On how rape culture has been redesigned and has directly impacted my life
Sometimes I wake up thinking about all the #metoo women.
It all rushes to me together, all at once — as if it had been waiting for that very moment of my complete vulnerability.
All the times I was raped.
All the times I was abused, especially by men in authority.
All the time’s others were abused.
All the times my friends were rape victims.
The innocent girls who worked for us at Logan’s Roadhouse.
The vulnerable girls who came to us for help at Oxford House.
Me. All my years of working in sexually abusive and hostile environments.
Reminding myself that it isn’t just about what happened to everyone else but also what happened to me. I matter too. I matter too…
All the interviews. I can see their faces, full of enthusiasm for life.
All the times I tried or I thought I tried.
All the run around they gave me. The exhaustion. The questioning my own reality.
The way I was treated as the dis-ease for my attempts to disrupt their abuse of power.
The women in leadership who have not been groomed to accept the abuse themselves, but to foster it.
Being but a cog in the wheel of corruption and abuse.
All the people who turned a blind eye. So many people. So so many.
All the people who told me to turn a blind eye. So so many people.
But out of all of these things, the thing that twists my stomach the most is the parents.
The thing that brings tears as fast as they fall is remembering the mothers.
All the years of keeping their child safe, only to allow them to get their first job, not knowing that the job was that dangerous place they had been trying to keep their child away from all along.
I picture mothers dropping off their little girl for her first day of work. So excited. So proud. No clue what truly lay behind those doors.
I picture the Oxford House mothers, trying to save their child’s life. I remember the one that I held at the funeral as she cried.
I think about the mothers a lot. I think about the mothers every time.
Are we doing enough?
I think about the things that I have poured onto paper. I have vowed that I will stand up for justice in my own life more than I have, from now on. I think about how I admitted that I could do better in my letter to America, Tiny Little Pieces.Tiny Little Pieces
Dear America, We Need Our Helpmedium.com
Then I ask myself that question again…
Am I doing any better now?
Am I doing enough?
To be honest, I don’t know. But I do know there is more work to be done or it wouldn’t be what I sometimes wake up thinking about. It wouldn’t be the thing that haunts me in that place between asleep and awake — when the veil is still lifted but sleep is gone.
Rape culture is so much more than physical rape being justified. Rape is not just about bodies. It’s about minds and souls.
Similar to the way we built a new system of slavery and oppression via the U.S. Correctional System, a New Rape Culture has emerged.
It is no longer acceptable for men to physically force themselves on women. Instead, it is done to the young, the weak, and the vulnerable.
Strong fists have been replaced with strong positions of authority and power. Manipulation of the body has been replaced with manipulation of the mind, the emotional body, and the spirit.
Rape and sexual violence are still condoned and allowed by the majority. It is only a strong fist that has been truly forbidden. These are the facts of my experience.
Just like slavery and segregation, rape culture has been rewrapped in a new paper, with a new and shiny bow. That bow helps us sleep at night. But underneath that paper is the same old ugly thing.
The New Rape Culture is working seamlessly. It leaves its victims powerless and alone.
We only think things have changed. We only think we made progress. We only think Megyn Kelly made a difference when she stood up and said what I’m saying now. We only think our daughters are safe.
We don’t have to look to the public officials for scandal and abuse. Most scandals are happening in our own back yards.
The only question is, what are we going to do about it?
Or should we wait 50 years to disrupt this new and improved system of oppression, too?
Written by Holly Kellums
My disclaimer to all men is featured in this story, because men suffer too.
Recourses, Info and Your Rights
National Sexual Assault Hotline — 1–800–656–4673
Honorable mention of my late leader and favorite boss of all time, Jake, and his Partner Tom of the Garden Family Restaurant — the only leaders I have ever witnessed address sexual violence in the workplace, head-on and immediately — as it should be. Two men that would sacrifice their best cook any day of the week to protect the sanctity of the women they employ. Hats off to you both. Wishing the whole family the best. It has been a pleasure to know you all.
Originally published on Medium.com