Today I wore a pair of faded old jeans and a plain grey baggy shirt. I hadn't even taken a shower, and I did not put on an ounce of makeup. I grabbed a worn out black oversized jacket to cover myself with even though it is warm outside. I have made conscious decisions lately to look like less of what I felt a male would want to see. I want to disappear.
But no matter how much evil I see, I think it’s important for everyone to understand that there is much more light than darkness.
Making someone feel obligated, pressured or forced into doing something of a sexual nature that they don't want to is sexual coercion. This includes persistent attempts at sexual contact when the person has already refused you. Nobody owes you sex, ever; and no means no, always.
John was still making comments regarding violent things that he shouldn't, but I hoped he was just being a big mouth. Nobody was going to listen to me anyway.
He told me that if I hung up, he'd do it. He would commit suicide. He told me that if I called the cops he would kill every single one of them and I knew that he had the potential and the means to do it
No amount of me trying to explain myself was doing any good. I didn't even know what was going on inside of me, so how could I have explained it to them?
It is not a single crime when a child is photographed while sexually assaulted (raped.) It is a life time crime that should have life time punishments attached to it. If the surviving child is, more often than not, going to suffer for life for the crime(s) committed against them, shouldn't the pedophiles suffer just as long? If it often takes decades for survivors to come to terms with exactly how much damage was caused to them, why are there time limits for prosecution?
The story of my birth that my mother told me went like this: When you were coming out I wasn't ready yet and neither was the nurse. The nurse tried to push you back in, but I shit on the table and when you came out, you landed in my shit.If there ever was a way to sum things up, the story of my birth was it.
... in practice the standard for what constitutes rape is set not at the level of women's experience of violation but just above the level of coercion acceptable to men.
One is that if women’s sexuality in Africa wasn’t under assault, if women were able to say no, if women weren’t subject to predatory attacks by men, or predatory behavior generally, then you would have a disease in Africa called AIDS. But you wouldn’t have a pandemic.
Sometimes it feels like my queerness was always there but I was too shell-shocked and splintered by violence to see it. When I finally did? It saved me. Opening up to my queerness saved me. Once I began to identify as queer, I began to require this dreaming and commitment to change from my partners. I define myself to claim myself, to foster a curated community of support
I can line up these moments of violence, precariously as dominoes. Sometimes I worry they will all fall; knocking each other down, knocking me down. Sometimes they do. Violence left me hollow. It left me enraged. It left me desperately needing to leave a body I couldn't trust. But most frustrating of all, violence left me too wounded to claim the space I needed in order to find fulfillment in the arms, heart, and body of a queer relationship.
When I was young, women were raped on the campus of a great university and the authorities responded by telling all the women students not to go out alone after dark or not to be out at all. Get in the house. (For women, confinement is always waiting to envelope you.) Some pranksters put up a poster announcing another remedy, that all men be excluded from campus after dark. It was an equally logical solution, but men were shocked at being asked to disappear, to lose their freedom to move and participate, all because of the violence of one men.
Let’s be very clear about this, asshole: I’ve been a woman in Arkansas. I know damn well what it means when a man says to me 'Calm down.' Being raped comes next, and that’s a fact I’m never going to forget.
I draw a line down the middle of a chalkboard, sketching a male symbol on one side and a female symbol on the other. Then I ask just the men: What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they've been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, 'I stay out of prison.' This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, 'Nothing. I don't think about it.' Then I ask women the same question. What steps do you take on a daily basis to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? Women throughout the audience immediately start raising their hands. As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine. Here are some of their answers: Hold my keys as a potential weapon. Look in the back seat of the car before getting in. Carry a cell phone. Don't go jogging at night. Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights. Be careful not to drink too much. Don't put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured. Own a big dog. Carry Mace or pepper spray. Have an unlisted phone number. Have a man's voice on my answering machine. Park in well-lit areas. Don't use parking garages. Don't get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men. Vary my route home from work. Watch what I wear. Don't use highway rest areas. Use a home alarm system. Don't wear headphones when jogging. Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime. Don't take a first-floor apartment. Go out in groups. Own a firearm. Meet men on first dates in public places. Make sure to have a car or cab fare. Don't make eye contact with men on the street. Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.
Just one person. It really honestly just takes one positive person. One positive person can help you. And that can go a long, long way. - Alexis
...in my wildest, most indulgent dreams, we only hear about sexual assault & abuse in history books.
An engaging examination of a painful subject, with a focus on healing and forgiveness. - Kirkus Review
Some of the most effective segments are interviews with various staff members, including Aila, who works for the center’s legal department. She explains the difficulties of rape prosecution, concluding that “only the survivor” can truly define justice. - Kirkus Review
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted and you have been blamed, or fear that you may be blamed, I just want you to understand this: You are not to blame. There is nothing you did to make someone hurt you, nor is there anything you could have done differently to prevent or stop it.
Always know there are friends somewhere rooting for you. There are people you don’t know, always praying for you and lifting you before God. - Jenee, from To the Survivors.
I think I just said it, but I think it’s worth repeating. They gave me hope that there is good in the world out there. There really is. It really does exist. Regardless of how bad things can be, and how down on your luck you can be, or how bad your trust is broken when it comes to warming up to people and all that stuff, I know that there’s people out there that genuinely wanna help. Putting yourself in that position is a huge step, and it’s a very risky and fragile step, but it’s also a step that needs to be taken because there is help. And you can get through something like this. You really can. - Jim, from To the Survivors
I just want to sleep. The whole point of not talking about it, of silencing the memory, is to make it go away. It won't. I'll need brain surgery to cut it out of my head.
We propose that use of the term “false memory” to describe errors in memory for details directly contributes to removing the social context of abuse from research on memory for trauma. As the term “false memories” has increasingly been used to describe errors in details, the scientific weight of the term has increased. In turn, we see that the term “false memories” is treated as a construct supported by scientific fact, whereas other terms associated with questions about the veracity of abuse memories have been treated as suspect. For example, “recovered memories” often appears in quotations, whereas “false memories” does not (Campbell, 2003).The quotation marks suggest that one term is questioned, whereas the other is accepted as fact. Accepting “false memories” of abuse as fact reflects the subtle assimilation of the term into the cognitive literature, where the term is used increasingly to describe intrusions of semantically related words into lists of related words. The term, rooted in the controversy over the accuracy of abuse memories recalled during psychotherapy (Schacter, 1999), implies generalization of errors in details to memory for abuse—experienced largely by women and children (Campbell, 2003).from: What's in a Name for Memory Errors? Implications and Ethical Issues Arising From the Use of the Term “False Memory” for Errors in Memory for Details, Journal: Ethics & Behavior
There are two types of memory frequently experienced by individuals who have had overwhelming trauma that has been suppressed psychologically or chemically. The first is general memory, experienced as an adult, in which there is a natural recall of early events. The other is the memory that is often associated with post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS). The person suddenly smells, sees and feels as though he or she is actually living the event that took place months or years earlier.Many soldiers who survived horrifying combat experiences have PTSS. This has frequently been discussed in terms of Vietnam veterans who suddenly mentally find themselves in the jungle, hiding from the enemy or assaulting people they see as a threat. The fact that they have not been in Vietnam for decades and that they are experiencing the flashbacks in shopping malls, at home or at work does not change what they are mentally reliving. But PTSS has existed for centuries and has affected men, women and children in the midst of all wars, horrifying natural disasters and other traumatic experiences. This includes physical and sexual abuse when growing up.the PTSS Cheryl was experiencing more and more frequently, in which she found herself seeing, feeling and re-experiencing events from her childhood and adolescence had become overwhelming. She knew she needed to get help.
You cannot make yourself have a flashback, nor will you have one unless you are emotionally ready to remember something. Once remembered, the memory can help you to face more of the truth. You can then express your pent-up feelings about the memory and continue on your path to recovery. Think of the flashback as a clue to the next piece of work. No matter how painful, try to view it as a positive indication that you are now ready and willing to remember.
Everyone heals in their own time and in their own way. The path isn't always a straight line, and you don't need to go it alone.
What happened to Violet was terrible, and I’m not saying fate happens without blame. But when fate turns out well, everyone should forget the bad road that got us here.
The town was more than ready to accept the window dressing that hid the ugly truth of Joe's guilt. Some shared the secrets and kept the silence. Others would not have believed if they had been told. They would not have wanted to know. As those who saw and ignored the smoke from the crematoria of Hitler's Germany, they did not want to know that their world was not as it seemed.
Joe knew that for some, really for most, the derivations of belladonna that blurred their vision and caused their hearts to race would, as well, hasten their forgetting of detail. They would not recall, not readily, any sense of pain or shame or doubt or threat of danger. There were always children to be used. Members were obliged to offer their children, although not necessarily every child in a family was used. Some were found to be not suited for the rigor. Some were left alone so that if the involved children in a family were to attempt to tell, siblings could not corroborate their experience.
He pulled my skirt up. I began to worry. Everyone knew he had broken in girls before and I didn't want it to happen to me. I said, 'No. Get off, please.' He pulled me down the alley and pushed me to the ground. As I lay on my back worrying about my new blue coat, he pushed his fingers up between my legs — and rammed himself into me.I was crying. His lips were pressed against mine but I was motionless, like a small corpse. He grunted and I knew it was over. He got up, I just lay there on the ground, my tights round my ankles. The clock was striking twelve.As he walked away, he turned and said, 'I've always wanted to do it to you. I like your mouth'.When I got in, my mum said, 'Tracey, what's wrong with you?' I showed her my coat, the dirt and the stains, and told her 'I'm not a virgin any more.' She didn't call the police or make any fuss. She just washed my coat and everything carried on as normal, as though nothing had happened.But for me, my childhood was over, I had become conscious of my physicality, aware of my presence and open to the ugly truths of the world. At the age of thirteen, I realised that there was a danger in innocence and beauty, and I could not live with both.(describing childhood rape)
In addition to shaming sexual-assault victims, positioning abstinence as women's domain further promotes the notion that it's women's morality that's on the line when it comes to sex, men just can't help themselves, so their ethics are safe from criticism.
The silence was killing me.And that's all there ever was. Silence. It was all I knew. Keep quiet. Pretend nothing had happened, that nothing was wrong. And look how well that was turning out.
Incest, rape and abuse is rampant everywhere, even in our churches, but society is silent. It is a silent epidemic. One in three women will experience a sexual assault in her lifetime and one in six males, yet we don't speak of it, even in our churches!
FORGET FERES DOCTRINE And the military has immunity! Yes! The feres doctrine! It states “the Government is not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for injuries to servicemen where injuries arise out of or are in the course of activity incident to service” (U.S. Supreme Court 1950). Federal law and our Supreme Court shield acts of rape and sexual brutality in the military as proven by its subsequent ruling on a 2001 case that denied a plaintiffs right to file a civil suit against her accusers. Yet when women report the crime, it is handled internally Commanders are given the discretion to resolve complaints. The report may not go beyond his office. Many times he's part of the problem or a sympathizer with the offender. This certainly was my case! Our Supreme Court ruled as recently as 2001 that rape is an injury incident to the course of activity in the service! THE HEINOUS CRIME OF RAPE IS ACCEPTABLE AND CONDONED BY OUR SUPREME COURT! WOMEN ARE FAIR GAME FOR RAPE AND HARRASSMENT, ACCORDING TO OUR SUPREME COURT! CONGRESS IS NO BETTER! NO LAWS ARE PASSED TO PROTECT US IN THE MILITARY AGAINST THE STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR THE FELONY OF RAPE!
And there’s one other matter I must raise. The epidemic of domestic sexual violence that lacerates the soul of South Africa is mirrored in the pattern of grotesque raping in areas of outright conflict from Darfur to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in areas of contested electoral turbulence from Kenya to Zimbabwe. Inevitably, a certain percentage of the rapes transmits the AIDS virus. We don’t know how high that percentage is. We know only that women are subjected to the most dreadful double jeopardy.The point must also be made that there’s no such thing as the enjoyment of good health for women who live in constant fear of rape. Countless strong women survive the sexual assaults that occur in the millions every year, but every rape leaves a scar; no one ever fully heals.This business of discrimination against and oppression of women is the world’s most poisonous curse. Nowhere is it felt with greater catastrophic force than in the AIDS pandemic. This audience knows the statistics full well: you’ve chronicled them, you’ve measured them, the epidemiologists amongst you have disaggregated them. What has to happen, with one unified voice, is that the scientific community tells the political community that it must understand one incontrovertible fact of health: bringing an end to sexual violence is a vital component in bringing an end to AIDS.The brave groups of women who dare to speak up on the ground, in country after country, should not have to wage this fight in despairing and lonely isolation. They should hear the voices of scientific thunder. You understand the connections between violence against women and vulnerability to the virus. No one can challenge your understanding. Use it, I beg you, use it.
I should meet many people who do not know anyone personally who has been raped or molested as a child. But I can't remember seeing a newspaper without a rape or molestation charge in it somewhere, and when I ask groups how many people know someone personally with a history of molestation, almost always, every hand in the room goes up.