Annoyed White Imm…Expat — Part 1: I’m a woman
I participate in online and real life debates about immigration as a white non-Muslim woman and I feel like there’s this assumption that I have no horse in this race. That I’m talking because I’m a “reactivist liberal!” and not someone with a stake in what’s going on.
I don’t see it like that for several reasons but here’s a very white one: as a white atheist/Christian whatever I’m considered to be, I frankly refuse to let our media and our governments build this process of dehumanization of Muslims on my back. I refuse to participate. So there.
As a woman… where do I even start. I grew up in a white Catholic society. What this means is that EVERY SINGLE man who has ever tried or succeeded in sexually assaulting me — the older man who tried to rape me in the barn when I was 9 years old, the man who masturbated beside me on the bus when I was 20, the man who grabbed my breasts when I was 14, the man who masturbated behind me on the beach when I was 15, the man who grabbed my vagina at a concert, the man who masturbated in front of me during a field trip when I was 14… — they were all white Christian men. You want to call them perverts and exceptions but let me tell you, to my teenage mind they weren’t exceptions, they were everywhere. They were strangers and friends and family and people I loved and hated and knew and learned to fear. White Catholic men.
As a woman. I’ve listened to men and women I love and admire tell me things like “women lie about rape all the time”, “why was she out that late though?”, “well, they’ve both had a bit to drink”, “men have needs”, “boys will be boys”, “why didn’t she report it sooner if it really happened?”, “some women just need to be put in place sometimes”, “she probably wanted it but is too embarrassed to say it now”, “I told her to leave him”, “was it REAL sexual assault or like someone grabbed her tit?”, “apparently no one even heard her call for help”, “she just wants the money”…. and so so so so much more. (I will take this moment to say that the only people who ever told me men can’t be raped or abused by women were other men.)
Through it all I try to explain the complex psychology of abuse, why victims often stay with their abusers, why sometimes rape victims don’t scream, why sometimes rape victims orgasm, why having sex with a 16 year old isn’t ok no matter how much make up she wears but no one cares because “women lie all the time.”
So you can imagine my joy when suddenly men around me started really caring about abused women, about sexual assault, rape, they were talking about it all the time!
Women are being attacked, they said! We have to do something about it!
YES! YES WE DO! WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO!?
BAN IMMIGRATION! THROW OUT THE REFUGEES!
Let me tell you. Being sexually assaulted by a Christian isn’t BETTER than being assaulted by a Muslim. All assaults on all women are vile. And the fact that all these rape defenders around me are suddenly discovering their “feminism” through racism and Islamophobia is making me sick. I don’t need your fucking support now.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” they asked me when I was 16 and finally told someone about the man in the barn. “Why didn’t you move?” again, when I couldn’t leave as the man next to me continued to do his business.
I didn’t move and I didn’t tell you because YOU as a society made ME, a CHILD, feel embarrassed and shamed about what HE was doing. You made me think it was somehow my fault. You keep doing that to generations of girls and women (and boys and men!) and you sprinkle it all with a pinch of “boys will be boys” and “men have needs” like they are animals with no self control and we can do nothing but sit by and let it happen.
But now, when someone is, pardon me, encroaching on your turf, when your women are in danger of being raped by a non-Christian, NOW it’s a problem.
And this isn’t anything new. Not that long ago, all a black man “had to do” to get killed was look at a white woman.
People want to talk about “different cultures” and sexual violence. Sure. Let’s. Do you want to talk about pedophilia running rampant in the Christian religious institutions? Do you want to talk about sexual slavery in Austria, in North Germany? Do you want to talk about Romanian and Ukrainian girls being forced into prostitution? Do you want to talk about abusive patriarchal households all over small-town Balkans? Do you want to talk about violent military culture of Russia or their laws with prison punishments for any mention of homosexuality? Do you want to talk about internment camps for trans people and sex workers in Greece? Do you want to talk about rape in military or massive numbers of prison rape? Do you want to talk about the media culture that cries with the rapists because they “ruined their future”? Do you want to talk about culture that tears down rape victims and domestic abuse victims who dare accuse rich white athletes of anything?
Oh, you don’t? MY BAD.
And this has been in the making for a while now because the early reports of Syrian refugees emphasized that “a lot of young Muslim men are coming.” Because we find it normal that kids and women are fleeing war, but men should stay behind and fight. It doesn’t even matter that they have nothing to fight for, that this isn’t their war, they should just, y’know, stay behind.
You want me to be afraid of Muslim men. Too late. I’ve been afraid of all men for 22 years now. So, #notallmen, lemme tell you something: #notallmuslimmen.