03 August 2021

0 here is what happened


they got in touch with me. the organization. 

in therapy, i am like a scavenger. i go back and reread emails and take notes and i do my research and i come blazing into a session like "and then on june 29th, X, and then on July 1, Y." 

because i want it to make sense. i want it to be real. i want it to be grounded in THIS HAPPENED, and so this is why i feel Z. 

they got in touch with me. because they wanted to hear more. 

i'm saying they. it was a she. 

she got in touch with me to hear more. because she'd heard things and they all knew something had happened and, more recently, she'd heard i was involved, and she wanted to hear my side of the story. 

i am becoming so, so cynical. 

i hate that i am becoming so, so cynical, while also believing with all of my heart that she got in touch with me to hear my side of the story so she could feel better about herself. 

so she could say they did the right thing.

ladies and gents, hold on to your hats: they did not do the right thing. 

do not get in touch with someone whom your organization has harmed and then ask them what they want you to do to make it better. just fyi. little tip from me to you. 

they got in touch with me and they asked me to help them to be better. and, you guys, I WAS GAME. because i want us to be better. this is something about which i care. this is something around which i have built my whole life. 

out of nowhere, she messaged me. 

because powering through discomfort is my forte (we are working on this in therapy, i assure you), i responded LET US SPEAK ON THE PHONE RIGHT NOW. 

and i told her my story and we hung up and i went about my life. 

except i didn't. 

a few days later, a dean at the place where i work tweeted her support of bill cosby. 

a few days after that, a colleague at the place where i work went rogue and published a critique of our workplace, which went quasi-viral. 

when i was in therapy after donovan's death and joe's death and martha's death, i reached a point where i described myself as feeling as though invisible pieces of myself had been set on fire. 

this was not that. 

what i remember is that i would lie down to go to sleep and be out of breath. like when i waited tables at applebee's and would lie down at night and feel i was still walking with a sense of urgency. except this was a sensation in my chest and throat and heart rather than in my legs. 

i was teaching at the time and i felt numb mostly. my coping mechanisms suck. i got drunk one night and had to teach hungover. something i've never before had to do. 

she'd emailed me and i'd not responded.  

the day after i taught hungover, she emailed me again. to follow up. she had more information. 

except she really didn't. she just confirmed what i already knew to be true. and she engaged me in an hour-long conversation of how i could benefit them by producing a #metoo panel for the upcoming conference and potentially starting a consciousness raising group and probably writing an article to be published in their membership magazine. 

she told me i could file a compliant. she spoke of the benefits of institutional knowledge. i could file a complaint and he would never have to know. 

i could file a complaint and i would be protected. i would have control. 

i left the conversation feeling i had control. 

i had an emergency therapy session. not for this but because the six month mark of the date rape was approaching and i wanted to be ready. 

i knew it would be hard. i had known, had felt it in my bones since the 6th and all the "six months since the insurrection" coverage, that it was going to be hard. 

on the day that marked six months since that man raped me on a third date last january, i bolted out of bed and spent four hours writing a complaint. 

i said what i wanted to say in the only way i could say it. 

i submitted it. 

the following day, aware of my need of a timeline, i emailed and asked them for a response by a given date. she said we needed to speak. 

i would need to edit the complaint, she said. it needed to be more factual, less about the harm that had resulted. 

he would need to be shown it, she said. because i had used the word "formal." 

there was a new editor for the membership magazine, she said. she could not promise he would honor the prior editor's promise of an article. 

what did i want them to do? 

what did i want them to do? 

what did i want them to do? 

what did i want them to do? 

what did i want them to do? 

what did i want them to do? 

what could they possibly do? 

she was so very, very sorry. what could they do? 

i think the better question is what would they do? the answer being pretty much jackshit. 

i had another emergency therapy session. 

"resentful" is the word i keep bringing to therapy. and i don't think it's just a cover for "anger." 

it is resentment. it sits like a lacquer on the experiences described, scumming over the unfairness. 

i resent that they contacted me. that they came out of nowhere and asked after my trauma in order to feel better about themselves. 

i resent that they fail to see a better world. that they are content with having filed a complaint against a doctor who did something awful to them. that they are content with that being the limit of what they can do. 

i do not want to complain. i want to rewrite the world. 

i resent that they evoked their awareness of my current circumstances, their awareness of my blog post about past rape and abuse. 

i resent that i know that our society will use rape and abuse as a means to discredit people. 

i resent that this woman mentioned her awareness of someone (people, even!) having raped me and that it made me immediately aware that this is the way it will go, this is what will happen whenever i raise a ruckus, i will be the girl who got herself raped. 

i resent that writing all of this makes me feel like a bitch. 

i resent that, in trying to make my point that two emails derailed my life and career in this manner, i wound up feeling like a fucking bomb. 

this is small, small beans, and still it is this awful, still it is this destructive, still it is this deconstructive to one's self. and still we do nothing. 

i resent that.

i resent that i felt i had to withdraw the complaint. because these fucking people could not be trusted with it.

i resent these people with power. 

i refuse contentment.

i refuse the notion of redemption. 

this bullshit is not redeemable. 

this system is not redeemable. 

i want to burn the fucking thing down.  

because we none of us should be writing about women's lives if we cannot take care of women. it we are content with the status quo. if we think what was good enough for us should be enough for the women who come after. 

that is not progress. that is bullshit. 

we only get the one life, and i refuse to use mine for that.

let's start here

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