My rape, my best friend and the transgender debate(17 Posts)
Long time lurker- started a new account because I can't remember my MN password or email password. It was just quicker to start a new account on one of my other email accounts!
I need some advice because I'm beside myself . I recently wrote something on FB about it being unfair that certain religions have to go against their beliefs and share female space with MTF who still have a penis. Also the implications on raped ladies. An FB friend questioned this, and then blocked me. To be honest, I wasn't bothered, she actually wasn't a particularly nice person anyway!
The problem is, I've now seen that my very best friend has agreed with her. I feel distraught. No-one knows it, but I was actually raped when I was still at school. It's made me feel sick that she has this view. I don't feel like I can communicate with her.
Part of me feels I should tell her what happened, but I'm just too upset that she doesn't care about rape victims like me. What would you do in this situation? Please don't tell me about the problems with sharing your views on social media- I get it, lesson learned. Won't be doing that again. But where do I go from here?
Find different friends? Or just wait? It's likely that your friend will change her mind as more and more sexual predators enter women's spaces claiming to be women.
I feel sick. I don't think I can meet up with her anymore, but I love her dearly. I can't lose her. I've never told anyone about my rape because I feel so distraught, but I always thought she'd be the first I'd talk to.
Well it depends on where YOU want to go from here, OP. Is your friend’s belief that rape victims should have to cope with penises in female toilet areas (and she doesn’t care about the potential for further abuse), a deal breaker in your friendship?
Personally I’d point out to her that “self ID” is a rapists, paedophiles, voyeurs and flashers charter - all these abusers can freely enter female changing rooms and toilets simply by pretending to be trans.
Ask her if she’s really happy with that. And then decide if you can still face being friends with someone who has no regard at all for your distress or safety.
Personally I don’t think I could. I have friends with opposing political beliefs, but this is visceral.
I can only think that she just can't see it from a rape victim's point of view. She would never deliberately disregard anyone. She's the loveliest person I know, but I don't think I can get past this. I don't know whether to admit it all or keep quiet.
I’m sorry to hear you’ve been raped, OP, I have as well, however I have no issue sharing toilets/changing rooms etc with people with penises. Being raped hasn’t changed my view on that. You are of course entitled to your view but I’m telling you this to point out that your friend’s views aren’t a slight against you - some people just genuinely don’t see it as an issue. I don’t want to get into a further ethical debate here, I know it must feel like a betrayal and a personal slight from your friend but if you do want to salvage the friendship it may be worth considering that her views aren’t held with a malicious intent. If it’s a dealbreaker for you for her to hold those views though, thats your prerogative to decide
But I do, I do have a problem getting changed or showered in front of men. It's not enough to say you're a women. You might feel like a women, but with a dick, to me you feel like a man, a potential abuser. Shouldn't really be going into the debate though. It's not the point of this really. Everyone is entitled to believe someone is a man/woman if they have said they are. But they are not entitled to say that my emotional well-being isn't important. I guess I just expected differently from her. She no longer feels like a nice, understanding, loving person.
I think I may just need to alter my perception of her and accept her as this different person. No body can be perfect I suppose.
Johnny, are you happy with self ID? Happy that any violent sex attacker or voyeur can march into your female changing room, pretending to be trans, expose himself and leer at your naked body in the shower?
Because OP isn’t. Nor would any sane woman. And I can quite see why she has a problem with her friend who wishes to make her risk this.
OP - I think you have a couple of options.
If this person is a close friend, I would think that perhaps you can consider meeting up with her and try to talk about it 1-1. Most women haven't really thought their positions through, and you can ask whether she would be okay with you being so distressed in what is supposed to be a safe space for you. Sometimes people just need to hear your voice in order to understand that it's coming form a place of trauma, not bigotry. Maybe you don't have to explain exactly what happened, but can say that you had a really bad experience. To be honest, most women aren't comfortable being vulnerable around male bodies, and it's sad that you even have to justify your feelings about this. Having these conversations over social media doesn't really work very well, although that is another option.
The other option is to reconsider your relationship (which you may have to do if you get a negative response). I think it sounds like she means something to you, though. It all depends on what's happened since your social media interactions, and how firmly she dismisses your story, your feelings, and your real concerns. If she can't even listen to you and understand where you are coming from, then she is not being a supportive friend.
A friend recently explained about her rape in comparable circumstances but it went really badly, I think the argument (about something else) and the telling of her story got tangled up.
Did you want to share your story with her before this happened?
@Babdoc I said I wasn’t going to get into the debate here because it isn’t about me, but I was putting the suggestion across that it may be helpful for the OP to consider that the viewpoint is not held maliciously. People are allowed to hold different viewpoints
eh, "differing opinions" isn't the point, is what I'm thinking.
I have had convos with literally dozens of women, all of whom were pro-trans -- it needs to be emphasized here that the convo I had with them did not disclose personal stories of sexual abuse. Instead, I made the convo about sexual boundaries. A very simple concept.
In every single case, not one of them would force a woman to disrobe in front of random men. Not one single one.
Btw. I've stopped believing that people on the internet who claim to be women AND would force another woman to relinquish sexual boundaries, is actually a woman. Real women understand the emotional trauma of being raped by a man, that bio power differential, and the also the societal power differential of sexism and male supremacy in general.
Give me some time, I'll try to find the comment I wrote about how exactly I have the convo with women, which ALWAYS changes their mind!
I think the same as carceralfeminist. ^
Speak to your friend and find out if she really doesn't get your concern.
I have not been raped or had anything very bad happen to me, but I don't want random men to be in women's spaces. (That's not anti-trans, it's anti-sloppy-legislation.)
Don't make a decision about your friendship without speaking to her in person.
Op, I am so sorry you were raped, and at a school too, where we should in theory be safe.. 🙄
You should not be forced to disclose your history in order to justify your position on self-id and the risk that 'sloppy legislation' puts all vulnerable people at.
Perhaps ask yourself this, would you have told your friend about the rape, prior to this coming up, and if not why do it now.
We are all entitled to expect safety from predators, and be heard as the law is changed, just as the trans community is entitled to be heard in keeping themselves safe too.
Keeping abusers from abusing bad law, so they can abuse us, is not a position we should be ashamed of.
Girls and women do more than pee and poo, we wash blood from our clothes and hands, we deal with breast milk leaks, we seek women only spaces in public areas to be safe from male abusers..until we had our own toilets, we rarely went out, nor were we able to work safely, nor study safely.
We had our own toilets to protect us from male abusers, not as a sign of privilege (!)
Your position is valid, and perhaps explaining this in abstract without any forced sharing of your own private history, will help you rebuild your trust with your friend. If she doesn't know how upset you are, how can your friendship be strengthened.
Good luck, look after yourself.. And be proud of your boundaries.
sorry for your trouble. You don't have to tell anyone and make yourself vulnerable if you don't want to. Suss her out a bit first if you want to speak to her. Look after yourself, this stuff is v distressing. You are entitled to your feelings and opinion regardless. Good luck
Hi OP. I think that especially women who were raped or abused as girls are being completely sidelined by this debate and it pains me to realise that so many of my own friends who I thought were feminists do not understand the legacy of trauma carried by women who have been raped. It is especially imprinting when this happens when you are young. Realising that people I thought were feminist literally had no clue about my entire life and how it has been impacted in every way by sexual violence - even friends who know my life well - was really upsetting. The disregarding mirrors abuse dynamics: that feeling of not mattering to somebody, especially somebody you trusted. I understand the urge to tell your friend about the rape. However, lots of my friends know about my history and don't consider it relevant to this issue. I am comfortable with self-id trans women in toilets etc. but I am very anxious about this being extended to rape crisis or women's aid because of my need for those spaces to be safe from male folk. I tried to talk to a friend about it who knows my history and it was a very tense conversation in which she seemed to care more about others rights than mine. I think that it is good to try and talk if this is central to your truth, but I wouldn't expect a great reaction if she is very embedded in the trans self-id stuff. Women do usually know that if somebody raises rape victims as an issue oftentimes they have been a victim of it. So many women have been so it's not hard for friends to guess the possibility, even if it's a bit subconscious at times. She might struggle to see your perspective because of how massively polarised the conversation has become and how little women's lives, bodies, and experiences seem to matter within the debate. Please take care and know that I really hear and see you.
Oh heck this is an old thread, I didn't realise. Hope you managed to do what's best for you.
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