My girlfriend, is really worked up about this #yesALLwomen thing. She’s been writing about it. She’s been talking about it to me and anyone who will listen. She’s been bringing up painful memories. She cries.
It makes me uncomfortable when she cries. It makes me upset when she tells me about the times she’s been sexually assaulted. It makes me scared and angry that she’s scared that if she keeps talking about this, men will get angry. It makes me so sad, that I can hear it in her voice that she’s worried that I will get sick of her talking about this and I will leave her.
But I won’t leave her. And I won’t tell her to shut up. I won’t tell her “most men are good”, because that would invalidate her experiences, experiences I can’t imagine dealing with. She’s weathered several sexual assaults, had dozens of close calls. Endures harassment every day. She’s in the trenches while I’m in the theatre watching a war reenactment. She has PTSD from the horrific shit that has happened to her. She has to mentally prepare herself to be touched or she flinches away.
She knows that by speaking out about this that more and more “good men” are going to get angry with her, and some of those men may try to shut her up. Violently. But she also knows that if she shuts up, she’s still not safe. So she keeps talking. She’s brave.
She’s amazing. She’s brilliant, and compassionate, and self-sacrificing and beautiful. She’s geeky in all the best ways, she wears a Tardis dress that I bought for her like it’s high fashion from the streets of Paris. She writes so much better than I do. She’s a rising star; people say they could see her writing laws in DC some day.
And when she curls up in my arms she tells me she feels safe. She is.
I may not know much, I may not have gotten many things right in my life, I know that in my arms she’ll always be safe. No matter what she does, no matter how bad I feel, no matter how frustrated, or annoyed, or tired, or poor I am, she’ll always be safe in my arms. That doesn’t feel like a big deal to me, but apparently it’s a big deal to her.
I worry, that not enough women in the world feel safe in the arms of their boyfriends, husbands, or lovers. I worry that men don’t like to hear that and will tell the woman saying it to shut up.
And worst of all, I worry that they will.