The man who raped me is a poet. An amazing poet, actually. He always described himself as a magician. And I always genuinely agreed. He was always one of my favourite poets. Probably THE favourite. I told him that his words were perfect–he just needed to perfect his honesty in reaching the audience. He was afraid to be naked on stage & second-guessed himself until someone seemingly more objective wanted to create a collective with him.
Lately he’s been getting a lot of recognition for his work. People are excitedly punting his prowess & shoving it in my face like I didn’t know he was a great poet long before they gave him the time of day. He was my favourite poet 2 years ago. I’ve KNOWN he was amazing and people act as though I’m begrudging him his talent when I say I don’t want people praising him where I’m in earshot or in my social media spaces.
It is unreasonable to expect me to get excited about seeing this man being praised for anything. While I recognize his humanness, his ability to be good & bad all at the same time, I can’t be expected to associate his name with anything louder than the violation he perpetrated on me. If you’ve never been violated that profoundly, you won’t know this but it is LOUD. Violation can often be uncontrollably louder than any amount of good that may exist simultaneously. All it takes is one flashback to take you back to that place–to make you feel like he’s raping you all over again. And all the fear & hatred just resurfaces as though it was never really gone. And then you realize that while you’re wasting an hour feeling this, he’s experiencing adulation. The man who raped you. The man who hurt you in places you never thought could hurt. The man who made you feel like your life was worthless. The man who took your parents from their peaceful lives and threw them into the worst kind of tumult–there’s nothing quite as scary for a parent as losing a child. HE is getting praised. Who cares about what he has destroyed in you. He builds others. That matters more. Musèe des Beaux Arts.
I will never be okay with it. I will always repudiate those who worship him. It’s not an act of violence against them so much as it is an act of self-preservation. I really cannot risk my well-being for his poetic greatness. To me… My heart only understands that he’s a rapist. My mind understands that that’s not all he is… But my heart says that that’s mostly what he is–& there’s really no reason to argue. If you want to talk about him, feel free to remove yourself from my vicinity. Have enough decency & respect to understand that it costs you nothing to separate yourself from me… But it once nearly cost me my life to see just his name written in text. And I’m really not interested in going back there.