(The Daily Rumpus) What Change Looks Like

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Underneath the now-commonplace conversations about rape culture and the consequences of holding men accountable for bad behavior, there has been a mur

   

Underneath the now-commonplace conversations about rape culture and the consequences of holding men accountable for bad behavior, there has been a murmur of the “backlash” to come.

Two steps forward, three nasty op-eds back.

Here’s what I want to say to you: of course there is pushback against what is, at the least, an interrogation of the societal norms which allow for women to be seen as sexual objects, as lesser than, as unreliable narrators of our own lives, and what may be, at best, the dismantling of the patriarchal systems that place white men and their wants and needs ahead of all else.

Of course it hurts worst when this pushback comes from other women. From authors we admire. From publications we’ve dreamed of writing for.

But, this “backlash,” this pushing against progress—this is a desperate effort to silence us. A last-gasp attempt at controlling us. And so, we must not be silenced. We must not be derailed by backward-looking think pieces masquerading as reasonable counterpoints to our stories of harassment, assault, and abuse.

There is no argument that justifies silencing victims. There is no reasonable counterpoint to the pervasive reality of sexual harassment and abuse.

We cannot waste our breath, our energy, or our time engaging with those who refuse to engage with complexities of rape culture. Instead, we keep doing exactly that which has inspired this backlash: Telling our truths. Sharing our stories. Insisting on accountability. We keep fighting.

If there is a backlash, it is because they’re afraid we might win. And what does winning look like? It looks like change. There will always be fear alongside change. Those of us who aren’t afraid, then, must lead the way.

Love,
Marisa

P.S. We’ve just announced our AWP 2018 offsite event, and it’s going to be ah-may-zing. If you’ll be in Tampa, join us! RSVP here.

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