Posted in history, people, Saturday / samedi / sábado / lördag / Sonnabend or Samstag, Things I try to hide, Values & Ethics, Weave of Traditions

I hate to post this right now.

‘Because the man in question has helped me a good deal. We have a decent relationship and he is amazingly helpful and has sent me things that may well be the only things keeping alive. Nothing is simple in this world. Remember my grandfather’s fiddle. Only this man is not as bad as my grandfather, not by far. He has learned his errors. It is possible. And that is important. People think it’s not possible and they give the perpetrator no chance of redemption. That helps nobody. There are people who are beyond hope but in my case that is not true. But I have to talk about this. It is awkward because he just helped me a lot. But it is true regardless. So I have to say what I have to say, to bear witness to something most people refuse to acknowledge, and I have been putting this off far too long. Understand this post is not to punish the perpetrator, it is to explain what is possible, some things that most people do not think of.

So. I will call him John to be as anonymous as possible even though some of you know who he is.

I was molested from at least the ages of 11 to 15 by John. I have been hurt by other men, including something i am now told as rape (someone put his toes up my butt) but John did the worst damage.

It is easy to tell you how John threatened to butt-rape me. How he rubbed his penis on my butt. How he did sexual things to me that I was entirely unaware of at the time (Lolita has some scenes that explained to me how that is possible). I told him “Oh that is okay” and he very guiltily said “No, no, that is worse.” He feels remorse and went to therapy and tried to learn. He doesn’t even date now. These are facts. They are not the whole story but they are facts.

Anyway, so, the thing is, everyone things that child molesters are all pedophiles. That is, that they have a sexual orientation that gives them an irresistible attraction to children that they have trouble not acting on. But the most important message in this post is that this is not true.

So what is true?

I was molested because John was a misogynist, a big-time misogynist.

Most important message in the post.

The term incel didn’t exist back then. I know the history of the word, that it wasn’t always bad, that a woman invented it. But it has come to mean exactly what John was.

It matters that I am a woman. It doesn’t matter my inside gender. It matters that I am a woman, as in I belong to the class of people known as women, and misogyny is the hatred of that class of people. And that doesn’t change. And yes trans women are also women, I am not denying that. But I am also a woman and I can’t deny that. And I mean for the purposes of who is subject to misogyny. Or transmisogyny. Any kind of misogyny, and you are a woman for all practical purposes.

So.

John set a date by which he would marry.

It didn’t happen.

He picked a woman to marry.

She didn’t want him.

He could not accept this.

He tried to date a string of women, unsuccessfully.

John felt entitled to own women’s bodies. And use them however he wanted. And it made him angry when women would not do what we were told. Very angry. Very bitter. Very cruel. He threatened to threaten suicide to force a woman to have sex with him.

So the damage he did to me was not so much the things I listed above.

The damage he did was that he taught me all about women and he taught me all wrong.

He taught me to hate myself.

He taught me it was all right for men to treat women like things.

He taught me sexism and misogyny.

Those have stuck in my head longer than anything else he did. I am still disentangling them like the worst of my yarn monster.

But I asked him. I asked him why. I asked him why he did it.

And John said to get back at the world.

For not automagically giving him a wife when he felt entitled to a wife.

I was the smallest and most vulnerable girl he could get his hands on. Or his dick on.

And I had nightmares about him and back then people thought all nightmares about abuse were abuse flashbacks and 100% real. So I believed in the nightmares, I believed he anally raped me. My only anal rape came later in a psych ward. And involved feet, not penises.

This was the nineties which explains the confusion.

Anyway, for John, this was a power thing, he had power over me, and he used it.

He was not a pedophile.

He was a raging misogynist and what these days they call an incel.

The most important thing is his sense of entitlement to the bodies of women no matter what. And the rage tantrum he threw when he could not get his way with women his age. I was the target for all his rage and fear and disappointment and especially, especially, misogyny.

Which is one reason I need the word woman for myself no matter what else I feel. I can’t escape it. Do you think that little girl who survived being shot in the head, for trying to go to school, would have been shot any less if she was secretly a trans boy? Because she wouldn’t. She was a girl for all practical purposes and sometimes practical purposes are all that count. I am sorry that I don’t remember her name. I am still a little delirious from the hospital.

But I remember something like this:

I do not tell my story because it is unique. I tell my story because it is not unique.

Let me see if I can look up her name. That is from her Nobel Prize speech.

MALALA YOUSAFZAI.

Malala Yousafzai giving a speech. She has black shiny hair, brown skin, and an orange headscarf and robe of some kind, with a lace wristband poking out from underneath. She is holding a microphone. She is very beautiful inside and out, to me. I love her from a distance.

Anyway, she would be facing misogyny no matter whether she is really a man, woman, both, neither, some combination, whatever her gender identity is. For the purposes of misogyny you only need one way to be female, and there are many.

And the same is true of me.

John did not hurt me because he was a pedophile. He hurt me because he felt entitled to women’s bodies and I was a girl he had near total control over.

John, i know you will read this. I didn‘t want to write it in some ways, especially after all you helped me. But I think you, if no one else, will understan why I had to tell people the truth. I’ve been afraid to for far too long. I’ve been afraid. Of what will come raining down on me from family for writing this, of how you might feel after all this time.

But I also know that you take responsibility for your actions as much as you can. And you take what you did seriously. And if anyone is going to understand why I had to say this, it is going to be you. And you know, you know in your bones, like I know in my bones, that if you didn’t want anyone even anonymously telling why you molested a child, you shouldn’t have molested a child in the first place.

Because that is what I was. A child. And you hurt me. And you shouldn’t have. And you filled my head with the worst of misogynist nonsense. You learned. But you hurt me. You hurt me. And not just with your dick. Not even mainly with your dick. Your words and ideas hurt me the worst.

Your misogyny hurt me the worst. And your misogyny, not pedophilia, fueled the whole thing. And everyone needs to know that. For their own safety. Which is why I wrote this. For the safety of other people. Not to “call out” John, but to inform everyone that there are more than one reason for child molestation.

Also, thank you for changing. Thank you for the help. Thank you for getting help. Thank you for taking as much responsibility as you can. Thank you for having a conscience, that puts you leaps and bounds ahead of my grandpa. None of this excuses what you did, and you know that. But thank you for knowing there are exceptions.

And I am not telling anyone else how to feel about their molester. I am not telling anyone to forgive. I am not telling anyone how to feel. I am telling you how i feel. to the best of my ability. That is all. For now. I am sorry, I do not mean to air dirty laundry, but this is too important not to talk about.

I tell my story not because it is unique, but because it is not. Paraphrase, Malala Yousafzai.

I tell my story not because is unique, but because it is not.

Paraphrase, Malala Yousafzai

Thank you, everyone. Everyone. Including John.

Posted in Death & Mortality Series, quotes

Feminists and disability activists and Deathlings, oh my.

This post is part of my Death & Mortality Series.  Please read my introduction to my Death & Mortality series if you can, to understand the context I write this in.  Thank you.

Bolded for my own emphasis.

“She draws on an old and familiar series of clichés: disability as dependence, disability as innate limitation, disability as political voicelessness. She comes at disability through feminism and commits the traditional feminist errors about disability, rather than reaching for the vitality that a fully realized interaction between feminists and those concerned with disability can offer.”

-Cal Montgomery, Critic of the Dawn

How I feel about most Deathlings whenever they even hint at discussing disability or at trusting and using systems and practices that tend to kill us a lot.  Which is disturbingly often.  Yet…

Spoiler: I’m a closet Deathling (well I guess not closet anymore), and an actual member of the Order of the Good Death.  But one reaching for connections between death acceptance and disability rights that compromise absolutely nothing of the safety of disabled people, and that come at things from what to many people are probably wholly unexpected angles.  Stay tuned for more on that, I’ve been writing a post ever since someone asked me about it.  It’s complicated and hard to write the bullet points.

And that thing about what a fully realized interaction could offer… I only wish, with Deathlings and disability rights.  I haven’t even seen it tried yet.  I’m trying singlehandedly a little with parts of this mortality series, I’m sure others are out there doing the same mostly in isolation.  I think the irrational fear of death and the irrational fear of disability are deeply intertwined and equally destructive, among many other angles I wish people would try and look at things from for at least a moment.  And I’d love to hear discussions of The Good Death that involve an extreme acceptance of disability to the very end instead of using death to try and get around disability because you fear disability so much.  Because nobody ever talks about that choice, and fear of loss of control over your body and mind and many other things disability represents to people feels so obviously connected to fear of death and decay and the like, yet they usually aren’t making that connection…

And there’s always one more quote in “Critic of the Dawn” that requires a tenth, eleventh, twelfth, fiftieth look… I was one of the test-readers for that piece (a task I was wholly inadequate to, especially at that age) and I still find new things in it every time I read it.

And yes, I believe it’s possible to be both a member of The Order of the Good Death and Not Dead Yet, if you wanted to be.  And I wish more people were informed by the best of both mindsets.  (I know there’s problems with NDY but I’m using them more as a placeholder for a mindset, than a recommendation of membership.)  And I’m gonna be out there trying, always.  I know the dangers disabled people face firsthand, so I’m never gonna forget where deadly forms of ableism are showing up even if the people doing them can’t see them.

And I also think facing one’s own mortality and the place of death in the scheme of things is an incredibly important thing to be doing, disabled or not.  Hence being an avid but mostly closet Deathling.  (Mostly closet because I don’t know how to explain the drastic misgivings of a disabled person and it’s exhausting to try.)

In the meantime my memento mori / memento vivere (reminder that you will die / reminder to live, loosely translated) ring.  I got it recently as a reminder of everything I’ve been through lately, and the closeness of Death at all times, and what that means for the living.

A big but elegant costume jewelry type ring showing a cameo death's head with an elaborate hairdo and a frilly border. Next to a handmade ring that's silver with a cluster of seven turquoises.
A big but elegant costume jewelry type ring showing a cameo death’s head with an elaborate hairdo and a frilly border. Next to a handmade ring that’s silver with a cluster of seven turquoises. The death’s head is meant as a reminder of both mortality and embracing life while it’s still around to embrace. (Memento mori / memento vivere.)