I’m a “bad” rape victim. A Model Rape Survivor doesn’t know her attacker. My rapist is essentially a stranger to me, but that night was not the first time I had met him. She is dressed modestly and cannot be held responsible due to those clothing choices. I wore one of my shortest dresses and no bra when I walked into his apartment. She’s virginal and chaste, only doing the appropriate sexual things with appropriate people. I considered myself a virgin at the time, though I’m sure other people might disagree, but I’d gone to his place to mess around in the first place.
Ace Survivors as Rhetorical Devices (part three): The One True Narrative of Sexual Violence Against Aces
In this post I’m going to discuss the way bloggers construct The One True Narrative of The Way Sexual Violence Happens to Aces. This can take several forms. First, the author may assume that all ace survivors fit into a particular narrative of sexual violence (usually corrective rape by an allosexual romantic partner). Second, the author may acknowledge that sexual violence against aces may happen in multiple ways, but may highlight one way as more important or “real” than the rest.
Can you replace ace survivors in your arguments with an Oppressed Lamp—i.e. is your argument drawing on something specific about the experiences and feelings of ace survivors or is it using ace survivors as short-hand for “oppressed, beaten, helpless things you should pity”? If you’re using “ace survivors” to mean “super oppressed aces you should feel really bad for,” you’re probably using ace survivors as rhetorical devices.
My experiences have caused me to lose faith in the idea that people will come to understand and acknowledge my sexuality without an explicit statement that I am asexual. Even this statement rarely generates understanding or compassion from friends; usually I am met with confusion, discomfort, or even silent denial in the form of attempting to steer the conversation elsewhere.
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. 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.
This series focuses on awful things people say to asexual spectrum survivors of sexual violence, sometimes out of spite, sometimes out of concern, and sometimes out of ignorance. Each section has a quote (or collection of related quotes) followed by a "translation" of the quote (or a distillation of the essence of the argument, if you will) and then commentary on why this is an awful thing to say (and suggestions for things you can say instead).
Probably the worst part of it was how my grandparents urged me to go back to who I was 'before'. For me, there was no before. I didn't realize it then, but for many of the victims of repeated childhood sexual abuse, there is no 'before'. You know the one. Before the abuse. Before the pain. Before the brokenness. Now, when I think about who I was 'before', I realize that it wasn't as clear-cut as my grandparents and the psychologist made it out to be. Now, I realize that the 'before' they referred to was their own—namely, before they knew about the abuse. Today, I have a different 'before'. Before I decided to live for me. Before I forgave myself. Before I realized that my life is valid, no matter what.