If anyone is being self-righteous about it, it’s me. Because it was frankly incredibly disconcerting to hear after each update that no one had said a damn word about the signs, obvious or otherwise, about the abuse that Boop had put into the chapter. And I had pages of notes, while most of the reaction here and on ao3 was about Steve being mean, or Bucky being a dick, or Karpov being an okay guy. So, yeah, it was frustrating, and honestly, it was getting scary. Because we [and I’m using ‘we’ very loosely here] thought that the signs were getting missed. And since nothing in the fic is an exaggeration of what happens and yeah, since I personally and professionally have experience in abuse and it’s after-effects, I was pissed. Over the last week, I probably have been self-righteous at times. I’m not going to apologize for noticing the foreshadowing, or for being upset at the initial lack of response.
I’m not asking that everyone catch every single thing. I certainly haven’t. I didn’t catch the eating disorder until after chapter 6. As I’ve said before, the abuse is occurring on multiple levels, and some of it it obvious and some of it isn’t. Emotional and verbal abuse is very subtle, and the after effects of physical and sexual abuse often get thrown into the “acting out” behaviors, or seen as the problem itself and not a symptom. Prime example, no one’s asked why Bucky uses. It’s seen as a problem in and of itself, and not as a coping mechanism to deal with the abuse.
I don’t think people that miss things because they don’t know what they’re seeing are bad people. Everyone has been Sam, and lots of people are still where Sam’s at. I’ve been Sam. I’m still Sam in a lot of areas, including areas that are in the fic. But here’s the thing about Sam: he’s starting to see it. He’s starting to see what’s actually happening. He’s starting to change his attitude, and his actions, based on that. People who don’t see it because it doesn’t occur to them that it could happen are not the people I’m yelling about.
I’m talking about the people who deliberately ignore the signs. I’m talking about the ones who have said “yeah I see it, I just don’t care.” I’m talking about the people who think Bucky deserves what’s happened, as if a victim is ever to blame for what their abuser did to them. This isn’t just toxic and victim-blaming, it’s dangerous as hell. I mean, you want a real life example? Look at the media fallout from Kesha coming out about her abuse. Look at what people have said. Look at what Katy Perry said. This is what I’m yelling about. People who, when presented with the signs and facts, say “it’s not that big of a deal” and “they must have done something to provoke them.” This is so harmful. Almost as harmful as the abuse itself. This is what destroys people. To be that brave, and talk about what happened, to finally be in a place they feel safe enough to start to rebuild? And then get it thrown in their face like that? That’s what I’m yelling about. That’s what get’s me mad.
“….and not having been abused does not make us lesser people. Does it?”
I’m gonna give you some advice right now: don’t ever fucking say this to another person for as long as you live.
I don’t know if you understand what that sounds like, and I really couldn’t give a fuck. Abuse does nothing but make you feel like a worthless piece of shit that would make everyone’s lives a lot better if you were dead. You spend every day trying to make yourself as small as possible, as docile as possible, to avoid getting hurt. And it never works, but you keep hoping someday you’ll find the right words, the right thing to do, that keeps them happy. It grinds you down and takes away whole parts of you, and you think you deserve it. That’s the worst part. Thinking that you don’t deserve parts of you, because you aren’t good enough. You’ll never be good enough. You are not enough.
I spent years trying to get away, and years and years afterwards trying to rebuild every part of me. I’m still rebuilding. So to say this, to say that someone you’re the lesser person because you haven’t been abused? As if my abuse is some burden on you?
Don’t ever say it again.