This post originally appeared at Concept Awesome. The author’s note at the bottom is from the original post.
Trigger/content warnings: Sexual assault, abuse, victim blaming, identity policing, you probably know the drill by now. Respect your triggers, folks.
I am allowed to occupy space in the universe, regardless of how “difficult” or “complicated” or “messy” I may be.
I am allowed to identify as a survivor or a victim or something else entirely. I am allowed to identify as asexual, even if I don’t know whether past experiences “caused” or “contributed to” my asexuality. I am allowed to use the words that work best for me.
Responsibility for my assault(s) lies with my attacker(s), not me, my sexual orientation, my relationship decisions, or my attitude toward or willingness to have sex.
I am not required to defend my sexual orientation because of my status as a survivor. I am not required to defend my status as a survivor because of my sexual orientation.
Whatever attitude I have toward sex is valid. I am allowed to want sex. I am allowed to be repulsed by sex. I am allowed to enjoy sex. I am allowed to be indifferent toward sex. I am allowed to be curious about sex. I am allowed to be terrified of sex. I am allowed to have multiple potentially conflicting attitudes toward sex. I am not required to explain or rationalize my attitude(s) toward sex to anyone else.
My feelings are valid. Whether or not they are “caused” by past experiences of trauma does not affect their validity.
I deserve to be treated with respect. My boundaries, wherever they may lie, deserve to be treated with respect. My needs, although they may be non-standard, are just as valid as anyone else’s. I am not required to rationalize or explain my needs and boundaries in order for others to respect them.
My history of trauma paired with my sexual orientation may make relationships more difficult for me and may require my partner(s) to communicate with me more than is “standard,” but I deserve to be treated with just as much respect as someone without that history and/or sexual orientation. My need for additional accommodation does not mean that I deserve less affection or that I am required to compromise more than my partner(s) in other areas to “make up” for my “baggage.”
I am not required to give details about my experiences to anyone.
I deserve to feel safe. People who consistently and/or intentionally make me feel unsafe are not worth my time or energy.
I am not a burden. I am not worthless. I am not broken. I am not dirty. My existence does not reflect badly on the asexual community. My sexual orientation does not reflect badly on non-ace survivors. People who try to convince me otherwise are not worth my time or energy.
Recovery is not a straight line. I will be kind to myself, especially when I feel that I don’t deserve it.
I am allowed to occupy space in the universe.
This is something I’ve been working on in my head for a while, and now seemed as good a time as any to commit it to (cyber-)paper. At the end of the day, this is my manifesto, because I can’t claim to speak for anyone other than myself. If you want to claim it as your manifesto as well, though, go for it; I’m always happy when something I’ve written strikes a chord with other people.
Also, if you are an ace survivor or you are supporting an ace survivor and you somehow haven’t seen Resources for Ace Survivors yet, might I recommend checking it out? And possibly submitting something to it because the queue is ridiculously low?
On a completely unrelated note, as I was writing this I kept thinking, “In the beginning, woman was the sun,” because that’s always the first thing I think of whenever anyone says “manifesto.”