After an unfortunate exchange on FB yesterday that left me angrier than I have been in months, I feel the need to set some things straight:

I have been criticized in private for writing openly about the fact that 33 years ago, a man raped me. I understand that’s hard for people who love me to read, and I understand that’s hard for everyone else to fathom — why would I not just keep such a horrific and personal experience to myself? But I’m a Christian; my life isn’t for “keeping to myself.” It’s solely and entirely for the glory of God, and if going public with my experience opens the door for some woman to ask me for help, or feel empowered when she feels utterly stripped of power, or come to understand that there’s a name for what she’s experienced, then I’m glad for it, and no self-inflicted loss of privacy matters in the face of any good that might come from Surviving Out Loud. I write to anyone who reads, but I write FOR women, and I obey the Holy One by doing so.

But here’s what happened yesterday, and what must never happen again: Some man, a FB “friend” only because that’s how even hostile correspondents are described, took that information, mangled it, and then used it to diagnose and explain what he insists is my “bitterness.” This pompous little twit dared to suggest that what he called my “having been molested when (I) was younger” is the reason behind my criticism of his minister, their shared patriarchal theology, and his hero’s grossly un-pastoral conduct. From a perch of privileged masculinism that he presumed gave him the OK to use my history to analyze and then correct me, he concluded that so bad was the trauma of rape that it left me unable to follow or embrace beliefs that he believes to be unswervingly correct. Not at all surprisingly, those beliefs privilege men over women.

I wanted to tear his little throat out.

Thinking that he had revealed something I had kept private, he immediately apologized. I explained that he was way out of line NOT because he revealed a secret, but because he referenced the incident at all — something that wasn’t his to use, and especially not his to use in an attempt to plumb the depths of my heart and mind. More than most men, even, he isn’t qualified. He sure as hell wasn’t invited.

He still doesn’t get it, but I’m pretty sure he gets that I was livid. I doubt he even has the capacity, morally and relationally, to grasp the degree to which he violated boundaries — boundaries that even the grossest of males, as well as most reasonably intelligent toddlers, would respect. Any defensiveness will be met with a face-to-face encounter he’s not likely to forget, and I hope he simply accepts the forgiveness that I offered and goes home aware, perhaps for the first time, that being in possession of a penis qualifies him for not a whole lot, and definitely not for the right to use my history to his advantage.

Because he’s a Biblical literalist, he will, I’m sure, understand that my life’s pearls are freely offered to those I choose. I don’t choose to cast them before privilege-bloated, pompous, swine, and I will react strongly if one of the swine presumes to help himself to them.

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