Rape culture and self-censuring women

June 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Decompressing in a coffee shop after dealing with a bad situation at work. Yesterday a simple joke about a cistern in the basement of the house we are renovating spiralled in to revenge fantasy about my co-worker’s soon to be ex-wife. When one of the other workers chimed in with mentioning a well known date rape drug I reacted by shutting down the conversation.

I didn’t think anything more of it for the rest of the day but this morning I woke up from a 10 hour sleep and I did not want to go to work. As I recounted the incident to my husband this morning I realized how upset I was feeling. I didn’t want to go into work. I realized I was going to have to confront both of these co-workers about how in appropriate their conversation was. I dreaded that almost more than having the original experience.

I reported the situation to my boss and he was upset and going to talk to these workers. He has not arrived on site yet as I write this.

I am taking a break to collect myself and get to work. My feelings are multi-layered and complex. They are complex because, even as I write about one aspect of the experience, new feelings come up that shade what it is possible for me to know about the incident and the interpretations I put on it.

The main point that I must deal with immediately is that I feel betrayed and my trust has been eroded with these co-workers. We work on a construction site and we need to trust that we are all paying attention to each other’s safety as we work through the different projects.

Now I need to get back to work but I no longer feel safe or trusting with these co-workers. I am afraid that the fact that I spoke up is the problem rather than the fact of their inappropriate conversation. Rape culture. Silencing women through millennia.

The point is that it was my responsibility to speak up because otherwise they would not have known how disturbing their conversation was to me. Top everyone, men and women, wee are only going to raise awareness one conversation at a time.

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