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When I first saw the #MeToo hashtag I was all: “HELL YEAH to this rad idea.” I posted mine and moved on.
Over the past 48 hours I’ve talked to some folks of various genders who I love and respect about their own experiences and I’ve grown in my understanding of the breadth and depth of violent sexual assault.
I’ve also seen this “campaign” used in ways that plainly enrage me.
(Warning, there are cusses ahead.)
I’ve watched people (mostly cis, straight women) on this hashtag literally tell other humans that “this isn’t the time or the place” for their story. I want to know how anyone can stand the over-the-top irony of saying that during a campaign about sexual violence?
How are y’all resolving that cognitive dissonance?
I’ve gone from feeling very positive about this phenomenon as an opportunity to bring awareness about male sexual violence … to seeing that this is just another tool for mostly straight, cis women to erase everyone else just like they always do.
So, yeah, men are the principal violators when it comes to sexual assault. They need to be targeted and spoken to. I agree with the aims of this campaign to that degree. I actually think it’s vital that we speak to them.
But men victimize nonwomen in the same way quite regularly. Guess they get a pass for that because queer assault doesn’t exist, right? Queer men experience sexual assault and intimate partner violence at the hands of other men. But they are consistently told, in all manner of ways, to shut up about it. I guess we don’t need to target the men who hurt them?
Straight men are also assaulted by men. I guess their assailants get a pass on this campaign? Men don’t need to see how common this kind of assault is?
Check it out: Sexual violence against trans people of all genders is at epidemic proportions. But once again, it’s cis women whose needs must always be centered in feminism. Nonbinary and trans masculine people can fuck off, apparently.
If you are cis and your politics lead you to tell a trans person to be silent about their narrative of sexual violence … I’m gonna need you to sit the fuck down.
And finally, some folks are gonna talk about being victimized by women. Men have been victimized by women. Women have been victimized by women. Nonbinary people have been victimized by women.
I get that this is about highlighting male violence and that’s fine but maybe take the opportunity to shut your fucking yap about your “rules” when someone chooses to disclose the way someone, even a woman, has violated them.
I don’t care what the text of your Facebook meme said originally. Your shitty, rule-mongering, badly interpreted ideas about intersectional politics, binarist ideas about gender, and heteronormative ideas about sex are further silencing whole groups of people who are victims of enormously under-reported crimes.
To what end? To “raise awareness.” Massive fucking eyeroll.
Reconsider your politics. Do they lead you to a place where you are silencing victims? Are you comfortable living in that space?