Consent Has Never Existed

The reason there are so many humans is because of rape.

The reason women are smaller than men is because of rape.

The history of mankind is a rape manual.

We are coming into uncharted territory, a world without rape. Never before could we say no. What does yes mean if you’re not allowed to say no? How can you concede when you cannot deny? Women have been denied the most basic primary needs: the freedom to control our fate. Until now.

Men are going on a global rape-spree because they know the end to their power is here. They’ve been desperately working to the the world a more rape-able place because instinctively they understand that without rape, their biological imperative, to ‘procreate’ (that is, to steal a woman’s body as a genetic factory for their garbage DNA), will be universally denied.

When women can say no, men will find their lives to be meaningless. Suddenly, not every man gets the woman he feels is owed him. Many, most men will never participate in the conception of children because women recognize when men are not good mates.

Women saying no will, at last, steer evolution. Instead of men accessing as many female bodies as possible in a war against their own obsolescence, women will strategically and with great care and self-love be able to choose with whom and when they create human life.

Men have a death drive to impregnate women with clones. Women have a life drive, to raise their offspring to adulthood in a manner that makes the world a better place for everyone. Until now, men’s drive, out of sheer violence and power monopoly, has reigned.

Now, women can say no. And men are suddenly finding that women aren’t saying yes anymore.

Unfortunately, because men are such garbage, there will be a lot more rape until there isn’t any rape ever again.

On Making Amends

I know a woman who’s decided what she needs from men in order to consider working alongside them ever again. She’s been abused and mistreated and crazy-made and isolated, threatened and raped and nearly killed. She wants amends. She doesn’t want sorry, she wants actions that prove men are ready to abandon privilege and allow us the power they’ve so viciously and ritually denied us, forever.

All men have harmed women. There is no man in patriarchy whose hands are clean. ALL MEN BENEFIT FROM OTHER MEN MAKING WOMEN AFRAID TO SPEAK UP OR SAY NO.

All men.

This is not debatable. This is what patriarchy IS. It’s a brotherhood, and you don’t opt out, drop out, transition out, nothing. You’re a lifelong member of the rape club and if you’re not actively fighting it and amplifiying women’s voices and calling out your brothers even when your life is at risk, you don’t get to speak at all. But that is still not amends.

Here’s the thing. If you were SORRY, you would STOP.

If you didn’t LIKE IT, it would END.

If you wanted a new way, we would HAVE IT.

That’s because you, men, created a world where your power is the only power worth anything. So you took the power and you lied and lied about women, and now you’re super sad that so many women are angry and loud and really really mean.

Your feelings are meaningless, stop trying to make us care. You are the ones stalling a revolution, clinging desperately to your moms and girlfriends daughters and begging them to remember your dear, sweet humanity, because you know you’ve hurt women and you deserve to be left behind. You can’t move forward because you’d lose all the sweet perks, so you keep women back to keep you company, even though you can see her vitality leave her for your black hole vampirism. Better her than you, every time, for millennia.

Amends means identifying and correcting every wrong you’ve ever done, changing everything, giving it all up. Amends means suffering. It means looking deep into yourself and hating yourself in a constructive way. Don’t take your self-hate and make it our problem. Stop stalking and murdering us and our children when we leave. LET US GO.

If you want to change, you will. You know how. Stop asking us. It’s your problem now. We’re doing this without you, and you won’t like the world you’ve made for yourselves once we’re out of it.

Female-Only Space

My home has been women-only for about half a year now. My mom’s ex husband moved out and it was just her and I until we offered our basement to a friend and her daughter. We space four generations: a teen, me in my late twenties, my friend in her forties and my mom in her fifties.

I would call it peace. I would call it power.

My brother said it hurt his feelings.

On the weekend after canadian colonial invasion and animal sacrifice day (“thanks””giving”), we had some company for a turkey dinner. My mom’s brother and his wife, and my brother and sister came over. At the dinner table, my uncle got so rattled that the pepper wasn’t coming out of the shaker that he slammed the shaker on the table (twice) right in front of his wife’s plate (never his, you see. It’s not his problem, it’s her. Ours.)

My friend’s daughter is a vegetarian like me and she chose not to be in the house while the animal was roasting all day. Good thing. My brother, gynergy vampire #1 in my life and my mom’s too, was staying for a few days and there was a lack of communication with my friend. We had talked about protecting the home and maintaining it as a safe space for women. We hadn’t communicated with her that apparently my brother was exempted from this rule (how did we miss it?).

The only disagreement that has ever happened in the house has been because of male presence.

My friend spoke with my mother, as the matriarch, and wasn’t hesitant to explain to my brother as well as he’d overheard. My brother had a lot of feelings all over the place about not being implicitly trusted for absolutely no reason in a house full of victims seeking refuge from male violence.

My brother was the first one to not believe me when I exposed my mom’s husband as a child molester.

My brother was the first one to call me a whore after I was loaded and someone he knew tried to fuck with me.

My brother was the first to expose me to woman hating, the first to make me hate myself, the first to put himself first over me and then guilt me for identifying that behaviour.

My brother, who soooo isn’t a misogynist.

*

Women have a right to create spaces for themselves that men cannot invade. In fact, I believe that women leaving male-enforced isolation and banding together is what will save the planet and humankind. I don’t really care if men benefit from us taking well-deserved control, but I guess some women do care, so that should make them feel better.

But men don’t want to benefit from the new way, because the benefits from the old way include so many more orgasms and rape and progeny and free labour.

They might act as though they really don’t like being called pussies or whine about how unfair it is that they can’t walk behind a woman at night without invoking a genetic and social fear of rape and murder in her. But in reality, most of them don’t actually care, because they really like the whole rape thing.

*

My friend said that since moving in with us, she’s felt security in the first time in her life. She is newly awakened to the depths of patriarchy as the original destroyer. As a Dianic witch in a very male subscene, she was so influenced by men that they were able to convince her that class was the major divide. But even impoverished men pay for rape.

We were talking last night and she said something about still wanting to pursue men for sex from time to time (not in our home) and I said, Well, as long as you are gaining some sort of energy from them for yourself, which I assume you have to be.

She didn’t say anything. I think she has been so used to (used by) male presence that they haven’t let her think even for a moment what it would be like to not fuck them. That that could ever even be an option.

The farther I am from men, the more I see. I draw my sisters near to me. I’ll fight for them even as men have them fight me. I demand peace and power, respite and sanctuary.

Aside

Women are stronger with women

So I’m of the radical mind that any woman can be a lesbian. Any woman can leave men, do The Work, and be with women.

Women are born and raised in a patriarchy. One of the key tenets of patriarchy is compulsory heterosexuality. This manifests in a number of ways and varies by place and time but it always means women are taught to fuck men, cater to men, birth males, and see women and femaleness as less, as Other. Compulsory heterosexuality means women are not allowed to be lesbians. Men make sure lesbians are derided and degraded in media, that lesbophobic slurs are commonplace, that lesbians never see themselves represented anywhere, and that women are punished for loving women too much. It’s not subtle. Iterations of lesbians in all media are raped by men or die—or are not lesbians at all because their male creator had them fuck men. Little girls are called dykes for holding their friends’ hands in grade school. Most girls these days are first exposed to lesbians through porn, which is made by and for men. (This first exposure is changing and we do have more positive, strong lesbian women to look up to than we ever had before.)

And that’s just the pressure to NOT be a lesbian. The pressure to fuck men is just as powerful. The two feed off each other, they work in layers, they are employed based on the need at the time. Are women deciding not to marry men? Make it so women can’t afford to live alone. Are women deciding to live with other women? Destroy and demean female friendships. Are women lesbians? Remind them that their bodies belong to men, that they are performing for the male gaze, that men can decide to be them just to get to fuck them.

Girls are raised to hate other girls, and they grow up to hate women. We are rewarded for it. We are always encouraged to tear other women down. And there men are, eternally praised and promoted as the proper (only) choice, the hero, the inevitable result of being a woman. Patriarchy, MEN, derail young women from lesbianism by child sexual assault and rape. CSA grooms women for a lifetime of heterosexual abuse. This can become a cycle that destroys countless women.

My question is, is it any wonder there are not more lesbians?

The Born This Way narrative is politically expedient. “Don’t discriminate against us, we can’t help how we were born.” It appeals to the religious narrative: God made us this way. It makes sense to a lot of women. Many, if not most lesbians knew they were gay from a very young age. Was it before compulsory heterosexuality ‘got’ to them? Not in all cases certainly. But I think that might be part of it. When you are able to know yourself before someone else tells you who you are, you are more likely to fight back, to not believe the lies.

Women who were always lesbians are still submitted to compulsory heterosexuality. Harassment, abuse, heterosexism, corrective rape, are all ways of keeping lesbians in line, to remind them who they are there for: men. Lesbians are the punching bag for patriarchy because they are the furthest removed from men.

Later in life lesbians and political lesbians did not escape compulsory heterosexuality. They frequently had relationships with men before coming out. They bring with them huge amounts of male-identification, internalized misogyny, the poison of lesbophobia and homophobia. It takes huge amounts of self-awareness and self-love to move beyond seeing yourself as an object to be fucked to a subject with genuine emotion and love. (This isn’t to say always-lesbians don’t deal with self-hatred; they absolutely do, and it’s encouraged by patriarchy for all women, especially lesbians, to hate themselves). One thing that always struck me when I was with men was how much I felt like an actor. My words, my movements were not my own. I was presenting a preconceived notion of woman (read: straight woman) for the male gaze. I wasn’t ME—I was what I knew they thought I was. I learned this ideal from movies and porn and real life straight relationships. I had no lesbian role models that weren’t torn apart by men in order to keep me from straying from my ‘path’. When I found radical feminism, suddenly my words were my own. I was speaking with power and assurance. I knew what I was saying was my truth. And contrary to the idea of Born This Way that I’d grown up with, I saw that many radical feminists chose to devote their energy and words and love to women. And frequently, they fell in love with these women. It seems, to me anyway, to be such a natural progression of love. You’re with men, and in quiet and loud ways they hate you. You often hate yourself. You radicalize and find love. You learn to love yourself. You speak with love and love women. Then you Love Women. It is sexual, though not in the patriarchy prescribes sexuality. I think this is the key reasons some lesbians don’t approve of or believe in political lesbianism. Because male sexuality, which informs all female sexuality but most especially the sexuality of women who have sex with men, is toxic, parasitic, violent, and draining. I’ve said before that part of the reason it took me so long to figure out I’m a lesbian was because I didn’t want to do with women what men had done to me. That was my idea of sexuality. It wasn’t something I would inflict on someone I loved. It was something DONE TO me, not mutually shared. Patriarchy and men almost destroyed my ability to love women. And that was ON PURPOSE. And they succeed so frequently.

I believe that most women don’t actually want to be with men, and their “attraction” is nothing more than brainwashing and patriarchal grooming. Why else would patriarchy have to work so hard to keep women with men? If it’s so natural, why not let it progress naturally instead of forcing it upon us and removing all access to agency and choice? Women are tortured by the way they’ve been trained to react to men. I’ve had heartbreaking conversations with women who would do anything to undo what compulsory heterosexuality did to their brains and bodies from before they could speak. But the brain is incredibly resilient and plastic; heterosexuality can be unlearned with the rejection and removal of men.

I think the misconceptions around political lesbianism is a problem with language. As radical feminists, we cannot have the same idea of sexuality as the patriarchy does. We cannot demand that lesbians have sex—that is up to the lesbians. We are not men. We must be honest and real with each other. If you’ve been with men, you know they damage you. Having sex with men and being exposed to male-centric porn and media makes you feel like you can’t have sex with a woman without objectifying her, without hurting her as you’ve been hurt. This takes time to work through, maybe all the time in the world. But a woman who loves women, who only wants to be with women, and who is attracted to women, with whatever baggage she brings, is a lesbian. It’s not political celibacy—that’s called spinsterhood and it’s admirable as fuck but different. It’s not that I’m trying to mince words. I take umbrage with phrasing like ‘lesbians want to fuck women’ and ‘lesbians want to have sex with women’ because they are both so stained by maleness and PIV-centrism. It’s almost certainly because I was stained by maleness that I struggle with the patriarchal lexicon, and that’s my issue and the issue of all women who have been exposed to toxic male sexuality and their control of language.

It’s interesting that when this conversation first started happening in the seventies, it was lesbians telling straight women to ditch men and discover women, and straight women saying they love the cock and the privileges and they’re just fine thanks ever so. It’s changed now, and I do understand why. But the women looking to political lesbianism aren’t het women who’ll go back to men. They are radical feminist women who eschew men and value women, and that’s an important distinction. Every woman can be a lesbian. Not every woman should be. Some women will hurt lesbians and destroy them with their male identification–they should not be lesbians until they do The Work. But no woman is born straight. Women are groomed, and in that process there is real harm.

For me, political lesbianism was a stepping stone. It made me realize that just because I’d been fucked and raped by men didn’t mean that was my entire story. Since I (thought I) was bi, I think the transition was easier because I already had that attraction, as tainted by patriarchy as it felt at times. I stopped being with men and in fact moved toward separatism. Once I was free from those tendrils of men, once their vampiric access to my body and selfhood was revoked, I woke up. Everything changed for me. In some ways political lesbianism is coming to your true sexuality through radical female-centric politics. Loving women IS political. It is personal of course, but the personal is political. We do not exist outside patriarchy, not even separatists. It is simply the realization that you don’t have to be with men and that relationships with women can be mutual, healing, loving, and sexual. It’s the realization that you were lied to, with all the power behind patriarchy, about men, about women, and about yourself.

Sometimes I think we should retire the term altogether, but that might be because I just don’t need it anymore, and that’s incredibly selfish. Regardless of how you come to love women, of how long it takes or what your journey looks like, if you exclusively love women in every female sense of the word ‘love’ then you are a lesbian.

Freewriting

Sorry for the wall of text but I wasn’t allowed to edit. This is an assignment my therapist gave me.

How to fix the world by writing without stopping. It seems easiest to start at the smallest thing and work my way up to the biggest thing, but how to define things? Creatures, yes, insects are very small, and bacteria are alive, and what about atoms, are they things or do they live? What does being alive mean in this context? I don’t really know but what I do know is that every thing, living or not living or in some liminal space of moving but not growing (is to grow to be alive?) lost my train of thought here hmmm okay starting over with the smallest thing that I can think of how to fix, bugs. Bugs are having a really rough go of it. There are 200 species on our planet going extinct EVERY day, that is 1000x the natural rate of extinction. Most of these species are bugs and that’s why most people don’t care. People think that bugs are pests, we kill them all the time, but every insect is here for a very specific purpose, and even if that purpose is simply food for the next biggest on the scale, that is a very noble cause indeed. Bees are the most important insect, arguably, because without them, we would have very little agriculture in five years. In fact, Einstein, who stole many of his ideas from his first wife and never credited them, said that without bees, men would disappear from the planet in four years. I’m sure by men he meant humans, but at that time women were not considered human but Other, and we didn’t really count. Interesting here that the current epoch we are living in is the anthropocene, Time of Man, which I think is very appropriate, especially since most experts consider this time to be almost over. Now, most men would tell you this means the extinction of Man which is, again, a stand-in for Human, but I disagree, of course. I think we are heading into the gynopocene. Time of Woman. This was a digression but an important one. You’ll have capitalists say, fuck the bees, we’ll just make poor people pollinate by hand, isn’t that lovely, JOBS! Steven Harper would be delighted. Then you’ll have futurists say, too bad about the bees but we’ll just make robot bees! Isn’t the future wonderful? Let’s all go to south Africa and dig twenty miles down into their land for the resources we need to create these robotic wonders, we’ll barf out our pollution there and it’ll be like it never happened! Never once thinking that ANY pollution ANYWHERE on the planet affects our GLOBAL climate. Anyway. Women, that is to say females, being the only true creators on the planet (I don’t mean inventing, or building, or engineering, but creating, growing), will say Save The Bees. And since women don’t have any money or land or power in a true global sense, everyone, even other women will say, what a stupid idea, it must be stupid since a woman thought it. So in conclusion, I didn’t get to talk about the things I meant to starting out, like the ocean or the Earth itself as a living organism on which we live the same way microbes live under our eyelids and feed on our dead eye guts, which is a lovely example of parasitic symbiosis, but unfortunately with men in charge and their hunger for power and money money money, resources, always extracting, taking, forgot about the SYMBIOSIS part of that exchange and have been simply acting as a cancer upon on our Earth since the beginning of agriculture and animal husbandry, which was the first time a man realized that HIS sperm in a woman helped create a human child, after which he decided this meant that he OWNED that woman AND that child, stamped them both his His Name and women have suffered ever since. Women, on the other hand, despite internalized misogyny and patriarchal brainwashing, understand that life is about give and take, but instead of every human doing both, we have become accustomed to one sex doing the giving, and one always the taking. So what does that mean? It means that if women stopped the population boom and refused PIV sex that the planet would be man-free in a hundred years and we’d finally have the time and energy to deal with our own trauma and the trauma of our distraught and destroyed planet. During that time women scientists will find the solution to living forever (reprogramming planned cell death or altering our telomeres so they don’t shrink with every reproduction, it doesn’t matter how all that matters is that we do it without profit in mind and then give it to everybody who wants it regardless of race or class, and even men can have it but only if they promise never to make another child, and if they want to have children then they can’t have it). We have to address the massive extinction level event problems NOW or we will suffer terribly. The solution is to put women in charge, everywhere, all over the globe. We need the bees for food, yes, but we could learn a lot from the way they construct their societies as well. 

Women’s attention is not men’s due

Men get really upset when you say you don’t care about them. This is evident both in the minutia of women’s everyday lives, where women who leave or attempt to leave their abusers are murdered or have extreme and often sexualized violence acted against them, and also in the grander scheme, where males have infiltrated every last vestige of women’s space and peace of mind. Men, for many reasons but not many of them legitimate, have grown up thinking they are entitled to the care, interest, and attention of women in their lives and indeed total strangers. We are born into a state of Men=Owed, Women=Giving. Men have also learned they are not responsible for returning that care, and in fact that women are not complete or interesting or worthy enough to even warrant the consideration of reciprocation. What I’m saying is it literally does not occur to men that we owe them NOTHING and are not in a default state of vomiting permissiveness.

So when women tell men they are not welcome, they get angry. They make accusations. They very frequently try to get the upper hand, appealing to the women’s sometimes battered sense of self, a shaky foundation from which to demand respect, especially from men. Men act like respect is a reward they bestow upon women for meeting their immediate criteria. All men have different criteria. That’s why one man calls you a whore but the other has no problem letting you suck his cock. You might have noticed these men are often one and the same, depending on what ‘you did’ to deserve his ire or his ‘respect’ (i.e. what you are good for to him, which is your only value).

Men are not welcome in my feminism, and I have a lot of good reasons why. It’s important to remember that most men make women uncomfortable. Their demand of focus and energy, their inappropriate comments or eye contact, boundary disrespect, their zero sum games (‘equality for all or no one’ is one I hear a lot, even though right now we unarguably don’t have equality for women and I don’t see any men giving up their half until we get ours), their often willful ignorance of the realities of female lives, and the simple fact that they are the oppressors attempting to force entrance into the safe spaces of the oppressed. When men are in the room, women have to start from scratch. We’re put on the defensive and expected to explain ourselves without becoming personal, recite countless statistics, and basically teach men what has become so familiar to women that we often have a hard time putting it to words.

We are learning those words, though. That’s what consciousness-raising is all about. In the seventies and indeed long before and after, women would get together in apartments or hotels or bookshops or coffee shops, and they would talk about feminism (or women’s lived reality under any name), and what it meant to them, and they would learn words. Those words, the naming of the problems, has tremendous power. I sensed it the first time I sent someone a definition of gaslighting. I knew it when I brought up patriarchal bargains. I understood it when I learned what compulsory heterosexuality was, and what it meant for me and for all of us. This isn’t the seventies. Lesbians and women and lost ground because we’ve lost valuable definitions—those two words, lesbian and woman, being the most important, most devalued, and most appropriated. But what we learned from the seventies, what our liberal feminist sisters forgot, is how to be a group and fight as a group. I don’t care if you shave your legs—but I need every woman to be free not to. I don’t care if you have heterosexual sex or get paid for it—but I need every woman to be free to choose not to or free to stop. A hundred years ago in my country I wasn’t even a legal human. Now men are telling me we’re all good, maybe even a little ahead? Men lie when they say women should be grateful for how far we’ve come. They’re reminding us how long they KEPT US BACK, and that our position is tenuous based on their approval. Then they threaten us with rape because that’s what they know sex to be, culturally and historically. Sex women wouldn’t want to have if men hadn’t lied about it first.

You can’t change the rules in the middle, though—we KNOW this. You have to start the game over. 

When men hear this, they become upset. They are afraid. They think we will take away all their rights, that we will kill them and humiliate them and devalue them. They think this because they understand that we deserve revenge. They are afraid because they know what they’ve done to us is wrong, and were they in our shoes, they would strike. We are striking. And men will indeed lose much of their valued power. But we won’t be taking it from them to use for ourselves. We will be using our own power, the power men have lied to us about for millennia. Women’s power is not violent. It is not ruthless or destructive or consuming. I know many women desire justice for harm done. I do too. I’m not just angry at one man, or ten. I’m angry at every single last man who ever benefited from the subjugation of a sister. Every man who believed a lie about a woman because it suited him better than the truth. Every man who has power he did not earn at the expense of someone deemed lesser from birth. 

All men benefit from patriarchy and even as all men benefit, some men are harmed. I don’t care. This is a radical statement, I’ve learned, not caring about men. For at least five thousand years men defined themselves as the default. Women are the other. We didn’t make the rules but we’re hated for making the best of them. We’ve become complicit in our own oppression for survival and self-preservation (mental and physical). Women need help, and we need to help women. Women need energy and togetherness. We need to sit in a room and talk about what it means to be a woman today. Why can anyone be a woman? Why are we women? Why does the sex with all the real power needed to heal and sustain the world (creation, empathy, foresight) get painted as the weaker one? What is ‘strength’? Why do we need men in our feminism? If they were going to help, they would have done it already.

Men don’t like the idea of being hated. They certainly don’t like to think about role reversal. What if we recorded a million gigs of naked men always bent at the waist, faces full of streaming make-up, smiling and begging for more as women, fully clothed and without compassion, violently penetrated them in symbolic fashion? What if we told boys they were filthy and if they couldn’t orgasm from something inside them then they were just broken? What if girls grew up seeing that violent, man-hating pornography, and entered into volatile and abusive relationships with those once-little boys? Don’t worry, men. It would never happen. Your vulgarity and sickness horrify us. Your lack of humanity causes despair among us. We are nothing like you, and that’s why you aren’t welcome. Are you inherently damaged—that pathetic little Y—or is it cultural? Why can’t you leave women alone, even when you are repeatedly and earnestly asked to? 

You want to know the truth about consciousness raising, men? You should be scared. Not for your lives, a fear you’ve dealt us every day. Not for your honour as you toy with ours. Not for your children, they are safer with us. You should be scared because you’ve been lied to about us, even as you perpetuate those lies. We are not meek. We are not irrational. And we are not better off as wives. We have empathy. We understand and respect emotion. We value life instead of death. Things are changing, you can sense it, which is why you flood us with hate speech and death threats, and waste our time with your trivialities of not feeling included or recognized or welcomed or rewarded. Feminism isn’t for you, it’s for liberation from you. But fear not, because no matter what else happens, and so much is already, we will never do to you what you’ve done to us.

Aside

Girlhood

Each girlhood is different. What is learned during childhood stays with us and shapes us. My girlhood made me a feminist long before I understood the term.

I think it all started when I broke my leg. At seven years old I was already a voracious reader. I read my mom’s science fiction, my stepmom’s romance novels, and regularly spent my allowance at the used book store. When I got my first library card, I picked a book and checked it out. Then I sat and read the book (I was waiting for my mom to finish work). Then I checked out about fifteen more, so many the librarian chuckled, this great stack of books I could barely carry back to my mom’s store. Books taught me that every single person is different, that everyone is important, and that everyone has a story. Books gave me empathy, a sense of righteous indignation at injustice, and an escape. Some books gave me a fucked up idea of what women were really like, but I was lucky to have that balanced by good women in my real life, and eventually I learned to read stories about women by women for anything resembling truth.

On the first day of summer I was riding my bike down a huge hill and I lost control and sideswiped a parked car. My leg snapped (tibia in half, fibula a compound break) but my bike kept going–I couldn’t stop because it had pedal brakes, but somehow my dad ran out of his house and stopped my bike before it went into heavy traffic. (My dad then took me to a walk-in clinic instead of a hospital, but I can laugh about that now).

Anyway, I had a hip-to-toe plaster cast for a couple months that was so heavy I had to have a sling under it, over my shoulder, just to carry it. I don’t remember having my cast switched to a shorter fiberglass one, but the memory of having that one removed has stayed with me. I had one very tanned, muscular leg with fine though dark hair. My other leg was wasted, pale, weird-looking, and covered in dark, thick hair. People made fun of me and my mom said I could start shaving and I did.

A year later at eight I got my period. I’ve always been what they call an ‘early bloomer’ or ‘early developed’, phrases I hate because they suggest I wasn’t ripe or ready before but suddenly people were telling me I was. Ready for what? I knew, though, and so did they. Women often looked at me with sympathy when they learned how young I actually was.

During that time my mom’s boyfriend began sexually abusing me and that lasted a few years until I told a friend (something I can’t even remember doing) and she told my stepmom. From there everything changed but no one explained anything to me. I was twelve when I was told I had to talk to the police. Since I’d been at my dad’s that weekend, I didn’t see my mom until I was at the police station, and she was there with my abuser, and I thought that she would choose him over me so I didn’t talk. I didn’t take back my story but I said I didn’t want to talk about it.

My mom stayed with him, meaning so did her kids, until I was seventeen. She didn’t tell me she believed me until I was eighteen and I’m still not entirely sure she does. She still works with him, my sister attends his family reunions, etc. I learned that loyalty is difficult to enact.

During the five years after he stopped molesting me and before my mom left, he fucked with my head in a tonne of small ways. Invading my privacy and space, talking to me about my personal journal entries, petty things like painting my furniture and room colours I hated, and basically destroyed my self-worth by constantly calling me sadistic and manipulative and turning my family against me. I was sent to therapy but when I confessed I had suicidal ideations, again things were sent beyond my control and I was put on medication. At the same time my mom was also on anti-depressants. And those were dark days.

Because I ‘developed’ early I was subjected to treatment usually reserved for older girls. Men were always holding me against them and trying to get me to sit in their laps. My body, hair, face, etc, were constantly public property. Men I babysat for put their hands on my legs or in my lap, using my body for their satisfaction.

Starting in third grade I was a slut because I had larger breasts than other girls my age. I was also really mean and violent–I was the only girl who would fight boys and I basically contracted myself out to other girls. The name-calling and rumours were really painful not just because they were untrue but because I knew it shouldn’t even matter if I had done the things people said. Boys only wanted to date me because they thought I would do things with them. Older guys were constantly after me and used my body as an excuse for their behaviour. Do you know how many guys blamed ME for them not bothering to act human? How their perception of my sexuality became a self-fulfilling prophecy?

By the time I got to high school I knew exactly what men are. They looked at me like I was food, and I grew to loathe and fear that look. I began to see myself as they did: an object. My body wasn’t mine, it never had been. Men in cars honked at me and yelled at me and my friends, men at clubs and bars touched me against my will, men were constantly demanding my attention and I was not allowed to deny it. Men I loved hurt me actively and passively. Men had sex with me when I could not or did not consent. I knew men were NOT like women, and yet I was still expected to want to be with them, to find the one that wouldn’t hurt me, or treat me like meat, or deny my humanity by mocking my reality.

I read cosmo, trolled chat rooms, watched and read porn, and learned as long as I kept up a learned facade, men would do anything for me. I got into damaging and abusive relationships, the sex I had became more violent and degrading, I lived in depressions for years. I wanted to punish my body because that’s all anyone else had ever done to it. I have countless scars that in my mind showcased my worthlessness. I controlled my unhappiness by controlling my diet. Anything I could do to hurt myself I did. I became an actress and for a long time I expected to live my entire life like a movie. As long as I was writing my part, I thought, I could fix the ending. I could edit. I wouldn’t have to be real.

Girlhood is a confusing time. People always talk about childhood and adolescence, but we need to stop acting like girls and boys are raised the same. While boys were bringing porn magazines to school, girls were learning how to be pleasing, compliant, acquiescent. When boys have pornographic imaginations and expectations, and girls are raised to be obedient, what the fuck do people think is going to happen?

I can’t count the amount of times I’ve felt unsafe with men. I can’t even say how many moments I’ve had where I’ve thought–he’s not going to stop. I’ve been right about that. Empowering a girl to say no doesn’t carry much weight when boys are taught to not take no for an answer, or pretend to not be able to ‘read’ us. And when girls do say yes, as is becoming the norm now more than ever thanks to porn culture and its ‘feminist’ subsidiaries, they ARE considered damaged, fucked up, at fault. When girls say no, they aren’t believed or the guilt of the perpetrator is mitigated by the victim’s actions. Most of the time when a girl says no and he doesn’t care, she never tells anyone. But throughout my girlhood and subsequent adulthood I’ve come to see that if you talk to any women long enough and she trusts you enough, you’ll learn about her rape or sexual abuse. It’s never the same story, and yet it is.

I consider my girlhood different from my childhood. I loved running around in forests, raising tadpoles, bringing home animals, and building snow forts. I was left to my own devices and I was happiest when alone. I had several groups of girl friends, which I lost every time I got a boyfriend. My family was really poor and moved a lot and my mom did the best she could but she’d never learned to be on her own and she couldn’t have supported us that way. There were a lot of bright, shining moments in my childhood.

The darkest moments, though, were almost all because I had a girl’s body. Girlhood matters to girls and I’m sick of seeing it brushed aside and erased.