What I Want Is to End Sexual Violence
by Rachel Doe Feb 15, 2016
There is something I don’t want to admit because it feels impossible, because there wouldn’t be much left of me and I’d feel insignificant and impotent in the face of it.
All I really want to do in this world is to end sexual violence.
And that’s still how I feel. Even after admitting it to a room full of people. Especially after admitting it to a room full of people.
For a long time I felt guilty about wanting it. I’ve come close to being raped but I haven’t gone all the way through it myself. I was worried that it felt kind of colonial – I want to ‘help’ all you poor people so no one has to go through what you went through - never mind I’ve had little personal experience.
My own first and closest call happened, ironically, while I was in law school. As stereotypical as it is to be raped by a stranger, my situation was 100% textbook – a fellow student, at my own party, in my own house. I got out. Since then I have come across many men and women who did not.
As law school continued, I learned about the standard approach to sexual violence: call it a crime and then try to punish a very small number of those who commit it in the hope that that will deter the rest by putting them in jail where they themselves are at greater risk of sexual violence. Even judged by its own standards it’s a poor excuse for a band-aid, let alone a solution.
To me, the biggest problem with this approach is that it waits for the aftermath before deigning to address it. So when I left school I was unconvinced that law reform (a long, laborious process riddled with police and politics) would be effective or gratifying. Better to go around it. Get on the partnership track, accumulate money and prestige in the private sector, carry the influence over to the public sphere and figure out how to fast-track change.
I always thought I understood the influence of gender stereotypes in the world. When I went to an Orgasmic Meditation class on a whim, I didn’t realize how much my understanding of masculinity and femininity would be challenged and changed. Turns out the undercurrent of masculine and feminine through the world permeates more of life than I ever appreciated. On one hand that seems obvious, but on the other it was a revelation.
As a woman I had always had the suspicion that my value in large part boiled down to my sex. Who I chose to have sex with reflected on my value as a woman (and would impact my perceived value by men in the future). And everything I did: the clothes I wore, the makeup, the exercise, the food (or lack thereof), was all to make me more sexually attractive.
Predictably though, I was snobby about sex. Amongst my friends it was a common attitude. We were all waiting for a guy who is smart enough, and hot enough, and ambitious enough. A man worth our time and attention. We were all waiting for flirtatious sexual attention from that kind of man. But God help the less intelligent, less attractive, less ambitious man who looked our way – that was creepy and rude and objectifying. It’s a harsh double standard.
Even if I got attention from a man "worthy" of my sex, both of us were still, to some extent, playing by “the rules.” If I responded sexually too quickly, I was afraid he might think that I didn’t value myself enough, because it seemed like I would sleep with anyone - even the undeserving. Knowing that there was the risk I’d be perceived as "cheap and easy" I would hold back. AND, I always had the lingering suspicion that this man might only want me for my body, so I should make him wait – to test the sincerity of his intentions. Its quite a calculation to hold in your head.
At least for men, sexual desire is considered normal and healthy (albeit potentially dangerous to women). But because women are ever retreating, it gets to feel like men are ever chasing. Hunger (real and perceived) accumulates, and its not attractive to women. The cycle continues, and the suspicion of the other sex (that women withhold sex and all men want is sex) turns into proof, which only compounds over time.
So while it used to be that the only plausible explanation for sexual violence was our social conditioning around the stereotypes of aggressive men and weak women, I realized there had been a missing link. It was how sex made me feel. How it makes women feel.
The one truth I was oblivious to was this: unconditional attention on my pussy gives me energy - like recharging a battery.
When I started OMing every day I was able to accumulate enough energy to get out of the vicious cycle of depriving (myself) and withholding (from men), and into a virtuous cycle of nourishing my sex and letting it nourish myself and others. I no longer think that my sex is a scarce resource that I have to protect. Its actually there for me to enjoy. When men in the street catcall me - I smile back. They want what I have, and now I have enough to spare. I can even enjoy it!
This is the only thing I have experienced that I believe has a shot at interrupting sexual violence. Orgasmic Meditation has women fill up, turn on, and love out in a way that (at scale) has the potential to arrest the cycle.
As for feeling guilty about never having been raped, a friend of mine who has herself been through a lot put my heart at ease. When I told her how I felt and what I wanted, she said: “You just don’t want to see your sisters suffer, there’s nothing wrong with that.” And so it is.
(Photo Credit: Unknown)