Friday, 4 April 2014

There is no 'we'

TW: Discussion of abuse, rape and rape culture.

Or why this survivor of childhood abuse and rape has never felt welcome in social justice circles.

There is no we when you insist that someone's value in fighting other oppressions is more important than tackling their habit of calling people liars if they don't think that person has the right opinions or they simply dislike that person.

There is no magic "is an asshole" shield that protects someone from abuse or rape simply because someone doesn't like them or their opinions. If someone's criteria for "I believe them" is "So long as they're part of my group/agree with me/aren't a bigot". Then they are expressing rape culture, because rape and abuse happens to people who are assholes and bigots just as readily as it happens to those who are angels. If you do not address this because you think the "good" they do excuses this? You are perpetuating rape culture.

There is no we when you insist on treating the atypical issues caused by abuse as not worth acknowledging and supporting us for simply because those issues hurt another person.

Sometimes our pain and scars results in us hurting others, this does not mean we should not be supported. Please note, there's a difference between excusing and supporting. You can support us without excusing us. Blanket condemnation of our hurt due to the harm it does to others just heaps a new layer of scars on top of the old ones. How can we heal and stop hurting other if you deem our scars as making us "bad" and "unworthy of support to address it"? You can support both us and those we hurt by accident. It is not an either or proposition.

There is no we when you insist that unless we show what you expect then we're not really hurting.

We are not all alike, sometimes it seems you see still waters but beneath the calm, those waters roil with pain. Don't always insist on the storm, be ready to listen to us about how being a survivor has impacted us. I myself because I had precisely zero support, well those who do not listen would think I was unaffected, but those who do listen would realise how the damage spreads throughout my whole worldview. I need support for that just as much as those who show you what you expect to see.

There is no we when you would rather shame me for how my wound manifests then understand why it manifests that way.

Listen. It is not a hard thing.

There is no we when you are happy to have the person who demanded details of my abuse from me in your community and act like I am being unreasonable for feeling unsafe with such a person around.

There is no we when you think all the rules of not perpetuating rape culture somehow have exceptions.

Again, there is no way to be anti-rape culture and make exceptions for people you don't like/don't agree with. You either believe survivors or don't. You can't believe some and not others. You either think victims should not have the details demanded or do think details should be demanded. You can't demand details from me five minutes after being outraged at others doing the same to another, at least not without being a massive hypocrite who perpetuates rape culture.

There is no we when you consistently expect us to either be all strong or all weak.

There are days when the scar just feels like a black hole sucking my life into the void, there are days when I barely remember that I am a survivor. Please stop insisting that since I handled the asshole last week, I can't be in a state this week. I am not always strong, just as I am not always weak.

There is no we when you continually mistake anger for strength.

Just because I tell a rape culture perpetuator to fuck the hell off doesn't mean I'm strong. Anger and strength are not the same, I can be hurting. Please don't assume that I don't need support and especially don't assume and then get mad at me because I say that I needed support.

There is no we when during an argument about an issue, you have no issue with rape threats or support for rape threats directed at me by someone else in the guise of fighting for you.

If someone proceeds to "fight" for you by basically saying I deserved rape threats I got before and you fucking thank them for fighting for you and say nothing about the rape culture argument they just used? You're supporting rape culture.

There is no we when you refuse to accept my right to be flawed, human, hurting, different, and even not what you expected.

Yes, those are all based on incidents done by social justice advocates or done in SJ spaces. That is why there is no We.

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