It has been a hell of a time on Facebook right now. This #metoo social media thing is going on about people who have been sexually assaulted or harassed disclosing en masse. And it’s pretty overwhelming. I didn’t do a specifically #metoo post, BUT I did disclose the day the metoo campaign started that a woman in the Sask arts community had assaulted me as a teen and then kept coming up to me and touching me at every art event she saw me at and made my skin crawl. I think that was the situation that upset me the most, because it was so constant and even tho I got into really defensive postures and avoided her and blocked her on all my social media pre-emptively, she still felt fine to harass me. I HAVE been harassed and assaulted by men also, and at least one or two other women. But saying rape culture is just a men’s issue is really simplifying things in a way I am not fully comfortable with. And especially making it seem that it is a mainly cis heterosexual thing, no way. No way. I know some gay men are discussing it in their community though, and some brave queer women on my friends list have also specified it coming from other women too.
And then I also have to look at my own role in this situation, which is uncomfortable because I have pressured women before, we didn’t fuck or anything but I know I crossed some boundaries by being persistent and made at least two women uncomfortable who I was close to. And that is really shitty, and in one instance booze was involved on my part which complicates things. But saying I’m not responsible for my actions because I was drunk is really shitty. I think people still are responsible for things they do when drunk, especially violence or coercion. I’m glad nothing I was involved with went really far, but knowing I felt like I was so entitled that I could be that pushy is pretty fucked up. I think since those things have happened I have thought about them a lot myself and tried to figure out ways to be accountable to both women. I have apologized since to both of them long ago, and while that didn’t make us able to have any real friendship again, it did make me feel a little bit better. BUT I don’t know if that made either of them feel better which is the more concerning part.
So there’s a lot to unpack around this whole thing. And I know there are definitely more people who need to interrogate how they approach potential partners or friends or strangers, how we ask for consensual encounters, how to have really hot sex that is wrapped up in things like domination and submission without being shitty to each other. Being an Indigenous queer non-binary masculine of centre submissive leaning kinkster myself really can make things difficult. Like the kinds of women I want to have sex with have different issues than me usually, being oftentimes white and femme. And the types of sex I like having can have some power dynamics going on in it anyway which is hard to negotiate and I’ve often in my adult life NOT even been very good at verbalizing what I’m into. Like you could read my whole Fetlife fetish list and that still wouldn’t explain to you that I hate being called a bad girl/boi and like being called a good girl/boi. Or that I only get submissive when I fall head over heels in love, and otherwise I’m just more of a sensation bottom. And then there’s just things I want that I don’t talk about, except maybe to my best friend because I know she’s proven herself over the years and years to be solid and there for me and non-judgy.
BUT YES! I am not liking that this discourse is centering sexual violence on only male perps. Because I know for a fact there are definitely women and trans and non-binary people who haven’t respected others boundaries either. And I’m not sure what they are thinking right now when all this is going on, if they even recognize like I have that there are things they have done that aren’t fully consensual or were shady for some reason. Or if they are secretly relieved that all this responsibility for being honourable and respectful to other people and partners is something cis men need to look at and not them.
I don’t think we’re going to dismantle systems of oppression if we don’t recognize how they are complicated. Like the woman who harasses me is way older, white, femme, and in a position of power right now in another professional way. That’s a lot of power right there. Maybe it sounds weird to some people that a masc person would be assaulted and harassed by a femme person, but that’s really not surprising to me because anyone could be a shitty person to someone else. I had a mostly emotionally abusive and physically abusive girlfriend too, who made me feel like absolute shit by the time she was done with me. She was also femme. AND White. And older. Things are complicated. And it’s not going to get better if we absolve abusers because they don’t fit a particular demographic.
Cis men CAN OFTEN be really shitty and cavalier about the way they treat women, trans, non binary people, especially feeling entitled to sex and attention. And it’s a major problem. But also denying that women, trans, non-binary peeps, and butches and femmes can be equally abusive to people around them isn’t really going to solve the problem.
I think sometimes women (cis straight women maybe to be more specific) think the queer women’s community is some kind of utopia where things are gentle and loving all the time. But I’ve heard all kinds of stories and seen things that show that isn’t the case. Like my friend who got beat up by her girlfriend, or some of the more shitty ways polyamory ends up treating people, or even sexual assault and shunning and things. Like we aren’t a perfect community. We can be really fucked up and harmful to each other.
SO I guess to wrap up, I would just like people to also acknowledge that sexual violence happens between women. And it’s a major problem too. And it’s a small community, so we run into each other all the time. I would just like for people to keep space for women, trans, non-binary people who have experienced that kind of violence from each other. Because it’s hard to go online and see people saying this is a men’s problem, when it’s any of us who is capable of this.