Who Deserves Shame?

I listen to people counsel victims of rape. And the one thing the counselors want to make clear above all else is that the victims have no reason to be ashamed. They have no reason to be ashamed because it was not their fault; they did not do anything to bring that tragedy upon themselves and therefore the shame is not upon them but upon the victimizer.

    As a child I followed current events, being the lifelong nerd that I am, and I remember the ideological campaign to take the phrase “she asked for it,” out of the minds and mouths of people when thinking or speaking of rape. I remember change in courts of law after judges stopped allowing defense attorneys to enter into evidence the rape victim’s sexual history or manner of dress to prove she “only got what she deserved,”  and thus she was not “really” raped.  Ideas I considered strange were pervasive but thankfully I witnessed change. I will interpret these benighted philosophies according to my understanding: Apparently women were often afflicted with a sort of buyer’s remorse when it came to sex. After the fact, women were prone to changing their minds. Perhaps their reputations suffered if sexual activity was discovered. Instead of crying wolf, they cried rape, and these efforts to redeem themselves through false allegations were obviously invalid. Another underlying assumption was that men could not control their sexual selves. In fact, men shouldn’t have to control themselves. Once aroused by a short skirt or some heavy petting (do people still say petting or am I dating myself?), sex was inevitable. If a woman didn’t have the sense not to “put herself in that position”  by, let’s say, going to his dorm room or domicile at the end of  a date, well, what did she expect?  It is interesting, to me, that we women were never taught that men were allowed to be part time merciless predators. No one told us it was our responsibility as “good girls”  to keep them in line by not “asking for it” and not “putting ourselves in the position” to be “taken advantage of.” We had to assert we were “not that kind of girl” or else. Women learned the hard way, but word did not spread–because of shame. Victims had to keep their experiences to themselves and generation after generation of women had to learn how not to be guilty of getting raped. (Think I am exaggerating? Ever heard of the expression “boys will be boys”? As long as boys are true to their nature, much is forgiven. Ever notice that there is no female equivalent?  Women never get the same pass. No one says “Girls will be girls” with a what-can-you-do shrug.)

     I think it was the 1980’s when rape stigmas changed.  Advocates taught young women like me the new notion that no means no, at any time, all the time.  Our society remained one that demanded people qualify as “innocent” in order to be proper victims, but women’s rights advocates lowered the threshold for innocence so that more people qualified, and rightfully so. The #MeToo movement has shown us how very many innocent victims there are, none of whom are to blame.

I believe my site is revolutionary because it is the platform I will stand upon to introduce ideas I hope will revolutionize the world or, failing that, make a couple of people go “Hmmm.”  I have a different way of looking at shame. I am proposing a new standard for judging who is shame-worthy.  (Shame-worthy is a term of my creation and you read it here first.) There is a group even larger than the innocent victims and that’s my group-those of us whose problems are of our own making. We were weak when we should’ve been strong, we failed when we should’ve succeeded. You get the picture. And we in my field chose the sexual abuse we experienced. No addicted provider I  spoke with enjoyed the work. It was quick, and not labor intensive, not like I found food service. Now that was from hell! Why didn’t we enjoy sex with strangers in the spirit of making the best of things? Maybe because the sex with strangers was a means to an end and not what we truly wanted. There are many reasons I will ponder in the future. Suffice it to say we hated what we did and until we learned how to be as indifferent to sex as men can be, we suffered. Before I learned how to consciously dissasociate and choose to become a split personality (more on that subject later) I was very much present and I suffered for the awareness. The addiction took away my choice. It was like being raped by my addiction.

     If you’re wondering why I didn’t stop, dear readers, ask yourself, if you are at your ideal weight and if not, why not?  Ah ha! You see–you do understand! Like you, I brought tragedy upon myself; no one victimized me.

       If I was going to stay high on drugs there were limited career choices.  It was prostitution with clientele or get a dealer for a significant  other. My sometimes difficult personality meant I was ill suited to be under someone’s thumb 24/7. I could sell narcotics, but I didn’t feel good about profiting from people’s downfall. Or I could steal–shoplifting, burglary, identity theft, purse snatching, car jacking…Naah…I made the choice I felt was least damaging to others. In theory I believe prostitution should be legal for this who want the work. To be brutally honest, for me it was God awful work. Fortunately I have a plethora of funny hooker stories I will share in time.

   I don’t fit the innocent victim paradigm. And half of this country is obese so millions of others are obviously the authors of their personal tragedies, just like me! Screwing ourselves up is part of the human condition, not aberrant behavior that imparts guilt. There is no logical reason to be ashamed of what just about everyone does in some form or fashion. Right? 

The idea that guilt need not burden sufferers who are complicit in their problems hasn’t really caught on, not even with me. I’m still keeping news about my internationally recognized blog away from people in my past who don’t know my story.  I’m not ready to bear the… You know what.

  I have a dream. One day when regular women say “me too” they will include me as part of the group (shmaltzy but true). And I will feel a sense of belonging, even after I have been fully transparent about my past. 

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