Category Archives: Sexual Assault

New HuffPost Articles

If you haven’t yet read these articles now you can check them out on The Huffington Post

Need a Miracle?

Recently, I found myself on Google doing some “research.” I was having a particularly bad night and typed in the following: “I need a miracle.”

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2011, The Lesson I Learned: Be Proud of Your Failures 

Life is difficult sometimes. Is it just me, or is it true that when things feel as if they couldn’t get any worse something (or several somethings) else goes wrong?

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Sexual Assault: Can You Ever Move On?

If your first “sexual” experience is a violent crime, can sex and rape ever be dissociated?

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Filed under Life Lessons, Motivation, Sexual Assault

Will I Ever Have a Normal Sex Life?

More than a decade after surviving rape I still wonder if sex for me will ever be normal. I am sure I am not the only sexual assault survivor who wonders this. Rape, one of the most violent acts known to man, is a violation of the most intimate parts of your body, parts that society encourages young women to protect, preserve, and save for someone special. If your first “sexual” experience is a violent crime, can sex and rape ever be dissociated?

It doesn’t exactly matter if you were raped before or after you lost your virginity. Regardless of when, the trauma contorts the way you feel about yourself and your body. Additionally, it confuses your sense of being a sexual being. People who have a good understanding of their sexuality tend to have healthier sex lives. Having good self-esteem and confidence enables them to feel sexually empowered, a mental sphere that is very difficult to reach after surviving rape. Rape is a humiliation that stays with you long after the actual crime has been committed.

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Filed under Addiction, Sex, Sexual Assault

Rape: Just Another Four-Letter Word?

The other day, I was texting a friend while driving. Well, I wasn’t actually texting in the conventional sense (that is illegal); I was speaking into my phone’s voice recorder, which takes what I say and transcribes it into text. So there I was in the middle of a heavy text conversation — as heavy as a text conversation can get — talking about how I was raped. I looked down at my phone and noticed that one of the words read “r****” in place of “raped.” “R****?” Really?

Not often is anyone daring enough to censor me, least of all my cell phone. In the past, I’ve noticed that the voice recorder has blocked certain words and changed them from their original form into a more symbolic “f***,” “b****,” and “s***.” That I can understand- well, no, not really, but I do know that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) blocks many of those words on open channels, so in the conventional sense, I am familiar with those “swear” words being censored, but “rape?”

The rest of the article can be found here at The Huffington Post

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I Was R****

The other day, I was texting a friend while driving. Since that is illegal- I wasn’t actually texting in the conventional sense- but I was speaking into my phone’s voice recorder -which takes what I say and transcribes it into a text. So there I was in the middle of a heavy text conversation- as heavy as a text conversation can get- talking about how I was r****. I looked down at my phone. R****? Not often is anyone daring enough to censor me, least of all my cell phone. In the past, I’ve noticed the voice recorder had blocked a few words from being transcribed and changed certain words from their original form to words like f***, b****, and s***. That I can understand- well no not really, but I do know that the FCC also blocks out many of those words on open channels, so in the conventional sense it is common in the US for those typical “swears” to be censored, but rape?

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Does Gender Bias and Victim Blaming Put Both Sexes at Risk for Sexual Assault? Now on HuffPost Crime

A friend recently brought an article to my attention about a seasoned sexual assault detective who, after years on the job, was sexually assaulted. Aside from the irony of the victim’s profession, I read the article to see why else this story had attracted so much attention. It was not surprising to read that the officer-turned-victim experienced the same shame and anxiety that is common for most victims of sexual assault. Additionally, like 95% of sexual assault victims, the officer did not want to report the crime to the proper authorities. There was only one outlier in this story: the rape victim was an adult male.

When most people hear the term “rape victim,” the image of an adult male is not what typically comes to mind. In cases of rape, men are usually associated with assailants rather than victims. Perhaps this is because 90% of rape victims are female, and the majority of rapists are male. These statistics do not make men immune from rape, in fact, 1 in every 33 men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. In the US a sexual assault occurs every 2 minutes.

Why is it that most people think of women when they hear the term “rape victim?” Is it because of statistics, or has the media and culture accepted this as the status quo? Globally there are still many cultures that shun female rape victims. Victim blaming occurs, even in modern American society. Think back to two of the most common excuses made by victim blamers and rapist sympathizers: “She was dressed provocatively,” and “She had a bad reputation.” Both excuses not only sexualize rape crimes, but place the blame of rape on the female victim’s sexuality.

Check out the rest of the article on The Huffington Post

 

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Forgiving My Rapist

I received a tweet a reader in regards to my article “Confronting My Rapist.”

In the tweet she stated,

“I read your article about facing your rapist. You are a better woman than me, I couldn’t have acted so politely and diligently.”

I found the tweet to be extremely thought-provoking. Though I responded to my rapist with expletives and warnings to never bother me again, it was through email and not in person. By the sound of my reader’s tweet, when faced with the same scenario, she might’ve kicked the guy’s ass (or at least cussed him out). This thought made me smile, I can’t say I don’t blame her.

When it comes to my situation, I never really thought about vengeance. I was too caught up in hurting myself and messing up my own life because of the pain. Thinking about it now, it might feel good to go to his house, smash the windows of his car, and break everything he owns, but would that solve anything? If I destroyed all his belongings he would still be more reparable than how he left me.

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How Do Smart Women End Up with Abusive Men?

How Do Smart Women End Up with Abusive Men? I was asked this question countless times as my I found myself stuck in an abusive relationship that began to spiral even more out of control. He didn’t seem abusive in the beginning, but the longer we were together, the more his abusive behavior began to seep in. It started off with frigidity and verbal abuse but soon became evident that the man I was dating was very spiteful and would go for the jugular in the most minor of disagreements. Even after all these warning signs, I still didn’t believe anyone when they told me that one day it would escalate to physical violence. I will never forget that day, the day I almost became a statistic— another homicide victim resulting from domestic abuse.

Certain family members would continuously asked me why someone like myself, a person with a seemingly high IQ, would allow themselves to be treated this way? How could a smart person end up in this situation? Every time I was asked this question, I cringed. The inference that I was stupid or ignorant because of my poor relationship choices did not help make my already out-of-control situation any better.

Anyone who is familiar with the dynamics of an abusive relationship knows that falling prey to one has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence or even their socio-economic status; rather their vulnerability.

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Filed under Domestic Violence, relationships, Sexual Assault

Where the Heart Lies

I find a lot of times in the Blogosphere people are passing around a lot of Haterade. Though most of the comments left on my articles are positive and encouraging, I do get some nasty ones, every so often. Under my most recent article,  “Confronting My Rapist,”  one person wrote the following:

This is a tremendous step in your life, and I applaud you for it. But lady, your grammar is horrible. Pronoun-an tecedent agreement errors, run-ons. You get paid to write? I wish I could write this poorly and get paid for it.”

There are so many things that are wrong here. First of all, there is the insensitivity factor. I wrote an article about confronting someone who raped me and this person has such little respect for people in general that he feels that a post about confronting my rapist is an appropriate place to air his grievances about my grammar. Obviously, he is trying to knock a survivor of rape, whom he has never met down a few pegs. (In case you were wondering) he didn’t succeed. I actually just rolled my eyes because people have said worse to me and I know that these types of comments are often the nature of the Blogosphere due to the blanket of anonymity one can easily hide behind.

What truly struck me about this was the insult itself. What he said is absolutely correct. I have horrible grammar. I cannot spell to save my life, and to be honest with you, I’m not even sure what an antecedent is. The run-ons, however, I consider my signature. He ends his small rant with, “I wish I could write this poorly and get paid for it.”

I don’t know what this individual does for a living or if he is successful or even happy. I do know that he is missing the point. Before I dropped out of art school, I had the most awful professor you could possibly imagine. He was a graduate student who was just out of college. He was extremely full of himself and a total jerk. One day he instructed our class to go out and “spend our parent’s money” on the most expensive paint brushes we could get our hands on— the ones that cost $18 each.

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Filed under Art, Heart, Life Lessons, Sexual Assault, Writing

Speak Your Truth

My life truly began to change when I started to be completely honest. I started to write about and confront the things that I ignored for years. Publicly I published articles about dealing with sexual assault and healing on the web. The first time my article appeared on online, I felt naked. I started to cry and wondered if I had made a huge mistake. With each consecutive article, I felt equally exposed. This went on for about six months. Each time an article came out, I would cry. My boyfriend at the time asked me why I even bother to do it. He said that maybe I should just stop writing if it was this difficult for me to handle. Though it was difficult, I never considered stopping or quitting. Too many people wrote back to me saying that they felt very alone in their experience before reading my articles. Truth is before reading their comments, I felt very alone in the experience of surviving sexual assault as well.

For years I hid the truth about my life from everyone. I dodged reality and instead hid behind poor relationships, drinking, and substance abuse. No one understood why I was so messed up and always involved in something reckless. The addictions numbed the pain of rape. They also came to the forefront and caused immediate drama and issues that couldn’t be ignored. Perhaps they were the armor I hid the truth behind. With so much negativity going on because of my behavior, I had enough to worry about without delving into and exploring my past. Eventually I found out that you cannot hide the truth from others without also hiding it from yourself.

Denial can kill people. Until I spoke my truth and seeked professional help, the road I went down only got progressively worse. Addictions will kill you eventually. Suppressing trauma can cause unhappiness, depression, and serious illnesses.

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Filed under Healing, Life Lessons, Sexual Assault

Confronting My Rapist on The Huffington Post

If you haven’t yet checked out my post, “Confronting My Rapist,” please follow the link and check it out on HuffPo. This is a must-read piece that I’m extremely proud of! I hope you appreciate it!

It takes a strong person to confront their rapist. Sometimes it is unavoidable. In cases of rape between family members or friends, you will undoubtedly see this person again. Other times people are forced to confront their rapists in the court of law in order to get the justice they seek. The majority of rapes go unreported (95% of sexual assault victims do not report the crime to the proper authorities).

I was so young when I was raped I thought I would be the one who got in trouble if I reported it. So I didn’t get the courage to speak up for a decade. By that time, any physical evidence that was left had faded. I spoke to police and counselors about reporting it but they told me it wouldn’t be an easy case to prove with only circumstantial evidence. Since there were two rapists involved, I thought maybe it was possible that one would rat the other out to save their own butts. It was a possibility, but nothing was for certain.

Click here to read the rest of this post.

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Filed under Healing, Life Lessons, Sexual Assault