Two Facts

[Trigger warning for sexual assault.]

1. Ruth Marcus' brain was long ago replaced by a state-of-the-art judgment machine.

2. I never get tired of hearing what a whiny-ass binky baby I am because I may be triggered by the invasive, unwanted touching of my breasts and genitals.

It's interesting, ahem, that someone like me is cast as immature, as childish, as needing to "grow up," by virtue of my aversion to enhanced screening, because, the truth is, my childhood came to a screeching halt when I was raped at 16 and left to deal with the aftermath of the trauma on my own by the police, my school, and just about everyone who was supposed to care about me.

And it strikes me as naive to the point of childishness to not know or understand or accept or acknowledge that ugliness exists in the world, and that it changes people in ways they would never want to be changed.

Who's the real grown-up in this scenario? The woman who has empathy for survivors, for veterans with anxiety disorders, for adults with disabilities, for parents of children with disabilities, for people with genetic predispositions for cancer or are in remission from the disease, for children who aren't old enough to understand what's happening, for everyone who has reason to fear the potential consequences of being subjected to back-scatter scans and/or enhanced pat-downs, or the woman who haughtily sniffs "grow up" at all of those people...?

Naturally, we are both grown-ups. But this isn't about being immature, not really. It's about being weak.

There's this persistent idea that identifying as someone who is vulnerable to trauma- and/or disability-born triggers is evidence of weakness (and/or immaturity, or frailty), but I cannot begin to explain how much easier it would be to not publicly identify this way. I don't like reading that I "identify as a victim" and that I'm "too fragile for the world" and I'm "always aggrieved" and all the other shit that gets written about me, personally—and frequently at other feminist blogs, much to my chagrin—on a regular basis. I don't like getting emails accusing me of being weak and pathetic and a baby and a broken person. I don't like trolls who say the same in comments.

It would be infinitely easier if I were not forthcoming about who I actually am and what I've actually experienced and what that actually means in terms of living in a culture that is hostile to people who are demonstrably vulnerable in any kind of way.

But easy would be dishonest. I don't have the luxury of easy.

Not anymore.

Easy is a relic of the childhood I left behind long ago, in a pool of blood on my bedroom floor.

I'm a grown-up, Ms. Marcus. I can barely remember a time when I wasn't.

And I'm not alone.

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