Sunday, September 10, 2017

Always Speak

I'm sitting with mom a couple weeks ago now.  I had finished my workout, and was having some juice, so I take my time, and we start talking.

She mentions that someone currently working with my brother (who is officially back in Jersey) is related to his new neighbors.  She also says that apparently he's more than a bit of an asshole, and the rest of the guys in the shop have a pool for how long it'll take for my brother to punch him.

I say that it might be good for the guy, and act as a wake up call.  She points out that his neighbors might not appreciate that, and I say that we don't know how they think about the guy, and might appreciate it as well.

She then says "Well, we don't know what kind of an asshole he is.  He might be like your uncle, where he says a ton of shit, but you can laugh with him."

And there we go.

I went off.  

I told her that he doesn't "just say things".  I made it very clear that he physically grabs me all the time, as though he is entitled.  Acts like he has agency over my body, and no one stops him.  That when I said I almost kicked him out of the house, it was not because I was "insulted" as she decided, but because I was physically invaded, without any consent.

I'm on the verge of tears.

She acts surprised.  Says she didn't know that it happened, even though she was in the room.

Then she tells me that when I was a child, he was playing with me, and when I responded to him, he hit me.  That my father immediately grabbed him by the throat and threw him out the door, and he wasn't allowed near me until my grandmother begged for him.  Even after that, I have memories of him invading my consent, and everyone making excuses.

I tell her I never want to be around him again, because he is abusive, and when she tells people he "insults" me, it spins me into a rage.

She says she can't tell people she let her brother abuse her kid, but she'll make excuses when he wants to visit, so he hopefully doesn't come over in the future.

And I just think to myself, this.  This is why we have so many issues with consent.  That there are so many people who cry wolf, and so the people who do speak up when something happens, and it is a serious thing, excuses get made for a plethora of reasons.  Then you find out it isn't even the first time, but they allow it to continue.

Yes, we have to pick our battles, but when shit goes down, always speak up.  Have your story straight, and spread the word.  Don't let it only peek out when more goes wrong.  We don't stop the problem by staying quiet.  We stop it by speaking up more loudly than those who cry for attention rather than to make change.

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