Dear Predators Who Don’t Know (Or Maybe Do) That They are Predators: (And How to Not Raise Another Generation of Predators)

It may have taken us awhile for us to find our voice — but don’t you dare ask us why it took us so long.

When someone takes something from you that doesn’t belong to them — they take your voice too.

I’m finding mine. We are all finding ours. 

When someone takes something from you that wasn’t theirs, they try to give you shame — and count on that shame gagging you for years.

But never doubt it: Silence for years about an assault does not, and cannot hush, the truth of that assault.

When someone gropes your body, they grab a bit of your soul, the part of you that speaks, and it can take years, decades, for you to gather up the pieces of your voice and slice the silence with truth.

But The Truth always finds it voice — because the Truth is like the lion of Judah and you will hear it roar.

You may have taken something that wasn’t yours — but now I get to tell a story that is mine.

I didn’t want you to touch me.

You reached out and your fingers felt along my skin and I shrunk back and tried to play dead, like the way they tell you to play dead when you’re being mauled to death by a bear, and a part of me has been soundlessly dying for years.

You took something from me that I didn’t want to give. Read that again: You took something from me that I didn’t want to give. Do you have any idea of the pain behind those string of words? It wasn’t yours to touch, it wasn’t yours to take, it wasn’t yours to trespass.

What makes a man think his hungers trumps a woman’s humanity?

What makes a man think that his desires trumps a woman’s dignity — that a man’s wants trumps a woman’s needs?

Women are not prey — they are persons.

The moment that any one sees someone as less human than themselves, is the moment more evil scars all of humanity.

Do onto others as you would have them do onto you — is the only way we can do no harm.

Hear this righteous roar: We are not some cup of tea for you to swig down, we are not five bucks for you to swipe and get a high for getting away with it, we are not some quick feel to make you feel good, and we are not a piece of meat for you to devour to satisfy your insatiable appetite for power.

We are not prey — We are persons.

What can be so violating about sexual assault is that it’s more than only an assault on a body — it’s an assault on a sacred soul.

Skin is the outer layer of the soul — and touching someone’s skin is touching someone’s soul.

And no one should touch a consecrated soul without having consent.

If you don’t have consent with words — it doesn’t matter what messages you think anyone is sending.

Asking for consent sends the message that her womanhood trumps your wants.

And this is the thing: Consent isn’t so much about an equal sense of permission as consent depends on the equal distribution of power — or there’s intolerable violation of rights.

Power can be the most powerful duct tape — to silence someone’s voice, someone’s needs, someone’s rights.

And you didn’t ask if you could take a bit of my body which is the thin membrane of my soul. And if you never ask and you take it without consent — it’s not okay, just because you didn’t hear the no I was screaming in my head.

And if you did ask to take from someone and you never heard a clear answer — then you clearly need to stop. Because it’s never okay to take anything from someone when you first haven’t taken the time to hear their voice.

Situations can silence — and that’s exactly when you can’t take advantage of the situation.

You never have permission to touch anyone unless their words have given you permission.

And if you used physical strength or emotional manipulation or differential power to get what you wanted from someone? No matter what words were said, you assaulted, stole, robbed, and violated and denigrated. Forcing a yes out of anyone still means too much force was used.

Hear our roar: If you took what someone didn’t want to give, but it can’t be indisputably proven in court — that doesn’t mean for one second that you didn’t violate and denigrate that person.

And this is always indisputable:

No person’s unwanted touch — can touch how another person is wanted and valued.

No person’s power can deprive any of us of our personhood.

And no person’s assault on any of us can assault anyone’s worth.

No person’s unwanted touch — can touch how another person is wanted and valued.

The people of God’s hunger for power may make them more tolerant of immoral behaviour, but the God of the people, He’s hungry for holiness and proves that real power makes people behave more like Christ. And Christ didn’t denigrate women, but venerated women.

Christ didn’t abuse power as a means to satisfy Himself, but He laid down power and used grace as a means to sacrifice Himself and save the world.

This is the roar that whispers through the fractures of brave hearts: Even now, when you are seared by past, love can still find you, even when you terrified of trusting again, of feeling again.

The preyed on, they can turn and rise, and be the ones to feast on healing love and banquet on grace and taste the courage of now.

 

Related:
35 Things We’d Better Tell Our Sons About Harassment, Assault & “Boys will be Boys”
About those “20 Minutes of Action”: 20 Things We’d Better Tell Our Sons Right Now About Being Real Men
How to be the Parent You Want to Be: 40 Things a Child needs to know Before they Leave Home
Dear Kids: Why Wait till Marriage — What No One Tells You & What I Wish Someone Had Told Me
Letters to the Wounded

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