Villagers With Pitchforks

The flaming torches were delayed in transit, sorry.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

No Pity. No Shame. No Silence.

This appeared on LiveJournal a few days ago, and now is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

There was an overwhelming number of comments on that post.
I repost it here in an effort to share the load.

Note that I cannot forward comments and will close comments if necessary. See the comments at the end of the post.

After a dear friend of mine was raped a few weeks ago, I've been thinking a lot about sexual violence and how you're not supposed to talk about it.

This friend of mine who was raped recently isn't the only person I know who has endured being raped and lived through the aftermath, just the most recent. She isn't the only person I know who has had to try to figure out how to glue the broken bowl of her life back together after having it shattered by sexual violence, praying that it'll still hold water when she's done.

As I have altogether too many times in the past when other friends have become victims of rape or other sex crimes, I have wondered what I can possibly do to make it better. But I also know I can't take it back or prevent it or even really make it easier. The best thing I can do is come out and let her know that she's not alone, that there are others of us out here, that she can make it through, because I'm a rape survivor, and we do make it through.

I was thinking in the shower this morning about how many people I know -- women, men, transfolks, others -- have some sort of sexual violence somewhere in their pasts, wondering how many more people I know have some sort of sexual violence lurking in their future.

I wondered for a moment what it would look like if just for one day, everyone who had survived sexual violence were visible as a survivor, if we could actually see the extent of it, if we could all know just how very not-alone we are. I wondered how angry and sad it would make me to know. I wondered how much power there might be in the truth.

I'm not sure what to do with this, yet. But I do feel like outing myself, and encouraging other people to out themselves if they feel okay about doing so. This isn't about telling the story of what happened -- just for the record, I don't generally like to talk about it much and I get uncomfortable with other people's voyeuristic curiosity about what happened to me, although other people feel differently about telling their stories or being asked questions, and I think people should be free to place their own limits on how and with whom they want to talk about details.

This is about being public in regard to something that is normally kept a very big, very dark secret, thus ensuring that we can all pretend that This Sort Of Thing Doesn't Happen To People Like You And Me.

It does happen to people like you and me. Trust me, I know.

I'm Hanne. I'm a survivor of sexual violence.
No Pity. No Shame. No Silence.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

And on the huge number of comments she received:

Edited Once More To Add, 8/3/04: I have closed down comments on this post. No further comments on this post will be displayed. It has received close to one thousand comments in a little over 24 hours thus far, and has just been linked to on MetaFilter, which will be bringing a huge amount of new traffic this way. I simply cannot keep up with the deluge of posts, and with the MeFi influx, there is no way it's going to get any better. Because this is an important issue, and because this is my journal, I feel that if I cannot responsibly handle the avalanche -- and I can't, not at this rate -- I need to do the responsible thing and put a cap on things.

I apologize to anyone who wanted to add a comment here in solidarity and in witness to their own strength and survival. I encourage you to create spaces in your own journals to continue that process. There are a number of journals now engaging in discussions on issues of violence, sexual violence, and surviving these things as a result of this post... I am humbled to have unwittingly generated such an intense groundswell of activity, and I support you all from the bottom of my heart as you grapple with these issues. That I cannot continue to be the host for such a large share of the discussion saddens me, but the simple truth is that I can't. The more we share, the stronger we grow. Thank you for sharing so much with me, and thank you for continuing to share and speak out and stand in solidarity wherever you can, whenever you can.

God/dess bless you all.



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