Guys, I love the internet. Today I came across two articles that seemed totally incongruous and unrelated at first, but actually became a beautiful lesson in balancing the anger I feel when talking about rape culture with the compassion that I feel is a necessary component of creating meaningful change in our often indifferent world.
Jen's amazingly brave post about her experiences with sexual assault and rape culture at Female Impersonator attracted the ever-present shithead: Anonymous Commenter. (Trigger warning, BTW. The post is very graphic, as are the comments.) The comments are nothing unique or special: someone gets defensive about the idea that we live in a rape culture, misinterprets the OP's conclusion that all men are potential rapists as all men are rapists and the rest de-evolves into a big mess of blegh. Same old song and dance.
I get so tired sometimes, you know? Frustrated with the fact that many people (heck, probably most people) don't understand that we live in a rape culture, and that most people victim-blame until the cows come home, often compounding a survivor's stress, depression and isolation.
So today I bookmarked this WikiHow entry: How to Forgive so I can find it again next time I'm in that frustrated, depressed, raging place. I need to remind myself that compassion is just as important as supporting and empowering survivors or engaging in self-care. In fact, reading this article might just be a step in my self-care process from now on.
ETA: As I re-read this, I realized it might sound like I'm advocating for all survivors to forgive the people who abused them, which I am DEFINITELY NOT. I firmly believe that every single individual person in this world knows best how to care for themselves and heal themselves. I connected with the entry's message of compassion, but that is part of my journey so please don't read this as me telling you how to heal.