i’ve wondered much of life –before i got raped & then later, after i had– what motivated people to commit sexual assault. i knew rape was not a crime of passion but one of power; i knew that because that is one of the myths victim advocates are always looking to dispel. And maybe it’s because i’ve lived with that truth a long time or maybe –and this is the way it feels– i knew that before anyone ever explained it. Understood that rape is always about domination.
but how sex could be a part of that was deeply confusing to me. i thought that maybe, one day, when i was an actual writer, i could have the clout to go to prisons and interview men. i didn’t figure it was the kind of venture i would be allowed to undertake unless i had some authority. and i figured this might bring to me the understanding i wanted. because to attack someone, to throw things, computers, books, fist, made perfect sense: of course when we are angry, we destroy. of course when we are not heard not obeyed we rage.
i have a temper. i’ve acted out. i’ve wanted to lash out far more than i have. i can feel a boiling presence just under my skin, head like a steam engine on a looped track, turns getting tighter as the engine goes faster and faster.
but that that energy could be fueled by sexual desire eluded me. confused me. it seemed so perverse. backward.
i got a partial answer reading Peter Watts. His explanation was biology, that male sexuality was hard wired to violence. this has been my working understanding, for want of a better one. and it was an unsatisfying answer, because i could not understand it viserally, only as a yes box checked beside “does [rape] have a rational explanation?”
[There’s a line from Jeff Vandermeer’s City of Saints and Madmen “he suddenly understood viserally what he had previously only known cogntively”. as I don’t have the book in front of me, i’ll have to rely on the paraphrase. this line gets to the heart of experiences i’ve had, where i tumble into understanding i previously had only known as fact, as in this next episode]
I was standing in my living room, this pile of laundry in ikea bags waiting to be folded, and i started to unbutton my jeans, thinking that i’d slip into something cooler and likely somewhere in the pile were sleeping shorts.
and suddenly, i got it. Got the erotics of it, of power. And i got in relation to my son. the toddler, with whom ive been fighting for months and long days, to simply do the thing I ask.