Tag Archives: abuser

Fifty Shades of Grey…normalizing abuse

Well I’m blogging again. I planned to start blogging for NEDA (National Eating Disorder Awareness) Week next week but I’ve decided to start early and wade into the discussion on Fifty Shades of Grey (probably regrettably) but here it goes…

Many women celebrate Fifty Shades of Grey because it breaks barriers and says that sex is not bad and women can enjoy it. I’d be all for the book/movie IF this is the only thing they are saying. As a survivor of a relationship that was controlling, manipulating and abusive I see many red flags in Anastasia’s relationship with Christian Grey. So many things that were in my relationship with my abuser. The power, the control. The things that are perceived as sweet and protective but are really about ownership and controlling every detail in a woman’s life.  Yes, you man argue that Christian did it out of love. But love doesn’t excuse this type of behavior. If a woman arrived at a shelter describing a husband who controlled her finances, showed up at her place or work or recreation unannounced, utilized tracking devices on her phone, when she was unconscious undressed her and put her to bed (regardless of whether or not he had sex with her), and continued to have sex with her even when she said no many times it would be described as  abuse. In fact it might be enough to get a restraining order.

It doesn’t bother me one bit if a couple chooses to engage in BDSM and it wouldn’t bother me one bit if a book chose to describe this as long as the relationship between the two people was healthy. But the reality is that Anastasia’s and Christian’s relationship is not.  The type of relationship that is described in Fifty Shades of Grey is not healthy nor should it be perceived as normal and it bothers me very much that millions of women are buying into the idea that it is.

I worry that young people who see this movie (and we all know they will) will think that this type of a relationship is normal and wind up in abusive relationships themselves but excuse all of the behavior because they believe they are living their own fairy tale and can “tame the beast”. It doesn’t work that way. Relationships like this end with heartbreak and hurt sexually, emotionally and physically. It can take years of therapy to move past them. Fifty Shades of Grey normalizes abuse and this, not the sex, is what is so concerning. I wonder that if I had read the book or seen the movie six years ago would I have found the strength to break up with my abuser or would I have seen his behavior as even more normal and I even more as the one with the problem. I certainly think it’s more than likely. I wonder how many women will stay with their abusers in part because of this film. I don’t think I exaggerate when I say this. Films and books especially popular ones influence culture in many ways. And I think Fifty Shades of Grey contribution to society is to normalize abuse and that is extremely frightening.

*I know not everyone will agree with me. Many of you won’t in fact. Share your opinion if you would like. I’d love to hear it. I have a hard time comprehending that this relationship can be seen as anything as abusive but if you don’t think it is I’d love to hear why.

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Filed under abuse, abuser, culture, feminism

#whyistayed

There is a movement going around mainly on twitter with the hashtag #whyistayed. This is referring to women who stayed in abusive relationships. The movement started after Ray Rice, a NFL football player was caught on tape beating his wife. The media began criticizing and shaming the woman for not leaving him. And so they hashtag #whyistayed was born and thousands of women joined in by sharing the reasons why they stayed in an abusive relationship. And so here is Why I Stayed…

#whyistayed:  because he threatened to commit suicide if I left him.

#whyistayed:  because he told me and I believed him that no one else would ever love me like he did.

#whyistayed: because I felt like the only way to atone for my “sins” (they were his but he made them mine) was to marry him one day.

#whyistayed:  because I was alone on a college campus where I knew no one and had no support for the first part of our relationship and then it was too late.

#whyistayed: because I had been taught my by male peers in high school that this was what I was to expect out of men.

#whyistayed: because I didn’t know if I could handle how I would feel leaving him.

#whyistayed:  because my world was about his world. I had no true identity.

#whyistayed: I was scared.

And this is why I left…

#whyileft: I had wonderful roommates who encouraged me to do so.

#whyileft: He took things one step too far and I was finally able to see something wasn’t right.

#whyileft:  I found some courage I didn’t know I had.

#whyileft: I was exhausted.

#whyileft: I didn’t want his version of the future anymore

#whyileft: I finally was able to see past the deception, the lies and tight control he had threaded around me for just long enough to make the decision to break up with him and then have friends hold me accountable.

People tell me I’m a smart person. Yet, I fell prey to an abuser. One who charmed most people he met and had no idea what went on in our relationship. And couldn’t believe it even when they heard bits and pieces of it. And I couldn’t leave. It’s not so simple as breaking up with a person or packing your bags and moving out. There is so much more to an abusive relationship than that. Remember it is a relationship. A malfunctioning one but one. And there are good moments as well as bad. And sometimes it’s easy to tell yourself the good outweighs the bad. It also takes time and sometimes outside support to find the courage to leave.

So don’t judge. Unless you have been in a toxic relationship you cannot understand. You can try, you can listen, you can emphasize but do not judge those women and men who did not leave after the first blow was thrown or the first signs of abuse. It is not that simple.

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Filed under abuse, abuser, culture, feminism, Identity, Independence

All I can write is this quote tonight:

 

One Day I will forgive you; until then there are scabs everywhere that you have touched me

– Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper

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Filed under abuse, Life Story, PTSD, quotes, survivor, the past, trauma

dear unnamed abuser

Dear Unnamed Abuser,

I know you read my blog. I also know you read my tumblr so you are now reading this. Someday I will speak out about what you did to me. This is not a threat. It is a promise to myself and to all the other survivors of sexual abuse, assault and rape. I won’t mention you by name for many reasons one of which is that your name itself deserves no time on my lips.

I know you have not forgotten me. I don’t know if I haunt your nightmares or your dreams or am just a fleeting thought but your presence on my blog and tumblr proves that you have not let me go.  Good.

Think of me when you read about women raped, beaten and abused.

Think of me when you see women and men give impassioned speeches about how the young men in this country must change, must own up to their actions and above all must never hurt a woman.

Think of me when you visit my tumblr and see the quotes I post there about letting go of my past and know that it is you I am freeing myself from and I have never felt more empowered than I am right now as I go through this process.

Think of me as you go to church and present a sparkling clean image to everyone around you. Know that unless you tell the truth that image will forever be tarnished by acts you can never undo and only ask for forgiveness for.

Think of me when you return to where we spent the majority of our time. Look around and remember how that time is darkened by the acts you committed. Know that for you that place will never be the pure mecca you thought you created.

Think of me if you have a daughter. Look at her and wonder how you could have committed those acts against a woman. Look at that tiny beautiful face and pledge never to hurt another woman (or person) so long as you live.

Think of me when you read of  women who have moved mountains, and who have beaten unspeakable odds.

Think of me when you read of women of strength, of power, of influence.

Think of me when you hear the word survivor and especially when you hear the word warrior.

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Filed under Hope, Identity, life events, Life Story, New Life, PTSD, survivor, the past, trauma

i am a survivor but i was first a victim

In this blog I talk a bit about trama and victimization. It may be triggering to those who have experienced trauma. 

According to the American Psychological Association trauma is defined as follows:

an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives.

Okay, so I’m one of those people who have “difficulty moving on with their lives”. And I’m one of those people who have those longer term reactions  All of those mentioned plus a whole host of others. Yay.

Ever since I’m learned and acknowledged (learned and acknowledged are two vastly different things – trust me) that I’ve experienced trauma, therapists have been trying to convince me and teach me how to be a survivor and not a victim. How to let my experiences be a part of life story but not define my life. Not let trauma run my life but instead let my actions be that of a person who is fighting for her life back instead of living trapped inside of the limitations placed upon it by herself or her abusers.

So the question is; am I a survivor or a victim?

In the treatment world being accused of being a victim is a terribly bad thing to be called. At least in my experience that is. It implies that you are not taking responsibility for your recovery. As a survivor you are fighting for your recovery tooth and nail and doing everything you can to move on and towards a new world.

But my question is can you be both?

I think the answer is yes. Sort of. I am a survivor. I work everyday to move past the affects of what happened to me but am I am victim of horrible people’s actions? Yes. But perhaps a better way to describe what happened to me is that I was victimized. However, that’s just playing with semantics. The reason why I can’t totally let go of the word victim is because I believe it let’s my abuser’s off the hook. It implies that I’ve forgiven them. That as a SURVIVOR I have taken all responsibility for the events that happened. Yes, I have to take responsibility for my healing. The people who harmed me cannot do that. But to loose the word victim entirely I think lessens the blame that should be laid at the abusers door.

But do I want to be referred to as a victim? NO. Please do not call me one. Call me a survivor because that is what I am. However, I am a survivor because I was first a victim.

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Filed under bullying, Identity, life events, PTSD, Recovery, survivor, trauma