What’s up my friends?! In my previous post, I discussed the idea of the “love slap.” To me, the love slap comes from a place of deep care for the issue at hand, whether that be sexual assault, racism, sexism, poverty, etc. Now I realize that a slap is generally seen as a violent action, but stick with me for a bit longer. I might be able to adjust your perspective and help you instill the love slap into your life.
Think about someone or something you deeply care about. When you’ve tried everything to help the person you love or tried everything to help the issue at hand, yet nothing seems to be changing, what should you do next? When your friend comes home with bruises but continues to see the guy that beats her, when you’ve tried to raise awareness about sexual assault but people are still being raped every night, when the boss continues to pay their male employees more than their female employees, what’s the next move? When things reach this point, a jolt to the system is necessary.
The love slap should not be seen as violent, it should be seen as tough love. I’m not talking about going around and slapping people who you disagree with, I’m pretty sure you’d get arrested. The love slap is a metaphor that stands for tough love. When you approach any person or situation from a place of rage or hate, no good will come. Most likely, the behavior you show is what you will get in return. People can sense emotions. Remember that you are a mirror. If you want a certain behavior to come from that encounter, you must model that exact behavior.
Here are a few examples of how you can model the love slap with certain situations and people:
Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Racism, Sexism, Hate Crimes, Discrimination:
I can only speak from personal experience about sexual assault and sexual harassment, but I believe my love slap approach can be applied to all of these issues. When I use the word “survivor,” I mean any person who has dealt with any form of hate and survived, not just sexual assault survivors. If you’ve survived a hate crime because of your choice of gender or your race, you’re a survivor. If you’ve survived sexist comments based on your sex or appearance, you’re a survivor. This applies to anyone and everyone.
For people to truly listen to the stories of survivors, raise awareness, and stop the crime or the demeaning dialogue that’s happening, we need to instill the love slap. For me, as a survivor of rape, this means overcoming my fear and making sure my story is heard by a large crowd. It means posting about it, opening up about it to friends, sharing similar stories on Facebook, basically making sure that everywhere someone looks, they see at least one thing about my story, aka continually “slapping” the world. At this stage in our world, there is not enough being done to help survivors of rape and stop the rapists, so this is my version of giving the world some tough love. By doing this, I hope to plant a seed in its head. Ideally, this seed will grow into a flower that promotes awareness, listens to and stands up for survivors, and doesn’t tolerate rape culture at all.
But to water that seed, I started writing about my story, helping other victims share their stories, and told my friends how they could help people in similar situations. I remind myself everyday to portray the type of behavior I’d like to receive in return. That was love, kindness, acceptance, and positive anger about the issue at hand. I did not call all men rapists, I did not unfriend all my male friends who used the word “rape” lightly, I did not bitch about how the party culture hides rape, I did not play the victim. I approached these issues and these people with patience, well crafted words, and ultimately, love.
I believe this approach can be applied to almost everything. For example, I have not experienced racism or a hate crime, but I feel that if you are a survivor or if you know a survivor, then you can instill the love slap. I don’t think one person’s issue is “worse” than the other, I think we have all dealt with shit in our lives. We’ve all felt pain. I believe the only way we are going to change what we’ve faced or who we’ve faced is try to give that person or situation a love slap. Show them tough love. Gather your story, share it, express your feelings and your experience in a strong, positive, patient way, help others share their story, tell the world what’s truly going on and then offer suggestions as to how it can help. Don’t stop doing this until you see the change you want to see. This repeated behavior in the form of tough love is the love slap.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be people who don’t listen to you. There will be people who don’t give a fuck about you, what happened to you, or your cause. You can respond to this by getting hurt, angry, lashing out, feeling defeated, or giving up. But what good does that do for you or your cause? You already survived the biggest hurt. In my case, I already survived the rape. Why would I let people who ignore my story or don’t care about my pain affect me?
I am bigger than that and I am bigger than them. You are bigger than that and you are bigger than them. Try to not take anything personally and continue to pursue your goal. Continue to love slap the world.
So like I said in my last post, I’m going to keep love slapping the world and encouraging my friends to do so too. For now, hang loose and rock on.