(TW GRPAHIC talk of sexual assault and rape)
I am currently 23 years old. I am happily married to a wonderful man. I have been sexually assaulted and raped by multiple men in my life. I do not speak for anyone aside from myself.
At 13, I was manipulated into dating a 17 year old. He coerced me and raped me on multiple occasions while we “dated”. When I moved to another town, he stalked me.
At 19, I was dating someone. He was very emotionally abusive and coerced me into sex all the time. I said no, he persisted. And persisted. And persisted. Until I would just give in. I remember one time, vividly, toward the end of our relationship, I gave in and I was laying face down, just silently crying. Wishing for a quick end to the misery. I left him while he was sleeping. Literally, I packed some of my things and took off in my car.
I wanted to preface my thoughts and opinions with this. I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology. I completed one year of grad school in a Master’s program in sociology. Not that this makes me an authority or expert, but it gives context.
It took me a long time to understand consent. And I still don’t understand it 100% because there is no 100% way to know anything. When I was with the 17 year old boy, I just thought “well this is how it is”. How could I know any different? Media teaches girls and women to be coy. To say no but mean yes. How fucking confusing is that? Girls and boys are taught this. Little girls are taught if a boy is mean to you, it means they like you. If a girl is mean to you, she likes you. Nice girls play hard to get. Blah blah blah on and on. I say this to bring attention to the fact that sexual assault, rape, and consent are all STRUCTURAL issues in our culture and society. These are structural issues that obviously have lasting impacts on individuals, and individuals surely have agency over their actions. But, socialization of these normalized behaviors should not be ignored.
Do I believe that either one of my rapists are terrible people? Not necessarily. Do I think that they should never be allowed to have a job or date anyone? Not necessarily.
The first boy, I have since spoken with. I have since been intimate with. To this day, he does not believe he did anything wrong. He does not see any issue with what went down. He truly believes that I was playing hard to get, that I always enjoyed myself, that I wanted to do the things we did.
I blame him. He should educate himself. He should come to terms with those things. But is it 100% his fault? No, I don’t believe so. As I stated previously, we have a huge problem at the structural level. I also blame myself. Not entirely, and not for every incident, as there were times when I said no, and that’s all I knew how to do. But I didn’t remove myself, I didn’t leave him (I was scared, and so friggen young). But I didn’t know that what happened wasn’t NORMAL, and isn’t that telling?
The second dude I will mention here, we dating as I moved cross country. We were in love. I really liked him. He was really emotionally abusive, and I didn’t see it until the end. He didn’t allow me to visit or see friends. He was extremely jealous of everything. Looking back, it was awful. As I mentioned, on several accounts he coerced me. He’d never physically force me, of course. On one account, he had sex with me in my sleep. I had found out because the next day he mentioned it, and I was like, what do you mean we had sex, no we didn’t. I don’t know if he thought I was awake, or not. But, that’s…something.
I don’t think he’s a great person. Or even a good person. He has the maturity of a 13 year old, but he’s now 27ish. I do firmly believe that society taught him that when a girl says no, she means yes. I don’t blame myself as much as I do take a part of the responsibility of what happened. Hindsight is 20/20.
So, I say all this to give context. Do I think that Alex Day should be allowed on YouTube? Idk. Do I think he’s changed? Idk. I think he’s had a start. I think that it does no justice to ban him from everything.
I used to think in terms of black and white exclusively. I have borderline personality disorder, so it was pretty much my specialty. But I see a world of grey, now. No one is 100% anything, good or bad or indifferent. Everyone makes mistakes.
In recent years I have become very upset with the way I handled situations with exes. I firmly believe I pressured several boys into sexual situations in my teens. I have reached out to some of them and apologized, but they assured me that they didn’t feel pressured - but how can I ever know? Most of the guys I dated in high school were virgins, and I dated A LOT. Am I supposed to live my life in shame and guilt?
I have learned a lot. I have healed. I have gone to treatment. I have really become a completely different person. And I think that’s what matters. That, and that we start a dialogue that is centered around changing the norms in our culture. This is not an individual problem. This is not the exclusive fault of big name youtubers. I think we should put blame where blame is due, and that is structurally. We need to start teaching EVERYONE about consent. And the nuances, it’s not just yes means yes and no means no. We need to teach and model open communication with people, at all times.
Those were my takeaways from Alex’s videos. Those are my takeaways from my experiences.
I will continue to watch his videos, should he put them out. I send positive vibes out to all victims of sexual assault, from Alex or anyone, and hope you are able to heal to the best of your abilities.
It’s really frustrating to read or hear anything about “sexual abuse on YouTube” at this point. There is no discussion, just an extensive, one-sided rant of sorts. The nature of “masterposts” and the ease of hitting a “reblog” button is undemocratic and, frankly, not that appropriate in my opinion for this kind of issue.
Victims of abuse deserve 100% to feel emotionally validated. I feel uncomfortable, however, with vilifying an entire group of YouTube “creators,” whether one or all of them did anything to be ashamed of or not. What bothers me is that we don’t know who really may be to blame. Sexual consent is such a confusing topic that it’s probably not even entirely clear to the parties involved. It’s obvious to me that there isn’t a lot of agreement on who the real victims are or what anyone’s intentions were.
To see massive campaigns launched against people that keep them from being successful at doing things they love is sad. And I’m just angry to know that massive groups of people who would like to consider themselves intelligent, open-minded, and compassionate individuals would stick so staunchly to a single opinion when, you know, innocent until proven guilty and all that.
Maybe it would be a better use of your time and energy to be supportive and proactive towards those who have your sympathy. Is it really so necessary to be so actively destructive against anyone due to, essentially, a hunch?