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  1. tashaturner says

    My husband has scanned the thread to see what I’ve written and what responses I’ve gotten. It’s hard for him when I participate in threads like this because I go into a rape culture rage and rant and a few days later when my energy is worn out (chronic fatigue/fibro/etc. probably partly caused by abuse) I’ll go into a deeper depression/mild suicide cycle. Thankfully after many years of therapy with a couple of good therapists and medication I have good tools for dealing when these happens so it shouldn’t last long.

    My cat has been staying close this weekend which helps.

    As to telling someone I believe them, if they’ve never had belief or are still not sure they’ve been raped while they describe a rape I think it’s helpful. For someone whose had a lot of support/worked through it I can see how some might be offended.

    Being able to talk about what we’ve been through and done i think is important as it really should be part of the narrative – it’s common/normal but not talked about because shame/attack/makes me one of them. But if we don’t make a safe place for that narrative it will eat people inside-out and make it harder to recover.

    My therapist points out to me that as a child I used tools that worked for me at different stages. Some of those tools were hurtful to myself and others but I was doing the best I could to survive. As an adult I’m learning and using better tools. I need to forgive my child for what I did to survive if I’m to move on and get better. This does not mean forget. But it does mean put proper perspective on it. I was fighting for my life the best way I knew how. I had adults manipulating me, harming me, warping what “normal” was. I had no way out… Well suicide but it wasn’t much of an option and until my dad died when I was 19 I felt that “let him win”. After he died I was married, working on getting a degree, raising a teenage stepson, and seeing a very good therapist.

  2. Ogvorbis: Purveyor of Mediocre Humours! says

    The very fact you’re conflicted and in pain about this whole thing demonstrates you’re not what you’re afraid you are.

    I keep telling myself that.

    And I had a month-and-a-half of time babysitting the two girls and I did nothing more (I remember being very uncomfortable after that when the younger of the two needed help wiping — I taught her older sister to help. Which, in retrospect, may not have been a great idea either.)

    He’s not “the real you” that can emerge in some way. He’s part of your history.

    I feel like there is a reservoir of pain and rage and if I actually said and did what I wanted to I’d be in jail for battery. I don’t think I’m a hidden rapist (not any more, anyway) but part of me would love to return the pain, with interest, to a deserving party and that really scares me so I need to keep control and not let my rage and pain out. Does that make more sense?

    And what makes you different is that you stopped. That you broke the vicious circle.

    But I didn’t stop before raping three young girls (all were, give or take, the same age as ‘S’, the girl I was forced to abuse while a scout). I was older. The age difference was even greater. I knew it was wrong even as I joined in and I still did because it may be wrong but its what I was used to.

    You have a past, and you have yourself, your total, real (not pretend) self here in the present.

    Again, I feel like I am pretending to be calm, decent, rational, nonviolent. But there is a big part of me that wants to punish someone other than me. I don’t look at it as a split personality. Merely a part of who I am that I need to keep under wraps.

    It’s stopping the abuse that makes you a good person, not never having done it in the first place.

    But it would have been even better if I hadn’t raped them, right?

    I love the little Ogvorbis, I love the 12 year old Ogvorbis, I love you. Very much. And if I can manage to be a decent person, I know absolutely you are a decent person.

    It may take me a few days or weeks, but I should be able to work this one through. I took a step down the path that he wanted me to take. More than just a step. And I decided not to stay on that path and wandered into the poison oak, nettles, and briars.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a day where I wasn’t afraid I’d lose that control. So many days, afraid I’d just let go and allow the cold fury to swallow me and start killing. I’m the only one who knows how easy that would be.

    Bingo! That’s it. I don’t feel like I would start raping if I lose control but that I would start killing. Or hurting. Or abusing.

    It is easier to make the dailiy, hourly, minute-by-minute choice to stay in control now that I know where the rage is coming from. But DAMNIT! it hurts when I realize that what I have done is exactly what I have condemned others for doing.

    We can be dangerous, Ogvorbis, and we can be decent human beings with empathy, too. It’s a choice. We just have to make that choice every day.

    It is tiring, Caine. So very tiring. I pretend to be good and have, pretty much, convinced the world that I am. Making that constant decision has become a habit. An exhausting habit, but one that is addictive.

    if they tell me I’m not a monster inside, then you can’t be either. I damn-near killed someone. I know the fear of that monster, and who the monster could harm, so, so well.

    I think I have let the monster out twice. Once in that bedroom with the three little girls. The second time, that same summer, I beat up an older and larger boy who was bullying me. I broke his nose, knocked out a front tooth, gave him a black eye, and made him eat some grass and a stink bug (circus beetle) and two other people pulled me off or I would have kept going until he was dead or I was too exhausted to continue.

    Both of those happened the same summer and I didn’t remember them until Friday. Same summer. So close to being evil. And I buried that evil inside me and lucked out when we moved to a new school, a school where I didn’t have a reputation as someone easy to bully and violent. I still got bullied but I became passive and accepting of it because the alternative, the rage, the monster, was too scary.

    Did I actually make a decision that summer to be a good person? Was it fear? I feel like I stood at the edge of any abyss and stepped back (this is me, now, looking at this, not me back then).

    Is the monster still there? I think so. And trying to help people, provide a witness to people’s suffering, and raging at certain people, seems to placate that rage. Fuck it. it works, right?

    I was made an angry child. I learned to be scary sometimes and ingratiating in others to be safe. I learned to use humor as a shield.

    I did learn how to be scary and buried it. I never learned to ingratiate. I did learn how to use humour as a shield, to insult myself before anyone else could.

    We don’t want to hurt anyone else. That means we can’t keep hurting ourselves. Somehow, we have to stop punishing ourselves.

    See, I don’t see hurting myself as hurting a person.

    You give me hope for all those kids and teens I meet who have been where you have been and done what you have done and that is a rare and wonderful gift. It helps me not to burn out or give up. You also help others to see them as people. Maybe some of them will read what you have shared and it will help them see themselves that way too. Thank you.

    Wow. Thank you. I have a hard time picturing myself as a positive example. That takes some getting used to.

    I tell you that even thinking of putting down some of what I’ve been through shuts me down completely.

    Hairhead, I have never told outside the internet. Outside this blog, in fact. And the only reason I did was that I screwed up. I was typing in response to an MRA in the Rebecca Watson epic and there it was, on the screen. And I started to remember. And since I had already put it out there, in semi public, I figured I had nothing to lose and a chance to teach. So I let my thoughts through the filter and onto the screen without thinking about it.

    Stay safe for you.

  3. says

    Tasha:

    I was fighting for my life the best way I knew how. I had adults manipulating me, harming me, warping what “normal” was. I had no way out… Well suicide but it wasn’t much of an option

    That’s very well said. It certainly describes me, and I think it also describes Ogvorbis and many others in this thread. When you go through this shit as a child, survival becomes all. It’s all that’s there, really. The instinct and will to survive. When you get so pared down, you find yourself willing to do things which are appalling to the later adult, and it’s difficult to accept that, yes, that is you, and you have to find a way to integrate.

    FFS, I’m sitting here shaking because I just managed to capture a cricket and get it outside. I cannot bring myself to squarsh one, no matter how many opportunities to do that present themselves. I can, however, calmly think about killing a human being. I’m into magnitudes of order fucked up, and yet, somehow, I’m managing. It’s all we can do.

  4. says

    Ogvorbis:

    It is tiring, Caine. So very tiring. I pretend to be good and have, pretty much, convinced the world that I am. Making that constant decision has become a habit. An exhausting habit, but one that is addictive.

    I know. Same exact thing here.

    See, I don’t see hurting myself as hurting a person.

    I have this problem. I’ve never been able to solve it, either.

  5. dustbunny says

    Chigau, #421
    It hit me when I read it back in preview. I think I’m going to encourage several friends to read through this entire thread, especially those people who dismiss the scope of the problem.

    A R, #423

    I think the only chance we have is to stop teaching children to rape

    My inner idealist still refuses to give up on the adults, but my inner realist worries that you may be absolutely correct here…

    CaitieCat, #473

    I’m convinced we punish ourselves more often and more seriously than we would ever have received for our misdeeds.

    I’m not a psychologist but I see this inner struggle as a sign of mental growth. Holding our actions up against who we want to be and feeling guilt when it doesn’t match up, seems to be a healthy thing to do. For some reason, it is also far easier to forgive others than it is to forgive ourselves.

    la tricoteuse, #478

    But I consider myself one of the lucky ones. And isn’t that just 32 flavours of fucked up?

    After all the heartbreak in these stories, this is something that makes me angry – just how fucked up it is that indeed!

    I have plenty of stories of instances of groping, hugging without permission, kissing without permission, getting hollered at in the street,…but like others above I feel they are too trivial to place next to far more serious breaches.

  6. says

    To Caine, Ogvorbis, Jackie, CaitieCat, MM, and the others who worry about dark urges in the recesses of your minds, and lurking violence in your (metaphorical) souls:

    I’m not certain how to phrase this, so I apologize if it seems a bit disjointed. First off, as I said to CaitieCat initially, the urge to meet violence with violence is not merely a human urge, but a mammalian one, and probably more widespread than that. Damn near any creature will resort to violence if pushed far enough or backed into a corner, and making moral judgements about it is largely pointless; it will happen, it is entirely predictable, and therefore the means of reducing is to make sure that people aren’t pushed that far or backed into a corner.
    Secondly, children (and adults, but children especially) act as they are taught to do (Those who think otherwise are generally not terribly aware of what they’re actually teaching); once again, this is simply a fact of being human, and any blame which attaches does to to those who did the teaching, not to those who learned the lesson. Those who learned anew, learned a better way to be, you have good cause to be proud of yourselves, for becoming a better person than the ones who taught you could ever imagine.
    Thirdly, I suspect that most everyone has their own dark places inside. Maybe it’s because of the cultures we’ve all grown up in (my personal hypothesis), maybe it’s built into our brains somewhere, but to a greater or lesser extent, it’s there. I don’t think I’ve ever come to know anyone, regardless of their personal history, who is without the occasional red, violent rage and/or the desire to just take what they want and devil take the hindmost, the despair that turns into a desire to hurt the world until you feel like you have some kind of power again. It’s a perfectly normal and predictable response to a world that makes no sense and where nothing you do seems to change any outcomes, and the world we live in is so dysfunctional that almost everyone finds themselves there one way or another. Certainly it will often hit harder the worse the world has been for a particular individual, with a great deal of individual variance, because people are like that, but once again, the way to change that is to build a better world.

    In short, being injured is not a moral failing, and injuries of the mind are no less real than those of the body. No-one who is being honest about reality can blame you for these feelings that you have (not that I’m saying you are being dishonest, merely that we all know that depression lies, and it’s lying to you). You are not monsters. That’s all for now.

  7. says

    Dustbunny:

    I have plenty of stories of instances of groping, hugging without permission, kissing without permission, getting hollered at in the street,…but like others above I feel they are too trivial to place next to far more serious breaches.

    They are not trivial though. Think of a large loop of thread, and all along every bit of that thread, are shining droplets of silver. We are the shining droplets of silver, and when we back waaay up, we can see that the loop of thread we are on is simply one in a great tapestry.

  8. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I did learn how to use humour as a shield, to insult myself before anyone else could.

    We don’t want to hurt anyone else. That means we can’t keep hurting ourselves. Somehow, we have to stop punishing ourselves.

    See, I don’t see hurting myself as hurting a person.

    Oh, Og. This sounds so much like me. I wouldn’t have phrased the last sentence in the same way, but I defnititely hurt myself and I always find some reason why (or just avoid the question of why) the rules don’t apply to me.

    It also means that it’s easy for me to stand up for others, but harder to stand up for me. Doing trans*+ work is incredibly difficult for me b/c I have such a personal stake in it. Even disability work – where I do have a personal stake – is easier since my physical disabilities aren’t nearly as severe as some I know and because I don’t (except rarely) use a wheelchair for transportation [which minimizes how 'selfish' I appear to others when advocating for access and which minimizes how 'selfish' I appear to myself, which minimizes my guilt for asking for something that benefits me].

    I’m sorry you, too, experience this Caine.

  9. tashaturner says

    @Caine

    FFS, I’m sitting here shaking because I just managed to capture a cricket and get it outside. I cannot bring myself to squarsh one, no matter how many opportunities to do that present themselves. I can, however, calmly think about killing a human being. I’m into magnitudes of order fucked up, and yet, somehow, I’m managing. It’s all we can do.

    I’m not as disturbed by the idea that I might kill someone as long as its the right person. The next person who tries to harm me will have 3 choices:
    1. Stop
    2. Kill me
    3. I will that person with no regrets.

    People in the military, police, and others are trained in this I don’t see why we are monsters for being willing to harm/kill those who would harm us… Now if only I were healthy enough to take self-defense training…

  10. says

    (I don’t know where I’m going to end up with this. I’m sort of thinking out loud.)

    And I think I need to post a TRIGGER WARNING.

    I keep thinking, yesterday and today, “Numbers.” Numbers, numbers. 1 in 4. Or 2, 3 in 4. Women assaulted in some way. 1 in 6, males who rape. But there are men, children, others raped, women, others, maybe children raping or otherwise assaulting.

    And what is being driven home by this thread, it’s not 1 episode per individual. It may be, but too often it’s a lifetime of one thing after another. I’m not as different as I thought. I used to envy other women. No longer; we’re all in this boat together.

    1 in 5. Humans, the ones that got counted, anyhow. 1 in 4? In 3, if we could count the ones who have, so far, kept quiet? 1 in 3, times average number of assaults; what is it, 10 per person? 20? More? Billions upon billions.

    While I wrote this, how many people, of all sexes and ages, everywhere, were being raped or assaulted?

    As billingtondev #498 (!! 498 already!!) wrote, “This is huge.”

    So much pain! So much fear! So much anger! So much shame!

    This is intolerable. I weep for humanity. All of us. I doubt that there is anyone whose life is not touched in some way by this.

    How we go on functioning, I don’t know. But we do. We even love, and laugh. We are strong and brave.

    This thread has given me some hope, though. We are speaking out, finally. We will not be silenced any more. We can change this around. We are strong and brave.

    Paddling a canoe, the steerer in the stern need only hold her paddle slightly angled off the direction of travel to turn the whole thing around, slowly but inevitably. I think I see the beginning of a turn here.

    I hope.

  11. says

    Crip Dyke:

    It also means that it’s easy for me to stand up for others, but harder to stand up for me.

    There I am, in a nutshell. Fuck, I’m sorry you have this going on as well. I wish I knew how to fix this.

  12. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Ogvorbis

    It is tiring, Caine. So very tiring. I pretend to be good and have, pretty much, convinced the world that I am. Making that constant decision has become a habit. An exhausting habit, but one that is addictive.

    The important thing is that you made that decision.

    This comic is all within the context of superheroes and villains, but it really resonated with me. Yes, some people are good (or appear to be good) without any real effort. And then there are those of us who have to make that choice.

    I think you deserve a goddamned tickertape parade for continuing to make that choice.

  13. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    So, I want to say something about Elyse’s follow-up, but I feel conflicted about it.

    I agree with her that saying, “I believe you,” has some bad effects.

    I agree that it has good effects, sometimes vital effects, but this doesn’t change the fact that I agree that it has bad effects. To prevent those effects, and for other reasons, I don’t say this in response to survivor stories.

    However, I would never have written what Elyse wrote about it in that context. I wouldn’t want to tell other survivors how we should support each other. We have to muddle through the best we can.

    I have argued against saying, “I believe” as a policy or some reflexive response in orgs where I’ve done work or consulted, but here? I think it comes across horribly as controlling how survivors can support each other.

    Sigh.

    I’m always wanting better dialog – not just dialog that accomplishes X, but the be-the-change-you-wish-to-see dialog. Then I curse myself for my high standards.

    Sigh.

  14. says

    Tasha:

    People in the military, police, and others are trained in this I don’t see why we are monsters for being willing to harm/kill those who would harm us

    Oh, I don’t think it’s wrong to kill someone trying to rape me, or torture me, or kill me. The problem lies in that I have a feeling I’d enjoy killing.

  15. tashaturner says

    See, I don’t see hurting myself as hurting a person.

    What are you if not a person? This was a hard one for me to come to and one I spend a lot of time working on with women whether they’ve been raped or not. We are people. We, each and every one of us are as important as any other person. No one individual is more important than you. I don’t care if the person runs a business, is a celeb, runs a country. None of that makes them any more “human” than you.

    I found it helped to say it out loud (or in my head if people were around) “I’m a person, deserving of respect. When I put myself down I’m harming a person” each time I put myself down. Eventually it sunk in. I hated this exercise. My therapist made me do it. But it did work.

  16. heather Ferguson says

    Oh, Og. This sounds so much like me. I wouldn’t have phrased the last sentence in the same way, but I defnititely hurt myself and I always find some reason why (or just avoid the question of why) the rules don’t apply to me.

    In a long discussion with a friend about my assault while drunk, this came up.

    So many things that in retrospect I realize I was using to dismiss it as not really assault… were things that I’d never cite as reasons someone else wasn’t actually assaulted. Even back then, when I wasn’t as thoroughly aware of this stuff in general, I knew that drunkenness voided any apparent consent. I knew that likely consent under one set of circumstances did not mean consent under other sets of circumstances. I had a few blind spots, but not these.

    Except when it came to my own assault. Then, they meant it wasn’t really assault. If anything was fishy about it, it was my fault so I can’t feel bad about it. Then I just let it lie. This was something that happened to other people.

    Part of me wants to rage at this thread for tearing my blinders off on this, part of me wants to thank everyone profusely for doing so. Right now the thankful side is winning, I hope that continues to be the case. And I hope I don’t find a way to get the blinders back on.

  17. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    No one individual is more important than you.

    Yeah, but it’s not one individual.

    it’s every person, people, and race. It’s not about one individual being better. It’s about believing deeply that humans have innate worth and being unable to reconcile this with how one has been treated (by others and/or by one’s self).

    It’s a relatively simple logic chain:
    All human beings have innate minimum worth, not conditional on how good or bad their actions are.
    People who value others at least this much believe those people shouldn’t be intentionally harmed.
    People have valued me less than that not merely in exceptional cases, but routinely.
    People do not perceive me to have innate minimum worth.
    Therefore, I cannot belong to a category that has innate minimum worth.

  18. heather Ferguson says

    I screwed up the blockquote, it’s all my response startinf from “In a long discussion…”

  19. Socio-gen, something something... says

    Caine, Mellow Monkey, Ogvorbis:

    So much of the guilt and shame I carry is because I allowed those things to happen. I was more afraid of releasing my rage than I was sickened and hurt by what was happening to me. Caine described is as “cold” and that’s exactly how I felt — as if an icy-cold tidal wave was engulfing me, wiping out every speck of humanity.

    The first time was when I was 13, in hunter safety class, when I realized that I could kill Family Member #1, and more than that — I could get away with it. No one in PA, in the early 80’s would have questioned an “accidental” shooting by a novice hunter. Especially not a novice “girl hunter.” I could see exactly what to do, where I should do it, how to cry and play into all the stereotypes about girls in order to get the state police to conclude it was a sad, tragic accident.

    And this was when I became convinced that I really was a terrible, evil, sin-filled person who deserved to have bad things happen. “All are sinners and fall short of the Glory” — my rapists are to blame, but the church couldn’t have done a better job of grooming me for abuse if they’d actually tried. From birth on, I’d been taught that I was a sinner filled with evil and that my job was to accept and endure suffering in order to earn redemption and salvation.

    Even today, I’m afraid of becoming too angry and losing control of my dark side.

  20. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Socio-gen

    Caine described is as “cold” and that’s exactly how I felt — as if an icy-cold tidal wave was engulfing me, wiping out every speck of humanity.

    Cold is a good description for me, too. Cold to the point of numbness. Even my sense of touch gets distant, as if I’m feeling everything through rubber gloves instead of with my own skin. I dissociate to some degree, too. At times like that, my memory of events is as though I’m watching myself from about two feet behind my shoulder. I assume it started as a survival mechanism with the childhood abuse.

  21. dustbunny says

    Ogvorbis, #502 – Caine, #504

    See, I don’t see hurting myself as hurting a person.

    I have this problem. I’ve never been able to solve it, either.

    This hurts my heart. I wish there was something meaningful I could say to help ease this feeling in you both.

    I am finishing up a project and looking for other work and a friend of mine asked what I wanted to do. We kept peeling away the layers to get to what I really wanted to achieve in life, and eventually I said “I want to make every human being feel valued.” I know I can’t possibly make that happen, but I hope the people whose stories I have been reading can lean on the support from friends and continue to, or start to, feel valued.

    Caine, while I know the ‘less bad’ stories shouldn’t be thought of as trivial because the ‘actually bad’ stories did not happen in a vacuum, I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I was saying “I know what you all go through, because let me tell you about this guy who hugged me without asking.” I hope that makes sense. Then again, when friends relate those ‘less bad’ stories to me from their recent dates, I always tell them it’s not “nothing,” so maybe I should tell myself that too. :) Along with learning a lot in the comments on this blog, I have also learned that these behaviors are warning signs (thank you Gavin de Becker!) and all part of a larger pattern.

    Socio-gen, #521

    the church couldn’t have done a better job of grooming me for abuse if they’d actually tried. From birth on, I’d been taught that I was a sinner filled with evil and that my job was to accept and endure suffering in order to earn redemption and salvation.

    Yep. I was raised in the RCC and still fight against some of the indoctrination to this day…
    Also, I think the fact that you are aware of and can acknowledge and talk about your dark side, is what will prevent it from gaining control over you.

  22. Pteryxx says

    having trouble refreshing, so I’m behind on the discussion of fighting back. For what it’s worth, I can say I’ve had those doubts from the other side… shaming myself for not being violent *enough*.

    (TW for a bit of violence)

    My abuser and then-partner nearly killed me, by choking me unconscious. Fortunately I woke up some time later to an empty house. (He didn’t even have the decency to call 911.) For years I blamed myself for being too weak a person to try and save my own life. I’m good-sized, strong, aggressive and loud. He was taller than me but I was definitely stronger. I played violent contact sports like hockey and football. I’ve broken other people’s bones in play. Why did I turn my back on him screaming at me and try to escape my own house instead of standing my ground? Why couldn’t I at least break his grip or his fingers in self-defense? Did my own life mean so little to me that I turned coward when I needed most to fight back?

    All fair questions, but the answer’s fairly simple. I wasn’t prepared to turn violent against somebody I cared about, even in rage; but my abuser was. The advantage always goes to the person who’s willing to strike first and worst, who doesn’t care how much pain they cause. The first lesson I ever received in kill-or-be-killed could have been my last, and surviving it wasn’t any credit to me. It was just random luck.

    So I would never presume to question all of you who had abuse taught you, who did have to learn how to tap into the darkness to survive. No one should have had to make that choice in the first place.

  23. tashaturner says

    It’s a relatively simple logic chain:
    All human beings have innate minimum worth, not conditional on how good or bad their actions are.
    People who value others at least this much believe those people shouldn’t be intentionally harmed.
    People have valued me less than that not merely in exceptional cases, but routinely.
    People do not perceive me to have innate minimum worth.
    Therefore, I cannot belong to a category that has innate minimum worth.

    Yeah I get that. I’ve done that reasoning a lot. Like when I was suicidal from 10(?) to 30 daily before it started cutting down to finally at 46 to rarely. I know how hard it is to pull out of that place.

    There was a 2nd part to my therapist assignment that I really hated. Because hey I had proof right up to being asked for a divorce for my 30th birthday present that I had no value. Dirt was worth more than me. She made me ask my friends what they valued about our friendship & regularly read that out loud until I stopped calling it “fake they don’t know the real me”. I still backslide & have to pull out my tools and read & say the stuff out loud sometimes. It’s not easy. It’s not a quick fix. It doesn’t work for everyone.

    In some ways despite post #26 I’ve been lucky. I’ve always had a few friends I trusted. When it comes to business I believed in myself. So I have no personal value but I have professional value.

    It took years for me to convince myself that I was a person of worth. I still have bad days where I backslide. It’s been 10+ years since I did the assignment & friends who hear about it add new things to my list. I have recommended both assignments to a number of my friends who were less damaged than I am and they’ve used it and had it take less time to make a difference with less backsliding.

    I have friends who are as damaged as me and they’ve struggled like I have with both assignments.

    I hope someday you believe you are the person if worth we know you to be.

  24. says

    On the hurting oneself is hurting someone:

    That one is hard, hard. I was never important enough to take to the doctor when injured, and I have a tendency to ignore injuries (and self care). I don’t really so much mourn or feel sorry for myself as it simply seems beneath notice. I’m always startled (and slightly pleased) that someone would notice. Sometimes I show injuries to people I trust to see if I should be upset by them. I say ow more than I feel it because we’re supposed to acknowledge pain–that’s normal.

    It’s so amazingly enjoyable that someone would notice I was in pain and that it would matter to them, though sometimes I’m afraid I’m being bratty by drawing notice to being injured.

    My partner, actually, gets driven to distraction by how infrequently I remember to do self care as the stress from my occupation ratchets up. I try to remember more often because he gets distressed by it.

  25. says

    I’ve only made it to 230 so far, but there have been so many brave and proud stories. Stories from people who have never told. There’s something I’ve never told, something recent, that I feel like absolute shit about, because I was one of the first people to recognize this issue in my community and yet…

    Possible Trigger Warning:

    Apologies for the babbling that will follow, my words are still raw on this one.

    I… ugh, I hate that I can’t think of a better word for this, because it is so goddamn dismissive of actual rape experiences, but I… raped… myself? I guess? It’s the wrong word, I know… but…

    Let me explain because fuck that sounds bad and stupid. There was an incident recently. My partner had been going through a really dry spell where her libido was all fucked up due to her depression and so one day she calls home that she’s really horny and wants to fool around with a big scene and starts hastily doing pre-negotiation for stuff.

    And I was really in a bad space for it. I was heavily triggered and really not feeling it (I’m asexual and usually enjoy doing stuff to partners for emotional and intellectual enjoyment, usually I’m game). But I knew that my partner was feeling really fragile about her sexuality and reaching out in that way and I felt it would really hurt her if I wasn’t able to provide this for her. And I knew that it had been awhile and it could hurt really important parts of her.

    Which is stupid. No partner worth their salt wants to do stuff with a partner who isn’t crystal clear consenting and into it in some way or another. And she would have understood, but I built it into this whole huge thing like the consequences would be too bad to take.

    So I spent the time just freaking out, trying to fix the triggered space, try and find some desire to enjoy stuff, something to focus on. But it didn’t end up coming.

    For the next part, it is crucial to note a few things. First of all, I could have texted at any point before she got there that I couldn’t do it or called her up on the phone and she would have accepted that. I also had preset safe words I could have and should have spoken. And even with that, because I was acting a bit odd, she checked in a few times deliberately asking me if I was consenting to the scene and that I was okay and I said yes. She did nothing wrong and was trying to be 100% aware of consent and if I could have gotten over myself and actually spoken up she would have stopped things then and there.

    So when she came home, the scene began. I stayed in a submissive character and tried to play along, but inside my mind I was screaming that I didn’t want to do this. When stuff began, I sat back and lay there trying to focus on anything else but that I didn’t want this. I tried to focus on specific sensations that have been emotionally powerful for me in the past and performed that I was enjoying things so that she wouldn’t know anything was wrong.

    I was luckily saved by a call from my girlfriend. She needed some talking off a cliff about some really heavy family shit and so we called off the scene so I could handle that.

    My partner and girlfriend both still don’t know that this happened or how I felt about that moment. When my partner expresses sadness that “that really hot scene couldn’t finish”, I just swallow my tongue because I can’t bear to let her know the truth of what I was feeling.

    I feel like shit because unlike my rape rape, I was the only one who was forcing me to do this thing I didn’t want to do, to grit and bear through it. If I had at any time said no or my safeword, it would have stopped, but I didn’t. And what makes it worse is that this very “asexual people feel they have to perform sexual favors for their partners” thing is something I’ve written about before and talk about quite a bit and yet I did it to myself when I fucking well knew better.

    And I’m pretty sure part of it is related to this more thorough self-abuse I’ve been doing to myself I think to “punish” myself for all the internalized crap I’ve gone through in the last year and not really having an avenue to process because I need to be on 100% just to stop everything from sinking.

    Okay, I’ll stop talking about all that now, but felt I should share this because so many have shared things they’ve never shared yet.

  26. says

    pteryxx: That always stopped me as well. It wasn’t that I couldn’t defend myself, it was that I could not bring myself to hit someone I loved that way, in a serious fight. I cannot describe the shame inspired by the thought of hitting someone I care for.

    My second husband could punch me in the face, and the worst I would do is shove him back. It used to piss him off that I wouldn’t hit him, but I just….couldn’t. It horrified me.

    I used to feel the same way when my mother would fly into a rage and start beating me. I could have hurt her, but I couldn’t get past the tremendous feeling of shame that I would be in the situation in the first place. If you’d have asked me a few years back, I would have said “that I would be the kind of person who would inspire her behavior”, but now I know better.

    Except for on the bad days. I don’t know much on the bad days.

  27. says

    Mouthyb, All the Love there is to you. Always.

    Cerberus:

    Okay, I’ll stop talking about all that now, but felt I should share this because so many have shared things they’ve never shared yet.

    I don’t think you need to stop talking about this. If nothing else, I get to learn about things, all of which can help me to be a more knowledgeable, sensitive person. Anyway, talk about whatever you want or need to talk about, that’s what this thread is for. I am really sorry this specific situation has caused you so much pain.

  28. says

    Pteryxx

    No one should have had to make that choice in the first place.

    Yeah, this.
    Cerberus
    *safehugs* if desired.

    Socio-Gen
    What I said above (and below) go for your commentary @521 as well. Particularly:

    And this was when I became convinced that I really was a terrible, evil, sin-filled person who deserved to have bad things happen.

    I read the story that immediately preceded that sentence, and as I read, I nodded along, thinking “Yes, this sounds like a perfectly ordinary and reasonable response to this situation.” I say this as someone who’s never been in a situation anything like yours, but as I say below, it’s not even a moral issue in my mind. Looking at the cold reality of the world as it is and not as I’d wish it to be, many situations are utterly desperate, there is no functioning system in place to alleviate them, and therefore nothing is left but the dreadful algebra of necessity. I want the world to be a place where no one has to do that algebra anymore, but that world is far, far away from here.

    Generally:
    Having thought further about it, I want to be clear that I did not mean anything in my last post to minimize people’s experiences or feelings, and I apologize most sincerely if that happened. Nor, in relation to what Pteryxx brought up, did I intend to make is seem as though I was advocating violence as the ‘correct’ response, either. People are different, and situations are different, and I wouldn’t, frankly, presume to morally judge anyone’s responses to them most of the time. Indeed, that’s kind of where I was going with my post: to my mind, it’s not even a moral issue. People who are subjected to intolerable stresses will suffer statistically predictable injuries of the mind (not everyone reacts the same way, but almost all of them fall into a limited number of categories ), along describable spectra. It is what it is, and what it is is human.

  29. viajera says

    I’m late to this thread, but if you don’t mind another reader’s story…

    (trigger warning for rape, domestic abuse, and assault of minors)

    I was raped by an abusive ex-boyfriend when I was in my late 20s. He was emotionally, financially, and occasionally physically abusive, and we were on-again-off-again for years before I finally got away for good. I’d try to leave, but he’d get so much more dangerous, plus also I was broke thanks to him. So we were off-again at this point, but still living together, because broke and trapped in a lease, and we got into a fight. It turned physical, and next thing I knew I was pinned down on the bed. I recognized it as rape immediately, but I was so broken down by his abuse by that point that I just kind of shrugged and thought “huh, well, there’s another box he’s checked off”. I never even considered going to the cops – I knew they were unlikely to do anything about it, and then I’d just be putting myself at even greater risk. Although I know it was rape, it’s not something I think about very often. Insofar as I let events that happened with him define me in any way, I think of myself as an abuse survivor rather than a rape survivor, because for me that was just another tool in his abuser toolkit. There were other things he did that affected me even more.

    I also was just recently (in the last year) reminded of something that happened when I was a tween/teen that affected me more than I had realized, though it wasn’t rape. My parents’ closest friend starting from when I was maybe 12-13 is this skeevy guy who used to openly ogle my younger sister and I, watched us undress, groped us, and then bragged about it – all right in front of, and announced to, our parents. Who just laughed it off, and kept inviting him over. I was very much the scapegoat as a child and was starved for attention, any kind of attention, from adults. So I took this as a lesson in how to get attention from men – which set me up for all kinds of bad relationships and self-esteem problems down the road. I had actually totally forgotten about it until he bragged about it in front of us again last year, and even then didn’t recognize it as assault until I looked up the definition online one day. Our mother continues to laugh it off. I’m almost as angry at her for enabling him and continuing to bring him around despite our objections (since my father passed away they’re closer than ever) as I am at him. Thankfully I live far away, but my sister lives close to her and is guilt-tripped into dealing with him occasionally.

    (end TW)

    It breaks my heart and makes me so angry to read everyone’s stories, to see that this is so common. But I’m proud of you all for sharing your stories, and for being such fierce advocates and fighters in the threads here. Thank you.

  30. says

    Dalillama:

    It is what it is, and what it is is human.

    I get that, truly. Thing is, unless you’ve experienced some things, you just don’t know. When the cold takes me, it doesn’t feel human. At all. “I” am not there. I get that since this is happening inside a human, yeah, it’s human. All that said, it is not human. There’s no humanity involved.

  31. morgan says

    Horde, my heart breaks for all the injured people. If being civilized means we learn kindness and empathy, then we humans truly are barely civilized. I want to tell my story…. but I simply can’t. It is very unlike most of the terrible stories told here. It is so very, very, very quiet. When I can, I will.
    My most profound respect to everyone who has dared to be so honest.

  32. says

    When the cold takes me, it doesn’t feel human. At all. “I” am not there. I get that since this is happening inside a human, yeah, it’s human. All that said, it is not human. There’s no humanity involved.

    Caine, it’s a bit…eerie when you get right inside my head and say what I’m thinking.

    Just saying.

    Cold. Distant from the body.

  33. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    CaitieCat

    Cold. Distant from the body.

    Is it strange that I feel sort of…comforted to know I’m not alone in this?

    It isn’t something I’ve ever dared talk about before. The one time I tried to even hint at it, I was accused of having a psychotic episode. (Which is the exact opposite of the experience. When I go there, I’m dangerously rational.) To know other people have that is mind-blowing.

  34. billingtondev says

    Caine – you talked about us all being part of a tapestry. That reminded me of something.
    A long time ago I worked in a Rape Crisis Centre. We made a cloak. A beautiful iridescent cloak of many fabrics. It was a full circle and over four feet long from neck to hem. We sent multi-coloured ribbons out to any woman who wanted one. They wrote whatever they wanted on the ribbon, sent it back to us and we stitched them all onto the cloak. It was completely covered in hundreds of ribbons.
    Around the circle edge of the cloak we embroidered a poem that we composed together.

    Here is what we embroidered:
    ..we know this
    ..we live through pain, darkness, unknowing, invisibility
    ..and we listen to ourselves and are aware of the darkness, the anger
    ..and we name it and know it again and wear it anew
    ..we struggle.. we analyse.. we connect with each other
    ..we survive.. we grieve.. we grow
    ..and we empower, heal, transform
    ..we celebrate, we create light, colour, joy, laughter
    ..we speak, we shout, we sing
    ..we define, shape, declare ourselves
    ..we affirm and recommit ourselves
    ..we are indestructible and vulnerable
    ..and here we are encloaked..

    Many, many women danced and twirled and swirled in that cloak. I haven’t thought about it for years – – it was a long time ago. I don’t know what’s happened to it – but it was a good thing to be reminded of. I guess we can go on making many cloaks in many ways.

  35. says

    Caine

    Thing is, unless you’ve experienced some things, you just don’t know.

    I am aware. And if I’m being an asshole, or if anyone wants me to for whatever reason, I’ll leave the topic be.

    When the cold takes me, it doesn’t feel human. At all. “I” am not there.

    I’ve never been in that place, but I cannot count the number of times people have described it to me, in person and in writing, who have been there, including quite a few more here in this thread. It is precisely because of that prevalence that I decided that it was simply a part of the human condition: that the sense of ‘I’ behind someone’s eyes can’t function in certain environments, so it goes away until it can come out again. The thing is that from my understanding (which I admit is limited) of the processes of cognition, that sense of ‘I’ is not actually the self, or at least not the entirety of it. I have also had other accounts related to me, in person and in writing, of other situations which can cause that sense of ‘I’ to vanish temporarily or seem to disconnect from the body/experience but continuity of conscious experience is retained; this leads me inescapably to the conclusion that the sense of ‘I’ is not what makes a human; other may have different axioms. I’m going to stop here, because I’m doing my best to tread delicately, and my ‘you’re being a pedantic asshole again’ alarms are starting to twitch.
    All sympathies, and support.

  36. says

    billingtondev: That’s a beautiful story. :)

    TheMellowMonkey: If it’s strange, then at least we’re strange together. I remember my doctor’s look when I told her I had to change my anti-depressants, because they were making me have much more explicit homicidal thoughts than usual. I’m a bit surprised she didn’t ask me to do a psych eval or something, but she did give me different ADs, and it did help. I was just kind of alarmed that the thoughts were coming up at a much lower level of threat to me/mine than I was used to. That’s a hard nuance to make clear to someone else.

    I’m guessing I’m not the only one here who finds large crowds of people I don’t know exhausting? Having to constantly track their movements and explicit emotional states and how much of a threat they are is just…this is why I don’t go to malls anymore. Or summer concerts outside. Or conferences, much at all.

    Pride parades I can still sort of manage, but only because I feel at home around queerfolk in a way I often don’t around non-queerfolk.

  37. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    CaitieCat, I’m an extreme introvert so crowds of people are always exhausting to me. Couple that with my hypervigilance and need to track things like you describe and it’s just so much easier and more pleasant to stay home. If I’m in a performance space, it’s different. That seems to be my great exception. I can be on stage all day and just get a rush from it. I suspect that may have something to do with the power of it. I don’t feel vulnerable there like I do if I’m down amongst the people.

    Because of this thread, I worked up the nerve to talk to my partner tonight. I told him what I wrote here. About my dark thoughts and the coldness, giving voice to things I’ve never so much as whispered before. He seemed a little shocked, but was sympathetic and held me and assured me he didn’t think I was evil.

    To actually come right out and face my greatest fear like this is so strange. It feels so anticlimactic. I don’t even know what to do with myself, now that I’ve been able to be honest about it.

  38. says

    CaitieCat and MM:

    Cold. Distant from the body.

    Yes.

    (Which is the exact opposite of the experience. When I go there, I’m dangerously rational.)

    Oh yes.

    I find it to be beyond comforting that I’m not alone in this. I thought I was the only one.

  39. says

    LOL, we’re the same there too, MM. I’ve been involved in community theatre for about fifteen years now. I can totally cope with the stuff when I’m at or in a show, especially going on stage. Similarly, I don’t have the issue as much when I’m at something like a soccer tournament (when I used to referee), maybe there because having the uniform and the assumed authority it lends helps make things a lot safer feeling.

    I’m really glad your partner is being so supportive. You deserve it.

  40. says

    I find it to be beyond comforting that I’m not alone in this. I thought I was the only one.

    I swear, I would wear out that fucking stamp. What You Said.

  41. says

    billingtondev:

    A long time ago I worked in a Rape Crisis Centre. We made a cloak. A beautiful iridescent cloak of many fabrics. It was a full circle and over four feet long from neck to hem. We sent multi-coloured ribbons out to any woman who wanted one. They wrote whatever they wanted on the ribbon, sent it back to us and we stitched them all onto the cloak. It was completely covered in hundreds of ribbons.
    Around the circle edge of the cloak we embroidered a poem that we composed together.

    Here is what we embroidered:
    ..we know this
    ..we live through pain, darkness, unknowing, invisibility
    ..and we listen to ourselves and are aware of the darkness, the anger
    ..and we name it and know it again and wear it anew
    ..we struggle.. we analyse.. we connect with each other
    ..we survive.. we grieve.. we grow
    ..and we empower, heal, transform
    ..we celebrate, we create light, colour, joy, laughter
    ..we speak, we shout, we sing
    ..we define, shape, declare ourselves
    ..we affirm and recommit ourselves
    ..we are indestructible and vulnerable
    ..and here we are encloaked..

    I…um…

    Oh gods, that is beautiful. Such a gift, thank you. I have a full length cloak, that I’ve had in mind to embroider for some time. I haven’t been able to set on anything though. Now I know.

  42. says

    Dalillama:

    I’m going to stop here, because I’m doing my best to tread delicately, and my ‘you’re being a pedantic asshole again’ alarms are starting to twitch.

    No, you’re fine, truly. As you can see, this particular conversation has already helped CaitieCat, MM, and myself. I think the more understanding which is reached, the better, because we don’t know who might be reading, and I think what you have written will help others to understand people like CaitieCat, MM, and myself all the better.

    CaitieCat:

    I’m guessing I’m not the only one here who finds large crowds of people I don’t know exhausting? Having to constantly track their movements and explicit emotional states and how much of a threat they are is just…

    Oh hells no, you aren’t alone in that! I used to do social stuff when I was younger, because it was often unavoidable, and of course, expected and all that. Now, I’m in a place where I can fully indulge my antisocialness.

    MM:

    I’m an extreme introvert so crowds of people are always exhausting to me. Couple that with my hypervigilance and need to track things like you describe and it’s just so much easier and more pleasant to stay home.

    Yep, same here.

    Because of this thread, I worked up the nerve to talk to my partner tonight. I told him what I wrote here. About my dark thoughts and the coldness, giving voice to things I’ve never so much as whispered before. He seemed a little shocked, but was sympathetic and held me and assured me he didn’t think I was evil.

    I doubt that my partner has had the time to read this whole thread yet. I’m still scared about his reaction. I’m pretty sure he’ll still love me, and not be scared of me, but yeah, I’m nervous.

  43. pHred says

    For me – the time I did things the right way – the cops and lawyers and horrible psychologists made tell my story over and over and asked so many vile questions that there is nothing healing for me in telling anything right now. It is just another form of pain.

    The cold distant from my body thing holds for me too.

    And I totally suck at crowds. I have to have a job or some position of authority to cope. I routinely blow off work functions where I am expected to sit in some huge crowd. Like commencement unfortunately.

  44. billingtondev says

    Caine – that memory sent me scrabbling through dusty old boxes of files and papers I haven’t looked at in years. I punched the air when I found the poem actually written down. YUSS!!
    You are so very welcome and I’m glad to be able to pass on a gift. Enjoy. I can’t think of anyone more appropriate.
    I am shaky in this thread – and ok too. This is all good.

  45. billingtondev says

    Caine @ 551
    Wrote my 555 before I read your 551 – but just to be clear – yes of course!
    “We are legion” = Perfect!
    :-)

  46. tashaturner says

    CaitieCat:

    I’m guessing I’m not the only one here who finds large crowds of people I don’t know exhausting? Having to constantly track their movements and explicit emotional states and how much of a threat they are is just…

    I’m with you here. I was never into big crowds but since the last incident I find them extremely exhausting.

    MM:

    … my hypervigilance and need to track things like you describe and it’s just so much easier and more pleasant to stay home.

    Even grocery shopping or going to the mall which I used to love is no longer fun thanks to hypervigilance. It really is amazing how much is taken away.

  47. says

    MM

    I’m an extreme introvert so crowds of people are always exhausting to me

    Likewise. L is even worse off, what with the hypervigilance etc.

    The one time I tried to even hint at it, I was accused of having a psychotic episode.

    While I hope that that wasn’t a therapist, I have a depressing feeling it may have been. Take your choice of gestures of support from the basket over there.

    (Which is the exact opposite of the experience. When I go there, I’m dangerously rational.)

    Part of what I was trying to say earlier is that, while I haven’t been in a situation where that mindset was called for, it makes perfect sense to me, on an intellectual level. Indeed, it seems to me to be the sanest possible response to a desperate situation.
    Caine

    I doubt that my partner has had the time to read this whole thread yet. I’m still scared about his reaction. I’m pretty sure he’ll still love me, and not be scared of me, but yeah, I’m nervous.

    If it helps reassure you, I’ve had that conversation with L, as well as several prior partners.

    Various:

    Is it strange that I feel sort of…comforted to know I’m not alone in this?

    I find it to be beyond comforting that I’m not alone in this. I thought I was the only one.

    I swear, I would wear out that fucking stamp. What You Said.

    Oh, you are so very, very far from the only ones. I’ve read autobiographies, accounts, seen video, and personally heard so many confidences that I can usually fill in about 50-60% of the story after the first sentence, because the abusers have the same fucking scripts that cause the same kinds of damage, and the same kinds of reactions in their victims, and they use the same smarmy bullshit and take advantage of the system that was built for assholes in the same fucking ways, and it could be fucking stopped if the system wasn’t shit, and it would really be so fucking simple to not destroy whole generations anymore, and it breaks my heart that I can only do so much to try to fix it and I’m going to stop writing now because I can’t see the screen through my tears.

  48. Jackie Papercuts says

    There is so much I’m identifying with on this thread. I’m going to post about it the Lounge.

  49. Portia says

    abusers have the same fucking scripts

    So, so true. They say the same things because those things are the ones that give them control, that destroy people. Working with victims, I hear the same things over and over. I need to start recommending the Gift of Fear book, but I need to read it myself first. Another lawyer recommended recommending it to DV clients.

    *hugs* Dalillama.

  50. says

    At the risk of regretting it, I’m ditching the Heather Ferguson name. PZ or others with access to logs should feel free to verify this if anyone doubts that was me. I’ve adjusted appropriate security settings, I should be ok. And as this has been battering me since I ran across this thread last night, I can’t hide it that thoroughly. I just can’t process it if it’s just me and one close friend(thank everything that I have that friend though) that can connect this to more than just a throwaway name.

    Jackie Papercuts @559-

    There is so much I’m identifying with on this thread.

    I know the feeling. This thread has opened my eyes pretty widely.

  51. Socio-gen, something something... says

    Dalillama:

    many situations are utterly desperate, there is no functioning system in place to alleviate them, and therefore nothing is left but the dreadful algebra of necessity.

    As others have said, I think it is what enabled me to survive. While it was (and is) scary and dangerous, at the same time, it was a shield to protect the essence of “little me.”

    viajera: I’m so sorry that happened to you. *hugs* and/or *comfort of choice*

    morgan:

    I want to tell my story…. but I simply can’t.

    *hugs* and/or *comfort of choice* It took a long time before I was ready to even think about my story much less to write it. When/if you’re ready, it will happen.

    Mellow Monkey

    Is it strange that I feel sort of…comforted to know I’m not alone in this?

    I feel that same sense of comfort. To know that this too is not mine alone is … freeing.

    billingtondev:

    Many, many women danced and twirled and swirled in that cloak.

    That sounds beautiful. It reminds me of this article I read about the fight to have VAWA reauthorized:

    Here in Minneapolis, a growing number of Native American women wear red shawls to powwows to honor survivors of sexual violence. The shawls, a traditional symbol of nurturing, flow toward the earth. The women seem cloaked in blood. People hush. Everyone rises, not only in respect, for we are jolted into personal memories and griefs.

    I think this is a beautiful way to acknowledge the shared pain of survivors and fight against the silence that leaves so many feeling that they’re alone.

    Someone up-thread mentioned that whenever women gather and feel comfortable, the stories come out, and that’s has been my experience too.* I work with a week-long residential women’s leadership program that teaches entry-level skills on running for political office. Every single year, the group bond reaches a point where woman after woman shares her experiences with rape, sexual assault, and/or sexual abuse. The shared grieving and comfort and the relief that one is not alone is so powerful.

    *This is not to ignore men and boys who experience sexual trauma, only to say that this is a familiar dynamic with women.

    CaitieCat:

    I’m guessing I’m not the only one here who finds large crowds of people I don’t know exhausting?

    Nope, I’m the same way. I spend the entire time on heightened alert, which is why I tend to stick to small-group activities or women-only groups. College has been interesting, in that sense. Where I sit in a classroom is dependent on the class size, how many people in it I know, where the door is located, and the ratio of men to women. Because I have to be able to see and track those I don’t know or don’t know well enough to trust (which is almost everyone).

  52. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    @ 143, 425,

    I’ve been afraid to post in this thread and kinda dithering with the open comment box for a few hours. Because I did come here to post about my own sexual assaults (which happened when I was 7 and 8), but then…

    *deep breath* I get that some people might read this thread and think, “Oh crap. I’ve raped someone.” And it’s great that you realize that, and that you feel bad. That makes you a moral person. But this thread? Soooooo not the place to talk about how you raped some kids once. Because those of us who were victims of rapes or attempted rapes as children? We might not feel so much like telling you you’re an okay person. We might not really want to hear your side of how much you feel like a monster and feel/shame. And you are violating our boundaries by telling your story in *this* space, which was, until you told that story, a space for victims.

    I’m not saying this to make you feel bad. I understand that you feel guilty. I think it’s right and good that you do. As I said, that makes you a moral person. And I also understand that need to build a narrative that is, “I did this bad thing, and then I confessed and I learned and I’m a better person now.” But that forgiveness or personal growth should not come at the expense of victims who are going to read about you raping and feel victimized about it. I’m sorry, but what you did is NOT OKAY.

    So, I don’t really feel safe sharing my story right now. I don’t even feel safe posting this comment, because, as much as I love the Horde, I’ve seen how commenters can sometimes close ranks around people they know. But I think this needs to be said–What you (both) did was inappropriate and triggering.

  53. Portia says

    Cyranothe2nd,

    I’m really sorry you don’t feel safe, and I’m really sorry you were triggered. I offer all my support to you, and I wish I had a good answer.

    I will say that as a survivor, I found that discussion initially offputting but the follow up discussion wherein a lot of people talked about the darkness they feel they have in them…that was helpful to me. Really really helpful. I don’t know the right answer about where that discussion should have taken place. This in no way invalidates your feeling that it was not appropriate. I just wanted to add my different perspective. I’ll be in the Lounge if you want to talk any more about …anything.

  54. standard says

    It never even occurred to me that other people could feel the Cold.
    A bit obvious, really…
    Thank you as always.

  55. says

    Cyranothe2nd
    *safehugs* or other appropriate gesture of support.
    I’m sorry to hear you were triggered, and that you aren’t feeling safe. If there’s anything that I can do, you have only to let me know.

  56. Portia says

    Cyranothe2nd,
    Of course. *hugs or other gesture of support* If you ever want to email, my email is bravoportia at geemail dot com.

  57. Portia says

    Cyranothe2nd,

    It might really change your analysis. He has shared a lot in the Lounge. I obviously don’t feel like I can share on his behalf. I don’t want to seem like wagon-circling…but if anyone would warrant that, it would be Ogvorbis.

  58. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Portia–I searched the current iteration of the Lounge but don’t see anything. Do you have a link or anything handy? I am trying hard to give zir the benefit of the doubt, but it’s hard when I feel this upset. Still, maybe later I could look at it?

  59. Portia says

    It’s taken place over the course of the last year, actually, so it would be several iterations of the Lounge. Sorry for not being specific. I appreciate your willingness to be open minded even when you’re feeling crappy. Right now, I would advise to engage in self care, and I’ll see if I can find the links. I’m not sure the right thing to do right now is, whether I should check with him, before sharing the links, even though it’s public, I’m babbling, I feel like. Anyway, I’ll see what I can find. Thanks for listening to what I have to say, even though it’s probably not helping the way you’re currently feeling. Sorry if I exacerbated anything.

  60. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Portia–I found it. It’s basically the same thing Og posted earlier in this thread.

    I don’t really want to hash out how the cycle of violence might affect people’s moral compass or make them more/less culpable for the violence they do to others, especially when they themselves are children. My point was that this space *right here* is not an appropriate place for those who have raped others to express their remorse or other feelings about it, because that is extremely triggering to me (and possibly other victims. Elyse also posted that she felt it was really not cool.) That’s it.

  61. Portia says

    I missed Elyse’s post on that. I apologize for commenting without all the information. At any rate, I understand your feelings and your position. I’ll let it lie now.

  62. mildlymagnificent says

    I can be on stage all day and just get a rush from it. I suspect that may have something to do with the power of it.

    Speaking as an introvert and as a DV rather than rape survivor, I don’t think that’s really it. Most people who knew me way back when had real trouble with the idea that a performer and public speaker and generally loud person like me was actually an introvert. (With the added bonus of being unable to speak up for myself. I was a bit of a firebrand when speaking up for others.) I had trouble with the idea myself until I found out that the people I knew whose public, loud, gregarious behaviour so similar to my own was invigorating and exciting for them. Huh? I found it exhausting – especially the not so on-stage/ in-character social gathering stuff. It was easier to get up front and talk to a crowd of hundreds than it was to spend a couple of hours with 20 or fewer friends.

    The great thing about performing or speaking is that it’s not yourself up there. If you read interviews with actors you find that many of them are quite introverted personally but once they’re not being themselves they can do anything a script or a director asks them to do. There’s nothing on the line except your skills as an actor/ singer/ speaker – and that’s not you anyway so it doesn’t matter in any way that matters.

  63. says

    I’m just going to say that I while I understand Cyranothe2nd’s feelings, and Elyse’s, and Dani’s, you are also causing damage to someone. More than someone, because as I said on the first page, you’re also telling people who ended up harming someone else at the hands of an abuser that they cannot talk about that. You’re telling me I can’t talk about desire to damage others. You’re telling the women in this thread, who realized they had committed rape, that they cannot talk about that experience.

    It’s a two-edged sword, and we all get hurt. Awareness and healing cannot take place if only one side of the discussion is allowed. And I am extremely upset about Ogvorbis being brought up, because he struggles so very much, every fucking day, with guilt and shame and soul destroying pain. Very slowly, over time, he has come to terms with what was done to him, and he’s trying like to come to terms with what he did to others. This has been the *only* space for him, where he can talk and learn and be among people who don’t judge him and are trying to help. FFS, if we cannot have a care about such people, something is very, very wrong.

  64. says

    Standard:

    It never even occurred to me that other people could feel the Cold.
    A bit obvious, really…

    Not at all obvious, else all of us wouldn’t have thought we were all alone in that.

  65. says

    Partner got home tonight, and spent a long time reading this thread before retiring for the night. He’s only up to around #400. I told him I knew it was stupid, but that I was very scared that by the time he got to the end, he wouldn’t want anything to do with me.

    He wrapped his arms around me, and said “don’t ever say that. I love you.” I murmured something about being seriously fucked up and he said “so what? So am I. We have four years, you know…” He was talking about over 34 years ago, when he told me I was the only person he ever met who he could see himself with when he was 64 years old. Four years to go for that moment. Great Cosmic Rodent, I love him so.

  66. says

    Chigau:

    My wagons are circling Ogvorbis.

    Aye, mine too. Just what he posted on this page alone is heartbreaking. I wish I could stand watch over him and protect him from every hurt.

  67. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Caine,

    Let me be very clear. I have no problem with anyone talking about their experience of being forced to hurt others, not their desire to harm those that harmed them. I don’t even have a problem with people talking about being victimizers themselves per se. What I have a problem with is a rapist confessing to rape in a thread that is about rape victims sharing their stories. It is not okay to confess to being a rapist and express remorse to victims of rape in a thread of survivors, not the least because it’s extremely triggering (I am and will continue to avoid speculating on motives, because I feel that is unfair and unwarranted).

    It’s not the conversation I have a problem with. It’s the appropriateness of the space in which that conversation took place. There are other places for people to discuss their guilt and shame over being a rapist, and seek compassion, or come to terms with it. A thread of rape survivors telling their stories IS NOT IT.

  68. says

    Caine @253

    Agreed. It’s still difficult for me to cry, I have this automatic cut off that operates whether I want it to or not,

    There have been many benefits of having raised as male privilege. Chief among them was being able to avoid the being targeted aspect of the rape culture for my formative years.

    But one of the big negatives has been the way it is almost impossible to cry. When I was bullied as a kid, the advice was always to show no emotion or reaction so that I wouldn’t be such “a good target” (oh, hey, isn’t that suspiciously close to the same victim blaming crap we heap on rape victims). Mix that with the strong cultural messaging that “boys don’t cry” and I slowly learned to drain that aspect of myself, even from the part of myself that was suicidal and painfully depressed.

    Even today, it is really rare that I’m even capable of crying and when I do it’s either like a dam breaking and I’m whaling or it’s a single tear or two in a fucked up shaking head.

  69. mildlymagnificent says

    Well, I think we’re going to have to change the wording of trigger warnings and do some other stuff as well if we insist on that.

    It’s one thing to warn people who are victims/survivors that they might want to avoid text that could trigger panic attacks or specific memories they try to avoid. If we want more discussion, more openly, we have to face the fact that these stories will be read by people who have no such history and no “need” to avoid the text, but reading is just. as. likely. to trigger a dawning horror in someone who was, at some time, on the oblivious other side of that consent divide.

    And even if we adopted a practice of regular reminders throughout such threads that people in that position should go to such and such a forum/ hotline/ discussion group to work through their problems, we still have the issues of the double whammy, those who’ve both been harmed and harmed others themselves – especially for people abused as children. We all know perfectly well that many children signal that things are bad with them – one of those signals is doing to other children what has been done to them. Some of them are forced to do such things as part of the abuse. They have to be able to express themselves somewhere, somehow.

    Otherwise, trigger warnings which save some people from despair or panic leading to self-harming or suicidal thoughts will leave others with the same problem from different or multiple causes.

  70. mildlymagnificent says

    Sorry – I was responding to this …

    There are other places for people to discuss their guilt and shame over being a rapist, and seek compassion, or come to terms with it.

    … and got a bit carried away with thinking about the double whammy problem.

  71. says

    Cerberus:

    Even today, it is really rare that I’m even capable of crying and when I do it’s either like a dam breaking and I’m whaling or it’s a single tear or two in a fucked up shaking head.

    Oh, that’s me too. Every bit.

  72. says

    There are other places for people to discuss their guilt and shame over being a rapist, and seek compassion, or come to terms with it.

    Yeah, fuck him for being a victim of rape and horrible abuse. Oh, fuck all those women in this thread who figured out they had crossed the consent line into rape too.

    :hisses:

    No thank you. I want to be better than that. You know, I addressed this, on the first effing page, when I provided the link to Elyse’s follow up. I said that yes, there could be other places better suited for such discussion, but now I’m just furious, because this line is nothing but harmful.

  73. says

    mildlymagnificent:

    we still have the issues of the double whammy, those who’ve both been harmed and harmed others themselves – especially for people abused as children. We all know perfectly well that many children signal that things are bad with them – one of those signals is doing to other children what has been done to them. Some of them are forced to do such things as part of the abuse. They have to be able to express themselves somewhere, somehow.

    Thank you. Now, I’m going all the way back to J. Doe @143. I told them that they were right, that we don’t talk about such things, because there is a mob waiting to howl and slap us with labels and burn us at the stake. I know how close I came to doing terrible things. I still haven’t talked about the specifics of that in this thread, not because I feel it’s inappropriate, but because I just can’t talk about, not yet.

  74. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Caine,

    Yeah, fuck him for being a victim of rape and horrible abuse. Oh, fuck all those women in this thread who figured out they had crossed the consent line into rape too.

    You know, I am trying really fucking hard to be compassionate and careful in what I say, despite being massively triggered, but this is really unwarranted. Where did I say “fuck him”? WHERE? Because I remember saying that I felt compassion for him, and that I thought he was a moral person, and that he should talk about this. Just not here.

    I think the idea that I too need to find a place where I can talk about this shit and not be triggered is getting really lost. Because my trauma, and the trauma of Elyse and others doesn’t count? Shit. WHERE IS MY SAFE SPACE?

    Mildlymagnificent,

    we still have the issues of the double whammy, those who’ve both been harmed and harmed others themselves – especially for people abused as children. We all know perfectly well that many children signal that things are bad with them – one of those signals is doing to other children what has been done to them. Some of them are forced to do such things as part of the abuse. They have to be able to express themselves somewhere, somehow.

    You’re right. It IS a double-whammy. And I really don’t know how to overcome that. I can only speak for myself that I’m triggered as hell right now.

  75. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    I… I don’t know what to say.

    I’ve spent all day reading this thing and I feel like… god, I actually feel like a Krogan. I literally want to headbutt something, because punching the walls and snarling and snorting like an animal isn’t cutting it anymore. I didn’t even notice until somebody pointed it out, but I’m having to consciously keep the growl out of my voice. I feel like venting too much about MY feelings and how this is affecting ME is self-indulgent and… somehow not right for here and now, but… even the fucked-up, patriarchal silverback gorilla part of me that I usually try to tamp down unless I’m doing a D/s scene is in full-blown chest-thumping harem-defense mode.

    I’m not usually very passionate, at least not openly. I keep my emotions very controlled, and what people here describe as frightening levels of detachment are kind of the norm for me. So I don’t really know what to do with this kind of… rage. I don’t think I’ve ever felt something that I could describe as rage without using hyperbole before, but I feel like biting. I’ll stop now because this is stupid and masturbatory and does nothing for you–nor does it make up for what I’ve done in the past. That, also, doesn’t belong here–Vorbis is one person, and I’m a far less worthy other.

    I’m dancing around things again. This is pointless, and shouldn’t be about ME. YOU are amazing people, every single one of you. The victims, the people supporting the victims, even the people starting to realize that they’re victimizers. This has shattered so many illusions I had about how we work, about how you work. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for confessing. Thank you for accepting and understanding. Thank you so much, all of you. You hurt me terribly and I will always be grateful for it–because there is a difference between hurt and harm, and sometimes hurt can be a very good thing.

    A standing offer for a possibly fatal bearhug remains open, should you have the inclination and spoons. One per customer, please.

    Need sleep. Also crying now. Goodnight.

  76. says

    tashaturner

    She made me ask my friends what they valued about our friendship & regularly read that out loud until I stopped calling it “fake they don’t know the real me”. I still backslide & have to pull out my tools and read & say the stuff out loud sometimes. It’s not easy. It’s not a quick fix. It doesn’t work for everyone.

    I need that external perspective as well because I can’t trust my own (I’m still learning). While I always make genuine compliments and express genuine sympathy I always thought that everybody else was just being polite to me. I didn’t believe them because I knew the truth.
    I still notice it in my own language. When talking about myself I’ll use expressions like “not totally bad” and such. In the best case I’m doing OK. I never do well.

    Ogvorbis
    Yes, things would have been very much better if they had been very different. But that’s not the point. You still think of yourself as having had a choice when you didn’t. No, not even in that room with the 3 girls. You were 12. In Germany it would have taken you 2 more years to become considered remotely capable of being responsible in a criminal sense.
    You remind me of Pratchett’s Sam Vimes who is constantly battleing his own demons, who constantly has to guard himself.

    Cerberus
    I understand what you mean. For years I planned having sex I didn’t want to have. I thought logically about how I could get away with having little sex when I actually wanted no sex. I initiated sex I didn’t want so he would not suspect that I actually didn’t want to have sex. And I faked enthusiasm, and lust, and satisfaction when I was actually just waiting for him to finish.
    At other occasions I would get drunk so I had a very good excuse to turn down his offers. And as I said before, I don’t blame him, because the only way he could have known would have been to read my mind.

  77. says

    Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado
    You know, the problem is that it is the story of a rape survivor. And about a child. It is what the abuse did to that child. And there are other stories here, by other people, about what their abuse and rape turned them into and how they are struggling and coping.
    I am sorry that you are triggered. Maybe it is just not possible to create a safe space for all survivors at the same time, because what helps one person is the pain of another person.
    *safe hugs* if you want them to

  78. anonymous1 says

    lumi, Caine, Dalillama, alexbrookes, Physics or Stamp Collecting, Giliell, and anyone i’ve missed, thank you for your replies. cicely, thanks for the offer of a kitten. That’s a comforting offer. Thank you to everyone who has posted in this thread and especially to everyone who has worked to
    make CCC.

    For me, some of the hardest posts to read said something like: “I was one of the lucky ones. I wasn’t raped.” as if it’s lucky to be only violated in some other way. I’m not criticizing anyone who said that. I understand the sentiment and the reality underlying it but it’s so damn depressing that a Not-Rape violation (which in my experience can be just as bad as rape) is the winning lottery ticket. ugh. Just ugh.

    I think I failed at saying what I really wanted to say and I’m too tired now to articulate it well. I had something better written up but my computer crashed before I’d saved it. But mainly, I wanted to say that the things that happened to me don’t seem very different than what happened to Karen Stollznow, Carrie Poppy, Sadie Crabtree, Ashley Paramore, or the many other people who were harassed or disrespected by CFI and others. To me, they seem to be essentially the same. I wanted to say that we’re all victims/survivors of misogyny and sexism; it’s part of the air we breathe and who we are. (I was thinking of how we’re all like a piece of cloth or a stew but I think your tapestry analogy is better, Caine.)

    I don’t understand how any organization can think that their convenience or egos are more important than the safety and well-being of employees and conference-goers, especially when that org wants to appeal to more women. It feels like all too often our well-being, our safety, our right to dignity, and our right to control our own bodies is less important than the whims of some man who cares less about us than an ice cream cone or a box of toilet paper (or his fun). (I don’t mean to discount the experiences of men who have been harmed because I know they are common and legion as well. I’m focusing on women but am not trying to say that the harm to men is less important or real.) I’d hoped that, somehow, by adding my story, that someone would understand that misogyny causes real harm to real people and that we carry that with us all the time (and get reminded of it all the time) and that the misogyny that permeates our culture hurts us every day, maybe in somewhat different
    ways but each hurt connected and important. Ugh. So tired and inarticulate but I hope you can somehow intuit my meaning from this jumble of words. Mainly, I just hope it helped someone reading this thread to learn that women are real people who you probably know but who don’t usually talk about those things (maybe because others seem like they don’t want to hear about it or don’t care).

    I’m sorry it took me so long to thank everyone who replied to my posts. I was triggered by one of the posts and some of the replies to it. (To be clear: I’m not blaming the posters in any way for my being triggered.) I thought about taking it to the Thunderdome, because I didn’t want to derail the thread and because I didn’t want anyone reading the thread to feel like they needed to reply to me. But it seemed like it wasn’t a good time to take a new issue to the Thunderdome since that might derail the important discussion going on there now or at least be a distraction to it. (And at this point, I’m just way too tired to say anything useful or coherent or probably even comprehensible. And I’m not even sure my concerns are worth discussing.) For future reference, what is the protocol for posting there if I want to discuss something raised by a discussion in a post/article? I wouldn’t want to talk behind someone’s back but I also would not want anyone to feel like zie had any obligation to address whatever I might say there. Again, my apologies for my delay in replying to each of you. I appreciated your comments.

  79. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Gilliel

    I am sorry that you are triggered. Maybe it is just not possible to create a safe space for all survivors at the same time, because what helps one person is the pain of another person.
    *safe hugs* if you want them to

    Thank you for that, truly.

  80. anonymous1 says

    FWIW, the post that triggered me didn’t have a trigger warning per se in it. and, to me at least, it didn’t warn that the poster was going to talk about abusing children. (i know that people who know the poster probably guessed at what was coming but i did not.) such a warning would have helped me. (probably – i may have read the post anyway bc i was pretty tired and detached at that point anyway.) i’m not trying to tell you how to run the comments here or say how you should address this issue (because I’m sure there are competing concerns), only say that a clear, specific warning (e.g., Trigger Warning: I will talk about how I sexually abused a child) would probably help some of us avoid being triggered, especially in a thread where people are discussing their own rapes.

  81. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Cyranothe2nd, I am so sorry. This is really hard for me to deal with too, because both the incidences I related here were perpetrated by teenagers (16-17 when it started) so it’s hard to read. It really, really is.

    That said, I did find it very valuable, and I agree with you that it is an aspect of rape culture that does need to be discussed.

    Would something like what mildlymagnificent suggested, that trigger warnings be more specific and say something like “TW: Discussion of harm to others after abuse” be something that would help the situation and make it more comfortable for you here, now, in this thread?

  82. anonymous1 says

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate.

    Would something like what mildlymagnificent suggested, that trigger warnings be more specific and say something like “TW: Discussion of harm to others after abuse” be something that would help the situation and make it more comfortable for you here, now, in this thread?

    Gen, i know your question wasn’t addressed to me but what you suggest wouldn’t have been helpful to me. i would have assumed that the person was going to talk about how they punched out someone who grabbed them and started fondling them or something like that. i would NOT have guessed that the comment would be talking about someone sexually abusing a child.

  83. says

    anonymous1 @417 (nearly caught up to the second page at least)

    this, to me, is the worst part of the whole shitty situation. it’s awful to be groped or raped or used or abused. there are no words to express how bad it is. but the part where you are expected to make it invisible – to erase your self, your feelings, your experiences – and act as if nothing happened bc what happened to you is not important compared to the reputation or honor of the perp or to the regular functioning of the rest of the world (whether that be a job, a family, a school, whatever) is maddening.

    Fuck, this resonates. When my employer to be named later was discriminating against me for being trans* with various gaslighting, victim-blaming, petty cuts against my sanity and my survival instincts, and of course slashing my hours, I still had to go in on the rare days when I was scheduled and preform my best. I was really lucky because I am really really good at working blue, preforming at 100% in providing a memorable teaching experience no matter what was going on, but sometimes before things started I was little more than a dead-eyed homunculus before it was “game time” and there were times when I exited where I was just sitting in my car completely broken.

    I think furthermore on the law that allows people to shoot other living people because they broke into a home and tried to steal stuff, just meaningless useless goods and services. So much in our society so thoroughly privileges capitalism that things become far more worthy than people ever will. And it seems no wonder in this fucked up capitalism that we’ve come to view at the majority people as less than things, their suffering less than the wasting of time or money or corporate profit making, and most importantly, the privileging of a patriarchal transaction model of sex that allows greedy fuckhead rapists to feel they are “owed” sex by putting in some paltry amount of basic human behavior. And often, not even that.

    And I’ll stop there before I drift too much further off topic.

  84. says

    TRIGGER WARNING:

    One more non-consenty thing before I pick up where I left off. A weird reversal of what far too many of you have gone through. I teach science to grade school children. This summer I worked for a summer science camp program and it was about the time that parents were picking up their kids. One kid, who was already a bit of a concern I was trying to figure out how to help because he was saying that he wasn’t able to read among other difficulties and his parents were entirely absent from everything. Anyways, while I’m talking to parents, he comes up and tries to get my attention.

    By grabbing my breasts. To be fair to the kid, I have been back in an iron clad closet ever since what happened with my douchebag employers, so I was for all intensive purposes a male teacher in his eyes. To be less fair, he did not just pat my chest for attention but full on grabbed onto my breasts. And to make it worse, when I shrugged the kid off and politely said “please don’t touch me there” and “that’s not a good place to touch” (bitterly holding back the words “a girl”) he kept on continuing to do so forcing me to awkwardly shield my breasts with my hands. Needless to say it was incredibly triggering, but I couldn’t react much at all because there was a whole stream of parents who were giving me their full attention and wouldn’t be able to understand why the teacher was freaking out over something so “innocent”, especially since again they were supposedly “male”.

    When I got home, I was pretty much devastated because I was in the process of learning to emotionally enjoy the sensitivity of my breasts and didn’t want them to become heavily triggered like my thigh had become after that assault. I actually spent a session weeping that I really didn’t want those to be triggered. Which is stupid, because I’m sure the kid didn’t mean anything by it and needed to be carefully taught about consent and how you need consent to touch someone.

    Which is what I should have done. I should have circled back to him the next day and let him know that that was not a proper way to get someone’s attention and giving him the 101 on consent. But I didn’t.

    Instead I did something I had sworn I would never do as a teacher. I completely gave up on the kid. I didn’t put any effort into trying to figure out ways to engage him further and overcome his unique nature. When he asked for help, I told him I would help him after everyone else who asked before him. And when it was my turn to help him, I was often cold and distant and spent the minimum amount of time with him I could before moving on to other students. I’d send the assistants occasionally to check in on him, but if there were multiple people who needed help, I’d send them elsewhere and did not correct them when they said he was difficult (even though I usually smack that talk down hard when I hear it). When he cut corners, I never called him on it, because it meant he would need less help overall.

    I’m not proud of it. I was mostly just terrified he’d realize that I hated him inside for reasons that had less to do with him than traumas completely unrelated. It still feels awkward to talk about because what kind of whiny fuck complains about a child groping them. But this thing happened and it affected me and I think it’s worth sharing, because other people’s comments on talking about consent with kids is really powerful to me and I think it’s something I could really improve on.

  85. says

    P.S. The kid in my previous comment was 10, not that I think that makes a great amount of difference. He was still far too young to grasp any real thing about that kind of stuff. And I really should have said something so that he can be aware of it when he does start approaching puberty and is receiving a lot of bad social messages on how to touch other people. It’s my job as a teacher to do that sort of thing. And in that case, I full out ran from that responsibility.

  86. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    Cerberus @607

    Hell, don’t waste it on me–I’m not a victim. Never been abused that I can remember, except inasmuch as raising an abuser is a form of abuse. And frankly, that puts an unfair amount of blame on my parents, who are wonderful people–my mother in particular, who looking back taught me things that made me ready for this place, this movement. I used to think she was silly when she invoked rape to try and shame me out of teasing girls–but now I realize she was trying to teach little me about consent. It didn’t take very well until I met you folks–old me is very lucky he died a virgin.

  87. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    anonymous1,

    Gen, i know your question wasn’t addressed to me but what you suggest wouldn’t have been helpful to me. i would have assumed that the person was going to talk about how they punched out someone who grabbed them and started fondling them or something like that. i would NOT have guessed that the comment would be talking about someone sexually abusing a child.

    I’m so sorry, I didn’t see your post about also being triggered when I replied. I didn’t mean to exclude you, and I appreciate your response very much.

    Are you saying that the example I’ve given is still too broad of a trigger warning, or that you don’t think that trigger warnings (like, to use your phrasing, “Trigger warning: talking about when I sexually abused a child would be helpful at all?

    I desperately do not want anyone to feel that they can not/should not participate in this incredible thread we’ve built.

  88. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    i’m not trying to tell you how to run the comments here or say how you should address this issue (because I’m sure there are competing concerns), only say that a clear, specific warning

    anonymous1, sorry again. I only now saw that you already answered my question in your post.

    I also wanted to say that your contributions have been awesome and incredibly insightful.

    There is currently a huge discussion on another post about the commenting policy here where PZ is actually soliciting us telling him how to run comments here, if you are interested in adding anything.

    I know I can only speak for myself, but I would love it if you would comment more often and would love to see what we can do as a collective to facilitate that for you and other hopefully soon-to-be new posters of your caliber.

  89. anonymous1 says

    Cerberus von Snarkmistress @ 606

    the situation with the school sounds awful. i’m glad you were able to function well as a teacher, even if it meant shutting down your feelings. but none of it should have happened.

    i’m too tired to really respond to your post @608 but

    yeah, you messed up. you shouldn’t have let your being triggered by that kid interfere with being a good teacher. but it’s also really messed up that the kid grabbed your breasts like that. i’m sorry that happened to you and that you had to hide the problem from the parents there because they probably would have treated you as less than or unworthy because you’re trans*. it’s just another example of having to make your problem invisible so that other people aren’t uncomfortable or don’t make a bad situation even worse because you’re somehow an other to them instead of a full, real person. it’s understandable that you were triggered bc it’s a crappy situation. for you and for the kid (who was probably othered as well).

    anyway, you messed up. (but you clearly weren’t the only one who messed up in that situation. and i know teachers who would have basically ignored the kid/minimized their time with them even if he hadn’t done something so triggering to him.) you’re human. we all mess up sometimes. and now maybe you have better tools to teach kids about consent so that if it happens again (and i hope it doesn’t), you can do better. that’s all any of us can do: try to do better the next time so that we don’t keep making the same mistake over and over and over.

    sorry if this didn’t make sense. i’m dead tired. it’s meant as support to you in case that wasn’t clear. (i hope it was.)

    Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe @ 610

    i think everyone needs support. as you said, we’re all broken and warped. every one of us. all we can do is try to overcome it and try our best to avoid letting our own brokenness hurt others, try to be as empathetic as possible.

  90. says

    Caine @471

    *SAFE HUGS* You’re beau is a good one, he’ll understand and love you and support you the same as any of us would. If not, he’ll have to suffer all of us giving him the mother of all stinkeyes.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a day where I wasn’t afraid I’d lose that control. So many days, afraid I’d just let go and allow the cold fury to swallow me and start killing.

    I’m straying off topic again and I feel terrible about it, but that fear over that exact thing nearly got me killed. In middle school, I had a murderous fury in me. I recognize now it had to do with the bullying I was receiving (bullying for being queer, even though it would take me many more years to figure that sort of thing out for myself), the self-hatred of my gender dysphoria, and my proto awareness that the script being handed to me as someone assumed to be male was hideously broken and abusive to women. But at the time, I was terrified. I ran so far away from that side of myself that I turned to my self-hatred, my depression, my suicidal ideation.

    If I turned it all inwards, then it wouldn’t hurt anyone else after all. So I didn’t even bother to check myself when I started cutting and I didn’t even think to keep an eye on that side of myself up until the point when I attempted suicide, only saving myself at the last minute.

    As you said earlier, that fury is not always a bad thing and certainly doesn’t make you a bad person. And your, mine, and Ogvorbis’s control are all inside us. We’re not going to become the monsters we fear. Not anymore. Not ever.

    And it’s okay for all of us to believe that.

  91. anonymous1 says

    so triggering to him

    apologies. i was thinking of the kid when i said him (i’d edited my sentence).

  92. tami says

    Cerberus @608

    I understand your reaction to the child groping…albeit innocently. I also understand your response.

    I’m a primary teacher having spent most of my short career with kindergarten, first, and now, third grades. During that time I have been touched in places I didn’t want touched. The worst situation occurred while I was teaching first grade…6 and 7 year olds.

    During a transition when the students were moving around the room putting things away and getting ready for the next activity, one of the boys came up to me…I was sitting on the floor waiting for the children to join me. He plopped himself in my lap…which I do not allow, btw, and started to tell me something. I know it was completely innocent…probably an indication that he was just very comfortable with me. When he finished his comment, I responded…and then reminded him that it’s ok to sit in his mom’s lap, but it would be better if he didn’t do that with his teachers.

    He pulled himself up using the front of my blouse for leverage. The top button tore off, his hand slipped into my bra…and I felt his fingernails scrape along me. I don’t think he had a clue what he had done, because he got up and went about his business.

    I, however, was massively triggered…the button ripping off, the hand on my breast….I forced myself to focus…telling myself that this was a child, not the person who hurt me…but for a long time after that I couldn’t sit on the floor with the students and couldn’t get too close to this little boy.

    The thing is…this sort of thing happens all the time with little ones and I had never had a problem before. Other children have touched my breasts, or my legs, or butt while trying to get my attention. It’s not uncommon when you work with 5-8 year olds. The difference in this case was the button. The first time I was raped…all the buttons of my blouse were ripped off as it was torn off of me…and feeling that “pop” on my blouse, feeling the touch on my breast…and seeing the button flip to the floor set off a chain reaction that lasted for days.

    My point is…that a trigger, by definition, startles us. We don’t expect it…and sometimes we are triggered in innocent situations by innocent people. A child, in your case, a ten year old, would have no way of knowing. Yes…I know you know that…but that doesn’t mean that what happened wasn’t real trigger. It may have been accidental. It may have been completely innocent. It may have been something that, under other circumstances you would not have noticed at all. It still startled you. It still hurt. You have a right to react how you react. Don’t blame yourself for something you didn’t do.

    Maybe there were things you cold have done differently afterwards…you seem to think so, but perhaps you needed to protect yourself even the next day and the next. That’s completely understandable. Every teacher has those moments when she thinks “I should have handled that differently” or, “I should have explained to him the next day.” It happens because we’re human, too. We’re not perfect. We react to our triggers because that’s who we are.

  93. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    Cerberus @607

    Wait, who am I kidding? Old me would have gotten away with it–he DID get away with what he did do, and he could have done so much more. That’s what makes me want to chew on my bedside table until it breaks or my teeth do! I’m autistic, so I was brought up like a god damn time bomb. Like it was just a matter of time before I wound up either beaten to death by police or in jail for crossing a line I didn’t even know existed! And it turns out I could have gotten away with anything! We live in such a fucked up society that everything wrong with me vanishes into this cosmic background rape radiation, and my neurotic overcompensation in the opposite direction makes every woman I’m with treat me like I’m some kind of sex Jesus who beamed down from another planet! How in the fuck did the world get so bad that I qualify as a decent human being?!

  94. tami says

    Oh my…I’m so sorry…I screwed up seriously. I didn’t put a trigger warning on my @616!!

    Please, please forgive me.

  95. says

    anonymous @613

    Yeah, I know. It’s the one black spot on an otherwise pretty damn good record. There have been so many other kids I have gone that extra thousand miles for. There was a moment where I really risked myself by coming out very briefly then moving on before they could process it, because I really wanted to hammer home a point about men and women being able to do the same things as a counter to some sexist teasing of a girl student in another class. It was stupid and could have really really fucked me over, but I needed to hammer the point home.

    But that kid… I failed him. I failed the opportunity and most of all, I’ve probably failed the women or men he will interact with in his pubescent years because a teacher who understood and had the opportunity to reach out when it mattered, didn’t.

    I’ve been taking a class for trans* survivors of rape recently and one of the talks we had was on the three big responses to rape and trauma, fight, flight, and freeze. I froze for my rape and for this minor thing I fled. I understand now more of why I did that, but that sure as hell didn’t make it right for me to do so when so many future people interacting with that kid were counting on me to help teach him.

    If he goes on to rape in his life, it will be all my fault and I have to live with that because of my own damnable cowardice. As you say, all I can do is promise to do better next time and shoot for that 99.999% success rate.

  96. tami says

    Damn … We need an edit comment feature.

    I am so stupid…I put the words Trigger warning in brackets… “” and the did the same at the end to end the trigger warning. I didn’t stop to think that the site would see that as HTML and delete it since “trigger warning” isn’t an HTML code.

    I’m so sorry!!!

  97. mildlymagnificent says

    yeah, you messed up. you shouldn’t have let your being triggered by that kid interfere with being a good teacher.

    Well if any of my 10 year old students did that to my always female breasts, I’d be righteously pissed off – and maybe triggered. In any school or other educational facility here, that would raise at least a discussion among teachers about the possibility of a Mandatory Report or maybe a talk to the parents if the child has some developmental delay that means they’d have to do some urgent socialisation preventive/ remedial work.

    I’d say the real problem was your toxic work environment that didn’t allow you to discuss how to deal with the child with other professionals in a level-headed way. I’m pretty sure most of the women teachers I know wouldn’t be backward about coming forward if that happened to them.

  98. anonymous1 says

    Gen, no apologies necessary. i hadn’t seen any of Cyranothe2nd’s posts when i posted my comment. and they were up FAR longer than mine had been at the time you posted. (it takes me forever to try to proofread, especially when i’m tired and i’m dead tired. my vision gets really blurry and i can’t type well so you can imagine the hilarity.) thanks for the reply.

    i think trigger warnings can be very helpful (even though i forgot to put one in my reply to Cerberus. doh!). i don’t think they’re perfect because sometimes people forget (or, e.g., start off meaning to talk about A but then end up talking about B as well and forget to change the trigger warning to include B when B is either something pretty different than A or, for many people, much worse than A) and, if you get too specific, some people may get triggered by the warning itself. also, sometimes people ignore a warning, either because they didn’t see it or because the overestimated their ability to handle the info covered in the comment (or, e.g, because the trigger warning wasn’t clear to them, even though it may have seemed clear to the person who made the comment – we all tend to understand our own writing far better than others do. lol) i’m sure there can be other problems as well. that’s why i gave an example of what would work well for me.

  99. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    Cerberus @620

    No. Don’t do that to yourself. Please.

    It will not be your fault. None of this is on you. It’s the septic bullshit he soaks up his whole life, the same stuff that made him do that in the first place. Just hope and… well, just hope, I guess, that he’ll rise above it. Be a Joel. There’s always hope–our children WILL be better than us. At least a little.

  100. tami says

    Cerberus @620

    I agree with Jonathan @624.

    My point in my comment @616 was that you can forgive yourself for what you did. As a teacher I’m always analyzing what I did and thinking that I could have done something better. It’s the nature of the work. This situation is, I grant you, different than analyzing why the child didn’t understand a math or science concept, but the point is that, as a human being, we do things that we wish we could correct later (like my lack of a trigger warning in 616!).

    Your assumption that “If he goes on to rape in his life, it will be all my fault and I have to live with that because of my own damnable cowardice” is a case of black and white thinking. Your behavior won’t make him a rapist. His future behavior is not ALL your responsibility.

    I know it’s hard to do, but pull yourself out of the situation and think about what you would tell a colleague who had made a mistake with a child…

  101. anonymous1 says

    Cerberus@620

    yeah, i want to rescue everyone too. so far, it sounds like you’re doing a much better job than i am. but it’s really painful when you didn’t help someone that you could have. it’s really hard to admit that you can’t save the entire world all by yourself.

    but we all have limits and sometimes they keep us from saving the world. it doesn’t mean we can’t try, though. or blame ourselves when we don’t. ;)

    i really hate running hard into my own limitations but i’m really not a superwoman or mythical being. not yet anyway. ;)

    it sounds like you’re a really good teacher. i hope you can let that sink in as much as the frustration/blame/self-doubt does when you’re not perfect.

  102. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Cerberus

    I’d say the real problem was your toxic work environment that didn’t allow you to discuss how to deal with the child with other professionals in a level-headed way. I’m pretty sure most of the women teachers I know wouldn’t be backward about coming forward if that happened to them.

    Absolutely this. Also what anonymous1 said.

    Anonymous1 623

    That makes a ton of sense. I’ve also realized as I read some more and thought some more, that you don’t always know what will be triggering before it actually triggers you, as Tami also mentioned. Perhaps Giliell was right when she said:

    Maybe it is just not possible to create a safe space for all survivors at the same time, because what helps one person is the pain of another person.

    If this was a forum, it would have been easy for a mod to split the thread off so both groups of survivors could be safe at once. *hint hint nudge nudge PHARYNGULORUM FTW*

  103. says

    tami @616

    I think that was another startling aspect of that. I’ve taught K-12 kids for a good bit now, but that was the first time I’ve been touched in that way… or rather, now that I think about it, you’re probably right that the other touches have just been background noise. A little kid tugs on your coat and you don’t really pay that any never mind. I guess I’ve been rather lucky. *Appropriate Comforting Gesture* for what you went through in your own trigger moment.

    Jonathan @617

    Maybe it is a sign of our culture that people like you doing the bare minimum are treated like a breath of fresh air and maybe that can feel like so much nothing.

    But for those coming off of a long string of those who couldn’t even manage that, it really is and it’s an important start. Something that needs to happen more and more if we’re going to fix the rot.

    And I understand the trepidation. Back when I thought I was male, when I first started dating my partner, I was in that boat. And I was almost angry that simply not being a rapist was something of a revelation, something so refreshing to where she had so recently been that it was allowing her space to process what had happened to her. But that simple act meant something and continues to mean something.

    It may feel like nothing, but to those you interact with, it’s not.

    anonymous1 @615

    Honestly what you’re apologizing for is flying right over head, but I appreciate that you took the time to do so, anyways.

  104. anonymous1 says

    Cerberus@620

    If he goes on to rape in his life, it will be all my fault and I have to live with that because of my own damnable cowardice. As you say, all I can do is promise to do better next time and shoot for that 99.999% success rate.

    and i forgot to address this. what others said above.

    if this happens (and i doubt that it will), it will not be your fault. it won’t. i hope you can stop feeling so guilty about that possibility. i think it’s called catastrophic thinking (but i may be remembering wrong). anyway, it’s easy to imagine the very worst possible thing that might happen from your mistake and then assume it’s likely to happen and then blame yourself for it all. it’s a way to beat yourself up for not being perfect. i think it’s common in abuse survivors but it happens with other people as well.

  105. anonymous1 says

    Gen @ 627

    Maybe it is just not possible to create a safe space for all survivors at the same time, because what helps one person is the pain of another person.

    i agree but i think specific trigger warnings help a lot. i think that’s probably the best compromise if you can get regular posters to all buy into it.

    If this was a forum, it would have been easy for a mod to split the thread off so both groups of survivors could be safe at once. *hint hint nudge nudge PHARYNGULORUM FTW*

    this is an excellent idea.

  106. says

    anonymous @629

    it’s a way to beat yourself up for not being perfect.

    Fuck.

    Yeah, I’ve just started noticing that I’ve been being really emotionally abusive to myself lately and holding myself to perfection standards has been my main way of beating myself up. It hasn’t helped that I’ve spent the last so many months basically having to live a perfection standard whether it was making sure my household could keep the bills paid or making sure I didn’t lose the job that was actively trying to fire me nor the ones after. I couldn’t miss a step, so it got really easy to do some horrible things to myself in service to that.

    Thanks for calling me out on that.

    And that goes ditto for Gen, tami, Jonathan, and mildly magnificent.

  107. says

    Ogvorbis @502

    See, I don’t see hurting myself as hurting a person.

    Caine @504

    I have this problem. I’ve never been able to solve it, either.

    I know exactly what you mean. Not only have I been there and have those scars, but I still have that part of me in me, being a sneaky little fuck and smearing that poison wherever it can.

    So believe me that what I’m about to say comes from complete understanding and all the love in the world:

    That is complete bullshit and you know it.

    You are both people. Wonderful amazing, compassionate rockstars of people. And you should never let that poisonous creature that sits in your heads lead you to its sick delusion that you are anything less.

    You are worth everything. You deserve a mind that leaves you alone from time to time and treat you with the respect you both deserve.

    And on that note:

    A giant appropriate physical gesture of comfort for Mellow Monkey as well. You are not a monster. Your righteous fury does not make you less than, nor inherently dangerous. There are three main responses: fight, flight, freeze. None more or less noble than the others. Choosing fight that one time, despite all the socialization, is not evil. Is not wrong. Is not in some way a condemnation on you rather than simply the automatic response of someone going through a traumatic event.

    All of you, take it from someone very good at ripping themselves apart, you are all worthy and deserve better than this from your treasonous fucking brains.

  108. tami says

    Cerberus @ 631 and 632

    …about beating yourself up, not considering yourself “a person” and just the difficulty we have because we see ourselves as “bad.”

    I have been vicious…to my husband for being there when I was filled with rage and to myself for being the kind of person a rapist would choose. I hated myself…blamed myself…and charged myself with being responsible for all sorts of things which were completely out of my control. Don’t get me wrong…I still do that, even after all these years of therapy…but now at least, I can look back at my behavior and remind myself that it wasn’t productive…and that I’m not to blame for every bad thing in the world.

    One of my best therapists talked to me about being loving. He taught me that no matter what, I had to keep my behavior loving towards the people I loved — obvious, though not always easy. Even if I didn’t agree with what they did or said. In other words, I could respond without being mean, vicious or cruel. I could get angry at, but still love my daughter.

    Then he added something that made the idea of “loving behavior” even harder. He said “Your goal is to keep your behavior loving towards everyone you love…including yourself.”

    I asked what would happen if I didn’t love myself…and he responded that if I acted loving towards myself then that, along with whatever else I was doing in therapy, would help me learn to love myself again.

    I’m not there yet…there are steps forward and steps back all the time…but it’s something worth working on.

    You were able to tell Ogvorbis and Caine that they were wonderful, amazing compassionate people. So are you. You just need to remind yourself…you just need to be as loving to yourself as you are to others.

  109. says

    Gileill @597

    Even though I know intimately that I’m not the only one who has done that, it’s still really randomly comforting to hear you say that. Thank you.

    Cyranothe2nd-

    I am so so sorry you’ve been made to feel that way. I wish there was space for those worried about perpetuating the cycle and those like you. I wish you could feel safe here in this thread while allowing it to be safe for other responses.

    And I’m sorry you’ve been left triggered and raw about even bringing up your discomfort posting knowing the pain and personal stories it would invariably touch and the response that would illicit.

    All I can offer is my support in the physically appropriate form that is best for you.

  110. says

    tami @633

    This is one direct way that this thread has helped me. To understand what I was doing to myself and how badly I was fucking myself up in the name of “making things better” or “avoiding future pain in the form of people’s disappointment in me”. I’m going to be having some conversations with loved ones to try and get their help in keeping me from getting lost in that sneaky spiral. And I don’t think that would have been possible or that I would have even realized what was going on if it hadn’t been for this thread, so thank you one and all for your brave stories.

    Maybe it’s my youth, but something about this thread feels transformative. There’s no trolls and we’re actually processing things, coming together, really speaking up for ourselves. I think threads like this are the reason that trolls invade so quickly and derail conversations to rehashes of 101 concepts. Because this thread here is powerful in so many ways.

    And with that said, I’m finally all caught up. Time to take these tired bones to bed.

  111. says

    Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe:

    We’re all so broken and warped. Every single one of us.

    Yes.

    But what comforts me (or energizes me, as the mood happens) is to think, “But I’m still here.”

  112. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Gen @ 603,

    Would something like what mildlymagnificent suggested, that trigger warnings be more specific and say something like “TW: Discussion of harm to others after abuse” be something that would help the situation and make it more comfortable for you here, now, in this thread?

    Yes, I think more specific trigger warnings might be a good idea. I don’t want to turn every thread into an exercise for every commenter to inventory what might/might not trigger someone, but in specific threads like this, yes I think it would be good. I’ll mosey onto the other thread and suggest it. :) Thanks!

  113. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado

    I’m struggling with my response to you as well.

    I’m not one who believes that all porn is abuse, but such women exist – right here on FtB. There are plenty of women who believe that consuming porn pays for their abuse.

    With respect and gentleness, admitting you funded someone else’s rape and then wanting other people to validate that in a thread about survivors could be seen as just as triggering as the substance of what Og said (although his story does take up more space than your ‘nym).

    I know I know I know that that is not what you mean by your nym – but you know that that is how people [many people!] understand what you’re saying.

    There are places where you and I would be banned from rape threads just because of our ‘nyms.

    I am sorry you are triggered, but I’m glad we can have a space like this where potentially triggering things can be mentioned. If we can’t talk about things that might trigger other people, we can’t solve rape. And me? I want it the F gone.

    I don’t think your post deploring Jane Doe’s statement or Ogvorbis’s statement is inappropriate or unwelcome here. But Pharyngula is a place where we prioritize saying important things over saying things in the appropriate time and place and manner. So I will continue to utterly and conspicuously fail to deplore the placement of the staements by Doe and Ogvorbis, while noting that it’s a little self-privileging to write in here under “ladyporn aficionado” while deploring other persons’ insensitivity to survivors of rape.

  114. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Gen/Anonymous1

    If this was a forum, it would have been easy for a mod to split the thread off so both groups of survivors could be safe at once. *hint hint nudge nudge PHARYNGULORUM FTW*

    Nope. The split could only be made after it was realized that the combined thread was hurting people…at which point it would have already hurt people.

    There is no such thing as a safe space.

    I’ll be happy to discuss why I say that in Thunderdome, if anyone wishes.

  115. tami says

    I’m sorry this is so long. There are parts of our stories that are just never told…and when I thought about all the support we’ve been getting here…and all the support my husband has given me…I decided that it was time to acknowledge that.

    Cerberus @635

    “Maybe it’s my youth, but something about this thread feels transformative. There’s no trolls and we’re actually processing things, coming together, really speaking up for ourselves. I think threads like this are the reason that trolls invade so quickly and derail conversations to rehashes of 101 concepts. Because this thread here is powerful in so many ways.”

    I’ll be 36 in three weeks…and have been dealing with these issues in and out of therapy for the last 20 years. I was 16 when I was assaulted the first time. I don’t know how old you are, so I don’t know what you mean by “Maybe it’s my youth.” I have a friend (and colleague) who refers to me young…and compared to him I am :) Nevertheless, I think growth can happen at any time. The “transformative” quality of this thread is, IMHO, because…

    1. As you said, it’s a safe place and we’ve been allowed to express ourselves, tell our stories, listen to others (or not) and vent a bit. I had to leave for a while when it got to be too much for me…I got to a point where I just couldn’t stop crying. The stories…the responses…and most of all, my own thoughts and memories, just became too much for me to handle.

    But, for the same reason you find it transformative I felt the urge to come back here and see what was happening. The safety of the horde has given us the opportunity to be heard. Our pain has been acknowledge…individually at times. Our anger has been expressed and accepted. We’ve been offered unconditional support here. Think how many times you have read the phrase, “I believe you.”

    2. Because of what we have been allowed to talk about here, we’ve expressed feelings which, for some of us, have been hidden for years…feelings of humiliation and shame…embarrassment and rage. In the real world of our outside relationships, those feelings are NOT always accepted. We’re told to get over it, or forget the past, or what’s done is done. Many people who have not experienced what we have experienced just don’t get it. Even those who understand that a horrible thing happened, don’t get the depth of damage that it has caused. My husband, who I have been with — on and off — for the last 15 years, is just now starting to understand how deeply the sexual harassment, assault and abuse of women can scar someone. He is beginning to understand because it affects him, too. He’s also a survivor of my traumas. Our relationship is very complicated…but let me just say that, even though we are separated in our duplex…he on one side and me on the other…we’re still married, we still see each other, and last night, when I needed to cry, he was there, crying with me. More in a minute…

    Having a safe place to express ourselves is what has given this thread so much power. The fact that PZ hasn’t interfered because we know where he stands on these issues…the fact that no trolls have busted up the place…the fact that SO MANY assault and abuse stories have been told (and I’m sure that there are many that haven’t been told, and many details which have been left out)…the fact that people are careful about warnings (and thank you all for forgiving me for forgetting)…

    All those things have made this more than just an informational thread. It’s been therapeutic for me. The horror of reading all our stories is contrasted with the fact that I know I’m not alone here.

    I hope you had a good night’s sleep :)

    Tami

  116. Jackie Papercuts says

    I don’t think we’re broken. We’re damaged and our development has been disrupted. We aren’t functioning the way we’d like to and society definitely isn’t functioning properly. Violated? Sure. Disregarded? Oh boy, yes! But the other definition of broken is defeated, hopeless and despairing. We’re sharing here because we believe it can make a difference. We’re encouraging each other because we believe healing can happen or even if it can’t, that we can hobble forward anyway. We’re even disagreeing because we believe we can do something to make this space better, our understanding better, one another safer. I see people protecting themselves and protecting one another. That’s love to me. That’s hope.
    The quiet, humble, strength displayed on this thread and in Elyse’s original post is awe inspiring. I’m seeing alot of frustration and struggling. Forgive me if I’m going too far in saying this, but I’m not seeing any of you as broken. Your contributions are so valuable to me.

    bro·ken
    ˈbrōkən/Submit
    adjective
    1.
    having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.
    “a broken arm”
    synonyms: smashed, shattered, fragmented, splintered, crushed, snapped; More
    antonyms: whole
    (of a relationship) ended, such as through infidelity.
    “a broken marriage”
    synonyms: failed, ended More
    disrupted or divided.
    “broken families”
    (of an agreement or promise) not observed by one of the parties involved.
    synonyms: flouted, violated, infringed, contravened, disregarded, ignored, unkept More
    antonyms: kept, honored
    2.
    (of a person) having given up all hope; despairing.
    “he went to his grave a broken man”
    synonyms: defeated, beaten, subdued; More

  117. says

    Cerberus:

    *SAFE HUGS* You’re beau is a good one, he’ll understand and love you and support you the same as any of us would. If not, he’ll have to suffer all of us giving him the mother of all stinkeyes.

    :snort: I hope that makes him laugh when he sees it. Erm, Mister C, laugh!

    If I turned it all inwards, then it wouldn’t hurt anyone else after all. So I didn’t even bother to check myself when I started cutting and I didn’t even think to keep an eye on that side of myself up until the point when I attempted suicide, only saving myself at the last minute.

    Oh, yes. I’ve been there.

    As you said earlier, that fury is not always a bad thing and certainly doesn’t make you a bad person. And your, mine, and Ogvorbis’s control are all inside us. We’re not going to become the monsters we fear. Not anymore. Not ever.

    And it’s okay for all of us to believe that.

    Yes, it is okay for all of us to believe that. I think we have to believe that.

    Yeah, I’ve just started noticing that I’ve been being really emotionally abusive to myself lately and holding myself to perfection standards has been my main way of beating myself up.

    Stop that. Right now. Orders.

    You are both people. Wonderful amazing, compassionate rockstars of people. And you should never let that poisonous creature that sits in your heads lead you to its sick delusion that you are anything less.

    The same applies to you, Cerberus.

  118. David Marjanović says

    So, I read the post at the link, and… stunned silence with increased heartrate.

    Now I’m reading this thread, I’m just 100 comments in, and I’ve already found tears in my eyes.

    This is the closest I’ve ever come to crying in front of a computer. I’ve been online for 13 years, and a Pharyngula regular for 7.

    …I guess I’ll do what I always do and leave a huge pile of fluffy hugs on the floor, complete with calming manatees and emergency kittens. I’m still out of words.

    I’ll catch up with the rest of the thread, too.

  119. David Marjanović says

    …That’s supposed to be a gesture of sympathy and deep appreciation on my part. As you can see, I’m still out of words.

  120. Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally says

    With respect and gentleness, admitting you funded someone else’s rape and then wanting other people to validate that in a thread about survivors could be seen as just as triggering as the substance of what Og said (although his story does take up more space than your ‘nym).

    I know I know I know that that is not what you mean by your nym – but you know that that is how people [many people!] understand what you’re saying.

    I did NOT, in fact, know that. So thanks for pointing it out. I have changed my ‘nym to reflect that.

  121. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Cyranothe2nd:

    There were a number of possible positive responses. I didn’t mean to dictate the change of nym you made, but I very much appreciate that you chose one of the positive responses. Thanks.

  122. Ogvorbis: Purveyor of Mediocre Humours! says

    Cyranothe2nd:

    I am sorry. i forgot the trigger warnings. I should have warned what was coming.

    I knew this would burn some bridges. Sorry.

  123. Portia says

    Ogvorbis:

    As far as I’m concerned my wagons are circled around your bridge. Or your wagon can cross the bridge to my wagon circle any time. Or however you want to mix the metaphor.

  124. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The way forward was lit with burning bridges
    -Me, in another context, under another name.

  125. says

    My partner sent me this:

    Read all of Stunned Silence, Really all of it after you refreshed the thread for me, and this.
    I love you, got your back, and want to see your smile in 45 years.

    I haz a heart full of love. And mass amounts of relief.

  126. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    That is awesome, Caine.

    I think I want to keep Pharyngula for me. Ms Crip Dyke doesn’t read it, though of course she knows I do. I think she would appreciate a lot about the culture here, but not everything. She’s glad I have some place to go to talk about things other than with her…though I think she would like me to talk to her directly more often.

    I simply can’t unload everything to her. Nor to people here, but i unload enough here…and other things get addressed sideways through participation in various threads. I’m trying to justify not sharing this with Ms CD, I guess. I don’t know why.

    Back on topic, it’s beautiful that he said that and feels that. It’s even more beautiful that you can share it with him to begin with.

  127. chigau (違う) says

    Caine
    I just caught your #655
    Lots of hugs for you and your partner.
    and I’m glad he liked the song.

  128. says

    Crip Dyke:

    I think I want to keep Pharyngula for me. Ms Crip Dyke doesn’t read it, though of course she knows I do. I think she would appreciate a lot about the culture here, but not everything. She’s glad I have some place to go to talk about things other than with her…though I think she would like me to talk to her directly more often.

    Yep, I understand. I actually feel the same way. Mister doesn’t read here at all, unless there’s something in particular I call his attention to, then he generally reads the OP only, not the comments. He prefers his internet to be minimally interactive, and filtered through me. I took a bit of a coward’s way out in asking him to read this whole thread. I asked him to start while he was away at work (he spends four days a week in Dickinson/Gladstone), just saying that it was important to me he read it. I immediately regretted doing that, but took a deep breath and stuck with it.

    I asked him because he gets to deal with all the fallout from having so many threads about rape, sexism and all that, especially lately. He deals with me when I’m in a rage, when I’m a ball curled under the table, shaking, crying or not crying and threatening bodily harm if he gets near me, and yada, yada, yada. He’s a wonderful person, and he’s put up with me for over 34 years, but sometimes, a person is owed a greater understanding and an explanation. I figured it was time. I also have an incredibly difficult time trying to talk directly with him about these things. I just get the same old “don’t talk” imperative I’ve had all my life kick in. It’s easier for me to talk on the ‘net.

    I simply can’t unload everything to her. Nor to people here, but i unload enough here…and other things get addressed sideways through participation in various threads. I’m trying to justify not sharing this with Ms CD, I guess. I don’t know why.

    I know it’s really difficult for you. You are not alone in that, please remember that. You still have every ounce of support and care and empathy I can muster. You are a tower of strength in these threads, whether you realize that or not. You don’t owe anyone your story, and yes, that includes Ms CD. All that will happen when and if you are ready, not before. You don’t need a justification. All you need to know is that you love one another, and trust one another as much as you possibly can. The rest will follow.

  129. cicely says

    Fresh shipment of *hugs* and *other acceptable non-intrusive-and-refusable gestures of support and comfort*
    Also: Baby red pandas playing in the snow.

    Maybe it is just not possible to create a safe space for all survivors at the same time, because what helps one person is the pain of another person.

    And I think that this is it; the realization that there is no panacea, no one, single thing that can help everybody who needs help…any more than there is only one “script” defining rape.
     
    We just have to muddle along as best we can, helping each other piecemeal, using whatever seems to help on an individual basis.

    I knew this would burn some bridges. Sorry.

    Ogvorbis, this bridge right here is still intact.
    *hugs*

    Caine, it was the threat of The Stinkeye.
    :D
    Srsly, I’m very glad for you…and for him.
    -

  130. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    And I think that this is it; the realization that there is no panacea, no one, single thing that can help everybody who needs help…any more than there is only one “script” defining rape.

    I’m glad to have this shared, but it points to the super-vast gulf between non-trans* and trans* survivors. We have been told, literally for decades, that we can’t tell our stories or work in shelters or answer crisis lines because our existence is triggering for many rape survivors.

    And being told that is triggering for me, a trans* woman whose femininity was used as an excuse by my abusers to beat and rape me.

    I’m perfectly happy to remove this to TD if required, but the fact that non-trans* survivors can still be “realizing” this renders me the very definition of ambivalent: glad we’ve progressed since I started anti-violence work in 86 and anti-violence-against-trans-folk work in 92, but horrified that y’all can just now be realizing that not every survivor-oriented space is safe for all survivors.

    Really?

  131. Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally says

    Ogvorbis,

    I am sorry. i forgot the trigger warnings. I should have warned what was coming.

    I knew this would burn some bridges. Sorry.

    Thank you for the apology, truly. Last night I was in a bad space and yes, trigger warnings were def needed. That said, there’s no bridge burned here as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think you are a bad person. I don’t think your intentions were bad, or that you meant harm. So, thank you so much for the apology, but you take care of yourself too, okay? (((Jedi hugs if you want them))) Remember, you’re a valuable and loved person.

  132. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Just for the sake of doing so, I’m going to say that I was profoundly moved by this thread. In both good ways and bad.

    So, um, here’s the tea cart. Fresh tea, coffee, and baked goods.

  133. says

    Crip Dyke:

    but horrified that y’all can just now be realizing that not every survivor-oriented space is safe for all survivors

    I’ll stand with you on this. I’m surprised myself. Also, speaking only for myself here, I want spaces which are more inclusive, not exclusive. Yes, care must be taken, to protect everyone, and make spaces as safe as possible, however, change will not take place if harsh limits and exclusivity are allowed to dominate the discussion.

  134. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Crip Dyke

    I’m perfectly happy to remove this to TD if required, but the fact that non-trans* survivors can still be “realizing” this renders me the very definition of ambivalent: glad we’ve progressed since I started anti-violence work in 86 and anti-violence-against-trans-folk work in 92, but horrified that y’all can just now be realizing that not every survivor-oriented space is safe for all survivors.

    How this works re: race and survivors is still percolating through a lot of brains, too. There have been a lot of efforts–a lot–meant to challenge rape culture that end up pretty much coding it as an issue for white cis woman alone.

  135. tashaturner says

    @668 Crip Dyke

    but horrified that y’all can just now be realizing that not every survivor-oriented space is safe for all survivors.

    I’m not surprised as some people were just realizing they’d been raped. A number sounded like they have not had help/support or the help they got was worse than none. I know even with all the therapy I’ve gotten and my therapists knowing I talk with others who have been raped they have never given me any advice on what to do/not to do other than try to get people into therapy.

    That doesn’t mean that things shouldn’t be better and can’t get better. It just means we need to talk more about how to get there. And we need to do more education about the greater picture.

  136. Portia says

    I’m perfectly happy to remove this to TD if required, but the fact that non-trans* survivors can still be “realizing” this renders me the very definition of ambivalent: glad we’ve progressed since I started anti-violence work in 86 and anti-violence-against-trans-folk work in 92, but horrified that y’all can just now be realizing that not every survivor-oriented space is safe for all survivors.

    How this works re: race and survivors is still percolating through a lot of brains, too. There have been a lot of efforts–a lot–meant to challenge rape culture that end up pretty much coding it as an issue for white cis woman alone.

    Thank you both for all the food for thought. If you have the spoons and wish to elaborate, I’d love to hear about it some more. Or if you have good links I could use to educate myself. I’ll do some googling too.

  137. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Portia, this is a quick example of the kind of thing I was referring to. TW for the n-word.

    SlutWalk in particular has a lot of problematic elements on this topic, but this is an issue that goes way back.

    If this is too OT, I can bop on over to the TDome.

  138. Portia says

    I’ll meet you there, The Mellow Monkey.

    I remember reading a lot of criticism of SlutWalk but nothing I really groked. I’ll check out your link, and thanks. See you in the Dome.

  139. says

    Since this thread is still going, I think I want to add my voice in support of the importance of teaching children bodily autonomy. Even to the point of raising “impolite” children who’ll sometimes say “no” to random shit just because they don’t feel like it, no matter how nicely someone asks them.

    The story that’s connected to that is from my childhood, and doesn’t amount to much. Still. Basically what happened was that when I was about 8, one time playing at the lake with my cousin (same age, male), some older dude came by and asked us to help him catch bait for fishing (basically catch minnows or something like that). I thought that was weird, but he asked nicely and didn’t really do any of the things I knew were the bad things adults did, so at no point did I feel like I could say no to his polite request. So I ended up catching minnows (or some other small fish) in a jar, while this dude was “making sure I don’t fall in the water” by holding on to the belt of my pants. That was an unpleasant situation, but at no point did I feel I had the “right” to be impolite to an adult and say I didn’t want to, since he hadn’t crossed any of the lines I was told about.
    Much better to just teach kids that they can say no and whenever they feel like it, no matter how polite or harmless or whatever the adult is.

  140. says

    Jadehawk:

    That was an unpleasant situation, but at no point did I feel I had the “right” to be impolite to an adult and say I didn’t want to, since he hadn’t crossed any of the lines I was told about.

    I’d say unpleasant is an understatement. There’s a tendency to want to shelter “innocence” in children, but from my own experiences and from general observation, I’d say kids have an excellent radar when it comes to creepy, skeevy things, and yes, they should be taught to say no, and that yes, it’s a viable option to say no.

  141. Ogvorbis says

    Have gone back and read a piece of the thread that I missed:

    Soooooo not the place to talk about how you raped some kids once.

    I was telling what happened, what I did, in an effort to relate this as a continuation of the abuse I suffered. I’m sorry. I was out of line.

    Because those of us who were victims of rapes or attempted rapes as chiildren?

    I have, repeatedly (though in different threads) spoken up against this idea (that those who are raped become rapists) and I reject it. I make a choice every day to not be what he tried to train me up into.

    We might not feel so much like telling you you’re an okay person.

    I don’t think I’m an okay person so why should you?

    We might not really want to hear your side of how much you feel like a monster and feel/shame.

    Sorry. Again, I was out of line.

    And you are violating our boundaries by telling your story in *this* space, which was, until you told that story, a space for victims.

    Again, I was telling that part of my history, a part that I did not remember prior to Friday when I read the comment that PZMyers put in from an anonymous victim, because I (wrongly) viewed what I did as a part of what was done to me.

    Again, I apologize. I did not intend to, in any way, make this an unsafe place for real survivors. Not much I can do now. I did something that is, by all accounts, beyond the pale. And I knew that it would expose the lie that I have (unintentionally) promulgated — that I am a nice person. This was just the wrong place for me to be honest (I still think being honest was the right thing for me to do). To you, Cyranothe2nd, and everyone else, I’m apologize. Intent is not magic, right?

  142. says

    Ogvorbis:

    I was out of line.

    Godsfuckingdamnit, you were NOT out of line. A bunch of us were relating similar aspects which were a result of what happened to us.

    I did not intend to, in any way, make this an unsafe place for real survivors.

    You are a real survivor. You have every right to a safe space to talk about your experiences.

    I am absolutely furious, not with Ogvorbis, but with Cyrano. Fucking Fuckety Fuck, this harm is what I worried about. Ogvorbis, you are fine. You are a good person, I still love you, that’s not going to change.

  143. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Og, you are a good soul – a wonderful soul – and your participation on this thread is exactly what i thought in jeopardy from Ct2 – and now it has come to pass.

    I’m so sorry. You deserve the same chance to heal from your abuse as any other survivor, and the same support during your process.

    F the “good survivor” meme. No one has to earn support. You get it because of your innate human value, and because someone else violated that value in a way that demands repair. You are welcome to my ear anytime.

  144. says

    Ogvorbis, I’m posting this on behalf of Mister C, who is still following this thread.

    Ogvorbis, I only know you from what I have read. I think you are a very strong person, and a good person. I’ve loved a rape survivor for 34 years, I know some of your backstory now, and just want to know, I would like you to be my friend in the future, so please, don’t go away.

    Mister C

  145. says

    Crip Dyke:

    F the “good survivor” meme. No one has to earn support. You get it because of your innate human value, and because someone else violated that value in a way that demands repair.

    QFMFT.

    You are welcome to my ear anytime.

    Aye, mine too.

  146. TS says

    I am not sure how appropriate this is, because it is not really much of a history, it seems so completely unserious compared to everything I have read here over the last few days. But this thread also seems to be a good place to unload about these topics. I have never actually mentioned this to anyone before and it is something that has always troubled me.

    As far as I know, I do not really have a history of abuse in my past, I certainly do not remember anything. However, when I was younger, I guess probably 12 or so, my parents sat me down and asked if anyone had ever touched me, or done anything. I was young then (it has been quite a long time so my memory is fuzzy, to be honest my memory of childhood is extremely fuzzy, I only have a few snapshots of it in my mind, usually some embarrassing incident that makes me feel bad now), but I knew what they were getting at. I said no because I did not remember, but for years and years after this I have thought about it on a fairly regular basis, wondering why they asked me about this, if they knew of someone I had been in contact with as a kid that was abusive. We are not a terribly close and lovey family, feelings are not something we talk about. In addition, the area my family is from is pretty rural and big on secrets. So it is something I could never bring up with the family to find out what was going on. I don’t know, it kind of casts a tiny shadow over me sometimes. I have some pretty fucked up kinks and sexual deviancy in my life that I knew about at a pretty early age as well. Sometimes I wonder if there was some sort of formative experience that explains some of this. With my memory of my childhood being so weak I end up wondering what hides in there and where some of my darkness comes from.

  147. standard says

    Caine, 528:

    Not at all obvious, else all of us wouldn’t have thought we were all alone in that.

    Yeah, maybe not the word I wanted right there. I meant that hindsight is 20/20. Pretty shocked that the possibility of other people feeling the Cold never occurred to me. If I could feel it after what happened to me, how could it possibly elude people who had it as bad or worse?

    Oh, and my regards to Mister. He seems a kind sort.

  148. billingtondev says

    Ogvorbis
    I have read lots of what you have written here, but have not interacted with you very much.
    But I would just like to say this to you: If there was some weird shift in time and space, and I was having to choose a safe and responsible adult to look after my kids when they were little, and you were one of the options, I would choose you.
    Every. Single. Time.
    Because there is not a skerrick of doubt in my mind that that would be the safest possible choice I could make for them.

  149. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I have some pretty fucked up kinks and sexual deviancy in my life that I knew about at a pretty early age as well.

    Do your kinks and sexual deviances include ignoring or overriding others’ lack of or inability to consent?

    If yes ==> not kinks.

    If no ==> not fucked up.

    You can have group sex, play with pee, flog or be flogged, masturbate while wearing a dog collar, or all of the above [at once!] and I don’t care as long as every participant and witness is able to consent and actually does so.

    Just because I don’t [or do!] share your kink doesn’t mean you are less (or more) valuable in my eyes.

  150. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Ogvorbis, please never feel like you’re not a “real” survivor. Like mentioned upthread, the very concept of there even being something like a “real, true survivor” is a toxic one, and bullshit at that.

    I don’t know if you saw the rest of the discussion, but it was mentioned that more specific trigger warnings may be a way to ameliorate situations like this, something like “Trigger Warning: discussion of abuse I’ve perpetrated on children” or something like that, especially in threads like these where there are triggers all over the place. As both anonymous1 in 621 and CripDyke in 639 mentioned, this is far from a perfect solution, but like Caine said (not sure if it was here or in the TD), moar inclusivity is better than moar exclusivity and your experience is no less valid than any one else’s.

    Also, for what it’s worth, you’ve not burned any bridges with me :)

    CripDyke, 669

    I’m glad to have this shared, but it points to the super-vast gulf between non-trans* and trans* survivors. We have been told, literally for decades, that we can’t tell our stories or work in shelters or answer crisis lines because our existence is triggering for many rape survivors.

    And being told that is triggering for me, a trans* woman whose femininity was used as an excuse by my abusers to beat and rape me.

    I’m perfectly happy to remove this to TD if required, but the fact that non-trans* survivors can still be “realizing” this renders me the very definition of ambivalent: glad we’ve progressed since I started anti-violence work in 86 and anti-violence-against-trans-folk work in 92, but horrified that y’all can just now be realizing that not every survivor-oriented space is safe for all survivors.

    Really?

    First off, to everyone else: I’d like to suggest/ask if we can keep this discussion here, because I do not think it is off topic at all. If someone else disagrees I’d be happy to take it to the ThunderDome, but I feel that this is a very, very important and even crucial discussion to have.

    Thank you for saying that. You are absolutely correct. My privilege has been so huge, especially with trans* issues, that the first time I even heard (and thus thought about) the fact that gender is in fact NOT a binary, it blew my mind. I was in my twenties. IIRC, it was one of CaiteCat’s posts on Shakesville, almost 5 years ago, and it was definitely some of her posts that first raised the topic of trans* in my mind. Before that, I didn’t even know that I wasn’t aware of this whole other world.

    So you are absolutely 100% correct in saying that. Hell, even now, something that is such a clear and ancient concept to you (that spaces can not be safe for everyone, even though we *want* to make it so) hit me like a hammer yesterday. So yeah, really. My privilege really *is* that ubiquitous.

    I would love it if we can at least be more safe for trans* folk, since I do not see conflict and triggering pitfalls as there is with abuse survivor/abuse perpetrator (but again, mah privilege, lemme sho u it, I don’t actually *know*) and I hope that one day soon that is something that will happen.

    And thank you to MM for making the point about not just seeing “white, cis” as “woman”. That is never an untimely reminder.

  151. tami says

    Ogvorbis @679

    I don’t know you other than by what you have written on this thread, so I know just what you have said here (assuming I didn’t miss any).

    TRIGGER WARNING

    I moved in with my bf, D, when I was 19, got pregnant at 20. I had hidden the memories of being raped (age 16 and then again at 18) so deep inside me that I barely remembered. The second time was only a year before I met D, but while I had not forgotten, I had pushed the memories down so that I wouldn’t acknowledge them.

    When I got pregnant I became volatile…as sometimes happens with pregnant women anyway. The anger that was in me from being assaulted came to the surface and I became verbally and emotionally abusive.

    He lost his job…and he had to quit school. (I also quit school when I got PG and started working full time in order to have enough money to live on. Once I got pregnant, my aunt, who adopted me when my parents died wanted me to come home, but I wouldn’t, so I was on my own financially.) So I was pregnant and supporting both of us. I belittled him, crushed his spirit, and basically told him that he was worthless. Since he was unable to find work, and unable to continue school, he reacted by getting depressed…which made things worse.

    Things finally came to a head when I came home early one day during my 7th month and found him in flagrante delicto with another woman. To make matters worse, she was a former lover of mine (I’m bi). I was more than angry…and all D’s stuff went out the window (literally) including his TV…which made a delightful crash on the lawn below.

    There’s more to the story…but the point is that I was so abusive to him…in part because I had been abused and had not healed. When we reconciled years later I told him that I blamed myself for driving him into the arms of another lover. We’re married now…and part of our “vows” were apologies to each other for that period of time. We have forgiven each other…he for cheating on me…me for being so cruel to him.

    We have been able to forgive each other, but forgiving ourselves is much harder. I still have those same issues, though under more control. I still blame myself for hurting him so badly that he had to fine love and comfort somewhere else. I blame myself for not controlling my anger. I know that we share the blame, but I’ve found that it’s harder to forgive yourself than others.

    Just as an end to that part of my story…

    By that evening I was hopelessly depressed…and attempted suicide. I would have succeeded if not for the serendipitous appearance of my landlord. I had broken a window throwing D’s stuff out and he came up to fix it…and found me bleeding to death in the bathroom. I spent a week in intensive care…more for my baby, than me, I think (my baby was fine…and is now a rude and obnoxious 14 year old…who I love more than anything in the world). Interestingly enough…D was at my bedside the entire time. I didn’t speak to him at all…but he was there for me.

    Anyway…forgive yourself. You’re a different person now. You understand what you did wrong. You have grown to the point where you can admit your weaknesses and work to overcome them. Would you forgive a friend or loved one who had done the same? I told Cerberus in another comment…keep your behavior as loving to yourself as you would be to those you love. You deserve that, too.
    Tami

  152. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Ogvorbis,

    I did not intend to, in any way, make this an unsafe place for real survivors.

    I’ve been largely uninvolved in this, since I’m one of the lucky ones, but I am been reading.
    You are a real survivor.

    *hugs*

  153. says

    Hey everyone, I wanted to let you all know that I intended to spend today and tomorrow catching up and reading every single one of your stories.

    I thank you for speaking out. For making your voices heard.

    But I cannot read through it. Now that there are stories of abusers asking victims to tell them it’s okay. Now that the thread has comments telling child abusers that they would let them watch their own kids. Now that this is a safe place for abusers to describe the abuse they’ve inflicted, I cannot do it. I’ve unsubscribed from this thread because this is, right now, the only place where I am being triggered. This was a situation I never ever imagined would happen and so it’s not something I emotionally prepared for.

    I am a survivor. I am also the mother of a 3 year old girl. And because of her special needs, I’ve never left her home with a non-family babysitter. Last week my husband and I decided it was time to consider that. For us to trust that we could hire someone who would be able to watch our daughter for an evening. This is not something I will now be able to do without being triggered. And honestly, right now I’m fending off a panic attack after sending her to her first day at her new preschool.

    I cannot be a part of this particular conversation.

    I’m sorry to those of you who are telling your stories. You deserve to be heard. And I desperately want to hear you, just not desperately enough to put myself at risk. You’re all so brave. Thank you.

  154. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Thanks for taking good care of yourself, Elyse.

  155. says

    Gen:

    So yeah, really. My privilege really *is* that ubiquitous.

    Yeah, so is mine, and it led to my hurting someone badly. Crip Dyke, I wrote about this in Tdome, but I’ll say here too, I am so sorry, I seriously fucked up. I will do my absolute best, make every effort not to be such a blind idiot in the future.

  156. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’ve been asked to link to comments in Thunderdome that address issues raised here.

    I will do that over a couple of comments, with a brief excerpt. These are long comments. The individual excerpts can help you decide to read it or not, but they do not substitute for those comments.

    These comments strongly critique Ct2’s response to Ogvorbis and Jane Doe 143. however, they do not strongly critique Ct2 who, I believe, was triggered and writing as best as she could about a difficult issue. Ct2 deserves our support as a survivor [as a human being!] even if you happen to agree with me that her statements -either on their faces or in embedded assumptions- bring up problems that must be countered.

    TD1:
    Because human beings are human beings, there will always be something that the survivor *has* done wrong at some point. For kids it’s especially likely that that includes acting out abuse toward others, but even adults to terrible things. We yell at those who love us and are doing everything right b/c it’s safe to yell at them. We hit people we love b/c they walked up behind us – on the carpet.

    If we can’t talk about how the rape colors those events for us, we can’t tell the stories of actual survivors.

    TD2: (See Portia @ 674 in this thread first)
    Imagine being forcibly sterilized and going to a meeting of feminists discussing women’s sexual rights that is focussed on **more sterilization** and when you say “whoa, nellie, white lady” they tell you that your story is too dangerous to include b/c it might jeopardize white women’s access to their preferred method of birth control.

    TD3: This is a comment by Cyrano the 2nd, for context and because I believe it is to her credit
    There’s a choice to be made here. If that choice is that not everyone can be safe in a safe space (as seems to be the consensus from other commenters in that thread)–so people like me that are triggered by stories like that can’t participate–then so be it. But I’d like that fact to have been made explicit.

    TD4: In which I respond to TD3 by Ct2
    do trigger warnings actually function the way you think that they will? Not really.

  157. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

  158. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Finally, this is excerpted from the order in which the posts originally appeared.

    TD9: This explains what my goals were in discussing this conversation, and why I felt hurt by the original comments. It also takes on whether other commenters supported Ct2, and if not, what would it mean for her to be advocating on behalf of “survivors” instead of herself.

    Ct2 is a human being and worth more than all the gold that exists. I will weigh the pain caused to Ct2 very seriously indeed. But this undifferentiated “survivors” especially when there **are no other survivors** to which it obviously applies in specific seems appropriative of my experience, and that of all survivors generally.

    If all survivors were the same and the needs of all survivors were the same, this would make sense. But we aren’t, and they aren’t. I feel ill used here.

  159. cicely says

    *hugs* and additional reassurances for Ogvorbis.
    You are a good and thoughtful person.
    If you were not, you would not be so anguished over it.
    *moar hugs*
    -

  160. Pteryxx says

    For the record, I asked Crip Dyke here to post links connecting this discussion to the current Thunderdome – for permanency as the threads move on, and because I don’t think I could have done them justice in a summary if it were even my place to try.

    Crip Dyke, my abiding thanks to you for the effort and consideration to lay all this out.

    Hell, even now, something that is such a clear and ancient concept to you (that spaces can not be safe for everyone, even though we *want* to make it so) hit me like a hammer yesterday. So yeah, really. My privilege really *is* that ubiquitous.

    qft.

  161. billingtondev says

    Elyse @ 695
    I am so sorry for being part of triggering a panic attack for you. That is awful – I’m sorry.
    I know you have said that you can’t participate here anymore. So I hope you are ok and trust that you know how best to take care of yourself.

    And I’m sorry about other people here too who would have valued Elyse’s input into this thread and my part in making it not ok for her to do that.

    Ogvorbis – I hope you are ok. As an adult – I trust you. As a child you were the victim.

    I can’t figure out anymore than that at the moment…
    I think I am in over my head here – and will shut-up and listen for a while.

  162. kittehserf says

    Portia @560 – my apologies if this has already been said, but I haven’t time to scan the rest of the page right now. I haven’t read The Gift of Fear either, but from those who have, I’ve heard one serious criticism: the chapter on DV is victim-blaming, or at best skirting it. IIRC de Becker seems to project his own self-blame, but in any case, I’d be wary of recommending the book without checking that part first. The rest seems to be very good: it’s just that part.

  163. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I’ve heard one serious criticism: the chapter on DV is victim-blaming, or at best skirting it.

    I’d agree that it skirts it, yes. Because he repeatedly emphasizes how the victim “knew” the abuser was such. I.e. such people give off red flags that victims ignore, say nothing about, or perhaps even don’t notice as a red flag. But he emphasizes that you (the victim) did know, but have been trained away from trusting your gut, as it were. (and, applicable to myself only, he’s 100% correct. My abusive rapey ex gave off a billion red flags that I, the hardcore feminist, completely ignored because how could that happen to me!)

    This is also stated in the rape chapter. The idea being (at least as I understood it) that we need to trust our instincts more, as opposed to following social pressure to be nice and accommodating to everyone.