I wake up, a typical morning of rubbing my eyes and scrolling through Facebook as if today, of all days, I’ll read something life changing, something that inspires me. I haven’t even put the water for the coffee on yet and there’s a knock on the door of the room in my brain that I keep for myself. Someone is looking in through the slot where the mail goes through and waiting for me to respond. Warm, femme eyes that want me to hang up my soul on the coat rack they’ve created for me, want me to rest finally in my resolution. In my post that is a conduit, a platform for strength. I tell myself that two words are all it takes. Two words in solidarity, posting them should be easy. All I have to do is type “Me Too”.
The words seep into my brain. “Me too.” I’ve always liked “me too” because whenever I’d say it, chances are, I’d be coming clean to another femme, allowing for us, a moment of mutual grief.
But I didn’t post anything that day. Not that I didn’t want to find solidarity, not that I didn’t want my beautiful femme friends to know that I too know that pain, that I too stand with them. But we all do, really. Is anyone, is any femme safe from sexual assault?
A woman outed the owner of a bar in town recently for being her rapist, for taking her home and fucking her and leaving a condom inside of her. She woke up with her Doc Martens still on. She continued to go to the bar. She drank there and played music and even helped decorate it after it burnt down. She said she kept going because she didn’t know what to believe, she couldn’t come to terms with what had happened to her.
A lot of posts said “Me too” posts are problematic, that victims do not need to lead the way in fighting against their oppressors, and that rapists should be outing themselves.
Could you imagine? A society where men realize that our patriarchal landscape practically arms them with the ability to oppress, to take, to ruin lives, to take the autonomy away from anyone non-male? A society where men felt so inclined to come clean?
I don’t want to be a pessimist, and I don’t want to suggest that the victims who are not coming forward about sexual assault are not doing their part in the revolution. I want to suggest that the very fibers of femme existence is defined by our sexual relation to some other classification of people. That when we choose to dissent, to use our voices, we are doing so under a male-driven culture.
A woman recently outed her rapist at a local bar. The same bar I sat at as I was served underage with a man twice my age, he was handsome and charming and all that perfect shit for being a predator. At the time, I felt flattered. Months passed, I let him in, he tore down the very things he so claimed to love about me. He abused me mentally, physically, psychologically.
Sex with an abuser never feels consensual.
Women twice my age would never look into my eyes. Instead, they would address him, flirt with him, and shame me. Twice I was cornered by older women, who condemned me for being with him, “I know who you are little girl” they would say. I wanted to ask if they would help me.
The issue at hand is much like observing a particle in motion, when you can locate it, you aren’t able to tell what speed it is going at. When you can’t locate it you are able to measure the speed it is traveling.
In this case, everyone can see me, can see us. But they cannot tell how fast we are moving. They know they should be “concerned”, but that concern often manifests into judgement and ridicule. They do not want to look deeper. Yes, we want to fix the men, we want them to be called out — but what happens to a group of people whose only form of communication in solidarity is our relation to men?
Upon coming out that I am attracted to women, I experienced a strange phenomenon: women were looking into my eyes. After a woman would find out, she would allow herself to let her guard down and relate, perhaps even flirt with me, assuming I would take on a “man’s” role. Assuming she is no longer in competition with me, in fact, she may even be an object of my desire. I am a dyke, I might fuck her, she is okay with that.
But where was she when I was getting glass bottles thrown at me? Where was she when I was waking up to his hands around my throat? Surely, she or someone she knew could hear my screams echoing down the streets of the tight knit neighborhood? Where was she?
Oh, yes, she was in the corner of the bar, rolling her eyes as I sat next to the same man that everyday reminded me I was less than him.
Are we going to keep perpetuating the classification system that has been imposed on us, or will we fight for a world in which sexual orientation doesn’t define us? Do the victims need to fight back? Is it the responsibility of the abused and raped and tortured to call men out? What is our responsibility, what do we owe to our non-males friends in this fight?
I find solidarity in younger women and femme people. I find solidarity in the folks who aren’t navigating their lives through the confines that we have been given, the ones who realize that our choices in this world aren’t defined by what men have and have not done to us. Rather, what we can do for one another.