Sunday, June 28, 2009

I hate my conscience

Reading this article by Renee of Womanist Musings made me really uncomfortable. That isn't unusual. Renee speaks her truth and does so bluntly. Her truth includes intense criticism of things that I get to take for granted, and if you can stay comfortable in a situation where your privilege is challenged, then you are doin' it wrong.

This is different.

In her article, she makes the point that prison rape is still rape and is still a crime and is still a violation of basic bodily integrity.

As far as my morals and my social/political positions, I agree completely.

But there is a twisted little worm in my gut that doesn't. An angry, scarred and vengeful part of me. I think of the people who are in prison for violating the bodily integrity of others, rapists...murderers...I think about the people they have hurt, and a part of me wants them to fucking suffer the pain they have inflicted on others. Yes, I realize they are still people, despite their actions...but why do they get the rights that they violated in others? Why do they get to live a life without that pain, fear and scars?

The logical part of me usually pipes up around here to remind me that revenge fantasies are not constructive, and to point out that I can't hope to help bring an end to rape culture and still tolerate it happening. How can I hope to help deconstruct this concept of shame in being penetrated, the power dynamics that create the current societal attitude toward rape, if I still, personally consider it a just punishment for a rapist? How will that accomplish anything besides continuing to reinforce the messages that excuse rape to begin with? It also points out to me that most justice systems are flawed enough that there is not always a certainty that the person in prison for the crime actually committed it.

These are not easy standards to live up to, and I can see just how far this seeps into our minds. Its what happens when you are soaked in rape culture for the whole of your existence, and if we want that to end, we have to be able to admit that we are a part of it as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment