I am angry!
Angry at all the ‘me too’ posts that are being hashtagged out on social media. Mad because of so many females and males who have the right to say ‘me too’. Mad because so many others have the right, but can’t because their voice of self-protection has been silenced; quieted to the point that their silence is self-protection.
I am angry. Angry that this problem goes on and on and on and has gone on and on and nobody seems to really know how to stop it. How is it that we don’t demand that sexual assault NOT HAPPEN? Why isn’t there a no tolerance policy? Are we just not worth the effort? Society protects pets and plants better then they protect against sexual crimes! I am mad because next week, ‘me too’ will lose its power and no longer be a thing. Society will go on. Harassment will continue. Victim blaming will happen. Victims will be silenced and the shock that we feel at knowing that so many of us exist will pass away into comfortable acceptance.
I am mad. Mad that catcalls on the street will be heard loud and clear by women (mostly) who have done nothing to deserve them. Deserve them? Yes, being asked what you did or wore or said to deserve it will still be more common than being asked why that behavior is accepted and even expected. I am mad that Women attending seminars on how to stay safe at university is more common than lectures about how not to harass, assault and rape someone.
I am angry to the middle of my bone marrow that my two daughters have both been victims of sexual assault and harassment already at their young ages. I am angry that victims are questioned and doubted and questioned again to within an inch of their sanity, but the abuser only has to say “I didn’t do it”. That the excuses are made “he didn’t mean to”, “she led him on”, “they are both to blame” or my favorite “he has such potential! Lets not ruin his life over one incident of poor judgement.”
I am angry that rape jokes are still funny.
I am angry that the church reinforces this sexual assault culture by making victims more responsible for their own assaults than the person who assaulted them. By policing our clothes, our underwear, our makeup, and our bodies, women are made into objects. By not complying with all the rules given to them, women are told they are making themselves objects and deserve what they get. By telling women that they are to blame for leading brothers astray instead of holding brothers to a higher standard of behavior, the church chooses to close their eyes. By believing that marital rape doesn’t exist because a man has full authority to sexually overtake a woman after he signs on the dotted line, and she has signed her life and body away.
I am angry. Angry that the church teaches girls that it is up to them to stay pure and their purity is what makes them worthy, but then telling boys that they can’t help but be led on by girls and it isn’t boys fault or responsibility when they choose to hurt a girl. I am angry that boys learn if they can see it, they can touch it, take it, possess it because she wouldn’t show it if she didn’t want it. I am angry that girls have lists and lists of clothing requirements all focused on not distracting the boys; the same boys who have full authority over you, a mere girl who is taught that silence is her Godly calling and to never correct or speak against a man. I am angry that men can bare their chest in public but girls dare not uncover so much as a collarbone lest they bring assault upon themselves.
I am angry. Angry that, by circling around abusers and refusing to believe the abused, churches continue to protect the sin and hurt the hurting. By rejecting becoming educated about cycles of abuse, about grooming and about how to stop the attitude of entitlement, they perpetuate their own perpetrators and attract those who can find solace in their sanctuary of perpetrator protection. By constantly telling women that they are powerless but hold all the sexual power, and by telling men they have full authority but are weak and powerless against sexual sin, the abuser is handed a behavior free card and the victim is automatically condemned.
I am angry. Angry that so many responses to this will be defensive “not all men are abusers” as a way of casting out the reality that almost all women are sexually harassed or abused in their lifetimes.
I am angry that locker room talk for females includes warning each other about the creepiest dude, or swapping stories about how to get out of tough sexual situations, or surrounding a sister in silence because she was just raped out behind the bleachers and everyone knows but not reporting it is the likely outcome. Alternately, locker room talk for males is considered ‘normal’ when they all laugh about grabbing a woman by her pussy and congratulating themselves on how much she loved being sexually assaulted, then go about electing him to be captain of the football team. OH! and really, it wasn’t that big of a deal, all men talk that way.
I am angry that every single day, I hear excuses as to why sexual abuse/harassment are ok and most of the time, the reason is that of how a woman looks.
I am angry that my daughters have lived to experience just how little their personhood means in this country. I am angry that already, they’ve learned that silence is often safer than using their voice to protect themselves. I am angry that my statements will make people I care about dismiss me as a troublemaker, an over-reactor, overly emotional, and that their reaction to my anger makes me doubt my intent to publish this blog.
I am angry that all women have to learn what red flags are, how to fight off a boy who just won’t stop and what techniques to use to try to get out of a tough situation safely.
I am angry because I can write #MeToo a thousand times for my own life experience. As early as 4 years old, I could write #MeToo but I haven’t until now. I didn’t ask or want to be #MeToo. None of us did.
I am angry that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are full of instructional videos teaching women not to wear ponytails rather than teaching men to keep their hands off our hair and stay out of our pants/skirts/shorts/shirts/blouses/bathing suits and underwear!
I am angry because if you are a woman, gay, lesbian, had an abortion, black, Latino or any other undesirable, then your experiences of sexual assault and abuse are even more diminished and overlooked because society says you should be grateful someone is still looking.
I am angry that if you are a man and a victim, you may be even more silenced because society says you should have been strong enough not to let it happen to you.
I am angry because the fear of calling out an assault is still scarier than living through it alone. Because the risk of speaking up is far greater than the risk of just surviving. Because of the way victims are automatically discounted by words like ‘accuser’ and ‘alleged’ that makes them re-victimized in this country.
I am angry that the courts demand the emotional souls of those who have already lost their bodies to violence.
I am angry that people are more concerned and more willing to prosecute the less than 1% of false accusations than they are the 99% of real ones.
I am angry.
Angry that I have to write this blog at all.
Angry that everyone, EVERYONE isn’t angry too.