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 Amazon.com 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.
Technorati: April, Blog Against Sexual Violence, Day to End Sexual Violence, health, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, woman, women, Womens Health