10/2/13

 

Lydia,

Going through the pictures on the TW site, and seeing my own, I now feel as if I want to explain a quote that you used as a caption; 

“I didn’t know it was okay to draw a line.”

 

Reading this now, it feels very foreign and out of context. I'm seeking some clarity as to what I meant. At the time I told you this - when I was first dealing with my rapes - my thinking was clouded. I never truly doubted that it was OK to draw a line of comfort in my friendship with Azlan. And regardless of any circumstances, the human duty to respect consent remained clear.

 

“I didn’t know it was okay to draw a line.”

 

My boundaries are understood by my true friends, and I thought Azlan was one. Azlan's violation of my trust and his greedy manipulation ran so deep in our relationship that on the surface, truth was hidden. I had thought, "how could this have happened unless I did not set boundaries?" I really believed I had done something wrong by trusting my friendship with Azlan and leaving myself vulnerable to attack. But in truth, it was his choice to live a two-faced life that disregarded my freedom and the meaning of friendship. 

Azlan wanted only to give the appearance of honesty. Unfortunately he did, and I kept believing that we were best friends. His denial of my right to control my body was incomprehensible to me. He continued to act as if everything was fine, even though I told him what he did was wrong and he subsequently apologized. Back then, I was unable to deal with Azlan's jarring moral absurdity enough so that I could cut him out of my life like a malignant tumor. It was much easier to keep up external appearances than to fully experience my emotional pain and spiritual destruction that he caused.

 

“I didn’t know it was okay to draw a line.”

 

Honestly, I felt like a fool for being manipulated by a close friend. I felt ashamed, as if I somehow allowed the repeated assaults happen to me. I reasoned that if I had set stricter boundaries, the situation could have been avoided. Looking back, it would have made no difference. I trusted the friend he pretended to be. And yet, I don't fault myself for trying to be a friend. I'm glad I can trust other people without the unreasonable paranoia that they are a malicious fraud. But after it all, I still live with the harsh realities of violence.

 

 

“I didn’t know it was okay to draw a line.”

 

 

The statement I made was a reflection of my discomfort with having been a victim. I was afraid: to crush what was left of a friendship that I had valued; to deal with my feelings of shame and judgment from others; to wrap my head around the realities of the cruelty I experienced. 

"Not knowing" I could set boundaries in a friendship was a confused rejection of the fact that I had been burned by a man who later revealed himself as a traitor. I believe Azlan remains a person who ignores the self-evident truths of equality and individual freedom in order to satisfy himself as soon as a convenient opportunity arises. I fear for the safety of others, knowing how convincingly he wore the mask of a true friend - making me believe he was incapable of harming me so viciously.

 

“I didn’t know it was okay to draw a line.”

This statement is a manifestation of pain; I did not cause my rape. The line Azlan crossed had been drawn long before we met. 

My words were a vestige of a damaged, weaker self. I didn't know how to own the betrayal and violence. I was unable to right myself from that twisted situation where I felt alone, and remained alone out of fear. 

I'm no longer afraid of what it means to be me. I refuse to let fear turn to regret. I am strong, and will be stronger. I will stand for the equality and freedom that are the foundation of our common humanity. No criminal can change that. 

 

2013