Tag Archives: sexual assult

Because when I was harassed I was told I chose it because I was a girl drummer in a boys world. #YesAllWomen

If you have been following the news or are active on twitter you have probably heard of the hashtag #yesallwomen. This hashtag is a response to the killings by Elliot Rodger who in a long ‘manifesto’ expressed his rage towards women. Many have now  adopted the hashtag to condemn sexist objectification and intimidation, and to express views on feminism and women’s rights – as well as sexual harassment, abuse and rape culture. The tweets are short but powerful. Here are some examples:

 

 

Seeing the posts around have made me feel a little raw. I am a woman of this culture. I’ve experienced violence at the hands of a man, harassment, fear and sexual abuse so many of the tweets resonate with me. It’s also caused me to question what would I write if I was going to share? What piece of my history would I pick out to illustrate how society’s view of women and gender inequality has influenced my life? And this is what I’ve decided:

I was a female percussionist. Each year I was one of two maybe three girls in a group of twenty or so high school boys. I saw boys bring in Playboy magazines, heard them talk about sex and objectify their girlfriends, mothers, sisters and teachers. And I didn’t know this wasn’t okay. Boys will be boys I thought. I truly was a product of my society.

I also experienced verbal and sexual harrassment from these boys, year after year after year. I kept quiet. It was better for me to remain quiet than to experience the consequences of being a ‘tattle tale’. I remained quiet until one day the abuse turned physical (not serious but enough  that it scared me) and I told. The response I got? You chose this. Didn’t you know this was going to happen? You’re a female percussionist surrounded by boys. OF COURSE your going to be the brunt of some sex jokes, don’t be so sensitive. This response was from my band members, the females in my section and yes from some of my teachers.

That was an example of what the hashtag #YesAllWomen is trying to get across. And so if I were to tweet what would it read. It would read this:

Because when I was harassed I was told I chose it because I was a girl drummer in a boys world. #YesAll Women

 

 

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Filed under abuse, bullying, culture, feminism, Life Story, social change, society, the past

survivor?

I was at a women’s health fair this past weekend and I stopped by the domestic violence/sexual assault prevention and support booth. I picked up little ribbons that signified support and somehow ended up telling the women there that I had PTSD from being abused. This was a big step for me. One to admit it out loud and two to tell someone else. What happened next though stunned me more and it’s something I have been left thinking about since then.

The woman who runs the center responded to my telling her of my history by saying – “oh you’re a survivor!”. This completely stopped me in my tracks. A survivor? Me. No certainly not. I don’t deserve to have that title. Plus to say you are a survivor means that you had to have survived something significant. Yes I was abused and yes I’m here but survived it…that makes it sound like it was important or something.

I have a hard time wrapping my head around these facts. Denial? Yes, most defiantly. I’ve been in enough therapy to know it when I see it. I don’t know if I’m ready to look at my past and see it for what it was. At times I am. I can sometimes say parts of it out loud like I did initially to the woman but then I balk and retreat away from my story.

I’m closer to accepting it and being able to process it in therapy than I ever have been before. Perhaps it’s time to start that work. I’ve done very little trauma work..  And so I leave for Wichita in a few hours (psychiatrist, dietitian and therapist) and perhaps today in my session I’ll start talking.  And if I go in with at least somewhat of the beginnings of the belief that I am a survivor it will go that much better.

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Filed under abuse, feminism, Hope, life events, Life Story, New Life, PTSD, Recovery, survivor, the past, trauma

feminism helps not harms men

Warning: This blog is going to discuss rape and sexual assault. If this could trigger you please do not read further. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to address something that has come up in the comment section of my last blog. There has been a discussion about how rape is defined. Yes rape is defined as penetration. However these discussions have left out sexual assault which can be just as serious, just as scaring and just as illegal and wrong as rape. Sexual assault according to The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network “is unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling. I don’t care if you are a man or a woman – anyone can be raped or sexually assaulted. And it is very,very, very wrong regardless of your gender, your sexual orientation, your religion, your beliefs, your anything. Nothing justifies it.

I’ve also discovered in my comments a new world that I did not know existed. This is the belief that the statistics about harm against women are grossly exaggerated or are simply untrue and that women are simply “out to get men”. The sad reality is that  1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape). I don’t understand how you can argue with these statistics. The claim is also that men are more often victimized than women. I think it is a sad reality that men are often more stigmatized if they are raped or sexually assaulted. However, statistics don’t lie. Only 3% of rape victims are men. These men need resources, they need help and they need recognition however the argument that feminism and the work to change our culture to protect women is unneeded is not true. 

I suppose however if you have not seen what I have seen. Have not heard what I have heard. It is a lot easier for you to argue that there is no change needed, that women are simply “out to get you” and that men are the victims of a feminist agenda. After all, I don’t imagine you’ve sat in a room with other trauma survivors and listened to their stories of how men gained their trust and then used it to assault and rape them. I don’t think you’ve heard first hand how their family members have abused them or how strangers on the street held them down while they took turns raping them. You haven’t seen women experience terrifying flashbacks, girls no more than thirteen hide in the couches at night because the night reminded them of the abuse they had finally escaped. You haven’t heard the guilt they felt that they escaped assault but that the perpetrator also escaped capture so he can assault someone else later. And you sure as hell haven’t experienced any of this at the hands of a teenage boy who thought all of it was okay because “his friends were doing it”.

Yes, men who were raped and assaulted need help. They need hope. They need advocacy. But advocating to change our culture, to eliminate songs and movies that encourage rape and to teach young boys to respect women as people instead of viewing them as object does not attack men. On the contrary I believe it helps them. It encourages men to be more than the macho image society has constructed. It encourages teens and boys to reach down into themselves and connect emotionally. It creates males who are compassionate individuals who respect themselves and others.

So, if you truly believe that by supporting advocacy I am degrading men I encourage you to rethink your position. I also encourage you to listen and read about female rape and sexual assault victims and how these attacks were influenced by our society. And if you continue to disagree with me I encourage you to take your views elsewhere. Yes, this is a public blog but I won’t stand for degrading women on my page. I listened to men in my life degrade myself and all women for years and I don’t stand for that anymore.

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Filed under abuse, culture, feminism, social change, society, 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