When I slipped a disc in my back, I was in extreme pain for a while. Then I got used to it. When I went to the chiropractor the next day, he tested my blood pressure while I was sitting and when I was standing. It was not different, and it was supposed to be. He told me that was a sign of stress caused by the pain. I wasn’t hurting much, but I did feel a little weird. I now know that feeling was from suppressed pain.
I hear that if you are going to boil a live lobster, it is kindest to do it slowly. Put the lobster in the pot and raise the heat gradually until it just goes to sleep. This is less traumatic than putting it in a boiling pot.
Bad smells become normal after a while. Constant loud sounds do too. After a while you can get used to anything, even if it is dangerous for you.
I’ve been a lobster for a long time. I’ve been in pain for a long time. I’ve been around bad smells and loud noises for longer than is healthy. I’d gotten used to it.
I’m not talking about these things in the literal sense.
I have been the victim of a culture that puts women last. I have been the victim of a culture that tells me and every other woman that our value derives from how we look, how we act, and how we related to men. I have been a victim of abuse from family and boyfriends and strangers. People I thought I could trust have harmed me, with the full approval of a society that says if a woman is harmed, she must have done something to deserve it.
As if men can’t control themselves.
As if men are basically animals.
I didn’t even realize I had been raped by a boyfriend until recently. I thought it was my fault, a misunderstanding. We were dating, but we hadn’t had sex. We’d talked about it, but we hadn’t agreed to it. We were kissing each other and fooling around one minute, and then he had entered me the next.
I thought it was my fault. I shouldn’t have led him on. I shouldn’t have let the situation get that far advanced. Right? That is what I’ve been told by our society.
And now I know. Sex without the consent of both people is rape. Even if both people are dating. Even if both have had sex with each other before.
Every single time it must be clearly mutual, or it is rape.
And it isn’t the woman’s fault. That is the definition of codependency. Nobody is responsible for another person’s feelings or actions. They are. A woman didn’t “make” a man do anything. He chose to. This is true for rape and domestic assault.
If a boundary is violated – whether it is being smacked around or raped – it doesn’t matter who does it. It is still an attack, and it is still the fault of the person who did the attack. The victim is not ever to blame.
We have to change our mindsets. We have to start thinking of violence between people who are supposed to be in a loving relationship as simply the same as violence between strangers.