Two weeks ago I wrote a post about my experience of sexual assault at age 15. My objective in sharing my story was to lend credibility to Christine Blasey Ford’s, to help people understand that assaults do happen the way she described and that they do have lasting effects on survivor’s lives. My account was emotional but steady. I wanted to convey what it felt like for me to live with that trauma, but I wanted to appear logical, reasonable. And the next week I watched Dr. Ford make similar rhetorical choices during her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And then I watched the angry mob of men take the room and erase her as if she had never been there at all. I watched as they sent a message to survivors all across the country that said, “Our anger and entitlement is worth more than your pain.” I watched and I cried.
And then I got angry too. Those who know me will tell you that I am pretty good at being angry. But my anger has typically been the kind that lives stuffed deep inside where I can keep it controlled and hidden. It rises to the surface at unexpected moments when I find myself yelling about the dirty laundry on bathroom floor or at the guy who cut me off in traffic. My anger in those moments seems misplaced and out of proportion. I look irrational, hysterical even, because my anger is misplaced. I’m not angry about the dirty laundry on the floor (well, maybe I’m a little pissed about that). I’m really angry at
the boys who tried to rape me.
the high school boyfriend who used gas lighting to emotionally and sexually abuse me.
the culture that told me none of that should matter, that it was no big deal, and really probably my fault anyway.
my government that upholds the power of rich white men while stripping women of reproductive rights, oppressing the LGBTQ community, putting children in cages, defending police officers who kill Black children, and turning a blind eye to income inequality and environmental disasters that make the average citizen poorer and sicker.
The anger I have been suppressing is a righteous rage. A rage that I will use to fuel my writing and my activism. It’s not going to be easy. The Senate will likely vote to confirm Kavanaugh tomorrow, and then there are the midterm elections to get through. I’m going to write through it all. I’m going to use my writing practice to hone my rage until it is sharp and targeted, and I hope you’ll join me.
I’m preparing a four-week online writing class for women who are feeling their anger and want a community where they can express it through writing and discussion. If this is you, join me in the Righteous Rage writing class starting October 22. Each Monday you will receive an email with a short reading and writing prompt. You can also share your thoughts and writing in our private Facebook group. If you are looking for a greater level of engagement and support, in addition to the weekly prompts you can register for a weekly live online discussion group. I will cap the discussion group at eight participants to create an intimate space for in-depth conversation. Sign up now to be notified when registration opens and to receive special early bird pricing.