“i’ve been having this on my mind, for a long time…”

i read this post last week and it’s stayed with me, mostly because i’m kind of paralyzed by it. but after a conversation with my sister from another mister last night about lateral violence within communities, a historical lack of discussion of the perpetual violence against women and girls, and the fucked up ways that cycles of abuse and powerlessness manifest, i’ve decided to put it in words here.

apparently, there was a watermark that recently opened in ha noi. but the event wasn’t very joyful, as hundreds of women were harassed, had their heads held under water and bikinis ripped (with the excuse that the material was too flimsy as the reason), and most disturbingly, many reported being molested.

i have an active imagination, and sometimes it’s worse if i read something than if i see something. like the greyhound killer/cannibal. or the pickton pig farm murder trial. or that book about cadavers that i thought i could handle.

so the image that stays with me is that of a girl with her head held underwater, the feeling of not being able to breathe because snot and panic is filling her nose and lungs, her bathing suit being ripped and her conscious feeling of being fingered by someone(s) that she couldn’t see.

i remember my year in viet nam more than a decade ago, when i was “obese” and nobody even gave me a second glance. but when i was in ha noi, at a waterpark, i had some of the guys who worked there make comments at me, in that lewd way that i imagine men who are looking to overpower the mentally challenged to-like my extra 15lbs were a disability. i escaped that unscathed, but it came back to me when i read the recent story.

why was i so touched this time? was it because this happened in my “home country”? was it because i lived under the lasting effects of the civil war in that country, that i also felt the fear and mistrust between the north and south and my guard was already up when i went to that park? and everywhere in that part of that country?

will it always be this way? will we always have to carry the violences of our inherited pasts along with us? what do we pass along to our next generations?

when will this legacy of violence end?


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