ed: If you're coming to this post without having read previous posts this entry may seem affronting.  I encourage you to read it as objectively as possible without projecting yourself into it. It is about me and my experience, my growth from the experience and my process. Stick with it, read through it and please see that it addresses a pretty powerful learning experience.  This blog has intentionally few readers, I know all of them personally, together we have deep relationships of safety to be open and honest, even if it's crunchy and hard (especially if it's crunchy and hard). As a new reader, starting here, I may seem like an flagrant asshole. I hope to assure you that I am indeed a caring, nurturing person who wishes to be the very best person I can be. I'm fallible, as we all are.  My Q no U blog is primarily my way of processing my way through a very difficult, deeply buried past, analyzing my own shit to death, growing tremendously from acknowledging and owning my mistakes and, working towards recovering from the mistakes I've suffered by the hands of others.  I openly refer to myself as feral (although abandoned is more accurate) or like an abused dog that's been passed through many homes, I come with some issues. Out in the world I have to be forcibly direct or I wouldn't talk at all. Sometimes I'm accidentally witty. However, I usually limit my talky time to people I know well and trust wholly, because, well, most people don't get me the first few times we meet if ever. These are not excuses for being a jerk, more a statement that I require a trust making effort - we have to sniff each other out before I get to talking about very much at all.  Thank you for your kind and compassionate understanding of what is very challenging for me do deal with, being myself honestly. -- Q

More after the jump.

I'm pushy. I'll admit it. I push myself, and I push others. I might push a little too hard sometimes. 

I push people to be honest and open with their demons so they can be more honest with me/us. I push people to dip into and trust their ideas as a font of creativity. I push. I push myself to address my fears, I push my shy self to be forward in awkward situations, I push my shy self to be forward with awkward topics with people I love. I push so that I'm not passive and especially so that I'm not passive aggressive. Usually this pushing is gentle nudging. Encouragement. Empowerment. Occasionally it's yelling in someone's face to own their shit, carry their own load, quit displacing blame, quit being a victim. However, sometimes we are victims. I'm of the mind to think if someone wants us to honor their experiences and treat them with special kindness in respect to certain things, communication is the best course for success. I could be wrong here. Sometimes we don't know our own triggers. Sometimes we discover triggers the hard way. My triggers are the word "stupid" being aimed at me in some way, being poked in the butt, being interrupted and, hugs. Don't fucking hug me. 

Last year at Burning Man one of my campmates objected to the Universal Rule, if you pass out in someone else's camp/house/party with your shoes on, you may be drawn on with a marking pen. It's the Rule. We all know it. I have a Sharpie on me at all times just in case. Her objection was that Sharpie-ing someone was a non-consensual act and was absolutely not okay. I suggested they should take their shoes off to be safe. The conversation escalated from there. I ended up yelling in her face to own her shit - ordering her to state what she was not saying. What was she protecting? It came out that she had been molested. I discovered one of her triggers in a hard way. It wasn't cool of me to push her that hard, it is absolutely no excuse for me to claim that she triggered me first - she interrupted me and I exploded.   

I met the side of her that was someone ashamed of being molested and harmed and was harboring it as a secret. As girls we learn that everybody else we know has been molested like it ain't no thang. It's something that happened, it's in the past, forget about it. It's a right of passage for young girls. Fuck that shit. I'm talking about it. I'm going to talk about it a lot. I'm going to continue to ask other people to talk about it. I might get pushy about it. I'll try to not command people into confession though - that was harsh. Abusive even. For that I am profoundly sorry. 

We do need to talk about it. The truth is that more than one in three women have been molested. It's an international crime, it is illegal and morally wrong. We must talk about it.  More effort is placed on the War on Drugs than has ever been given to prevent child sexual abuse (imo).  The National Center for PTSD, (a department of Veterans Affairs), studies on Child Sexual Abuse demonstrate that the offenders are most often trusted men, close to us such as our fathers, brothers, cousins, uncles (mom's boyfriend) - people we're "supposed" to trust. Our trust is violated and causes significant ripples out through our entire lives. 

Talking about it out loud within our community raises awareness of the affects of this behavior and hopefully causes a wobble and changes with the attitudes of the men of our culture, inspiring them to care for us rather than take advantage of us or harm us. And I don't mean coddle us for the possibilities of our past, but to observe good conduct with the adult women and men in our lives. Sexual abuse is sexual abuse and has lasting harmful affects regardless of the age of the victim.   

Burning Man and the culture around it is not perfect. The 10 Principles are stretchy to say the least, giving lots of opportunity to express ourselves however we see fit.  Lots and lots of people go to Burning Man thinking it is a culture of no rules and a freaky free for all. Many people feel empowered to take advantage of the presence of positive sexual energy on the playa, neglecting Universal Rules of sexual conduct among mankind. Don't rape people. It's the Rule. We all know it. You'd think that would a simple easy rule to follow. For some fucking reason it's not.  Many folks feel that boundaries and respect are left at the gate. Nope.  The Bureau of Erotic Discourse exists to educate people to understanding that Yes Means Yes, No Means NO! Really. From their Mission Statement: 
"B.E.D. is a team of volunteers dedicated to raising awareness of sexual assault on the playa.  We encourage communication, a clear understanding of boundaries and mutual respect in the arena of a playful and positive sexual environment." 
Great! But what if... Find a Ranger fast or, high tail it to ESD. From B.E.D.'s Help Is Here page:
"The Emergency Services Department (ESD) personnel are dedicated to helping in times of crisis, on and off the playa. ESD provides evaluation, crisis intervention and mental health services. Read more here. The Mental Health Branch is specially trained in crisis intervention for cases of rape and sexual assault...."
So Q, thanks for the reminders, but I'm a good guy and everybody I know is a good guy. 

No. No they're not. 

Just a few weeks ago my clearly stated boundaries were crossed. I'm a brutally strong woman and I stood up for myself, but the attempt was made. The guy was a repeat offender within our community. That experience was not an isolated incident for me as an individual or for other women I share my life with, directly or indirectly. Our community has quite a few offenders. All too often the whole community looks the other way and or defends the man placing blame on the woman for over reacting to harmless play. Fuck that shit. What might be harmless play to one maybe sexual assault to the another. 

We must learn to speak loudly and often about sexual abuse and attempts to violate our boundaries. It's not just our personal business, it's the business of everyone in our community and it would be awesome if the guys we know would call out their asshat buddies for bad conduct. It is not forgivable. We can't ignore it to make it go away. 

Really. Get your hand out of my shirt. 
Really. Leave my pants buttoned, thanks. 
Really. No. Get out of my tent! NOW! 

Really. We shouldn't have to ask to not be touched.
Asking to be touched in another matter entirely, and completely encouraged. 

When I started writing this it was with the intent of saying 'maybe I'm too pushy', I'm concluding that no, no I'm not.  I will continue to push - to command respect of my boundaries and triggers. We're going to talk about it. I will request that women transform their shame into an empowering tool to be used to command respect.

In all honesty I'm disgusted with myself to recognize in this writing that I am guilty of the very thing I'm asking people to own up to; The Bad Influence Lions have acted as tools of sexual abuse. They need to learn to ask before they sniff crotches.  We're going to have to have a talk.

Wadda ya guys doing in there?


  1. Q,
    Been away for awhile so today I caught up with your blog for August. "Interesting" is not the best description I can think of, but "funny" isn't it at all. "Cool" is not the right word either. Is there a word that means "what cave have I been living in?" If you ever decide to sell what makes you tick I'll buy a crate of it;it could straighten my head out. You make more sense than Paul Krugman.

    Hope things go well with the trailer.


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