Friday, September 16, 2011
To all the survivors, you beauties made of stardust out there, again I open this post with a trigger warning. I will be talking about sexual assault and know that you don't have to read this if you don't want to.
I decided to press charges.
I learned this morning that the white man who sexually assaulted me on November 4th, 2010 for over an hour was just found not guilty and acquitted of all charges.
On August 16th, I testified in court against this man to a white judge. This person was represented by a white man who cross-examined me for over 7 hours. The court reporter another white man, flipped through a catalogue and highlighted things that he would like to purchase in the future and was visibly bored as I choked on tears, words and visions of a night I did not want to remember.
The lawyer who defended him did everything that he could to malign my character, to degrade and dehumanize me, even to go as far as calling me a circus freak at one point.
I was lucky to have family in the while I sat there staring out across at Babylon.
These people with a comfortable stride, with smiles on their faces, the lawyer, this attacker – I could see in their eyes the hatred, the complete disdain for life that led to the middle passage, that perpetuates a prision industrial complex that feeds on the souls of folks of colour, that drives a genocide of First Nations and indigenous peoples around the world.
There was no plea I could make, no logic, no reason that this little Nigger Grrl could create. Not even the truth in all of its rough, raw and shameful entirety was sufficient. Not even the fact that I had nothing to gain from this process and so much to lose.
Throughout this whole process, the responsibility, the work has been left with me and my folks. Queer and trans folks, young people, people of colour, cash poor, we are used to the tragedies, the late night calls, the never ending battles and the lawyer - well he drove home in his Lexus.
The work of trying to forget what happened in order to cope, the work of rehearsed remembering in order to hold him accountable, the work of walking out of the courtroom on a ‘break’ only to be expected to share the same space with him and his conspirators. The work of being okay of making it through each day and of reconciling my years of surviving sexual violence prior to that. This is our work.
And through all this, I know that I am not alone and in many ways I am privileged to have a community of people who have shared experiences, who have brilliant wisdom and the capacity to support me while they make it through everyday.
And when I think of the mass injustice faced by Womyn Of Colour the world over, I am enraged and I need you all to be too.
I think about the 11 year old girl gang raped by 18 men in Texas, who didn’t tell a soul, and the way it came to light was because it was videotaped and put on facebook.
I think about Assata Shakur and Angela Davis.
I think about the Toronto Police officer who gave us the key to avoid sexual assault and rape – just stop dressing like sluts.
I think about the 'Highway of Tears'. http://www.missingnativewomen.org/bc.htm
I think about hundreds of women I have met who abound with stories of injustice and deal with the internalized sexism that persuades us that we have no one to blame but ourselves.
I am furious.
This is not over.
And in the illustrious words of a sister of mine,
“we are bigger than this system, we are bigger than it all”
I am not going down without a fight.
We are proud, resilient and free.
And I am not going to pour my energies into people into a system who deny our existence, who deny a system designed to oppress us.
I am determined to love my community even more fiercely, to nurture and feed myself and each other, and to remind us in the face of everything that we see that we are magnificent and abundant.
But today, I rest.
In Love & Solidarity