I saw the thing happening and knew the thing was happening and yet I could do nothing more than try to talk about the thing happening without naming the thing happening and now I am sitting here with all of these feelings and all of these words and I feel helpless even though all I want to do is fucking help and all I want to do is find some way to ensure safety and that at least one goddamn space would be free from the sexual violence of men.
I wanted to protect. I wanted to make a safer space. I wanted to weed out scum. I wanted to dig a moat and fill it with burning oil. I wanted heads on pikes. I wanted. I wanted.
I am not the solution. I am just one voice. I am just one person. I can only say what I feel needs to be said and try to maybe show/teach/learn but I am only one person and I am a person who’s methods might not line up with proper learning and I am a person who is sometimes misunderstood.
My fucking heart is shredded and nothing but chum after the last few days.
This awful, reprehensible, violent shit going down in a community I care a great deal about, to individuals who were basically just dipping their toes into the water, young women, young hearts and minds, is goddamn unacceptable and goddamn infuriating. Of course, my first instinct is violence. That is always my first instinct, always the thing I know, always the wolf solution. Violence is not the answer. Even if it is the answer I believe will be the answer that leaves a monster broken and bleeding.
Folded into the pain of witnessing what is happening to the women of a community when multiple instances of rape and coercion are coming to light is the automatic self-reflection/paranoia of being a man, an elder, and questioning one’s own behavior. Have I stepped over the line? Have I made lewd comments? Have I manipulated? Have I made uncomfortable? Did I miss cues? Did I see something and not say something? Have I been blind and deaf and dumb?
If you are not asking yourself these things, you are not being honest.
If you are not asking yourself these things, you are part of the problem.
If you are not asking yourself these things, you do not care about the well-being of others.
If you are not asking yourself these things, I don’t need you around.
You need to ask yourself these things.
I understand the reality of what it must seem like to people elsewhere. A community—perceived or otherwise—torn apart by one individual and his acts of sexual violence and betrayal and manipulation probably doesn’t seem like a self-aware community.
This too, needs to change.
Open the door to discussion. Open the door to looking out for one another. Open the door to not being afraid to say something to someone.
Open the door.