Beginnings are daunting. The first impression is lasting and there is so much to say.
There are many reasons why I have decided to begin this blog. I was lucky to grow up with parents who taught me I could do and be anything I wanted to be. They encouraged me to explore, to ask questions and to do it all bravely. I’m sure my father didn’t exactly have this topic in mind but nevertheless I took it to heart. I’ve always been interested in the mentality and attitudes about sexuality. What drives people to play out particular fantasies, where do these fetishes come from, why are women “so not into sex” and men are (this is a complete stereotype that I am sure will not stick much longer)? Why are people so timid? Why do they feel so ashamed? Why do some of us not feel any barriers on this topic? Sex is everywhere and yet we are so incredibly restricted within our sexuality. Oh and my favorite topic: Your sexuality is not defined by your gender and being a cross dresser doesn’t make you gay it just means you’re a dude who likes to wear women’s clothing to feel a little more feminine.
But as much as I find these topics interesting, none of them lit the fire in my soul to begin this blog.
One year ago today, I flew back home feeling ashamed, frightened and shocked. My closest male friend raped me while I slept in his house. I was visiting him and he knew the boundaries. Still, it happened. It was.. grueling, but that is obvious. What was more grueling were the attitudes I encountered because of it. There is a terrible mentality that exists called “rape culture.” Essentially, they are thoughts people have that suggest if I had done something different, I would not have been raped. People continually deny this exists yet I have encountered it with strangers and friends. It’s a lot of it comes from good intentions but it doesn’t mean it’s right.
An ex-boyfriend told me that “If you weren’t so open..” Yeah. Because clearly I brought it on myself. I was “asking” for it, wasn’t I? That kind of statement “If you..” or “I’m sorry you were raped but you shouldn’t have..” is exactly what lit a fire in my spirit to begin this journey because I should not ever have to say “I did not contribute to my rape.” But I have had to and that is why I am writing this blog.
I’m tired of the crappy attitude people have about sex, sexuality and sex crimes (Yes, I do realize rape is about power not sexuality but it is a sex crime). I’m tired of the ignorance, of the secrets, of the shushing, of the shaming, of the lack of respect for a fellow human being. I’m tired of the victims being blamed. Suggesting to me that if I had done something different I wouldn’t have been raped is just as pointless as telling a grieving parent that if they had just watched their child better they wouldn’t have been harmed by another person (i.e. like being hit by a car). Sure, of course if the parent had been watching without taking their eyes off of their child for a single second maybe they could have prevented something. Maybe. But what is the point in that?
Some things are out of our control. Like it or not, sometimes an individual does not have any responsibility in what happens to them just because someone else made a choice.
Some things are in individual control. That is what I’m writing. I’m not waiting around for someone else to challenge societies attitudes about sex, sexuality and sexual assault. Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I want a freer, safer society for people.
I want you to be able to explore life however you chose to.
I want you to not be condemned for leading a different life.
And I’ll fight for you sexual freedom.
Whether you choose to be celibate,
choose to have multiple partners (at once, or sequential),
or choose to have only partner.
As long as you are not harming someone
(violating them; using them against their will)
I will fight for you.
I will fight for those who cannot speak up to keep their privacy.
Because someone needs to be your voice.
It’s very fitting to begin this blog on this day one year after such a terrible event. In that year, I was lucky/blessed/worked hard to gain courage to speak up about the many problems I’m seeing in others’ experiences and in my own. It was one year of gaining strength.
As I take my first few steps I’d like to thank all of my family and friends who stood by me, who showed me the truth of the evil in the world (that I was not the problem, this time, that it was others and their attitudes), who encouraged me and protected me when I was most vulnerable. This is for them, too. Because I want you to be proud of me and because you’ve inspired me to understand that I can be everything I ever dreamed of but no war can be won without comrades by your side.
Thank you for the past, present and years to come. We have a long way to go.