I Believe Survivors

Image by  @many_bothans

Image by @many_bothans

I’ve been staring at the screen for over 30 minutes. These are the first words I’m writing. 

I was listening to a podcast last week and the guest mentioned a concept she learned from someone else. So when I sat down to write this post, I dutifully went on Twitter so I could correctly name and define said concept and give appropriate credit. 

Needless to say I couldn’t find it. Even though I’m trying to be a serious blogger, I still need to push past my perfectionist tendencies. So I gave myself permission to let it go. In the meantime however, I scrolled past plenty of tweets about the very topic I chose to write about today. 

My inner critic has been questioning this topic all week. Surely, there are activists, experts, and writers who are more knowledgeable and eloquent than I. Do we really need another “think piece”? And does it need be written by me? 

But then I think back to the concept I wanted to quote. It was a reference to the masses and the few. That when people think of the concept of a slavery as a generality it is easy to justify, dismiss, or simply be ambivalent towards. But people’s opinions could be changed when they heard individual stories and experiences of people who were enslaved. 

So here I am trying to write this post. 

Trying is the key word. Maybe it’s too soon to assess my emotions and convey them properly, but I also worry that maybe it’s too late. 

My thoughts flitter from one topic to the next unable to focus long enough to come to any sort of conclusion or understanding. So that’s what I’ve decided this post is to become: a cathartic outlet to process my thoughts.

Let’s pause for a caveat: If you’re reading this and you don’t resonate with the title of this post, then I doubt I’ll change your mind by the end of this post. And if that’s the case and you’ve made it this far then thank you for being open to other opinions. I am worried about what kind of feedback I’m going to get so I pray to the universe that I have the wisdom to weed out the trolls who don’t need any sort of response and the grace to respond to those that do. 

I believe survivors. I believe women. I believe the pit in my stomach whenever I hear someone saying something to the contrary. I believe the tension in my throat that somehow stops me from speaking up and also stops the thoughts from getting to my brain.

I believe this country has a history of not treating women, or any marginalized group, as equals. You can see it from the number of Oscar worthy films that only feature the talents of men and you can see it in your office when the women are the ones planning the social events on top of the responsibilities they actually get paid for.

There’s a twitter account I’ve recently started following called @manwhohasitall. It’s a satirical account which talks about men in the same light as women are often discussed. The bias seems quite ridiculous when the switch is flipped. Here are some of my favs:

WAKEY WAKEY BUSY DADS! Why not ask your wife to babysit today so you can get on with the weekly meal planning in peace? Daddy heaven.

An associate dean wrote that men shouldn't wear tight fitting trousers, saying “men must veil their form to obscure its contours out of charity towards women" and quite right too. What's the alternative?? Women controlling their urges??!! Claire, CEO

I rebuff the statement that boys will be boys because it puts the responsibility on everyone else…aka girls and women. I wonder if there was doubt about a Supreme Court nominee committing murder? robbing a bank? Would these be acceptable crimes to stop a nomination? It saddens me that sexual assault is not one of them. That’s how little people think of the crime and the victims, who are most likely to be women.

I wrote previously about an asshole I once worked for. The men in the office had no problem telling me in 1:1 situation that they thought my boss was an asshole. I bet all those men I worked with and for think they “respect women”. But not a single one of them stood up for me when things started to get out of hand.

Speaking of “respecting women”, it amazes me that when accusations of sexual assault surface, there’s always the point of view “He was nice to me and I’m a woman therefore he couldn’t have done this to another person”. We convict people of murder all the time and never has anyone come to a murderer’s defense and say “Well he didn’t kill me. I’m still alive so clearly he couldn’t have killed this other person.” The argument is absurd. As a society we’ve come up with this idea that a rapist is an extremely violent and angry stranger. When in fact, it’s very likely to be someone you know.

It sickens me in my gut when I hear these arguments come from other women. I really struggle with it. How can they not support other women? I’ve read a lot of dark theories on why this may be but I just can’t believe them.

I’ve sat in rooms with women who have listened to rape victims share their stories and were compassionate and sympathetic and totally 100% there for these survivors. But then I see these same women go on Facebook and post about “innocent until proven guilty” and “women are too sensitive”. It’s such a disconnect.

I imagine a world where women support women. I imagine a world where boys are taught consent at an early age in such a way that there will be repercussions to their future careers. I imagine a world where there’s no glass ceiling. I imagine a world where the Supreme Court is made up of all woman.

“When I'm sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court] and I say, 'When there are nine,' people are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that.” - Ruth Bader Ginsberg

If you are are triggered by any of the recent news, there are some great resources on RAINN.

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