Hmmmm…Would I Accept an Apology? (A Rant)
Yesterday, a colleague and friend asked me if I’d accept an apology from The Steampunk Musician (TSM) who chose to sexually assault me three years ago before wooing me into love, which helped me minimize the assault because “he really cared,” only to subsequently discard me when it all become too “real” and inconvenient for him.
I couldn’t put it more succinctly than another friend did:
I can’t even imagine how [he] or anyone could apologize sincerely…”I’m sorry I nearly ruined your life and caused permanent trauma to you and your career?”
The rest of this rant isn’t nearly as brief.
This particular man is a very talented performer. He’s got the self-deprecating, adorably-awkward, impossibly-sweet act down pat. I’m sure he could come up with a very sincere-sounding apology, but my guess is that the motivation behind it is purely selfish, as is everything he does. After three years of silence, it would take a lot more than a few pretty words.
A *decent* start would be owning his choices and the subsequent damage they caused, both publicly and privately, followed by a sincere apology that included an offer for making amends. That would be a decent start, but what follows is what I fully require. This would be a very good start indeed:
1. A sincere, private apology.
2. Public admission to his behavior, coercion, and exploitative treatement. He doesn’t have to use the word “rape” or “sexual assault,” but he can’t deny them either. Ownership of the damage caused to me and my career, followed by a sincere, public apology.
3. A commitment to go into a rehabilitation program for alcohol abuse and sex/porn addiciton, as well as relationship therapy with his life partner for at least a year.
4. A sacrifice that shows his determination and commitment to making amends for the severe damage caused. My suggestion is this: stay out of the USA for a year, so I can have a safe place to rebuild my career in the Steampunk community, and reimburse me for a year of trauma recovery therapy, which is about $3,000.
This amount he earns in a weekend, but it takes me over a year to earn through book sales, thanks to my damaged career.
I’m open to other suggestions, but it can’t be easy for him. I’m asking for a year of self-improvement and introspection and ownership in exchange for the assault, devastion, and three years he stole from me.
All that said, I’m extremely suspect in this sudden interest for an apology–after three fucking years. (My husband even more so.) It might be the #YesAllWomen hashtag opened his eyes, as he wouldn’t be the first, but I think that’s giving him too much credit.
I’m guessing he’s finally feeling a little heat, as he’s lost two shows this year because of his sexual predation. Boo-fucking-hoo. I’m quite convinced whatever inspired him to write to our mutual colleague was much more about recovering a broken business relationship and worming his way back into those shows with manipulation and charm than it ever is about owning his predatory behavior and what it did to damage another human being.
Quite fucking sure.
He simply must do these two shows because, I guess, three Guest of Honor spots over the last 6 months isn’t enough for him, not to mention the countless other shows he’s done as musical guest during that time and over the past three years. He wants back one of the only three steampunk shows *in my own country* I can do because they are the only ones who have banned this rapist.
Many, many more know what he did, in detail, by the way, but they choose to turn their heads and close their eyes. After all, what are a few traumatized women where there’s a profit to be made!
Here is part of the email I sent to our mutual colleague earlier today. I’ve redacted names and put in ellipses where I took out some text, mostly because it’s said elsewhere in this post or to protect the recipient who has shown me nothing but kindness and respect, and who I love and respect deeply.
Yesterday, my husband and I were to have our first “date night” in as long as I can remember. Years, likely. Then [TSM] gets introduced back into my consciousness, and I become more consumed with all this than I’d care to admit out of shame, since it has been three years, and it shouldn’t affect me so much anymore. But it does. Certainly on a more subtle level than before, which is why I don’t recognized just how distressed and triggered I am until I find myself checking my messages every 20 minutes and not being able to sleep much. Then when I do, it’s full of nightmares. Our entire date was shadowed by this. My evening was shadowed by this. My night was haunted by this. It has been over two years since we’ve made love, not counting one failed, highly triggering attempt about 7 months ago.
I’ve been on the verge of tears all day, partially because I didn’t sleep well, which has exacerbated this stuff with [TSM], and partially because I’m so confused as to what I feel. I wonder what I would really get out of an apology, even a sincere one. It would be way too little, way too late if it were an apology alone. Without serious amends, namely the four things I’ve stated again and again, it would do nothing for me but cause further distress. First, people would ostracize me even more, which at this point is almost impossible. They wouldn’t understand why a ‘sincere apology’ wasn’t enough…and wasn’t I just overreacting to begin with, after all? He’s such a nice guy, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam, and it hurts my head just to think about going back into that bullshit community response.
… I don’t know what [TSM]’s motivations or intentions are either, but I can tell you without a doubt they are purely selfish. He cares nothing about me and my well-being, as he’s proven for 3 years now, but I’m not sure you see that. He’s concerned about making his own life easier, not righting a wrong. Not caring for a human being he significantly helped destroy.
I loathe to go down the profound list of what I lost, what [TSM] himself stole from me or for what he acted as a catalyst…all due to his selfish choices, even though I begged him over and over not to choose each of those things throughout that evening and over the next few months.
And here’s another selfish choice…
…Yesterday on the date with my husband, I saw Maleficent. I’m not sure you’ve seen it or want to, but I’ll try not to spoil it for you. Throughout the film, I saw my situation. Something violently ripped from her by someone she trusted and loved, altering her reality and her very identity for years upon years, while her attacker went onto lead a happy, powerful, popular life. He chose to destroy her and benefitted from that destruction, yet Maleficent is considered the villain, the “woman scorned seeking revenge.” What I saw was a woman utterly destroyed by the selfish, cruelty of a man she loved and trusted, seeking justice for what he had taken and trying to piece her life back together despite the desperation and despair. She would never be the same, although she healed over the years and was able to find herself again through the love on a single person. Her life, her power, her identity, her body, her very raison d’être was violently ripped from her by the selfish, cruelty of one man.
She sought justice, not revenge, and I cheered her for it.
I know people have accused me (to you) of a personal vendetta, and I resent that so deeply on so many levels. So very deeply. This isn’t a vendetta; this is accountability. This is seeking justice. I’m not casting a curse on his daughters (he’s doing that himself by the kind of man he is). No. I’m holding onto a level of integrity and accountability necessary to even make a dent in the harm he personally caused or perpetuated until The Sociopathic Rapist could take over and finish the job.
By doing the four things I request, I’d know he was sincere, and so would the world. I know he won’t do them, because he’s a selfish coward who lacks any integrity. The ironic thing is that even though those four things would benefit me by validating me (both personally and in the eyes of the community), helping us financially recover from the exorbitant trauma recovery bills, and offering me a safe place to do events and rebuild my career *in my own country* for a year, they would benefit him, his family, and his career even more.
Through therapy and introspection, he would become a better men, a better partner to [name redacted], and a better father to his daughters. His obviously miserable relationship would have a chance at being healthy and happy. His daughters might learn how to choose good men in another few years, instead of men like daddy, which is the path they’re on right now…
-He would become physically and mentally healthier by giving up his addictions.
-His fans would respect him for his courage and integrity, and he would become not only a brilliant performer who makes people laugh, but he would also become an example of a genuine man who cares for others and takes responsibility for his actions with grace and humility. He would gain popularity for it, not lose it.
Because despite it all, I love him. Once someone is in my heart, they are always there, which is why I suppose this is still so difficult after three fucking years.
So, after this long ramble, I feel a little better. On one hand, I don’t want to turn my back on someone if he’s truly willing to be accountable for his actions and the damage he caused, but I really don’t think that’s where he’s coming from. He’s a self-serving, petty, pathetic man who obviously doesn’t care a thing for me and never did. The only use I was to him was as an unwilling ejaculatory tool and a fantasy lover he briefly used to escape the pain of his reality. Like pot. Like alcohol. Like live porn. When I became too real, he tossed me into the gutter like rubbish and walked away without looking back because it was all too inconvenient for him to do so. He left me destroyed, devastated, and vulnerable to a new, worse predator who finished the job, ensuring my identity, my career, and my sexuality were beyond repair for years, if not forever.
For this, no half-hearted or self-deprecating performance will suffice. For this, it must be all four, otherwise, it might as well be nothing. If you judge me unreasonable for this, then so be it. Please let me know so that I might disappear from Steampunk completely and cut all ties with everyone, starting somewhere else, doing something new where I’ll never hear [his name or stage name] ever again.
Just for clarity, you need not hold my confidence for the contents of this letter away from [TSM] or anyone. I am, and always have been, completely transparent. I have nothing to hide. It is not my shame. It is his and any who choose to support him or any unrepentant rapist like him.
The anger has been renewed as well. I’ve vacillated between rage and depression and dissociation all day. It made me remember the letter I wrote on the way to SPWF a few weeks ago. It was a triggering event because it was after that event in 2011 that This Steampunk Musician (TSM) assaulted me.
It was written for me, a way to work through my distress and anger at the time, but now, since I’ve been asked if I would accept “a sincere apology” from TSM, it’s all come to a head again. It’s shattered my peace and consumed me with confusion all while stirring up painful emotions. It wasn’t even his idea to apologize, I understand, and he might not even choose to say those few pretty words (which is fine with me, as they will be meaningless from his lying, manipulative, raping tongue).
He’s a coward. He was a coward three years ago, and he’s a coward now. This is the letter I wrote three weeks ago, and it’s full of all the rage I felt then.
I remember how three years ago I would write to you with so much hope, love, and longing. So much has changed since then. I know I have. I’ve changed irrevocably.
Now, I’m stuck at another airport between home and SPWF, just like three years ago. They asked me there this year to speak on their Consent & Safety Track, and I agreed. It’s only the 2nd event I’ve done in the past two years, as my Steampunk career was robbed from me. I keep hearing you, on the other hand, are doing just fine. Three GOH gigs in the past six months alone, and it makes me beyond sick.
When I met you, I was on the cusp of something great. My book was an Amazon bestseller and I had a feature article in an international newspaper…what you chose to do to me and the way you chose to treat me changed all that, changed my future for good, as I was unable to write for years. Now all I can write about is sexual violence and the treachery of men.
I hate you. Beyond belief. I hate you for assaulting me, for raping me–and it was technically rape. The NYPD thought so, too. I hate you for trapping me in that hotel room. I hate you for courting me afterward, coaxing me to fall in love. I hate you for casting me aside like garbage. I hate you for your continued cowardice. I hate you for my inability to make love anymore. I hate you for my loss of hope. I hate you utterly and completely.
Do you realize how healing it would’ve been had you just admitted your wrongdoing? Admitted the damage caused, offered amends? You make in one weekend what it takes me over a year to earn through book sales now that my career is ruined. Do you realize? You make in one weekend what I’ve spent, scraped together, for just one year of trauma recovery therapy, but like the fucking coward you are, you stay hidden and pretend nothing happened. You don’t speak to it, and you deceive all your fans that you are a good guy because you have the gift of humor.
I hate you. I loathe you beyond articulation.
And here I am, going back to SPWF again, having all this dug up in my heart again…where you still reside, and that’s when I hate me. Knowing how easily I would’ve forgiven you had you only treated me like a human being instead of yesterday’s rubbish. How easily I still would forgive you if you would show the courage of admitting what you did, publicly, and apologizing, both publicly and privately, and making amends. Paying me back for years of therapy. Going to therapy yourself. Taking a hiatus in touring until I felt safe again. How easily I would forgive you.
But more than hating myself, I hate you. You will only understand the depth of the harm your selfish behavior caused when your daughters grow up and love men just like you, and they will. Yes, yes they will…because you showed them how men are supposed to be, at least in their eyes. Watch them be destroyed by men like you, and then you will realize what you did to me. You not only aided in my utter destruction, like the WDMF before and after you, but you caused [your daughter]’s destruction as well.
Just you wait and see.
Enjoy your success, [TSM], for the future holds nothing but agony for you as you watch your daughters destroyed by men like you. Unlike other creeps, however, you will not be able to deny that it was completely your choices that destroyed them, as they destroyed me and my career.
Fuck you, you utter raping bastard.
I will never be silent again.
Never. Be. Silent. Again.
If he chose to follow my request and truly show he took ownership of his actions as well as committed to making amends, then he would shift from an example of a sexual predator (about whom I speak loudly and widely, both publicly and especially privately) to an example of a man with integrity and courage, a man who takes ownership for his choices and amends for his wrongs.
He’s proven thus far to be an utter coward. However, I will happily and joyfully be proven wrong if he steps up to the challenge.
In the mean time, I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not shutting up. After all, I quite literally have *nothing* else to lose that anyone has the power to take from me, unless they resort to murder.
My career was raped from me.
My job was raped from me.
My communities were raped from me.
My identity and sexuality were raped from me.
My ability to function in society was raped from me.
I do, however, still have my voice, and I will continue to use it.
My voice is getting stronger and louder.
The longer he waits to make amends, the worse it will be for him, all while my strength and voice continue to grow.
So, fuck you, Steampunk Musician, and your selfish non-gesture. Show some integrity and courage, and then we can talk. After three years, you’ll have to do better than turn on the charm.
A lot fucking better.
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~ by omgrey on June 5, 2014.
Posted in Lost in the Aether, Trauma & Recovery
Tags: #yesallwomen, author, grief, healing, heartbroken, honesty, love, misogyny, o.m. grey, olivia grey, rape, rape survivor, sexual assault, shattered, steampunk