Archive for May, 2013

He said

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2013 by Misanthropic Mom's Group

How could you tell people?!, he said. How could you?

Don’t you see how this will affect my career? How it will take food out of our children’s mouths?

Now everyone will know I’ve had an affair, he said. Our son will be treated differently at school. Kids will tell their parents.

How could you!

How can you ask me never to see her again, he said. It just makes you look needy, and unreasonable besides. She is offering me connections that put my career in high gear and put food on your table. Can you offer that? I thought not, he said.

How could you invade my privacy by looking at the call history on my phone, he said.

I told you I wasn’t in contact with her to spare your feelings, and now I find you don’t even trust me? I’ll have you know it is strictly business. At least on my side. I admit she might want more, but I need to keep the relationship open for now because something is going to break on the job front soon. I can feel it. I am really disappointed in you, though.

You spied on me, he said.

You have no idea what kind of hell I am going through, he said. I’ve had to try to keep the pregnancy secret from you until the end of the school year, for the sake of the children. But now you know and you want me to make a decision? Why can’t you see that I can’t make a decision, he said. How can you do this to me.

I did it for the sake of the children, he said. She has money and connections and she can help me be what I need to be. To take care of the children, he said. To take care of you and the children.

You never supported me, he said. You always had to point out when I was wrong, show me up in front of people. I could never take you anywhere, he said. You are like a loaded cannon that might go off at any moment and say anything. You made me take away the children’s kitten. You chose it over me. You needed to learn a lesson, he said.

She is really trying, he said. She will get an apartment nearby, and also pay for your rent and expenses. She wants to help me find myself. And I could still come every night to help with homework and tuck them in at night. He said can’t you for just one moment think of the children?

How can you ask me to leave my own home, he said. I’m confused and alone and have nowhere to turn.

I am going away for a few weeks he said. I need to earn money, and my sister will pay me to paint her house. It will clear my head. By the way, don’t answer the door for a while. She is acting strangely lately. She says she sent me a box of financial documents and that you signed for them. She says she has reported you to the FBI for identity theft. I wouldn’t worry about it, he said. Just don’t open the door.

I can’t believe you would say it is over, he said. Over, just like that? What about the children? They are My children. How can someone like you provide for them?  Do you have a single thought in your head about their future?

There is someone new? It seems rather sudden, he said.

It is so incredible to see you again, he said. I can’t believe we’ve been living so close for two years and didn’t even know.

I would like to take you out, he said. I’d like to take you sailing, and to a movie, and to dinner. We have so many years to catch up on.

Your children are lovely, he said. I see so much of you in them. Why does that make you cry?

I loved you the first time I saw you, he said, but I thought you were hopelessly out of reach. And when you loved me back, it was terrifying. I was young and stupid. Not even 21.

Remember your 21st birthday, I said. I’ve never forgotten a moment of it, we both said together.

You should never have broken up with me that first time, I said. Young and Stupid, remember, he said.

You should never have left me that last time, he said. And I should never have let you go.

No, I said. You shouldn’t.

I never forgot you, I said. You were my secret talisman, The Boy Who Truly Loved Me. You were proof that I wasn’t always worthless. I remembered every special song, every book you introduced me to, every time you held my hand like it was made of spun sugar.

I tried to forget you, he said. You married some successful guy and had gorgeous kids. You were happy.

I wasn’t happy, I said. I was lost.

And I never managed to forget you, he said. Not really.

I never stopped loving you, I said.

I never loved anyone else, he said. So where do we go from here?

Anywhere, I said. So long as it is together.

I’ve waited long enough, I said. The divorce is final and I want to marry you right now. Today. For my birthday. That sounds perfect, he said. In our own living room with the kids and the cats because nothing else matters.

I can’t do it this weekend, he said on the phone. I’ve promised my son we’d play X-wing tonight, and then tomorrow our kids are both playing in a concert. Yeah, they both play rock music at a special school. I’m a pretty lucky dad. I get to drink a pint and listen to music at my kids’ events. You should definitely check it out.

I ask a question with my eyes, does he want to go out with friends? His eyes answer there is no place he’d rather be than home with you and my family. Today and forever.

He said, whats for dinner?


Some thoughts on rape and fear

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2013 by Misanthropic Mom's Group

So apparently Jose Canseco is not only an alleged rapist, but also a douchebag. According to the ever reliable source of The Internets he claimed in court that he is innocent of the charge of rape because he “doesn’t need to rape anyone.”

This is not noteworthy.

What was noteworthy to me, and got me thinking was that the left leaning, progressive, feminist, etc. Facebook page on which I learned this news said:

“More peculiar, however, was Canseco’s assertion to reporters that ‘I don’t have to rape a woman. I think it’s ridiculous.’ Here’s the funny part. Guess what? Nobody has to rape a woman. There is literally no person in the world who has to be a rapist. And you know what else? Rape is not committed by lonely guys who clearly have no other sexual options but to go out and rape.”

The above is take from an article in Salon entitled Nobody “needs” to rape. And I fully support that idea. Nobody ever needs to rape anybody. My quibble is tiny. Virtually nitpicking, but I think it is important as it goes to something I have been seeing repeatedly lately. Look at this one sentence:

“Rape is not committed by lonely guys who clearly have no other sexual options but to go out and rape.”

I would argue that sentence needs a qualifier. Rape is not ONLY committed by lonely guys who clearly have no other sexual options but to go out and rape. Why does this matter? Because sometimes it IS committed by those guys. To ignore that is idiotic. But the commonly accepted wisdom regarding rape is just that, and it has hardened into dogma. These are the things that are written in stone about rape. Rape is an act of violence. Rape has nothing to do with sexual desire. Rape is an act of domination. Rape is rape is rape. There are no different kinds of rape. To say anything else is to be a rape apologist, anti-feminist, and ignorant.

I see only one problem with that. It isn’t always quite true.

Don’t get me wrong. It is mostly true. For a long time I believed it was utterly true, but recently I have really got to thinking about it. It ignores nuance. It is simplistic. And rape is horrible, but it is far from simplistic. And I can see how in the bad old days of the feminist revolution that it needed to be drilled in, in a simple way. Because it is far, far more true than the old mantra of “What was she wearing?” But let me try to explain my problem.

If you say rape is rape is rape, and all rape is violent and non-sexual, you are basically taking a whole group of men and giving them an out. If they can honestly say that they thought they WERE motivated by desire, if they can tell themselves that they were not violent, you are basically telling them that they did not commit rape. There are, in the real world, a whole gamut of situations which are legally rape which no not seem to adhere to the rape=violence definition. An interesting case in pint is a current example where most hardcore feminists are vehemently DEFENDING the accused rapist. The situation? A teenaged lesbian, who is being accused by her girlfriend’s parents of statutory rape. Clearly, in the mind of any right thinking person that is a case of homophobia, not rape. And clearly the victim here is the accused. Yet it shows how there actually DOES exist a spectrum, and hardcore feminists aren’t doing themselves, or anyone else, any favors by holding the line without exception or nuance.

Another example is the reaction to a blog article I recently read. In the blog the author compares a pre-school boy who repeatedly destroys her daughter’s block buildings without parental censure as a potential budding rapist. This drew howls of indignation from those who could not see the behavior as at all analogous. This was because in their mind rape is without exception an act of violence, as well as being so far beyond the pale that to compare childish bullying to rape is ridiculous. This despite the fact that the behavior was indeed an example, writ small. of a male being taught that his desires outweighed any possible complaint by his victim. The idea that in some cases, rape might be conducted almost thoughtlessly by a man who feels entitled to it, does not fit the paradigm. And yet, it has been the case throughout history that men will elicit sex from unwilling women if they think it is allowed that they do so. And I am certain that some of them felt no violent urges. And I am equally certain that some of them felt desire. If you insist that rape=violence in all cases, then is it any surprise that some will plead innocence?

And then we come to another problem I have. I call it Rape on a Pedestal. Rape is considered a crime so heinous, nothing but murder is comparable. In some cases, it is asserted that murder is preferable. Really? It is better to die than be raped? And people wonder why rapes are not reported. If society tells a woman that it would have been better that she fight to the death than allow herself to be raped it is just another side of slut shaming. It tells women that their sexuality is so vitally important a part of her being that she will be permanently damaged by its theft. When that is the unspoken attitude, no amount of being told that it isn’t their fault will keep them from feeling that they themselves are now of less worth than before. If one combines that with a situation in which a woman feels somewhat ambiguous… Maybe I wasn’t clear enough about saying no? I did go out with him three times and I kissed him a lot, and I wanted him to kiss me… Maybe I shouldn’t have done that? Then society’s emphasis on rape as the ultimate despoiling means many women will let it go rather than publicly expose herself as what used to be called damaged goods. Ironically by brutally condemning rape, society is in essence telling women that their sexuality is more important than they are themselves. To be physically beaten nearly to death is a lesser crime than a rape in which the body is left mostly unharmed. If a woman is bruised, broken, concussed… we say, “Thank goodness she wasn’t raped.”

Now I have been groped, pawed, and intimidated. I have even, when much younger, agreed to sex under conditions in which I suspected that an answer of “No” would not have been accepted. I have had sex many, many times when I didn’t particularly want to, but it was easier and faster to just do it. Yet, I cannot honestly say I have been raped, and if I had been perhaps I would feel differently. Yet, I think that all else being equal, I’d rather be raped than stabbed. I would like to say that although I would feel disgusted and violated, I would feel no more so than if I was “merely” assaulted. I would like to say that I would not feel that it was a reflection on my own self-worth, and that it would only show what a scumbag the rapist was. I would like to say that, but I am not sure. So often victims feel shame. And then they feel shame for feeling shame. It is a vicious cycle.

When my immediate reaction to my ex-husband’s philandering was to tell other people, he felt that I was the one who had behaved badly. I had ruined his reputation, and put his livelihood (and therefore my own) in jeopardy. Later, when I discovered that not only had he not stopped as promised, but had escalated his behavior I was told that it was my fault. When I had initially told people what he had done he “no longer had anything to lose.” Now I emphatically reject this, however I am sad to say that he was not without supporters in his view. Just as victims of AIDS are still sometimes viewed with suspicion, so are the victims of tawdry affairs, domestic violence, and rape. It is easy to say that it is wrong to blame the victim, but it is far harder to actually do it.

A self proclaimed feminist friend of mine says that he feels that all women live in fear all the time, every day of their lives. And therefore all children are raised by people who are living in fear. He feels that it poisons society fundamentally, and it is hard to disagree. Yet I feel I must at least try to disagree. Or rather to disagree to an extent. Yes, I live in fear. So does everyone, men and women. We will all die someday, and most of us will endure many terrible things in the meantime. Yet I refuse to allow any aspect of that fear rule my life. I am not going to walk naked through the Tenderloin, but neither am I going to allow fear to keep me from ever going there for Pakistani food. Even alone. I accept that some men may wish to hurt me, but I refuse to see that face in every man. In fact, unless given reason to believe otherwise, I CHOOSE to live my life as if most people I meet will not harm me. Anyone who has ever walked city streets with a small child or cute pet knows that most people want to be kind. Some of the most destitute, dissolute and unwashed people I have ever seen have nonetheless tried to give gifts to my children. And I have accepted them in the spirit in which they were given. Perhaps some of them were bad people, but no one ever hurt us, and I believe that most just wanted a moment to interact with beauty. A moment to feel human. If we allow fear to close us off from the world, we deny ourselves the connections that make us human. And we give power to those who would take it from us.

So Jose Canseco is a douchebag and most likely a criminal. He doesn’t deserve another moment of my time.

I refuse to walk the streets in a burka of fear.