This happens all the time. I’m upset that it happens. I’m upset that the men who do this don’t even realize what they are doing is rape. It would mean you have gone from a man to a rapist and this is to be resisted for as long as desire and silence breathe in the same space as disgust and silence. Our actions do define us sometimes, even and especially when you would believe they wouldn’t, couldn’t.
I went on my first OkCupid date in 2009 with a man whom I had briefly encountered months earlier at a party. I believed that this first date would certainly be a safe first date. He was responsible, well-liked, wore designer glasses, spoke Mandarin, looked like a movie star. And when I was no longer held down by booze or his body I left and it was 5 AM and I vomited in a garbage can and this dirty man on the street called me a thing I forget how to repeat because of how repetitive this thing I am appears in eyes of men and when I got on the train with his stuff still drying on my stomach and when I could not go back to sleep and let myself say to the walls “I let him do that” and when I could not go back to sleep he texted me to say he had a great night and if I had interest in dinner. If he could not see the wrong that was done then certainly, I thought, no wrong was done to me. I had a crisp notion that my body was again a thing to be entered and so what was the harm. I didn’t go on a second date with him. I ignored his texts and eventually he went to China.
I wanted to say something else when I started putting words down about this. There is a disconnect in perception to what happens when we find ourselves in intimate quarters with somebody else. This membraneous skin forms over these types of sexual encounters so that when one person exhibits signs of discomfort and when the other person only views this discomfort as potential rejection, this is to be resisted for as long as it takes to remove the potential rejection from the equation. As if fucking is the sole balm against present insecurities. My way of dealing with these bad memories has always been to intellectualize them, which now I see is one more form of repression. I’ve settled for a long on this notion that I should be compassionate towards those who have done me harm because how they perceive what they did to my body and how I perceive what was done to my body are vastly different, pleasure and harm on opposite ends of a spectrum, never touching, never grazing. So then I/we settle again on words fed by the patriarchy like “overblown,” “dramatized,” even “attention-seeking.” They move to China, they invite you to their wedding, they send you Linked In emails. But then Tiffany but then Sophia, they say Yes This Happened and Yes It Was Wrong and Here They Are, They Who Did This. I don’t give a fuck about being brave. I care about speaking. These strong women, they spoke the very hard language of their damage. They spoke to their communities, to several communities, and thank fucking god people are listening.