Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Feminism, Health, Ideals, Life, Life Lessons, rape, Relationships, Self Defense, Sex, Sexual Assault, Uncategorized, Women, Women Empowerment

Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

This is Callie’s story. The name has been changed to protect her identity. She was comfortable enough to share the location of the events. This is in an interview format. Here is the link to the first part of this series: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

Here are the other stories in this series: Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to TortureAshlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since Childhood

I’m compelled to add that if you or anyone sees domestic violence or sexual assault happening, you should report it. Please do not turn a blind eye. So many people are in precarious situations and they are silently begging for help. HELP THEM! Here are a list of resources: RAINNDomestic Violence Coalition

What compelled you to share your story?
I have never told anyone but my now husband about the abuse.  I just had our child and I feel like it is my responsibility to come to terms with what happened to me and try to be strong enough to one day publicly speak out.

Where did the incident take place?
There were too many incidents and locations to count. His home, the high school, my home, the city park, restaurants and stores.

Did you know the attacker?
He was my boyfriend at the time.  I was freshly 16 and he was 20.

What happened?
I met Chris at Community Days in DuBois, Pa.  I was with some girlfriends and he came up to us with a group of his friends.  He was so charismatic and handsome; I was immediately smitten.  He would build me up and make me feel so wanted.  About two months into our two-year relationship he changed.  He became physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive towards me.  Physically he would push me, hold me down, and hit me.  One night when I was at his home he pushed me down a flight of stairs. His mother watched it happen and just walked away.  He would tell me no one but him would ever love me and that if I left him he would kill me and my family.

I truly believed all the things he said to me; I was so young I didn’t know better.  I was basically screaming for help without actually telling anyone, and no one noticed.  I was sent to psychologists and put on medication, and still no one helped me out of this relationship. 

When I had just turned 18, his brother punched me for absolutely no reason one day.

I somehow got the courage to put an end to our relationship.  I stopped answering any kind of communication from him.  He started standing outside of my home and work and would just stare me down. He would send me terrible threats through Facebook and text.  My now husband would walk me to and from my car at work.  I actually moved to Pittsburgh for a bit because I was so scared.  Eventually he stopped contacting me, but he found out I had moved back to DuBois several years ago and told a mutual friend that he was going to get me back.  I began seeing him walking in my neighborhood, my husband and I decided to move out-of-town. We’ve kept our address a secret for this reason.

Did you seek legal help? And if so, how long did you wait before getting the courage to come forward?
I did not. I knew I needed help but I didn’t know where to go.  I also felt people would not understand why I couldn’t just leave for so long.

How has this affected your life?
I am constantly looking over my shoulder.  I have run into him three times in stores, and each time I was able to make out to my car before having a full blown panic attack.

If you had any advice for other survivors, what would it be?
You are not alone, and you are worth so much more than you think!

If you could say anything to your attacker, what would you say?
You took advantage of a young girl. You knew what you were doing and you are still doing it to other girls.   You shattered everything about me into pieces. I lost who I was.  In spite of you, I have found a good and kind man and I have a wonderful life now.  You were wrong!

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Assault, Beauty, Dating, Domestic Violence, Family, Feminism, Ideals, Life Lessons, rape, Self Defense, Self Improvement, Sex, Sexual Assault, Suicide Prevention, Violence

It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault

Trigger Warning:

I remember my assault distinctly.

It’s a story I have shared with many people and have written about on this very blog. But, I count myself lucky amongst survivors because my attacker didn’t get the chance to follow through on his actions because one of my friends rescued me. You can read about it here: Keep To The Code

However, there’s a staggering amount of people that don’t have that luxury.

I have been absent from blogging for quite some time. My days now are spent chasing around my beautiful daughter, and growing her little sister inside me for a few more weeks. They are the reason I decided to start typing again.

Well, them and all the women in my local area that have decided to come forward with the stories of their sexual assaults, is what I should say.

Last year a friend of mine was drugged and almost died because a young man decided to make her a target. Though there was video evidence from the bar they were both at, the police refused to pursue the matter. She went to local news stations and no one would pick up her story. She felt terrified and alone.

A few days ago, a story surfaced in my area of a young woman that was shamed by our local police for reporting her rape. Instead of being taken seriously, she was cuffed and taken to the psychiatric ward of our hospital.

Incidents of victim shaming happen every day. It’s 2017 and people still have to worry about being assaulted! It’s absolutely ridiculous. On top of worrying about being assaulted, we can’t always depend on our law enforcement officials to defend us, and we are left there alone and made to feel stupid.

Over the next two weeks I will be doing an interview series with those willing to come forward and share their stories of their assaults.

It may be 2017, and we may have a long way to go.

But it’s time us survivors be taken seriously by our peers and by our law enforcement.

As I publish the stories, the stories will be linked back to this blog. I will also be including this link in the other stories.

Let’s fight back together
Here are the stories:

Tasha’s Story: A Six Year Grooming
Kayla’s Story: When Friendship Turns
Ashlee’s Story: Repeated Abuse Since Childhood
Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to Torture
Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help

America, Beauty, Feminism, government, Health, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships, Self Defense, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Sex, Tragedy, Women, Women Empowerment

Keep to the Code

This is an official warning that graphic content will be discussed. Rape will be discussed. 

……………………………………………………………………………………………

When I was 21 and a senior in college, I was still a virgin.

When I was a freshman and a sophomore, I wanted nothing more than to lose my virginity. I felt like it was this giant disease I had that infected the world. If you would be more interested in that segment of my story, please read my guest blog here. When I was junior, the urge began to fade.

When I was a senior, I just wished I would meet someone worth taking it instead of just blindly giving it away.

But I remember one night when I feared I might not get that chance…

And if it was not for a good friend of mine, I would have been a victim.

My girlfriends, specifically my roommates, and I had a code: Keep each other safe, and if one of us gets too drunk, take care of the other. For four years I kept to this code and it worked very well. If my friends would get drunk, I would be the one that would pace myself and stop drinking to make sure that the others got home. They did the same for me. It was easy. We knew that we did not want to regret any decisions in the morning. And my one roommate, knew she wanted to keep my virginity safe. I guess you could call her my virginity keeper.

Yeah. My virginity keeper.

One night, she came to visit me at school and we ended up extremely wasted at a party in a three level house. I still considered her my roommate even though she had graduated the semester before.  I just wanted to have fun and I didn’t want any trouble. So we stuck together because that is what we always did. We had met up with some guys and other friends before we ended up at this house….this terrible, creaky, dismal and over-crowded house. I remember one guy that had found me attractive. I told her I wasn’t interested in him, so she made a mental note, despite the drunken state we were both in. We meandered through the levels of the house talking to various people we did not know. We held hands too. I know it sounds silly, but we did to make sure we had a hold of each other. We had made our way into a hallway next to the bathroom of the third level. Loud music was playing all over the house.

That’s when everything changed.

I had to go to the bathroom and she was talking to someone. So I started off on my own. Only because the bathroom was literally ten feet away.

Ten feet.

I got grabbed.

The guy that had found me attractive was pulling me into the bathroom. I knew I didn’t even want to kiss him, despite him putting his lips on my face. I didn’t want any of it. Yet there I was in a bind because of how my arms were pinned. I kept saying, “No. Leave me alone.”

But he kept on pulling and yanking me into that bathroom. I kept fighting to get away and people around me just left me go.

I thought to myself, “No. not like this. It can’t happen like this.” I knew I didn’t want him to take it, and if he was being this aggressive with kissing, I figured it would only go downhill from there.

That’s when she grabbed my arm and started pulling me away. I was in a tug of war between a guy and my roommate. She kept screaming at him and he kept screaming back at her. Until finally I crumpled to ground. That was enough for him to lose his balance and let me go. And I crawled away with my roommate in tow. We stood up and ran down the three flights of stairs. We ran out of the house and hid behind a dumpster because I was afraid he would come after us.

Then finally, we ran some more until we met up with some people and were safely nestled in our apartment.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Looking back at that moment, I know I would have been in a terrible situation if it wasn’t for my roommate. I could have lost something that I didn’t want to lose.

And you know what’s terrible?

Many girls run into similar situations all over the world. And their friends don’t help them.

We live in a culture. Specifically, we live in a rape culture. And it seems like people don’t really want to talk about it. The fact that society creates and allows rapists to thrive is sad. With that being said, we, as women, know that we have to be strong. But at what cost?

People expect women to just protect themselves. People also expect women not to “put themselves in compromising situations.”

Since when is living your life a compromising situation?

Women shouldn’t live in fear that any day a man could come up to them and force himself on her. That’s wrong. And men should be the ones to change, not women.

But yet, it’s expected for us to change. I remember the night. I didn’t “express interest” or “lead you on” and yet you still wanted to take away something from me, something you felt you were entitled to have. As if I should feel guilty if I had anyway; sex should never be an expectation. You didn’t get that something that you wanted.

Something, thankfully, you didn’t get because my roommate and I kept to the code.

In various cases of rape, I have noticed a growing trend: these girls get left by their “friends.”

I’ve got news for you; a real friend wouldn’t let that happen. A real friend wouldn’t abandon you and leave you in a compromising situation. That whole safety in numbers thing…..it works. Granted, I know that in some cases a man could over power both females, but he would most definitely have a hard time trying to force himself if another person was clawing at his face or gouging at his eyes (which would be my personal attack preference).

I was so pumped last week when I saw various pictures going through my NewsFeed for “Take Back the Night.” I can only hope that it brings back awareness to everyone all over the world that acts of violence like these need to be stopped. There is no way this can continue. Women, for now, we must stick to the code and keep each other safe at all costs. I can only hope and pray that someday society will stop allowing rapists to be sympathized for.

And I can’t wait for the day that we don’t have to fear anymore. I also cannot speak for actual victims because I never have actually had to live through that horror, only the fear that it was immediately going to happen.

This cannot happen anymore.

Men, you should NOT let this happen anymore. The fear, the act…..it MUST stop.

It’s your job to make the change, not ours. You aren’t a victim when you try to be aggressive and take something from us.

In fact, you’re just pathetic.

If any of you need help, contact: Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
A 24-hour phone and chat service to help victims of sexual assault or abuse.1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Visit the site here

Also check out this blog that quite frequently discusses the matters. It’s excellent:
http://makemeasammich.org/

America, Boston Marathon Attacks, Crime Rates, Death, Economics, Family, God, government, Homicide, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Obama, Self Defense, Self Improvement, Terrorism, Tragedy, Uncategorized

The Boston Marathon Explosion in Pictures

This photo was found on the ABC News Website at http://www.abcnews.go.com
This photo was found on the ABC News Website at http://www.abcnews.go.com

As a journalist, seeing the photos released by news organizations of this attack today does not bother me at all. No, it’s not because I am heartless. No, it’s not because I have a strong stomach either. If anything, I have a weak stomach. I don’t find it disrespectful to take these photos because, guess what? EVERYONE needs to know what real life is like! You can’t sugar coat a tragedy and pictures aren’t any more disrespectful than the photo of the girl floating around on social media sites that people say was “Running for Sandy Hook.” SHE WASN’T! Her number showed she wasn’t even running in that race, but people of America are too stupid to investigate that picture and will repost it mindlessly.

But they get upset about blood.

The photo was a fake plastered all over the place of a little girl running in a clearly rural setting saying she died today when an 8-year-old boy died today. That is social media, not real journalism. Because, that was fake.

Photo falsely proclaiming this girl to be running in the Boston Marathon in remembrance of the Sandy Hook victims
Photo falsely proclaiming this girl to be running in the Boston Marathon in remembrance of the Sandy Hook victims

War is real. Terrorism is real. You wouldn’t be the slightest bit upset if it was a terrorist you saw. How many of you felt anything when you saw pictures of Saddam or other terrorists in gruesome fashions? The world is real. You should expect the photos you see to be real. A photojournalist’s job is to capture the raw truth of an image. That’s what you’re getting. It’s not staged. It’s not phony. It’s TRUTH. We are trained with discretion and determine what people need to see. Granted Facebook and Twitter has ruined that because anyone can upload anything now, but the job is to deliver the story. And you can’t tell the story without the blood. You can’t tell the story without the tears.

I mean seriously? Do you expect all the pictures to be of people laying on the ground with no blood and no tears in their eyes at all? Just sitting there??? Is that what you want? An emotionless image that just makes the subjects look like they don’t feel anything at all? I’m just curious. Because that’s not what real life does. People cry. people bleed.

People DIE.

And then act like journalists don’t have souls or boundaries. You wouldn’t even know what happened if you didn’t see the pictures or videos. You would be standing around wondering, “What the hell happened?” Journalists have the hardest jobs. We have to separate our feelings from our work. We have to put ourselves in terrible situations to get the job done. I mean, do you think every photojournalist sits around praying for a bombing or a shooting so that he or she can go take a picture? Do you think that’s what we want to see? Do you think we don’t cry about what we see late at night? No we hope to capture and write about happy moments. But we can’t do that all of the time in this world. We have to show the bad stuff too.

Take it in. And try to make the world a better place so the blood stops. Stop seeing life through a rainbow-colored lens…….obviously, as we saw today, LIFE ISN’T LIKE THAT.

When I get up in the morning, I don’t look for photos of blood and guts from various massacres across the world. However, I think that as Americans we have an arrogance about ourselves that cannot be denied. We don’t want to see war and reality if it’s on the face of our own people.

It is known that most people do not mind seeing pictures of dead terrorists or dead animals. And then people wonder why other countries hate us. We should see reality. No we shouldn’t see it at the age of four, but as young adults and adults we are fully capable of handing the truth. These pictures should show you reality.

This photo was found on the CNN Website at http://www.cnn.com
This photo was found on the CNN Website at http://www.cnn.com

We need to be aware of what we can do to one another.

And we need to change ourselves. But how can we learn if at first we don’t SEE?

The answer is simple: We Can’t

This photo was found on the Business Insider website at http://www.businessinsider.com
This photo was found on the Business Insider website at http://www.businessinsider.com
This photo was found on the New York Post website at http://www.nypost.com
This photo was found on the New York Post website at http://www.nypost.com
Adventure, America, Beauty, Bucket List, Death, Dying, Family, Feminism, God, government, Gun Laws, Guns, Ideals, Life Lessons, Loss, Love, Obama, Politics, Self Defense, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Tattoos, Women

Once Should Be Enough

Earlier this year I posted a bucket list on my blog. I had posted it right after my grandpa passed away. You can view it here. Well, it’s been about a month since we buried him, and I have already done some of the things that I had said I would do.

Last week I got my second tattoo. It was rather simple but powerful; it is the infinity symbol with the word faith written in the symbol. Along one side is a cross and on the other side is two birds.

I have a lot of faith in God and what he has done for me. In fact, I think I have more faith than most of the people I know. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that the amount of times you go to church has absolutely no bearing on the amount of faith you have. I look up at the moon and I can see God. I can see him in the sunsets at the ocean. I see power and mystery; I would much rather praise God in his natural habitat than in a building that people made to worship him in. It seems quite counterproductive to build a building to be “in the presence of God” when God made nature. That is why I had the word faith written into the infinity symbol. The cross also represented God as well as Jesus. Jesus died for me as he did for all of us. It is my belief that we owe it to him to love one another regardless of religion, race or sexual preference. My Jesus was that guy that hung out with lepers and whores and loved them anyway because no one else would (Of course I mean whore in the sense that Mary Magdalene was painted as a whore by certain people. Personally I could care less how many people she slept with). That man died for me, so I owe it to him to try to love everyone. Finally, I got two birds, one to represent Kimmy, who I have written about before on here, and one for my grandpa. Birds represent freedom and peace. They are at peace and they are free. They are always with me and someday I will be flying with them. I know it’s rather simple, but it meant a lot to me. My sister also got her first tattoo with my grandpa’s date of birth and date of death on her back.

A special thanks to Josh Slovinsky of Dark Star Tattoo in Punxsutawney, PA.
A special thanks to Josh Slovinsky of Dark Star Tattoo in Punxsutawney, PA.

The second thing off of my bucket list, which I’m not entirely sure I actually mentioned in the first blog, was to buy another gun. After my initial experience with my Smith & Wesson .38 Special, I realized I was more suited to semi-automatic hand guns than I was suited to revolvers. My boyfriend and I went to Grice Gun Shop in Clearfield, Pa. for their annual gun sale. We initially had went for ammo because Lord knows that since all of these rules have been implemented, ammunition has been scarce. Which, I find to be extremely ironic because crazy ass people are STILL killing people. So guess what? It’s PEOPLE that need help with their mental problems. PEOPLE kill people, not guns. Anyway, I went to the hand gun part of the store, even though I saw a tactical rifle that I really wanted but could not afford on the wall. I walked around the cases when I saw it: the Beretta Px4Storm. It was on sale, and no it’s not a Glock, but Beretta’s are still highly reputable around the world (I mean, come on, they are made in Italy and my moms family is from Italy, so obviously I knew it was well made). I was lucky enough to have a Beretta representative wait on me and hand me the gun. It fit so well in my hand. It was larger, which I liked because I’m not the stereotypical “small-gun” female. In fact it was molded and crafted so well that my boyfriend was like, “Hell, I want to buy this, but I’m not going to.” So I surprised him.

I told the guy to give me a form to fill out for my background check.

My boyfriend was GREEEEEENNN with envy because I wanted it bad enough to purchase it on the spot. I assured him I would let him shoot it, despite him trying to convince me to trade him for his Ruger SR9. I decided to get the 9mm model instead of the .40 cal because I didn’t think I was ready for .40 cal yet. Also, I knew I wanted him to get the Glock in .40 cal because of its good reviews and high reliability.

And within ten minutes I had my full background check complete and headed to the cash register. Which, was surprising to me because the first time I bought a gun, it took them 2.5 hours to get my background check completed. But nonetheless, the people at Grice Gun Shop are the friendliest and they know their stuff; never hesitate to ask them a question.

This Thursday I will be going out to shoot my new purchase and I am extremely excited because I already know I will like it more than the revolver, and I shot well with Kyle’s Ruger. I will probably post a picture of my target when I am finished because I am that excited. I wrote in my last blog how I feel more and more confident that I can take care of and protect myself, and this gun will provide me with such confidence. See, gun owners don’t have to be psycho. In fact, most of the gun owners in the USA are not, but psycho people steal respectable gun owners weapons. I am not planning a mass killing nor do I want to kill myself, I simply want to know that if someone ever tries to steal my purse, rape me or kill me that I have the capability of severely wounding and incapacitating them (Yes. My faith in the human race is so HIGH that I will carry a weapon because I know monsters exist and refuse to be anything less than evil. And that’s a serious issue that needs to be dealt with. Screw gun control. We need people control).

That’s two things: A new tattoo and a new gun. I have many things on my list left to do this year. They say you only live once,

And if you do it right, once should be enough.

America, Beauty, Crime Rates, Family, Feminism, Guns, Ideals, Life Lessons, Self Defense, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Women

Stand By Me While I Save Myself

I own a Smith & Wesson 38 special.

I prefer my boyfriend’s Ruger 9mm. I hit a zombie target in the head during my first time shooting the Ruger.

In that moment when I held both weapons, I felt empowered. I didn’t feel empowered in the sense that I was going to go out and kick ass and take names, but empowered in the sense that I was capable of using force to take care of myself. I have two knives that I carry with me as well as a pink stun-gun that bursts approximately 7.8 million volts.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do have a 6’4″ boyfriend that is a prior Marine that can easily defend me.

But, there is something special about a female that knows she is capable of taking care of herself. There’s something empowering about a woman who can look an assailant in the eye and evade him or her, or perhaps make them regret ever trying to cause harm to anyone.  I’m talking about thieves, murderers or even rapists.

Yes rapists.

Now, I’m not going to talk about rape too much strictly because I have not gone through it. I feel those stories should be reserved for those brave enough to share their stories. However, I will gladly support and start a conversation involving rape because it is a SERIOUS issue in the world. If you would like to read REAL stories about that, then check out this Tab I contributed to here. You will find more stories there.

With that being said, there are sick and twisted individuals in the world that prey upon women. Let’s face it; women aren’t built the same way as men physically and that can lead to overpowering issues. I’m also not saying that women get attacked only by men either. My point is that we women have every right to defend and protect ourselves as well as our loved ones. Some people may think me paranoid for carrying all of the weapons listed above. I find myself to strictly be using my resources wisely so that no one can think they can hurt me.

I’m not encouraging all of my female readers to go out and buy handguns, though I will admit I am glad that I did purchase one. I’m not saying that you need knives or stun guns either.

I am saying that you can be just as deadly with your hands if you choose to be, but the key is to preparing yourself.

I strongly suggest to my readers to take self-defense classes. One maneuver could be the difference between life or death. If you want a small hand gun, any attacker would think twice, especially if they are unarmed.

Women, I want you to empower yourselves to stand by one another. Don’t depend on a stronger person to be with you all the time. Don’t let a man (or woman) stand beside you and save you.

Let them watch while you save yourself.

We live in a sick and twisted world; just today I saw on CNN that people were making fun of the victim in the Steubenville Rape Case. People said she deserved it because she:
1) shouldn’t have been partying with older guys
2) shouldn’t have gotten drunk and passed out

and my personal favorite:
3) boys will be boys.

I also saw on Facebook today that someone posted that rape is not important because there are “more important things to worry about in this world.”

It made me want to vomit and throw my cell phone at the screen. How can people be so heartless, crass and stupid? HOW?

The sad thing is, that now I realize that saving myself is of the utmost importance. I will always be able to depend on my boyfriend to save me when he is around. But with the way the world is today and with how shallow and ignorant some people are….

I know that I will always be able to save myself because I won’t be able to depend on people like the ones above to help me. Those people would leave me to be raped and murdered if they could.

It’s time the country gets educated and it’s time that we all start learning how to protect ourselves. I feel safe knowing if someone ever tries to attack me that I will either stun, stab or shoot them.

I wish for all people, women especially, to feel secure as well.