Before I explain how sick to my stomach I felt when reading Tweet after Tweet by women saying, in various ways, we should all stop bitching about Chris Brown, they'd let him beat them all night long, let me make my fondness for rough sex abundantly clear.
There are times when what I want is to just be held down and smacked around in a way that would make some people uncomfortable. There are also times when I want it to be sweet and gentle driven more by eye-contact than white knuckles. Hell, there are times when I want it outside, early in the morning, in the shower, or not at all. But I ALWAYS WANT IT with someone who respects me, treats me with love and kindness and would NEVER allow himself or anyone else to hurt me physically or emotionally.
Chris Brown may be the hottest male specimen on the planet, and it would not change the fact that Chris Brown was not having consensual rough sex with Rihanna when she landed in the hospital with injuries he delivered, or when cops were called and felony arrest warrants were issued to address physical and verbal threats that he made against Rihanna. That is domestic violence, not sex.
Confusing the two is dangerous. Excusing violence in the name of star-fucking, that's just disgusting. And what we saw in all those Tweets were a bunch of women spreading the social virus that allows domestic violence to continue because it allows men to think they can get away with it, if they find the right woman. Well, there are 25 of them, right there, but as fucked up as their perspectives may be, they do not deserve to be abused either.
And therein lies the rub. Just as some men are programmed to believe they can use violence to get what they want, some women are programmed to believe they are victims (or worse, that they aren't). We, as a society, have to reach out around both sides of this equation and change the message. We have to change the programming:
- Sex is not violence -- even when it involves chains and spankings. Sex is a consensual act between two adults that is performed with safety and respect. Abuse is the use of emotional or physical coercion to get something from someone without regard for consent, safety or dignity.
- No human being should be allowed to violate the dignity of another human being. Excusing it because of wealth, fame or a fine ass is perpetuating it and makes you as much a part of the problem as the abuser themselves. This is why we need a Zero Tolerance stance in society. We cannot scream about inequality and injustice while at the same time encouraging it amongst our "elite."
To all the men who read these Tweets and see Chris Brown as the justification for abusing, I issue the following warning: You are wrong. That is not strong or sexy, that is abuse. If you do it, you are an abuser, there is no confusion in the eyes of the law.
To the women who wrote those Tweets, it is a more complicated message.
- You are causing this problem. You are why men think that it's okay to treat women like this, and that those of us who stand strong to protect your safety and dignity are just uptight.
- You do not deserve to be treated in a way that puts your physical or emotional health at risk. If anyone is treating you in a way that makes you feel at risk, get help, now.
- You can have all the rough sex you want, but do it with a partner (or partners) who respect you and know how to play safely. It's okay. You can have rough sex without having a dangerous asshole for a partner.
Why am I so pissed about these Tweets? Because I am one of THOUSANDS of people in this country who volunteer in the hospitals, courts, social services, schools, churches and neighborhood meetings to protect abuse victims. People who have had their bodies and souls so broken by abuse that they actually can't tell the difference between love and violence. People who don't think they can protect themselves or their children from abuse, and so the cycle continues.
I know that a child who witnesses abuse is twice as likely to become an abuser as a child who doesn't. Considering the number of households that have both violence and multiple children, that means violence is a growing problem.
I know, first hand, that recovering from sexual violence is a process that takes years of your life. Years that are not spent doing anything else. My rape lasted twelve minutes. The recovery lasted years.
Telling Chris Brown that not only is his behavior okay, but that he can do it to you any time he wants, is telling all those victims of violence that they are just uptight, that it's no big deal. For that matter, it tells other men that it's okay too. Thankfully, most men don't believe that.
I also spend most of my days fighting for the right to sexual autonomy for all humans. The simple right to have total control over their own bodies and sexuality without anyone else telling them that they have to do something they don't want to, or can't do something they do want to. So these statements make my job harder, and put your rights at risk.
It is fear of violence that causes such backlash against the sex-industry in all its shapes and forms. From porn to books, to stores to what you want to do. When people are afraid that sex will lead to violence, that fear leads to censorship and attempts to legislate the boundaries of your sexuality.
These Tweets also feed the fear and shame for those who do practice consensual BDSM. BDSM is consensual play between adults, and involves explicit communication about safety and respect and people's individual boundaries. I would feel safer in a dungeon with an accomplished BDSM practitioner than in a bar with Chris Brown.
When people confuse this intimate and consensual act for violence, they confuse its practitioners for violent people. It is a judgment that is not only wrong, but that also serves to keep this conversation forever marginalized, so that we don't come to a clear understanding of the difference between rough sex and domestic violence. As usual, ignorance breeds injustice. And violence.
Sex is not violence. Someone who loves you will not knowingly hurt you. Someone who says they love you, while knowingly hurting you, is an abuser. Yes, it is that simple.
For those who think these were harmless, albeit tasteless, jokes, you are just wrong. It is not the same as a gay person making a gay joke -- which, at worst, supports stereotypes. Or a Jew making a Holocaust joke -- which, at worst, tries to make light of a situation that we all know is inexcusable. This is women making jokes about domestic violence and suggesting that it is not only okay, but should keep happening. That the problem isn't that men beat up women, it's that we all get so upset about it.
What if those Tweets said, "Everyone needs to calm down about lynchings, they decorate the trees without using all the electricity of traditional lights?" Would that be funny?
When I read those Tweets, that's pretty much what I heard. That and, "shut up and take it, bitch, it's good enough for me." Pretty much what any abuser would say.
Well, no. I won't take it. We all deserve better.
Alyssa's Musings: AlyssaRoyse.com
Sexuality Information For Women: NotSoSeret.co