Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

"Your silence will not protect you." (Audre Lorde)

Last year, someone peripherally connected to my social circles committed various acts of assault, including rape.

That summer, my housemate and I had our joint birthday party as we usually do -- this time with bouncy house (because I was turning 30) and a semi-public house concert.

Aforementioned rapist showed up, and friends of mine felt uncomfortable. In case anyone ever doubts that I am confrontation-avoidant, I refer you to the fact that I actively chose to not approach my housemate about it.

A few weeks ago, aforementioned rapist showed up at a major community party and there has since been a lot of conversation about making community spaces safe spaces.

I've read a bunch of posts and some comment threads thereon, and this is the one that struck me:
Merv was banned after years of creepy and unacceptable behavior, culminating when I found out that he'd raped an ex of mine.

This was a complete shock to me and I've been sort of dealing with it all morning. Here's the short story: Merv and I struck up a bus-friendship once upon a time, but it became so unavoidably creepy and bad that I wound up actually BUYING A CAR so I wouldn't have to take the bus to work anymore. But you know what? I never told anyone that before today. And you know why? Because I kept seeing him at large social gatherings, so I thought, it must be me, I must be oversensitive and making it up. So I didn't "come forward" or "give specifics". I quietly assumed I was crazy, because that's what good girls do.

-moominmolly
That got me thinking seriously, and from a somewhat different perspective, about my silence last year. I emailed the friends who had raised concerns to apologize for not speaking up, and Housemate and I had a brief conversation about last year (she affirmed that if she had known he was a rapist, she would have made him leave, and that she would want to know that sort of information about anyone who was at our house).

A few weeks ago, Molly asked, "What would you do if you were brave?" and while I would rephrase it as bravER, I've been thinking about it a lot. If I were braver, I would speak up more, pushback against microaggressions, be more openly who I am (or who I want to be)... And I'm starting to try to dig into why I don't do this more -- what I'm scared of. Because I'm aware of my discomfort and also of how I have so much privilege and I'm not actually risking all that much ... so what is it that I'm scared of losing? what is it that I feel I'm risking? ... because those feelings are clearly very real, but I can't effectively do much about them if I don't know what they are.

And in recent days before conversations started really blowing about this local event, there's been Rick Remender's Captain America #22, which I wouldn't have thought of as connected, except tonight I read this post "Comics and the Language of Consent" about normalizing behavior -- which relates back to moominmolly's comment.

And tonight I rewatched the Kings pilot episode ("Goliath") and David says he's not a hero, that everyone has misunderstood that pivotal moment, says "Everyone thinks I'm brave, but I'm not;" and his brother says, "Be brave now." I can't change the choices I've made in the past (though I can certainly apologize for them), but I can strive to make better choices in the future.

I've RTed a lot of stuff from RoseFox tonight, and one of the things they raised (which a friend of mine also raised in a locked post) was the issue of who we're protecting, which in a broad sense is really a core issue here and elsewhere -- who (or what) are we protecting with the choices we make?
Tags: issues: rape (culture)
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