On the 18th of February 2002, I took my 5-year-old daughter and a couple of garbage bags full of our stuff far away from my abusive ex. We left that fucking monster for good. We started over basically from scratch. Makes me that much stronger Makes me work a little bit harder It makes me […]
I walked into a bathroom the other night filled with a bunch of drunk women. One girl had just been raped. As we aimed to get her the help she needed, I noticed other girls looking out of place. In the bathroom of 10 women, 6 had been raped or sexually assaulted and all had been subjected to sexual harassment of some sort.
Why then do my friends and I always feel we are being questioned and judged when others find out we have been assaulted? Why does so much of the population find it easier to deny rape than speak out against it?
It just further denies truth and humanity.
Today a 7 yr old told me they were grateful for freedom.
And I couldn’t help but cringe; freedom?
We are raised with this belief.
How wonderful it is to live in America, how wonderful it is to be free.
Freedom to me is smoking a bowl after a twelve hour work day (which federally I’m not even truly free to do) a job I work to pay for a house I can barely afford falling down around me as the debt piles higher. Freedom to pay.
Freedom to recognize that this is a privilege , because even feeling like I’m drowning is nothing compared to the lack of freedom people in true poverty have. Or the lack of freedom most young women have over their bodies. The lack of freedom our minorities have when they wonder if they’re safe to go out after the election of a racist and severe jumps in hate crime. The lack of freedom for our LGBT community to marry, date brig their SO to the prom. Freedom to get a college education, freedom to not live in fear, freedom to choose who you want to fuck and how to protect yourself . Too many feel secure and safe in our illusion of freedom.
I wanted to ask the little boy what it meant to be free, but instead I smiled and I told him how great it was and I walked away to hide my cringe . I wonder if you’re grateful for freedom today?
Encountered this moving video on thoughts and critiques of the US legal and collegial sexual assault system.
Spotting between your periods? Period a few days late? Period way too light? Sudden food cravings?
We have all had that panic moment of “There is no way… but is there?” Calling your girl friends letting them talk you out of the panic with the sound advice of “It just cant be,” “I’m sure its just stress,” “You used protection right,” “It’s probably nothing just wait a few more days.”
I mean, we would all be smart to just keep a back up stash of the pregnancy tests to put these moments to bed, but who wants that moment of walking up to the counter to buy the pregnancy test. Your mind keeps saying “I am doing the right thing,” but every one can see you and your pregnancy test. The cashier’s face is always filled with judgement and then you have to go home and pee on a stick. Rite Aid has been my worst experience with pregnancy tests. Wether I am buying them for my friends, or for myself, the staff at my local Rite Aid makes me feel the way I imagine I would feel if my grandmother discovered I worked in the porn industry.
Sometimes it just seems easier to get mad.
- Plan B and pregnancy tests are both wildly expensive, and both of these are costs men do not have to deal with. These purchase are not unheard of for sexually active women.
- STI fear from the men that try to sneak it off mid act because they “can’t cum with it on.” We know to have protected sex, and being on some sort of contraceptive aside from condoms is smart, but they do not prevent the paranoia. So now what? We are supposed to deal with the pregnancy and STI fear? Those tests can run hundreds of dollars each.
- The slut shaming of the and the doctor always asks you how many sexual partners you have with a surprised look a female that says any number above 3. Are we serious people? 3 sexual partners a year is less than one new person every 4 months. For someone not in a relationship, this is low considering the atmosphere that you go out to find a companion every few weekends and it is normal to have sex with someone with in the first handful of dates.
I remember when I first became sexually active, I was afraid. Afraid of buying condoms. Afraid of having to say no multiple times. Afraid of being pregnant. Afraid of buying the test. Afraid of peeing on the test. Afraid of buying Plan B. Afraid of every STI test after a sex partner. Then I got tired of it. I practice safe and protected sex. I get my STI check up after each sexual partner, and I take birth control and I only have sex with consenting partners. I buy tests for friends and encourage them to stay healthy.
Men do not have to think about many of these things, and even broaching these topics makes them short circuit. We need to be more open and more respectful to each other. Instead of the judgmental face when purchasing Plan B, the cashier can say “have a great day”, or “glad to see you’re responsible.” Men can listen and try to hear out women while not assuming that every mention of something that made them uncomfortable meant the female was trying to “entrap” them. Safe sex is fun. Let’s not make it more than it has to be, but not belittle people for being responsible.
Today a student asked me “how it is legal to have a president that sexually harasses or assaults people” and asked me to explain “how people could vote for that“. No matter how you voted, answering that fairly with an attempt and non bias was the hardest moment I’ve had teaching.
It was a question that deserved and needed an answer, but risked offending some and creating discomfort for others. But when have hard questions ever been an easy or comfortable answer.
The way people vote is a reflection of their beliefs. What many advocates have already known was recently confirmed; sexual assault is not a key issue for this country. Sure, people are assaulted and raped daily, and survivors keep fighting to regain a piece of themselves each day. Nearly 20% of the population has experienced some form of sexual harassment, yet it makes us too uncomfortable to talk about.
Unfortunately, we as a nation are not as open minded as we like to project. We still victim blame, slut shame, and hyper sexualize, while perpetrators rarely have charges brought against them, and are even less frequently convicted, and when they are a short jail sentence or a small sum of money is all thats needed to return to their normal rapist life. Why? Because you can put a price tag on trauma? We can return whats been taken to victims through a few months jail time? Because she asked for it?
No. Because we are not yet capable to step out of our safe trenches of ignorance and prejudice long enough to feel discomfort and openly have conversations. Due to this, victims experience prolonged trauma, lack proper support, and find themselves having to defend the fact that they have even been harmed because it is easier for society to say it we asked for it. No one says that to a cancer patient.
When we allow this system to continue, we allow perpetrators to be less than they can be. We plague society. We tell victims that we do not believe them and prevent them from healing, further severing them from comfort, trust, love and acceptance. We affirm assault is ok. We maintain bodies are up for grabs and are not human. We prevent progress and ensure more damage to fellow people.
Wouldn’t it just be easier to say “Yes sexual violence is wrong, and I won’t stand for it.”
Cant we at least try?