violence

An Explanation of this Blog’s Direction

In the past two years and change, this blog has been predominantly about LBGT Rights and religious acceptance of Paganism by the Christian community.

Lately, it has been for and to a pair of friends that are rape survivors. That is the direction it will continue to take. There MAY be brief forays into my personal past or some other topic but, those will be directly within the context of being a survivor of something, violence, rape, or addiction.

If you followed under any other pretense or looking for something else, please do not feel deceived.

I have one sole perspective. Rape, no matter if it is forcible or by emotional manipulation, is NEVER excusable. There is no circumstance that makes it an accident. The phrases “boys will be boys” or “just a little action” do not make it right. Being drunk does not allow it. If that perspective offends you, feel free to leave. If you think “he has a sickness” and being a rapist is some kind of “illness” that can be lessened by that perspective, perhaps the one that is delusional is you.

To explain from my perspective, I DO NOT WANT to write these. It hurts. It causes nightmares and physical pain but, that is nothing compared to what happened to my loved ones. My “discomfort” is minor in light of having to live with what they do. The fact that they willingly expose what happened to them and, reading this blog and answering my questions, are forced to relive those actions makes them far more important than what lack of “fun” this may be.

If they want me to write, yes, I asked directly last night and gave them an out, their answer was to continue despite the pain of the telling and reading, means, to me, they have more import than a mere typist. Their courage makes it impossible for me to not be their voice. Their thoughts and hearts have earned my voice. That they know the dark spots in my soul and do not reject me makes them more precious than any sense of self I may have.

There will be more posts directly on track. There will be stories of what they felt and how they survive. There will be discussion of why rape is not reported. It may not always be from their perspective but, they will always be at the front of my head and heart as I write. They are not perfect women. I am not a perfect man. That is the Human Condition. They are not always brave, they fear and panic, yet, they face every day knowing that. Those are parts of them that I admire, facing life with those fears.

Lastly, if you expect a “blame the victim” thought from this blog, you will be disappointed. If you expect any mitigation of what was done by the aggressor, this is not where it will be found. If you expect any view of them other than “they may have been harmed but, they are not damaged”, it will not be here. This perspective is that her body is hers. If she walks naked and drunk down the street, give her your coat to keep her warm and call a cab…unless she wants to be walking naked and drunk… not that she is inviting you to fuck her.

If you expected sunshine and light, or cupcakes and cookies, this is not the place. Rape and violence, as well as survivor guilt, hurt, distrust, and the objectification of women, will never be “light”.

”If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”

I’m confused. Maybe you can help me to understand. I keep bumping into the endless series of “why” questions…
Why is it ok for me to wear a cross or a Jesus t-shirt and it isn’t for a Pagan to wear a Pentagram or clothing expressing their faith?

Why is it ok for me to get upset if I think my faith, with all they myriad sect, is called a “cult” but, Pagans are expected to let it go?

Why is it “normal” for us to have a church on every corner and Pagans have to hide? We say they have rituals in the dark and the woods because they are evil and trying to hide. That isn’t the case, they respect and worship their Gods in nature and see the divine in the outdoors. We forced them to hide from us and blame them for hiding…

*sigh*

Once upon a time, we had a “good ole boy”, Clayton Williams, running for Governor of Texas who compared bad weather to rape. He said, ”If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” Is that what we expect Pagans to do in a Christian society? We expect them to “enjoy it” when we ridicule them. We expect them to “relax” when we bully and shun? That’s how they’re supposed to face the “inevitable”?

Religious persecution and bullying are the same things. A rapist thinks that taking what they want from a person is their right. They do not see a human but, an object. Religious persecution sees as a right, removal of person and making an object out of a human. Neither sees the “wrongness” of their action because they only recognize the validity of themselves and not the other.

At our core, what we find as our “faith” is the most basic of our “intangibles”. It is our most basic self-identity. An attack on that calls for us to question everything else in our life. From our Faith or lack, comes our sense of place and value. It gives us a context for our life and a group identity. Outside of sexual orientation, it is the most important of the ways we define ourselves.

To strip that away, to make us fearful of being attacked for that is the equivalent. It, being attacked for faith, calls us to question our lives, values, and worth. It leaves us with fear and paranoia.

So, why do we think it’s our right and duty to ostracize? Why do Christians think that Christianity allows them to attack someone else’s faith while screaming “PERSECUTION” when the return is given. *editorial, I made a blanket statement without blanket intent. Not all Christians persecute and not all Christians cry when it is returned* Why do we expect to be able to attack with impunity? To ridicule without opening up ourselves to the same? To call someone “worthless” and not show our own same lack of worth? We “reap what we sow”.

I suppose I am naive. *sigh* I thought I was taught to treat others like I want to be treated. It doesn’t matter to me what your beliefs are Pagan, Christian, “Christian-ish”, or Heretic. Those are your core.

If I want my heresy to be respected, my “self” not to be violated, my life not to be “fear, I need to give you the same room in yours. You’re not an object and you, the physical and intangible, person deserve the safety of your person. I don’t have to understand you. I do have to protect and care for you. I NEVER get to expect you to “relax and enjoy it” unless I am willing to do the same…

There Is NO Excuse

In my second post for yesterday, I talked about violence toward the LBGT community. I’m going back there. It needs to be revisited.

There is NO excuse that can justify violence except for self-defense. Period.

Violence toward a particular group is not Christian. It is NEVER justified. It is the act of a coward or a psychopath. To encourage violence or to give reasons, by dehumanizing a group, is every bit as culpable as if you had committed the act yourself. There is no difference, in my mind, between a person that would act, or cause an other to act, and a terrorist.

I’ve posted about marriage equality, love, Christianity, equal protection, and any other topic I can in support of Z.  Those are my hopes. This is my fear. I worry that some physical harm will come to her because of hate. My prayers are always with her for her protection.

*editorial, I don’t care what your view of my faith is. You might call it superstition, that’s fine. It isn’t going to cause me harm if you don’t believe as I do or, stop me from having my faith*

This is what I think that those that would cause harm miss. They miss the humanity of those that they would hurt. In the words of Shakespeare,

“Hath (I) not hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh?”

A HUMAN is a human. It does not matter that they might be different than you, they are still human. There is never a good enough justification to perpetrate violence toward an other.

******

Here’s the link to the previous post on the same topic.

https://millerdavidge.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/what-if/

What If…

There is a “trend” that I suspect is as old as humanity. It is the idea that people that are different in belief, political view, gender, or identity are less than human.

We, Z and I, use this forum to try to fight that idea. She says that she is not courageous, yet, she allows and encourages me to use her as my example. It is not hard for me to do that, in one way, because she is a great example of the kind of human I want to surround myself with. It is very difficult, in an other way, because it reminds me that there are some people that feel that she is not human. *sigh* Some days, most days…ok, every day, I want to protect her from having to be reminded of that. I want people to see her as herself, not a construct of their fears and hates. She has told me that has never happened to her directly to her face, yet, it is hard to avoid the news and the second hand hate.

Shakespeare said it, “For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,”

This is what SHE waits for to end. This is how you treat someone that, in your eyes, is less than human. Yet, dealing with this takes more courage than I have. That she is this brave is why I rejoice in the fact that this HUMAN thinks of me as her friend. I don’t know how to make it any more clear. Her living her life while dealing with the lack of regard given to her makes her more human than her detractors.

This what else I see and what I fear for her. She has more to fear from society than it from her. There is a mentality that justifies violence. The excuses given to perpetrate violence against the LBGT community are so far removed from what is human that I can not begin to describe how sub-human that makes those giving them.

I don’t quite know how to “get there from here”. Violence and hate toward an other human are a conscious choice. Demeaning someone or repressing them is an act of volition. To do it to someone that has no chance to avoid it is an act of a bully and a coward.

This did not start out to be a post about violence. It started out to be a plea for people to look outside themselves and see other people as human. It had, and still has, that goal. It was an attempt to say “what if…” we saw each other as they actually are and not how we want to see them. It is an other heartfelt attempt to interject reason. I wish I could put emotion into these words. I wish you could feel the warmth and care I have for Z and realize that a non-human does not provoke those feelings. I wish I could impart the fear I have every time I read a news story about an other random act of violence and think that it could happen to Z. I can not imagine how it must feel from her perspective. I think that if they could empathize with her, it would be a start to ending the hate.

Respect

I was reading an article about a young lady that had been suspended from her school for a dress code violation. Her clothing was called “provocative” by the school administration. In the comments she was called variously a “slut” and a “whore” for dressing comfortably. She was told that she had no worth because of the way she dressed. They said that the “lust” in the minds of her peers and teachers was HER fault. She was blamed for the thoughts of others.

There is a huge disconnect here. This is the same mindset that puts a rape victim on trial. This is the same mindset that allows violence perpetrated on the LBGT community to be excused by saying “they brought it on themselves”. It is the mindset that allows men to treat women as objects. It teaches that there are humans that are not human. It allows otherwise decent people to believe that some people have somehow earned what was done to them.

The issue is a lack of respect. It is a lack of respect for the victim. It is also a lack of self-respect for the person that causes the harm. When I say “she deserves what I did to her”. What I am really saying is “I am incapable of controlling myself. I do not respect MY ability to treat her with the respect she deserves, so I am going to allow myself to hurt her. I have no respect for my own ability to act as a rational being.”

What I do not understand is how we’ve gotten to a point where this is acceptable. I was taught, from an early age, to be polite. I was taught that women are not second class citizens. I was taught to show respect and kindness to everyone. Sure, I have a temper and in the heat of the moment I can be a jerk. When I do, I have made a choice to be angry. That is not the same as the basic failing that allows people to rationalize treating people as sub-human.

I do not understand, and do not want to, the “blame the victim” mentality. I do not understand spousal abusers that say “you brought it on yourself”. Victims do not instigate the violence perpetrated upon them. Rapists are the cause not the victim. If I look at a young lady and my reaction is lust, it is not her fault, it is mine. My mind holds the lack of respect, not hers. If I allow myself to dehumanize someone, I am not being victimized by being around them. They did not earn my disrespect.

Before we are willing to blame the young lady in the story that prompted this, we need to look at ourselves. We need to realize that we are responsible for our own actions. That how she decided to dress does not cause her to be anything other than a fellow human being. That she deserves enough respect to be able to dress how she pleases without being threatened or degraded. Her clothes were not the issue. The lack of respect for both her and themselves in the people around her was.

I can not say it strongly enough. NO ONE earns violence. There is NO circumstance that makes rape permissible. There is NO occasion that will ever make it acceptable to assault someone because of their gender or for being LBGT. Period. There is no clothing choice that will make it right to call a woman a “slut” or a “whore”.  The lack of basic human respect that allows this to happen is WRONG. It will NEVER be right.