Me Too

15:20


Have you been reading on the Harvey Weinstein scandal? Do you have any thoughts?
 Hmm...not really, other than anger, disgust, a bit of hopelessness, and something that I can't quite name.

Hopelessness? Why?
I wonder if it's going to stop, if anything truly is going to change; if it has opened up some eyes, or perhaps some are still a bit drowsy when it comes to sexual assaults and violence against women. Are we going to continue to just survive in a society that protects predatory men, and protects predatory beliefs and attitudes? From time to time, justice prevails, but often it’s out of reach. From time to time, you feel the echoes of justice served, but after the dust settles, you realize that it isn't necessarily a "bad" human problem. The systemic ideas and attitudes that promote this behaviour is the real the culprit. And who wants to do the work to see how they are part of the problem and then changing to be a solution. Very few, right?

Have you done the work?
I try to. Breaking down wrong thought patterns is very challenging. And blocking them is just as challenging because they come under the guise of rationality.  Yet, it must go without saying that no one deserves violence. Clothing or alcohol or withdrawing consent does not warrant, nor is it an invitation to violence.  Neither should we protect those who use their power to exert this violence. If certain behaviours are part of the culture then we need to go beyond saying our culture is bad and begin dismantling these ideas through education and action with the full support of policies. 

Do you think the right education has helped you grow in understanding about what fuels sexual violence?
Yeah.  It’s easy to blame the victim. It feels comfortable to do so because it releases you of responsibility. But recognizing that sexual violence is not fueled by lust but it’s ignited by the need for power and control puts a spotlight on an individual and their own actions. Our relationships, whether with family, friends, spouses or intimate partners, boss/colleagues have different power dynamics and within these relationships some people abuse their authority through coercion: pressuring someone, guilting them or threatening them (and threats can be physical and non-physical). Everyone must be taught that another human being is not their property and coercion and bullying, etc is not healthy.


Have you ever felt threatened?
 Yes. It's beyond words how entitled some people feel to another’s body.  It’s hard to explain feeling powerless and scared but still sober enough to take in everything that is happening. Where you go from asking politely for a person to leave, to demanding, and your words are like confetti on this human in front of you rapidly morphing into a beast. And you want to shout for help but you remember you got yourself in this mess so is it even worth shouting? And before you can even decide, you are trapped. You can't push someone off of you. And you have a war inside yourself: one side says give in and it'll be over quickly whilst the other is screaming no, it isn't right. And fighting feels hopeless. But the thought of giving in makes you feel complicit; and you feel even more wretched. It's horrible. It is a violent experience. It is awful feeling even a fraction of it daily, or weekly, or however often some have to face the predator. 

What did you do when it occurred?
Nothing. Talked it over with a friend...we always find way to make a joke of a terrible situation. I didn't have a name for it; I didn't identify it as an assault, just something that I never want to happen again. Filed it away; washed my hands of the situation and moved on. I didn't lose sleep over it.

Did you talk to the person afterwards?  Did the person acknowledge what happened? Was there awareness on the person’s part of what you just described?
I’m almost certain I did talk to that person. Survivors of sexual assaults get crucified for such contradicting behavior. I can’t recall if there was a conversation about it, and if so, how it went. I suppose I tried to return back to some semblance of normalcy; where you chalk the behavior as a one-off, a bizarre twist of reality that can be suppressed and never spoken of again. The bile and revulsion rise up, reminding you that it wasn’t ok, but you remind it that it’s over, and it won’t happen again, and let’s just forget it. I don’t know. That’s just one perspective. I'm glad many are now speaking about their experience, though.  As disappointing as it is to read and hear of the frequency in which sexual violence occurs in our community, my hope is that we change the ideas that fuel such violence.

You Might Also Like

0 comments