A line from this Shakesville post has really stuck with me.
"These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun—and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that's so much fun for them is the stuff of my life."
A lot of stuff has been happening in the Blogosphere recently. There was the post I spoke about earlier; there were posts and Hoyden About Town where intelligent debate was "sacrificed" because of a "lack of emotional distance"; there was a post at Feministe where a rape apologist thought that, obviously, the posters there couldn't achieve the emotional distance necessary for intelligent debate.
This is a topic that has come up before. Why can't you just have an intelligent debate, why do you have to take it so personally? The thing is, this is personal. This is not something I can stand back from and just talk about. This is my life.
This is not being able to sleep a night because of the images in my head.
This is hyperventilating and shaking and scratching at my arms because I can't get it out of my mind.
It's flashbacks when I'm changing a pooey nappy because I need to pull apart the lips of her vagina to clean inside.
It's wondering what the hell is wrong with me that I can't just forget it, that I can't just let it go.
This is fearing for my life as I walk down an empty street at night, keys in my hand and phone at the ready.
It is the gripping fear when I'm in a crowded area, fear the he will be there, even though it's not remotely likely.
It's having a nervous breakdown in the middle of a completely consensual encounter because suddenly he's in my head.
This is my phsych telling me that it is a minimum of two years therapy required, and likely a lot longer.
This is me, at three years old, fearing the bath and toilet at night; fearing that someone would come in and rape me, a fear that to this day I don't know what caused it.
This is hating my mother for suspecting something was up and not doing anything, for letting him come back into our house.
It is fear for my younger sister, who has kept in contact with him.
Most of all, this is an intense hatred of myself, for letting it happen, for never speaking about it, for still not having the strength to tell my family, for loving him so much even after he hurt me.
I cannot escape this. I cannot rationalise this. This is my life, and it takes over all of me.
NB: This is not aimed at anyone, and is not about anyone. This is just my thoughts on the subject, which have been filling my head for a few weeks (since I agreed with my GP to see a therapist).