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; between Andrew L. and Kariel T. via an instant messaging application delivered through Internet.
Difficulties of choice
Andrew: Even though I haven’t read her books personally, I can say that Michelle‘s doing good work with her Earth Angels series just on the basis of expressing New Age through art.
Kariel: Yep! She found a great way to reach folks. Novels. Heh. Who would have right off assumed that fictional stories would reach to groups that normally wouldn’t go near New Age stuff. New Age is also a really different way of living, hence why it’s smacked around a lot by orthodoxy. * It could use portrayal as a living concept instead of instructions in a “self-help type of book.”
Andrew: And exactly. It is a living, embodied experience.
Kariel: I’m grateful for how you’re putting in so much effort to help me, but there’s a fear I have about you. If I shine too bright, I’m scared you’ll fade. Or that I’m too bright to see you.
Andrew: Ah. I understand that. But then again, you said before that I’ve been such a massive source of inspiration and encouragement for you. I know that’s important to you, and something you always keep close to you. So, well, I’m not as worried about that because I know how much I mean to you.
Kariel: People already see me more than you, and that’s just a couples thing. What if I do launch our reflexivity framework? What if I do get a lot of recognition and so on? I don’t want to wonder what happened to you!
Andrew: Don’t be afraid of success hun. I know you’re worried about shining too brightly, and that it could possibly eclipse me, I understand that. You’re afraid of losing me because I could fade from your life. But remember how much we’ve gone through. How much we worked through. Where we came from, where we ended up, and where we can go, together. I’ll always be here with you. I’m the reason you’re still here, I’m the reason you keep pushing forward despite the trials and tribulations. I know you won’t shine brightly enough to fade me away, because I’m the one that helps you shine that bright.
Kariel: I know how painful it is to watch people you love use you like a muse or a tool. That’s the part about the Earth Angels series I’m being triggered by so far. Velvet is so focused on fulfilling her mission, she’ll sacrifice her twin flame relationship to do it. * So utterly dependent on her worth to a “higher purpose” that she forgets she should be loved and treasured that everyone else wants, too. So quick to teach others, not doing the walk of her talk herself. Hellbent on rescuing and saving, forgetting that one who loves her wants nothing more than to just take her away from her Grand Mission so she can live, but she views him as an epic distraction.
Andrew: Right. You don’t want to feel like you’re using me.
Kariel: I don’t want to be a Velvet.
Regarding free will
Andrew: We dig our roots in, and we spread our branches out from where our tree stands. We can dig our roots in while still living the life we want, while still doing the things we want to do and love, together, with each other.
Kariel: How? All the paths laid out before me involve separating myself and having no mate connection because it’d lead me away.
Andrew: Then dig those roots in and stand your ground so you don’t have to. And if those roots are lifted, then so will mine, because they’re planted in the same spot, with yours.
Kariel: I didn’t want the mystic’s path. My former spiritual director asked me to consider rejecting it, that for my happiness I need to be with my mate.
Andrew: Then don’t be the mystic. Don’t be tunnel-visioned into completing the “mission.” Don’t serve the “higher purpose” that doesn’t serve your own happiness, your happiness with me, together. And I want to rest, relax, and enjoy life with you too. That’s a life worth having and striving for.
Kariel: That mission wants me to assist with human transcendence. Being with you keeps me here, on this earth, self-aware. All those curses and insults as I grew up, all aimed at convincing me that I couldn’t be worthy of my mate.
Andrew: You can’t be broken without your consent. You can’t accept the mission 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 their own protocols. I can reject that mission. I don’t have to accept, because if I am choosing, I’m honouring my freedom.
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: Which is why the idea of orthodoxy and orthopraxy are so, so wrong.
Andrew: Heh. A lot of this flies in the face of someone like Hobbes. *
Kariel: And it’s why my 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: Which I don’t understand. If I’m rejecting some big grand old mission for transcendence, why do miracles just happen on me to keep me here?
Andrew: Because you don’t want to accept the mission. You don’t want to consent to doing it. You know it, and you know that you know, that you don’t want to do the mission for transcendence. That’s what keeps you here.
Kariel: So in some really crazy and totally not orthodox way, God is well, backing me up somehow by ensuring my will is respected?
Andrew: Yes. Think of the mission as a prompt. It’s a prompt that you’ve chosen not to do. To not write on. To not develop. And that’s that.
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. But since your rejection of the mission, your lack of consent to it, is the truth of the matter that’s always stuck with 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 “mission” 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.
- I’m speaking of the denotations, and this continues throughout the entire conversation. Orthodoxy = “right belief” and orthopraxy = “right action.” These are not attacks directed to belief systems that identify with these labels. I’m questioning the words, not people. I’m referring to “orthodoxy and orthopraxy,” not Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy. Yes, capitalization is a huge shift in definition and meaning for these two words/terms.
- I’m working through The Earth Angel Awakening. Since it’s only the second novel in the ongoing series of seven publications to date, this may not be the fairest assessment of Velvet as a character. I told Andrew before this chat of Velvet’s potential to grow and change, nowhere do I declare that I gave up on her as a character or person.
- I’m not familiar with Hobbes, so I didn’t respond to that statement.
- Mystics have connection and belonging in a different way than what I wanted. Andrew is referring to my description of connection and belonging in a way that I desired for myself. These points he makes are indications of my life; we can’t speak for other mystics’ calls.
- The Earth Angel Awakening by Michelle Gordon
- The Earth Angel Training Academy by Michelle Gordon