But then I went to church today and learned of the 4th occurrence of this kind (including my own) to happen to a woman in my singles ward in the last 3 months.
So now I'm upset, like really upset...and now it's time to get explicit.
two months ago I was attacked. by a man I didn't know. in a place I have always felt safe. he threatened me, then raped me.
Up until about the 19th century there was a form of eugenics used among offenders of this sort. If they used their... possessions... for evil instead of good, it was not only acceptable but extremely common for them to lose said possessions (i.e. forced mutilation). Although I have been off and on tempted to jump on such a band wagon of thinking...my well developed, educated and also feminine mind ultimately shies deftly away from such vindication. I know that justice feels like safety sometimes. But it isn't. This is bigger than one person being punished for a crime.
So instead of going into details of the event, or addressing the man that has forever altered me and those around me, I want to talk about something else. something much more important and far reaching. the core of all of this awfulness.
The very essence of the understanding between men and women. the very tiny boxes both genders work hard to break out of but ultimately end up stabbing themselves in the foot with picket sign posts.
Because I know that buying mace, not walking alone at night, and taking self defense classes-while all good things to do- will not solve this problem. Particularly since the bulk of these incidences are found in the domestic setting, or even in the deceivingly innocuous stage of a date.
Let it be known my firm stance on the subject...
Men are not evil. Women are not weak. And the very blurry generalizations and deep seeded beliefs that cause the kind of thinking that leaks into the unfortified minds of the hurting souls who actually act on these irreverent impulses are, at least in part, to blame.
Please do not applaud me, pity me, or treat me as glass.
Yes, I am hurting. Yes, I am fragile. Yes, my whole reality has been uprooted. But. I will heal. I certainly didn't always think I would... but it's those low low points in eerie valleys that are the beginnings of long and rocky climbs up tall mountains- or some other less cheesy way to say that I am doing the work I must do and so I should not be your focus.
So what should we do? Become super paranoid? Highlight our perceived weakness? Never go anywhere alone?
I think not. That would be feeding it and developing the problem into a state of heightened fear that is simply an unacceptable way to live. I never subscribed to this kind of living before what happened, and I do not plan to now. I will not have my independence taken away, tarnished or questioned. simple as that.
Bob Dylan said "How are you ever going to change anything if you only want to look at what's pretty?".
I think he's got a point... but in the same breath, I want to say that all this focus on all the terrible things of life certainly help to create them (hasn't anyone read the secret?!) I'd love to just put on my naive smile and tell you all to just love life and that will feed the starving children. Or that if we never think about the reality of sexual offense, it will never be a reality. But you should know by now that I'm not that stupid. I know that being kind to your neighbor won't halt global warming in it's threatening tracks. The point is... we each resonate something outward into the world from our minds and our unconscious (or conscious) beliefs...
So instead of focusing on my personal trauma, I want all of you to think today. think about what your femininity or masculinity mean to you. this is my plea to you to look deep inside and decide... does what exists inside of you concerning your beliefs about your gender resonate in a helpful or harmful way towards the very real and all too prominent issue facing us... or facing me. no, facing us... it needs to be your problem too.
I will not quote stats, however horrifying they are, because this post and my efforts are aimed to strike in the channel of pathos, higher intelligence, moral consciousness, and blatant awareness that we as a human race are supposedly capable of. But I will say this... these women, these victims (what a disgusting word, with even more disgusting connotations attached to it). They are among you. do not make the ignorant or perhaps willful denial mistake of believing they are not.
I know this because as my story slowly permeates my immediate world... more and more women share with me their similar stories.
Each story is different. Each woman. Each man. And as much as I wish I did...I don't have the answers. No one does.
But one right answer to any question never felt very real to me (maybe it's why I always hated math class).What I do know is that as my family and I have waded our way through the swamp that this event has placed us in... we've become increasingly disgusted by the gross shortage of literature, understanding and general awareness on the subject.
So here I am. creating it. baring my soul. in the only way I know how. through the only lens I have access to... my own.
so please share. share this. share me. please talk. please question your own stigmas. please, let my horror of an experience become a rock in a pond pulsating ripples that flood over as many people as possible.
do it because the helpless, hopeless feeling that plants itself stubbornly in the minds and bodies of women like myself is one I am unwilling to live with anymore.