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Friday, 22 March 2013

To The Dude Who Thought He Did The Internet A Favour By Calling Me Broken

By: Malanka Sveta

You know what I fucking hate? I fucking hate having to constantly tell dudes "I get what you mean, but...". Why should I have to watch my fucking tone when what you fucking said is reprehensible? If that's not what you fucking meant, too fucking bad. That's not my fucking fault. It's also not my fucking fault that you feel so fucking entitled to praise for not being 100% a terrible person that when a mere woman says "Really?!? That?" you get fucking defensive instead of clarifying. The fact that, yes, I know what you meant does not make what you actually said fine.

You know what else I fucking hate? People who know fuck all about rape, or me, making assumptions about me based on my status as a survivor. That's right, I don't hide it. I am not ashamed of being a survivor. There is nothing shameful in having been the victim of a crime. I think we need to relook at survivors. Not all survivors are open about it, and that's fine because we (survivors) are not the Borg. What works for me, what I am capable of, what I do, all of that has nothing to do with anyone but me, nor should anyone model their behaviour on mine (not because I feel there is something wrong with my bahaviour but because we are not the Borg). I am, in part, a visible survivor because people need to know we exist. That they love us, or hate us, or frighten us, or enrich us, or touch us, or see us every day. We're everywhere (like lolcats).

*Trigger warning*

This dude really has some impressive thoughts on rape, rapists, and backlash. He has no fucking clue about survivors. And I don't have the fucking energy to be nice about this. Dude. I am not fucking broken. If you feel that way about survivors, perhaps you are.


  1. I love all that you write. I did not watch the video, because I'm afraid it will be too angering. But keep up the good work, and take care!

  2. Hi there!
    I'm probably the last person you want to hear from right now, but this is the guy from the video.
    First, aside from your irritation with me, I hope you're having a good day.
    Second, I don't want to fight with you. I was hoping I would be allowed the chance to clarify myself.

    "...while their victim, their target sits in the corner, battered and broken and virtually ignored..."
    "You have broken a person beyond repair in more ways than one, and you force them to cope with your actions until the day they die."

    I went back through the video and found the instances in which I refer to a victim of rape as "broken," and I do see you point: while I may be right about my frustration directed at the attackers, I am indeed making a generalization about the victim, and I see how I may have come across as assuming that a victim of rape is a weaker person than they actually are because I'm implying that this is something from which a victim can never recover.

    I would like to apologize, because that is not at all how I feel.
    When I made the comments I made, I was very impassioned and in-the-moment, and when I talked about a rape victim being broken, I meant that immediately after the action takes place, I'm assuming that's very much how a person may feel: violated and terrified, like they've been broken into.

    That being said, I have no doubt that the vast majority of rape victims do eventually recover because they are strong people who choose to move on from this experience.

    When I said, "you force your victim to live with that trauma...for the rest of their lives," I meant that the experience will never go away. Events are intangible moments in time, and memories like that are difficult to forget.
    But I certainly don't think that that makes anyone a weaker person because of it. In fact, I admire people who can survive something I believe to be so disgusting and painful to even try to comprehend.

    People have this surprising capacity to bounce back from anything, no matter how intense, no matter how painful. Rape victims are just the same: they may have experienced this, but, when given time, they can come back, and when they do, they are often stronger than ever.

    I put a lot of stock into the power of the human heart, and that is one thing I believe never stays broken for long.
    You, as a survivor, are the perfect example of this.
    Despite what happened to you, you refused to let the world treat you any differently, and you are clearly a very strong person.
    Not a strong woman. A strong person.
    Had you been a male survivor, or had this case been about a man being raped, or had the rapists been female, I would have responded just the same.

    To me, rape is worse than murder.
    One of my closest friends is a survivor of rape, and for the first few months after she went through what she went through, she confessed to me that there were days when she would wake up wishing she were dead because "that would be easier to handle."
    You probably don't agree with me, and that's fine.
    Your opinion is yours, and my opinion is mine.

    1. Dude, you're not getting it. Let me spell this out for you. calling me "broken" is a way of othering me. Fetishising me is a way of othering me. Do not other survivors. We are persons. Any qualifiers (good bad or indifferent) make us other than persons. So stop it. Alright?

      And *that*, the fact that no matter how one views survivors it is othering, is why I am a visible survivor. We need to be seen as persons, as individuals, and as whole. Anything else robs us of our dignity.

      Please try to respond again with this in mind, and we can see where we go from there. *This* starting place is just going to be detrimental to any dialogue we might try to have.

      Malanka Sveta.

  3. I'm not here to convince you that I'm right.
    I only wished to clear the waters of any confusion and ire you may have felt regarding my video, and if I offended you, I deeply apologize.

    I am glad you like my thoughts on rape, rapists, and backlash. At least we can agree on that.
    But you're right: I've not talked to every survivor of rape, and in the future, I shouldn't make such bold assumptions.

    But this video is about more than that.
    It is a full-throttle attack on the media and its choosing to focus so much more on criminals and generally horrible people than victims.
    The Aurora shooting, for example, stumped me. Within a week of the incident, I had seen tens of hundreds of profiles of the shooter, but I had only seen once instance where the media had the sense to talk to the friends and relatives of the victims.
    This puzzled me, mainly because that's my nature:
    I care.
    I wanted to know if the families were okay. I wanted to know if the girls who lost their boyfriends or the fathers who lost their daughters were alright.
    And I didn't.
    And I feel like that's because our media culture spent so much time focusing on the criminal that we lost sight of the victims, and eventually came the therapists and lawyers that vouched for the young man's mental state and painted him as a sympathetic character.
    And that hurt me.

    And I feel the same thing happened in Steubenville.
    And that's why I ended the video the way I did: I wanted to make sure the young lady was okay. I wanted to show her that there is someone who cares more about her than her attackers.

    I read your letter to CNN, and I know you feel the same way about this as I do.
    I'm sorry if I offended you in any way.
    I'm on your side.

  4. I'm not the original author of this post, and I'll leave most of the response to her (as feminists and victims/survivors and even we at the Hive are not the Borg and I cannot speak for her).
    However I (and not Malanka) am the writer of the letter to CNN. I hope you read it again because the letter was about rape culture and victim blaming. It said nothing about the mentality of victims/survivors or how people respond to being raped.
    Worrying that people lose sight of the victims doesn't include speaking for the victims. When it comes to how we speak about the victims/survivors of sexual violence we do not feel the same.
    And do not think to speak for my feelings again.
    Liberate Zealot.


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