tw: rape and abuse
Testing. 1,2,3. Is this thing on?
I was taking a break from writing a post about introducing D/s to a vanilla relationship when I came across this image. I sat and looked at it for a moment trying to sort out exactly what it evoked within me. Then I looked at the notes.
At the time of this post 13,491.
So, I clicked on the notes expecting that there would be outrage, someone crying foul, a bit of righteous indignation and the like. Nope. Like, after like. Reblog after reblog. I gave up after scrolling through four pages of notes and not finding even one comment saying “What the fuck is this?”
I am not easily offended. I get off on the weirdest and kinkiest shit. I really don’t care what two consenting people do to each other, even when the squick factor makes me throw up in my mouth a bit. I’m all for expressing whatever you want to express, no matter how offensively stupid and thoughtless it is.
However, this post has struck a nerve. And yes, I’ve talked about some of this before but it bears repeating to make a point.
This week here in Melbourne, a young woman on her way home from the pub, walking a distance of less than 500 meters, disappeared from the street, only to be found a few days later buried in a shallow grave on a dirt road outside of the city. She had been raped and then murdered.
What could she have done to have kept her assault simply a rape instead of her murder as well? Did she fail to remain calm?
In 2008, after leaving my long term boyfriend and moving into my own apartment, I agreed to meet him one last time to talk. I made sure to be careful, as he’d been physically abusive in the past and I chose to meet him at a neutral location (a friend’s apartment). I knew better, but there were drugs involved, and at the time, I was in a bad place and risked common sense for a need. Bad choice? yes. Consent to horror? No.
He brought a friend to ‘teach me a lesson.’ My boyfriend sat on the sofa, doing the drugs I thought we were going to share over conversation, while his friend beat me unmercifully and raped me. I did not fight. I did not struggle. I choked on my own blood, tried to keep breathing, focused on surviving, looked into my ex-boyfriend’s eyes and plead for help.
When M., the friend, was done with me, Colin took his turn. He was high on coke and more violent than I’d ever seen him. I was barely conscious when the police kicked down the door. The two men went to jail, I was taken by ambulance to the hospital with a number of significant injuries.
Colin had the audacity to say aloud to me as the gurney was being taken from the apartment, “I hope you’re happy with what you’ve done here.”
His message was perfectly clear, his going to jail, his doing what he and his friend had done to me was my fault. I was to blame.
I know that had a tactical team of cops with rifles and shotguns not broken down that door and stopped what was happening that my rape would have turned into a murder no matter how calm I had or hadn’t remained.
Oh, but you’re overreacting you say. The t-shirt in the picture is meant as a joke. Fuck, you can’t take a joke?
Nah, I can take joke. I can laugh at shit that is inappropriate, off color, at times I have a chuckle when I really really shouldn’t. I’m not really that much of a buzz kill.
So why am I getting torqued over a stupid t-shirt that isn’t really supposed to literally be taken as about real rape, real murder?
Well, who is to say that?
Rape isn’t a joke. Murder even less so. There have been times when I think I would have been better served to have died on the living room floor of a friend’s apartment with my face bashed in and my ribs bashed, bleeding from the inside as well as outside. The baggage after surviving something like this is so very weighty. The end of the assault is just the beginning of whole other kind of fresh hell.
I hadn’t even gotten to the place in my life at that time that would turn out to be the worst, most traumatic experience that would come my way. That came a year later after Colin had been dead at his own hand so that he wouldn’t have to go back to prison.
Yeah, I know life sucks. Get over it. I’m not naive.
What gets me about this post is the likes and reblogs. The number of them that appear to be women who are reblogging this. I am gobsmacked.
It is sexist, sure, but I expect this from men. Not all men, but a fair number who have no earthly idea about the experience of abject fear and terror, of hanging on to every moment not knowing if it is soon to be your last. Of that secret hope that it would just end, be over with, that the murder would free you of your fear and your pain and the horror of what was happening.
But women? I really don’t understand that in the least. Someone kindly explain what is ‘likeable’ about his image. Seriously. Please do.
If anyone thinks that in addition to it being a woman’s responsibility to not get herself raped in the first place, that it is also her responsibility to not get herself murdered, well, here’s a thought for you - go fuck yourself.
And no, I’m not going to sit down and shut up. No, I’m not going to lighten up. No, I won’t fucking take a joke.
I will speak up for myself, the woman I was lying on the floor, half beaten to death before I was raped and beaten more afterward. I will speak up for the young woman in this god forsaken metropolis found in a shallow grave on the side of the road and for all the other myriad women who have prayed, begged, plead their way through a rape, hoping against all odds that it wouldn’t turn into a murder or possibly that they wished the murder would come quickly to save them from the awful reality of what they were enduring.
13,491 likes and reblogs.
My faith in humanity is in question.
I am pretty sure I want to fucking vomit now but I feel like this is very, very important for people to see.
Same for me, I want to vomit, and I am so grateful to the OP for being willing to relive such horror to take a stand about this. I was sexually assaulted by an abusive boyfriend while he was on coke… and it’s taken me a long time to admit that to myself. I found myself rationalizing the same way victim-blamers do…we were in a relationship, I usually liked it, I didn’t put up enough of a fight… but I said no and he coerced me, continued after I repeatedly said no, and it was extremely painful and frightening. Do you not understand that when you say “it’s just a fucking joke,” you’re saying that’s what this trauma is, that it’s not a big deal, that we should just get over it? That the fact that I was too afraid for my LIFE to defend myself from assault is TOTES LOLZ????? Oh, I forgot, rape is funny because….wait, what? I have a VERY morbid sense of humor, I love weird and dark humor. This, however, in the way that it specifically targets women, survivors, and tells them to “lighten up,” crosses a line into fucking disgusting and indefensible. As a man, you’re ability to express callous disregard for the reality of women’s lives, for the fact that this is ridiculously common and trivialized by authorities and society in general, is the very WORST kind of male privilege.
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