And These Are Just The Famous Ones
I don’t know what I’m talking about. I am not the victim of sexual assault. I wish I lived in a world where I was normal, instead of lucky. Nothing has ever happened that I felt I couldn’t stop. The only thing I feel I can’t stop is the seemingly engrained belief that sexually assaulting a woman is a thing you can do.
It’s not done by everyone, but by enough people that I think, as a species, the way we think about what a woman actually is has burst, and spread, irreversibly, like gallons of glitter into shag carpet. We can’t clean up such a mess.
I’m not a victim of sexual assault, but I know what it’s like to be thought of as a thing, as an amusement, as a toy placed on earth for nothing more than a man’s sexual pleasure. Why does any man ever think that way to begin with? Where did the notion to do this come from? The permission surely comes from power, privilege, physical dominance, but none of those things planted the seed that doing whatever you want to a woman is even possible.
These are just the famous ones. The people we’ve watched, adored. The people we somehow care about. The headlines we’ll click on. I’m shattered to think of the victims who will never make the news. The ones who will never see an ounce of justice served to someone who lives every day of their life like they haven’t ruined one.
I’m not sure why I write this here now, except that maybe I’m thinking of my friends, the ones at home raising little boys tonight. It seems too simplistic to boil something as life altering as sexual assault down to “prevention is better than a cure,” but since there actually isn’t a cure to a life permanently scarred by sexual crime, the very beginning might not be a bad place to start.
I think I’ve given up on these men, these adults. A thousand famous actors, athletes, politicians, writers, and musicians could be exposed for violating other human beings, but my thought at hearing the news will never be “well, guess that’s all of ‘em.”
There will always be more, this will always happen, unless certain people never start. Those certain people are at home tonight playing with toys, eating dinner from colorful plastic sectioned plates, doing homework and begging their parents for another hour of screen time. They’re small, they’re growing, and they’re still able to learn what it means to respect and value other people. To learn what a woman is, to learn why she’s here on earth.
I want little boys to grow up in a world of new normal. A world where sexually assaulting another human being is as far-flung an idea as stabbing yourself in the eye with a cactus. It’s just not something you do. It’s terrible, it’s crazy, it’s wrong. It’s never a thought in your head in the first place.
I don’t know what I’m talking about. I have nothing to offer beyond an ear, and a willingness to express my thoughts on this topic through whatever tiny voice I have. I don’t know if it can ever be as simple as raising each other differently. I don’t know if this is something that ever gets fixed. But it won’t get even a little bit better if our world keeps doing what it’s always done until now.
I’m not wise here. But I do know I won’t be another person who clicks links and reads accusations and thinks “oh how terrible” and then does nothing. That will never be me. I will always talk about the things I feel I’m unqualified to talk about, because I don’t think being silent is the right thing to do. I don’t think my fear of coming across as stupid and small is anything to avoid when there are people who have suffered true fear. Who can’t forget it. And who I can remind that someone is thinking of them, regardless of whether or not their abusers are clickbait.
I don’t think nothing is the right thing to do. And I’ll beg parents of little boys, even when its not my place to. There’s no silence in my house tonight. Please do what you can. Start small.