After TIME magazine honoured those who came forward, the next step from those who shouted ‘MeToo’ will involve all of us.
I was 19 years old the first time I was raped. The last time, I was 39. I am not unusual. I’ve been involved in a private ongoing discussion with some dear friends since last year in which we all share our rape stories with one another, and despite a deep awareness of rape culture’s ubiquitousness even I was surprised at how universal these experiences are among the women I know.
All women. Rape culture impacts all women. Severely. The only reason this is treated as less of an epidemic than it is is because there are longstanding mechanisms built into our society (shame, religion, power dynamics, a cultural taboo against shaming men for irresponsible use of their sexuality, etc) to keep us from speaking out about it.
These mechanisms are now falling apart.
Human civilisation is made of rape. For millennia, all over the world, women have been commodified and kept as property for the purpose of receiving male reproductive fluids and raising their progeny, regardless of our will. During this time we were kept at home while men invented religion, money, economics, war, government, hierarchy, class, culture, rules, laws and traditions, including the laws of the marital bed. Civilisation has been arranged so that each man receives a woman to own, with whom he may have sex whenever he wishes, between building, fighting, destroying and conquering in accordance with the will of whatever ruler happened to be running the show at the time.
This is only just now beginning to change. A woman’s will for her own sexuality is only just now becoming culturally relevant, a blink of an eye from a historical perspective.
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Spousal rape was not considered a crime in all 50 US states until 1993, and there are still seven states where there is a marital exception to certain sex crimes. The full anatomy of the clitoris wasn’t recognised by western science until 1998. The G-spot was given its name in the 1980s after a male gynaecologist, Ernst Gräfenberg, who spent time in the 1940s studying the stimulation of the urethra. Birth control pills kill sexual desire. A third of women reported pain in their last sexual experience. There is a little-known, virtually unresearched and untreatable condition called vulvodynia that causes such intense nerve pain that some women consider suicide, and it is more common than breast cancer.
Just sit with that. A third of women reported pain in their last sexual experience. They didn’t just not enjoy it, they gritted their teeth through it. Why? Because for myriad reasons, we don’t feel like we have a choice. That’s rape culture.
Given that interest in a woman’s will for her own sexuality is just barely beginning to enter social consciousness on a large scale, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it is only just now in 2017 that sharing our experiences with rape culture is beginning to go mainstream.
Rape dynamics are woven into the fabric of society far more pervasively than anyone realises, and by pulling this thread, the whole mad tapestry will necessarily unravel. This can only be a good thing.
Our species is at a crossroads. It’s become self-evident that we’re about to either collectively experience some kind of enormous transformation, or go the way of the dinosaur. Parallel to our unprecedented ability to network and share information and ideas with our fellow humans all around the globe is a death march toward either ecosystemic disaster or nuclear holocaust which so far shows no signs of slowing down, and one of these two factors will necessarily win out at some point in the near future. Thus far, our attempts to shift trajectories have failed spectacularly. If something is going to save us, it’s going to come from way out of left field.
Women everywhere feel the significance of the #MeToo phenomenon. A lot of us are scared to say anything about it for fear of hurting the feelings of the men we love, fear of retribution, and fear of being eaten alive by the intimidating, debate-culture defenders of patriarchy, but there’s a widespread sense that this thing is much bigger than it seems. Some leaders of conventional feminist thought have been speculating about some kind of progressive political upheaval, but in my opinion, this is infinitely more revolutionary than that. We are about to experience a plunge into completely unknown and uncharted territory.
I can’t even keep track of all the men who are facing sexual misconduct accusations anymore as women gain more and more confidence to call it out, but the hyper-politicised nature of the circles I move in tells me it’s entirely bipartisan. Liberal men rape and conservative men rape, all the way up the power structure. Democrats and Republicans are both accusing one another of hypocrisy today for focusing on one faction’s sex crimes and not the other’s, while ignoring the elephant in the room that rape is happening all over the place. What will happen when they can’t ignore it anymore?
What will happen when women begin really reclaiming their sexuality? What will happen when women everywhere flick on every light in the house, and all the perversions of men no longer have any darkness left to hide in?
It is unimaginable. Power structures will be disrupted from the basic family unit all the way up to the highest echelons of influence. Movement will happen. Cracks will appear. The will of women, which spent all those millennia forbidden from influencing the development of the civilisation in which we now find ourselves, will finally have some space to get a word in edgewise.
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Most elites remain blissfully unaware of what’s coming. The liberal think tanks in Washington still believe they’ll be able to manipulate the #MeToo phenomenon into some pussy-hat-wearing rah rah Kamala Harris 2020 movement that they can use to their advantage. They have never been more wrong. Pandora’s box has been opened. They cannot manipulate this.
What is coming is not a new political movement, what is coming is a revolution against the very fabric of the profoundly sick society that our species has woven for itself. By shining a bright light on rape culture in each and every instance it rears its ugly head, we are actually re-tracing our footsteps back to the dawn of civilisation and undoing every wrong turn that humanity has made which got us to the catastrophic point we now find ourselves. The fact that this is becoming a mainstream practice means that this societal alchemy will necessarily unfold, regardless of people’s old ideas about politics and revolution.
When the doors of the sexual revolution opened in the late ’60s, the predators flooded in and quickly turned “You can have sex whenever you want!” to “You can have sex whenever I want.” Germaine Greer warned us at the time that thousands of years of relentlessly abusing our sexuality had made us into female eunuchs who had no idea what our sexuality was. Unfortunately, that’s still mostly true today.
We know our sexuality is our spark and our spunk, our creativity, our beauty and our healing. We know a raped woman will lose all these things in the months after the rape, often taking years to get them back. We know that when you scare a woman’s sexuality, you dim her light. And that was Louis CK’s greatest crime, whether he knows it or not. All those female comics that he smeared his smelly sexuality all over? He made them less brave, less fearless, less funny.
In a time when we face human extinction, we need all the bravery and humour we can get.
There’s a certain type of personality that finds it deeply offensive that I talk about rape culture sometimes. Personally, I found being raped rather offensive, myself. The people who find these discussions triggering are going to have to find a way to deal with it, because they’re only going to get more common. Sexual predation is no longer shrouded by any taboos against pointing at it and calling it what it is. Complain all you want – this upheaval is coming either way.
This is not a political or ideological revolution. This is a complete undoing of all that is sick in this world, coming not from our minds but from deep within our cells. A voice has finally been given to the heritage of pain which has been passed from mother to daughter from generation to generation as we taught one another how to survive in a world of sexual slavery since the dawn of civilisation. It will not be pretty when it first comes out. It will not be sexy. It will not dance for male sexuality as it has been trained to do like a good little girl. It will roar, and it will destroy.
Change is coming. What looks like women talking about their experiences with rape culture is actually a vast area of endarkened human unconsciousness suddenly becoming enlightened into consciousness. A whole section of our collective consciousness which we have never previously had access to is now suddenly becoming available to us. The old structures will not be able to stand on this new ground, as they were built upon the old ground.
— TIME (@TIME) December 6, 2017