I’m reading former Congressional representative Katie Hill’s account of wanting to kill herself after her abusive ex-husband and the Republican party attacked her by using a method of sexual assault called cyber exploitation. The attacks made Hill, a powerful white woman, curl into a ball and contemplate suicide. I wonder if her suicidal ideation was partly motivated by this reality: Hill’s enemies sent her a barrage of death threats, and in light of this danger, perhaps suicide came into focus as a dignified exit.
As columnist Masha Gessen has written, in the era of #Metoo, “Terror is reserved for the women.”
Everyday in this country, teenage boys attack teenage girls with the same cyber techniques used to destroy Hill. These victims also contemplate suicide and guess what’s done about it. Next to nothing. The New York Times doesn’t invite them to pen op-eds. Nobody muses about them in the New Yorker. Instead, their grades decline. They drop out. They are treated as less than collateral damage. The impact on their lives isn’t taken seriously because girls aren’t boys.
I know teachers who have, upon learning that girls have been sexually assaulted, referred to these victims as “whores.” These teachers have actively encouraged victims’ peers to shun them. I know teachers who, once they’re six feet under, should be eulogized as slut-shaming bullies. And it’s not just teachers. Administrators perpetrate similar garbage.
Several months ago, my district offered a training on the prevention of sexual abuse. I was eager to attend because in middle school, male classmates sexually abused me. Male teachers watched and did nothing, and as the district training unfolded, its trajectory horrified me. A good part of it was spent discussing how teachers might avoid false accusations…HOW TEACHERS MIGHT AVOID FALSE ACCUSATIONS. With that priority, the workshop’s intent became clear. Protecting predators and promoting the myth that girls lie, that a girl’s word is suspect, that girls don’t deserve testimonial justice, that girls are a bunch of petty shit talkers, that girls aren’t as trustworthy as boys, THAT GIRLS DON’T MATTER, matter most.
I say GIRLS because GIRLS are the primary victims of sexual abuse, a fact omitted from the workshop.
Perpetrators are primarily MEN, a fact that I think was intentionally omitted from the workshop in order not to hurt men’s feelings, and we’ve seen how wet powerful men get when someone, especially a woman, hurts their feelings.
Do you recall Brett Kavanaugh’s rage-weeping?
Tears earned him a seat beside Clarence Thomas.
Here’s a further example of shitty behavior being brazenly performed.
Last week, at a meeting, a male teacher sat next to me.
Without saying hello, he asked, “Have you attended the sexual harassment training yet?”
“No,” I answered.
He responded by explaining the steps I could take to avoid the training and emphasized that his steps were foolproof: he’d used them to avoid it.
That’s the truth of how we help female victims of abuse and assault in the United States: by avoiding the truth, strangling the truth, and punishing girls and women who survive. This truth is why I say dump the pussy hats, sharpen your weapon, and if you think I’m a self-righteous bitch, my stretch-marked nalgas utter that you may kiss them. JK. Get away from me.
If you’re interested in launching or participating in an education- and/or Long Beach-centric #Metoo, please message me. Those interested in civility need not apply.