I was a teenager, we were all teenagers and we all felt empowered in our youthful seductions. We maybe were and we probably weren’t. We like to tell ourselves we know exactly what we’re doing, even when we don’t. I try to see both sides of the issue but frankly, on the issue of rape, I don’t give one flying fuck about nuance. Not one. I really don’t.
Suggesting that adults, and particularly teachers, have no business having sex with their students, doesn’t diminish adolescent sexual empowerment or autonomy. It’s common sense. It is decency. The power imbalance is too great. The potential repercussions are too great. Why would we tolerate such risk?
I fantasized about being with teachers when I was younger. Am I glad those fantasies never came to fruition? Yes. Even if you were to ignore the age difference problem and the rape part of this news story—and that’s obviously a ridiculously generous allowance—even then, the fact that one person is a teacher in a position of power messes with everything. There’s a reason colleges also forbid fraternization, despite everyone being above the age of consent.
The danger inherent in positions of relative power doesn’t even come down to individual transgressions. It is about people with power, in groups, shaping institutions to fulfill their own needs, and manipulating institutions they are a part of to protect themselves against accountability. The institution of the school, and the role of the teacher, create a power structure whose reach goes beyond any individual “transgression” and can instead foster an entire culture of exploitation if allowed to.
We’ve seen this dynamic play out in government and in global corporations, in the Catholic church, in private schools—anywhere there is a rigid system of hierarchy. The reality of exploitation is just as damaging regardless of the stage in which it is set. Even in the idealized scenario where both people are of age and wholly consenting, it is the institutions around them that will warp the situation.
Pitfalls of the Industry
Life is like a hurricane. Here in. Game dev. Sexists, neckbeards, threats of rape. It’s some. Bullshit.
Might deny privilege, assault some women! DOUCHEBROS, WOO-OO!
Every day they’re out there whining. DOUCHEBROS, WOO-OO!
Sexual Assault by Endocrinologists
(tw: sexual assault)
After talking with some friends of mine, I’ve learned that the “breast exams” my previous endo (a white-haired man in his 60s) did at every visit were in fact completely unnecessary.
At the time I thought that it must be normal, so I must just have to let it happen.
And I definitely knew that no matter how weird I felt about it, I couldn’t refuse or say anything because he was the gatekeeper.
One time he had a medical student in the room watching.
Then he asked creepy questions about my progress in “moving into the female role”.
I ditched him for a female doc at the same clinic that my therapist and psychiatrist are at. I’ve only seen her once but she didn’t even ask to touch my breasts.
And the worst part is that I can safely assume that I’m far from alone in this. That most likely an astronomical proportion of us have had to submit to being groped or worse to get through the gatekeepers.
fuck everything :(
That was my experience, too. I saw an ooooooold-school doc in Ohio who did all of the above, and asked questions like “so when did you first start cross-dressing”. Fucking disgusting. None of the women endos I’ve seen since then did that kind of crap.
However, one cis guy I saw was ten times worse. First of all, he had me strip down. (Right off the bat he’s being a creep. There is no reason to strip down.) Upon stripping down, he took one look at my legs and said, “We’re lowering your estrogen dose, because it’s obviously too high. There’s barely any hair on your legs.” That is unprofessional on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin.
First of all, you can’t tell someone’s hormone levels by looking at their legs. We have these things called blood tests that determine hormone levels. Second of all, he didn’t ask what my opinion was, or if I was ok with a change in my hormone regimen. It was his way or the highway, just because. Third of all… like, even all that aside? My body had very little hair before hormones. That’s just my body.
That’s not the worst part though (and here’s where this post gets triggery again) … He had me take off my underwear and lie on a table. Why? To examine my genitalia. At this point I was beyond triggered, was frozen, didn’t know how to respond, didn’t have the courage to respond anyways because I have a history of being raped and taken advantage of by men so I habitually freeze up and follow orders when this sort of thing happens. (Or at least, I did. I know better now.) I was tucked, of course, and my tuck remained after I lie on the table. As if it wasn’t horrible enough he was “inspecting” my genitals when that was completely unnecessary and he had absolutely no medical reason to do so and was just being a fucking perverted creep with institutional power, he didn’t even have the decency to ask me to undo my tuck myself. Nope, he reached right between my legs and yanked it out himself.
THIS is what gatekeepers do to trans people. THIS is the bullshit we have to put up with in order to get treatment. I’m lucky; I had the resources and ability to seek out another doctor (I never went to that office again). Not everyone is as lucky as I am. Many trans women have to put up with sexual abuse from their doctors in order to get the treatment they need.
The endo I see now is wonderful. She does the necessary blood tests and I’m on my way. Sometimes a breast exam is useful, and some places like Planned Parenthood recommend an exam every one to three years. But these creeps are feeling women up on every single fucking visit. And there is never a reason for a doctor to inspect someone’s genitals unless you come to them with a specific problem and request an examination.
The Collective Nightmare [TW: trafficking, abuse]
Sometimes I wonder if the reason I’m so bad at keeping regular employment is because it reminds me too much of when I was sold for sex.
Here are all these things you HAVE to do whether you like it or not, whether you CAN or not. Sex. Ten-hour shifts. Blowjobs. Constant performance regardless of disability. Unless you please them, you WILL end up on the street. Beatings. Eviction. Drowning. Foreclosure. DON’T YOU DARE HAVE FUCKING LIMITS. Don’t cry or they’ll hit you harder. Don’t have a breakdown or you’re fired. DON’T YOU DARE HAVE FUCKING NEEDS. Love? HAHAHAHA YEAH RIGHT. Time off for doctor visits? NO. GET BACK TO WORK. You don’t get to complain, just do what you’re told. Take off your clothes. Unload the truck. Get in the van. See me in my office. BUT WE LOVE YOU. You obviously want it. Nobody’s forcing you to do this. You were born to do this. What else would you do with your life, laze about doing nothing like a slob? This is what you deserve. Wage slavery is a part of life, get used to it. You’re too good at fucking to do anything else. This is necessary for progress! Since you did so well tonight, I’ll make you dinner. Here’s your paycheck.
Rape is not sex. Capitalism is not progress.
When I started therapy, I had removed myself from my primary abuser. I believed the abuse was all over. I grew up in a nightmare, but now I had removed myself from it. I was back in the normal world, where things aren’t perfect but are at least okay. This was my chance to move on to a normal life.
I was so naive.
I used to keep an imaginary version of my family in my head, where everyone cared about each other’s feelings and wanted the best for everyone. Where I wasn’t being raped, where there wasn’t an hierarchy of scapegoating. It was painful to let go of that fantasy. It was heart-wrenching to admit to the reality. Every now and then when I was living with my family, something would happen to reveal the ugliness underneath in a way that I couldn’t repress it into a dark corner and forget. I would briefly see the abusive system for what it really is. Then I would get weak and return to the fantasy.
It wasn’t all bad, after all. We would sometimes have fun together. Make jokes that weren’t at each other’s expense, watch movies together, share our feelings. There was just enough of a functional family there we could cling to what worked and ignore everything that didn’t. It was only when I challenged the system that I felt the wrath of my family and the abusive dynamic that persisted after our primary abuser was out of the picture.
I think our current global system is like that, for privileged people like me anyway. I survived horrible abuse, but I am also white and grew up in an upper middle-class environment. Just as there was enough padding at home for me to ignore how we were fundamentally broken as a family, so too is there just enough padding for most people to ignore how society is broken and abusive.
It was only after I was thrust into adult life that I saw the cracks in the system. It was only when I was forced to get regular employment to avoid starving to death on the street that I saw the ugliness. It was only when it became apparent that I wasn’t just a little sad, but functionally disabled from PTSD that I realized the outside world wasn’t benign, but actively abusive. Especially toward anyone who challenged the system or couldn’t operate within it.
I didn’t leave the nightmare. I jumped from one nightmare to another. Granted, I have a chosen family (along with a few biological family members) that is genuinely loving and supportive. My life now isn’t all bad. But this isn’t at all how I imagined the world “outside the abuse” to look. I can’t get outside the abuse. I can’t leave the nightmare. I have spent the past ten years trying to leave the nightmare, and while the fight resulted in self-esteem, better coping methods, and a connection to a large network of amazing people, there is a nightmare on a larger scale that, most of the time, is invisible.
I can’t escape the nightmare, I can only become a lucid dreamer. I can accept the nightmare’s presence while fighting the status quo, because the status is NOT quo. I can learn to navigate the nightmare. To cope with the extreme feelings the nightmare causes. I can cultivate a sense of humor, a kind of warped sense of humor that mocks the garish visions I encounter. I can find allies within the nightmare. I can learn to exercise my power as a proper lucid dreamer, to shape the nightmare. I can connect to other lucid dreamers. And maybe, eventually, all of us together in unison can wake the collective human mind from its slumber.