There is a lot of heated argument on fetlife right now about being able to have a database of rapists. I want to volunteer to adjudicate but hello lawsuit which is why these things don't get off the ground. It has to be anonymous. It has to be just data not the deciding vote in what happens.
I read something this morning by a large queer man who talks about his experience of being perceived as creepy. It's an intense read. I think he elicited far more emotional response of sympathy from me than any man in my life has ever done. I think it is because he is a stranger on the internet. I have never felt any kind of boundary incursion from him so I don't have any defenses up when I read it. And he's a very good writer. That sounds intense and hard in a way I can't understand.
I've been raped by ten-ish male people depending on how you count. That's a lot of rapists for someone not in prison or a war zone. That means there is something about me. What am I doing to get myself into these situations?
I have issues with learned behavior. I was taught to hunt for those feelings from when I was a very small child. It's not about what I look like or even really who I am. My father taught me. That is really hard to wrap my head around. What does that mean about my thinking? About who I am?
No matter what my experiences as a rapist hunter isn't about my personhood the way being viewed as threatening is for Gaze. (The guy who wrote the blog.) It's external to me. I can pass when I want to. I can seem very non-threatening and unremarkable when I want to when I am out in public. He can't. He has never done anything wrong and he is scary anyway.
I'm scary sometimes. When I was a teacher there were many times when the very large football players backed away from me cowering in fear. I was told, "You are the most intimidating person I have ever seen" by seventeen and eighteen year old boys who towered over me and weighed a hundred pounds more than me.
I worry about that with my kids. So far they show no signs of being afraid of me so I think I'm doing ok.
I'm getting away from what I was thinking about earlier.
Gaze inspired me to think about why I distrust men so badly. What are the levels of trust for me?
I think that it is important to note that I don't believe or suspect random men are going to attack me. I walk around Oakland in the dark by myself. I don't fear random men. Sometimes I wonder if I am fishing to see if I should start to distrust random men as well. Oh the self-harming methods are tricksy.
I distrust men I know because sometimes women in my communities come to me and tell me their side of events. Then I run into the rapists at parties. They lean in and quickly hug me--noticeably without my consent--while I cringe. Oh yeah. I believe her that he never bothered to find out if she wanted to say yes to sex.
Sometimes I would like to rent a hall and then drive around delivering invitations to men I know and bring them all to a room. I would like to give them a talk about why women have told me that they are rapists.
I honestly believe that most of them don't understand that is what they are doing. A few are truly blatant and know and that's the point. That's Paul Nathan and Kevin Gilmore, fyi. (I use their names because they sexually assaulted me. I don't out other peoples rapists.) These two are blatant, many victims, many years, many locations. Hunters. Of course I found them.
I stay home because I am a lightening rod. It is because I draw predators. That makes the men who want to talk to me very suspect. I don't, in my head, see a whole lot of reason why a guy would want to talk to me unless he is a predator. It is quite hard for guys to prove that they want to be my friend. Tay-that's why you are so amazing. Holy shit you keep trying.
I have a lot of different levels of trust. That's normal. The internet told me so. There is this weird grey area for me. I'm at the part in The Moral Animal where he goes over the purpose of the low-status throw away whore. The Madonna/whore dynamic. By most of those kind of caste systems I am untouchable but Noah married me anyway. I get why. I get why for him having such a partner was worthwhile.
I look with harsh suspicion on every other man who wants to talk to me. I know my place in society. But I can't function as that any more. I quite literally feel panic and worry and terror because I feel like I might have to say no to sex at any moment because that is the only reason men approach me but I can't do it anymore and saying no is so dangerous. Oh god. It makes my throat close.
But that's all in my head. Most people who walk up to me want to say, "Hey! How are you?!" And not really listen to my semi-truth that only mentions up-beat positive highlights of my life for two minutes before they wander away.
That is what is going on in their head.
I think that I am actually successfully not a target anymore. I absolutely don't spend time around the kind of scum who prey on mothers. Because I have a hard time figuring out in advance who they are we don't spend time around very many people.
I spend a lot of time longing for orthodox religion of some kind. Some religion with a strongly divided male and female population so I can go meet women and hide behind them and never have to meet their men. And if I did they would be horrified by the idea of touching me. Holy shit that sounds good.
I want some way of knowing for sure that people aren't sexually interested in me. I don't want people to be sexually interested in me any more. I'm tired of having to field that energy. Why is this my bloody problem?
Because they are people who get to ask. I get to say no.
Oh what a pity party. Geez, if I didn't get that attention wouldn't I be longing for it?
After reading Gaze's blog post I honestly believe that I will cheerfully stick with my side of the bargain and try to work on my attitude.
I can't imagine feeling that much anxiety about the amount of space my body takes up.
I've got to tell you, reading the internet makes me think that I have one of the healthiest relationships with my appearance of anyone I know. That's kind of hilarious. I think I am on the attractive side but not beautiful. I like my body and speak positively of it without having to force it. My kids will grow up hearing positive things about bodies in general. We don't watch main-stream tv and don't read magazines or diet books. My kids think fat is awesome and food is for eating. Not on the damn carpet. We get ants. Some day the outside of my house will be resealed and I will have insulation and hard wood floors. Then you can eat in any room.
So yes, I go to these parties and I see these men whom I know to have committed rape. I then feel on massive high anxiety about any and every man who talks to me. My feelings of distrust come from my perception of my very low status. Why else would men talk to a whore?
I have had a few male friends who have managed to show me that my company does have value to them without sex. It's a hard battle. Mostly I just stay home and cry because I do not believe I am worthy of community because I can't put a lid on my anxiety and be nice to men.
Having those rapists in the room really makes it hard. And that's my problem. So I stay home.
I'd like to get those men together and talk to them. I'd like to be able to say, "I know most of you vaguely in a social way. I understand that we have never been close. I'd like to tell you why I keep you at least ten feet away from me. At least one woman has told me that you do not value consent when it comes to your sex life. That scares the shit out of me. What other consent do you not value? How many people have you targeted? If one in four women are raped and one in twelve men is a rapist that means each of you have probably been busy. Knock it the fuck off."
Not that it would be very effective.
I don't think men even know what looking for consent means. Obviously I'm generalizing. Unfortunately many men do not understand what looking for consent means. Is that better?
A woman has to actually say "yes" or you can't have sex with her. It is a tried and true survival method for someone to go blank and unable to fight back when they are being assaulted. You have to get yes.
If you don't get an enthusiastic yes you don't deserve to have sex with her.
Why don't I speak more about women predators? I don't know as much about them. I don't know if the dynamics are different or not. I assume not? I make people tell me yes.
I hurt a little boy when I was in kindergarden. I thought he was saying yes. He didn't. It hurt him a lot. I didn't understand. I have apologized to him but I can't take it back. I have done my best to never do it again.
You have to get an enthusiastic yes or you can't have sex.
You know how like two posts ago I said I have had sex with more men than any other gender presentation because they are easier to get a yes out of? I understand that women hem and haw. I know it is a big pain in the ass to get them to actually admit they want to have sex. You need to get that yes while their clothes are still on. Seriously.
Don't be a rapist. Just don't. If she doesn't say yes you can't have sex with her.
I'd really like to be able to leave the house again some day. I'd like to have fewer rapists in my communities.
I don't know what can be done about rape in the large scale. On the small scale it seems like a smack on the back of the head is the very first step if the rapee doesn't want the police involved.
People are so complicated. And now I have more sympathy for the male side than I did when I woke up this morning. I'm not sure if I'm grateful exactly. Ah yes, more internal pressure to be nice. Great.
Not everyone wants to have sex with me. I mean, I know this and all. But my inner social anxiety meter doesn't. If I could blame it on the sex communities I would. I actually know about fewer rapists in the bdsm community than in the dance community. Or poly community. Or Dickens. Or Renaissance Faires. Sometimes I feel very overwhelmed by what I know.
I wish I took this knowledge as security that I can trust the other men. There are probably only one or two rapists running around each community that I don't already know about. Doesn't that make all the other men safe by contrast? No. I don't know who would throw me under a bus if something happened. I can't feel emotionally close to any men. I am going to be the first bit of debris thrown from their life if they don't like the emotions they experience while standing close to me. I'm optional.
It's hard for men to convince me that they are invested in having a friendship with me. The series of hurdles are so convoluted and difficult that they are almost impossible to surmount. I don't feel particularly good about that. But it is what makes me feels safe. And I generally have enough friends at any given point in time that I get by.
I feel weird about immersing myself in a kid-centric world. This is going to be my first experience through childhood. I didn't draw pictures as a child because people were always nasty and critical. I didn't play very much because the games I wanted to play were acting out my life experiences. I had to have another child around willing to consent to sex, essentially. That's a hard sell for most kids. Good!
My kids won't have a life like mine. I feel so bad that I don't have things that I am good at to share with my children. But at least I have a lot of willingness to do things wrong and experiment and say I don't know how to do something yet.
I have a hard time screening people for my life. I am a lightening rod for bad people. How do I adequately screen people in order to keep my kids safe? I'm pretty sure I have done it so far. Only fifteen years of hyperviligance to go. Deep breath.
Luckily I am getting older. I hear that men stop propositioning women at some point. As long as Noah still likes me that's all I need.
I'm going to go climb back in bed with Noah. I have a Black Friday to ignore.