Цитаты из книги «Not That Bad», Roxane Gay

“wasn’t that bad.”

не все так плохо

wondered then if I could have fought harder—I hadn’t bitten off his earlobe and spit it in his face, I hadn’t jammed my knee into his testicles with all the force of my starved eighteen-year-old body, I hadn’t leaped to my feet and rammed a well-placed heel into his kneecap. I pleaded, I cried, and finally I screamed for help, but I didn’t hurt him back because I didn’t want to die.


I am in bed, if I am in bed and sleeping when he finds me, maybe he will let me sleep. I will sleep until tomorrow when the boat will return to the dock and I will be safe. But when he found me, I was not safe.

They will wake you up to rape you.
He needs to fumble around for his power in the dark, like a totem he carries in his pocket. He wants to make sure it’s still there.
IS YOUR NEW THING: WHEN A MAN YELLS AT YOU ON THE street, you yell back. You are tired of pretending you can’t hear these men. You are tired of gluing your eyes to the sidewalk in shame. You are tired of taking it, of treating it like a tax you must pay for the privilege of being a woman in public spaces.
Don’t ever use an insult for a woman that you wouldn’t use for a man. Say “jerk” or “shithead” or “asshole.” Don’t say “bitch” or “whore” or “slut.” If you say “asshole,” you’re criticizing her parking skills. If you say “bitch,” you’re criticizing her gender.
Get Out from Under It: Stacey May Fowles
The list of ways I allowed myself to be treated badly grew into something I could no longer carry, not at all.
Because when a third gynecologist asked me when I’d given birth, and when I went pale and told her no, stop, truly, I’d never been pregnant, and when she said that my cervix was shredded and looked like I had—even then, when the pain was not just inexperience or theatrics; when acknowledgment imposed proof of force (and proof was somehow necessary), even after Fucking eureka, even with the truth inflicted, what was there to say? Because the doctor said to herself, “Wow,” and didn’t offer much beyond the explanation that the tear he tore continued to rip the more he had sex with me, and as she finished the exam, she said, “You’ll feel some more pressure,” but I didn’t feel anything, not for two years.
Because I wasn’t sure when I went from thinking I was having sex to thinking I was being had sex with.
Because love and sex left me as my entertainment said and I’d hoped it would: passion shattered.
Because worst-case scenario is murder.
Oh, because it wasn’t that bad.
Because intellect can miss the gospel of intuition. Because it’s one of the more minor human tragedies: to know better and still. Because although I studied gender and sexuality as part of my degree, culture had called dibs on our psyches and souls.
Because you always hurt the one you love. Because I was supposed to love the way it hurt. Because “The cult of love in the West is an aspect of the cult of suffering,” Susan Sontag wrote. Because in The Fountainhead, I’d underlined this: Dominique “found a dark satisfaction in pain—because that pain came from him.”
Because in Atlas Shrugged, alpha male Francisco d’Anconia tells railroad company VP Dagny Taggart that she sounds happy in her new relationship: “‘But, you see, the measure of the hell you’re able to endure is the measure of your love.’”
Because I believed I would’ve died for him, so I would’ve done a lot less than that for him, too. Because there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for love!
Because, in our no-pain-no-gain dogma, the cost of something is often mistaken for its value.
The encounter at the train station—I’d convinced myself of this over the previous forty-eight hours—had been targeted. It had not been a man masturbating near a train platform, but a man masturbating at me, two minutes away from my house, wedged into the familiar banalities that made up my daily routine: the smell of the nearby barbecue joint, the automated transit announcements, the bushes I stood near each morning on my way to work.
He had masturbated at me near the city’s third-best cornbread.
He had masturbated at me at a train platform where I’d once been kissed in high school.
He had masturbated at me.
He had masturbated at me.
That wasn’t rape, though, as I understood it then: he hadn’t put his penis in my vagina when I didn’t want him to. I don’t think I had ever even heard the term “sexual assault,” but I know now that’s what it was. At the time it was just me making a bad choice by getting into his car in the first place.
I identified his charming sycophant’s voice before I remembered his face. I felt the too-close way he hugged me—like he had fucked me more than once—and only then did I know for sure that it was something I hadn’t wanted, would never have wanted if it had only been up to me, in the way that my body tried to forget our contact even as our torsos touched.
I have realized that maybe I no longer need anyone to think it was “bad enough.” I don’t need to prove that I am worthy of pity or help. I don’t need you to feel sorry for me. What I need is what most women need when they talk about the sexual violence they have endured. I need someone to listen. I need someone to believe me.
You want to—you have to—convince yourself that it wasn’t “that bad” in order to have any hope of healing. If it really is as bad as you feel like it is, how will you ever get out from under it? How will you ever get “better”?
On the other hand, you need to convince others it was “bad enough” to get the help and support you need to do that healing. To get out from under it. To get an appointment at the clinic. To get friends to come over with Styrofoam food containers when you can’t feed yourself.
You tell yourself how bad it is and then you numb yourself to how bad it is. You repeat as needed, for so many years.
I know that if I was “sick” in the traditional sense that would not be the case. People would rally around me and bake me casseroles. They would send cards and flowers and hope for my speedy recovery. They would take to social media and wish me well. Instead when I walk into the hospital that houses the clinic, I am equipped with acceptable reasons for being there that most survivors have practiced, excuses at the ready on the off chance I will run into someone I know.
I have a routine medical test. I am picking up a prescription. I am visiting a friend’s relative.
I later learned that all of my letters reached their addressees. Every single one of the people I sent them to had a conversation with my mother about them. The general consensus boiled down to one dismissive phrase that unified them all: That’s y’all business.
This doctor, like most of the people my father was in contact with, believed him to be a good and decent man.
“Your father told me what happened, Tracey,” the counselor said as I sat on the edge of the chair in his hospital office two weeks later. “Do you think you can forgive him?” he asked.
My parents sat on the couch on the other side of the room, my mother on one side, gripping her purse, and my father quietly on the other, his head down and his eyes up. It was the second time in two weeks that I’d been asked to forgive something I was struggling to comprehend on the most basic level.
There is great danger in letting those around you determine what your experience means to you, and I have found that one of the best ways to combat that is to keep my story for myself.
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