Just as you’ve been shaped by your own experiences, mine have shaped who I am. I was very young when I had my first exposure to violence, and it became a regular, recurring theme in my life. There was a period of time I thought violence was just a regular, everyday part of life for everyone. It was normal.
Like many who experience violence at an impressionable age, I sought a way to control it.…
Stop Street Harassment!
It was after breakfast during Spring Break 2002, and we had gathered in the den to play some boardgames (so retro!) and listen to music. Second-born turns on the internet radio that comes with the digital TV package, and starts scrolling the local stations. She stops on one particular station longer than the others, listening to the radio hosts discussing their weekend and their night on the town.
the reason I’ve stopped saying “most men/some white people/many straight people do X oppressive activity” is because if you’re a member of those groups, I want you to sit there and think, “do I do X? am I a part of that? am I an active part of the problem?”
Except I’m pretty sure I fall under “all men”. So uh.
Actually, let me go a little further and say no, saying “all of this group” is never appropriate because you look like a jackarse saying it. It’s not “letting someone off the hook”, it’s condemning people that don’t deserve it.
Like I said, I fall under “all men” - should I be sorry that I don’t rape, murder, or want women to be subservient little kitchen slaves? No? Then don’t include me in the people that do. That’s fucking insulting, and I will correct you, and I will continue to correct you every time.
lol except this post doesn’t say anything about saying “all men rape” just “men rape” and men do rape, men do the majority of the raping in this world so if you’re upset about that then please go take that up with rapists who are ruining maleness for you, not with the women who talk about the things men do
I’m someone who identifies as a man. I take no offence when someone says, “Men rape.” In fact, when someone qualifies it as “some,” I understand they may be trying to be inclusive and yet also recognize it’s because the conversation keeps getting derailed by men who can’t tell when someone’s not talking about them. Our sense of entitlement includes thinking we should be the subject of every conversation ever, and that’s some serious bullshit. So, if you read, “Men do ___” or “Men think ___” and you are a man who knows this isn’t about you (because you’ve actually taken inventory of your behaviour), then just shut the fuck up and read. Like me, you may learn something about how men make life really awful for people who don’t identify like us - particularly those of us who identify as white, cis-het, able-bodied, and neuro-typical men.
Oh, and every time you derail a conversation about what men do so you can “correct” someone’s already correct usage of the language, you could be doing something useful like signal-boosting a conversation that really needs to take place.
What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.
For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like. I didn’t like how often he would take me away from my mom, siblings and friends to be alone with him. I didn’t like it when he would stick his thumb in my mouth. I didn’t like it when I had to get in bed with him under the sheets when he was in his underwear. I didn’t like it when he would place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out. I would hide under beds or lock myself in the bathroom to avoid these encounters, but he always found me. These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal. I thought this was how fathers doted on their daughters. But what he did to me in the attic felt different. I couldn’t keep the secret anymore.
When I asked my mother if her dad did to her what Woody Allen did to me, I honestly did not know the answer. I also didn’t know the firestorm it would trigger. I didn’t know that my father would use his sexual relationship with my sister to cover up the abuse he inflicted on me. I didn’t know that he would accuse my mother of planting the abuse in my head and call her a liar for defending me. I didn’t know that I would be made to recount my story over and over again, to doctor after doctor, pushed to see if I’d admit I was lying as part of a legal battle I couldn’t possibly understand. At one point, my mother sat me down and told me that I wouldn’t be in trouble if I was lying – that I could take it all back. I couldn’t. It was all true. But sexual abuse claims against the powerful stall more easily. There were experts willing attack my credibility. There were doctors willing to gaslight an abused child.
After a custody hearing denied my father visitation rights, my mother declined to pursue criminal charges, despite findings of probable cause by the State of Connecticut – due to, in the words of the prosecutor, the fragility of the “child victim.” Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime. That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself. That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. Each time I saw my abuser’s face – on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television – I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.
Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.
Today, I consider myself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home.
But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them.
What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?
Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.
So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter.
Are you imagining that? Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?
Instead of waiting in her tower, Rapunzel slices off her long, golden hair with a carving knife, and then uses it to climb down to freedom.
Just as she’s about to take the poison apple, Snow White sees the familiar wicked glow in the old lady’s eyes, and slashes the evil queen’s throat with a pair of sewing scissors.
Cinderella refuses everything but the glass slippers from her fairy godmother, crushes her stepmother’s windpipe under her heel, and the Prince falls madly in love with the mysterious girl who dons rags and blood-stained slippers.
Persephone goes adventuring with weapons hidden under her dress.
Persephone climbs into the gaping chasm.
Or, Persephone uses her hands to carve a hole down to hell.
In none of these versions is Persephone’s body violated unless she asks Hades to hold her down with his horse-whips.
Not once does she hold out on eating the pomegranate, instead biting into it eagerly and relishing the juice running down her chin, staining it red.
In some of the stories, Hades never appears and Persephone rules the underworld with a crown of her own making.
In all of them, it is widely known that the name Persephone means Bringer of Destruction.
Red Riding Hood marches from her grandmother’s house with a bloody wolf pelt.
Medusa rights the wrongs that have been done to her.
Eurydice breaks every muscle in her arms climbing out of the land of the dead.
Girls are allowed to think dark thoughts, and be dark things.
Instead of the dragon, it’s the princess with claws and fiery breath
who smashes her way from the confines of her castle
and swallows men whole.
'Reinventing Rescuing,' theappleppielifestyle. (via justawordshaker)
Give me all of them.
Does your boyfriend or brother spend a lot of money on skin and hair care products? Does your dad spend much time at the hairdresser or beautician?
In your city’s daily paper do most of the political news items feature women? Are most of the stories in the business section written by and about women? Is there a special ‘Men’s Section’ filled with celebrity gossip, fashion and beauty tips?
When you watch a big sporting event on TV, are the athletes usually women? When you watch female sporting teams are there hot guys in tiny outfits cheering for them on the sidelines?
Do girls you know talk openly about getting off while watching porn? Do they boast about their sexual conquests?
When you’re at the food court, do your female friends happily gobble down a large burger and fries combo while your male friends pick at a salad and sip diet coke?
Do the majority of the fathers you know spend most of their time at home washing, cleaning, cooking and taking care of their kids? Do you often hear mothers refer to looking after their own kids as ‘babysitting’? Have you heard women talk about earning brownie points for cleaning their own house and washing their own clothes? Are you sick of men going on about how hard it is to balance work and parenthood?
Are your male friends afraid to walk on their own at night? Do they avoid drinking too much in case they get raped? Do they dress to protect themselves from attack and always carry their keys poking through their knuckles? When they complain about all this do your female friends shrug and tell them that’s just how the world is?
If the answer to all of these questions was yes, wouldn’t that mean something was wrong? Is that still true if the genders are reversed? Does it matter?
|—||Opening from Emily Maguire’s ‘Your Skirt’s Too Short: Sex, Power, Choice’ (via albinwonderland)|
Boundaries are a complicated thing- especially for individuals who have been through trauma or come from families that had poor boundaries. We first learn boundaries in our family unit and then it is briefly talked about in schools, but most people just assume that boundaries are a thing ‘you know’. People who have gone through trauma may have had good boundaries before, but find them disrupted while trying to recover.
This is meant as a bare skeleton on how to rebuild boundaries:
Consciously make a decision about who can touch you, where and how. Lay out both things that are okay- and things that aren’t. Boundaries are going to vary from person to person- but you could say something like:
'I am okay with my friends hugging me but only if they do it from the front'
'I am not okay with anyone touching my neck'
'I am okay with people I've just met asking for hugs- but not with them touching me without asking first'
Boundaries are allowed to change too. Something you used to be okay with- might not be after trauma, or not on days that you’re triggered. If this happens, just talk to the individuals involved.
When someone violates a boundary- call them out. A simple ‘Hey, I really dislike being touched like that’ ‘I’m not a big fan of hugs’. Once you’ve laid out a boundary- you can just call someone’s attention to it with a simple ‘really?’ or ‘We’ve talked about this’ ‘You need to respect my decision on if I want to be touched.’
The best way to get someone to respect a boundary- is to say it in a calm but serious voice. Not angry but also not joking/nervously laughing. If you need to, physically take a step backwards to further reinforce the boundary.
Sometimes it can be hard to draw emotional boundaries because ‘they need us’, ‘they’re just acting out’, or ‘a good friend would’.
Understand that boundaries are necessarily for everyone involved, and just giving in every time someone asks you for something isn’t being a good friend- it is being a doormat. Having boundaries isn’t selfish- it allows everyone involved to grow.
Figure out what being a good friend really means for you- and understand that the best boundaries are flexible boundaries.
which means that you can set a boundary of ‘You cannot call me after 10 pm’ most of the time- and still be there should something come up that you feel it is appropriate to shift that boundary. Like, ‘Usually it isn’t okay to call me super late- but you’ve been through some rough stuff lately, so it is okay if you call me when you need me right now.’ Or ‘I usually wouldn’t handle you snapping at me- but I understand that x is going on. But I am going to make you aware that it isn’t going to continue. I’m happy to be here for you- but you are not going to use me as an emotional punching bag.’
You’re allowed to put boundaries on how much you can help too, ‘I’ll do what I can. but I can’t be there for you 24/7. It isn’t healthy for either of us for me to literally be your everything.’ and if you’re in that position- with a friend who is struggling, you can offer to help them find other means and other support- whether it be a hotline, a support group, or helping them make new friends… but you need to hold strong to the fact that you aren’t going to be ‘on call’ all the time. That you are a person too, and you have to take care of yourself as well. This does not make you selfish- I promise.
Material boundaries have to deal with our things. Such as whether or not you’re cool lending money to friends, or letting them stay at your house.
A big problem with material boundaries is that people often have a check list of ‘I can let so-and-so borrow stuff/stay over’ but they don’t set limits.
There is a big difference between someone spending a few nights on your coach because they’re only in the state that long, or they need a safe place to go too… and someone living in your house without paying rent for a couple of months.
and while there are some circumstances where you may permit that (helping a friend get out of an abusive relationship) there are others that you might not be.
And you are allowed to set those boundaries. It isn’t about how good of a friend you are. You aren’t failing someone when they need you most. You are setting boundaries that allow your relationships to survive.
It is also important to realize that if you have a friend that turns down things you offer- it is a boundary on their part. Sometimes people will try and convince someone to accept a gift or let them buy them dinner- and everyone needs to be aware that it isn’t cool to keep trying if someone is uncomfortable. A reason for this boundary may be ‘I can’t afford to pay you back- and I was taught to never be in debt to someone’ to ‘I am used to things like that coming with a price I can’t pay later on.’ and while on the first- you may be able to talk to them and be like, ‘hey, I’m in a better position financially right now… so let me get you dinner. you can pay me back with the pleasure of your company’ but understand when a no is a no.
Mental Boundaries come in two main forms- our absorption of other people’s ideas, and how much what they say affects us.
Mental boundaries can be telling that friend that is just a little too pushy about their politics, “Hey, I would prefer not to talk about politics at the dinner table.” or “You know what? I don’t have information about either side right now. So I’m going to read up later instead of making an opinion based only off what your can tell me.”
Mental boundaries are what allow us to come in contact with gross individuals and come away less hurt. It doesn’t mean that you’re never allowed to be effected by someone calling you a slur, or someone making comment on your worth- but they’re what allow us to say ‘They might think I’m fat/ugly but 1. their opinion does not matter to me and 2. I have all these reasons I know otherwise/ people that believe otherwise. I shouldn’t let this hurt me.’ Setting a mental boundary doesn’t mean not calling people out who spout cruel things, or that you have to sit around and listen to it though. Play it safe and take care of yourself.
The thing about boundaries is that usually, they are found through bumping into them. Most of our boundaries are things we’ll never speak aloud because usually we don’t need to. (Think of it this way- you probably don’t have to tell your friends that it isn’t okay to punch you. Because this is a generally understood boundary.) People don’t sit down when they meet and go ‘Hi- I am so-and-so and never touch me here here and here, and never bring up this and never ask to do so and so’ and it would probably be a little weird if we did that about everything.
But when something is a strong boundary- such as a trigger, it is perfectly okay to bring it up before the boundary is bumped. Just a ‘Hey, I know this might sound weird, and you’d probably never do it- but I have a really bad reaction to people touching me without my permission and I’d rather put that out here now’
And a verbal/written call out of boundaries is the best one. while we should try and be conscious of people’s body language/ unvoiced cues- sometimes they can be hard to read or people don’t notice them.
shout out to people who are scared to call others out, whose hands shake when they try to explain what’s wrong, whose throats threaten to close up with thoughts of ‘what if i’m just overreacting’, whose hearts are pounding out of their chests because they just stuck their necks out for their beliefs, who have lost friends and respect and safety for aligning themselves with causes