Welcome to the new Snowbunny.BLOG! First post as an official new domain is a talk from Andrei and I, regarding rape culture as abuse culture. Because we sure like our process as we move with content, I have his permission to quote portions of our chat. Basically, we wanted to show how we realized that abuse describes the systemic societal issue instead of rape.
Naturally, as this was a private conversation that ended with our mutual agreement to share to expanded audiences, some edits are made to preserve privacy, clarity, etc.
Ready? I’ve broken up the lengthy talk into phases. Here we go!
Conversation occurred March 20th, 2017 via an instant messaging application delivered through Internet.
Regarding free will
Andrew: You can’t be broken without your consent. Consent and permission, two powerful yet simple concepts that can overthrow even the most rigid of systems.
Kariel: Right. I have free will by protocol.
Andrew: The seeds of consent and permission have been put into place, chinking away at the armour that says that we have to control one another, that we have to be violent to one another, that we are puppets waiting to be picked up. Consent and permission as the other side of freedom and free will. You can’t have rights without responsibilities. You can’t have free will without acknowledging the will of others through consent and permission. Consent and permission are both a validation and affirmation of free will. We all have the capacity of choice, but we also need to allow that capacity to be put into place so it can occur.
Kariel: And it’s why my spiritual director’s recommendation to me was such a huge powerful moment. The more isolated I was, the better, as some other religious said to me. But, he didn’t. He let me choose despite the pressures on him as my appointed spiritual director.
Andrew: Right. And we shouldn’t be isolated. We shouldn’t be shoved into a box to then be forgotten about when other things have been shoved into that same box. We’re social creatures. We need connection and belonging.
Fate versus destiny
Andrew: Interventions have been made in your life, for the better, when you needed them most. As bleak and hopeless as things have been for you, someone or something has come along to ensure that you stay here.
Kariel: Always at my low points, someone or something reminds me of hope.
Andrew: As much as you’ve been pulled away, pulled into a direction that at heart you didn’t really want for yourself, something has come along to yank you away from that and keep you here.
Kariel: Then how am I still here? What value or worth do I have that some weird divine shit happens every time to keep me around?
Andrew: You’re still here because you are. Because you want to. Because you have value in of yourself. You don’t need others to define that value for you, because it’s there and valuable in of itself.
Kariel: Right, I’m a person, not just something taking up space.
Andrew: Because at your low points you are at your most vulnerable, at your most hopeless, at your most silent. You’re not able to choose in those moments because you’ve had that capacity taken away from you, your voice taken away from you. The “miracles” and “interference” come about to affirm that. You’re a person and not an inanimate thing taking up space. You are not a commodity, you are not an object, you are a real living person. And the ones who try to affirm that you are a thing to be controlled, to be owned, to be possessed and dolled up; that try to take it away from others, have been taught to do that, because they’ve had it taken away their self.
Andrew: And so that’s what their life becomes: To belittle others to decrease their worth, to invalidate their existence, to silence their voices, to take away their humanity, to contort them into a horrific objectification of their self, to strip them of their inherit value as a person. It’s what they’ve been taught, what they’ve been told to do, and what’s happened to them. But they cannot take away that which you won’t let them take. You cannot be broken without your consent. You cannot be silenced without your consent. You cannot be invalidated without your consent. And as much as they try to convince others of the contrary, that they don’t have consent or permission, that those don’t matter, it won’t work if it isn’t carried out. I guess “the abused become the abusers to abuse others into becoming abusers” nutshells that up pretty nicely. Could rape culture be reworked as “abuse culture?”
Kariel: Ahh. And there we have the turning point of the entire matter. This “culture” given by a conceptualization, is them repeating the cycle they suffered as well. Pressuring others to take up the reins as they depart. And because we’re rejecting these demands and calls, the torment increases, placing aside our consent and permission in order to coerce us into the roles they want us to fulfill, this obscure “mission to lift humanity up.” I dislike “rape” in rape culture. Abuse culture fits it so much better as a concept.
Andrew: Yea, and we’ve acknowledged that “rape” in “rape culture” is problematic as a term. Because “rape” stands out too strongly to people. They see that and immediately go to sexual assault, which isn’t the point of the term “rape culture.” It’s supposed to gesture to, reach out to, and reveal acts of violence that go beyond just rape.
Kariel: And it’s not just the sexual denotation. “Rape” in “rape culture” means that the victim did not consent or give permission and retain some awareness at some degree. However. Abuse culture explains it better, because abuse coerces the victim at any level of awareness or lack of.
Andrew: Wow. Abuse culture. That’s a huge leap forward we made. We just provided a solution to the problematic nature of the term “rape culture” while still devising one that still keeps the essence of what it is trying to define.
Kariel: Excellent musing as usual.