Who was I before I was woke? On the Confession of an Abuser
TLDR: This post involves a confession by a man on Facebook. In it he discusses and outlines the abuse he perpetrated and the male feminist he is now. Following this a lady commented that how he phrased his confession belittled the experiences of his victims. We’ve posted each here without editing them so that you can form your own opinions. We at #nu are torn. On the one hand I personally love that he confessed…on the other hand what the fuck is being woke and does that absolve him of his sins?
Dear #notallmen brigade you can fuck right off though. We dont need you in this one 😛
((Trigger warning: Sexual abuse confession))
Who were you before you were woke?
Who was I before I was woke?
Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing. Part of the reason so many people refuse to see how their privilege is based on injustice is because they will have to acknowledge themselves as complicit to the injustice rather than passive/neutral observers. Especially people who are primary perpetrators of abuse or injustice.
Soul-searching and self-reflection is a nightmare because it means confronting parts of you that you aren’t proud of. That you would rather die that let other people find out. That send chills down your spine just thinking about seeing yourself like that. Even among woke folks, there is a tendency to try dissociate oneself from how they contribute(d) to the injustices they are presently aware of.
This post is about me and how I contributed to the injustices I speak against.
This post may make many feel betrayed, annoyed, disillusioned… especially to several women who have confided in me stories of their sexual harassment and abuse thinking that I am a ‘safe man’.
Who was I before I was woke? I was absolute trash.
I was one of the boys in the locker room talking about women as objects.
I was one of the boys talking of my sexual experiences as if they were accomplishments.
I was one of the boys spanking my female friends thinking it’s funny.
I was one of the boys trying to turn every connection with a woman into a quest for orgasms.
I was the boy who surreptitiously who sexually harassed my form one teachers as the boys would giggle. Take a photo of the biology teacher’s ass and my classmates would ask me to bluetooth them the pic. The teacher who had to leave as soon as the term ended because she couldn’t face the class anymore.
Who was I before I was woke? I was a sexual harasser and abuser.
But, presently, I seem to be livid about sexual harassment and coercion of any kind. How? Why?
Part of my intolerance for it is also projected intolerance. Hatred of who I was while simultaneously detaching myself from that part of me. In a sense, I was directing my anger to someone I refused to acknowledge as me. All my posts addressed to men are also addressed to me as well, indirectly.
Because cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing.
But also what makes me angry was at the impunity with which I committed these acts.
Was the way boys would cheer and giggle as they saw/heard me do these, and as they did it themselves.
That the women would be completely speechless, unable to express themselves, unable to acknowledge it happened, unable to speak about it, unable to even begin explaining what was wrong to a group of boys who are socialised to believe that women’s bodies are for their pleasure. That their humanity is sacrificed for our sexuality.
That I never even thought of much of what I did as sexual harassment because rapists are portrayed as old, drunk men who drag screaming girls into the bushes, not those who don’t understand that not everyone is a light sleeper, and having sex with someone who is asleep is not consensual.
That there were women also accepting and sometimes cheering this on so long as its happening to someone else.
That no one has called me out in all my teen years for being a potential rapist in the making. Not the women who’ve had to pretend they didn’t feel me rub my hand against their ass, not the boys we were sharing stories of our misogynistic endeavours with, not the several teachers who come to give us Sex Ed., not my parents who are feminists in NGOs…
That the only way I learned is by finally hearing the screams of women who are sexually assaulted to the point of severe trauma when #MyDressMyChoice finally sprung up, and then from there a long string of Facebook posts going viral of women around the world being sexually harassed, beaten and even murdered in gut-wrenching ways for me to finally begin to even see what constitutes as sexual abuse. That the bubble of privileged ignorance that me and the boys lived in is so formidable that I could have very well gone on for the rest of my life without having to leave the bubble and it would not be my personal problem, if not for me not being a potential statistical victim then for the system of impunity that would bend over backwards to protect me from prosecution.
But here I am now, for the last year and a half being a feminist figure to several strangers. A pillar of hope and light to some, a role model to others, yet I am a sexual abuser in a feminist space.
I can only imagine what the women who have opened up to me, and the women I have grown close to and who have grown close to me will feel reading this.
This is an additional reason I hate the patriarchy. That we men can be raised so disconnected from the humanity of women and responsibility of our own sexuality and then proceed to gaslight women who are dredging up emotional labor and risking their lives and safety to disrupt this system of injustice in the face of men who think that all is well and that women should be more grateful that we are not worse.
This is all the more reason to always scrutinise men in feminist spaces, and recognise which of them are genuine and which ones are posers, dragging in the patriarchy behind them not by what they say, but by what they do in relation to what they claim to do, and the effect of their actions, whatever their intention is.
The fact that survivors need to know that I have been a sexual abuser was suggested to me by a friend who helped me unpack how uncomfortable I’ve been in especially spaces where sexual harassment is being discussed when at the back of my mind their abusers actions parallel my past. This is important information for survivors to know. And I’ve never let any of them know before they told me their experiences. So I’m telling everyone now bc it’s still important.
And this conversation started because apparently someone has started rumours that I sexually assaulted them, which in her case is absolutely untrue.
Sexual harassment is already traumatising. And it exists in a society that doesn’t take it seriously. Spaces that take it seriously exist on the basis of believing the victim because the justice system won’t. Taking advantage of the safe haven many find comfort in to lie is just malicious.
It also continues to fuel the #NotAllMen bandwagon whose defense to any case of sexual harassment is saying that women falsely accuse men. And it is also minimizing actual traumatic and disconcerting experiences of sexual assault and lying about it is just as bad os not taking it seriously, if not worse.
But while it is not true for her case, it is true that I have still been trash upon trash and the bitterness and anger of who I was in the past drives me to conscientiousness and educating. Especially since, as a man, I have the advantage of having the perspective from the point of privilege, as well as the biological and social factors that aid the continuation of rape culture. Basically, I am an inside and am privy to all of men’s tactics, thought processes, diversionary tactics that can only be understood by those in a position to do them that women, even feminists, may not be aware of yet.
But I am a man. In feminist spaces. I can say that I no longer sexually abuse and harass but men who claim to be feminists also say the same and end up being some of the worst abusers. So my actions and their effects should also be speaking for me to see if my words match my actions. Because words said are just half the truth. The rest of it comes in the action and effect. And again and again I encourage not just listening to people’s words because humans are such dynamic liars. Always consider the psychology of the individual. Always understand the person from observation, now what they tell you.
Who were you before you were woke?
Whoever you were, always strive to be better than you were yesterday. Never go back to your BS.
Soul-search, self-reflect, evaluate, transform and hold yourself accountable.
Stacy B Kirui
Hm. Why did you think it was a good idea to frame your abuse under the context of who you were before you were woke? Do women now have to wait for all men to be woke so that we can feel safe? Moreover, what was your point with this? I’m not here to coddle you. If anyone else made a status such as this you would be there with your refined feminist politics telling him fuck his guilt and his male tears. This status does not un-traumatize the women you hurt. It does not provide any healing to them.
They have carried trauma you will never even begin to understand because you “weren’t woke”. Furthermore it is very underwhelming – how you have described your assault. Because you and I both know what you did to those women and you don’t get to come on Facebook and make a confession to unburden you of your guilt. Numerously you are always here talking about ostracizing abusers but you want to come here with this woiyee story of who you were before you were woke then what?
For people to tell you they are proud of you for acknowledging your mistakes? You simply get to acknowledge your mistakes when there are women on this earth forever changed because you put your hands on them? Women who you knew were very vulnerable and you chose to take advantage of their vulnerability?
Does your feminist politics make you the exception to how we are supposed to respond to abusers? Your guilt does not undo your actions. You know why your “feminist” gang is mute? Because you have made yourself their feminist god and they don’t know to call you out for this very distasteful status. Or maybe they are making you the exception to their feminist politics because it’s you. You don’t get to simply come here with a reformed story and get to be told “thank you for sharing” and “you’re so brave”. You’re not brave. The women you hurt are the brave ones because they had to redefine normal, they had to relearn life post-trauma, they had to suffer the PTSD. I am nowhere near done with this but I’ll end here because not only is your post very triggering to my own trauma, it’s also very underwhelming considering what you did to those women.
Paul, you do not get to be the exception.
And as for your loyal feminist squad who will come here yelling character defamation – I’ll also remind you you are the same people who write essays on how enraged you are that women talking about assault are always met with “character defamation”.
I have plenty receipts of your actions, Paul. Those women deserve better than this sorry status. Have you apologized to any of them before coming to unburden your guilt on Facebook?
That I am nervous about clicking send on this because I am afraid of backlash is a result of the misogyny you are perpetuating yet simultaneously claim to hate. That I am likely to get more backlash for calling you out and I’m likely to be called a liar on here is a result of the system you endorsed when you laid your hands on every one of those women. I might be nervous about posting this but my anxiety does not come anywhere close to the rage I carry on behalf of every one of those women. YOU DO NOT GET TO BE AN EXCEPTION, PAUL.