Like many people, I don't believe in coincidence. I believe things happen for a reason, even if, at the time, the idea that there could be any reason for something happening is unimaginable, that any good could come from surviving evil. I'm sure my fellow Tree Climbers are nodding as they read this. I won't sully this beautiful almost-summer afternoon by going into the ugly details of what I survived years ago. This diary needs no trigger-warning. What happened happened. What I will say is that, while The Bad did not make me stronger, the process of surviving it did.
I'm pretty sure I still would have had what I call my Mama Bear Protective Mode had I not survived what happened decades ago. I always hated bullies, and I was a tall kid for my age, so I was the perfect person to get right up in quite a few faces. My little brother got picked on by me, but God help anyone else who tired to mess with him. (He got me back plenty, btw. Somewhere in a landfill is a 1970's pink shag bedroom rug that still stinks of Brute cologne, no matter how much trash is on top of it.) But, having said that, I think having a horrible time in my past has galvanized me to stand up and step in, even when it's not MY fight, more than I would have, because when you're being harmed and hurt, the worst part is wondering what you did to deserve it, that godawful uncertainty that festers inside your own head... and words cannot express what it means to find someone on your side, having your back.
I know we've all had a moment like that. I'd dare to say that real friendships and marriages are born in, and also die in, the moments when it comes down to that other person having your back when it counts. It's one of the things I LOVE about Daily Kos. This is a community of people who DO care, who do step up for the people who need it: Gay? Minority? Female? Unemployed? Underemployed? Marginalized? Differently-abled? Someone who's bigger and stronger picking on you? Demeaning you? Stomping all over your rights? Welcome. You have friends here. Taste a recipe, laugh at a cartoon, talk to, learn from and make friends with people whose paths you may have never crossed, hang out and help brainstorm about how we can change the world for the better.... with more and better Democrats :) ... add your individual voice to flavor the melting pot here.
So, that being said, what's the deal about the title of the diary, you might ask.
Well, like I said, I don't believe in coincidences. Something I read here a few months ago had a link in it which I click through and it lead to an eloquent blog post about the rape culture that is very real, and very pernicious, in our society. I wish I could credit the diary who sent me there, but it's been so long, I don't remember. If it was yours, leave me a comment so I can update and give you props.
Earlier this week, there was a radio news item as I was driving my daughter to her physical therapy appointment. Two idiot mothers chaperoning a prom in Colorado sprayed the teens with Lysol for "dirty dancing". Let me just say, snark intended, it's SOOO much fun to explain this to a "very young" 11-year-old girl who's feeling very grown-up that next year she will be in the Middle School and go to her first dance, the nuances that while I expect her to behave in public, those mothers were dead-wrong. I was thinking of all the diaries that were written about Rush Limbaugh, and slut-shaming, and of course, our beloved take-back of the word with our Sluts Group here in this community. I hadn't been on here much recently since April, so I don't know if anyone wrote another diary about that incident already, but I was thinking of writing my own diary today about it. (My kid got bit by a tick, and yep, the gods decided to throw melons at our heads - or at least one melon-sized lump filled with Lyme bacteria at her left knee, hence the PT we were driving to, and me dropping out for sight for a few weeks.) Raising a daughter today, to be strong, to be safe, and to honor and respect herself, seems a lot more complicated that it was for my own mother. Evil Ticks of Doom notwithstanding.
Well, that's the strange thing, that I won't call a coincidence, because I still and always will believe things do happen for a reason. Today, before I could write the diary, but with this all swimming around in my head, a wonderful new group started up, thanks to rexymeteorite, Courtesy Kos. I like it. I like the whole idea of it. I realize it won't be for everyone, but seeing who's all responded positively in the comment thread, it looks like it's NOT going to be some stuffy hall-monitor Miss Manners type of group, but born of genuine desire to further good camaraderie and discourse.
But, if you look, I didn't participate much in the comments, other than handing out a few stars.
Because there was another diary published, right about that time. I won't link it, for reasons which will immediately become obvious.
The title of the diary drew me in, as I usually read diaries and participate in the comments about GLBTQ issues, trying to lend support and my own voice, even though I'm only an "Honorary Drag Queen" in this life (long story, much champagne that night). However, in the diary, the diarist, in a very graphic manner, describes an act of non-consensual, forced anal sex on a female "girlfriend/wife" as something that all heterosexual men have wanted to do and have tried at some point. (For Tree Climbers out there, the diary does need some kind of trigger-warning, so be warned before you go looking.) The dairy violates the "don't be a dick" rule in a multiple of ways, at least if you think dickish behavior is making rape jokes, misogyny, misandry, and just otherwise being gratuitously foul. I was going to HR it, but the diarist made it personal very, very quickly - accusing me of "hating gay marriage" and not having a sense of humor and or understanding satire, blah-blah-blah. So, there went my HR, due to the flame-war rules... I do have a problem with what was said, and how it was said, not that it matters at this point, it wouldn't have made a difference in the fact that I'm never going to share his "humor" but the diarist did not put a snark/humor tag on his work, either.
The thing is, the diary got me in Mama Bear Mode, NOT because of the graphic nature, NOT because of the misogynistic rape "joke", ... what really, really bothered me to the point of commenting instead of ignoring it was that the diarist portrayed heterosexual men in such a demeaning, nasty way. For a moment, I flashed to the eyes of dear lovers past, men who shared my life, and my love, and who never would share this diarists humor or actions or attitude. Men who were both sensuous and adventurous enough to push their own boundaries with me, and those boundaries extended, heterosexually, beyond what some men would be comfortable with in our culture... they let their own Inner Sluts out to party, and I was the lucky recipient of their trust.
For every time a man on this site has stood up for women's sexuality and empowerment, for every time we, as women, take offense to slut-shaming of our sisters... I HAD to speak up. It's not often that a woman finds herself standing up for hetero male sexuality, but today, I got the opportunity. And I don't care what names I get called in the process. The past loves who I'm thinking about won't even know I did this today, but I know, if the roles had been reversed, if someone was slut-shaming me,.. they would have done exactly the same in return.
I'll also state that if somehow, in my desire to stand up for hetero guys, I came across as being against full, unequivocal equality for everyone, I am truly, truly shocked, and extremely sorry. That was not my intention, and I have re-read my own comments and don't think they come across in that light to any reasonable person, I want to make sure that I'm very clear on my truth about that.
But what amazed me is the juxtaposition of the two diaries... one Kossack calling for more polite discourse, and one making a graphic rape "joke", and that diary also getting Rec's by anyone. NOT MANY. But still, it really was a WTF moment for me at least. I'm very glad to see that the Courtesy Kos group diary has a lot more tips and Recs. We talk about tough, sometimes very graphic things here, but most people do it in a way that is respectful to the greater community.