5/23/11 La La Land – You Darken My Life (TW rape, suicide)

 

Here is a newspaper article from around this time referring to the same story (though it says he raped 11 women, not 13. Either I saw a paper with a typo, or more likely made one myself when I drew this in the van back home.)

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/light-life-songwriter-joseph-brooks-accused-rapist-commits-suicide-cops-article-1.143293

Also it states that “You Light Up My Life” was not an 80’s song but the biggest hit of the 70’s, which I guess is just one of the many reasons punk had to happen, kids. I guess I associated it with the 80’s because as a child my Mom clothed us by way of bags full of hand-me-downs from the five-kid family across the street. Once when I was about 6 this resulted in a faded blue sweatshirt decorated with cartoon light bulbs and hearts and the slogan “you light up my life”. Thankfully I was way too much of a socially inept dipshit to realize the reference was even more outdated than I thought. Is this a good time to mention I was never one of the “cool” kids? LOL.

Anyway, when you’re a rape survivor you’ll often find no shortage of people looking to tell you how you should feel, and people who are more outraged if you express anger about rape than they seem to be about the fact that rape exists. On one hand you have the “new age hippy types” mentioned in the comic, who think everything needs to be “letting go” and “positive vibes” and crystal rainbows shooting out of the asses of unicorns or whatever. Much of this is code for “don’t be a buzzkill by pointing out the world isn’t as perfect as my own precious little life”.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also encountered conservative Christian types who’ve told me I was obligated to forgive my rapist because…well basically because their interpretation of God said to. Failure to comply would result in burning in Hell. For a while I was resigned to the fact that Hell awaited me because I knew I did not feel that forgiveness in my heart. And if I knew it, certainly an all-knowing, omnipresent Deity would know it too, wouldn’t they? So what would be the use of mouthing empty words of forgiveness that would add lying to my list of sins?

Then there are the pop-psychology types who insist “letting go” and “forgiving” would be for my benefit, not the rapist’s. But as I said in example two, you can’t fake those things when know you really feel inside. And as I said in example one, it comes across like more code for “I don’t want to think about this social problem.”

There are even people within the feminist movement who say that when trying to combat rape we all need to “stop viewing rapists as monsters” (why shouldn’t we view them as we see fit? we survivors are the ones who had to deal with them.) or who speak mockingly about “the myth of the rapist being the stranger in the bushes/alleyway.” This latter one particularly frustrates me because while it’s true that the majority of rapes occur at the hands of someone the victim knows, that doesn’t negate the existence of stranger rape altogether.  The rape I experienced at age 14 was by a stranger, a drifter I encountered while crossing the desert, and I can assure you he was flesh and blood, by no means “mythical”.

Now I’m not saying that forgiveness or letting go can’t be part of the healing process…for some people. For others, insistence that they need to feel these ways can be very invalidating and dismissive. Some may need to be able to acknowledge their hurt with rage, or even hatred directed at their attacker, or attackers in general. The world is all too full of girls who are questioned about what they wore, drank or said, guys who are flat out told that “boys can’t get raped”, transwomen accused of engaging in some kind of “deceit”. All logical fallacies that heap pain on top of pain, and then to tell these people that they don’t have a right to feel angry on top of it all just creates even more damage.

At the same time, if a survivor chooses the path of forgiveness, if this is what helps them, conversely no one has the right to tell them they should remain angry and wrathful.

So anyway, that’s where all this is coming from. You may now commence with posting that Gandhi quote about how “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” like I’ve NEVER EVER been lectured with it before! (Besides, don’t some people make the same claim about masturbation?) Phoolan Devi regarded Gandhi as one of her inspirations, and she was also pretty much known for massacring a whole village full of rapists. That must’ve been a sight.

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