Family has thoughts about cancel culture

*trigger warning, sexual assault*

I went to a family gathering tonight and debated about cancel culture. We often have debates about cultural topics, which I could summarize as the women often argue on political correctness. The men often argue against that in some way, in my opinion, in a not very informed or intellectually impressive way (sometimes on either side.) Overall everyone was pretty respectful tonight, but I felt disappointed in some of my family members.

One of my family members experienced repeated sexual assault when they were a child. They were not present for the conversation. When rape and consent were discussed, I had thoughts and feelings of being discouraged, a responsibility to attempt to show up for the conversation and educate my family members, and a kind of emotional weight of carrying a burden. I also felt like leaving some of the time. I just felt tired, tired of the same agreements made by people who don’t understand the impacts of rape on an individual.

As I was driving home, I had the thought that I should ask my family member if they were willing to disclose the incidents to at least one or two of my female family members, so at least someone would know besides me and try to steer the conversations into a better direction, especially if the family member who was a victim is present.

Later, I thought that even this disclosure might not educate or change minds in the way I might be thinking it should. So I brought up thought work at the end of the night, in a different context. I realized that I am trying to control my family members’ thoughts and feelings to make myself feel better and protect myself and my family member from emotional pain. And that I can use thought work to recognize that they are entitled to their opinions. And what they are saying is not about my family member or me.

But I feel like something is missing. I want to push back against something. I don’t think my family is for rape culture, but I want the conversations to be more supportive, or not such a debate. And I think I should not take responsibility for their thought and feelings about their experiences. I think I want to feel sad and disappointed, but not exhausted, cynical, or discouraged.

Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks.