I'm so tired. I’m not supposed to be. That’s supposed to be next month, when my anniversaries hit, and I wait around for the shit to hit the fan. When I wait so much that I can't sleep, and walk through the month in a haze. But this month has already been so hard.
I watched a brave woman testify in front of the world about her experiences as a teen. I was moved when she said that she had trouble with her schooling, like I have. Online, friends state she should have remembered more, that her limited memory makes her less credible. It doesn’t matter how long I explain how memory works after a traumatic event, the swiss cheese like holes we are left with, people still think she should remember everything with picture perfect clarity. I'm tired.
A former friend states that he will support survivors as long as he knows a rape actually happened. I get mad, and told him it's irresponsible to demand proof before offering support. His friend says I am twisting his words. He then tells me that women who don’t report are contributing to the problem. I remind him that victims are in control of who they do or do not tell, and that the only person responsible for raping, is rapists. I tell him that forcing victims to come forward doesn't always help. I tell him that his exact attitude only hinders the healing of survivors who never told. He decides “he’s out" and ends the conversation. He has that luxury. I'm tired.
An out of state relative posts a long post, the gist of which says “innocent until proven guilty.” This family member has always been supportive, so I decide to ask her about proof. I ask about the rape kit backlog in her state. I ask what should be done for the survivor in cases where they don’t have physical proof. She tells me that my views on false reports is troubling, even though that's not what I was trying to discuss. She tells me she is sorry that I am unable to move on, and understand that not every man is guilty. She refuses to discuss what we can and should do for survivors, seeing my views as problematic. She discusses with me no further, breaking my heart just a little because I know how capable she is of having a discussion that is not biased and free of politics. I am tired.
I watched the news as the FBI put on a sham of an investigation, in which neither the accused nor the accuser was interviewed. I watched as parties either praised or denounced said investigation, aligning pretty much as I had expected them to. It doesn't matter that sexual assault happens on both sides of the political aisle. The left blames the right, and the right blames the left, and we are left with people in between who, like me, are so tired.
Today I watched 50 senators show how little they care about the plight of the survivor. I watched people everywhere wonder why we even bother. I have seen my peer's exhaustion, and I feel that. I wonder honestly if roles were reversed, if this would have gone the same way, and am disheartened when I think that the outcome would have been the same. The whole situation almost makes me want to give up, and stop fighting, and just resolve myself to the reality.
But then, I see the new activists. Survivors who have just found the courage to come forward. Survivors who are ready to take on the world and whatever it brings. These people give me strength. I am still so tired. But I will drag my tired body along with them, and fight beside them, holding them up as they become as exhausted as me. We are not alone. We have millions of people to lean on throughout our exhaustion. We have people who understand exactly how difficult this last month has been. With them, I will continue fighting, speaking, writing, until we can make a positive change in this world.