cn: sexual violence, and sexual coercion in particular
I’ve said before that sexual violence is a lot like drowning: it does not look like how it looks in the movies. That’s what every lifeguard needs to learn, if they are to help people in need. It is what advocates against sexual violence need to learn too.
When I point out that a story is an example sexual violence, I get shock and disbelief. That is understandable; it does not look how you expected. Now you can adjust your expectations to what sexual violence really looks like.
I recently read about Jerry Falwell Jr., and his alleged ménage à trois with his wife and a young man. That is, I read the perspective of the young man, Giancarlo Granda.
I don’t particularly care who Jerry is (he is not the famous pastor of the same name, he’s the son). But I could immediately see that Giancarlo Granda was describing sexual coercion. News articles do not make any attempt to say so, but everything is there in plain sight–the abuse of power differential, the promises that weren’t true, threats when he tried to end the relationship. And then there are other aspects of the story that you might not expect, if you do not know what sexual coercion looks like–such as the way Granda forgave and clung to his abusers for years and years.
This is what drowning looks like when nobody is trying to dress it up like the movies.