Tag Archives: violence against women

NPFP: A Big F*cking Mistake

Welcome to RMB’s Naked Pictures of Faceless People, a series of guest posts from diverse anonymous writers. (Read more about NPFP’s origins.) These are the posts that are jumping to get out of us, but for whatever reason — safety, embarrassment, conflict of interest, protection of loved ones’ reputations or feelings, or so on — we don’t or won’t or can’t post at our own blogs. Anyone, whether blogger or reader only, is welcome to submit or discuss a potential post by emailing me at arwyn at raisingmyboychick dot com.

Trigger Warning: There is a trigger warning on this post for rape and withdrawn consent.

The author sent it with this note: “I’m tempted to title it “A big fucking mistake,” simply because that’s literally what happened and I find that title humorous, except it doesn’t fit the tone of the post. Name it what you want.” I happen to have a similar black humor, a dearth of title ideas, and want to name it what the author wants, so:

A Big Fucking Mistake

I don’t even know how to start. So I’ll start with the hard part.

My husband raped me. But he’s not a rapist. Well, he is since that’s the definition of the word, but that’s not how I see him. To me, he’s very loving, soft-spoken, kind, respectful. Everything wonderful. Except one time, I wanted to stop, and he didn’t.

It was early in our relationship. We weren’t the adventurous kind, so needing a safe word never crossed our minds. Sometimes you get into positions that aren’t comfortable for both people and while I originally thought I couldn’t handle it, at some point, I wanted to change positions and so I told him to stop. But he didn’t. Because he was so close. But that shouldn’t even matter. Because I said stop and he didn’t and so he raped me.

Afterwards, he knew he shouldn’t have kept going. I felt betrayed, violated. I did not want to cuddle with him or talk to him. He apologized. He knew he crossed a line he shouldn’t. And he’s never done it again. And in the years since, we’ve become more open about communication and discussing sex. We’ve come up with a safe word because neither of us want that to happen again. I know it haunts him. He takes full responsibility, but he doesn’t know how to make up for it. I don’t know how to “fix” it either. He really is a good person who is gentle in every way. Except for that one time.

It makes my life as a feminist complicated. Because “no” means “no”. And we want to paint all rapists as bad and deserving to be on the sex offenders list. We want justice, we want it to never happen again. But then, there’s my husband. And he’s a rapist. But I’m not going to call the cops on him because it’s been years, we’ve remedied the issues that led to it, and he never ever wants that to happen again. I think our relationship has grown and moved on and we are in a better and safer place. And I don’t worry for the safety of me or other women and children he is with. He has no temper or violent tendencies. The one time I’ve seen him upset beyond what he could handle, he left the room until he calmed down. And that was once in 7 years of being with him. He doesn’t deserve the title “rapist,” except he does. Or did. That one time.

What do you do with something like this? “He raped me once, but he’ll never do it again,” can sound so enabling, so apologetic. Except that it’s true. And sometimes people make mistakes, even big mistakes.

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Please support the Naked Pictures of Faceless People project by commenting on the posts. Comments which attack or attempt to guess the identity or any aspect of the identity of the writer will be deleted, however. Protect and respect this space as though it were your own work on display here, naked and faceless.

Anonymous comments are welcome on NPFP posts. Simply put “Anonymous” or any pseudonym in Name, and either your own or a fake email addresses (ex me@me.com) as the email. NOTE: If you have a Gravatar associated with your email address, it will show up even with an anonymous name, in which case please use a different or a fake email address.

Naked Pictures of Faceless People: Inside and Out

Welcome to RMB’s Naked Pictures of Faceless People, a series of guest posts from diverse anonymous writers. (Read more about NPFP’s origins.) These are the posts that are jumping to get out of us, but for whatever reason — safety, embarrassment, conflict of interest, protection of loved ones’ reputations or feelings, or so on — we don’t or won’t or can’t post at our own blogs. Anyone, whether blogger or reader only, is welcome to submit or discuss a potential post by emailing me at arwyn at raisingmyboychick dot com.

Trigger Warning: There is a trigger warning on this post for fear of and references to sexual/physical assault.

Inside and Out

I’m afraid of being seen.

I want to be seen.

When I leave the house, I rarely talk anymore, afraid of my voice giving away the unbearable truth of my history, the bulge in my crotch, the knot in my throat. Afraid of facing more violence, of the crack of knuckles against my skin. Of the wrong words applied to my body. Of that look that says exactly what you think of me.

Of seeking hands, again, feeling inside my clothes for a truth I can’t reveal, a desire I can’t satisfy. Again.

But I’m afraid inside, too. Living too much in this virtual world, feeling too much, everywhere. Afraid of losing my ability to work, afraid of not being clever, competent, together. Having to produce, be better, faster, more insightful.

Of being found out. Of being a huge fucking mess sometimes. Of being ridiculous, overly dramatic, sentimental, immature. Falling just for the rush of it, wanting just for the feel of it. Aching, yearning, needing I not know what.

Knowing:
how often I cry
how hard it is to sleep
how much pain there is

that there is precious little space to talk about this, of needing there to be.

but that’s when we would be free….

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Please support the Naked Pictures of Faceless People project by commenting on the posts. Comments which attack or attempt to guess the identity or any aspect of the identity of the blogger will be deleted, however. Protect and respect this space as though it were your own work on display here, naked and faceless.

Anonymous comments are welcome on NPFP posts. Simply put “Anonymous” or any pseudonym in Name, and either your own or a fake email addresses (ex me@me.com) as the email. NOTE: If you have a Gravatar associated with your email address, it will show up even with an anonymous name, in which case please use a different or a fake email address.

Radio Silence; a meta post on blogging and trolls

This blogging gig is a weird business. Part journaling, part therapy, part diary, part writing practice, part connection-seeking, part activism, and part paid-article proving ground. Granted, I’ve deliberately defined the scope of this blog as quite broad, a(n over)reaction to my original hyper-focus that declared anything not directly relating to both parenting and feminism as “off topic” (not that that ever stopped me from posting it, mind you). But the blogging beast itself is terribly, inherently strange as well, simultaneously intimate and distanced; a self-conscious self-performance, no matter how raw, how naked we get.

And then there are trolls. Some are so ridiculous they’re amusing (even as their barbs also sting). Some are consciously, deliberately cruel. Some come to argue based on an utter disagreement with the fundamental principles of this space, leaving me to wonder why they bother (and to believe it’s that they enjoy annoying me). Some seem as well-intentioned and sincere as is possible whilst declaring me a child abuser, (reverse) racist, horrible parent, delusional fatty, all-around crazy person, or wrong on every possible point.

I don’t get as many trolls as some others do, I know. I don’t (as far as I know — and in this case, ignorance is bliss; please leave me mine even if it is false) have sites dedicated to my take down or downfall. I’ve yet to receive death threats (declarations that the world/my family/my child would better off with me dead, yes). I’ve been pronounced unfuckable, but not yet declared rapeable.

(How sad is it that these are my standards for “the trolls aren’t that bad”?)

Mostly, trolls give me a chance to vent and laugh and seek solace from my friends (both virtual and otherwise). Or, to reaffirm my commitment to truth-telling and activism. But sometimes the sheer volume, the unfiltered vitriol, gives me pause, and causes me to question my decisions.

Not in what I do, mind you. But what I say. What I write. What I share. How I shape this performance-of-self.

For it is shaped, and it is performed; never doubt that. I can speak only truths, and give the impression that I know exactly what I am doing, an expert to (depending on your bias) revere or revile — or that I am clueless, hopeless, useless, and unredeemable. I wouldn’t have to lie to tell either story (except by omission). I mostly try to perform complexity, and portray both (and thus neither), partly because of philosophy and beliefs about my audience, but mostly — I would have you believe, would have myself believe — because it is the most honest. But it is, regardless, performance.

And a self-conscious, self-aware one. Although I know better than to attempt a schedule, I nevertheless keep a sort of running tally, and recent history weighs on what I write next: have I addressed race recently? trans issues? parenting failures? child rights? general sexism? body shame and body love? Have I done a ranty post? A funny one? A naked one? A nuanced one? What do the last month’s posts say about me? Have I created this dance in the shape I want?

And then come trolls. And this beautiful-painful-fragile-strong thing I have created, am creating, is egged, is graffitied, is declared ugly, is attacked, is belittled. Is used against me. And I wonder not if I’m wrong, not if I’m as awful as they say (though sometimes, at three am or three in the afternoon…), but if it’s worth it. If it’s worth flinching when I hear the new-email ding, worth the anxiety spike when I see “New comment pending”, worth the reluctance to open my Twitter feed. Worth bringing this psychic shit into my home, around my child, hurting me, harming us both.

So far, sometimes after time away to lick my wounds and wonder, I’ve said yes. So far the emails that thank me for my honesty outweigh the comments that call me ugly, and uglier names. So far the therapy of blogging gives me more than the therapy I need because of blogging costs me. So far the minds changed are worth the attacks on my mental status. So far the work I do is more nourishing than the trolls are draining.

I don’t know that it will always be so.

Whose uterus is it? A poem and a polemic

Flipping, squirming, hiccuping being inside
me
my
belly moves, bulges, requires
tables to be shifted
my
body to be shifted
my
gait and stride and way
I
move through the world
to be shifted
to make room, one day, for
not-me

*****

Whose uterus is it?

Increasingly, it seems, not the person in whose body it resides, not when US states have to debate — though most aren’t even doing that — whether to compensate women they insulted and forcibly sterilized, when pregnant athletes are banned from sports, when, not long-ago but right now, women face murder charges for pregnancy or neonatal losses, when women are being stripped of rights and social supports and we can’t even get the powers that be to acknowledge this systematic attack.

There are two unique genetic signatures here in this chair, but only one body. Two heartbeats, but one flesh that interacts with the world. The person-ification of the parasite within me, the extent to which I am I-and-other, is for me to decide — not strangers who wish to rub my belly, not family who speak of “our baby”, not governments who would criminalize my choices not for their effect on my fellow citizens but for perceived damage to the flesh-in-and-of-my-flesh.

I am not heartless, not lacking in sentimentality, not ignorant of the profundity of the person-creation that is procreation, of the of-me-but-not-me-ness of the being within me. But as long as it is within me, sustained by me, symbiotic with me as no other stage of existence can be; as long as this is so, no one has the right to dictate or regulate my rights, my choices, my self as though it is not my body who will bear those burdens.

Because, whatever you may say, it is my uterus.

Naked Pictures of Faceless People: Taking the long way home

Welcome to RMB’s Naked Pictures of Faceless People, a series of guest posts from diverse anonymous writers. (Read more about NPFP’s origins.) These are the posts that are jumping to get out of us, but for whatever reason — safety, embarrassment, conflict of interest, protection of loved ones’ reputations or feelings, or so on — we don’t or won’t or can’t post at our own blogs. Anyone is welcome to submit or discuss a potential post by emailing me at arwyn at raisingmyboychick dot com.

Trigger Warning: There is a trigger warning on this post for explicit descriptions of sexual and emotional abuse of a minor.

Taking the long way home

Therapy is a deep well from which to dip replenishment. But, sometimes there are things unseen beneath the deepest waters. I began having nightmares after a session where I was trying to figure out why when things are at their most difficult, I turn away from what heals me and run headlong into the suffering. The nightmares were about a bright light shining in my eyes while dozens of large black spiders with long segmented legs pried my jaws apart. Then I started having the dreams flash on me while I was awake. Then memories began flashing.

Being the only child of a single, narcissistic parent, I’m pretty good at keying in to other people. I’ve been told that when I focus on someone in a conversation, they feel like they’re the center of the universe and that I really care about what they’re saying. And it’s true. I do find people and their passions fascinating. As a child, it was a coping mechanism in dealing with the only adult I had to rely on however inconsistently that love was returned. It was a constant shift between intensity and abject neglect both physically and emotionally. I was a latchkey kid from the time I was six years old. My afternoons were mine to do with as I pleased. There was usually an empty fridge at home, but we had plenty of neighbors. Any mention to my mother about feeling hungry were ignored or brushed aside. Actually any feelings that were not of interest to her vision of reality were pushed away or belittled.

I remember my mother telling me when I was ten that my grandfather died. Papa, as I called him, was the father figure in my life. I began crying and my mom moved over to hug me, as she began sobbing over how horrible it was for her that her father was dead. She needed comfort from me and I gave all I could until she was done, at which point she decided it was time to buck up and put on a brave face.

Shortly after this, my mother decided this brave face was going to need braces. My fairly straight teeth needed to be straighter, I suppose. Up until this therapy appointment I mentioned in the beginning, I’ve had zero memory of having braces or anything about going to the orthodontist. I knew I had braces because there were photos, but I have no connection to that girl in those pictures. I chalked it up as more of the hazy blur that most of my life is to me. But, for some reason the memory came up that she chose an orthodontist who was a few miles away so I would be able to ride my bike to appointments.

Those dreams were haunting my waking hours and memories were coming back in disjointed sensory snapshots. Bright light. Heavy breathing. Painful fingers pulling and pushing at my lips and jaws. Then it was back, like a key slipping into the right lock. My orthodontist enjoyed causing me pain. He told me how much he liked pulling on my lips and pushing against my gums. I understood that I should give an adult what they needed. I think I was 11 the first time he put his flaccid penis in my mouth. I told my mother but she didn’t believe me. It didn’t fit in with her image of who a daughter of hers should be. So, I never talked about it again.

I think I was twelve when he began putting his hands and dental tools inside my vagina. He liked to make me sore. He liked to crush my labia between his fingers. He like knowing he could push on my vulva and I would feel sore the next day. He liked to make my braces extra tight, so that my mouth would be sore longer.

I looked forward to my regular adjustments. I began equating suffering with being real. The rest of my life I wasn’t real. I was an adjunct to someone else’s whim.

I would to take the long way home over the gravel road on my bike from these appointments to keep the soreness that little bit longer.

When I was fourteen, I took an entire bottle of aspirin and went to bed. But, I couldn’t sleep because I was worried it wasn’t enough to kill me. So, I told my mother. I remember the drive to the hospital where she told me how furious she was at me for scaring her so badly and that I was a spoiled brat who would do anything for attention. I remember her disgust with me when I was induced to vomit at the hospital. I remember telling the hospital therapist, “I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I was looking for attention,” as my mother looked on.

I was sixteen when we moved and my mother took me to a new orthodontist. He was angry with how crooked my teeth had become due to the poor work on my braces. He recommended having them removed entirely and starting over again. I passively agreed. He removed them and I never returned to get them replaced.

I have not told anyone who knows me about this yet. Sharing this with my partner will be another burden he’ll willingly bear. That is the type of person he is. He is carrying so many of his family’s burdens right now that I’m not ready to add another of mine to his load. Sharing this with my therapist will change things and I’m not ready for that yet. I’d like to keep this in my well just a little while longer. Knowing that others will read it will help me feel real. It will give me time to heal some of the soreness.

My teeth are still crooked and I’m embarrassed by them. But, I know that their crookedness doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. And now I know why I turn away from the things that heal me when times are at their most difficult. It’s because I still take the long way home over the gravel road.

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Please support the Naked Pictures of Faceless People project by commenting on the posts. Comments which attack or attempt to guess the identity or any aspect of the identity of the blogger will be deleted, however. Protect and respect this space as though it were your own work on display here, naked and faceless.

Anonymous comments are welcome on NPFP posts. Simply put “Anonymous” or any pseudonym in Name, and either your own or a fake email addresses (ex me@me.com) as the email. NOTE: If you have a Gravatar associated with your email address, it will show up even with an anonymous name, in which case please use a different or a fake email address.

Taking the long way home