My comments have gone off the chain this year in regards to my Sexual Assault Awareness Month posts. Which is weird since I haven’t really posted as much as I have in years passed and instead focused on promoting my books elsewhere.
One in particular got my attention more than others. A lot of them were the standard victim blaming. “What happened to me was my fault.” “I’m just making everything up for attention.” “You just regret sleeping with him” “He never abused you” blah blah blah. Typical victim blaming that often appears with Mens Rights Activists, or others who disagree with the so called “feminist agenda.” I’ve heard it all before. I’m used to it. Everyone has a right to their opinion, as well as the ability to disagree with mine. It’s whatever.
The one that stood out among the rest was the one accusing me of participating in continuing advocacy as some sort of diabolical revenge plot directed at my rapist. It didn’t upset me so much as it just really, really, REALLY confused me. Now if they had said something along the lines of: “your book is an act of revenge” okay. It’s not true, but books have been published in anger before so I get that logic and how people may feel that way. Again, difference of opinion, it’s whatever.
But that’s not what the accusation was. The accusation was that somehow by transcending from the victim mentality to that of a survivor, and using my gift as an author and experience in recovery to advocate and support fellow victims/survivors of sexually based crimes that I’m some how making my rapist’s life miserable and it’s all because I want some sort of revenge. Even typing that out made my brain ache because it doesn’t make any sense.
Okay… first of all, if I was out for revenge when I published my memoir I would have used his real name. That’s the difference between an autobiography and a memoir. Autobiographies have to be iron clad, and 110% factual a+b=c with no room for interpretation. Memoirs are personal stories, anecdotes, experiences and opinions. Legally speaking I could publish his name and there wouldn’t be shit he could do about it. Much in the same way that reporting the crime so long after the fact I was unable to receive any sort of justice being my word against his, if he chose to bring a law suit against me it wouldn’t get anywhere. I still could have used his name if I wanted revenge.
Even here. My blog, is protected by the 1st Amendment. I can publish names if I wanted to, but I don’t. It’s childish, petty, and ridiculous. Yes, in my younger days I’ve been guilty of calling people out, but I’ve grown past that. I have way better things to write about than using this space to call people out by name. I’d much rather focus on concepts, ideas, and my own feelings than the specifics of who’s to blame for my trauma at this point in my life. It really doesn’t matter what my rapist’s name is, what matters is that he raped me and has since caused a whole host of bullshit in my life allowing me the opportunities to publish my books and advocate on behalf of others. Which I will continue to do for as long as I’m able, despite his best efforts to stop me.
If that’s making his life miserable in some way, it’s only because he can’t control me anymore not because I’m hellbent on something as shallow as revenge. I am hellbent, but I’m hellbent on standing up for change and making the world a better place for my children. And you know what? It’s working. Advocacy on behalf of victims of sexually based crimes IS working. I’m watching the fruits of our labors come to fruition right now as my niece is taking on the system in regards to her own assault and actually seeing results. She will have her day in court. Whether she actually sees justice is yet to be determined, but she will have her day in court. That’s a lot farther than many other women could even hope to get before the rise of MeToo and TimesUp.
I’m not vain enough to believe it was my specific story that inspired this local tide of change. Hell, the family didn’t even tell me because they were worried about me having a PTSD episode so I know it’s not my specific story that’s contributed to any of this. I’m only one of millions and those millions are making progress. Slow, often painful, but progress. That’s why I continue to participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Month, RedMyLips, DenimDay, and other opportunities. That’s why I continue to promote my books, and do all the PR bullshit. It’s working. Me as an individual, hell, I’m just a tiny ripple in an ocean. But eventually when we get enough ripples, we’ll have a Tsunami.