Friday, April 18, 2014

Sexual Violence in the Queer Community

There are times when you feel like the community is everything. That they could possibly not do any harm to you because they also know the feeling of being marginalized and since people often hold several positions of marginalization people think that this wouldn't happen. In reality violence within the queer community is relevant and real. Often times it is compromised for the well being of the group or keeping the community you have together. It's important to realize that stopping violence in any form is important to stop oppression of marginalized groups, and sexual violence is a strong one. The invisible sexual violence that happens in the queer community is subtle and often times it's really frightening. I remember when I was a freshman and we would go head out to Kiss n'Fly where it was notorious for sexual acts to happen without consent. There was a night specifically when one of friends was groped while dancing on the platform. I remember grabbing the guys hand away and yelling in his face. He wasn't even dazed as if he was expecting someone to tell him off. He was just stumbling on to the next person.
The other time was when I was at a party and everyone was drinking and this person was talking to me. I thought we were just friends and then he decided to go in for a kiss, I avoided it because I did not want to do anything like that with this person. He got really mad and blew up on me when I was trying to avoid it, he kept on saying that he knew I wanted it. I was in my own home so I really couldn't go anywhere besides to avoid him for the rest of the night. I couldn't even muster enough courage to tell him to leave the space in fear of retaliation from other people. During that time people would often hook up during parties and if I said no would I be seen as a prune? This is why I often times didn't say things to people until after the fact and people had gone home.
I thought about personal space and what would it mean if this was done in another space. Did the culture that we create not care about people and just use them as sexual pawns to be used. I hated it and I hate when I see these things happen. I often times have to look away when I think I see something happen that isn't consented from both sides. I often times am powerless to even act in a space that isn't my own. If they are random strangers I often times ask myself do I make sure she is okay, do I make sure that he is fine, do I know if that person will get home safe? These questions linger in my mind as my friends tug me away to get them home safe after a night downtown. This is one of the main reasons why I avoid going to these spaces anymore and have found community in other spaces. This new space is comforting and people are very aware of what is happening.

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