Friday, November 10, 2017

Rape culture & rage strokes

My name is Jessi. I'm a survivor of rape and molestation. I loathe the rape culture our society has propagated, accepts, and then justifies- all while conveniently blaming the very people it victimizes.

I would give anything right now to feel compelled to stop talking about sexual assault. I'd love for a week to go by without triggers in the news, without another powerful man being accused of assault, with more women (and men) saying, "me too." I'd love, for once, to hear a chorus of "we believe them" before there's a chorus of "are you sure?"

I cannot and won't keep quiet.
I'm pissed off and so far beyond caring about being polite or maintaining social graces.
I'm damned near in a rage stroke.

The excuses and the "oh but he's so..."  or "boys will be boys" get to me and make me see red.

"I knew he was a dick, but he's so funny!" Yes, well, Louis C.K. is still a sexual predator who thought it was okay to whip his penis out and masturbate in front of women without their consent. Not only that, but his non-apology released today was total crap. He painted himself as someone who's suffering and never actually apologized for the actions he's admitted to.

And, is this just me, or did no else get that the man is a misogynist asshole?

"But he's such a great actor!" Kevin Spacey might be one of the finest actors of our time, but he still raped, groped, and exerted his power and fame over younger men for at least the past two decades. You can be capable of acting well and rape. Just to point out, Spacey was quickly dropped from, well, everything, while others in his same position (we've actually elected two presidents with rape allegations in their past- with one admitting sexual assault on tape) not only keep their careers, but advance them as well. I have to wonder, does his accusers being male and our homophobic society have anything to do with this?

He had so many convinced that he was a good guy- that speaks to his acting, doesn't it?

"But he's a Christian." Of course I'm speaking of Roy Moore, that piece of human filth in Alabama whose actions have been excused by how many other men in power? Among the worst was equating his rape of an underage girl to that of Joseph and Mary, questioning the sensibilities of the then 14 year old victim, and, my personal "favorite," some enlightened male saying that the woman should be held accountable because "she didn't report it back then and he could have hurt others because she didn't speak up." Victim blaming much? I really love how some have brought the conception of Jesus into this and painted Joseph as a rapist and Mary as a harlot. Touching, really.

These three men are just the famous and powerful ones accused this week, following hot on the heels of Harvey Weinstein.
Screen cap of "Tales of a sexual predator. 

And then, there's this joke of a man, blogger and comedian Adam Avitable. He published a now deleted pseudo mea culpa- "Tales of a sexual predator," talking about his predatory tendencies that are long in the past.  He did this, I assume, to piggyback on the web hits other writers were getting in the middle of the Harvey Weinstein storm. Incidentally, the events he spoke of aren't all in the distant past; he has a habit of sending unsolicited nudes to women for their birthdays and, apparently, even exposed himself online to a minor. Fittingly, Adam also posed in a shirt back in 2007 (the internet never forgets) that said, "Adam Avitable's Clothing Optional Camp for Girls 14-17.... There's grass on the field, let's play!"

Adam, just like the other men listed above, is a classic case of "believe someone when they show you who they are the first time." I write about him because we were indirectly connected through friends and I always thought he was gross. I found it interesting and telling of our society that, when his blog post blew up and women started comparing notes, they found that they each weren't the only ones he'd targeted or made to feel uncomfortable. Also telling were the comments on his post and Twitter from women who thought his post was "brave." Being a predator isn't brave, ladies- it's the worst form of human excrement you can be other than a murderer.

Speaking of comedians, can we talk about the dumb jokes people still think are okay to tell about men like these? I, as a woman, can't visibly or verbally take offense, lest I be told, as I was three weeks ago, "it's just a joke. Don't be such an uptight bitch!"

Sorry guys, but your days of cracking jokes about rape, underage girls, incest, and all that other inappropriate crap need to be over. It's not being "PC" to loathe it- it's about being a decent human being.

Which brings me to my next point. Were none of these men taught not to rape?  Or that, should they rape/molest/harass someone, that they'll be punished? Of course not!

Society tells them that they can rape someone and force them to keep quiet by exerting control. Society and our rape culture has taught them that someone will laugh at their piss poor excuses for jokes, because that audience is trying to fit in or really has zero class themselves. Society has taught them that, should they get caught, and if they're white, they're likely to get less than a slap on the wrist as punishment because God forbid their own actions have ramifications. Conversely, if they're revered and loved by white people while being a POC, people are much less likely to believe their victims.

And please, spare me the diatribe from men who post to social media for their male counterparts to "do better." Don't just tell them that- don't accept anything less. Don't give your friends a free pass when they harass someone on the street in front of you. Don't make light of consent. Stop with the "I have a mother, sister, and daughter and I'm <insert emotional reaction to tales of assault here>." You shouldn't;'t need to have a mother, sibling, or female offspring to react negatively to news of sexual assault. It should repulse you naturally.

Don't just give this lip service- actively call out people who are guilty of participating in rape culture.

Society needs a reset and a moral compass. Half of our country cannot argue the immorality of abortion while still protecting that "funny uncle" in the family. The other half cannot scream women's rights and then victim blame those very women they seek to empower. That's not how any of this works, y'all.

What we're seeing now in the accusations, admittances, and public shaming of powerful and famous male predators stems from years of backlash, of being told to keep quiet if we know what's good for us, years of denial, and lifetimes of being punished for being a victim.

We're seeing women and men finally trying to burn this rape culture down.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sorry for the apologies

I'm done.
Will not back down.
I just can't do it anymore.
I refuse to apologize for past and present mistakes or the way I parent my children.
I'm over the mommy shaming, the victim blaming, the bullshit.

Things I refuse to apologize for are as follows:

1. Calling my son autistic. This is a no go for me. He IS autistic, just as he IS tall, has brown hair, and brown eyes. I'll be damned if I ever apologize or feel bad when someone goes off on me for using autistic rather than "has autism." It's just silly. Can you separate the autism from him? No? Me either.

2. My sons' actions. You know what? It's damned hard to apologize for someone else. I refuse to say "I'm sorry, but he's <fill in the blank>." Parents of totally typical kids don't apologize for their children being assholes, and I don't think I should have to, either. My kids are good kids. They're usually polite, funny, and aren't embarrassing to take out in public (well, most of the time, but we'll get to that). I'm not going to ask for forgiveness when they act like kids or have meltdowns related to their disabilities. Or when Morgan scripts all the history of Thomas the Tank engine. Or when Bay goes on and on to me about Minecraft. They're being the only type of children they know how to be and, as long as they aren't being total jerks, I'm good with that.

3. Assisting my son when he's losing his proverbial crap in public. Why did I ever feel the need to do that? He can't help that the crowds are too much, that the lights are too bright, or that the noise is too loud. When he shuts down and cries, it's my job to help him, not to explain him to someone else.

4. Speaking up for disabled people, especially my son. This extends, but isn't limited to, calling people out for bullshit ableist policies and language. I'm including this blog, too. I've stayed away from here due to a fear of being reprimanded for how I feel. Sorry, but I'm out of shits to give. I'm going to say what I want and not feel bad for it because some keyboard crusader wants my head on a platter.

5. Activism and advocacy. I used to feel just the tiniest twinge of guilt whenever I gave hell to the schools, but that's long gone. I'm not going to apologize for them pissing me off, or for them not doing their jobs. The exact same thought process applies to the below:

6. Speaking up against and calling society out for the other isms and phobias- racism, anti feminism, xenophobia, and homophobia. Granted, I don't really apologize for saying anything about this now, but, after getting trashy comments about my stance on politics and humanity, I just figured I'd throw this in- don't be a dick.

7.Teaching my children about politics and current events. I assume competence with my kids. They overhear news, they aren't blind to societal issues like homelessness or racism. I feel like it's important to address elephants in the room and I want the boys to be informed. Don't tell me I'm poisoning their minds. Rather, I'm fertilizing them with something other than horse shit.

8. Believing in applied behavioral analysis as it stands now. Look, I get that ABA can have its issues, okay? But my son is exposed to ABA as a learning style and it works. He works with licensed BCBAs at his school, not in private therapy, and they've done wonders for and with him. He's learning to tie his shoes, cook, have reciprocal social conversations, and so much more. I'm not apologizing for it working for us, nor for us having a good experience.

9. Talking/writing about my children. When I write about my kids, I'm acknowledging the struggles and shitastrophies. I'm also championing their triumphs and telling about the funny things they do. Sometimes, autism is funny. Sometimes, it sucks. And, sometimes, my youngest is being a ginger demon. Each experience is okay to talk about.

10. Being myself. I'm at a place in my life where I actually don't hate myself or the things I say and do. I'm comfortable in my own skin and I don't care if others aren't alright with that. I swear, I drop things, I mess up, and I'm quirky. I like me.

11. My kids being themselves. I'm trying to teach my kids to be their authentic selves and, so far, they seem to have a good grip on what that means. Sometimes, my kids come off as weird, indifferent, or sensitive. However, they own most of that and I'm thrilled that they do. Authenticity is hard to come by in adults, but if we teach it to our kids early, maybe they'll grow up feeling that the earth is solid beneath them rather than shaky.

At the end of the day, how is my parenting affecting you? If it's not, then move on.