Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It is NEVER a laughing matter

I'm still in a mad mood today. Luckily some idiot posters on another board gave me an outlet for my anger.

Background - last night an online friend on another board (let me assure you that I do really have real life friends too - LOL) posted about what happened to her at a retail shopping center last evening. She bent over to try on shoes. A strange man came up behind her and groped her from behind. Not an accidental thing by any means either. She immediately went to security and filed a report, but was understandably shaken. She is now wading her way through the criminal process.

Most of the comments on that board were supportive. A few people wrote about what they would have done (I would have kicked his ass; I would have chased after him) or told her what she should have done (you should have kicked him between the legs; you should have made a 'citizens arrest). Then there were those people who made comments about "I live in NYC. I think I must've been groped a bazillion times on the subway when I went to college." Some posters responded by saying, "I must've become so immune to the whole thing because I remember being annoyed my reading was interrupted " or "What's even worse is when I wasn't felt up, I was wondering why." Some of them said they were "just kidding."

I had to respond. I tried to hold my tongue-lashing, I really did.

My Response - This is totally not a joking matter. Neither is becoming immune to being "felt up" on the subway. Nothing makes me madder than to see sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape being made into a joke. It's simply not funny - not any time or any how. What the hell is wrong with society that we women get immune to these types of things? It's time to stop ignoring it and do SOMETHING. Yell, scream, step on his foot, knee him - something. We need to show our children especially that this type of conduct by men is not tolerated. Think about it - when the dirty old perve down the street feels up your daughter, are you going to want her to scream? Or just to stand there immune? It isn't okay for someone to do this to my child. And it isn't okay for someone to do it to me - in a store or on a subway.

I actually received a tongue lashing for my post. Some people thought I was criticizing anyone who laughed in the moment. I had to clarify that immediately. I would never judge anyone for how they reacted in that moment. Laughter can be a coping mechanism. I have way too many of my own unhealthy coping mechanisms to ever criticize anyone else for theirs. What I am criticizing is those who think that sexual assault is a joke or funny. Those who think it is "no big deal" or that society ought to just become "immune to it."

Comments and jokes like these are the reason so many of us draw up our knees and turn our back on society. The reason why so many incidents are not reported. And why people remain silent.


Beauty said...

I'm with you 100% on this one. Some things should never be joked about. That old lame joke that "incest is best" could be added to this category. There is nothing remotely funny about it, and even those who have never known the horror and shame of sexual abuse should know better than to trivialize something which has caused untold suffering to millions of innocent victims.

Lynn said...

This may sound strange, Enola, but I actually felt scared reading this post. I was 'immune'. I can't begin to tell you what that has cost me. I still believe it has also cost my son, who is precious to me. I had to be immune to be able to survive to grow to adulthood, but I didn't KNOW I was immune and it didn't go away. That caused me to find similar situations and not even realize that anything was wrong!! That is just not fucking funny.

jumpinginpuddles said...

unsafe touch is no joking matter wether you are a child or an adult

Enola said...

Lynn, I was immune for years. Or numb, as I called it. Only in healing has that numbness begun to disappear. I miss it a lot at times. It was safe and secure. Without it, comes pain at times, and the responsibility to do things like speak out and up to protect others. But there is joy in the healing too.

I've read too much of your blog to believe you are still immune. You're not numb anymore. A numb person doesn't defend a child like you did or walk around with a shotgun ready to face her enemies.


Lynn said...

No, I am no longer numb. It comes and goes at times when I am overwhelmed by NOT being numb. Feeling and being aware is a new thing for me and it is very hard to get used to. Now that I know what really feeling is like, I am absolutely astounded to know that most people have had whole lives of being able to feel and being aware of the environment around them. I guess I'm still trying to wrap my head around it all.

austin said...

One of the very reasons I don't watch late night TV anymore is because of all the jokes they made about boys being hurt by female teachers. Sexual assault is never funny but when hosts joke about it they "only" express the popular belief about assault...either there is no victim or it was the victims fault. I just won't watch them do that. I don't ever want to feel anything less than angered by such acts. When I read this post I did the ghetto girl thing. My neck went back and I said, "Oh no he didn't." Had it been me I would have done what she did, reported it. Good for her! That is what survivors do. We report and we heal and we stand up and say, "Nope, no jokes, just laws and retribution."

Austin of Sundrip