Monday, January 11, 2016

Imagine Me Sighing and Rubbing My Brow

[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, CHILD RAPE]

I'm very tired. I'm house sitting for my parents and trying to sleep on an unfamiliar bed that has a very different firmness level than mine is making it difficult to get any quality sleep. I got up late and am finding it difficult to actually wake up fully.

But what's really exhausting me is what's going on all over the Internet today.

This is difficult for me to even write about in my own blog, because I know people personally who at least occasionally read it. And pretty much everyone I know is, to some degree, a fan of David Bowie.

I know that, to my Facebook friends, it must seem like I never let anything slide. That all I do is point out what's horrible about the world. But I spare these friends, and family, whom I regularly see in real life, a lot of shit that would really ruin their day. I do this partly out of compassion and partly out of fear that it will create an argument or they'll just start hating me.

I reserve a lot of what I really think and what I know for Tumblr. But Tumblr can't handle this shit, either. I already posted about how bummed I am to have to see people celebrating David Bowie all day, and I was quickly attacked for being an "extremist" and I have people filling my inbox, defending him with toxic rhetoric.

I'm talking about the fact that David Bowie was, in fact, a rapist. Of young teen girls.

I can see how this would seriously ruin people's day. But what ruins my day is seeing a man whom I know to be a rapist be lauded and mourned for and celebrated, and knowing that if I say anything, I'll be attacked. Yet at the same time, I know how awful I feel seeing people celebrate a rapist. How horrible is it for rape survivors? What about all the women and girls who were raped as young teens by adult men taking care of their youth and vulnerability who have been blamed for it and who have watched their rapists live great lives free of consequences? Trust me, there are plenty of them.

Someone has to stand up for these survivors. Knowing what I know, I feel obligated to. I at least feel some of their pain. Watching people celebrate men like David Bowie can easily send me to a dark place. It reminds me that no one seems to give a fuck about rape, rape victims, or rape culture. That they don't understand how terrible it is. That so many people would rather defend their rapist "faves" than do the basic work it takes to even begin ending rape culture.

This isn't even a case of one or more women accusing a famous man of rape and the case being dismissed or settled out of court or even never being investigated. A woman wrote about David Bowie "having sex" with her when she was 14 or 15 and doing the same with her 15-year-old friend. She was bragging about it in the article, explaining about how she was part of a well-known group of young teen girls known as "baby groupies." They were known to be underage, but many famous men took advantage of them. And because they were underage, it was rape. Doesn't matter how willing they say they were. Children cannot consent to sex with adults. Adults have the capability to control themselves and to be responsible for their actions. Adults need to say no to children who want to do sexual things with them. There is no room for debate here.

I recognize that David Bowie was bisexual and perhaps non-binary. And I'm really sorry that somebody who was actually a highly visible bit of representation for underrepresented groups turned out to be a child rapist. But he was, and there are plenty of bisexual and non-binary rape survivors who need protection and need people to speak up for them.

And no, I can't wait for people to grieve. Because survivors woke up this morning to see everyone celebrating a child rapist and they need support right now. They can't wait. They're suffering now. They may be thinking about ending their lives now. I'm sure your grief is painful, but so is theirs. And because very few will speak up for them today, I'm going to add to that sadly insufficient support as much as I can.

No comments: