Beyond the fiction of the reality, there is the reality of the fiction.
With all of the #IBelieveSurvivors tweets after the recent Ghomeshi case, I am both surprised and not at all surprised that The Haven has gone without any criticism whatsoever.
If the point is that survivors must be telling the truth, then this would also hold up for the Ben and Jock court case. I am aware that I am entering territory which is not to be discussed, which is why I must bring it up.
The case can be found here:
I am one of the few people who has doubts on the Ghomeshi case. I believe in a court system that does not operate on beliefs but on evidence.
Somehow, anything related to Ben and Jock goes without question. I recall sitting on pillows in a circle when I was fifteen, listening to Ben and Jock claim that a girl who’s raped is ‘response-able’.
This is a word game. It works by confusing the meanings of words to implicitly offer a new bias. To be responsible is not the same as being response-able, and yet this was what was implied. In psychology this is called concept creep. This blog shows that I am response-able to experiences but that certainly doesn’t mean that I was responsible for them happening.
Furthermore, all one needs to do is look up the definition of rape to realize that neither terms fit. I believe that this example was used because they enjoyed being controversial. After all, any social psychologist will tell you that the way to convince someone of a new idea is to start with the least controversial uses. Perhaps, they also knew that they could be as obnoxious as they wanted and people would still buy in. Sadly, they were correct.
Was I response-able? I survived. I am the first one to judge the current victim culture, but the way to do that is not to play word games and criticize those who have suffered injustice. That is the same game as placing the victim role onto somebody.
These discussions rarely felt safe, and it was always clear who we were meant to be listening to as the authority on the matter. It was also suggested that Natives who had their land stolen were choosing to be victims. I can’t imagine what this was supposed to teach us but racism and misogyny.
Zizek argues that violence is created, often, when one loves somebody not for who they are but for the idealized version. Ben and Jock believed that all sexuality stems from an idealized version, as objectified. I do not believe this to be true, and I am far from a romantic. If this were true, most relationships wouldn’t exist. Sexual violence also depends upon objectification, and one must wonder if this theory says more about how Ben and Jock view women. Furthermore, if sexuality were purely about charge this wouldn’t account for why sexual violence is so traumatic or why there are long-term negative effects from being used as a sexual object, as can be the case in prostitution or abuse.
But Ben and Jock are always seen as the first authority, indeed, on any matter. There are worlds of brilliant people out there. Just creating this blog has got me looking up many. If The Haven wants to appeal to new people, it needs to move past Ben and Jock. It needs to find new ideas. Most importantly, it needs to stop defining itself as the authority on how others ought to live. That is not the route to being response-able or responsible.
Would there be any hashtag campaign if the Ben and Jock trial happened today? I doubt it. But I would like to know, what separates the current trend of Ghomeshi hashtags that doesn’t apply to Ben and Jock? My point is not that either are guilty or innocent but that there is a huge difference in how each are approached. Ghomeshi’s privilege has lead to automatic hatred. Ben and Jock’s privilege has lead to automatic acceptance.
There have been other instances where sexual boundaries have been questionable, to me. But the instances of blurred roles and boundaries, and instances of what appeared to be far from honest reception, are too great to mention. I have not jumped on the Ghomeshi train. The viral responses seem to me more of a circus. However, I will not jump on the pro-Ben and Jock train either. We need to be able to look at both clearly without conforming to the most popular position.
That is what it means to be responsible.
*A further note on trauma. I view the philosophy of shadow to both have incredible truth in it but it is taken way too far at Haven. While expressing feelings is encouraged in cathartic outbursts, expressing anger or frustration in a calm, spoken way, is discouraged as it will result in immediately being told that you simply don’t understand the person you are angry with, or you are only angry because that person has traits that you have yourself. This is incredibly dangerous for those recovering from trauma, who have internalized a core sense of badness from the trauma, and may have an unconscious and invalid fear that they will turn out the same. Furthermore, many of us have gone lifetimes without expressing our frustration. Of course it may not come out perfect! To have it immediately invalidated is incredibly destructive. Language is more powerful a tool for me than hitting a mat. Not all anger is an expression of shadow. Not every person angry with Hitler secretly wants to murder millions of people. Much research on trauma also shows that language is a healthier tool than cathartic outbursts. I am on the fence. What I do know? Using language to express frustration after trauma should never be invalidated, and no one else should ever claim to have any insider knowledge on my trauma. Of course I didn’t want it to be mine. But for the sake of recovery…
**A further further note… Much time has now passed since I started this blog and I realize how much in denial I was.