Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rape is About Sex and Sex is Power: Stop Saying It Isn’t!

Danae and the Shower of Gold Coins

Titian, 1544-45

At its best, sex is the ultimate power of loving and being loved in return. Lover and Beloved. This powerful force makes the world go round: people fall in love, get married, have children, cook, eat, work, play, travel, make art not war, and enjoy life.

Any upset to that serene balance of lover and beloved and we have rape, sexual assault, sexual molestation, sexual harassment and a myriad of other disturbing crimes, many of which are in the news now.

I have more than earned my right to speak. #notokay, #metoo are both absurd understatements compared to what happened to me. My real father put his dick in my mouth when I was 3 and my mother caught him. She wanted to commit suicide after first killing me. I don’t blame her. Her life was ruined. My father went on to abuse me for years starting again at age 11 when I was cognizant of what was happening, but still too young to know for sure that what Daddy was doing was wrong. I had the vague notion that I was cheating on my mother with her boyfriend. (It’s all in Holy Days.)

Those episodes were just the beginning of a lifetime of the kind of sexual harassment and assault that most women face every day. Boys “feeling me up” in school and on field trips: men, on a daily basis, since I was 12 years old, stopping their cars, opening the passenger door and asking me if I wanted a ride (I could have been murdered hundreds of times.); men pinching my ass on the street; men making comments on my breasts; men ogling me and grinning lasciviously; men harassing me while I put coins in the parking meter. I could go on. Men asking me to smile actually made me smile; it seemed friendly and funny compared to the trauma I’d gone through, though I can understand how some women might find it annoying or even threatening. It wasn’t until I moved to the quiet town I live in now that I could cross the street unmolested. I still remember the first time I stepped out of the car on the busy main street and walked to the coffee shop and not one man leaned out of his car window and hollered at me. Wow.

There have been professions I did not enter for of fear of being molested or sexually and professionally bullied – and, from the reports I’m hearing now, I was right.

I speak from experience. Long experience. I can tell you, as a victim, I do not appreciate it when I hear therapists and other so-called experts telling victims, “Rape is about power, not about sex.”


Rape is absolutely about sex and sex is about power.

Sex is power. Think about how powerful you feel when you are looking sexually attractive. Think about what powerful men want to show off their wealth and power – a beautiful woman. What is the most powerful image in advertising? Sex. (Although, Death runs a close second.) What made you stop and look at this article? A bare breast.

Rape is about sex and sex is power. That’s why every rape victim feels powerless. Every victim is sexually damaged. That’s why victims have to re-learn their sexuality. This is especially true of victims of childhood abuse in which the abuse is their first sexual experience. Victims of child abuse must take that first experience forth into their lives, whether they want to or not, as the definition of sex. In fact, I’m willing to bet, for most, that first sexual experience becomes a deep, sexual identity to which they respond sexually from that day forward. It was like that for me. Of course, as I got older, I discovered other things that turned me on, but that first experience has been seared on my brain and sexuality.

Saying rape is about power, not about sex is a disservice to victims. Oh, sure, it’s a nice catch phrase and it probably helps victims for the first few seconds. But, then, the doubts creep in. “But, what about the way I feel when…” “But, why do I have trouble trusting a man?” “But, why do I feel so guilty? And dirty?” “Why would I rather not have sex at all than deal with any of it?”

Do I have a solution? Yes, get rid of guilt. Guilt is more bullshit. The only thing to ever feel guilty about is hurting another person or yourself. And, your guilt is hurting you. Drop it.

I’m glad about what’s happening now. Women are being taken seriously. Women are being believed. And society is responding with justice. Hopefully.

I am especially happy for the children. At least, I have hopes in that direction. A few adult men have come forward to say they were abused as child actors in Hollywood. Actor, Anthony Edwards. Michael Reagan, son of Ronald Reagan. Corey Feldman, Hollywood actor famous for his roles in “Bad News Bears” and “Stand By Me,” who has been screaming for decades about rampant sexual abuse by Hollywood producers, is finally being believed. I do wish he would take this opportunity while the tide is turning to speak up now and name names. I wish he would not wait to raise the $10 million he needs to make the kind of film he wants to make – or I wish someone would help him make his film, like in a Disney movie, magically, I wish a good man or woman would appear and help Corey reveal the truth. Not much can be done until these pedophiles are named and arrested. At the very least, and it's a lot, parents can stop lying to themselves about what’s going on in Hollywood and protect their children.

Children are out there even as I write, suffering. I hope they will be helped by the changes to come. I hope. But, the children seem to be the last to be heard. There is an International Sex Slavery system and if you don’t believe it, you are na├»ve. Hollywood is just a part of it. The Catholic Church is just a part of it. Every so often, there is a purge. It happened recently after a series of articles in The Daily Beast about the situation of children being used for sex. What usually happens is, the old are weeded out. One man is revealed to be a molester. His friends and cronies drop him like a hot potato, and, after a few months or so, he dies. That’s usually the pattern. It’s been the pattern for the international child abuse ring since time immemorial, since Caligula’s uncle used to throw little slave boys over the cliff when he was done with them, up till the present day, when care homes, like Boys Town; homeless kids and Hollywood child actors, are harvested for victims. One man said, in the film An Open Secret (not available at this time, but here's the trailer), about Hollywood child sex abuse, “that’s the way it’s always been!”

I’m happy for the actresses who, hopefully, no longer have to worry about the casting couch. I’ve watched them demure in interviews for years, saying, “Well, I’ve heard of the casting couch, of course, but I’ve never actually experienced it myself.” Now, they are finally talking. But I worry about the hotel workers, office cleaners, nurses, waitresses, farm workers, factory workers, big store clerks, small store clerks, late nights at McDonald’s, late nights coming home from the mall or the hospital or the office.

I’m hoping the justice we’re seeing now will translate into a deterrent in the future. Maybe that guy with a hard-on will think twice before “expressing himself” (what a man I know called sexual abuse) by violating another person. Senator Elizabeth Warren, in a recent interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, said, “…When the jerk over in accounting decides that pressing up against women who are caught at the coping machine might not be smart. When the boss decides telling those dirty jokes and talking about whose got great boobs and a killer ass, that he’d better re-think his management strategy, when that sort of thing happens for women all across this country, then we’ll know there’s been real change.”

But, really, I want to quote the Great Master of Horror, Stephen King - “I know they say that a stiff dick has no conscience, but I tell you now that some cunts have teeth…” By the way, the Indie film "Teeth" is available to watch now on Netflix.

Sex is power.

In Holy Days, my heroine, Gloria muses that every girl should get a pink gun at birth with five legal shots. Gloria decides that since men would never know how many legal shots were left in that gun, they’d have to behave themselves.

Sex is power.

©Patricia Goodwin, 2017

Patricia Goodwin is the author of When Two Women Die, about Marblehead legends and true crime and its sequel, Dreamwater, about the Salem witch trials and the vicious 11-year-old pirate Ned Low. Holy Days is her third novel, about the sexual, psychological seduction of Gloria Wisher and her subsequent transformation. Her newest book is Telling Time By Apples, And Other Poems About Life On The Remnants of Olde Humphrey Farme, illustrated by the author.