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On human sacrifice

Witches are against it.  If only our culture were.

Yesterday I watched the CNN news clip of convicted rapists Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond apologizing to the victim and her family at the end of their trial.  Mays’ apology:  “No pictures should have been sent around, let alone taken.”  Hard to say whether he’s apologizing for the assault, or the existence of evidence.  Richmond’s apology:  “I had no intentions to do anything like that.”  What on earth was he intending to do, then?

The news outlets were sincere in their sympathy for the rapists, whose lives “are now ruined.”  According to one CNN opinion piece, the “game” (of rape?) has changed.

And rape has been treated like a game, really.  All that talk about whether she was drunk, or was dressed appropriately, or was out too late, or too flirtateous, or has a “history.”  These were the “in bounds” rapes.  These were the technicalities that allowed rapists to do what they wanted to do anyway, to some woman or other– only with impunity.

I’ve mentioned in other posts that I work as a psychotherapist.  I have tended to work with sexual abuse survivors, men and women.  But lately I’ve been getting more men, and they are mostly, to one degree or another, angry with women.  They feel they’ve gotten a raw deal.  Women make them want things, then don’t gratify their wishes.  Instead of fulfilling men’s fantasies, women want men to fulfill their own fantasies (and apparently, men are defenseless against these wishes).

Some of these men feel this entitles them to express their anger by buying films of women being beaten and raped.  They tell me that filmed sex just doesn’t do it; it’s got to involve humiliation, or “discomfort” (they don’t like the word “pain”).  Some of them are not precisely proud of this, but it’s important to them that I go on liking them, even if they choose to vent their hatred against my kind in this way.  They feel hurt and ashamed when my face tightens, just a little.  They look for ways to get me to smile on them again.

They point out how brave and honest they are for ‘fessing up to something so ugly.  They worry aloud that if they’re not permitted to violate women just a little, on the periphery, so to speak (by paying other men to violate women and film it), they might just be driven to even worse behavior!  And after all, they can’t help their feelings, can they?  If I am just nonjudgmental enough, somehow, in time, they will have their emotions magically restructured so that they will no longer need to see my kind brutalized in order to quell the turmoil inside.

Meanwhile, the fact that the women on film have done nothing personally to these men is irrelevant.  Women are interchangeable, so paying to see a random woman hurt is a legitimate way to express your anger at some other woman (just as lynching one black man, any black man, is a way to express the white community’s anger for imagined wrongs).

In one of Mays’ texts, he said he just “needed a little sexual attention.”  And later, that he “should have raped, since everyone thinks [he] did.”  Apparently– as with the men whose usually undercover fantasies I’ve been permitted to witness– what mattered here was Mays’ “needs,” Mays’ reputation, and since he’s paying the price, he is at least entitled to the benefits of having raped.

And the clients’ need for validation is really, in the end, more important than my outrage.  Granted, all  therapists have to “contain” their own and the clients’ feelings– this is what we’re paid for– but I’m expected, moreover, to make legitimate shame and guilt disappear.  It’s what women are supposed to do: absorb men’s bad feelings until men feel better (for awhile).  Above all else, men feel that they should leave my office feeling good about themselves.

They don’t seem curious about how all the women I see who’ve been hurt by men, who have “needs” no one has rushed to fill, who have fantasies men don’t conform to, manage to deal with it.  Women, apparently, and not men, are the appropriate livestock for sacrifices to the gods of entitlement, frustration, and rage.

If only our culture would stop practicing human sacrifice.

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