I was told recently, by an immediate family member, that I should refrain from speaking about my inability to have sex with my husband (from my talks regarding my sexual abuse [and its impact]).
His reasoning was that there is something special about a man’s pride.
And by admitting my troubles with my body, it became disrespectful to Liam’s “manliness.”
This was less than 24 hours after I was raped.
It was shocking and hurtful at the time – as was the following advice of not putting myself in those situations, similar to “not driving on New Years Eve because of the drunks on the road.”
Here is the problem with this entire mindset: protecting Liam’s feelings regarding his sexual life negates my decade of incest, secrecy, shame and silence.
It negates how I have lost the ability to reproduce, to enjoy sex with my husband, or be able to function normally on a day to day basis.
This message seems to say “Fuck you Stacie, your feelings and experiences – Liam needs to feel like a man.”
It is 2015.
My husband is a normally functioning healthy person with a good head on his shoulders and patience as wide and deep as the ocean. He is an amazingly thoughtful and loving person.
The funny thing is, he is not at the forefront of my thoughts when talking about my body; how it doesn’t work right because my abuse was so prolonged and so severe.
Liam is smart enough to know my story includes our sex life and man enough to not have a problem with it.
It is a huge part of my life necessary for others to get that it is okay if your sex life doesn’t match the movies or what other people are supposedly doing.
The truth is, I care about Liam and I love him endlessly. But I don’t give a fuck about his pride – not at the cost of my voice. That is his journey to come to terms with. Not mine. He married me, he knows what he is getting into.
I am not going to stifle my story for his comfort or anyone else’s.
I know that he is okay with me sharing all of my story – because like the awesome married couple we are, we talk about all the nitty gritty – our behaviors, our words and actions, and our feelings and future choices.
It is endlessly frustrating (no wonder my subconscious is screaming all the time) to have someone so close to me tell me my story doesn’t matter as much as my husband’s feelings.
My abuse, my stolen innocence and choices, my trauma, my pain, my nightmares, my suicidal thoughts – none of this measures up to how he must feel knowing other people know he doesn’t have sex regularly.
That is the message I got.
What about a “Women’s Pride?”
What about the right to my own body?
The ability to say no?
Men respecting my choice; my decisions; my life.
Instead of saying: don’t put yourself out in the world because you will be raped.
How about we tell our men to respect a Women’s Pride.
That her integrity, her self-esteem and worth is intricately tied to her autonomy and her boundaries.
Why is no one having that conversation?
Are we not worth the respect to keep your pants on men?
The United States congress spends an enormous amount of time discussing the validity of rape and our ability to somehow “stop it from happening”
These messages are not only untrue, but dangerous.
If young and old men alike cannot even agree that rape exists – that “vagina” can be said out loud in public spaces, that women can breast feed without having to worry about “offending” or bringing on seedy stares.
Why is it, in this modern day and age, women are still second class citizens?
God-forbid they be women of color – these women barely exist according to mainstream media. How can they matter if we don’t even acknowledge their existence?
There is an invisible structure within our society that represses people of color and women and raises the minority to power: white men.
As a group of non-white men, we have so many conflicting interests, that we cannot see we are the silent majority. Oppressed and told to behave, draw within the lines, pay taxes, and die.
I am a white CIS (somewhat affluent) well-educated woman. In terms of privilege, I am as close to white male as it gets (without having a penis).
And yet – I am told on a daily basis, that my wants and needs are not as important as my husbands.
That I need to fall in line with what is “normal” – as if that could be a synonym for “right”
Until we realize where we fit into this hierarchy of importance, and how we play those roles – we will never be able to deconstruct this mistaken notion that: some people’s bodies are more important than other people’s bodies.
This simple statement that has killed millions throughout the world and history.
Thoughts and beliefs may be the second runner up for getting people killed, but first and foremost it is our looks and biology that sort out our future treatment and respect.
We must change this idea.
Realize that you matter just as much as everyone else.
Do not give away your power to those who demand it.
Your pride, your story, and your life matter as much as everyone else.
You deserve to stand up and say your truth – regardless of the pride and comfort of others.
No amount of shame and silence can take that right away from you.
This is your life just as much as theirs.
Live it loudly and proudly.
Take your power back.
Take your pride back.
They can only silence you if you let them.