Dear friends who know,
When you repost articles about rape and sexual assault, articles that talk about how offensive and wrong those things are, and what bad people rapists are, and how there is never enough justice to satisfy your high-minded and conscientious ego it kind of sort of sucks.
It sucks because what feels like an act of advocacy to you is a blatant reminder to me that you are affected by sexual abuse when the media is. You are angry and pissed about the injustice and sexism and rape culture when it makes the headlines. Your empathy emerges when you have a faceless victim of a heinous act that happens all around you, yet you don’t spend your life learning, listening, having real-life face-to-face compassion with actual in-your-life victims.
And I know it will offend you if I suggest that perhaps it is due to the miniscule amount of time and energy it takes for you to read one article, repost it, and if you’re gonna go the extra mile write an angry blurb of a rant to let the world know how utterly pissed you are that some stranger raped or abused some other stranger and announce your support to people who are also strangers to the parties whose lives you are hate-reading about, that that may be the reason your justice senses acutely tingle against sexual violence.
I know you don’t want to hear that because I know your feelings are rooted in reality. I know you hate that people get raped. I know it disgusts and sickens you and you genuinely feel for victims of that. I don’t question your morals or your good intentions, but I hate your selective activism and your inability to talk so passionately and openly when the incident or victim is right in front of you.
I’m right in front of you. Do you see me?
I hate when I see your article postings because it reminds me again that talking about rape is your fad, and thinking about rape is my parasite.
I am invisible to you because at the end of the day, you can only handle being actively against rape for so long at a time. You wouldn’t choose to have to deal with it for five years by my side, ten years, the rest of my life. But fuck you, despite your truly bona fide efforts, because I didn’t get the choice like you do.
This is a letter I wrote on October 7, 2016. During this time I was beginning to admit to myself that I had been raped. There were people in my life who knew of the situation and how deeply it had affected me, but to whom I had been unable to label the situation as rape.
It was sometimes discouraging for me that no one seemed to see it for what it was despite my not using the word when I told them. I felt very alone.
I wrote this when the Brock Turner story was all the rage, and suddenly my Facebook homepage was filled with people suddenly so comfortable talking about rape.
I wrote this letter in anger and hypocracy, but I share it now because some of the sentiments have endured. Now that you all know about this, I can no longer blame myself for not bringing it up or asking for the support I desire.
Now I am acutely aware that in fact, most people around me don’t want to talk about rape, you are reluctant to share your thoughts especially publicly, you avoid serious conversations about rape, yet you make rape jokes or make lighthearted matter-of-fact mentions of sexual assault or you sit by silently while others do and you don’t so much as look at me to acknowledge my existence if I’m there when it happens, and you post things on the Internet about rape that seem to indicate you don’t actually behave as uncomfortably or ignorantly about it in real life as you do.
Now I am less alone in this than ever, now sharing this letter is not hypocracy on my part because I have done my half of this conversation, and now you have proven me right in your unwillingness to truly engage in your half of it.