I woke up this morning next to a rape survivor. She was preparing for her first day in a new position. It would seem like a celebratory time. I looked at her getting dressed in the new clothes she bought for this special occasion, while she pointed out the parts of her body that she wasn’t happy with. I pointed back how great she looked in her confident resilience and excitement for the gauntlet she was about to run.Read More
I knew what rape was before I knew what sex was.
It wasn’t violent stranger rape that my mother told me about. That I knew by watching the news, by being afraid to walk down the street, it became instinct. It was the friend-that-you-invite-over-after-dinner, the guy-that-lives-down-the-hall-from-your-dorm-room, the date-that-doesn’t-take-no-for-an-answer-while-your-roommate-is-sleeping-in-the next-room, kind of rape that my mother told me about when I was eight.Read More
It’s hard to respond to something that was never asked.
Yet the aura of hesitation lingers on every person’s mind. You wouldn’t be here unless you were curious, unless you genuinely cared to know; yet you have every right to wonder.
Let me indulge you in my curtailed story and recount the moments leading up to the present. I want to let you sip on my thought bubbles and for you to revel in the beautiful moments that have given me clarity in my decision.
When we met each other 3 years ago over french fries at a classy late night McDonald’s hangout, we had no idea we’d be embarking together on a humble but hopeful journey to create a safe space for survivors of sexual violence. Motivated by our own personal traumas and the similar experiences of many of our friends, we decided that being angry at horrifying news articles wasn’t enough. We wanted to start a larger conversation. That conversation started with our project, The Cathartist, and continues here.Read More
The Real Victims of Rape
“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” – Richard Mourdock, Republican candidate for senator in Indiana.
Following this statement by candidate Richard Mourdock, outcries poured in from every corner of the news world.Read More
To spit it out, my point is that although not everyone is a rapist, rape is not an alien act coming from nowhere and shocking us to death. It is right here, around us and within us - in people's minds, in people's thoughts and in the culture we have created. In a culture where it is OK for movie-stars to straight up tease women on screen and that's supposed to be 'naughty and sweet', in a culture where it is OK for a guy to stay out late but not for a girl, in a culture where sex is a taboo topic - do not bring it up or think or talk about it as something positive, natural and biological (you'd think we would have figured that out by now) but as something perverse and dirty. In my opinion, a gender discriminatory and sexually repressed culture only fuels rapes.Read More
Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” (i change it to make it all gender neutral in my head)
It’s funny how sometimes in life you feel like you see everything, but later realize in fact you can see nothing.
Our experience of the world is shaped completely by how the world perceives us, and even the most basic ideas we might receive as obvious and unchanging- how it feels to walk down the street, for example- are all extremely dependent on who we are, what we look like, and how we are perceived. This, I think, is obvious to many people, and particularly for many women, but as a man I spent many years wholly unaware of the idea that every aspect of my daily life and my daily experience could and would be drastically different if I was not perceived by others as a biological man.