Artimisia Gentileschi, "Susanna and the Elders" (1610)
the first experience of equality is the experience of violation. it is awakening from a dream where forces of which one is not conscious play about at their whim. awakening with a gasp, screaming, sobbing, in the night, in the bed of a stranger you thought you knew, but upon whom your eyes gaze now for only the first time
with violation there is for the first time an assertion against belongingness – belonging-to is not responsibility-to but ownedness: engulfment, a form of suicide where one has not simply given over one's will and body to another, but has annihilated the will so that the body is not one's own.
in violation, the first experience of equity, one stakes one's claim, forging the self as the labor of one's own hands. the gathering of forces which, however overpowered, are for the first time real in their desecration. violated, one gathers up the shards of self and tries to make sense.