I met one of Ryan's uncles for the first time tonight and we ended up getting into a bit of an argument about rape and victim blaming. I usually try to avoid these sorts of topics with people, but sometimes it just can't be helped. His argument was that if girls weren't drinking while underage (since we were talking specifically about rape on college campuses) and behaving in reckless behavior, then they wouldn't have been in the position to have been taken advantage of in the first place. This argument is nothing new of course, but it made me realize that in some ways blogging has made it more difficult for me to carry on these sorts of delicate conversations in my personal life.
Because here's the thing, Ryan's uncle probably wants to stop women from being raped just as much as I do. In no way do I think he's a bad person, but I couldn't stop myself from getting angrier and angrier. I noticed I started to get hot and my breathing became more erratic as I tried to calm myself down and speak rationally about why I believe this type of thinking is pretty reprehensible (which you should know by now if you've paid any attention to what I write here). But I just couldn't. Instead I kept saying the same thing over and over using different words in an attempt to get my point across while he did the same. Then I got angry that I was having this argument with someone in Ryan's family and it made me even more upset. It was when we were driving home that I realized I carry a lot of the baggage from the various conversations I've had online about this topic. Whenever I get into a conversation about rape, I now have a certain amount of anger that I can't seem to let go of. And that really sucks.
Don't get me wrong, I think I have a damn good reason to get angry over this sort of thing (as we all do). I just wish that I could have admitted that it was this sort of thinking that had made me deny my rape for so long and that for me this conversation is as personal as it gets. It's easy for these people to make vague comments without any sort of true concern about their own safety or the safety of others, but it doesn't work that way for me. We're talking about something I lived and not some faceless statistic. And yet, I never say that. Because I feel like I can't. That I shouldn't. That it isn't allowed. And that makes me even more angry about the whole thing.
I don't want to care that I may have acted like a crazy bitch to someone who essentially blamed women for being raped, but I do. I wish I didn't, but I really do in this case. And part of me thinks that is part of the problem with rape culture. Not only do I feel silenced, but I also feel like I shouldn't be angry about that silence. Sometimes I feel like the more I learn the less I can tolerate and sometimes I realize how high a price it is to not be ignorant. Then again I don't want to blame everything on rape culture, so maybe it's just me.
I really hope it's not just me.