have you ever?…..

Have you ever … walked two city blocks, talking to yourself, repeating over and over “I can’t tell.   No one can ever know.  I got away, so I’m okay.  I’m gonna be fine.” ?  Because you went willingly into the dark room to learn more about developing film.  No it didn’t alarm you when he locked the door.  You have to do that to keep people from busting in and letting in light that ruins the processing film.  Yes, you had been flirting with him for a few days in classes.  But no, you had no idea he would turn around from locking that door and start pressing you up against the counter.  grinding and groping.  Sure it was exciting for about 5 seconds, but then it became scary when he didn’t want to stop. But it MUST be your fault for not wanting to give him what he wants, right?  And you still feel guilty for hitting him hard enough to make him stop and opening that locked door, and ruining the film project so you could get away.

Have you ever … held the hand of a shaking friend who is nearly incoherent after getting away from her ex-boyfriend by stabbing him with a kitchen knife (in the leg) because it was the only thing she could reach when he attacked her in her parents home? She had already spent 2 or three hours on the phone with my mom….begging my mom to find me so she could talk to me.  She never did tell my mom what happened,  and she certainly didn’t call the cops.

Have you ever … sat on the floor in a bathroom stall, curled up in a ball and sobbed because the upperclassman who convinced you to do …*that* has refused to even look at you in public and now you know for certain it was all about his instant gratification by playing on your near hero worship?

Have you ever … walked to a payphone (back when there were such things) not even knowing if you could make a phone call, not certain you could convince the operator to help you find the phone number to call for a friend to come pick you up. After a walk in the woods with a “really great guy I’ve known since 3rd grade” who turns out to be a 10th grader willing to pin you up against a tree and push you to the ground saying that he gave you a nice afternoon and now it’s time to pay up ?

Have you ever … begged the operator to help you find the friend to come get you but PLEASE don’t call the police.  No, really.  don’t call the cops.  please.  I’m fine, I just need a ride home.  I got away, so there is nothing to see here.  no “real” crime.  I’ll stop crying, I promise.

Have you ever  … sat in your own apartment bathroom and cried as quietly as possibly because your step kids are sleeping just down the hall and your husband of just a few months has decided that vaginal intercourse isn’t what he wants anymore and blow-jobs aren’t doing it for him, he just HAS to have anal.  And it’s all your fault for not being an accommodating wife.  And no it couldn’t possibly count as rape because you are married to him after all.

Have you ever  … spent days desperately worried about your friend who is being beaten by her husband.  She won’t leave him, she says she still loves him and it won’t happen again.  That one turned out better than we had any reason to hope. She found her daughter holding a stuffed doll up against a wall, striking the doll in the face over and over again and with every strike saying “I love you!”  My friend said that was the breaking point.  And she got herself and her daughter out of there.

Actually my story has a happy place too.  I survived all of this stuff and moved through and past it to find happiness in myself and trust in God and eventually a beautiful marriage with Martin.

Oh yes, ALL of the stories you just read are from me. Personally.  I live through them.  I was the friend, the girl at the payphone, the one in the dark room, the new bride of just 18 years old, the friend of the battered wife.  I’m not making this stuff up.  I’m not retelling someone else’s stories.  THESE ARE MY STORIES.  These things actually happened to me and even as I’m writing this I don’t know if I’m going to publish it.  But why am I writing this?

Why?

so I can get to this sentence….

Unless YOU have been brutalized or violated at some point in your life, don’t you DARE make a judgement about why people don’t report.

Please note, men can be victimized too.  And there are ways women can violate other’s bodies too.  I’m not discounting that.

Anyone who has ever been violated understands, you internalize it.  You assume that you must have done something that that made it happen, so you mop up the mess, or comb the pine needles out of your hair and you go on.  You breathe and you move forward and you try with everything in you to forget.  to function.  to get through one more minute without exploding and telling someone.  To get through the day without giving yourself away.

And eventually it gets easier to forget.  Notice I said easier, not easy.

But let me tell you, if ANY of these people that I know violated me (whether they succeeded in penetration or not) was EVER up for a major public office you better believe I would come forward.

Would I sit back and wait and hope that I wouldn’t have to come forward?  Sure.

Can I recall the exact date or even time of year of some of these events?  No.

Can I produce witnesses? No.

Is there anyone who can corroborate my story? not really.

But their names are forever part of the wounds on my soul.

Have you ever … questioned why someone didn’t report? or waited so long to report?  I have one word for you…..

DON’T

 

 

 

And for anyone struggling to process a memory of sexual violence, you can reach out for help via phone to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network at 1-800-656-4673

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Breathe in, breathe out, look up

Breathe in, breathe out, look up

Okay.  I’ve had my cathartic day of grieving.

I don’t like the results of this election, but I respect the office, our constitution, the current man holding the office, and the gracious in defeat opponent enough that I will obey their request to try to keep an open mind and give him a chance.

I’m also obeying God here. (See Romans 13 also)

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
Titus 3: 1-8

So, I’m going to start doing something good by starting to have fun again. Learning to look up and smile and spread joy.  The best way I know to spread joy is to go back to posting about my fabulous daughter Ginny.

Ginny is now 8 years old (which means my blog is approximately 9 years old since I started it before she was even born.  wow. ) Anyway, she is fun and sassy and learning to love God and her fellow humans at a wonderful Christian school that is dear to my heart.

Here are a few photos from recent years.  This is by no means comprehensive.  It’s just ones I had handy on my computer as I’m writing this today.

So that’s my version of kitten videos and lighthearted fun for today.

Enjoy.

I missed the joke….

So I’m sitting here at work and all of a sudden, from the desk behind me comes hysterical laughter.

Three or four of my co-workers are having a grand ole time about….something. Some movie or some story I can’t tell which.

They didn’t intentionally leave me out.  And I know it’s not about me, but I missed the joke (or the story or whatever) and I can’t go back there and ask to be filled in. They are already too far into the hilarity. It would ruin it for them if I interrupted.

Most of the time I’m in on this stuff, but right now I’m not.

Do you ever get the feeling that life is like that? That we have missed the punch line? or the set-up for the joke and we just can’t catch up?

Maybe it’s just the rain, but I’m a bit pensive today.