rowanf: (cat - can you hear me?)
[personal profile] rowanf
Toward the end of May, after Isla Vista (which felt very close to home since E&R live there and I've visited often) and in the depth of the #yesallwomen meme, I was really triggered and sat down (in the middle of the night) and wrote out a lot about my own sexual history (basically puberty to meeting Russell). I am a #yesallwomen statistic, a few times over.

To be more explicit - three rapes, a couple of assaults, harrasment (lost a job), indecent exposures - the usual kinds of things a woman faces.

It was interesting to write about my age 11 rape because I had never put together in my head that one of the reasons I didn't tell anyone was because a friend of mine had had consensual sex with one of the stable hands and been sent to reform school. Given how little use there was reporting a later rape, I can't say I'm sorry I kept it to myself even at eleven.

I grew up before the craziness of modern rape culture, with date rape drugs and even more dehumanisation of women than we faced. Men thought we were lesser, were childlike compared to them (men & girls), but I do think most of them considered us the same species. Reading the comments and the What about the Menz!? comments on threads where women were discussing their pain or even in places I'd expect to be more neutral (like the Southern Poverty Law Center's article on Isla Vista) made me crazy.

And yet, sitting down and writing out my history was therapeutic. Yes, I have had some horrible experiences, but I also had some no-so-good ones, some good ones, and some great ones. And the older I've gotten the more wonderful and amazing my sex/love/relationship life has become. I am privileged to have the life I lead.

I admit I kinda keep getting re-triggered by things. Like the George Will column wherein he says women claim victimhood to gain "coveted status". (I do appreciate Dianne Feinstein and others writing to the WaPo) Or the fact that two of the women in my URI network was assaulted on a bus -- by the bus driver -- in India last week (they survived, one with two broken fingers). It seems that not a day goes by that sexual assault isn't a big topic in my world.

This is kind of rambling but it has been really up for me. Though I admit reading #survivorprivilege and #yesallwomen articles keeps it that way.

Date: 2014-06-18 05:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chrystella.livejournal.com
Thank you for sharing. I get really...tired - is that the right word? - of reading about it. So much misogynistic violence and all the #NotAllMen stupidity. I try to remind myself that we are better off than we were, but damn, it's still exhausting and still feels shitty most of the time.

Date: 2014-06-21 12:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rubibees.livejournal.com
So much agreement on this comment.

Date: 2014-06-23 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rowanf.livejournal.com
Me too. I am tired of needing to deal with it. And then yesterday I read about the 4Chan MRM & PUA guys spoofing being feminists of colour on twitter (http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/your-slip-is-showing-4chan-trolls-operation-lollipop) to further muddy the waters. How can we progress when there are trolls that evil? It was like a punch to the stomach.

Date: 2014-06-18 01:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angiereedgarner.livejournal.com
Thank you for this. I have not had good experiences sharing my own history, but reading this post makes me hope things can change because some of us (finally) are willing and able to have the conversation in a way and a time and a place that doesn't re-traumatize.

I am probably about due to write out my history again. As much work as I have done, I still have attacks of fuzzy brain about it.

Date: 2014-06-23 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rowanf.livejournal.com
Yes, fuzzy brain is a great way to describe it. I hope that you can find a way to share that doesn't re-traumatize. I think I finally have enough distance from my past to let it not cloud my present as often as it once did.

Date: 2014-06-21 12:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rubibees.livejournal.com
Thank you for sharing this and that writing out your own history was therapeutic. I have been shielding myself from the over-culture dialogue about this right now, but not because I am avoiding the issue, its just very present in my own spiritual life right now. Like you, I am a statistic and yet have always been sex-positive...and am blessed with a healthier and healthier sexual life, better and better men and women as lovers, etc. It is quite a journey. I feel for some men that this is such a painful issue they cant even look at it...and the current dialogue reinforces my feeling that women are just tougher overall, because we have to be...Hooray for you for owning who you are so thoroughly and making your life what you want it to be. Love you!

Date: 2014-06-23 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rowanf.livejournal.com
Love you too. It has been a journey but, like you, I have generally been sex positive and willing to try again.

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