Fuck Off, Dawkins: An Emotional Response

Okay, I already wrote a rational response to Richard Dawkins’ inflammatory tweets about the relative badness of various types of rape and sexual abuse…but I have feelings, too.

Mainly rage.

Dr. Dawkins, have you ever sat in a room full of survivors of sexual abuse and rape and listened to them tell their stories?  Have you heard them disparage themselves, saying that they didn’t deserve to be there because their trauma wasn’t as bad as someone else’s?  I very much doubt that you have.

I have.  I’ve been in that room.  I’ve been the one saying I don’t deserve to acknowledge the devastation sexual abuse and assault caused me and don’t deserve to get help, and I’ve also been the one reassuring another woman that her feelings about being raped were legitimate even though she hadn’t been subjected to the same degree of violence that others were.  It rips your heart to shreds.

I was sexually abused by my father for 16 years and then repeatedly raped for several months by another person.  My father was occasionally violent and sometimes threatened to kill me, but most of his abuse was not violent.  The person who raped me as an adult wasn’t violent and never threatened me.  By your definition, my trauma is bad…but not bad bad.  But I have severe, debilitating complex PTSD and dissociative identity disorder, which are a direct result of those traumas.  DID is generally recognized as the most severe trauma-based disorder, but if my abuse and rape weren’t bad bad, then why is my life so devastated?

It’s incredibly offensive to use rape or sexual abuse just to make a point.  It’s like the movies and books where the writer needs something bad to happen to a female character to move the plot along, so he uses rape even though many other traumas would’ve worked just as well.  It trivializes rape.  You could’ve just as easily used theft as an example for your fucking syllogism.  Clearly you knew that, since you later tweeted about that as a cruel, sarcastic response to people who objected to your comments about rape and sexual abuse.  You’re not a stupid man; you clearly did this to be provocative and offensive, and you did it at the expense of all the people who have been traumatized by nonviolent rape and sexual abuse.

You know what?  I think “nonviolent rape” is a contradiction of terms.  Rape is an inherently violent act, even if it doesn’t leave visible injuries.  It is violence against a person’s soul–in many cases, the emotional equivalent of murder.  To suggest otherwise is incredibly offensive.

I hope you’re ashamed of yourself, but I’m pretty damn sure you’re too narcissistic to feel that.  I am disgusted by you.  I wouldn’t wish rape on anyone, but I wish you could live a day with the emotional aftermath of it.  Then you’d stop being so fucking insensitive about it. 

I want you to hurt the way I do.  I want you to feel the guilt and the shame and the self-hatred and the self-blame every day.  I want you to be afraid of almost everybody, especially anyone with a penis.  I want you to be completely isolated because you can’t trust anyone.  I want you to live on constant red alert because you can never feel safe again.  I want you to live with the flashbacks and the body memories and the nightmares.  I want you to live with the feeling of despair and hopelessness because you will never be able to undo what was done to you.  I want you to feel what it’s like to want to die because the pain is so constant and unbearable.  I want you to know what it’s like to realize the person abusing or raping you doesn’t even see you as a human being.  I want you to feel the utter helplessness when you realize there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.  I want you to fucking HURT.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Fuck Off, Dawkins: An Emotional Response

  1. woundstofeel

    I haven’t read his comments and I don’t want to, just reading from what others have written is enough for me. I can’t fathom what you’ve been through, only what I know of my own daughter’s abuse. Dawkins is doing himself a great disservice by bringing anything of this nature up. So easy for people to speak when they have not seen the residual effects of abuse. I’m giving you a giant hug right now.

  2. mandy

    Wowzers! No way anyone can dispute a word you’ve written if they’ve experienced sexual abuse. Well said.

  3. Hope, I could not have written that better! I had the same visceral reaction to George Wills and college rape, and so many others, but Dawkins went even further. It is so hard for me, and I know so many others to not react so deeply when these ignorant, harmful words are said. As if we ourselves are being violated again. No one is validating us, again. And it is hurting all future victims. Thank you for that post. I have to almost not read or listen, or I get physically sick. But, then I sometimes can’t stop myself, or a part of me, just thank you. That was something I needed to hear from someone else who has survived. Maybe you can’t hurt him, but you can validate others and yourself with your strong words….and that is so much.

  4. This says it all Hope. You made really great points. I hope it helped you in some way to feel a little better. XX

  5. Wow, hearing your story makes me so sad. I have no interest in Dawkins comments as he clearly is misguided and being controversial to gain publicity. I hope he gets to read what you’ve written x

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