sometimes with these posts i am writing as fast as i can, hitting on an idea, but wanting to explore so much more that might be connected. so it is with the “suddenly i got it” post about understanding rape, which is to say i came to new comprehension of power and specifically, power felt within the body over another body.
there’s different directions to go with this, different trains of thoughts which have occurred to me.
one: this might be considered a pre-thought, or rather, an occurrence and realization that happened prior to the “suddenly” post and for which the “suddenly” post owes its existence. back in the summer, just after my second son was born, we were holed up in a hotel room trying to see my husbands parents in a city far from where we live and no so close to where we were staying. the whole decision to go to the city, to meet the parents, right after giving birth, was due to a[n ongoing] fight with my own mother. so the trip was fraught with more than the normal amount of tension one might have while traveling with an infant under two weeks old and a toddler just under three years.
at some point, my husband, growing angrier and angrier in trying to get the toddler to obey, turned the toddler over and began spanking him. my husband doesnt believe in spanking, and this was clearly desperation and anger–he was willing to do anything to communicate with the toddler, to break through to him, to get him to obey.
but the thought in my own head is what startled [and scared] me:
“when’s my turn?”
i did not mean, when do i get to be spanked, but when do i get to spank him. and the thought was unbidden, a physical, almost erotic reaction to the scene in front of me. i want to be involved in the violence. i want to justifiably beat some one–particularly this disobedient someone–into submission.
i was eager. excited. /ready./
i hope i never have to admit any of this to anyone.
its an ugly thing. an unsettling thing to recognize.
id like to rush in now and point out how this incident is also the cusp of me seeing myself, my own anger, working with a therapist, initiating meditation, working actively on being a responsible parent with new approaches to discpline … but all of that, even being true, i would express here to try and salvage some good name, so i dont sound like a complete monster. and it simply doesnt matter. for the purposes of this blog, and this blog post, the import is in seeing, recognizing that desire for violence.
two: how can men and women ever come together? can there be a future for heterosexuality? i think largely that question has been pushed aside since the feminist separatists (not sure if that’s the actual term) of the 70s. the fact is, we are heterosexual, and so continue on with men despite these things. but to see, to /feel/ the sense of entitlement over another’s body. to feel it was a duty, even, that somehow I *had* to compel my son to some action by any means necessary, and to realize, this is just how men feel. why? why indeed. it likely wouldnt occur to a man to question that authority over womens bodies anymore than i would question my authority over my son.