I’m interested in reconsidering the way we understand sexual violence and intimate partner violence, their victims, and their perpetrators. We need more complex models of sexual violence that seek real justice — not further harm. And we need to respect the complexity of lived experiences of pleasure, violence, and sexuality.
Yes, sometimes I can feel it coming on in slow motion like a head cold, but a head cold of heart, mind, and genitals wherein the pathogen is not rhinovirus but romance.
This is a flavor of existence I like to call “Compromise Mode.”
I am trying to rig my system so that every time I feel Compromise Mode coming on an alarm bell goes off feverishly somewhere in my nose, which lights up as bright as Rudolph and vibrates like fucking Santa Claus is coming to town the day before Christmas.
Compromise Mode is that state of mind we go into when our sexual and relationship boundaries are pushed beyond where we thought they ought to be, beyond where we thought we would ever let them go. For me, it characterizes both experiences of abuse, and of the low-level sexual aggression we experience often: Little and big ways in which one is disregarded, little and big aggressions, little and big hurts.
This state of extremity becomes the norm.
Today in depressing facts we need to do something about: This new report on the “sexual abuse to prison pipeline,” which cites sexual abuse as one of the greatest predictors of girls’ entrance into the juvenile justice system.
Not only does the report alert us to a serious problem in sore need of research and reform — it challenges us to think more rigorously, more systemically, and more kindly about cycles of trauma and abuse.
Put out by the Human Rights Project for Girls, the Ms. Foundation, and Georgetown’s Center on Poverty and Inequality, the report finds that girls are entering the juvenile justice system more than ever — and not because they are becoming more violent. Rather, increasing enforcement of laws against minor offenses — like misdemeanors and technical violations, as well as violations related to family crises — is landing more girls in jail.