I’ve felt a lot of rage the last few days. It’s not an emotion that I feel too often. In fact, I’d really worry if rage was a common feeling I had. But it’s now something I feel constantly. I’d like to share my thoughts in this post without a lot of the politics involved, but I feel, and know based on the current climate, that is unavoidable, as my rage stems from things within the political arena and the impending election. So I’m just going to try and share as best I can in the most honest way I can and then see what the result is at the end of all things.
I work on a college campus, and have worked on a campus for the majority of my post-college career. My experiences in college and beyond those four years have shaped me into the person that I am in so many ways, and it’s something that I am extraordinarily proud of. I am proud of who I have become, even if I know I have still have a lot of “becoming” yet to happen. All a part of our ever shaping identity I suppose. And in the many conversations I have had with colleagues and students about identity, my number one has been that I am a woman. I identify strongly with that part of my life. It defines how I live my life and causes me to feel quite strongly about issues affecting that part of my identity. Just as others choose to fight for issues related to their own identities. Whether that be gender, race, religion, etc. And when you fight, you have a lot of feelings. And sometimes that feeling can be rage.
So MY rage. My rage that for some would constitute me just being a “bitch”. Maybe I should calm down. “Grow up” as Scott Baio likes to put it. (You can see his misogynistic ignorance in this video clip.)
In my second month of my new job, I took part in Green Dot facilitator training. Green Dot is a bystander program, designed to train people to be active bystanders and help prevent situations that lead to sexual assault.
It wore me out.
It drained me mentally and emotionally.
Listening to people share stories of their own situations with sexual assault or times they helped other people. By the end of the week I just needed alone time. There was so much to process. (But please don’t get me wrong, as it was one of the most valuable experiences of my life.)
We live in a society that perpetuates rape culture. And this past week, we watched a candidate for President of the United States, perpetuate it even more.
When I was about 24 years old, I was out with friends for New Years Eve. We had been drinking and I ended up in a room kissing a friend of a friend. It was obviously late and we decided we would sleep on the floor, as people were in various rooms in the house. Before I realized what was happening, this person was on top of me with his pants down and pulling down mine. I told him to stop and he did. I tried to sleep and then he did it again. I again told him to stop. He did, but in the process said, “What was the point of all of this then?”
I guess he thought he could just have what he wanted because I had spent some time kissing him.
I got up and left the room and slept on an open couch.I never spoke to him again or told my friends.
In fact, I never told anyone.
I say it now because I watch people make excuses for Donald Trump’s behavior. For Brock Turner’s behavior. For the behavior of so many others. It makes me so angry. I watch friends on Facebook share how Trump’s words were just “bad words”. Things that we should get over. Move past. Ignore. Laugh about. Those words are sexual assault. And they hurt. Not just me but so many others.
So many brave people who have shared their stories.
So many more that are afraid to speak up.
That’s. Rape. Culture.
And for a person to laugh it off and make excuses, just gives more opportunities for people to think that it’s OK. For people that are my friends and making excuses and laughing about it, please look me in the face and tell me it doesn’t matter. That I should get over it. That it’s no big deal. That I should just “grow up.” That’s it just my liberal biases.
And so I rage. Except I know I’m not alone.