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.

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

Mary Kay’s Story: When Pressure Turns to Torture

Trigger Warning:

 

One of the most common things I have found in conducting my interviews is that these women have stayed silent for years and the events happened when they were quite young.

This has an interesting effect on me because I want to make sure my children are safe, but I also want my children to be able to experience life. I think as parents we can sometimes not know if we are doing the right thing.

If there are any young men and women out there reading this, please know that you can get help. Please know that you can talk to someone. You do not have to give in to peer pressure. If someone is pressuring you, please tell someone you trust and avoid contact with that person. If you’ve been pressured into doing something, tell someone you can trust. Bullies and Attackers thrive on fear. They lie and manipulate to get what they want. Parents and children, I ask you to please have an open line of communication with each other. This can be a life-line to your child. Parents, please listen to your kids.

This is Mary Kay’s interview. This is the second interview in this series you can read the first part here: It’s 2017 and We Still Aren’t Safe from Sexual Assault and the second part here: Callie’s Story: A Silent Cry for Help

What compelled you to share your story?
I felt compelled to share my story because I’ve been silent about it for so long. I feel like an impostor when I tell other sexual abuse survivors to not feel ashamed, yet I feel extremely ashamed about my own story. It was time.

Where did the incident take place and did you know the attacker?
The first incident took place at my attacker’s house. I was 13 and he was 15. He was my boyfriend at the time.

What happened?
We were alone in his house and he was pressuring me to have sex with him. I adamantly told him I didn’t want to. I wasn’t comfortable. I wasn’t ready. I was afraid of sex. I was only 13. He became very angry and dragged me up the stairs to his bedroom by my hair.

He threw me onto his bed and I was screaming and crying and told him I wanted to go home. I wanted my mom. I wanted him to stop. When he got on top of me, I kicked him. It didn’t slow him down at all. Nothing made him stop. I felt helpless. I silently cried while he pushed himself into me. When his mother took me home that night, I ran into my bedroom and closed the door.

I was a happy, peppy girl before that happened to me. When I closed my bedroom door that night, the peppy, happy girl died and a sullen, frightened girl emerged. I was never the same.

Do you have any advice for other survivors?
Like I said earlier, I tell others to not be ashamed. But I am. So it’s hard to say that and mean it. I’m not even sure that I have advice. I really just want to say that you’re not alone. And you are loved and whole and beautiful ❤️

Did you seek legal help?
I didn’t speak a work of it for years and years. When I did, it was to my mother. Nothing was done. She comforted me but legal help wasn’t sought after.

If you could say one thing to your attacker, what would it be?
If I could say anything to my attacker, it would be this: your selfishness made me selfless. I know what pain and anger and loneliness is and I cannot stand to see anyone else feeling those things. I feel that any selfishness I had inside of me, your demon-self absorbed when this took place. So thank you for that, you piece of shit.

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!

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

Adventure, Beauty, Bucket List, Dating, Faith, Family, Ideals, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Sex, Women, Women Empowerment

Don’t Ever Take Dating Advice From Taylor Swift

If there is one person that I really think gives the worst dating advice, it is Taylor Swift. And she doesn’t even give it purposely.

She writes about it in her songs.

I cannot stand that. For one thing, it is extremely disrespectful for someone to view love as a money-making scheme. And that’s all she is proving by writing all of her hits about her ex-boyfriends. She may not think that is what she is doing, but it is. If she had any respect for the people she dated, she wouldn’t publicly bash them in her music while millions of listeners are so impressionable. It just shows young people everywhere that it’s okay to date someone and break up with them……

as long as you can write a song that people will eat up and listen to.

Now, I do not condone staying in a bad relationship by any means. In fact, if you are in a bad relationship, then get out. But, please spare us the bull and don’t write a song about it. I think it would be very interesting to see what all of her former lovers would have to say in a song about her. And I guarantee it would go along the lines of her being selfish. The first thing I notice about her is that she does not care about the other person. Let’s look back at when Harry whats-his-face won a music award and her response was “Are You Kidding Me?”

Harsh much?

I get it, she’s empowered.

But she isn’t really.

Almost three years ago I started writing blogs about females embracing their imperfections and flaws. And one of things I’ve noticed that has taken off with this subject is females not “settling” for less than they deserve. Now, I agree with this. But I also would like to point out to many females out there that men can do the same thing. Being empowered does not give you a license to be a bitch to everyone around you, or to parade around bashing men because it is the thing to do. Being empowered means that you have found an inner strength to yourself that would only be enhanced if a man walked into your life (or woman, whichever you prefer). The key here is to not become selfish along the way. Most relationships fail because of lack of communication. They also fail because the people in those relationships focus more on what they can take from the other person than what they can give.

This is why I say don’t ever take dating advice from Taylor Swift.

Because Taylor Swift never focuses on self-reflection, it’s always about what the other person did.

And that’s why her relationships failed and will continue to until she looks at what she can give to another person. And it may take the right person for her to do that. And she by no means has to be willing to give of herself at her age….she can wait. But deep down, when I see her.

I see someone that’s afraid.

You want dating advice. I’ll give you some dating advice from what I’ve learned with my fiance and what I learned watching my grandparents be together for my whole life. They were married almost 58 years before my grandpa passed away.

1) The relationship isn’t just about YOU. There are two people. There are two hearts beating. There are two sets of needs that need met. There are two sets of expectations there.
2) Don’t say, “I want you to do this.” Instead try, “What can we do make this better” or “Where can I work on making things better.” A little humility never hurts. I have news for you. I’m empowered. I’m stubborn. I’m a bad ass female…..and I can still be humble because I realize there is one another person that has the other half of my soul.
3) Learn what phrases to say to the other person. If you think the other person isn’t listening, change your approach. My fiance and I know which phrases get the other person to do what we want and which phrases will piss us off instantly. Communicate. It’s a constant learning process…but once again…this is where a little humility can come in to play. Also, if you don’t want to take their bullshit. Don’t. But address it in the correct way. Because they don’t have to put up with yours either.
4) Don’t think you can change them or their habits. This is simple. Don’t insult the other person by trying to drastically change who they are as a person. I mean, do you want to stop being that badass female? No. You don’t. So don’t expect the other person to drastically change to make you happy. It’s wrong. Either love them at the core of who they are or move on and save yourself a lot of stupid heartache.
5) Don’t talk all the time. Listen too.  The person you’re with will tell you what is wrong and what they want….you just have to listen to them. I don’t mean hear them….I mean listen.
6) Stop thinking you’re always right. I still struggle with this. But, I’m learning and he is very patient with me. Almost three years and diamond ring patient.
7) Focus on what you Give. Give to the other person. Constantly. Compromise. I love compromising. It is literally the best of both worlds. And occasionally something I didn’t want to do ends up being something I liked anyway. Don’t take from the other person and don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. But, give.
8) Real love isn’t a fairy tale. Just get over it. It’s not. There’s no white horse. There’s no castle. Just. NO. Move on from the childish version of love to the more awesome version I saw in my grandparent’s marriage. You want a sweet love story? Watch UP! Seriously, the first eight minutes of that movie was the best love story I’ve ever seen filmed. Oh, and date the beast, not the prince. People always call me and mine the Beauty and the Beast. I like it that way. People with layers are more interesting than the people without them.

Above all. Realize that anything in life worth having is something you have to fight for and work for. It’s not going to be easy. Learn to embrace your own beauty and imperfections first…..

Then, embrace someone else’s.

And Taylor, don’t be afraid to fall in love. It’s the most interesting adventure you could ever go on.

Adventure is out there.
Jump Feet First.

Beauty, Life Lessons, Love, Self Improvement, Sex, Women

Change On The Horizon

It has been forever and a half since I last posted a blog. I feel terrible because I had a goal to post at least three things every month for this entire year. Sadly, I have failed at that. But I guess you, my reader, could say that I haven’t been blogging because I have been out living.

First, I got engaged.

Yes, engaged. Diamond ring and all that goes with it.

Now, let me make it clear that we have not set a date yet. In fact, we will probably be in the engaged phase for a while given our financial and life circumstances. He is finishing up his degree and I am working. That brings me to part two…

I moved out on my own with my fiance, which has taken up most of my time.

It’s funny how in one instant you can be thrown into adulthood. One minute I was buying silly things that I didn’t need, and the next minute I was buying a couch and a dining room table.

So, I guess you could say that this blog is about change; welcome it and embrace it. As long as we live, change is inevitable. The important thing is to stay true to yourself during times of change.

If you can do that, you can do anything.

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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. 

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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.

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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/

Adventure, Beauty, Dating, Family, Feminism, Health, Ideals, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Sex, Uncategorized, Women

For Good

People change our lives. Time changes our lives. Time and people can be valuable lessons for us to learn. It’s funny. I look back at high school and I see the people I was surrounded by and how much time has changed us all. I see some people and think, “Oh my gosh I know them. But it almost feels like a lifetime ago.”

It’s amazing. I look at the person that I was six years ago when I graduated high school and I have changed so much. Naturally, I’m reflecting because my sister is graduating in a few months. Then she will be off to Clarion University to major in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology (Whatever the hell that means, I just hope she makes some serious cash).

I used to party. Well, I don’t do that anymore and I feel sorry for all of those individuals that chronically go out and can’t accomplish anything because they’re too busy partying.

I know the difference between what is classy and trashy, and congratulations DuBois, you have the trashiest people in the world. But it took me awhile to know the difference. For example, as much as I don’t like a lot of country music, country isn’t trashy. Trashy depends on the person and not their specific clique or interest. I’m sure, in fact I am positive that trashy people exist everywhere. However, DuBois is so small that they abound. I used to try to fit in with everyone. And I am content with who I am now. I’m content with being by myself, in fact I crave it. Granted most of my time is devoted to work and I take in precious moments with Kyle. I also take in precious moments with my friends when we can make our schedules mesh.
I give this advice:
1) Being opinionated is okay, especially if you’re a female. Being loud, obnoxious and stupid is not okay. It’s especially not okay if you’re drunk. So if you don’t have anything remotely intelligent to say and you just want to be trashy, keep your damn mouth shut. No one wants to hear what you would do for free shots; no one wants to hear about your sex life. NO ONE. Life is far too short to sound anything but semi-intelligent. There’s an old saying that poses the question of “Why do all of the smart people stay quiet and all of the stupid people speak loudly?”  Do the world a favor, think before you open your flapping jaws.
2) Know when to keep your mouth shut. Seriously, sometimes you should just keep your mouth shut. Sometimes I have problems with this, but I’m learning that silence is golden. If you have something intelligent to say, by all means please share it with the world.
3) DON”T START OR INFUSE DRAMA. Seriously. It’s not hard. What is hilarious to me is that most people who say, “Oh, I don’t start drama” are the ones that do in fact start it. They won’t ever admit it. You want to talk shit and think you’re tough? Congrats, you are all words. Nothing more. That means if you talk crap on Facebook just to see if someone will react to it that you are, in fact, INFUSING said drama. It’s not cute. If someone calls you out on something and you don’t address the issue with that person, you should. If you fight with people who are younger than you, and then pretend to act like an adult…..YOU AREN’T. Especially true if you’re my age. Come on now. And if you fit into the definition of trashy, and you start drama. You may just have your own MTV show.
4) Now, this will sound super judgmental, but I’m gonna say it anyway: Ladies, if you want a man, advertising that you spread your legs for a million guys won’t get you one. You know how I said be classy? Try that. Because if you dress like a  slop, you’re going to attract a pig. If you try being a little lady-like, wear a cute sun dress that doesn’t show your vagina, don’t cake on the make up so you look like a bad science experiment, and don’t fake bake so much that you look like you rolled in Doritos….well, you just might snag a keeper! Try it. If you’re complaining that you don’t have a guy, perhaps you should try a different route. Instead of looking for love in all the wrong places, try loving yourself enough to not be fake. Now, I’m not saying don’t go out and enjoy sex. You can. But when you advertise it like a billboard, it’s detrimental. Someday, you may want to be married, and your husband may be thinking about the 50 some odd penises that were there before him……I mean, think about it. How would you feel if your potential husband had about 50 vaginas on his dick before yours? Personally I would be turned off. Just a thought. If you don’t want to get married and want to just have fun for the rest of your life, then by all means, mount as many dicks as possible. I would also like to write a disclaimer that I don’t really know what lesbians look for in each other. I think gay guys look for in guys what straight guys look for in girls. BUT. Alas, I do not know for sure. Any gays and lesbians may feel free to comment in efforts to educate me.
5) Be natural. Seriously. I keep saying the most beautiful women I have seen are cancer survivors and pregnant women. You know why? Because they’re raw. They’re real. They aren’t afraid. They represent LIFE. It makes the make-up and tanning seem rather unnecessary.
6) Alcohol just leads to problems. Moderation is fine. But if you’re seriously drinking all the time in excess, you have a problem and you should seek help. It’s not “fun” its bad for your health and it’s detrimental to your life in general.

Now I know life is for living and people should go out and experience it.

But remember, people and situations are lessons. Just like it says in the lyrics from Wicked:

I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them, and we help them in return. Well I don’t know if I believe that’s true, but I know I’m who I am today because I knew you.

Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun. Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood. Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better. But because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

And you will be changed, and hopefully it’s for good.