A reflection on anger

I am angry. At first, I thought it was just about you. And you. And you. The way you dimmed me; reduced me down and down until I was on my knees and begging for you to do it again because I didn’t know what the world looked like from an upright position anymore.

CW: discussion of rape and sexual assault

At first, I thought it was just about the act; the stripping of autonomy and the ripping of body which confuses as much as it hurts and inflicts scars that persist against the healing efforts of time.

At first, I thought it was about me. The girl who would crawl for you, submit to your demands, smile politely as you mocked her. The girl who went back for more. The girl who said yes, sometimes.

But now, I don’t think it is that. At least, I don’t think it’s just that.

Now I am angry because I count you and you and you but in reality, I’m terrified to consider how many people did this to some degree.

I’m angry because the world convinced you that this was ok and convinced us that it was inevitable. That stories of rape and assault and abuse have become a point of solidarity between women and people of marginalised genders, because you can’t mention these words without hearing about their experience, or that of their friend, or their daughter, or their mum.

I’m angry because for so long, I understood rape only as the act itself and was blind to the context surrounding it, in which you degraded me to a position in which you felt entitled to my body. That it took an experience of undeniable pain for me to recognise what you had been doing the whole time.

I’m angry that you were encouraged to do this by the messages you have been told about what it means to be a man.

I’m angry that you might second guess your actions now and your words now, but that ultimately, I fear this moment of accountability is fleeting.

I wanted to write about how anger can be used as a source of energy to move towards change. How anger is movement; momentum which propels us to a place where we may act.

But we have moved. We have acted and still, we remain stuck.

Stuck in the continuous cycles of pain and action which culminate in stasis; acceptance that things just are the way they are. Cycles that make a person and a people rise and fall but too often leave them numb in the acknowledgement of their ineffective repetition.

I’m not sure what to do in this moment.

Because, though action may be incited by anger, action is nothing without a willing receiver.

Voice is nothing without a willing listener.

And how are you expected to listen when I suspect you don’t even know what you’ve done?

I guess that’s the worst part:

you could be reading this and not even know that it is you I am talking about.

Beth Simpson, Society and Community Editor