Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Equality, Feminism, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, Military, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sex, Sexual Assault, Tragedy, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Shannon’s Story: Virginity Stolen

A common denominator in all of the stories I have published so far is that the survivor of the attack knew the victim in some way. Domestic violence is VERY REAL and sexual assault DOES HAPPEN in COMMITTED RELATIONSHIPS. Many times it can even happen in an engagement and marriage.

This is Shannon’s story. Her name has been changed to protect her identity.

You can check out the other stories in this series here: Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for HelpMary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to TortureAshlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since ChildhoodKayla’s Story: When Friendship TurnsTasha’s Story: A Six Year Grooming

The main blog links here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

What compelled you to share your story?
This world has become so unsafe for women, I hope it makes more woman aware that sexual assault or rape can happen to anyone, and that self-defense and being assertive is very important.

Where did the incident take place?
A hotel in Clearfield, PA.

Did you know the attacker?
Yes, we were engaged, and no one knew I was engaged at the time. I just said it was a promise ring because he was deploying.

What happened?
I had met him when I joined the military, he was 18 and I was 17. He went to basic training a year before I did, while he was home on leave my Godfather had fallen very ill and was dying. We had plans to have dinner with his family and then to spend some time alone because he was deploying to Afghanistan. The morning of our dinner I received the phone call that my godfather had passed away. He was my hero, and also the first person close to me that I had lost. I was completely devastated and I did not want to do anything that day except crawl in a hole and cry. My mom convinced me to carry on with my plans because he was deploying. I carried on throughout the day and just dealt with it.

After dinner with his family, he began driving me home and pulled into a hotel parking lot. I asked him what he was doing because I wanted to go home. He proceeded to tell me that he had paid for the hotel room and was going to use it. He was not going to deploy a virgin. I told him I didn’t care what he wanted my godfather was dead and I wanted to go home. He forced me into the hotel room, proceeded to take off my clothes and started having sex with me.

I felt like I didn’t matter, and I gave up fighting and saying no. I just stared at the wall and cried the entire time until he was finished. I immediately took a shower and he finally took me home.  We stayed together for a few more months until I was over my godfather’s death and broke up with him. I thought I would never see or hear from him again.

Did you seek legal help?
Not immediately, I did not want the day to be any worse for anyone else because my godfather had died and I didn’t think anyone would be believe me because we were dating.

And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
Two years later I came forward and made a statement, because he had tracked me down on Myspace while I was in school and knew I would be home on leave from Christmas. He was also going to be home and wanted to see me. I told him I wanted nothing to do with him and to leave me alone. He asked me why, and I told him he raped me and asked him, “Why would I want to see you?” He apologized for being an ignorant asshole, and said he should have listened and been there for me. I told him I still did not want to see him and spent my leave in fear he would come find me because he knew where I lived.

Later while at my first duty station, he found my email address, which is not hard to do. He emailed me stating he would be nearby training for another deployment and that during non-training hours he would be able to go off base and do whatever he wanted. I freaked out and told my supervisor everything. He sent me to counseling and to make a statement against him. He also helped me get a no-contact order so if he tried to contact me again he would get in a lot of trouble. It was too late to press any charges, but at least if someone else made a statement against him, mine was on file. He was also not allowed to leave the training base until it was time for him to leave.

How were you treated by your law enforcement representatives?
The people I spoke with were very nice and understanding, I told them before I made my statement I knew it was too late to convict him; I was just terrified of him finding me. They understood why I waited so long to say anything, but were glad that I did in the hopes my statement could help someone else down the line.

How has this affected your life?
Since I am back at home, I live in fear of running into him anywhere because I know it’s a great possibility. I suffer from PTSD, and BPD. I have difficulties showing love and affection. My virginity was stolen from me, so I am very detached from sex. I also have a hard time having sex; it must be dark so I can see nothing otherwise I will have flashbacks and see him on top of me and not my fiancé. I’ve been in counseling and therapy for almost 10 years and have tried 20 different medications to no avail, but I can finally say I found a therapist that is actually helping me and not pushing medications and understands that medications make everything worse for me.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
Speak up immediately, and if you’re too afraid to speak up at least find a counselor or therapist and get help as soon as possible. The longer you wait the worse if makes you feel. I’m 28 now, and just coming to terms with this, and it happened 11 years ago.

If you could say anything to law enforcement that dealt with your case, what would it be?
Stop being assholes and blaming the victim, and start placing the blame where it belongs: The attacker. It doesn’t matter who the attacker is, or what the victim is wearing.

No means NO. End of story.

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say? 
I honestly don’t know what I would say to my attacker other than I will never forget his face and name and that he made my life a living hell because he was a selfish prick. I still worry about running into him somewhere and him trying to talk to me. I would probably cause a scene and punch him in the face.

Resources: Military Sexual Assault FactsRAINN

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Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Equality, Feminism, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sex, Sexual Assault, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Kayla’s Story: When Friendship Turns

Trigger Warning:

 

Many people are assaulted by people that they know very well. Often times, it’s a person that they have known for years and come to call a friend. Then the betrayal ensues. This can make it difficult to process the events because not only can you not believe that is happening, but you literally trusted the person to not act this way.

This is Kayla’s story. Her name has been changed to protect her anonymity.

If you have been following, you can read the other stories here: Ashlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since ChildhoodMary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to TortureCallie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help

The main story can be found here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

What compelled you to share your story?
For five years I have kept my story quiet. The recent events of other young women being assaulted made me realize I should tell my story. The only person that knows is my boyfriend. I can’t bring myself to tell my family members just yet.

Where did the incident take place?
My sexual assault happened in 2013 when I was a senior in high school.

Did you know the attacker?
I knew my attacker, he was a “friend of mine” at the time

What happened?
The night it happened I was so scared that I actually froze. I didn’t fight. I didn’t scream. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him to stop. I didn’t have the fight or flight response. I had the freeze response, which is more common than I thought. I have blamed myself for my assault because I never stopped him. I feel as if I let it happen. Though I wasn’t penetrated with his penis, he did other horrible things to me. It happened at his house. He had texted me a few days before asking if we could hang out.

I trusted him. He was a friend of mine. So, I agreed to go.

We went for ice cream at the local ice cream shop. Then we went back to his house to watch movies. He invited other friends over that night so I was very comfortable going back to his house.

It didn’t take long before I felt very uncomfortable.

Two of the kids decided to leave and two other ones fell asleep on the floor of his basement. As I go up to leave he pushed me down and told me, “I was the only hot cheerleader he hadn’t been with.” Once that happened my body shut down on me. It was the longest and worst moments of my life. It felt like forever, though I think it lasted all of 15-20 minutes. I could have screamed and awakened the other two kids sleeping, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even make a peep come out of my mouth. When he finished, I simply walked up stairs, out the door, and got in my car. I went to my grandmother’s house because she lived close and showered off.

Did you seek legal help? And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
I chose not to go to the police for the simple fact that they wouldn’t have believed me. I just know they wouldn’t have. This boy, and I call him a boy because no real man would do this to anybody, was well-liked at school and in the community. Who was going to believe the girl who was already having troubles at school?

How has this affected your life?
This has affected my life because I became extremely depressed and anxious. I also have guilt for not turning him in.I have blamed myself and it’s even affected my sex life. That’s why I told my boyfriend in the first place. He has been so understanding and showed me so much love. He taught me to not blame myself.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
My advice for survivors would be don’t blame yourself. Don’t you dare blame yourself. And seek support from whoever you feel comfortable. Trust me you’ll need it.

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say?
If I could face my attacker again I would just simply ask him why he did this to me

 

Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Equality, Feminism, Health, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, rape, Relationships, Self-Help, Sex, Sexual Assault, Violence, Women, Women Empowerment

Ashlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since Childhood

Trigger Warning:

 

Many times a person’s first encounter with sexual assault is when he or she is a child. This scars and shapes who they are and who they become for the rest of their lives. Protecting the lives of children should be one of the most important things we can do because children cannot speak for themselves. We need to do better for our children.

This is the third story in my Sexual Assault series, you can read the first two here: Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help and Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to Torture 

The main blog starts here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

This is Ashlee’s interview:

What compelled you to share your story?
I’ve held it in for years and the only people who know are my therapist and my fiancé.

Where did the incident take place?
My first account with rape happened in Punxsutawney, Pa. at my biological mothers house. The second time, my own apartment in DuBois, and then the third time it happened in DuBois at a friend’s house I was staying at.

Did you know the attacker?
Yes with all three. The first incident I was attacked by family members, and the second and third time they were people I thought I could trust. It can come from anyone even if you know them.

What happened?
At the age of three I was sexually assaulted by my three older brothers. They took me and my little sister upstairs to “play.” The oldest had thrown me on the bed and pulled my pants down and did his things to me. Then my two other brothers did the same thing. After they were done with me they did the same to my younger sister. At this time they were 11,9,5.  It was reported and then we were put into foster homes, but nothing happened after that.

At the age of 18, I was living on my own after getting out of the group home in DuBois. I had a male friend that I knew so well and was a friend of mine for years come stay because I was sick and wanted company. I had taken my medication and passed out on the couch. I woke up with him inside me and his hand around my throat. I tried to say no but he covered my mouth and told me that if I refused he would get rougher and hurt me.

Finally, at the age 20, my father kicked me and my daughter out the week before Thanksgiving. We moved back to DuBois with a friend who was renting rooms out in his house. I was in the process of looking for a job and fixing things with my now fiancé. It started two days after I moved in. He would pin me up against a wall or the bed while I was trying to do laundry or getting ready for bed along with my daughter. I would repeatedly say, “No I have a boyfriend,” or just, “No.”. He kept saying if I didn’t give it to him then he would kick us out on the street, and if I told the police that he would lie. Everyone in the house knew what was going on and wouldn’t help. Soon enough I made my fiancé move in with me hoping it would stop, but because he worked night shift it continued to happen. At first I didn’t tell him what happened, and when I did he threatened to leave me and wouldn’t help me because I wasn’t upfront about the abuse in the first place.

Did you seek legal help? And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
Not for all of them. I was too scared to know what they would do to me and how it would affect my life more than it already was. I’ve only told my therapist. I wish I would have got help and got justice for what has been done to me.

How has this affected your life?
It has affected me in many ways. My fiancé and I can’t even have sex because I have flashbacks and I start crying.  I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from this and other things that have happened to me.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to get help. Just don’t wait as long as I have. Get all the help you can to get justice.

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say?
I hope other people come forward if you’ve done it to them so you can rot in jail.

Equality, Heroes, LGBT, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Sports

The Unjustified Backlash Against Caitlyn Jenner

I have not blogged in 10 months.

Holy moley Batman!

I guess you could say that I have been busy living my life and that nothing has compelled me to write a full blown blog.

That will all be changing in the next few months. And today I’m going to start with a very heated topic: The Unjustified Backlash Against Caitlyn Jenner.

I am a straight female from an extremely small town. You would think that my opinion would be a stereotypical, rural mindset. But in fact, I’m the total opposite. There is much more to this world than my little home town.
When I heard about Caitlyn’s front cover on Vanity Fair, shot by the amazing Annie Leibovitz, I thought, “It takes courage to grow up and be who you really want to be.” Then, of course, the backlash started. The backlash grew when Jenner won the Arthur Ashe ESPY Award (which, let’s be honest, most of you didn’t even know existed until a few days ago). People say she doesn’t deserve the award. People say the young basketball star Lauren Hill deserved the award, or even Noah Galloway, the combat veteran. I’m not saying that these people did not deserve the award.

I’m saying attacking Caitlyn Jenner and not calling her a hero and saying she didn’t deserve the award is despicable.

The word hero by definition
noun: 1.a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. 2.a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal

I’d like to add that it should also say woman as a side note.
Basically, the idea of a hero is objective. I think my mom is a hero, that does not mean the rest of the world thinks my mom is a hero. That does not make her any less of a hero to me. Noah Galloway is a hero because of his self less sacrifice on the battlefield and his perseverance. Lauren Hill was a hero for having a dream, battling cancer and raising money for research before her passing. Caitlyn Jenner is a hero because she finally had the courage to be who she really was after 65 years of hiding. The award is also tied to sports achievement, so let’s not forget that Caitlyn Jenner was also a widely decorated Olympian under her former name.

All of these scenarios are different, but none of them is less heroic than the other. Since when did we all become so high and mighty that we rate and rank suffering and heroism? Honestly? When did that happen? Realistically the award could be given to any transgender, any kid with cancer or any combat veteran if you really thought about it. Suffering and heroism should NOT be ranked! There have been a ton of transgender children that have committed suicide in the last year.

Don’t they deserve to have a hero?

There’s nothing wrong with being who you really are. We are all heroes if you think about it. Yes, some get more recognition than others. But it’s not a popularity contest. I could nominate my mom for this ESPY award, and not a single one of you would care.

And none of you cared before Caitlyn Jenner won the award so why bother caring now?

What’s even more funny to me is the people who justify their judgmental ways based on the premise of God and religion. I bet God is pretty sick and tired of everyone trying to speak for him. There’s a few passages in the Bible that come to mind when I think of all this judgment against Caitlyn Jenner:

Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
John 8:7 “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

So. I mean. There’s that too. Which it seems everyone forgets about. By condemning Caitlyn, you are not doing yourself any favors in the eyes of God. If you’re a believer, you believe Jesus came to die for us and that God is the ultimate judge. If that’s truly what you believe, then let him judge! It is not in your job description as a human being to judge Caitlyn Jenner! Stop whining about her victory and celebrate it! I’ve had all sorts of arguments on my page about this subject.
My favorite argument was, “God doesn’t make mistakes” I responded. “Yes. Jenner was born in the wrong body. Many babies are born with cancer and with severe disabilities. Are they not allowed to use the science at hand to live a better life? Or should they live with these struggles until they die?”

Think about that the next time you say she had no right to undo what God intended. If that were the case then every single one of you that say that should frown upon cancer treatment and reconstructive surgery for children as well.
But you don’t do you?

And you know what that makes you? A hypocrite.

Heroes are everywhere. They represent something to someone, even if you think that person does not matter.

You want to change the outlook of the world? Be someone’s hero instead of trying to tear down other people.