I am angry

Image of Helen Frankthaler in her studio in 1956

Paradoxically, the unbearable lightness of my heart

This is going to be an angry essay, I must warn you. The last three weeks or so, Steve Yang has put me in hell through his acts of retaliation and trying to buy justice with his means. And for a long time, I felt like this is something that I needed to deal with because his retaliation was unfortunately what was presented to me. In the beginning, when I started sharing these stories and my Lived Experience about Steve Yang and Ravi Faiia at my alma mater who violated me without my consent, I thought that I would at least get an apology from Steve. But now, he has definitely shown that he is threatened, exercising his “perpetrator/offender” muscles to engage in DARVO — Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender — (see previous essay) and betray his desire to “control” as a perpetrator and to “punish.” In one divulgent statement shared with me through a third party, he expressed his “relief at the possibility of silencing me to prevent me from speaking out” and exercising my First Amendment free speech rights. How disgusting and horrible is that?!

When I think about the whirlwind of circumstances these last four months and how chaotic it’s been, I can’t help but to be filled with anger towards Steve, especially. Any normal or a reasonable person would have offered an apology or acknowledged the situation, because this IS THE HUMAN THING TO DO. But he seems to think it’s justified for him to waste my time and energy and take away my much-needed time from self-care which I badly need in this crazy and broken world to play his game. Of course though, when it comes to Steve, the focus is all about him and he’s proven to be a narcissist yet again. I feel as if he is trying to inflict double-victimization, nothing else.

Another issue that has been disturbing is my hearing of the phrase “the sexual assault happened a long time ago,” even from a court advocate! Actually, every survivor of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual violence knows that “healing does NOT subscribe to a timeline,” as Phoenix Act, the organization which advocated for the increase of statute of limitations for survivors of domestic violence in California — states on their website. As a result of their actions, the statute of limitations for pressing charges for victims and survivors of domestic violence has increased from 3 to 5 years (the Phoenix Act) . There is definitely no timeline for healing from sexual assault — it is something that one has to live with for the rest of his or her Life and this is the harrowing truth!

So excuse my anger — Steve and those of you (a few) who tried to insinuate or imply that this situation — the violation of me and my body — can be minimized or denied or ignored or relegated or something that “I should move on from” because every survivor knows that this is impossible and is something that should be organic and natural and internal, NOT something that should be induced from an external point of view of someone who has never walked in these shoes. Just ask any child survivor of abuse! The way our brain processes trauma and memory is something mysterious in itself — let alone our bodies, according to each person.

I am so angry with each of these individuals and the callous ways in which they tried to downplay my Lived Experience with Steve Yang’s sexual assault and my attempts to process and heal from his horrible crime. But Steve’s callousness goes a step further — it demonstrates cruelty, denial, cool (his dehumanization of me as a victim of his sexual assault) and his being steeped in some sort of toxic masculinity that he can’t even acknowledge or see the effect of his actions on a vulnerable young girl’s body and Life the last four months. And that is on him, NOT ON ME as I am the one who is the victim here.

On a brighter note, artist Helen Frankenthaler painted the work “Mountains and Sea” ( 1952) which heralded her rise as a leading female American modern abstract painter in the late 20th century until her passing in 2011. (She was even awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2001). This work, which birthed her reputation as a painter of desire and passion, was met with much criticism from her peers, but what strikes me is the lightness of her touch when she painted this work which distinguishes her from her male prominent peers. It’s not heavy or commanding, which was the style of her contemporary figures such as Jackson Pollack, but has an ethereal quality which is grounded in the commonness of the subjects of her painting — a boat and a landscape. This painting surfaced in my mind today because I believe this lightness of touch or inner light (“Inneres Licht” in German) is required or is the antidote in the situation I described above and in the world today in general that is so ridden with heaviness and an oppressiveness of sorts. The world is seemingly pulling me in so many different directions and this feels dark and horrible. But my heart wants to persevere even though the sense of hope I feel right now is light as feather right now. As odd as this sounds, maybe this sense of hope is enough to keep me going for now, today.

As for Steve, I believe that he has to reckon with what he did someday. He is obviously NOT whom I built up to be in my head these last 15 years and it is clear he is not worthy of my trust. This quote by Scott Stratten, the author of Unmarketing, seems to aptly describe him: “Don’t try to win over the haters; you’re not the jackass whisperer.” It is no doubt he is threatened and I’ll show you that when someone starts a fight with me, “I will fight back” which was one of the rules I learned early on to stand up to unfriendly classmates, etc. Karma has a way of going around and I will show you, Steve Yang, that karma will come around to haunt you!