So I started group therapy for post traumatic stress disorder early this year. It’s every other week with five other women of varying ages, plus the therapist. In one of the last couple of meetings, one of the other women said something like, “Why is it that I’m the one who has to pay for all this therapy and medication when I was the one who was traumatized in the first place?”
Yeah, good question. How is that at all poetic justice? I thought, though I didn’t say it. I still have trouble going to the groups because… well, because reasons… and getting into the room just to sit there is more a priority at this point than actually contributing to the conversation.
Anyway, last Wednesday, I went downtown with my best friend for a doctor’s appointment and to pick up some prescription medication. After the appointment, and after I’d shelled out more than $30 for the prescription (all I can say is: thank the gods I have health insurance), I half-jokingly said to my friend, “Ugh; all this therapy and meds cost so much! Why do I have to pay for it all when I was the one who was hurt? Why cant he pay for it?”
And, half a step behind me, he said in all seriousness, “Because you didn’t press charges.”
I couldn’t help it; I started laughing. I nearly stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t believe he’d even said such a thing. I didn’t—don’t—understand how someone who’s so loving and so understanding to me personally can still not understand how sexist and crappy our culture is. Oh wait, I forgot: he’s my best friend, in some respects my safety, but he’s still a man. How could I ever have hoped that maybe he’d educate himself about the patriarchy and rape apology? Heaven knows he benefits from it.
I said, “No, it’s because the world is fucked up.” I didn’t push it because I didn’t want to get into a fight with him right there at the hospital, or work on educating him with explanation(s) about “how the real world works for women”, or make him trip over himself trying to apologize for the utter lack of reality he’d apparently unknowingly just espoused. I was too tired for the two former options and always just get irritated with the latter, even though I know he means well. I don’t want an apology if nothing changes; what the hell’s the point, then, right?
So here I am now, writing about it because that’s all I know how to do because I’m terrible with on-the-spot stuff and I need to work it out in my head and I had to decide if I was really offended or if I was just taking things too personally. Well, it turns out that if it eats at me for more than a a day or two—if I mull over it and ruminate on it—I’m offended. I’m offended by the lack of education some people have given themselves, even when the subject matter has a pretty direct effect on them, because they seem to think such an education isn’t important or that some other person is supposed to educate them, or because they think they’re actually not as affected as they really are. (Side note: it’s difficult for me to imagine how anyone can claim that sexism and slut-shaming and rape apology have no direct effect on them when they live in a world that so obviously condones those things.)
I’m not interested in rehashing this any further; what happened to me was too “grey” for anything worthwhile to come of my reporting it to the proper authorities. I realised shortly after it happened that most of the response would be, “Well, why did you go into that isolated area with him?” instead of, “Why the fuck would anyone think that it’s okay to do that to someone else?” (Unfortunately, I was correct in said realisation with the people I did [try to] tell.) My somewhat varied sexual history would come to light, no doubt, and make me a less-than-perfect prosecutorial witness. And, of course, it was my word against his.
I don’t know. I just… I’m not a “humorless feminist”… it’s just not funny.