Support for Survivors September 28, 2018 7:00 PM   Subscribe

This is a very difficult week for survivors of sexual assault. I’d like to request that the community come provide resources, poems/literature, articles, and really anything that focuses on supporting survivors. To clarify: this post is not about discussing the facts of the current news cycle, but a request to show love and support to our fellow mefites who may be suffering.
posted by CMcG to MetaFilter-Related at 7:00 PM (27 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

I find a lot of comfort in poetry & lately Lucille Clifton has really been speaking to me:

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
posted by CMcG at 7:05 PM on September 28, 2018 [11 favorites]

The personal stories interwoven into the various threads over the last few days have been harrowing - but the courage, wisdom, and humanity shown by so many on the site has been beautiful and rewarding. I just made a donation in honor of all of Metafilter’s survivors to RAINN, and would encourage others who are in a position to do so to consider the same.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:11 PM on September 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think it's because Beto mentioned the song during his debate with Ted Cruz, but I've had a line from The Clash song Clampdown rattling around in my head for a few days.

Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
Do you know that you can use it?

lyrics, youtube
posted by workerant at 8:32 PM on September 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

*hugs* to everyone who wants them.
posted by lazuli at 8:41 PM on September 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

To my fellow suffering mefites: I hear you. I believe you. You matter. Your experiences matter. Seeing evidence of trauma so many of us have lived writ large across every form of media, and seeing it so dismissed and slutshamed and "boys-will-be-boys'd" by so many.. it's so much. SO much to process and handle, and brings up so many long-buried ghouls.

And here's something for those of us like me: "I'm Tired of Performing Trauma."

This link is not meant to belittle or malign those of us who are speaking out. Please, PLEASE, keep speaking out if you need to and if you can bring yourself to do so. Shout, scream, demand to be heard, do it for yourself and for all the others who can't. Make life uncomfortable for anyone who doesn't care to listen. Make it known how many of us this affects. You deserve to be heard. You SHOULD be heard. We all deserve to be heard.

These particular pieces I linked to are in support those of us who can't for whatever reason, won't for whatever reason, or are too exhausted to do it anymore. It's not that we accept it, it's that we're out of spoons.
posted by erst at 9:09 PM on September 28, 2018 [15 favorites]

May I just say thank you for posting this?

Thank you for posting this.

I'm with lazuli. *hugs* for anyone who needs or wants them.
posted by nightrecordings at 10:41 PM on September 28, 2018 [4 favorites]

I posted a note on my Facebook, intended for my friends. I'm a lawyer who works with victims—sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking. It's been a significant component of my practice, and it's work I perform free; I've never taken a dime. So I offered to my friends: if you want help, or if you want to speak out, or if you want to talk with someone about what "help" or "speaking out" might look like, then reach out and I'll be glad to talk with you. And I'll believe you.

I mention this here for two reasons. First, because I received a lot of positive feedback from people who said versions of, "Just reading that helped me," and it's something y'all can do, too. You don't need expertise to remind your social circle that you'll listen and you will believe. If you say that loudly, then statistically it's likely someone in your audience will have a secret they haven't told or haven't dealt with. Even if that person has no intention of ever speaking, just hearing that you would believe them can be helpful. Tell them.

The second reason I mention it here is that my note spread a bit, with a few of my friends passing it along to their friends, so I figure it's appropriate to extend a similar offer here. If you have something and you want to talk about it with someone—someone who has relevant expertise, and who will believe you—then feel free to reach out. I'll switch on MeMail (which I usually leave off). If you read this in a week and I've re-deactivated name's in my profile, and I'm not that hard to find. Feel free to reach out.

(If you're looking to hire a lawyer, contact a bar association in your area for a referral to someone licensed in your jurisdiction. I'd be glad to talk with you about what sort of services might be helpful and what kind of lawyer you might ask for.)
posted by cribcage at 11:15 PM on September 28, 2018 [18 favorites]

This poem by Halsey from a Women's March early in the year feels appropriate.

"A Story Like Mine"

Full transcript.

But we are not free until all of us are free
So love your neighbor, please treat her kindly
Ask her story and then shut up and listen
Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian
Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs
Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues
For the people who had to grow up way too young
There is work to be done
There are songs to be sung
Lord knows there's a war to be won
posted by Fizz at 3:10 AM on September 29, 2018 [6 favorites]

The pain, rage and grief that have been expressed can only hint at stories yet untold.

Having this space gives hope to those who suffer in silence; thank you to all who make it safe and supportive. Good post. Needed. It has been a very tough week.

Big *hugs* to all who need them.
posted by kinnakeet at 3:34 AM on September 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think it's because Beto mentioned the song during his debate with Ted Cruz, but I've had a line from The Clash song Clampdown rattling around in my head for a few days.

Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
Do you know that you can use it?

lyrics, youtube yt

It was awesome in the moment, but in my mind at that time, the Clampdown reference was just there to point out again how much cooler Beto is than Ted. But in the days following it, I really thought it had to have been intended for much more than that, intended to produce the effect it did on us both. Because, like you, it got stuck in my head for days. If you know all the words by heart, it only takes one mental listen-through (or, if you're re-listening to it for real because Beto got it stuck in your head,) to get the chills when you get to those two lines in particular, and are struck by how salient and important it they are right now. And for people who didn't know the song but caught wind about the buzz surrounding it, and decided to google it and give it a listen, I hope that many of them will be struck by those lines and moved by the spirit of this song. For sure, anger is my power and I'm letting it fuel me.
posted by robotdevil at 6:57 AM on September 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Last week was... rough. Last night, feeling some guilt (I have no super recent trauma, everything I'm processing either happened at least a few years ago or is someone else's story, and I've heard and read stories far, far more devastating than anything I ever experienced) I decided to look up the RAINN online chat service. I didn't want to dump yet again on my friends, most of whom are dealing with as much or more than I am.

There were 64 people ahead of me in the chat queue.

This is a national trauma wound.

II had a glass of wine and went to bed. I'm fine.)
posted by Superplin at 9:53 AM on September 29, 2018 [15 favorites]

Thank you for this thread. I appreciate the thought.
posted by medusa at 9:56 AM on September 29, 2018

I've just been listening to Cold War on repeat.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:09 AM on September 29, 2018 [4 favorites]

I've been hearing woman after woman talk about their sexual assaults with minimizing language. "It wasn't that bad." "It could have been worse." "Well, X didn't happen so..." Here's what I want to say: We are conditioned to minimize our needs, to hide our pain, to not cause trouble but YOU ARE WORTH ANY HELP YOU WANT. If you feel any inkling that you want to talk to someone about something that happened to you, do not hesitate to reach out to a friend, to a therapist, to a help hotline.
posted by mcduff at 11:28 AM on September 29, 2018 [17 favorites]

I'm pretty sure I've only made it through this week because I'm in therapy, and my therapist spends a lot of time reminding me that my reactions to things are human and normal. She recommended the work of Susan David - her book Emotional Agility is all about how you can and should feel all the feelings! they're trying to tell you something! you don't have to struggle against them!

Whether you want to read about it or not, YOUR FEELINGS ARE OK. It's not the pain Olympics, and you don't have to have a specific reaction to anything. What you're feeling is the right thing for you to feel.

Hugs to those who want them. Camaraderie is helping me, however angry I am to know how many others have been through what I have. Thanks.
posted by wellred at 2:20 PM on September 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

It’s been a long and difficult week for this survivor. Thursday was my birthday and my wife and I went to go see my favorite band, The National, live here in Philly. It was difficult to give myself permission to have fun, and I drank too much for sure, but we did have a blast.

But damn, this week. I follow the mega threads very very closely, and have been watching with a rolling mixture of intense emotions observing the heroism and villainy on display.

I’m choosing self care right now, and just sat at my favorite sushi joint, but this thread kept coming back to me. I don’t have the bandwidth to write much more, so I’ll just link to this comment I made back in January of 2013 which still holds true (for me) and summarizes most of whatever wisdom or advice I’ve been able to land on. Hugs to all who want them. Hang in there. You’re gonna be okay.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:55 PM on September 29, 2018 [6 favorites]

Ah wow.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:20 PM on September 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Watching his testimony was what ended up feeling most triggering. Just remembering all those fucking entitled football-player rapists from high school made me sad.

Fuck those guys and their bro code.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 10:45 AM on October 1, 2018 [4 favorites]

I would like to extend a note of support to survivors who are not women. I see you. I believe you. I know the conversations can be tough because of the assumed genders. You matter. If you need to talk, my mefi mail is open.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 2:16 PM on October 1, 2018 [14 favorites]

didn’t know how much I would appreciate someone saying that until it happened. thank you
posted by lazaruslong at 6:03 PM on October 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thank you, I’m Not Even. I 100% intended for this to be for all survivors.
posted by CMcG at 6:04 PM on October 1, 2018 [6 favorites]

It's been a week of metal bands fronted by women for me.

Thank you I'm Not Even...
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:01 AM on October 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

CMcG - your post is absolutely lovely!! I have just gotten in the habit of specifically calling out to survivors who aren't women so there's no question of their inclusion. <3
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:39 AM on October 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

Mod note: Couple deleted. Come talk to us at the contact form.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:41 PM on October 2, 2018

Thank you, I’m Not Even. I 100% intended for this to be for all survivors.

just wanted to also confirm your post is lovely and i really appreciate the work you did to put this up and the sentiment.

I've been making an effort to get more into poetry lately (my sister is helping a ton) as it does feel really cathartic when done well, so i am grateful especially for recommendations!

To offer one myself, I recently read and really enjoyed Kaveh Akbar's Calling a Wolf a Wolf. It's his first full book and deals heavily with themes surrounding alcoholism and homosexuality and love and family and identity, but it floored me. A selection:


None of my friends want to talk
about heaven. How there is this eternity
and the one for those
more clerical with their faith.
I spend hours each week
saying “I can’t hear you”
into a phone and courting the affections
of neighborhood cats, yet
somehow never find time to burn the thigh
of an ox or a stack of twenties. Thought,

penetrate my cloud of unknowing.
I remain a hungry child
and the idea of a land flowing with milk
and honey makes me excited,
but I do wonder what gets left out –
least favorite songs on favorite albums,
an uncle’s conquered metastasis,
or the girl whose climaxes gave way to panic,
whose sobs awakened the feeling of prayer in me.
May they be there too, O Lord.
With each second passing over me
may that heaven grow and grow.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:19 AM on October 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

force + mass = revolution

like me

you have seen your body
an object in another's eye
your self
shattered in the hazy before

like me

you drown slow in a pool of
saliva breath held flat inside
your chest
beneath the weight of men

like me

your fury is unregarded
you've been loud or silenced
your rage
building day by day becomes a force
posted by ruetheday at 8:27 AM on October 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today!, I just want to thank you for the comments about survivors of sexual abuse and assault who aren't women that you've made here and in other threads. You've consistently, gently reminded people that we do exist and that it should be okay for us to look for support here and elsewhere. I'm deeply grateful to you for it. And for your offer here. I don't really have the words to explain what a comfort and relief it is to just be acknowledged. To feel less isolated.

Everything has been awful lately. Have been mostly avoiding mefi and trying to only skim the most essential news reports because it's all overwhelming, depressing, infuriating. It just keeps getting worse every day.
posted by zarq at 9:40 AM on October 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

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