Raven, a fellow blogger, has a lot of feelings and so do I.
She’s a conservative mom who I typically disagree with about absolutely everything, but I can normally still tolerate. She has some redeeming qualities, like we all do. But I’ve never been able to decide if she writes things to get attention or if she actually believes what she writes. Similar to how I’ve always wondered if certain presidents we may or may not have actually believe what they are saying or just say them for the attention. (She will likely see that as a compliment. To each their own.) But here we are.
The below post is about ten feet past where I draw my “I can tolerate” line in the sand.
Yes. She wrote that. And, I’m guessing she actually believes it. The experiences of women worldwide, the professional opinion of psychologists everywhere, and the peer reviewed research all prove that she’s wrong, but none of that matters to women who hide in the shadows because of women like her.
She also said in the comments: “If women spoke up decades earlier maybe he wouldn’t still be doing it. But everyone was too worried about themselves and their film career.” Yes. Exactly. They were worried about themselves. They were worried about their careers, because this man had the ability to ruin them. They had every right to be worried, which is why they might not have spoken up. That’s the freaking point.
Not to mention: women have been speaking up for decades and not much changes. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, our president has been accused and even bragged about sexually assaulting women, and yet he was elected to the highest office. That’s where women speaking out has gotten us. So forgive me if some women find themselves wondering what the point is, besides opening up old wounds for the whole world to see and being made out to be the bad guy by women like Raven.
I was sexually abused. And for years and years and years I thought it was my fault because I didn’t fight back. I didn’t do enough. I didn’t “kick him in the face and leave the room” like Raven, in all her expertise, says that anyone being hurt should do. I didn’t say anything for the longest time because of this. People like Raven, who perpetuate this idea that because I didn’t physically fight back that it’s somehow my fault or that I’m weak, is why men continue to get away with it and why women continue to keep silent. (And to be clear: She does place blame on the victim. Writing that she wrongly passed all of the blame and responsibility off to Harvey insinuates that there was blame and responsibility that she should own up to.)
But let me tell you why I didn’t fight back.
One, just like fight or flight, it’s a normal human reaction that does not mean you’re weak. Two, I was younger and he was older. There was a power dynamic at play. Three, I was manipulated into thinking that if I didn’t let him do what he wanted to me that I would be shunned, they wouldn’t like me, and from that I concluded that I would basically be alone every day that I was with him and others – that would be miserable. Four, the person that abused me was known to be violent. I knew what he was capable of, and didn’t want to be on the receiving end. Was I weak for not fighting back? Looking back, no. I was strong. I am strong. I did what in the moment my body and brain thought needed to be done in order to be safe and as happy as I could be while being abused. Don’t get me wrong, if I fought back, the abuse wouldn’t have stopped, it just would have been different. So yeah, I guess when I didn’t fight back I was “too worried about myself”.
That abuse continued for years. When it finally did come out, I was convinced not to press any charges. Excuses were made for him, and basically everything was dug up for no reason other than for me to relive it all over again in front of others.
Or maybe we should talk about the time that a family friend groped me until I pretended I was asleep. I was spending the night while my mom was away, and he wouldn’t leave me alone. I was uncomfortable, I was alone, I didn’t know what to do. So, I pretended to fall asleep. He eventually left me alone, but don’t be confused, he kept touching me after I “fell asleep” for a minute or two. Was I being weak? Was it my fault that I didn’t kick and scream? No. Absolutely not. The guy had what felt like two feet and fifty pounds on me, and if I honestly fought back and told anyone, it would just cause issues between our families. I was trying my best to hold it together.
We could also talk about the time I did speak up. I was being sexually harassed at work and told him it wasn’t okay in the nicest way I knew how, because I knew my job was at risk. I dealt with it for as long as I could, because I had a mortgage to pay, student loans to pay, gas to buy, and food to eat.
When Raven says the women are too concerned about their career, she shows her hand. You see, she has the luxury to not have to worry about money or her career. I wish I had that luxury. I wish that I could stay at home and take care of my daughter, but I can’t. I need to make money outside of the home to pay for our mortgage and student loans. I need to make money to live my life, so yes, when I think about speaking up or kicking people in the face, I have to consider what this will do to my career. Not everyone has the luxury she does to not consider this. (And I’m going go be honest here and say there’s a difference between a job and a career. It’s one thing to lose your job, it’s another to lose your career. Again, she has the luxury of not getting this.)
But I knew that if I burned that bridge, I wouldn’t be able to rebuild it. I would be blackballed from a certain, very important, group in my chosen field. The field I make my money in, the field my friends are in. Finally, I said something to the parent organization about what was happening. (I want to be clear about something: It was handled better than I expected. It was handled quickly, it was handled with care, and I felt oddly empowered by the whole situation. And yet…) Within four hours of telling the parent organization what was happening, I was out of that job and into a new one. I was initially given the option to stay, but within about an hour I was told to go and pack my bags – for my own safety. You see, he was going to be fired from that job no matter what. But the organization I was working for knew that the climate of the office would shift and that I without a doubt would face some retaliation. It was in my best interest to leave the job I had been working so hard at, and doing so well in, because this asshole decided that he could say whatever he wanted to me and I dared say something. And all of this impressed me, because I was treated with more respect and dignity than I expected. It’s a little sad that someone would expect less than that, less than being asked to leave because of retaliation. But, that’s the world we live in today. What is worse, looking back, is that I was asked to leave without saying a word to anyone. Again, it was in my own best interest to do so. I know this is the case. The parent organization had my back through and through, yet I was still forced to leave because some people just can’t help themselves.
Am I happy I said something? Ultimately, yes, I ended up with a better gig, but I’ve burned a major bridge. A bridge bigger than most people reading this blog will realize. And I still believe that could limit me professionally, at least for a few years. Do I think I was weak for waiting so long? No. Do I think I was responsible for not being more aggressive towards him? No. The first few times it happened I’m pretty sure I laughed. I was so uncomfortable, so taken aback that I didn’t know how to react. That’s normal. That’s human. If we’re being real, this is the reaction women everywhere have been trained to give their whole lives.
There have been times I haven’t said a thing. There have been times I did. Both of which I consider myself strong, not weak. And even in the cases of me speaking out, it ultimately didn’t matter. I was pressured into not to pressing charges, and the man I was working with ended up getting a better job at the help of the guy I was working for – even after knowing what was said and done to me.
All this to say that I think that while what Raven said is bullshit, it is also a prime example of why ignorance is bliss. I hope women who share her beliefs are never in a situation like so many, where they are forced to choose between their careers and their dignity. I hope they never have to weigh the pain of being sexually assaulted vs. the pain of being physically assaulted. I hope they never have to fear for their life because they say no to a man on top of them.
We don’t quote the raven because the raven is wrong, the raven is ignorant, the raven lies.