I am one of those people who is so skeptical of state sponsored institutions (like the police) that stories of horrific violence like that which has been perpetrated recently against a twelve year old girl in Galveston doesn’t invoke in me surprise or a need for explanation. And though as a white, cissexual, middle class woman without visible disabilities, most of my knowledge of state sponsored violence does not come from my own personal experience, stories like these feel very familiar to me, primarily because of my experience as an advocate for sexual assault survivors.
I’m feeling really jaded and cynical. More sadness than rage.
I miss the outrage. I want it back. Saying this to my sweetie tonight, they responded, “It’s hard to hold onto useful rage.”
I miss the outrage because I know it’s important. Anger motivates us to act. I argued this to myself, my colleagues, and my supervisors many times during my tenure as a full time paid advocate. I found myself in a position, time and again, having to defend my anger against insinuations of “lack of professionalism.” Ann Russo, professor and activist at DePaul University in Chicago, as well as contributors to INCITE’s anthology The Revolution Will Not be Funded have spoken eloquently on how this double-edged sword of fear of anger/privileging of professionalism is used to marginalize the voices of survivors within the funded anti-violence movement.
The funded anti-violence movement didn’t take care of my anger. It didn’t protect it and grow and shape it as the useful tool it is. Watching the way that anti-violence service positions (particularly advocate positions which see the highest volume of acute crisis) are revolving doors in which it’s unusual to see someone stay for more than a year and a half tells me that other’s tools weren’t cared for either.