I wrote this peice a while back and realised I had planned on posting it as a #tbt months ago but never got around to it. I figured today was as good a day as any; the Cosby, and Ghomesi trials are in the news and in two days around the world a certain group of men will be gathering in major cities across the world (including mine) who shamelessly support rape, the denigration of women and abuse of LGBT+ people. *** UPDATE: Now cancelled meetings. woo**** Proving that this is still a conversation to be had today.
To be honest it blows my mind that people exist that believe such atrocities. But I digress, the stats say that most victims of rape know thier abuser, and it happens more than most would like to believe. Though this is written from the perpective of women, I am aware that this happens to men as well and that this is ultimately a humanity issue- something we should all care about. Odds are you know someone who has been a victim of sexual assault whether you are aware of it or not.
I realised recently that I am kinda angry. What I also realised is that part of the reason I feel so angry is that in some weird way I have convinced myself that expressing said anger would be inappropriate, and maybe even rude. I was telling myself it was unbecoming of me, and I needed to exercise self control, and extend grace, yada, yada, yada... This leads to me shelving the issue, not realising that doing so will only serve to create a shelf of anger which eventually will kick my butt.
Well it has and so here I am.
Hangry. (I didn't misspell it. I'll explain another day.)
I am going to get a few things off my chest... I hope you don't mind.
Gentlemen Boys! (Men, especially the gentle kind don't need this speech) NO MEANS NO!!! In case you don't know what no means, I will clarify: *ahem* It is the opposite of yes,
Or as dictionary.com would put it:
NO [noh] adverb, adjective, noun, plural noes, nos, verb adverb 1. (a negative used to expressdissent, denial, or refusal, as in response to a question or request) 2. (used to emphasize or introduce a negative statement): Not a single person came to the party, no, not a one. 3. not in any degree or manner; not at all (used with a comparative): He is no better. 4. not a (used before an adjective to convey the opposite of the adjective's meaning): His recovery was no small miracle. adjective 5. not a (used before a noun to convey the opposite of the noun's meaning): She's no beginner on the ski slopes. noun 6. an utterance of the word “no.” 7. a denial or refusal: He responded with a definite no. 8. a negative vote or voter: The noes have it. verb (used with object) 9. to reject, refuse approval, or express disapproval of. verb (used without object) 10. to express disapproval. Idioms 11. no can do, Informal. it can't be done.
Just to be clear (just in case) That is NON en francais, NIET in Russian, NayNay in Pinette. Oh, and the absence of yes, is STILL NO.
Alrighty, all that being said. If one more young woman tells me of a man boy who doesn't understand the meaning of the aforementioned word, I may have to come and give you the licking your daddy should have growing up.
Now before everybody get all up in a huff saying "Rose, is this not a smidge passive aggressive of you? Are you not being a little dramatic?" And the like. Let me stop you.
No I am not. Why?
Because every woman should have the right to say who has access to their bodies, because little girls shouldn't have to grow up feeling dirty and confused cause some perv didn't have the self control to keep his hands to himself. Because my heart aches, with every tear I have cried for the almost dozen women I know who have been raped, and others who've been molested, manipulated, used or taken advantage of.
This isn't dramatic. This is real life. And it has to stop. It is wrong and straight up makes me mad. More than that it grieves me. To see some of the most beautiful, wonderful people I know destroy themselves because of what was done to them. And the crazy thing is, in most of those cases the guy wasn't some crazed serial rapists. He is the trusted friend, the family member, the first love, the co-worker, those cute guys at the party, the husband who sorely misunderstood his role... Those guys are our neighbours, for some of us our friend, and some don't even realise what they did.
"I thought she wanted it."
NEWS FLASH: she didn't. You didn't stop to listen. You didn't even care. It was never about her, it was about you. Your wants, your needs. You took what you wanted and now you've moved on with life and she gets to spend the next how many years of her life trying to feel clean again. Trying to forget your scent, your touch. Waking up at night with nightmares, lashing out at the world. Becoming someone she never intended to be. Which tragically leads society to label her as a slut, wild, crazy, lost, and the like. But they don't know where she's been. They have no clue how she cries at night. Neither do you.
That makes me feel angry, and sad, and helpless. Cause there isn't much I can do. And so I weep with those who mourn, love the best I can, pray and whole lot and periodically imagine what it would be like to knock someone out.
To those thinking, well that's not me so we're good. Coercing her in going further than she wants is no better. Shafting her because she wouldn't give it up is also no better. There is no honour, respect, or love in that. So if you woo a girl and dump her because she has standards, you're a turd too. And I probably want to knock you out. But praise God for the Holy Spirit and self-control, as good as that would feel, it would be unbecoming of me.
That brings up another thing that frustrates me. Why am I the one having to control my fists? To the men who aren't jerks. Being nice isn't enough. We need you to set a standard amongst yourselves. We need you to create a world where it's understood that that kind of behaviour, and the thinking that leads to it is unacceptable. We need you to tell your homeboy he's a turd and should check himself, and knock him upside the head if necessary.
Fathers, talk to your sons. They are confused and so desperately need you to set the record straight on manhood. Brothers, uncles, pastors, neighbours and friends. Step in. Talk about it. I know it is messy. But we NEED you to go there. Too many have fallen through the cracks. Check a guy out if he's gonna date your daughter, sister, friend. Yes friend. With the number of girls who are fatherless, away from father figures, or who have dads who don't know to care, you need to. Who better to sniff them out than you?
It will serve several purposes. The women in your life who respect you, and know you care will tend to avoid guys you don't approve of. Also this will remind a fella that there is someone to answer to if he does pull something. One more thing, this may be selfish, it will also limit the times I have to threaten to chop it off. You laugh, but I've said it, cause someone had to and no one else volunteered. In all seriousness, the women in your world need to know that you are more than merely friendly or "not jerks" but that you actually care for their safety, health and well being as sisters, and fellow human beings.
To all those who've made mistakes. Yes, I called you a turd, but there is hope. You can change. Start today. It begins with your heart and your mind. Give up chasing your needs and desires. They are fleeting, and deceiving. Only God can satisfy. Straight up. Meet Jesus, change how you think, find someone to hold you accountable. Exercise some self control.
To those who've stood their ground, THANK YOU. Keep standing. It's worth it. We appreciate it. But please don't just stand. Speak. Truth is only useful when shared. Invest. Step in. We need you to.
If you have been used, abused, violated in any kind of way, I want you to know that you are NOT alone. It is ok to ask for help. It was not your fault, you are not dirty, or worthless. You are loved, and cherished. And yes, there will be a day when it stops hurting. Please know that you are not defined by what was done for you but by your Father who made you. (He thinks you're pretty great!)
For those watching this all play out as I am, be encouraged. There is hope. Keep standing, keep believing for more than you've seen. I promise it exists. Stand with your sisters. Weep if you must. Know that there will be a day...