Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

A bandwagon it is an honour to jump on

No Pity No Shame No Silence

I've used a couple of days of streaming cold to dither about this one. Simply because, back in the day, when it happened, was at the time when trans people who got raped were supposed to shut up about it.

That was in the late seventies and early eighties when there were feminist theoreticians who argued that trans women who identified as feminists let alone as dykes had 'turned their entire body into an organ that rapes and divides women'. (That may not be an absolutely word- perfect quote from Jan Raymond, but it is close enough that I don't feel like putting myself through the ag of looking it up.)

And, in any case, even though I was in the early stages of transition, I did have certain advantages - specifically, after the rape, I managed to distract him, get his knife off him and hit him a few times until he went away. That upper body strength is a piece of inalienable male privilege which, right then, I was quite glad to have.

It was also something that I got to turn into an occasional anecdote for special occasions - the specifics of how I distracted him were a 'Roz is so cool and smart' story. I even turned it into a section of my unpublished novel about Chicago. Sometimes I wonder whether my memory of it has been hopelessly contaminated by the story I tell about it, and then I think some more and realize it is all pretty real.

(OK I lunged for a draw where there was a whip and he lunged ahead of me and got the drawer with my tarot deck. So I laid him a celtic cross and told him he was in a lot of trouble, and kicked the knife out of his hand. I was foolhardy and pissed off and quite incredibly lucky. Don't do this at home.)

It changed me a bit - it reduced my interest in penetration to a point where, when there were problems with my surgery, I could consider alternatives with equanimity. It made me less likely to trust men I didn't know really well - though, oddly, inclined to trust the ones I did more.

And it possibly led to my idealizing women by contrast to a point where something fairly trivial but still unacceptable could happen almost a decade later. ( It's the point when you wake up from a dream of mediocre sex and realize that you are quite sore - and don't know which of the two women in a corner of whose large bed you were sleeping to blame.)

Even in circles where transwomen are now acceptable, we still have to cope with the occasional bit of scapegoating and the occasional bit of sexual tourism...

So, anyway, I survived - it helped me survive things in my life that were in lots of ways far worse - and I am conscious that, compared to a lot of people who have posted, I got off quite lightly both in terms of what happened and in terms of its longstanding effect on me.

You have to speak out, just to share solidarity. And this is my bit of the story.

I am Roz. I was raped. I survived.
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