on #kava-NAW, sexual trauma, and & trying to live your damn life

CW: sexual assault, Kavanaugh confirmation

 

you know what’s surreal? trying to go about your day while being constantly re-traumatized by the news cycle.

full disclosure: i haven’t yet watched the kavanaugh hearings, and i’m beginning to doubt i ever will. and actually what i mean is i haven’t watched kavanaugh’s part of the hearings. i stumbled upon Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimonies at the laundromat – i hadn’t even realized the hearings were happening. i loaded my clothes into the washer and stared up at her face, imagining the sea of white men she had to look into as she bared her trauma to the world. imagining the fear, and the simmering rage, and the knowledge that unless she kept absolutely cool, calm, collected throughout, her emotions would be weaponized against her, against all women.

because #yesallwomen. yes all women have experienced harassment. yes all women have experienced assault (in some way). yes all women are subjected to (some form of) gendered violence. and yes, that includes transfemme folx, it basically includes all of us but cishet men.

anyways. i was at the laundromat, i hadn’t even realized the hearings were happening that morning. i hadn’t even realized i was about to be asked, yet again, to feel the things i do about my own assault. about my sister’s assault. about my mother’s. about my friends’ assaults. about the many named and unnamed assaults that have happened and do happen and will continue to happen because the problem is not that the world won’t #believesurvivors, won’t #believewomen. it’s that the world doesn’t care. the people in power do not care. cishet men do not care. why should they? to care is to acknowledge that their power rests upon centuries of violence against womxn, that entire societies exist only in the way that they do because some people — women, people of color, indigenous people — are oppressed, while others are awarded undue amounts of power.

i was at the laundromat, and then i was home, and then i was applying to jobs, and then i was walking to meet my girlfriend. and then i would open twitter, and then i would see the news, seemingly the only news, and then — racing heart, panicky, on the verge of tears, because y’all, it’s just so fucking unfair. how can this be real? how i can be sitting here, years and years of womxn’s activism behind us, and still Dr. Ford will not receive recognition for her trauma? still, there are tens of qualified men who could be put on the supreme court (which like… the matter of whether that court should even exist is a conversation for another day), but still, the GOP and the government will uphold this one man, this one man who is proven to have assaulted, proven to have a blackout drinking problem, proven incapable of addressing past mistakes — still, he will end up being judge to us all.

how can it be that i was raped and i spent two years denying it, how can it be that i blamed myself when later i learned that my rapist was a serial offender, how can it be that so many of us are sexually violated, brutally violated, our brains and emotions and bodies breached, and still, this? it’s fucking unfair. it truly is.

and to be asked to continually process all of this, right now? i’m trying to apply to jobs. i’m trying to date someone. i’m trying to be happy. i’m trying to get my shit done. i’m trying to remember to take my iron pills, for god’s sake, i don’t have the time or energy to be pulled into rehashing my own trauma, but still i am, we are, asked to.

i think about the idea that people pose, that abusers necessarily dehumanize their victims. i don’t think it’s so. dehumanizing isn’t the right phrase. we aren’t being dehumanized. it’s just that our humanity weighs less in the that of cis men. our humanity means less, our humanity counts less. we remain utterly human in the eyes of our abusers, and that’s why they abuse us. their abuse of us would mean less and carry less power than if we were less than human.

standing with all survivors this week, and sending my most loving, strengthening vibes. we need it. ❤

a small violence (TW: sexual assault/violence; writing prompt)

Prompt: write about a small violence.

 

I tried to do it to myself, the small violence. It was August, and heady. I just wanted to do something meaningless, moorless; I just wanted to have my body do a meaningless act. I didn’t want to bother with emotions. I wanted the kind of solitary feel-nothing hookup sex that everyone else seems to have. I brought him to a party where the theme was finding a date online — I operated through Tinder.  We kissed, and if I had thought harder I should have realized that it would be no good. It was rough, no finesse — rote moves, squeezing chest, ass, rubbing p*ssy through jeans in quick, cyclical succession. (Wearing a path.) We kissed shamelessly against the brick wall holding up my friend’s apartment building; I reveled in the randomness of it, the publicness. I guess I’ve got some exhibitionist in me — I relished the cars behind us, paused for the traffic light, doubtless (blessedly) watching. Anyway.

Later, when his body rose up over mine — I still didn’t realize. He left the lamp on and we removed our clothes, separately, and he rose up over me, stroking on the condom. I lay there and felt as detached as I had wanted — I forgot myself and the reality of my body, forgot the thick heaviness of my middle, weight I’d put on during a recent sad spell, forgot that I had worried I’d feel embarrassed, naked. Then he was on me and that’s when I realized it wouldn’t work. Literally would not work — my body would not let him in.

And the harder he tried to enter — lube and fingers and more and more pressure — it hurt and I felt the frustration rise, a bile, and then quickly, panic. It wouldn’t fit, it wouldn’t work, it hurt it hurt and then suddenly I was back under the boy who raped me, my first time having sex, having sex done to me, even though that time he hadn’t been on top, I had been on top, kissing and then suddenly pain and burning and I was crying but he was still having sex with me and that’s all I really remember. He’d come home with me after we’d danced, after we kissed outside, laying on the dusty ground, after I’d thrown up all over my shoes and some on him too, after I’d begged off and he claimed to have been locked out of his own room and couldn’t he stay in mine? After – after – but really I barely remember.

It’s not uncommon, actually, though I only heard it called by its name a few months ago. Vaginismus. Painful sex, extreme tension — from trauma, from anxiety, my body tightening to wall out intrusion, a sort of inverted vagina dentata. The “cure,” if it’s to be taken as such, is to go slowly, so slowly, with someone you trust. But the reason I chose a boy to fuck, senselessly, is that I wanted the senselessness. I didn’t expect it would be good. I just wanted to drown myself in another body, detach. I couldn’t do that with a girl.

It’s frustrating to have even the ability to be reckless with your own body taken away from you — swallowed, somehow, into your trauma. It’s frustrating that my body won’t do what I want it to, makes me make much of something that I don’t want to have to think about, forces me to look at a trauma I rarely think about and thought I had recovered from and see that it’s lingering (festering, waiting). It makes me feel weak and angry — I didn’t think it would be a big deal but my body made it a big deal. My body feels like it somehow belongs to my trauma, not to me — a small, terrifying violence.