Tag Archives: rape culture

What Is There Left to Say About Rape? Ask Survivors.

Many times I crawled to my computer, trying to formulate words about reports of rape and sexual violence in 2012.  Each time I found my through-line of how I wanted to write it, a new headline caught my eye.  First it was the high school rape story from my home state of Ohio, the Steubenville football rape case, located just a few hours north of me.

Then it was the gang rape of a young woman in Delhi, India.  Then it was the news of her death.

What is there to say about rape that hasn’t already been said?

What moronic statements are left to utter about how women’s bodies have a way to “shut that whole thing” down?  Or how rape is comparable to having a child out of wedlock?  And these are just the national headlines.

One thing I am certain is that most rape survivors do not turn on the news to understand rape culture, they need only look at their own lives, their own communities.

What is there to say about rape that hasn’t already been said?

How many US-centric statements are there to make about India’s uproar, as if the United States stands at a pristine pulpit to judge?

The only thing left to say about rape has to come from survivors themselves.  And that was the Dear Sister Anthology does. It gives the first and last say, it gives what is not often ignored: the voices and stories of the survivors who want to share their stories with other survivors and the world.

I had a whole blog post planned, a gathering of thoughts about all the sickness of rape, the harrowing world we live in that teaches our young children to accept despicable violence, but I don’t think the world/internet/readers need that.  You don’t need to hear more of the same.  You need to hear from survivors.

Wait for the Dear Sister Anthology (Fall/Winter 2013, AK Press) and hear from them yourselves.

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Dear Sister Anthology News! It’s Going to be Published!

It’s something of a miracle to write this piece of news: I’ve accepted an offer to publish the Dear Sister anthology.

I’d like to say that the road was high and long, but that’d be a lie.  There was no road.  There was only an organic hope and prayer that this project would lead by its own light.  There was no path, just a community of supporters with bottomless wells of patience.  There was no foundation, just a lot of hands to help shape it into the manuscript it is today.

For the past twelve years, I have thought about rape everyday.  Every day it has crossed my mind in some fashion.  Whether it was working with a client, yelling at the television when a politician made an asinine remark, or closing my eyes as more stories invaded my conscience, reminding me that  violence, ignorance, oppressive forces, and misogyny are, sadly, everywhere.  There’s no escaping it.

I wish I could anthologize a book that ended sexual violence.  I wish I could have pieced together a preventative book that outlined 1-2-3 steps to protect communities or a blueprint on how to teach that sexual activity can be good, wonderful, and amazing when consent is clearly given.  But, I can’t write that book.  I don’t think anyone can.  Instead, I created a book for the aftermath.  A book that doesn’t pretend. A book about survival.  It is a collection of stories and letters for the survivors who have not yet found their way from survivors who somehow did.  Dear Sister is the letter no one wants to write, but so many need to recieve.

Listening, believing, uplifting survivors is the only way forward.  Our political and societal ethos have created an illusory world where rape is inevitable, almost permissible, making us believe that we have to accept the violence, exist in fear, and criminalize the survivor to make order of the chaos.  Rape culture tells us that this is the real world and we must exist in it. Abide by it.

I, for one, want out.  This is one step toward the exit sign.

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