I posted last week asking people if they knew of some good resources for male victims of sexual assault. Here is the list people came up with:
reblog for signal boost
[TW: Sexual Assault]
His lips crushed mine, stopping my protest. He kissed me angrily, roughly, his other hand gripping tight around the back of my neck, making escape impossible. I shoved against his chest with all my strength, but he didn’t even seem to notice. His mouth was soft, despite the anger, his lips molding to mine in a warm, unfamiliar way.
I grabbed at his face, trying to push it away, failing again. He seemed to notice this time, though, and it aggravated him. His lips forced mine open, and I could feel his hot breath in my mouth.
Acting on instinct, I let my hands drop to my side, and shut down. I opened my eyes and didn’t fight, didn’t feel… just waited for him to stop.” —
Twilight: Eclipse p. 331 (Bella and Jacob’s first kiss)
This is rape culture.
Young women are taught to think of this passage - which describes sexual assault - as erotic. Young men are taught to force their will on young women, regardless of any (non)verbal cues, because sex is conquest and women are objects - not something to be done between two consenting individuals because it’s pleasurable for both people.
The most frightening thing about this excerpt is that many survivors of sexual assault who have disclosed to me describe stories that sound exactly like this one.
tumblr user clockward submitted this to us. read at your leisure.
The lines before that:
He still had my chin—his fingers holding too tight, till it hurt—and I saw the resolve form abruptly in his eyes.
“N—-” I started to object, but it was too late.
And after he assaulted her she punched him in the face but due to his “super human strength” she broke her hand, said “Don’t touche me!” and then:
“Just let me drive you home,” Jacob insisted. Unbelievably, he had the nerve to wrap his arm around my waist.
I jerked away from him.
When he got in the driver’s side, he was whistling.
AND THEN while he was driving:
“…There is so much I can give you that he can’t. I’ll bet he couldn’t even kiss you like that—-because he would hurt you. I would never, never hurt you, Bella.”
I held up my injured hand.
He sighed. “That wasn’t my fault. You should have known better.”
He grinned over at me. “You kissed me back.”
I gasped, unthinkingly balling my hands up into fists again, hissing when my broken hand reacted.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I did not.”
“I think I can tell the difference.”
“Obviously you can’t——that was not kissing back, that was trying to get you the hell off me, you idiot.”
He laughed a low, throaty laugh. “Touchy. Almost overly defensive, I would say.
I took a deep breath. There was no point in arguing with him; he would twist anything I said.
Then when she gets home, to where her father, Charlie, the police officer, is:
“Why did she hit you?”
“Because I kissed her,” Jacob said, unashamed.
“Good for you, kid,” Charlie congratulated him.
I didn’t read the citation first. I read the quote. I thought I was reading a woman’s account of how she was about to be raped, not a fucking passage from a romance novel.
As if I needed even MORE reason to despise this series, holy freaking crap!!! And just what twisted landmine of reality does Stephenie Meyer live in anyhow??
Unfortunately, this speaks for itself. We have got to stop sanctioning stuff like this. It is never right for anyone to force him- or herself onto another person - not even if it is “just a kiss.” It’s not romance; it’s assault. NO ONE deserves to be treated in such a way.
Perhaps one of the hardest things to do as a survivor is allow yourself to be vulnerable in any capacity. We have experienced true pain and never want to be put in that position again which is entirely natural. Our bodies and brains are literally hardwired to avoid situations that may be dangerous and if past traumas have made seemingly mundane tasks feel dangerous then our bodies will react accordingly.
Being vulnerable is often times seen as weakness or as “lowering a protective barrier” between yourself and the world, but in truth it is actually about lowering a barrier within yourself. It is giving yourself access to your deepest, most fragile thoughts and emotions. That is a very scary concept to face and adding to that the idea of sharing that fragility with someone outside of yourself…well, it leads many people to bottle up their emotions in an unhealthy way. Feeling that you cannot open up to supportive and positive people in your life is absolutely normal for a survivor. But feelings and reality rarely match up.
For me, I think one of the hardest things I face with being there for my best friend as she recovers from the abuse she endured as a child is feeling helpless. I see her struggle, I watch her go through bouts of anxiety and fear, I hear her tell me that she feels afraid or vulnerable or depressed, and I am at a complete loss. I don’t know what to do to make it better - and that kills me, because I want to make it better. I want to make her feel safe and secure and happy. She’s my best friend, my sister.
But sometimes, I forced to admit that I just don’t know what to even say and that makes me feel helpless. I can possess all the good intentions in the world (and I like to think I do) and I can talk and encourage until I’m blue in the face, but sometimes it just doesn’t have the effect I hope for it to have.
I am learning to accept that, though. It’s okay to be out of my depth. It’s okay to admit that I don’t have a magical cure-all or a spell to send the dementors and shadows away.
I think that’s the beauty of being there for someone - truly being there, and having them know that you’re there. Because when they know they can depend on you, they aren’t necessarily expecting you to have an answer for everything. They just know they can confide in you because you’ll accept and support them no matter what.
It’s okay to feel helpless to help someone. It’s okay to admit that you’re out of depth. Just be there; it truly is enough.
Hello. I’m Mel. I’m 25 and single. I hold an Associate’s Degree and am currently studying for another. I am the co-founder of the Not At Fault Project.
I am also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
In a way, I am more fortunate than some victims of abuse. From the time my abuse was discovered, I have been supported by people who made it clear that it was not my fault. I have never felt like I had to blame myself for what was done to me.
My role in NAF is not so much as a survivor of abuse, myself, but more as one who has been there for somebody else who has struggled to recover from the damage that sexual abuse and misplaced guilt can do to a person.
Tina is my best friend in the whole world - my sister in every sense that matters. She is the kindest person that I know and having to watch her struggle with insecurity, poor self-esteem and worth, fear, and guilt… honestly, it makes me angry and sad, especially when sometimes I feel like I can’t even do much for her. I can be there, but a lot of times, that is all I can do.
NAF is really Tina’s brain child. I just pitch in when and where I can. She’s really the genius behind all of this.
When we first started discussing the idea, I had literally just woken up. I think I had rolled over in bed and she came into my room and said, “I’ve been looking all morning for something like It Gets Better for sexual abuse victims, but I couldn’t find one.”
“Then, make one, Tina,” I mumbled back.
She had no idea how proud her response made me - of her, of all the progress she has made, because at that moment, she responded, “I’m going to.”
NAF is a simple message, not only to victims of sexual abuse and assault and other forms of abuse, but also to society and abusers themselves: abuse victims are not to blame. No one has the right to hurt another person.
I was not at fault for what happened to me, neither was my friend. Neither are you. And that is what NAF is all about.
You are not at fault.