What we do matters. Period. We are also human and will make mistakes. Period. I’m not judgmental when it comes to things that don’t harm others. Or when it comes to mistakes that someone takes responsibility for. But not owning your mistakes? I’ll judge. Blaming others, projecting your hatred, bigotry, and so forth, and I’ll judge. Because that’s what judgment is for. It’s for looking some abusive bully in the face and passing judgment.
I’ve been protecting abusive people my whole life. And most of the time, it was expected. “So and so is family…” “He just has anger issues.” “If you’d told me what I said was offensive before I said it, I’d not have said it.” “I’m not sexist. I just don’t think women should make as much money.” “I’m not racist, but people from China don’t have a soul.” Yeah… I’ve heard it all… And I’ve been expected to ‘put up’ with it because it’s a co-worker, or a relative, or someone in the industry, or some complete stranger at the grocery store that I am still expected to respect because that’s good etiquette.
Even now, I sit here pissed as fuck at dumbshits that are so fucking stupid that they think a women’s only podcast is somehow women hating men. This person has chosen to label any woman that wants nothing to do with him a ‘mean girl’. And tonight, I’m dealing with someone telling me I should buy a book with a known bigot in it because there are non-bigots in it too. And I shouldn’t blame the editor for publishing a bigot.
I will not take part in anything that makes me compromise my morals or my integrity. I don’t owe anyone an explanation for that. I don’t owe anyone my money.
I don’t owe racist, misogynistic, women hating, man hating, trans hating, gender hating, gay hating, bi hating, religion hating, disable bodied hating, class hating, mental disability shaming, abusive bullies an explanation for why I pass judgment on them. I don’t owe them my time or my energy. It is not my responsibility to teach you assholes why you’re fucking up. That’s your job to figure out.
Accountability. Responsibility. Have some.
Part of abuse is that abusers will convince the abused that what happened is somehow their fault. They build this expectation of ‘you should have done this instead’ or ‘said this instead of that’ or ‘if you loved me you’d know that I meant it this way’. I could go on for hours here. It’s all deflection. It’s all blaming others for their poor behavior.
We are responsible for our actions. We are responsible for what we say and do. Even when we aren’t abusive per se, but just fucked up–made a mistake–we’re still responsible.
D has often told me that I can be prideful as fuck. And ohhhh so stubborn. But when I’m wrong, I own it. I apologize. I try hard to make it right. This doesn’t have to be an intentional thing. Sometimes I don’t know something and when I learn that what I’ve said is offensive, I work hard to shift my narrative and get the hurtful speech out.
Even recently, with all my hard work to understand privilege and intersectionality, I say things that are racist or misogynistic. I don’t mean to, but it’s been all around me. So sometimes things slip out and I catch it and apologize. I acknowledge that what I said was wrong and why, then I shift my speech. It’s not hard. In fact, every time this has happened, no one even shamed me for it. The difference between this kind of thing and what the abusive types do has everything to do with accountability.
If I can own my mistakes, so can others.
But that means they’d have to let go of their pride and accept that they fucked up. That they were ‘gasp’ wrong. It means admitting that they didn’t have knowledge of a thing and therefore, said something stupid.
And this is how I can tell someone who is trying from someone that is abusive.
Abusive people want you to take the blame for not educating them enough. Abusive people never admit they’re wrong unless by admitting it, it’s serving some other agenda that is currently more important to them. Abusive people lie about and deny their part. Abusive people twist words to deflect responsibility.
I used to think that if I just explained it right, the asshole telling me that I am a man-hating feminazi would realize I don’t hate men. That I just want equality. That I care just as much and fight daily for men’s rights to be stay at home dads. For men’s right to feel emotions and show them without being shamed. For dad’s rights to get half custody of their kids, or full custody if that’s best. I’m a feminist because I fight for equality. And that’s not just for the gender conforming. It’s for all of us.
It was so ingrained into my head by people and even society, that I still try to take responsibility for not educating assholes enough. But I don’t owe abusive people anything but my judgment and loathing.
If you abusive types want to be better people, then fucking google these social issues. Volunteer to feed hungry kids. Or tutor them. Take a job one day a week caring for a disabled person. Study other cultures. Make friends with folks of other faiths, but not to ‘prove’ you can, do it because they are amazing people that will bring joy to you and you to them.
There are some people I don’t mind educating. There are also folks that haven’t minded educating me. But put the research in first. Get a lot of knowledge, then ask if you need more. Do your homework first so you aren’t expecting others to give a free education. I can’t tell you how fucking tired I get of people asking me to explain sex-trafficking and how that’s different from child prostitution. That’s traumatic enough without having to educate others about it. I do when I choose to, but so many ask me and it’s not because they really want to know. It’s because they want to shove it back on me and make me explain why it’s so traumatic.
I’ve never been one for violence and part of this post was spawned because of all the comments I see about punching Nazis. I know that much of this abusive behavior comes from fear, but it doesn’t matter. Abuse is abuse. Nazis are Nazis. Hate is hate. I’m finally reaching a point where I understand what punching a Nazi in the face means.
It’s not about me physically doing it—unless I really want to go there or am defending myself or others—it’s about me punching them in the gut however I can. For me, that’s with words. Other times with actions. It’s me refusing to buy a book with a known bigot in it. It’s me refusing to sit idly by while someone spouts racist jokes. It’s me telling someone to fuck off when they are bullying someone else and it’s me being able to call them out on it. It’s me telling a woman-hating dipshit that they’re sexist.
I know most people aren’t like these abusive types I’m talking about. So many folks amaze me daily.
Last November, I began my publishing company with a focus on shifting rape culture. This includes equality. No matter someone’s sex, gender, orientation, race, religion, body type or ability, or mental health. Because rape culture is fed by inequality. It’s fed by oppressing and shaming. And this affects ALL of us.
So I opened the company, put out my first call, and what I got back still makes me cry. Even the stories that didn’t work for whatever reason, still illustrated that people get it. All sexes get it. All genders get it. All orientations get it. All body types get it. All races get it. I’ve even read some of the hottest pieces from some very religious folks.
The bottom line? We all want to be seen and heard. And while there are some hugely abusive asshats in the limelight right now, I get to read and publish these beautiful people that do get it. People that want equality and are willing to work at it and learn if they aren’t getting something.
Abusive people get a lot of attention because their hatred is so loud and appalling. But we can punch those bullies in the face. No matter what that means to us. We can shut them up by not giving their hatred a voice. We don’t owe hateful people anything but our healthy judgment of their horrid behavior.
I don’t owe abusive people anything and I never have. I only wish I’d realized this sooner. Better late than never I suppose!
So abusive assholes, this is what I think of you: