Textual Fury is now an Archive. Below is the last post written here.
Something I have noticed about abuse is, when you speak out about it invariably people will defend the stalker, rapist, or abuser. They do not know this person, and they may know the victim but there is something ingrained into the world that has trained us that anyone speaking up about abuse is lying. Its fascinating to me, on several levels. In part this fascination exists because it shows how widespread and systemic abuse is. This is perhaps where some people will think this is me talking rape culture, but rape culture is actually only a facet of the problem.
One of the first steps an abuser takes is gaining power over their victim, by making certain their victim feels fear. This is done by threats, sometimes violence, and it encompasses all you love. It can be a threat against your mother, father, siblings, pets, or other people you care for. The abuser can even be one of those people threatening themself. “I’ll kill myself if you go.” Especially with a parent this creates the false burden of responsibility on the victim. This act also includes the beginnings of erasure and silence. To protect yourself you must not talk about the abuse, because they will hurt you and whomever they threatened.
Sometimes this is true. Sometimes getting help, breaking those rules is costly. The most dangerous time to be abused is when you leave and when you get help. This is widely known for people who are leaving abusive spouses but what is less widely discussed is for children with abusive parents. The only acceptable victims in society are women being beaten, but never raped.
Why does acceptability matter? If its okay for me to admit I was beaten by my husband but it isn’t okay for my step father to admit that he was beaten by many of his wives there is no room for him to ask for help. If it is only acceptable for children to be abused in certain forms, then there is no help for some of the most dangerous types of abuse. We do accept that sexual abuse occurs in this society but we deny at the same time the rights for aide to those victims and even children as young as I was when I took on an adult abuser and got him arrested, endured a trial, all of four or five? They have to prove that they weren’t ‘asking for it.’
There is no need to forgive or redeem your abuser. Often when breaking the rule of silence, which perpetuates even now that I am no longer being abused, people will ask me why I don’t just forgive my abusers. That isn’t my job. Forgiveness isn’t something you can just hand out on plates like cookies. Forgiveness is an act that one can only do for themself. I forgive myself, and sometimes struggle even after, for my mistakes. I made the mistake of emulating my abusers for a time in my teens, and I had to learn that this while not being okay doesn’t make ME a bad person. The line between the abuser and victim can be thin, and many victims become abusers to protect themselves. I did. I also learned another way, and it was far from easy. In doing so I learned why my abusers used Christianity as a cover. The easy get out of hell free card of saying “Well God I fucked up again, oops sorry.”
This is not how all Christians use the forgiveness they feel of their deity and in fact I learned the truth, for me, of Forgiveness from my friends who are very religious. It was in my quest to understand how they can believe in something that my experiences showed me the worst side of that they showed me how forgiveness works. I accept what I did wrong, I strive to change how I react, enact, and choose so that I do not repeat that mistake. I accept that I am still a person worthy of life? That is part of forgiveness. That relief when you realize you have survived can be forgiveness too.
You do not have to forgive anyone else. Its strange, counter to many of the vapid platitudes and cliche statements society throws out but many of those are things that enable abuse. “Everything happens for a reason.” “God wanted to put you on this path.” “God has a plan, this was just part of it.” “Forgive and Forget.”
Forgive and Forget to me is a most dangerous sentiment. If you forget your abuser’s actions you let them repeat them. Having a brain injury and spending years without knowing what happened? I became aware of how dangerous forgetting is. It isn’t inherently permission when it is not your choice but willfully ignoring the patterns that abuse takes can get you killed. Forgiving your abuser and looking away as they hurt others or yourself is not in fact healthy. All my life I was told to forgive and forget, up until my mother was hurt by a violent exhusband. Then? She was suddenly okay with not forgetting but still was hell bent on the world forgiving.
When other people require you to explain your abuse, they aren’t necessarily doing this to hurt you. Some people live without abuse. I cannot imagine that. I struggle to imagine happy family time. I get a bit of a headache trying really but I know it exists. My friends have often proven this to me, books have, it is just not something I have experienced first hand. Sometimes it is a case of the opposite extreme, where someone has little to no experience with abuse so they cannot fathom how your mother wanting to know how you are and ignoring your requests, which to them are odd, to be left alone is bad. They don’t know how stalking is bad, because the media has few examples of it not being a victim over reaction. They cannot know the fear that curls around you and pierces you because their experiences have none of that.
I admit fully I am jealous of these people. I admit that I am also happy for them. Its a strange combination and again it is another moment where the standards we are taught do not inherently line up. There are healthy forms of jealousy. I can be jealous of the small child who I see laughing and hugging their parents because I never had that, but my jealousy does not make me want to destroy it, I want more of it for them. Jealousy is only toxic when you let it be a reason to hurt others.
This blog has always been about breaking silence. That is why I am not deleting it. I have come to a decision that I put off for a while, trying less drastic things than wiping out my internet identity, my real life one too. I feel a strange peace with this now, which I did not feel before, but it is time. Textual Fury will remain as an archive, but I am not going to let myself feel that fear. I have begun the process of deleting my facebook, while retaining contact with the people who matter most to me. I have already destroyed my old email. This is the hardest one of all. I cannot say I will ever stop writing, but my growing silences over the years are related directly to stalking, abuse, and crappy health in that order. I am a survivor and so are many of you. So I am trusting myself. I am trusting that this is the right decision.
Deleting this blog would be part of the trend of silence. Instead I will write the rest of my novel, I will write another one, and another one. My silence cannot be bought. I am going to only get louder. I am grateful to you all for supporting me for the last few years, to the people who find this blog and find out they are not alone? I am happy for you too. I leave this blog up as a symbol of rebellion, a ringing bell, and because I love everyone in this world, and I want the best for them. It just cannot be at the cost of my own safety. This action doesn’t make me give up freedoms, by letting go I am gaining them and a sense of security. It is rarely both, and it is not easy.