What a week, huh? I worked from home yesterday and was off today so I was able to watch all of the Kavanaugh hearing in real time and to say that it fired me up is an understatement. When Henry came home from work today, I was curled up on the couch with a kid’s unicorn cape-blanket wrapped around me, crying and watching for the fiftieth time Senator Flake being cornered in an elevator by two sexual assault survivors.
“You need to turn this off!” Henry fathered, because he has had a first row seat watching my sanity wane.
We went for a walk last night and I ranted the whole way about how men always win and women always lose, and we’re so emotional and hysterical and we should just shut up and “it wasn’t full-blown rape so she should get over it, right boys?” and blah blah blah when we came upon a car that was parked on the sidewalk, THE WHOLE SIDEWALK, so we had to step into the street to walk around it, and as I stepped off the curb, I twisted my ankle enough to be enraged even more so I shouted and I do mean SHRIEKED, “I just hurt my ankle because I had to step off the curb!” and then when we got to the other side of the car and stepped back onto the sidewalk, there was a couple standing there looking at me with wide eyes, so I whispered to Henry, “Is that their car?” and he nodded, probably hoping that we could just gulp and quietly walk away….
…but NO, instead I was even more angry now and so I yelled to everyone and no one at once, “WELL THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE PARKED ON THE SIDEWALK!!!!!” and Henry was just like, “ohmygod” but you know what he didn’t say? He didn’t say, “Calm down.”
Thank you for not telling me to CALM DOWN, Henry. OTHER MEN PROBABLY WOULD. Because if there’s one thing we learned from the Kavanaugh hearing, it’s that it’s OK for white privileged men to fly off the handle and shout in a shrill, hysterical tone because HE IS JUST DEFENDING HIMSELF SO HE IS ALLOWED TO BE PASSIONATE but if a woman does that, she is UNHINGED, TOO EMOTIONAL, UNFIT FOR THE JOB.
I’ve been thinking so much about high school, about the party at my house one spring date when a “friend” had me pinned against the laundry room wall and then later followed me into my bedroom and shit started to get real one-sided and grope-y (#boyswillbeboys right?) until two of my other guy friends figured out was going on and literally threw him out of my house, and I realize now that I was very lucky to have had guy friends back then who actually gave a shit, knew boundaries, wrong from right, and had respect for women.
I am doing everything in my power to make sure that my son is that kind of friend to women, too. That kind of friend to all people.
To the people out there who don’t think Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations are “that bad” or “not really sexual assault,” let me tell you something. In the fall of my senior year of high school, I started dating this guy from a different high school. He never raped me. He never sexually assaulted me. But what he did do, on multiple occasions, was get extremely angry at me over small things and instinctively go for my neck.
Every time, his hands would go around my neck.
I can’t give you dates for each of these incidents. The most I can give you is that one time it happened toward the end of our relationship when we were 19 and I was living in my first apartment. He was waiting there for me to come home from work and had been going through my stuff. He found, in a box of old notes and stuff, a picture of me from a haunted house called Phantoms in the Park. I remember this picture clearly, because my friend Lisa took it: it was me and two of the guys who ran the haunt, in the fake “elevator.” One of them has his arm around me, and the other one was pretending like was going to kiss my cheek.
It was a haunted house. I wasn’t alone with these guys. At least two of my friends were there.
But he saw this picture and assumed that I was cheating on him. So he confronted me as soon as I came home and by “confronted me” I mean that he slammed me against the front door of my apartment and held me there with his hand against my throat.
I couldn’t breathe and thought I was going to die.
He eventually let go and then made like he was going to punch me, but he punched the door next to my head instead, and then left.
No, I didn’t call the police. It didn’t seem like this was something “bad enough” to warrant police involvement.
I did call his mom though because, as is anyone in an abusive relationship, I was mind-controlled and manipulated into feeling guilty and I stupidly worried about him and wanted to let him mom that he was presumably on his way home and very upset.
She blamed me.
She said that I provoked him to be like this. That he didn’t have any problems until he met me.
It was my fault. I really started to believe that.
When Dr. Ford talked about Brett Kavanaugh covering her mouth with his hand, I was triggered. I have always been sensitive about my neck/throat since then, but it wasn’t until later in my 20s when I looked back on this and realized just how fucked up it was. And that’s when I started having nightmares that I was dating him again, running from him, hiding from him. I have talked to Henry about this but it’s not something that I walk around telling everyone.
As hard as it was to listen to Dr. Ford’s account of what happened to her that night, I heard her. She deserved to be heard by everyone in this country. Every survivor deserves to be heard.
What I’m getting at is that you don’t “get over” things like this. You might not think about them every day, but maybe you flinch when someone comes at you fast, or maybe you feel like you’re going to have a panic-attack when you have to walk back to your car alone late at night. Maybe you have trust issues or nightmares or crippling anxiety. But one thing is for sure: it stays with you, it will always be with you. And this horror story of an administration is exacerbating a lot of painful memories for a lot of fucking people.
I am not a hugger, but I want to wrap my arms around everyone out there who has experienced any sort of abuse or assault. So many of my friends have been posting their stories on twitter and to all of them, I am sorry. I’m sick to my stomach and stressed the fuck out at how quickly our voices are muffled and our stories are dismissed.
November is coming.