Archives for posts with tag: rape

How am I supposed to feel when a perpetrator of sexual violence passes away? He raped someone very close to me when she was very young. I want to hug her and cry with her. I want to assure us that whatever we might be feeling right now is perfectly valid. That our feelings are ours, not his. And I feel like I want to punch something really hard right now. I’m not a physical person at all, and I’m not at all planning on acting on these feelings, but I want to punch and rip and tear. He meant something to my elders before they knew what he did. I want to hold them while we scream with rage together. I want to feel numb. I just want to sleep.

And I’m so angry. I want to revisit the only time I remember meeting him. I was in my late 20s visiting India, and he came up to me with arms stretched for a hug, and an expression on his face like “you’ve come home, child.” The best I could come up with in that moment was to shake my head and shake my hands as I stepped back and away from him, letting the people I was with huddle around me to protect me from whatever it was I didn’t want. I want to revisit that moment and kick him really hard in the nuts.

How the fuck am I supposed to feel right now? I’m so sad. I’m so angry. I’m still so confused. I’m a little relieved, and guilty for feeling relieved. I’m most angry that he gets to leave this world without my friend having closure. Without taking any responsibility whatsoever for what he did. That makes my furious.

When news about Steubenville first started appearing on my Facebook feed, I was paralyzed and horrified. Likewise when news about the gang rape on a Delhi bus started coming out. How could men be capable of such vile acts? As a man, what does this say about me?

I wasn’t able to read the articles and analysis that my friends were posting. I never watched the Steubenville video. I never read about details of what happened on that bus. I couldn’t bring myself to bare witness to rape, however remotely. Just the thought of it creates a swell in my chest, a lump in my through. Paralyzed and horrified.

After the guilty verdict came out against the two boys in Steubenville, I wasn’t particularly relieved. I hoped the survivor finds some sense of closure as the judicial process ends and the national spotlight on her community fades. But how does a guilty verdict provide her space and resources to heal? How will prison help the boys heal from the hurts that caused them to rape an unconscious girl in the first place? How will their community heal?

I’ve been working on finding my voice in situations like this that are difficult to stomach, and this blog as a part of that. Over time, as I work through what gets hard for me to be a more fierce ally, I’ll find myself still just as horrified, but hopefully less and less paralyzed.