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I'm Stef. I have not experienced sexual violence or abuse in my life so far. It causes me a lot of anger that so many people I care for have suffered from it. I support those who choose to speak out about it and I support those who choose not to. I am glad to know that some people who suffered it have healed. I hope that those who have not healed receive support that can help them get to where they want to be.

I dislike the fact that sexual violence and abuse is treated in my culture as more shameful and horrific than other forms of violence, because I think that causes some victims and survivors to blame themselves for what happened and makes it more difficult to speak about.

I also dislike the opposite side of the coin, that sexual violence and abuse is often considered not to be a form of violence or abuse at all. I think that prevents some people from being able to name their feelings that something wrong was done to them.

I hope that people who have experienced sexual violence and abuse will consider me open to hearing their experiences and open to being educated on how their experiences have affected them and how I can best help.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
epi_lj
Aug. 3rd, 2004 02:01 pm (UTC)
I wish I had something useful to say here.

It makes me sad to see people angry, even when it's completely justified. More so when I feel that they're getting angry on my behalf (even as part of a collective). I feel like I should apologize or something.

That's probably a really dysfunctional response. :(
firecat
Aug. 3rd, 2004 02:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know how you feel about it. I'm sorry you're sad.

Does it make a difference to know that my anger is largely directed at certain cultural values that I believe make all this stuff more likely to happen?

I feel angry in a protective, "Don't you mess with the people I care about" way, too, but that's secondary in the case of people who aren't actively suffering significantly right now.

*hugs*
opalmirror
Aug. 4th, 2004 12:57 pm (UTC)
I've faced abuse in several different ways.

1) Something bad was done in the past to someone I love and still haunts them and their interactions with others... incest and rape seems pretty common there.

2) Relatively innocuous form where people hit on me, and I at first do not realize I need to make sure to establish clear boundaries. If I fail to do so I end up feeling slimed. Partly my fault here. This definitely makes one want to avoid that one person.

3) People without a sense of appropriateness who take advantage of people who are beyond the point of clear-headed consent. This usally combines horny people who are socially misadjusted preying on objects of their attraction who are drunk, sleeping, who have a freeze reaction when fondled, or some other awareness/communication difficulty. In any case it ends up being a humiliation to the preyed upon, and if others were around to witness them it is astounding and exasperating to figure out how to tell the instigator that they just don't get it.

Add onto this, if the topic is brought into open discussion by people who were not present, it turns into an opportunity as a soapbox for political, moral, and social polemic. It may rend associations. Just about all involved in the discussion ends up being victimized. This is one I lived thru. I ended up violently, darkly, justly angry at the perpetrator for several weeks, changed my social associations drastically afterward, and it took years to settle out most of the results.

It changed who I am, I am more reserved and cautious, more private, more suspicious of people at first. I look for far more specific things to assess compatibility in friendship. I know first hand how to provide support and care for people who have been sexually mistreated.
firecat
Aug. 5th, 2004 09:23 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing how abuse has affected you. I find the fourth thing you mention particularly interesting because it hasn't been mentioned in the discussions of abuse I've read so far in this meme, and I do agree that it can be victimizing.
opalmirror
Aug. 5th, 2004 10:33 am (UTC)
Any time you want to talk more about the various lessons learned that came off of it, let me know sweetie...
firecat
Aug. 5th, 2004 02:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, I would like to talk about it.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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