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21 February 2018 @ 01:56 pm
can't go home, obviously  
more fruit from journal 12, which i kept while i wasn't really posting to livejournal as frequently. i also have some new entries to write, but have been enjoying this block-dismantling process ramp up and hope you have, as well. written in spring 2014. i'm putting the majority of this post under a cut, however, because (one of the reasons i did not post it at the time) it seems like it could be triggering. i mean, i was working with my own triggers, so.

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at the walters i peer into cabinets. skulls and brass, cloisonné and breasts. seven varieties of snuff bottles and a portable inkwell with red tassel ornamentation.

a portrait of lucretia with bare breasts and a ready knife.



in the museum literature, it says that lucretia has been raped and she now avenges her father and husband by taking her own life. suicide was once considered a noble and just solution to the crime of being raped. society encouraged it. historical rape culture asks: what else would a woman do?

i think back on years of humiliating examinations and telling misstatements.

disturbingly, i do not think that this has entirely left our social conscience as a solution. for some segments of the population, a woman continues to be only as good as her first penetration. historical rape culture asks: once that's done, what's left? a baby, perhaps, the possibility of another man, someone to get the inheritance, carry on the line, maintain the power. historical rape culture asks: if it's an infant of dubious parentage, what's the use? all you know for sure is who the baby came out of.

contemporary rape culture is not, perhaps, so mindless in their progressed victimization of the raped, but god forbid another's experience should give them cause to reconsider their attitudes, their subtle prejudice, even their social connections.

when i first drafted this post, the daughter of a known film director had recently published a letter explaining how this film director had raped her when she was seven. immediately, the academics rushed in to explain to what extent she should be believed. the percentage of validation you might generously offer. the lease of her allowed vocabulary: can you really call that a rape if she was only seven? (and the answer is: yes. yes, you can call that a rape. you should call that a rape. you need to call it a rape, because that's what it was.) others act as though liking the artistic output of her rapist somehow implicates them in this victim’s violent assault. sometimes these are the people who want to believe the daughter with qualifiers or reservations; sometimes these are the people who want to excuse some aspect of the rapist's actions because of his resume.

time served through artistic appeasement, yes?

others make the entire narrative about the mother's instability; others make sickening statements like, "well, i don't think i should just believe her, but i sure wouldn't leave my kid alone with the guy." which is this weird gaslighting piece of both putting credence in her word but denying her the empowerment of your belief: you won't take this woman at her word unless you magically find yourself in the very unlikely position of having to decide if you will let this incredibly well-known film director babysit your child. why not just believe her?

why not take your love of the rapist's films and let it feed into your own rage and indignation about how power is so often earned in this society through the exploitation and destruction of the innocent? someone who makes movies you love has betrayed your trust, has destroyed your trust. true, it does not remotely equate what was done to his child. that might be part of this, that selfish refusal to empathize with something to which we can't relate. rape is such a terrifying concept most of us are completely unwilling to even imagine ourselves in that situation, much understand enough about it to be able to somehow "relate" - i.e., if we can't approximate the rapist's crime to something that has had an equivalent harmful impact on our own personal lives, we qualify, we distance ourselves, we make response too complicated a matter to fulfill.

we cut off the victim to tell her that we think she's brave for coming forward, but the rapist is more valuable to our society so we can only give her a portion of the support we might (might.) offer the victim of someone who hasn't been responsible for quite so much media we enjoy. he deserves the opportunity to tell “his side” of it, we say, regarding someone who's been comfortably living in that entitlement for decades. innocent until proven guilty, we say, clear as day though it may be that this is someone with the resources necessary to bury reality, to exploit a technicality, to run a mistrial or pressure-wrought verdict up a flagpole for all to see as "innocence" no matter what the glaring oversight might be.

and in the meantime? let's point to the victim and say things like: she's more likely to commit such an atrocity herself. because us victims haven't suffered our own recoveries enough, we need bargain basement crisis counselors insisting that getting raped will inevitably turn us into rapists.

oh, and let's also make sure that, from the day of a victim's coming out into eternity we marry her name to that of her rapist; that she loses her own name and becomes "the person ____ raped" or, more realistically, "the person who claims ____ raped her."

society can't cope with rape and so it marginalizes its victims. makes us tainted goods, diseases spreading more disease. better to quarantine such matters, tell us it didn't happen, not really, not like we’re saying it did. tell us that society has no obligation to us if it did:

and then, as an extra happy bonus, fret over the future options of the rapists.

what people will say about them now, how they might not now have all the same opportunities they had before violating the free will of another so absolutely. so obviously the crime was impulsive, obviously the victim coerced them in some way, obviously there shouldn't be the same consequences there are for “actual” criminals just because this talented person everyone admires committed the same crime.

what happens to the victim? violated, blamed, written over by apologists, academic and otherwise, we languish in the compassion offered to our rapist and not us. maybe we regret coming forward, pressing charges, or even just telling our closest friend; maybe disclosure becomes a behavior our friends and family decide they wouldn't dare replicate, should something so terrible ever happen to them. eventually people compartmentalize and explain the situation enough to reconnect with the rapist; to invite him to their parties, to call him a friend again.

what happens to the victim? people start to wish we would just go away. we makes things too complicated, seeing us is just too depressing. plus it's too much drama, making a choice. people don't like to be put in the middle of such matters. we can only be believed to an extent. it is too inconvenient to believe more than a percentage.


 
 
music: tor lundvall - scrapyard