How many women do you know who have been raped? Statistically, it’s many more than you’d like to believe. Unfortunately, the rape culture in our society has a way of silencing those victims.
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). 17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape. (source)
I am a survivor of sexual assault. The power dynamic that comes from someone being abused, whether as an adult or a child, lies in that inequity of power and fear. A rapist has more power than their victim. A victim might not come out forever. Some people wait until they feel “safe” enough to speak about something, even if it is 20 years too late. A victim might not speak out until they feel they have a safety net, in this case, the reassurance of more than 20 women who went through the exact same assault. You carry it inside you until you cannot any longer, it is a burden you will always bear. It’s something that the abuser doesn’t ever have to think about, but as someone who was sexually abused, there is always that chip. There is always something that you know was taken away from you. No matter how strong of a person you are, someone took something from you forcefully. As strong as I think I am, I feel weak and shamed for having never come forward before.
This sensitive topic has been brought to light once again by over twenty, now closer to thirty women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault.
“So why speak out at all and why now?” she asks in her essay. “The simple answer is that it’s the right thing to do.” (source)
It’s polarizing. People are very easily and casually saying “well I wasn’t there, I don’t know.”
We are all innocent until proven guilty in a court of law in this country. Bill Cosby is lucky he won’t have to face the law. He gets to stay rich and stay free. Any personal attack consequences he’s faced in recent years will never affect his comfort or quality of life. He will never have to go to therapy for PTSD or feel shame when he has to explain to a gynecologist or other medical professional why he flinches at the slightest and most clinical touch. Over two dozen women have accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them, yet he will likely never face a judge or jury of his peers. He will still work, make glib “jokes” about the allegations, make money and then die. Even with his tarnished reputation, he will be remembered as a comedian and actor first and a rapist second.
“He would never do that!” or “He’s such a nice guy” or phrases like “But look how much he’s done for the community” or “He comes from a good family” don’t apply to just this celebrity scandal in question. Rapists and abusers hide in plain sight. They are not all knife-wielding psychopaths in ski masks waiting to ambush you from a dark alley. They are someone you know. A family member, a baby-sitter, a trusted friend, your own boyfriend or husband. It could be literally anyone despite how wholesome they appear to the community. That is how they get away with it. That’s a tactic that kept me quiet for so long, thinking no one would believe me. “But he was your boyfriend” and “aren’t you two friends?” The inequity of power as well, when you know damn well that someone has more money than you do, it is a caste system as you sadly realize you don’t stand a chance.
This affects me personally. I’ve been assaulted by three different men that were in my life at different ages. The fear kept me quiet. Fear of “don’t tell anyone or I will hurt you and your family.” The fear that, if I did tell anyone, my abuser would not be the only one on trial, because I truly feared that my father would literally kill the men who harmed me and end up in jail. I did not want my dad to go to jail for trying to protect me. The fear of not being believed kept me quiet for years and years, but enough is enough. Instead of feeling shame of thinking “why me, why was it me, three times over?” I am here to say that I am not ashamed or guilty for being assaulted and raped. I did not deserve this, and no woman, man or child does. Period. It does not matter what you were wearing, who you were with, how much you drank, if you said yes and then no, or even said no and eventually yes to just make it easier on yourself. It is time to end victim shaming.
I recently cut ties with someone because of a simple FB post, just one sentence innocently typed- “I support Bill Cosby”. It really triggered an array of complicated feelings inside me- betrayal, anger, hurt, shame, guilt, rage, sorrow. Nearly 1 in 5 women report having been sexually abused in their lifetime. And that is only the percentage that have been brave enough to come forward and say something, even if they chose not to report it to the police. When you make a glib statement like that to your network on social media, consider how many people you are hurting with that statement – “I’m OK with this rapist.” Because, as a silent victim who up until now, had too much shame and fear to talk about my assaults, that’s all I read. The follow-up comments calling the victims gold-diggers and attention seekers were just as hurtful. It hurts to lose a friend I’d been close with for many years, but I simply couldn’t have someone in my life that could so easily say the same statements about me. No one prospers from a false rape allegation. The percentage of false accusations are about the same as any other crime, but because of their personal nature and the difficultly in prosecuting rape cases, it is easy for people to misconstrue the facts and statistics as they see fit. It’s easier to call a woman a whore than to call a priest, father, coach, boyfriend or actor a rapist.
It’s taken me a long time to say this. It has taken me a long time to acknowledge these things happened to me, even to those closest to me. This was my time to come forward. It’s 20 years later and I will get no justice for what was done to me. But I am putting this out there for women to know- I am part of the statistic that stands with them in surviving sexual abuse.
Recently, Sony Studios was hacked. Maybe by North Korea, we just don’t know. This led to terrorists (maybe North Korea?) threatening any moviegoers and theaters that would show this movie on it’s release date on Christmas day. Many major cinema chains decided to pull the movie and not show it out of fear of attack, And rightfully so, as a movie massacre isn’t the kind of blood anyone wants on their hands for the sake of “not letting the terrorists win”. The threat had compared the potential attack to the likes of 9/11, and that is a threat people take seriously, hashtag never4get.
I have a controversial theory though that this movie… never existed. Sure it was leaked online, but I didn’t see it, so if I didn’t see it, then it’s not real (see: object permanence). The premise of the movie was so meta, and James Franco is a living, breathing enigma of performance art that I would not be surprised if there was no interview movie. Call me crazy, but this is the same guy who made the “art” of him having jizzed on a Batman mask, so anything’s possible.
99% sure this is not due to alien abduction, will keep all posted though.
It’s pretty cool so far. I’ve not gained weight, which my doctor wants to limit. I don’t have morning sickness, which really pisses off other women. All in all, I feel mostly normal except for this crushing fatigue. If I’m not working or eating, I’m sleeping.
The cravings are pretty real though. After a series of unfortunate events on Friday that lead me to not get the lunch I wanted, I was a raging horror bitch the rest of the afternoon. The other night, I basically held my boyfriend hostage as I drove us both to Taco Bell and announced yes, that is what was for dinner. On another note, do you know how freakin’ popular Taco Bell is on a Friday night over here? It’s really bizarre. The drive-thru was like 16 cars deep and the wait after ordering our food was 20 minutes. It was really peculiar. I was not the only pregnant lady in there.
I’ve learned that there’s not a lot of boundaries when it comes to asking me questions or giving me advice. There are very few people in the world I share all the intimate details of my life with, and those are the few that I would realistically answer questions or even consider their advice. One of the most peculiar things I’ve found is for acquaintances or not really close friends, (or let’s be honest, anyone that isn’t on our emergency contact list) feels free to ask “Was this planned or a surprise?” What the fuck is it to you? That’s really rude and intrusive. Basically you’re asking to what extent was the purpose of our fucking? Gross. What’s next, you’re gonna ask what positions we used, or maybe if we put on a little Ginuwine?
I’ve already heard enough weird old wive’s tales, which I’m not taking seriously. “Don’t bend over too much.” Why? What? Am I going to dent the baby?
So let me just pre-answer some of the questions I’ve been getting the most:
I feel fine. Just tired. And hungry.
Yes, we’re going to find out the sex.
Yes, we have names picked out. No, we’re not telling you.
You will be able to touch my belly for $1. $5 if it kicks.
Please don’t ask weird questions about my tits. Or my marital status. Or religious plans. If my answers don’t line up with your ideals, you’re not changing my mind, trust me.
I stopped classifying them as “guilty pleasures” and hiding things that I felt like I should be ashamed about liking. I’m a grown woman, I can do and like and eat and drink whatever I want. Here is some of the shit that I unabashedly enjoy out in the open now.
1. Trolli Candy
One day my co-worker was heading out to the dollar store and asked to anyone listening “you want anything from the dollar store?” And I said yes, I would like some Trolli gummi worms, please. Because I am an adult and make decisions. The Dollar Tree has them cheaper than at Walgreens (my usual candy stop). I love their sour gummi worms and they got a sick ass tumblr… which leads me to my next item….
I got a really cool tumblr because I love gifs, like this one:
I can respond to any situation with a gif. If you’re feeling down and we’re chat-buddies, I’ll definitely send you a gif to try to make you laugh. Say something sassy and I’ll have a gif for that too. There is not a situation where a gif won’t make everything better.
3. Monster Energy Drinks.
a photo of my actual desk @ work 8/12/14
One day I confessed to my friend and fellow coffee-lover and weight-loss confidante Wendy that I like Monster Energy Drinks to get me going, in addition to coffee, or replacing it some days. Hearing her say “OMG ME TOO” Made me feel so normal and less of a secret junkie. It’s an energy drink, not meth. I used to not tell my boyfriend that I was into this garbage. It’s no worse than his diet soda! Now I buy it at the supermarket with grocery shopping and even use a coupon if I got one. It’s cheaper than buying them one-a-day (or two-a-day) at the convenience store by my office. Next stop: Getting a case at Sam’s Club, where they have my favorite flavors: Pink and Orange and Rehab. Never blue. No one likes the blue one.
4. Keeping Up With The Kardashians
I like the Kardashian shows. I keep up with them now. I DVR it. I used to watch it in secret when my boyfriend wasn’t home. One day he caught me watching it. Then I just let go and let Kardashians, and now I DVR it and I also play the game on my phone. The latest episode makes me want a Kris Jenner/MJ (her mom) spin-off. MJ has conquered cancer, twice! Now she is having trouble with back pain since she is older and it makes it tough to get around. Being a good daughter, Kris thought to go get a medical marijuana card so she can try some alternative medicine on her mother. PLOT TWIST: MJ already had a card for some MJ! They eat gummi-weed-candy and hi-jinks ensue.
I don’t even care how ~basic~ this website is. I’m not ashamed anymore. I like reading numbered lists and looking at gifs and remembering the 90’s and shit. Hey, at least I don’t post my quiz results on Facebook and annoy the shit out of everyone. Sometimes they have some real articles though, when in a poignant moment I think “wow, I am getting some legitimate news from Buzzfeed, who’d have thought?” One of my favorite twitter-friends @BrokeyMcPoverty writes some of THEEEE BEEESSST Buzzfeed pieces, and you can read them all here.
6. “Shitty” Music
Everyone needs to stop being so elitist about music. You like what you like, even if it’s shitty, basic, top 40 shit. I’m tired of getting flack for liking “weird” music or shit that’s too basic or horrible or just irritating. So what, you can judge my Spotify feed all you like, but imma listen to 90’s music 4 LYFE. BACKSTREET’S BACK, ALRIGHT!
7. Mason Jars
They’re fucking everywhere. I can drink out of them, grow a plant in ’em, put salad in ’em, hold some q-tips or use it as a shabby-chic vase. What can’t you do with mason jars? (Lol no not actually canning food obviously). I have definitely yelled at my boyfriend for throwing away a “good” jar, when he reminds me “this is all shitted up and you can buy a whole case of them for cheap.” I can be a jar-hoarder. Check out this board for more jarring ideas.
8. Reading User Comments on Local News Articles
If you ever want to lose your faith in humanity, just go and read the comments section of your local newspaper’s articles. Is it just New Jersey? Is everyone everywhere this horrible, racist, xenophobic and uninformed? We just don’t know. Sometimes I get pissy enough to comment back at a particular horrible comment. But more often, I like to respond with “I don’t get it, what does that mean?” When someone says something racist. Because it makes them look even more awful when they have to type out “You see, the stereotype of black people being on welfare ….” Like it’s not doing them favors.
No minute quite like the last minute! Sometimes, letting your to-do list marinate in front of you breeds really good incentive and motivation while you check out Buzzfeed, Pinterest, g-chat your friends or cover your stapler in glitter glue.
10. Fad Diets
As you can clearly tell from my love of candy, TV and procrastinating, I still have a weight problem. I love reading about weird new diets, judging people on them, trying weird shit myself and considering stuff like paleo, veganism, juice cleanses and glutens.
HONORABLE MENTION: Aliens
I love Ancient Aliens. Kicking back on a Friday Night with Ancient Aliens on H2 and then there’s shows like Uncovering Aliens and all kinds of stuff on the other learning-type channels. I FUCKING LOVE ALIEN SHOWS.