Posts tagged: Women
Rape =/= (Does Not Equal) Sex
Rape == (Equals) An Act of Violence.
(To begin, I’d like to add that this is simply my experience. I would never, ever discourage anyone from attending worship, nor would I ever encourage anyone to follow in my footsteps unless they truly felt it was what they needed to do. Religion is a delicate subject and this is not meant in any way to offend anyone.)
So my beautiful cousin told me to address this issue and I kind of really love her because I’ve neglected it thus far. And this is an issue that I really think I can at least touch upon because I’ve been there. Multiple, multiple times.
So, I was raised Catholic. A lot of kids in my neighborhood were raised Catholic. Surprisingly, I loved church growing up. I really did. I loved the music and I loved the stories and I loved how peaceful I felt…it was a nice way to spend my Sunday mornings. I was confirmed and I felt positive that I made the right choice.
And then, I went to college. On my campus is a Catholic center where there are Sunday masses and game nights and Ash Wednesday services and bible studies, etc, etc. And for my first year of college, I loved this group. I was surrounded by people who shared my faith and it was so nice to feel accepted.
But the second year, a missionary group was brought into the church. And with this group came a lot of morals that I simply did not agree with. They believed in:
Suddenly, church was no longer fun. At all. My last night where I attended church, I left on the verge of tears. Suddenly, I realized that these people did not believe in the same things as me. I believed in a Christ that loved all of his children. They believed in a Christ that judged your every move.
I was consistently told that sex before marriage was just wrong. And if you know me, you know that I have never wanted to get married. Ever. I remember as a little girl saying to my mother, “Do I have to get married to have babies?” And so, this aspect of Catholicism always bothered me. Not only was there a strong idea that sex was prohibited before marriage, there was no text that a life without marriage was okay. Especially for a woman. And it filled me with confusion, rage, and just…sadness. I felt that, as a Catholic, I was forced into the sanctity of marriage. And that scared me.
I was also invited to Pro-Life marches and Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice debates. But it wasn’t really being invited to the events, was it? It was more like, “Have you signed up yet? Why not?? Sign up!!” I would explain to them, when asked to attend the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice debates, that I was Pro-Choice. And they said, “Oh no! You’d be welcome too!”
I always had this image of me on one side and every other member of the church on the other. No one, not even my best friends there, agreed with me. I’m sure I don’t need to ramble on about why I’m pro-choice here but if I ever explained it to my friends, they would immediately give me that look.
And as a student that works at the daycare center on my campus in the infant room, it was always that same look of disgust. As if they believed that I supported the killing of infants while simultaneously caring for them. As if I were a hypocrit.
My experience with concrete religious practice, basically, left me feeling stifled. It left me feeling like I had no choice. It left me feeling as if there was only one right answer and I had to agree.
I miss worship. I totally support a spiritual life. But as for me? I have yet to find somewhere to worship where I feel completely welcome.
How about you? Are you religious? Have you had a similar experience or a very different experience? How has religion supported or hindered your ability to make your own choice?
Talk to me, Warriors! I’d love to hear from you!
“And acknowledge that this problem is your problem too as long as your daughters and sisters and lovers are scared to walk alone at night. That your strength is not meant for hurting. That we can see that you are a man. You do not need to beat us into believing you.”
So here’s the scoop.
Lately, I’ve been bringing up the idea of feminism. A lot. Talking to whoever I can, whenever I can just to get some sort of opinion or reaction.
And this is what I’ve been hearing.
“I’m not a feminist. Of course not, I’m a man.”
“You bitches are just blaming everything on the men.”
“Feminism? It’s so outdated, you are lucky to have a roof over your head!”
“You cunts think that you can cry rape just to feel superior.”
And I’ve never felt anger like that before in my life. I’ve never before yelled and screamed and argued like I have over the past week. And no matter what I yell, no matter what I quote, no matter what statistics I bring up, I still feel as if no one hears me. They’ve laughed. They’ve told me that I’m just being uptight. And the worst part? They’ve made jokes about women staying in the kitchen. They’ve made jokes about us being raped.
I am not a violent person. I never have been. And so, when I need to heal, when I just need to breathe, I turn to art. And thank God I found this video because it encompasses every rage, every argument, every doubt that I’ve had.
(Not to mention that this girl is from where I go to college. Montclair, represent!)
Please watch. Please listen. And please, never, ever forget that men can fight for feminism too. That we are your mothers, we are your sisters, we are those girls sitting beside you in class.
We deserve respect. And we deserve to feel safe.
In honor of tonight’s season finale of So You Think You Can Dance.
This video is a very emotional dance of domestic violence, of fighting, of a battle, of struggling with someone you love. I think many of you can relate and I’d love to know what thoughts run through your head and what you feel as you watch.
(So I completely forgot one of these yesterday. Forgive me?)
I didn’t hear the story of a rape victim until I was in college. And that was only because I was taking a course on sexual violence. Why are these stories so secretive? I really believe that if I had heard these stories sooner, I would have taken action sooner.
Do you think it would be effective to bring in rape victims as guests to sexual education courses in an attempt to battle rape culture?
You are the reason I hid my body as a teenager. You are the reason I pretended I didn’t even have a body for so many years. You are the reason I didn’t want to experience the skills and pleasures of my body for myself for so many years. You are the reason I didn’t want to share the skills and pleasures of my body with other people for so many years. You are the reason I have to work not to pick at myself in front of the mirror. You are the reason I have to work not to agonize about how much of my skin is visible to the world every day before I step out the door. You are the reason I still feel ashamed of my body, more often than I want to admit. You are the reason I have to make loving myself WORK.
How many times has this exact rant run through my mind?
How do you feel when you’re walking down the street and someone ogles you and makes catcalls?