We Are All Survivors, We Are All Perpetrators // What To Do When...

“To broach these questions is not to deny that there is such a thing as sexual assault, nor to defend it as acceptable behavior. On the contrary, it is to demand that we acknowledge that we live in a rape culture: a culture in which sexual assault is pervasive, as are the forces and dynamics that promote it. Sexual assault is a part of all of us who have grown up in this society; we cannot ignore it, or pretend that because we ourselves have been assaulted or because we work to live anarchy in all aspects of our lives that we are not capable of sexual assault. The only way to rid our lives of sexual assault is to open the issue up. This means we must make it safe enough to come out as an assaulter, so that each of us is able to address, openly, honestly, and without fear, everything from the most minor acts of inconsideration to the most serious boundary violations. We are all survivors; we are all perpetrators.”

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i read this article awhile

i read this article awhile go.
Re-reading it now, I have a lot of pretty severe problems with it which I would like to share with you all.

I have a hard time making this article apply to sexual violence, because in my understanding, the person who did the assaulting and raping of someone else, doesn't get to share what their experience was or have a truth because in my experience that is such a common tactic to deflect fault and personal responsibility, I have seen this be used successfully in order to make a survivor seem crazy and irrational, and their perpetrator seem like a misunderstood person who is just in some big mess.
this is the part that makes me want to scream-

"all those involved in the situation need to hold themselves accountable for the ways they have not communicated with or respected each other and work out how to make sure it never happens again."
i'm sorry but that is so fucked up to me to read that.
Maybe that could apply in some situations, but that is such a dangerous statement to make.
It puts blame on a survivor, and rape/sexual assault ARE NEVER a survivor's fault! that is undebatable! this implies that the survivor could have voiced their boundaries better in order to avoid rape. Or that the survivor has some sort of responsibility to learn how to better voice their boundaries so that they don't get raped again.
Rape and sexual assault are always the fault of the perpetrator. The perpetrator is the only one who did the raping.

And as for sexual assualt turning into a popularity/taking sides contest, I don't think that comes out of a problem of language, I think it comes out of a problem of lack of community eduaction and awareness. I don't think the words "survivor/perpetrator" have to turn something into a good and evil war, but it defines that someone needs to be believed and supported without suspicion and that someone else needs to be held accountable, and I believe this can be done in a positive and healing way.

And I want to puke when I read the words "we are all survivors, we are all perpetrators".
Yes all of us are capable of crossing someone else's boundaries, all of us are capable of having our boundaries crossed.
but we are not all capable of raping and sexually assaulting each other!
I feel like saying that belittles the serious trauma of surviving rape,
rape is about power, domination and control, and not all of us have the desire to control and dominate our friends and partners.
Some of us are really capable of respecting the people in our lives, that doesn't mean we won't cross someone's boundaries.
As a survivor, I take offense at that title, because I would never do what was done to me to someone else, and what was done to me is not something I had any power to control or change, or avoid through better communication. What happened was not an accident, or a miscommunication, or a misunderstanding. It was intentional, most rape and sexual assault are intentional. the people doing it know what they are doing.
there are not grey areas of consent! either you have clear, explicit consent or you do not!
this whole article makes me sick to my stomach because I see so many concepts in it that have been used to avoid taking personal responsibility for rape and assault.

I absolutely agree that consent needs to be practiced in all aspects of our life and that we need better language when talking about sexual assault, or talking about other ways that our boundaries have been crossed.
and i agree that we are all capable of having our boundaries crossed or crossing the boundaries of other people- and that this can be remedied by practicing consent in all aspects of our lives.
but sexual boundaries are a whole different arena then say living space boundaries, or everyday interactions.
I think this would be a great article for talking about the importance of practicing consent in every relationship and interaction- sexual or not,
but the things discussed in this article are really dangerous for survivors of sexual violence and perpetrators of sexual violence to read, because I see it as allowing for too much self-blaming of survivors, or delflecting personal responsibility of perpetrators.