Almost every woman you know…

…has a story of sexual assault. Some of us have several stories.

The first time I can remember it happening I was probably about eight years old. I was riding my bicycle home on a sunny afternoon in a calm Los Angeles suburb. A man walking in the opposite direction waved at me, indicating he wanted to talk to me. I slowed down and stopped obligingly, and he asked me if I knew where a certain street was. I started to tell him that yes I did know where that was, but as soon as I started describing the way, he walked closer to me and shoved his hand down the front of my shirt. He felt up my bare chest for a few seconds, then pulled his hand out, and walked away, giving me a self-satisfied smirk that told me that he had just done this thing to me and there was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t speak or scream or react at all. Mortified and ashamed don’t really describe what I was feeling. I felt violated. Completely and totally violated. I’d never been touched that way by anyone before. But at eight years old I didn’t know how to process those feelings. I rode the rest of the way home, turned on the TV and watched cartoons. I tried to block out what just happened. I tried not to see his face. I was determined that I would not cry because I didn’t want anything to seem out of the ordinary.

I never told anyone or spoke about it until recently, when I told my husband. This was my introduction to sexual assault. I was eight years old and it happened in broad daylight. Other things have happened to me since then that make this first incident seem pretty mild by comparison. It had long since been buried and forgotten.

Then Donald Trump’s “grab’em by the pussy” scandal hit the news. That’s when women started sharing their stories of sexual assault, about how powerless and violated and weak it made them feel. It’s the guilt and shame that makes us never want to report it or talk about it. We know that we will be told that we must have wanted it if we made no effort to fight them off.

As for that, I can tell you that when it’s happening to you, these are the thoughts going to through your mind:

Oh god, this is really happening to me.
Please, please, don’t hurt me.
Please don’t kill me.
Please just let it be over soon.
Please don’t kill me.
Please just go away when you’re finished and leave me alone.
Please don’t kill me.

You’re not thinking about fighting back. You’re just hoping it will be over soon and that he won’t hurt you or kill you when he’s done.

To men like Donald Trump, woman are not thinking and feeling human beings. We are nothing more than play things to use and abuse whenever he feels like it, and then discard when he tires of us. We’re not really people and therefore we don’t need to give consent. Merely being in his presence is consent enough. After all, if we didn’t want to be grabbed, we shouldn’t have been within grabbing distance. The onus is always on the woman to not allow herself to assaulted or raped. Men like Donald Trump say they are unable to control themselves. She was drunk. She was wearing a short skirt. She was there. They see a pretty thing and they just act, and they know that most of the time they will get away with it.

This is not an indictment of all men. Far from it. There are so many wonderful, strong, loving, caring, supportive men out there. Men like my husband. This is about the pussy-grabbing, cat-calling, child-molesting monsters out there. A man-like creature who has the pretensions to the office of POTUS is one of them, and that must not be allowed to happen.

Go Fuck Yourself Weekly: Daryush Valizadeh aka RooshV

“How many noes does it take to enter a vagina?”

“Make rape legal if done on private property.”

This is one of those instances when I’m honestly not sure whether this RooshV person is actually serious or whether his extremely misogynist – what he terms “neomasculist” – views are simply trolling everyone, with feminists as the particular target. The statements above and the following statement seem a little too calculated to be genuine:

“Under my proposal, a girl will protect her body in the same manner that she protects her purse and smartphone…If rape becomes legal, she will never be unchaperoned with a man she doesn’t want to sleep with.”

Apparently, he thinks that a woman’s body and her genitals in particular are the same thing as her purse and her smartphone. You know, just some stuff that’s up for grabs if it’s not locked up. I suppose if he saw someone’s phone sitting on their desk at work, that he would help himself to it. Why wouldn’t he? Obviously, they wanted him to have it. And likewise, any man who finds himself alone with a woman should feel free to coerce her into sex, or if that doesn’t work, simply force himself on her. Technically, it wouldn’t be forcing her at all since she gave him her tacit consent as soon as she stepped across his threshold.

And, hey, if rape on private property was legal then there would be a lot less rape, right? It’s a win-win situation. Only a rape committed by a stranger in a back alley is a real rape anyway. If a friend or a colleague or classmate gets a woman alone then he’s entitled to her body.

The message to women is clear: if you don’t feel like having sex with a man then don’t be alone with him, ever. And as for the men, if you’re in a committed relationship and you really don’t want to cheat on your significant other, then for God’s sake don’t allow yourself to be alone with any woman. You know you’re incapable of controlling yourself.

Round Robin Exercise

A refresher for those who have been following since the days of Kang World and an explanation for those who are t3h n00bz.

For a short while, we used to pick a theme and everyone would write something within that. Usually it was some version of longform because I cannot poem.  Seriously, I cannot even write a haiku – I’m that fucking useless in this regard.  But we did this and it was challenging and fun. Please don’t ask me to unearth the archives because I cannot be arsed to code, migrate or resurrect the dead.  My skillz are mad but they are limited.

Anyhow, while we’re introducing some new things:  Go Fuck Yourself Weekly (double entendre intended), we’re going to bring back some old things.  The Round Robin is one but it may not be permanent.

Brian Kurcaba of West Virginia made a horrendous comment about rape, unplanned pregnancy and abortion this week.  Automatically, we decided he was going to be nominated for GFYW.  As I started to work through some ideas, I realized I wanted to tell a story.  Kitten has a story, too. Actually, a lot of people have a story to tell.  These stories are about sexual abuse (any form).  The mere thought of condensing these stories just doesn’t sit well with me.  It didn’t sit well with her or another RMer, either.  After some discussion about how best to approach this topic, keep it isolated from the rest of the site due to the content, be sensitive to others and work with the limitations of WordPress, we decided it would be best if we put the Round Robin in a page (you can see it at the tippy-top, next to About) and have our posts as subs, just as our bios are.  For whatever reason, I decided to spew first.  Just in one of those wormholes today.

This is not funny content.  It’s not supposed to be funny content.  The content is deeply personal, graphic and potentially upsetting.  You’re not going to be able to unsee this, folks.  We ask that you take the time to read the Round Robin detail and respect the rules of engagement.  We ask that you read the detail in advance of reading the pages as they are published.  We’re not going to push them en masse.  From my perspective, not only does one have to be willing to write the story – they have to be willing to hit publish and deal with everything that comes with hitting publish.

So that is what is brewing today.

In a few hours or a few days, the snark will be back.  The snark never leaves.  It does like a nap now and then, though.  And the poets, they’re still here, as well.  Well, they’re actually outside building their first snowman or shoveling snow or complaining about snow or thinking about getting the fuck away from snow.  Whatever.  Normality is just around the corner, y’all.

WOTD: justice

I just read on The Local: Sweden’s News in English, that Ephrem Yohannes, the man convicted of the brutal rape and murder of Elin Krantz, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his crimes, after which he will be deported from Sweden. He’s also been ordered to pay 600,000 SEK to the victim’s family as compensation, as if mere money could possibly “compensate” her family for her loss.

This is how he has been ordered to pay for his crimes. Whether or not this sentence can be considered “justice” is a another matter entirely.

It seems a rather lightweight sentence to me considering the degree of brutality and ruthlessness of the crimes. Then again I was born and raised in the highly punitive culture of the United States, where citizens demand that lawmakers be as tough as possible on crime. In America, a violent rapist-murderer would receive no less than a life sentence. In some states he might even be sentenced to death. The idea of a violent criminal being sentenced to a mere sixteen years in prison would seem ridiculously lenient to most Americans. Including me.

Still, this is Sweden, where it is believed that every criminal no matter how far gone has the potential to be rehabilitated. I’m not so sure.

I happen to have a different perspective on this particular crime because it occurred practically in my backyard. Elin Krantz’s body was found in the woods next to the public tram stop that I use every single day. I remember like it was yesterday the morning that I walked to the tram stop like usual and noticed that the whole area was cordoned off with blue and white police tape. There were several police cars in the area and my first thought was that they must have found a body.

It didn’t occur to me exactly whose body until I boarded the tram and remembered seeing the notices posted on the inside of the tram stop shelter and on the door of the nearby supermarket. “Have you seen our sister?” the notices read below a picture of Elin Krantz. She went out on Friday night and never made it home. It was then Monday morning. I saw a man on the tram reading a newspaper with the main headline, “Body Found in (my neighborhood).” They hadn’t yet identified the body.

That’s when it hit me. Oh my god. Oh my god. It’s her! The body they found. It’s got to be her.

And sadly, it was.