TW: sexual abuse, victim blaming
Throughout my life I’ve run across more abusive people than I can count. Whether it’s someone famous, characters in books and movies, or real people in my life.
It has taken me years and hundreds of therapy appointments to recognize abusive behavior because it is so fucking normalized and so fucking forgiven. “Give them another chance” I have heard these words so many times and I am done because it invalidates my pain. I will not give abusers a “second chance” because they don’t deserve it. I am angry and I have every right to be angry because abuse IS a big deal. The micro-aggressions, the gaslighting, the manipulation — these things ARE a big deal. I have been told my whole life by people that I know and by the media that these things are normal but they AREN’T.
Because I go to a small school in a relatively small city, it is hard to escape my abuser and people connected to him in one way or another. I have not gone to school with one of my rapists since 5th grade and the other one left my school last year but his friends are still very much a part of my life. I’ve been told by so many people to not be mad at his friends because they weren’t the ones who abused me. That’s true, but I agree with the incredible poet Nayo Jones when she says in her poem On Nate Parker “to defend a rapist is to see something of yourself in him.” His friends did not abuse me but they also didn’t believe me and I have every fucking right to be angry about that.
Part of this healing is putting down the emotions that don’t fit the facts (shame, guilt, embarrassment) and picking up the ones that you have forgotten that you are entitled to (anger, sadness, grief, heartbreak, disgust). I am angry and I will not water down this fury because it makes you uncomfortable.
So no, I won’t give abusers a second chance. I won’t “separate the artist from the art.” I won’t ignore the wreckage caused by another person because it invalidates the trauma of wrecked. It’s not overreacting. It’s called accountability. Try it.