Disclaimer: I’m pretty wound up right now – so I haven’t proof read this and I am not going to do so. But read this and consider that I have two masters, almost 20 years experience working in government and in community services – plus some would argue I have had to ‘get over’ some of the my experiences of violence and trauma. I struggled to write this articulately and to think clearly through out. I am educated. I understand the system and I have had some time. Yet it is still too fucking hard. Now imagine you have a woman with equal or less privilege, who doesn’t know the system, with fresher trauma. And she reports being raped. You then expect her to prove her innocence – the onus is on the reporter of a rape to prove innocence and not on the perpetrator. You expect her to do it calmly and publicly. If she is angry she is irrational. I have had time…. and I’m only getting angrier because the misogyny is not going away. Boys, you need to step the fuck up.
A few years ago I wrote a piece which I called: ‘Australia – be outraged by the real terror.’ I published it on my original blog (which I no longer operate), and it was also run by the Tasmanian Times – you can still read it here.
I come back to it from time to time with the intention of updating it and adding some new thoughts – and I still hope to one day. But I am actually too angry to do so. The last week has been a terrible writing week for me – every time I pick up a pen I end up angry, crying, and then my joints hurt from clenching them in stress and anxiety. I went to the GP for an ear infection which I was told wasn’t an ear infection – it was pain coming from the inflamation in my inner ear from jaw-clenching and teeth grinding…This was stopping my inner ear from draining – thus causing extreme pain and difficulty hearing. So yes, I am really angry – and I am tired. I am also tired of being angry. No one is angry for fun.
I am so angry and disenheartened by the fact that we still need to remind men that violence against women isn’t okay. I don’t even know why it is a damn conversation. Murder is bad. Rape is bad. Attacking people is bad. Yet when men do it to women, it is a ‘yeh but…’ it is like when you are arguing with a six year old about why they deliberately smashed a toy. ‘Yeh, but Mum, you don’t understand…’ Yeh actually I do. You were supposed to not deliberately break the toy, and you broke it. Not okay.
As I was saying… each time I attempt to revisit the above article, I am so disheartened by the fact that the conversation still needs to be had that I want to curl up in a metaphorical ball and cry. (Ok, – so sometimes I do actually curl up in the corner and cry… or eat sushi, drink beer, watch 90s sitcoms and THEN cry).
Over the last few weeks we have been awfully upset with Facebook, various reality stars and the ending of Firefly Lane. We have however, and been less than appropriately outraged by is the series of rapes and assaults in parliament house – none of which are of as much interest to the PM as the postman buying a few watches.
Women aren’t asking a lot when we expect men to step the hell up an (1) not rape or assault us and (2) hold those who do accountable. Rape and sexual assault are the only crimes where the victim has to prove her innocence, while the accused is considered the victim. We are expected to do so politely and rationally under a public interrogation in court also.
Although the amazing Grace Tame has done a lot to change things in this space – post assault women are often prevented by law from sharing their stories. So, not only are our bodies and autonomy stolen during an assault, even if we are able to have our attacker charged – we are too often still not the owners of our own stories. This raises a question to me about whether or not it is even possible to feel whole again – or if this is a part of a misogynistic legal system, strategically designed to ensure that we are forever weaker and more compliant, whilst protecting men?
The fact that every one is so trained by our misoginistic society to not want to discuss the ‘ickiness’ of violence against women, the fact that we place the blame and presumption of guilt and a thick cloud of doubt on the woman when she comes forward to report a rape or attack, is in fact why women do not come forward… unless someone else already has – safety in numbers. It isn’t a trend, it is a necessity for women to band together to report things. Y’all don’t ever want to believe one woman reporting one man. You don’t even believe several women reporting the same man. And you expect women not to be angry. Say it with me… What. The. Fuck.
You fail to protect us, and then treat us like shit when we are hurt. When we report being hurt – you make it so freaking hard for us to then prove our own innocence that too often we are forced to keep quiet…. you have NO IDEA how much energy proving your innocence takes. We need that energy to SURVIVE rape and assault. We can’t waste it on having you MAYBE believe us.
When we say this however, you judge us. ‘What if he does it to someone else becauase you didn’t report it?’
Well sparky, you will make her feel as shit as you are making me feel. You will put her through the shit system that benefits the attacker, ban her from telling her story AND even if he is found guilty…. He won’t go to jail or have his dick cut off…. so he is likely to offend again…. why?? Because you just demonstrated to him that there is no penalty for his crime.
I actually have a couple of case studies on this that I will share later – but now I am back to the needing sushi, beer and a re-run of a 90s sitcome portion of my anger and grief cycle.
Let me finish this post with the same line I used in a post in 2015….
Australia – be outraged by the real terror.