So you fancy yourself a progressive. Maybe you call yourself an “ally.” You know things about movements and about activism and you wax poetic about revolution and justice and solidarity. You’re anti-poverty, anti-gentrification, anti-war, anti-capitalism, anti-globalization, and anti-corporation. You call yourself a settler because you’re on land that is not yours — land your ancestors stole from people they raped and abused and tried to destroy. You talk about your privilege: your male privilege, your white privilege, your cis privilege, your class privilege, your thin privilege, your fucking full-head-of-hair privilege. Whatever it is — you’ve checked it. All of it. You’ve listed it all on your Twitter profile. We get that you get it. Congratulations, you’re fucking radical.

So how about some solidarity.

I’m still shocked at how little women’s lives matter to progressives. You seem to be able to wrap your heads around just about everything else but female oppression (or you claim to, in any case). Over and over again I watch women leave abusers only to see them be propped up by other men and women as progressives and radicals, supported by their communities. Women are betrayed time and time again by those who are meant to be their allies. And it hurts.

I don’t think most men know how it feels. How painful it is to watch someone who abused you or raped you be accepted by your friends, your comrades, your so-called allies. To watch everyone else forget that which will always be with you.

Women matter. I matter. My sisters matter.

You probably talk about how bad rape is. It’s so bad. Other men should stop doing it.

I bet you think domestic abuse is wrong too. Or I bet you say it is, anyway. “You don’t hit girls,” you tell your buddies. You’re a fucking hero.

But you don’t get it. You don’t get it because it hasn’t happened to you. And because it hasn’t happened to you, at the end of the day, you don’t really care, do you?

Here’s a thing. Rape doesn’t always look the way you want it to. Neither does abuse.

We don’t need to show you black eyes or broken bones to prove a man is abusive. We fucking know. Abuse is psychological, verbal, and emotional just as much as it is physical — if not moreso. We know what abuse is. We know because it happened to us. And you don’t get to decide whether or not it’s real.

But you do.

How many times do we need to humiliate ourselves? What do we need to say to you to convince you what happened to us was real? And serious? How many times do we have to tell our stories — the stories that embarrass us, that make us feel ashamed, that make us feel weak and stupid and like hypocrites. Because why would we put up with that treatment. Why did we go back. Why did we stay. Why did we let him into our beds.

I’m tired of telling you these stories. I’m tired of telling my sisters’ stories. Just for you to feel awkward but, you know, move on. There’s work to do.

I’ve watched my abusive ex continue to thrive in his community — join all the boards, the parent-teacher groups, spearhead community initiatives. What a guy! And hey, he didn’t abuse you, so WHO’S TO SAY. And who cares when there’s progressive work to be done! Real progressive work. Work that matters. Not just the girl shit. They’re all crazy anyway — the girls.

So keep starting your startups and having your protests and your meetings and keep writing your articles and having your very important discussions about climate change and poverty and union politics and Donald Sterling is such a racist, isn’t he. We’ll all support you, I guess, because we have no other choice. Because where do we go? Where is our community? Where is our Next Top Progressive Website? Where’s our Jacobin? When we launch it will we get profiled in The New York Times?

Oh. No. We don’t get one. We aren’t serious enough. It’s just women’s issues after all. Not Serious Politics. Oh. Because you still want your buddies and your porn and your class of women to fuck and ogle and to listen to your fucking baby-child emotions and to comfort you and support you and be there for you while you work through your damage even though we had to work through ours all on our own. When is it our turn? When will you listen to us?

We’ll keep telling you our stories. Because we keep thinking you’ll care. We keep hoping that this time you’ll believe us. That this time you’ll get it.

But you never really do. Because our abuse is just our own personal problem and you don’t want the drama. You don’t want to get involved. Not when there’s real work to do.

We’re one half of the population. Where’s our fucking solidarity.