Saturday, March 17, 2007

It's My Birthday And I'll Blog As I Want To

Not my personal birthday. Today is Abyss2hope's first birthday.

It's hard to believe that it has been one full year since I created Abyss2hope and wrote my very first post explaining the purpose of this blog. There have been times when I wanted to tap a virtual microphone and say, "Is this thing on?"

Some of those times came at the beginning and some came after I made the decision to switch comments to moderated status and started deleting comments which contained personal attacks (against me or against all survivors) or which attempted to turn my comments into hostile territory where rape survivors are fair game. Some of these comments were outright vile and others were prettied up so they would have a better chance of being let through.

I'm glad I waited as long as I did before starting this blog because I needed the steps that proceeded this blog to maintain my resiliency. Capturing the dynamics of the dating relationship which ended in rape inside my novel Cherry Love, reluctantly going public as a rape survivor, having women tell me that my story mirrored their own, working on my local rape crisis line for over 9 years, etc.

I don't -- and won't -- treat all commenters and opinions equally. This is my blog and I have the right to set boundaries and refuse to allow those boundaries to be violated. And I know how to exercise my rights without feeling guilty about doing so.

In my personal world I will no longer tolerate disrespect or abuse -- including verbal abuse -- and I won't tolerate it in my blog world. I certainly won't tolerate victim blaming or denial. To some people this is enough for them to label me as weak, an anti-male bigot, or a bully for silencing others or for disputing their assertions about women.

You know what? All of that anger and hostility really has nothing to do with me.

If a valid point is wrapped in verbal abuse, it isn't my fault that the valid point is deleted or missed entirely. The verbal abuser is responsible for what he or she writes or says. This is true even if something I write triggers that person in some way. Between stimulus and response there is a choice.

It took me a long time to understand how my personal history -- which I refused to think about for years -- impacted my choices, but they were still mine even when they seemed totally crazy. So while I might have some empathy for the person who goes over the line, I won't let that empathy overrule my boundaries.

If these people give backhanded or direct support to rapists who behave with limited amounts of physical violence, it's doubtful anything I can say will make them see the situation from the rape victim's perspective. If their only reason for reading my blog is to figure out how to shut me up or shout me down, I owe them nothing in the way of consideration.

If I delete a man's comment, it isn't because he's a man and I obviously hate all men. Many men who view themselves as reasonable will openly deny women's experiences related to sexual violence. "You might think you were raped, but I'm telling you that you were not raped you just regret the decision you made to have sex." That is disrespectful and demeaning.

If anyone is delusional it is the rape-denial/feminist-brainwashing theorists. They don't want to see the harm being done around them related to sex so they find excuses to explain away the true cause of that harm and to silence people who have been harmed.

The only effective way to eliminate this harm is to openly acknowledge it and counter it in all of it's forms. That's why I started this blog, it's why I started the Carnival Against Sexual Violence and why I'm coordinating Blog Against Sexual Violence Day on April 5.

Abyss2hope might be mine alone, but the problems I address are not and neither are the solutions. When I started blogging I added my voice to many other voices who were already speaking out on this issue and other related issues. I can't even begin to name them all, but you can find some of them in different editions of the carnival against sexual violence.

Much of my personal strength comes from the knowledge that I'm not alone on this journey.

Beyond giving people something to read, my goal has been to help other survivors realize they aren't alone in their experience, to speak up for those who are too traumatized to speak up for themselves and to advocate for change so there will be fewer new victims in the future and less backlash against the remaining victims.

If you feel Abyss2hope has made a positive contribution, please let me know. Believe me those who don't like what I'm doing on behalf of rape victims and rape survivors have no trouble telling me so. Also, if you have suggestions for ways to get the word out beyond the blogosphere, that would be appreciated.

All the time I spend blogging is donated time. If you want to help me have more time to donate, you are welcome to make a donation through PayPal (the donation button is on the right side of my blog) or you can shop at through my associates program or you can buy merchandise at my Cafepress shop.

I also still have some personal (and new) copies of my autobiographical novel Cherry Love which you can buy and have autographed for $10 US plus shipping.

My email address is located on my personal profile page.

I'll end with a thanks to all of my readers and to everyone who has supported me in any way during the last year.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:18 PM   13 comments links to this post


At March 17, 2007 11:05 PM, Blogger Megan Bayliss said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY abyss2hope.
Your voice, your comment, your experience, your involvement is appreciated and a welcomed positive contribution to the collective voice of a range of people who demand zero tolerance toward sexual violence.

Thank you Marcella, for everything that you have done and that you continue to do.

Megan in Australia

At March 18, 2007 10:02 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Megan, I appreciate the positive feedback. It definitely helps to know there are others who share my goals.

At March 18, 2007 1:47 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

Hi Marcella,

I'm new to your blog, and I admit that I haven't had a chance to read through all your stuff, but I already like what I see.

Also, as someone who has also "gone public," I know how hard it was for you to start this blog, so I admire your courage in getting the message out. We need more voices.


At March 18, 2007 2:52 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Thanks, Scott, and welcome to my blog.

I didn't actually mean to go public when I did. I wrote my novel while trying to not talk about how I understood the subject matter. I let more slip than I meant to with a reporter and was shocked when I saw the headline: New Author Writes About Date Rape From Experience.

I hadn't told that much to people who knew about the book and feared I'd have to relocate. Instead of getting the harsh reaction I expected, I had women telling me they had been hurt in very similar ways. Until then I didn't realize how common non-stranger rape was.

In the online and blog world I have gotten the reaction I expected back then, but they just remind me why I need to keep speaking up.

At March 18, 2007 4:48 PM, Blogger Holly said...

Happy Birthday Belated,
Hope you get the buttons in time...take care
Marcella your voice is being heard.

At March 20, 2007 10:56 PM, Blogger RachelsTavern said...

Hey happy blog b-day.

At April 01, 2007 8:02 PM, Blogger The Speaker said...

Hi Marcella.
I'd like to submit something for consideration in the blog against sexual violence on April 5th but I don't know how. Any assistance would be very much appreciated.
Thank you and Happy Birthday.

love, jessieh
PS: I've reposted one of your latest articles on my blog. I've inserted your blog as the link and used your name as the author. I hope this is okay.

If not, just let me know and I will remove it from my blog.

Thanks again.

At April 01, 2007 8:42 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


To participate in the blog against sexual violence all you need is to announce your participation on your blog (I'll then add you to the blogroll) and then on April 5 write a post on the topic. The post can be as short of long as you want. Even a post saying: STOP COMMITTING SEXUAL VIOLENCE makes a big difference.

At July 10, 2007 10:48 PM, Blogger Marj aka Thriver said...

I've been coming to your blog for a long time, but I'm just getting around to reading this post and the one about the purpose of this blog. I'm glad you've included these here. Yes, Marcella, I think you are making a HUGE contribution through this blog and I hope you continue to do so. You are a voice for so many. I, for one, appreciate you and all that you do for survivors...and those who don't even yet know they are survivors.

At August 18, 2007 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for writing this. I can feel your anger in every word and it is justified anger. So often, people try and disenfranchise you by saying to let go of your anger, but what do they expect? Do they expect me to smile about the fact that I was hurt? I don't understand some people. Keep up the good work and I hope that you keep on writing. And no, you don;t hate men, you just hate rapists....there's a marked difference and any decent, descerning man should see this, or be open-minded enough to be made to see this.
Thank you,

At July 22, 2008 11:30 PM, Anonymous m Andrea said...

Marcella I think you are one of the best bloggers ever, and didn't realize you haven't been doing it for years and years -- it seems as if I've been reading for that long.

Thought this post might give me a clue as to what's appropiate. I keep meaning to go back and see if any of my vile spewage ever makes it out of moderation, LOL. I try to behave myself but the material usually flips me the freak out but apologies anyway.

Also been meaning to mention that I am pure unmitigated evil and btw can I put your addy on my blogroll? I crack myself up. No offence taken if you'd prefer to decline, not everyone appreciates being admired by the likes of me.

Oh please say yes, you know you want to. :)

At July 23, 2008 7:04 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

m andrea, you are welcome to add me to your blogroll. I'd give that response even without the praise, but thank you for the praise anyway.

At July 27, 2008 8:10 PM, Anonymous m Andrea said...

Oh thank you Marcell. People get seriously squicked by that f-n word so I don't use it all that much when I'm at other people's sites. Or if they don't me know first they run screaming from the room.


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