six months to get here, to get to this place where I can call it what it is. And truth be told, the experience remains the same, independent of what word you want to use to boil it down.
I was raped. I was sexually assaulted. I was violated, physically, emotionally, mentally, by the one person I trusted the most. I was invaded. And in response to any opposition, any reaction I had to this event I was called “crazy”, “a coward”, “a slut”, “weak”, by the one person I trusted most, and his friends.
Silence is not a yes. While it didn’t begin as rape, that is how it ended. I’m stopping the “ignorance defense” for a person who spent two and a half years getting to know my mind, my body, my soul, my sounds, my reactions, my tendencies.
I grew up with a very heavy weight, a sacred weight put on sex. I associated sex with a very specific and varying list of meanings and expectations. Virtually all of which have been completely obliterated. But I’ll discuss that with our other examples in our RED FLAG post this Friday.
It took a lot for me to write this. I have coped with this experience in many different ways, this is just another one of them, and given the visceral reaction I’ve had in writing it, it is evident that it did need to happen. I am in no need of consolation, but I always appreciate reading, and solidarity. Even if anonymously, I would love contributions of like experiences. Thank you.
Extremely powerful and extremely important.
RED FLAG: Dating You vs. The Idea of You
So for our first week’s theme, we’ll be discussing red flags that indicate your partner is dating you for the “idea of you” rather than the real you.
This can manifest in a lot of ways, and that’s exactly what we hope to illustrate for you in this post. Relationships will be noted by their respective mug shots.
Today J and I will be discussing “Football Player”, James, Mark and Monish.
J: When it comes to you vs. the idea of you, the first guy that comes to mind is one I have dubbed “Football player”
“Football player” is arguably one of the most influential creepers I’ve ever encountered. I met him the beginning of my junior year of high school, at a friend’s birthday party. It should be noted at the time of this birthday party, this friend actually had a crush on him. He went to a different high school in Orange County, was a year older than me, and was, well, a football player.
He was a conservative, Christian football player originally from the South. We were almost as apposite as we could be, and that for some reason fascinated him. He took an immediate interest in me that night, and engaged in half-hearted debates with me the majority of the evening. We went our separate ways, and he asked our mutual friend for my phone number- it should be noted that this was again, our mutual friend who at the time had her own crush on him. And she handled the whole thing with spectacular maturity unbefitting of a 16 year old and did not hold his interest in me against me. Though she did give him my number without my permission…
VV: For my preface; James was a mistake. At least, I want to call it a mistake, but he is the reason I applied to the college I am soon to be graduating from, so I guess I can’t say it was a worthless relationship
James and I dated for a blink of an eye the beginning of my senior year. Maybe a month. I don’t want to say two months because it hurts, but that might be accurate…
By the duration of the relationship you can probably wager that things moved pretty fast considering the entire time I engaged in this relationship with him, I expressed the desire to take things “slow”. Similarly to J’s interaction with Football player, James also got my number without my permission through a mutual acquaintance. He would text, call and eventually show up at just about every one of my classes.
I wasn’t opposed to the idea of a relationship. I just hadn’t had a relationship in a while and I hadn’t been able to do anything physical with anybody since I was a freshman in high school. The reasons for which were all communicated to him…
J: Now with my number, Football Player began to text me incessantly and with such fervor it was almost comical. Statements like “I’ve never met a girl like you before” and “You’re so amazing and different from girls at my school” abounded.
But see, the thing was, he didn’t really know me. In fact, he didn’t know me at all. He knew easily understood facets of my personality: I went to art school. I was creative. I dressed a little out of the ordinary, (I wore all black and could be considered ‘gothic’ at this point in time). I was liberal. I talked back to him instead of fawning over everything he said. I did charity work and was engaged with activism.
He turned those aspects of my personality into a complete hyperbole. And truth be told, I’m sure there were girls at his school just like me. Creative girls, liberal girls, socially engaged girls. They probably just didn’t showcase it in an obvious enough way to him.
The thing about VV and I is that we have “big” personalities. We dress outlandishly, we’re assertive in our opinions. Many guys see these things and think they know us, but they don’t. They are drawn in by our perceived differences from other girls, and latch on to that. What they don’t know is that we are more similar to ‘other girls’ than they may think. And that liking these aspects of our personality without taking any steps to know us further, is not a great way to start a relationship or gauge our compatibility.
VV: This was the same case for James and I. With James having just enrolled in our high school for his senior year, we had no past history. He knew nothing of my friends, my younger self, any concept for what I was going through in terms of relationships. He even treated my best friend at the time like absolute dirt. (Which, in all honesty, was my own failing. This should have been the first red flag).
And yet, James persisted… He insisted that he “knew me” which I’m going to argue is a problem within it of itself. I would trust a person willing to admit not knowing me, even after knowing of me for a long time, much more than a person who within 3 weeks is confidently claiming he knows me.
So, what finally ended the VVJames relationship was when I wouldn’t have sex with him. He ended up getting it from some other younger girl within a few weeks or so after our break up, so at least he got what he was looking for. But it was certainly not handled appropriately. (ie: don’t throw your person of interest into the laundry room and turn off the lights and ask “What do you want to do?” That’s so not ok).
And instead of a break up, he just ignored me publicly for a week. Like in front of people, just pretended I wasn’t a person. I had a meltdown. It was great.
J: Football Player certainly didn’t take any steps to get to know me better. We texted back and forth for two weeks. He told me a large amount of personal details about his life. I told him none about mine, but he still lavished me with compliments about how I was “changing his view of the world” and “giving him hope for the world”. Amazing how those two hours talking to me could change him so much….
We finally met up at the end of those two weeks, after a play he and my mutual friend were in. He had asked me out multiple times earlier, but I insisted on waiting because I wanted to take it slow.
We all went out to dinner after the play, and good lord, was it horrible. We were not compatible in any way shape or form. When I wasn’t immediately physically affectionate with him (remember that whole taking it slow thing?), he got annoyed. Over dinner, he went on a rant about all women being ‘lying and manipulative’, but of course, stopping to make sure I knew he ‘wasn’t lumping me in with the rest of them.’ He also went on to tell me the woes of Christian oppression and assert Jews hadn’t experienced any oppression compared to Christians.
Needless to say, we didn’t work out, though he texted me multiple times after that evening to meet up again. Football player is a great example of how guys can get so wrapped up in who they think you are, they can never actually take the time to get to know you and that, is a red flag.
VV: My relationship with Matthew was a totally different breed of the same issue. Matthew was really interested in me, but more so, in the fact that I had a "family". I had brothers, I had parents that were together. Matt had none of this. He was raised an only child, with split of parents and a bigoted womanizer of a father. So he saw my relationship with my brothers, my over protective military father and thought he could find home in that.
My issue with this was that I warned him, very similarly to how I warned previous suitors about my issues with physical intimacy. I told him about my family and its problems. I warned him of my problems that came with/from my family. But, lo and behold, when the (very worn) seams that held my family together started to fall apart, just like that, he was gone.
Granted, there were many other reasons why that relationship failed, that was certainly not the only reason, but the point still stands that he expected my family to be stable. He expected that my life was this dream of familial refuge, and when the shit hit the fan, he was out. And quite similarly to Football Player’s diluted view of J, Mark expected me to be a perfect caricature of a manic pixie dream girl.
This was further exemplified when I find a screenplay Mark had written about a year later, the plot of which almost identically mirrored our past relationship. His depiction of me was as the quirky, troubled female character that, quite literally, descends into hell, so that, by contrast, he, or his main character, at least, could ascend into Heaven.
His depiction of me in this screenplay wasn’t even inaccurate per se. It was pretty spot on, even with word for word quotes of me. What differed the most was his perception of himself. That he was this tragic hero, who’s character was dependent on the foil of my female character to grow. It was eerie how this actually manifested in real life. That as soon as he discovered that I didn’t see him as the tragic hero and wouldn’t play along with this fictional version of reality, he went off to find it elsewhere.
Without a specific partner in mind, I would also like to quickly address the the idea of my age. Having serially dated people much older than me, there is this expectation that I have a lack of experience due to my age. I have gotten comments repeatedly like “when you’re older, you’ll understand,” as if consoling their child. There’s this idea of dating a girl who needs to be guided and coddled and that is literally the last thing that I am. But because of my age, it is automatically assumed that I fit that caricature, and then when I don’t, they either become disinterested, offended, or think I’m immature for assuming I have experience.
Long distance relationships also tend to create this “idea of you” partner instead of your real partner. My last relationship with Monish seemed to have suffered from this problem, I’d argue, on both sides.
Most of our relationship has been spent in some form of long distance. Whether it be a 45 minute drive or a 7.5 hour drive. And that resulted in a sort of “filtered” experience of each other. When we were having to skype for 8 months of our relationship or when I would see him once or twice a week, we could filter. We didn’t have to see each other’s full selves. Any unflattering part of ourselves could be reserved for when we were alone, then, once we were together, we had nothing but positives to share. This filtering trick was rendered useless when we spent a summer living together under the same roof. We had to experience each other 24/7 and hence we discovered a lot of things about each other, we were able to make up in our heads about each other before.
This also created the disillusion about the severity of problems. Issues from over 700 miles away look rather insignificant and nonthreatening, but when it’s a millimeter away from your face, and constantly around you, the effect is much different. And this is my own red flag, you’ll start to pick up on it when you fear going to your own home at the end of the day.
Again, this is certainly not the only reason the relationship failed. There are many more severe issues, but long distance should definitely be noted as a pitfall that landed me in a relationship with the idea or Monish, rather than the real Monish.
I hope the signs have been made clear. If you see these signs pop up in your relationship, I’d urge you to have a sit down and flesh out exactly what you and your partner think of each other and see what is real, and what is fictional ideals that you might have set up in your head. Thank you for reading and feel free to submit posts for next weeks topic: "No is a complete sentence."
Come to this free show I am planning.
Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
--Don Miguel Ruiz (via thordodaday)
Jon Stewart compares the media’s treatment of Justin Bieber and Rob Ford to the treatment of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
why are there so many “romantic” black and white gifs of tate from american horror story that aint right did you guys pay any attention to that show at all