It’s all about Respect

respect

I am not one to talk about politics, nor am I one to really get into politics until it gets closer to the election date and then do my research. I don’t talk about politics, not because I don’t have an opinion, but rather just don’t like to talk about it.

Being a president in today’s age has become more “main stream” or maybe the more appropriate term would be “popular.” I feel as if the president is more often present on late night talk shows and featured in every other magazine.

As soon as it came down to our final 2 candidates, with social media, and the news, I have seen Clinton and Trump everywhere. I’ll be honest…I am tired of it. I am also tired of seeing people bickering on Facebook and judging one another by whom they publicly support. As a friend of mine said on Facebook today, “Remember when we used to love each other, respect each other? Remember those days? Now our political positions define who we are and that my friends and family is very sad. Let’s get back to loving and respecting each other. I love my family and friends even if I don’t agree with their positions on every issue. I will NOT define you by your political affiliation but by how you treat me and others and I would expect the same in return.”

Isn’t this all that we can ask for?

Personally, the cause most important to me both before and after this election is being an advocate for those who are/were victims of sexual violence. I know that both candidates have done things that have come off in not supporting advocacy for sexual violence survivors. (On a side note: I feel the media ONLY shows what they want us to see and misconstrue the stories, so do we really know everything or are we just seeing what they want us to see?)

The latest example of sexually charged rhetoric arrived with the recently surfaced 11 year old video of Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women by the pussy.

I was inspired to write this post after seeing a meme today that read: “If American women are so outraged at Trump’s use of naughty words, who the hell bought 80 million copies of 50 shades of Grey?” What offends me isn’t the use of naughty words such as pussy, but rather the way they were used in a sentence. It was implied that there was no consent, which in turn is assault. (And even though I read 50 Shades of Grey, I have a completely different opinion on it, but that is for another time.)

Another phrase being thrown around is “locker room banter.” Here is the deal, at least the way I see it…the rape jokes, the comments made along the lines of, “Oh year I tapped that” or I’ll just go up and grab her p****,” implies that women are only a piece of meat meant to be objectified at will by men. Maybe it’s time for us to speak up when rape jokes are made or stepping into the conversation to stop it when a woman is being disrespected. It’s steps like these that will change our culture…and this vocalization not only goes for women, but men as well. As mentioned above, it’s time to go back to loving and respecting each other.

Telling rape jokes in public is something which is not only polarizing, but can be harmful, as you never know which people around you may have been sexually assaulted. I know that personally, for me, when someone says, “Oh my team got raped on the field,” or some form of similar joke, my mind immediately goes to what happened to me 12 years ago.

…And it’s officially 12 years, as today marks 12 years. 12 years ago, I was at home on my parent’s couch thinking how everything has fallen apart and I could never move forward. I have come a long way in those 12 years, but please don’t be the person that triggers my memories or any other survivor of sexual assault.

Personally, if I had my way, Joe Biden would be president because of everything thing he has done for violence against women and sexual assault survivors…but that’s not an option during this election. So let’s spend a little more time loving and respecting one another and a little less time making offhanded, hurtful comments.

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Purge Your Feelings

Did you know that 60% of people with Bulimia have experienced sexual abuse?

After encountering this statistic, I learned that the 60% of those with Bulimia were sexually assaulted as children. According to EDreferral, “The connection is guilt, shame, anesthesia, self-punishment, soothing, comfort, protection and rage.

Everyone goes through different things throughout their life  and things start for any number of different reasons. I am highly interested in the topic because I had a relationship with ED. From 2002, until around 2008, ED and I dated on and off pretty regularly. ED was frustrating. ED was always there telling me that my feelings weren’t real, that I shouldn’t have to feel pain, hurt, sadness or frustration, and sometimes even happiness.  ED told me I was fat. It told me that I would never be a dancer. It told me that only those who treated me poorly were right for me.  ED was my eating disorder, Bulimia.

ED and I met the summer of 2002, shortly after my grandmother passed away. I was lonely and sad and I was looking for an escape from this pain. ED found me, took me in his arms and said, “You don’t need to feel this way.” He told me that I could eat my feelings and then just get rid of them all. And so it began. ED and I would binge on junk food and then all those feelings that I just ate would go right down the toilet shortly thereafter. Soon my family started to catch on to our relationship and I had to find better ways to hide it. I would go to public restrooms to purge instead of doing so at home. Sometimes I would purge up so many feelings that my throat would hurt, or I would lose electrolytes and need to replenish. Even though ED pushed me, I was in control.

I have to say, that when I was violated sexually that ED just became worse. ED taunted me around food. Sometime ED made me believe that people in my life were taunting me and pushing to eat just one more thing…not my friends, more so acquaintances. ED pushed me through all my failed attempts at finding a man. At one point, I became engaged, and my eating disorder was still relevant in my life. Certain things would spark ED to come out. Such as arguments with my fiance, stress from school, stress from work, among other things. Leftovers in the fridge would call me just because they were there(I could never have leftovers in the house). I tried to quit, but ED got the best of me, especially since my fiancé didn’t understand it. Finally, during the summer of 2008, something changed. I finally broke it off with ED. I wish I could say that I quit cold turkey, but I honestly can’t remember. I also think it helped that I parted ways with my fiance.

Since 2008, I have not spoken or dealt with ED. I have come to terms that I can splurge, but don’t have to purge. I have finally learned to deal with my feelings head on. These feelings still include the ones listed above: Guilt, shame, anesthesia, self-punishment, soothing, comfort, protection and rage. I have replaced the need to purge with other things. My husband helps me with the soothing and comfort. Guilt, shame, and rage I deal with head on. Most days I make it through these feelings, even if I am fighting tears.

According to nationaleatingdisorder.org, Bulimia, in particular, has been connected to trauma as a means of self-protection. This is because the binge/purge cycle of behaviors seem to reduce awareness of thoughts and emotions as a means of escape for several of the emotions that may accompany traumatic experiences such as anger, guilt, need to cleanse oneself of the experience and refocus, stress, need for control and predictability, and need for personal space.

If you know of anyone who is suffering from an eating disorder, sexual violence, or both, please know that there are positive steps they can take to help them recover. Please check outwww.nationaleatingdisorders.org for more information.
#beavoice

Why I LOVE Britney Spears

As many of you that know me, know that I absolutely love Britney Spears. However, it might seem odd that I am posting about this on my blog that is about educating on sexual violence. Well….I will explain. BUT I am going to have to go all the way back to fall of 1998.

I remember it was around 6:30AM one fall day, and I was just getting up to get ready for school. I had the TV in my room set so that when I needed to wake up it would turn on. As it turned on that morning, and I rolled over to see a music video was starting. And it was this one.

Baby one more time. For some reason I hit the record button on the remote, and it was saved forever on the VHS in my VCR(wow, what old school terms.) I fell in love with this song, and this video. I immediately had to go into school and tell all my friends about. And it started.

I began learning all the words, and the dance moves to “…Baby One More Time.” I bought the album when it came out in January of 1999. I hung the poster that came with it in my locker. So when the boys in my class saw I did that, they went and got their own posters and hung them in their lockers. But the boys had to take theirs down, while I got to keep mine up. I guess it was too young for 7th grade boys???? (Mind you, I went to a Catholic grade school.)

britney-spears-baby-one-more-time-album-cover-1999

 

I learned the dance moves to “Sometimes,” and “Crazy.” I watched every MTV special. At the time this was going on I was in 7th and 8th grade. SOOO, that meant we had grade school dances. I went to our Catholic school dances, and performed the dance moves when the song came on. It got to the point, at one dance, I actually had a girl from another Catholic school come out in “School girl uniform” aka “…Baby one more time” video outfit to mock me.

I remember sitting on my living room floor patiently waiting for the above concert special to come one. Still using it to add moves to “Crazy.” But if your like me you know you can take the original version of “Crazy” and add those dance moves to “Crazy(the Stop Remix).

I took the “Crazy” choreography to dance competitions, I did them at birthday parties, I think I even did it on a ≥cruise at a talent competition they had.

The spring of 2000 came around. I was finishing up 8th grade and getting ready to move to the Catholic high school in the fall. May of 2000, the “Oops, I did it again” album came out.

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I remember specifically, one of my friend’s mom went to the store and brought us copies of the cd at lunch. I brought my walkman just so I could listen to it. I remember I cried when I heard “Lucky” for the first time. This was because I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be a singer/dancer just like Britney Spears. Deep down, I knew I didn’t have the voice, but that’s what I wanted to do. I remember specifically a good friend from Kindergarten wrote in my 8th grade yearbook that she couldn’t wait to see my name in lights and I had her full support. I prayed and prayed that I could become a singer/dancer so I didn’t have to go to high school because I was scared. So that summer, my mom took me to studio and I recorded a demo. I sang “Baby, one more time.” I don’t think I did anything with that demo but I did it. I remember taking the cassette of it to my cousins and playing it for her. I was so excited!!!  That summer, I also got to see Britney Live on her “Oops, I did it again” tour.

So I ended up going to high school. And I still loved Britney. Although, things came up that took me away from that original love. I started having crushes, and dating. I got involved in a lot of school activities, like band and drama club. I still would watch all the award shows and TV specials. That never left.

I remember when she began to change her image from bubble gum pop to sex pot.

I still learned the moves, and was into the change, but she was everything like I thought in grade school. And the thought of being that singer/dancer began to drift further and further away. I was more concerned with my friends and boys. But I was pretty innocent when it came to boys. My personalty evolved in high school just did Britney, her image and her music. Another big factor that came into play for was bulimia. I really became insecure about my body and in 2002, I began a relationship with an eating disorder. This was another reason Britney faded into the background.

In late 2003, she came out with “In the Zone.” I was really digging this album and the summer after I graduated high school, I was suppose to see her in concert. She cancelled due to a knee injury. And shortly after that I started college.

Then I was raped.

I reverted back to Britney for help. She had different things going on. Like getting married to Keven Federline, and their reality show. She had a greatest hits album come out. And I found a friend at school that loved her just as much as I did. We went and bought the dvd with all her videos and watched them all. We even made a music video to her song “Do Something.”  I started to make videos of myself, of my friends, and even edited Britney spears videos to remixes.

I was hiding my feelings in this form of art. It really became therapeutic for me. Especially when I put myself in the videos. I was able to project an image of myself that I never really showed.

From 2004 to 2007 is a little hazy for me because Britney had a lot going on in her life. She had two little boys, and divorced Kevin Federline. And then things went down hill. During this time in my life, I had moved to a different college and got engaged. I thought I had it all together, and when I did, Britney didn’t. She was going through her own personal struggle while having it photographed and video taped. Every move she made was documented by the paparazzi. I had fear that this might end tragically. I continued to follow her, but not follow because the “hot topic” in the tabloids she had become but because I felt for her. It made me realize that we all are human, we all have faults, we all make mistakes. You truly cannot judge a book by it’s cover because no matter how the outside looks, you have no idea what someone has been through. I felt a connection in a sense that one I had this horrible thing happen to me, and then I went on somewhat of a downward spiral and could totally relate on that sense. I also realized that the dream I had when I was 12ish….there was no way I would every want to be a singer/dancer. Especially with the price that came with it. No personal space.

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Even during her so called “breakdown,” she was still able to release music and came out with her album “Blackout.” I remember hearing the lead single from this album “Gimme More” and absolutely loved it. It was such a different sound for her. But with all of her personal struggles, promotion did not come with this album. Although she even released a second single from it called “Piece of Me.” Which truly summed up her life at the current moment.

This video was shot November 2007. A few months later she ended up being hospitalized and after she was released things began to look up.

All I remember from this time in her life, is I wanted to root for her. I wanted to be the fan that stood by her in her time of need. Her music was there in my time of need, and I still was going through that time when she released Blackout, so it helped.

The year of 2008, she began to turn things around.

She started to come back in the spotlight and realized a documentary called “For the Record.” The clip above is from it. And yes, I cried watching it. What she says in the clip is how felt especially right after being a victim. I let my guard down a lot and ended up getting hurt and taken advantage. This happened for quite a few years, but I wasn’t under the spotlight.

She released an album that year, “Circus,” and in 2009 embarked on her first tour since 2004….unless you count the brief stint when she toured the House of Blues under the code name “M & M’s.”

My best Friend, Julie, and I had plans to see her live when she came to Pittsburgh and I couldn’t wait. The first time since 2000!!! I remember I did not want to watch any of tour prior to going but I had to check out Piece of me being performed live for the first time.

The concept with the cage was amazing and fit the song perfectly. Of course I cried. LOL it was so exciting to see Britney turn her life a round in a positive direction. I knew I would be able to get there some day. At this point, I had finally kicked the eating disorder but still had days of depression and darkness.

During this time, I still worked on videos and I made an amazing 40 minute megamix of Britney music. Here is the first 10 minutes……but pretty much my favorite part, especially when “Overtime” and “Lucky” cross paths.

Lets skip ahead to 2011. Britney released her next album, “Femme Fatale,” and I was in heaven. This was the year, I truly learned to love myself, and Britney’s new music was perfect. She was going on tour that year, and I decided you know what, I am getting meet and greet packages. So Julie, and I planned an adventure. We were going to see her in DC and Philly. At Philly, we had backstage passes for a tour and to meet her. And at DC, we had backstage passes. What an amazing weekend. To see something come full circle. To meet the person that made the bubble gum music of my time of innocence and to have both of us go through something that no one should have to go,even though both were different. We even got to meet her personal assistant Fe. I knew who Fe was since 1998, she was the school teacher in the “Baby One more Time” video.

I know I don’t know Britney personally, but I have always felt a connection, and even though I have through a lot of things, there are still times I will have thoughts that my rape was my fault, and I try to think positively, and put some Britney music on because I know deep down the human spirit is resilient and Britney and I are proof of that.

 

 

 

Consent

So I began reading a book, that took me a couple years to start called “Yes means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape.”

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I like this book because it is one where I can jump chapters. So I focused on Consent mainly because I am starting a local campaign to promote education around consent.

So Yes means yes. Just because you say yes to one thing, does not mean yes to all……but this goes much deeper than I even realized. Yes, “Consent is sexy,” but this is about gender equality. it is about empowering women’s sexuality where yes and no are equally valid and moral decisions. In history, women are/were told to be submissive. That basically women were used for the pleasure of men, to keep house, and raise children. No wonder when a girl grows up it is hard for her to be commanding in a sexual situation because if she did, she might come off as slut, or “too experienced.” And if your a woman that has been sharing what you want sexual and aren’t being listened to, it’s a problem. And I am not saying that this is only women, I am sure there are men out there that go through this as well. But it goes back to gender relations…..as I said women are raised to be submissive, that their prince will come and carry them off into the sunset to their castle, to clean house and raise children. Fast forward to 2016, women are now breaking barriers and soaring through glass ceilings. So consent comes up. Being a powerful female an dictating what you want can still be difficult.

I’m not saying that before you go on that hook up, you need to sign a release waiver to consent to sexual activity, but know what is considered consent and what isn’t. Some ways that are suggested to women to not get into situations is to protect themselves. Don’t go to parties alone, don’t put yourselves in a dangerous situation…..I know it, I say some of these things in my presentation because I should have not left alone with someone I barely knew. But this sends a false message that you can prevent rape. Certainly on an individual basis, self-defense and other forms of protection help women protect themselves. While helping these women protect themselves are invaluable for the women they assist, they place responsibility on the individual, on the women who use them. In other words, they are not the answer to dismantling rape. (Yes mean yes, pg 23)

Consent goes even deeper than sexual violence(even though that’s my focus.) Consent is about respect for people. It’s about equality and just being nice to each other.

 

So my project. The “Consent Coaster Campaign” is to spread awareness on consent. Although very briefly, I hope it sparks a conversation around consent and sexual violence.  Because by having more conversation we can empower each other and change a culture.

 

 

Brock Turner – The Rapist

I have read countless blogs and news articles about the Brock Turner Trial. The “Standford Swimmer” whose father says that 6 months of jail time and three years probation are “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.”

For once, I feel that a story, in a sense, relates to mine. For the past 11 years, I have had countless nights and days of tears and arguing with myself that my RAPIST just made a mistake. This was all a huge mistake.  He didn’t mean it. I shouldn’t have drank so much. Even after numerous conversations with my husband where he reassures me that my rapist is the bad person here, especially because HE LEFT ME ON THE SIDE OF ROAD WITHOUT MY UNDERWEAR and SOCKS, I had a hard time finally accepting this piece of my assault. I was found covered in leaves and dirt and wasn’t conscious until I woke up in the hospital…and here I am still debating with myself because the of the stigma of rape culture.

Now because yet another RAPIST has taken advantage of yet another woman and is getting away with a sentence similar to that my own RAPIST received, I find that a hard chord has really been struck inside my soul. Looking at the incident from the outside, I wish that he would get a much worse sentence than six months in jail and three years of probation. No matter what, raping that girl was a decision that he alone made. He took a piece of someone’s life that they will never get back. It will always be something in the back of her mind, poking and prodding to find a way out into her subconscious and overtake her life. It will be something she will be depressed over, something that will cause anxiety, intimacy and relationship issues. It will keep her up at night. It will have her so scared to go to another party only to fear that something like this could happen again. It will not allow her to trust people. It will make her feel like she is worthless and unlovable. It may make her want to die.

All because of a choice which was not hers. She never said “yes” to any of this.

We all know what is right from wrong. There is no way that she would have been able to give consent, so why the hell does that give someone else the right to get “20 minutes of action”? Those exact words from Brock Turner’s father give me the chills. He doesn’t seem to even care about the victim, her struggles or her family…because in sexual assault cases, there is never just one victim. Family and friends of the victim often face their own struggles in the aftermath. I know that mine struggled tremendously. My rape was a hard thing for all of us to overcome.

Stories like these are the reason why sexual violence needs to come to an end. They are also a call to action for our legal system to reevaluate and enforce harsher punishments. Turner’s sentencing only helps the argument that other victims should stay silent.

Well you know what, Brock Turner, you may only be in prison for 6 months, but welcome to your own social media hell.

My final thought is about an important lesson which I learned throughout my own healing process. While it may seem simple, it’s incredibly important. No one’s story about sexual assault is inferior to any other survivor’s. I cannot stand that media only picks up on certain stories regarding this topic. I am not asking that every rape case be covered by the media, simply because there are far too many to do so. However, if someone isn’t raped at an Ivy League school by an Ivy League athlete, the media tends to turn a blind eye, making victims question what’s the point of coming forward to authorities. Also, what’s point of coming forward as highly publicized cases such as this one only results in the rapist getting 6 months in jail? My story has no connection to an Ivy League university or an Ivy League athlete, so to much of the mainstream media, my story is not “important.” But I disagree. My story is important. It’s important to know if you have sex offenders in your hometown. It is extremely important to realize and acknowledge that these things are happening in both small towns and large cities so that you can teach your kids the importance of consent. Sexual violence is not going to go away until we decide to make a change and teach the next generation of children about consent, sexual violence, and how to prevent it.

Rape Trauma Sydrome

I know I have been talking about Lady Gaga, alot, and yes, I know she is one of my favorite artists of all time…..but that is besides the point. I am bringing this up because she recently came out in an interview that she suffer from chronic pain and has been ever since her assault.

Did you know that after someone is raped or sexual assault that there are stages to their recovery? Every suffers from trauma differently. Depending upon the person, the stages that they go through can be different.

I am going to walk through the symptoms of Rape Trauma Syndrome. We will go through the Physical symptoms, the Behavioral symptoms and the psychological symptoms.

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF RAPE TRAUMA SYNDROME

Physical symptoms are those things which manifest in or upon the survivor’s body that are evident to her and under physical examination by a nurse or doctor. Some of these are only present immediately after the rape while others only appear at a later stage.

  • Immediately after a rape, survivors often experience shock. They are likely to feel cold, faint, become mentally confused (disorientated), tremble, feel nauseous and sometimes vomit
  • Pregnancy
  • Gynaecological problems. Irregular, heavier and/or painful periods. Vaginal discharges, bladder infections. Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Bleeding and/or infections from tears or cuts in the vagina or rectum
  • A soreness of the body. There may also be bruising, grazes, cuts or other injuries
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Throat irritations and/or soreness due to forced oral sex
  • Tension headaches
  • Pain in the lower back and/or in the stomach
  • Sleep disturbances. This may be difficulty in sleeping or feeling exhausted and needing to sleep more than usual
  • Eating disturbances. This may be not eating or eating less or needing to eat more than usual

BEHAVIOURAL SYMPTOMS OF RAPE TRAUMA SYNDROME

Behavioural symptoms are those things the survivor does, expresses or feels that are generally visible to others. This includes observable reactions, patterns of behaviour, lifestyle changes and changes in relationships.

  • Crying more than usual
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Being restless, agitated and unable to relax or feeling listless and unmotivated
  • Not wanting to socialise or see anybody or socializing more than usual, so as to fill up every minute of the day
  • Not wanting to be alone
  • Stuttering or stammering
  • Avoiding anything that reminds the survivor of the rape
  • Being more easily frightened or startled than usual
  • Being very alert and watchful
  • Becoming easily upset by small things
  • Relationship problems, with family, friends, lovers and spouses
  • Fear of sex, loss of interest in sex or loss of sexual pleasure
  • Changes in lifestyle such as moving house, changing jobs, not functioning at work or at school or changes to appearance
  • Drop in school, occupational or work performance
  • Increased substance abuse
  • Increased washing or bathing
  • Behaving as if the rape didn’t occur, trying to live life as it was before the rape, this is called denial
  • Suicide attempts and other self-destructive behaviour such as substance abuse or self- mutilation

PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS OF RAPE TRAUMA SYNDROME

Psychological symptoms are much less visible and can in fact be completely hidden to others so survivors need to offer this information or be carefully and sensitively questioned in order to elicit them. They generally refer to inner thoughts, ideas and emotions.

  • Increased fear and anxiety
  • Self-blame and guilt
  • Helplessness, no longer feeling in control of your life
  • Humiliation and shame
  • Lowering of self esteem
  • Feeling dirty or contaminated by the rape
  • Anger
  • Feeling alone and that no one understands
  • Losing hope in the future
  • Emotional numbness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of memory
  • Constantly thinking about the rape
  • Having flashbacks to the rape, feeling like it is happening again
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Becoming suicidal

As for me personally, I will say that I went through some of these symptoms. For the physically recovery, I had soreness all through my body and their were bruises that I saw in the mirror for about a week after. I also had sleep disturbances, and eating disturbances. As for sleeping, all I wanted to do was sleep, all the time. I remember one day in particular a few weeks after everything, my roommate and I slept for 14 hours straight. And at the time, I also had bulimia. So eating was not an issue, it was more purging. I would eat so much food and purge it all back up. I did this to suppress my feelings. It was a way for me to not fully confront them.

As for behavioral, there were many. I had difficulty concentrating in class, some days, and others I would concentrate too much. I had relationship problems with family, some friends and with guys(intimate relationships). One top of that, I was in denial. One of my best friends recalls my telling them of what happen to about 6 months after everything. I told her so nonchalantly. Like it happen to someone else, or we were talking about the weather. I also feel that when I did eventually share with some other friends, I did the same thing. Some of my friends were also angry with me. Because I put myself in a bad situation. Which I did……so I can totally understand their anger. But it was a very trying time with being in denial and not wanting to talk about. After the event, I tried to go back to how life was before the rape. I still had a crush on the guy that I had before it happened, but I knew nothing would ever come of it. I still partied quite a bit, more so to forget what had happen. But I eventually hit a breaking point where I knew I couldn’t turn back. I also made the choice to go back to school after it happen. I knew I needed to be out of my hometown because all it would do is remind me of what happen. Lastly, I hated the way fall smelt. When the season fall came around every year it would disgust me, and I would get depressed. When I visited new places that technically didn’t go through “Fall” I thought about moving there. It wasn’t until 2011, I learned to love fall again. There were also some instances where I thought I had some form of flashbacks, like pieces that I don’t have any recollection came back to me. I would have visions of being in the woods. I also knew that the morning I woke up in the hospital I had a dream of the sun coming up over a field. Well, where I was left on the side of the road, there was a field a across from me. And the sun was coming up. So I can understand where that dream came from.

As for psychological, there was quite a few. Humiliation, shame, no longer in control of my life, depression, anxiety especially when I thought I saw the abuser, lower self-esteem, feeling dirty, and feeling alone. I became very good at suppressing these feelings unfortunately. I remember there were days that I would just cry, and cry because I couldn’t understand why someone I thought I knew would let this happen. Someone I thought I could trust.

Sometimes I think that I actually was assaulted more than once. Because I turned to alcohol to help me forget what was going on in my daily life, there have been a few other questionable times. But I never pursued them due to the fact that I felt like I was damaged goods so this must be something that should happen to me.

So regardless if the person remembers the attack or not, if a person has been raped, they not only go through a traumatic experience, the assault itself, but they also go through a lengthy heart wrenching experience afterwards.

If I can give you one piece of advice, don’t push a survivor/victim to talk until they are ready. And don’t judge a person because you never know what they might be going through.

http://www.elle.com/culture/celebrities/news/a34701/lady-gaga-sexual-assault-kesha/?utm_content=buffera2888&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

http://rapecrisis.org.za/rape-trauma-syndrome/

Being aware doesn’t mean you understand.

While recently scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, I came across a post which stated, “Why didn’t this happen when we were in school, and who were the ungrateful f**** that reported it.”

The above comment was attached to a news article about a math teacher that was being charged with sexual assault. In the article, which was attached to the post, it stated that “the students all claim one time in class she gave them all repeated Bl😵w Jobs & let them take turns hitting it in different positions.”

The post had some comments underneath, all by men, with comment such as, “Lucky Bastards”, or “I would have kept that to myself.”

I get that we all have a need for sexual intimacy in our lives. It’s in our nature. It’s the way that we procreate, but I found the post incredibly disturbing.

First off, the legal age for consent is 16 in most states. If two people that are 16 years and older engage in any sexual activity, they are fully capable of giving consent. However, if someone is under the age of 18 and a figure of authority has sex with them, even if the person under the age of 18 consents, it is still illegal.

Second, the reason this post on my news feed bothered me is the pure fact that the comments made it sound as if all of the men were okay with this happening! What if these students did not consent to these act?. Even if they did, the law states that it still illegal. As a woman who is an advocate for sexual violence, I find this whole situation bothersome. There are so many survivors of both sexual and domestic violence attempting to make a change and meanwhile there are people out there who condone sexual acts between teachers and their students.

Maybe I am just being too critical or picky, but when people throw around the term rape such as “that team got raped on the field.” I might still be in the conversation, but I don’t think rape is the appropriate term to use.

About 10 years ago, I attended a frat party, during my college days. I went alone, which was entirely my own fault, but I left without barely touching a drink. I left because I overheard a conversation between two guys discussing how they wanted to see who they could get the most drunk and sleep with. Why can’t you just go up to the girl you like, court her for a bit and then get to that level? Why do you have to get her drunk?

I also get upset when fans of sports teams create signs or t-shirts that joke about a particular scandal. For example, at a Penn State game, a recent sign that some Rutger’s fans used during tailgating of a child performing a sex act on an adult. Seriously?!

Now I am not saying that all frats are like that, and just because men commented on the article that was posted on Facebook doesn’t mean that it is just men saying things like this. It’s simply about being a little more understanding and aware.

However, being aware doesn’t always mean you understand.

You can sit there and say you are aware that sexual violence is an issue in our society, in our culture. But do you know why? Do you understand why? Do you know why so many victims choose to stay silent? Because of comments and images that I just stated above.

If people had a little more decency, maybe we would be able to move more progressively to a better culture.