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, 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.

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

Why Getting Married Young Isn’t the End of the World

Social media and the internet are flooding people’s lives.  Various sites and organizations give advice and tell people how to live life.

But the truth is, there is no handbook for life, and there most certainly is no handbook for falling in love.

Over the past few months I have noticed a growing trend across various types of social media.  That trend is embracing being single. I think being single is awesome because you can find out who you are as a person and work on yourself.  I was single for an extreme length of time.  For certain periods, during my teens, I thought it was the end of the world. When I was in college, I loved it because I saw couples around me fighting all the time and I knew I did not want to deal with that. When I turned 21, I was in tune with myself. I felt alive. I graduated college and was working.  I had still had some loneliness, but it wasn’t so crippling anymore.

That’s when I met my now fiance.

I was awake and alive before, but, I felt more alive when we started dating. Now, I did not feel more alive because of getting laid or anything extremely superficial. I felt like a very exciting version of myself. I was learning new things. He was the first person to introduce me to a gun because of his military experience. We traveled quite a bit together and I went to places that I had never gone to before. I realized that even though I was alive, that there was much more for me to do and much more for me to become. But, I needed him to urge me to tap into that potential. I have always been outspoken and I had stuck up for myself to an extent. However, he showed me that I shouldn’t ever let anyone make me feel inferior. He told me I should be treated with respect. That’s when I started being less tolerant to people treating me as if I was a doormat. I started to not let anyone talk down to me. I held myself in a higher regard because I realized that I deserved that. But, he showed me that. Another thing he taught me was that I am, in fact, not always right. THAT was a somber and humbling day for me. My mom had been trying to tell me for years, but, somehow his delivery made the message click. Now, I struggle with that, but I’m only human right?

We live together in our house that we rent with our rescued dog, Dallas. He graduates from Penn State University in June and will be looking for a job, possibly in the oil and gas industry. He just knows he wants to take care of me. We are growing together.  We still keep our identities, but our identities are growing together.  He plays video games and I am a book-worm. Miss Dallas begs him for food but she begs me to go to the bathroom. I’m still outspoken, and he just listens and laughs.

We KNOW we cannot change each other, and we aren’t trying to.

I take that back, the only thing I would love to change is that he cannot, for some reason, ever get his clothes in the hamper. The clothes are endlessly are all over the floor.

What does this mean for you?

1. Don’t be afraid to fall in love. Whether it’s for a year or it’s for forever, do it. Each time you do it, it will change you. When you meet the one you will be changed forever.

2. Don’t assume that the person is going to change you. There’s this misconception that being in  relationship makes you sacrifice who you are. Well, if your relationship is like that, you should not be in it. Every day I see on Facebook that there are statuses about “not needing that inconvenience” or “people who get married young have nothing to live for.” You should marry someone who makes you a better person. Don’t hate on the people who found that person at 21. Some people take until they are in their 30s to find the person that embraces all of their flaws and makes them a better person. But please, stop hating on those of us that found that person at a young age. I guess you could say I got lucky, but there’s no reason for you to bash young, happily married couples because you want what they have or are tired of seeing their sappy statuses and tweets.

3. Be Patient and Stop Comparing. My mom always used to say, “Your time will come” when it came to everything that I ever wanted in life. I was patient. I worked on myself. I was rewarded. If it takes until you are 40 years old, then so be it. Embrace it. Love it. OWN it. But again, leave my relationship out of it. My relationship is mine and what works for me may not work for you. But just because I learned at a young age how to not only be myself, but be myself with another person does not make me LESS than someone else. Nor does it make me more. I’m me.

4. Be Happy with Yourself. If you aren’t happy with yourself and you cannot love yourself……no one else can truly love you. That is the biggest thing to remember. Many relationships crash and burn because one person is expecting the other to fulfill the lack of self-love and happiness they have. It does not work. Don’t even try it.

I’m getting married. When? I have no idea yet. We are saving and making other life decisions before we actually tie the knot. Many of you will think I am crazy because I am getting married to a person I met when I was 21. I am now 24. I am not crazy. And even if I was crazy, don’t look down upon me because I am happy. That’s my problem with this whole new trend, that people think it’s okay to bash people who get married young. For those of us that I know that got married young or are engaged, we could care less if you are single. So why would you care about us being married? Why is it such a big deal? Furthermore, why are SOOO many people writing about how stupid it is to be married young? Seriously? Why do you care so much to write about it so heavily? I don’t know if you got burned in a relationship or what, but my words. You need to stop this trend. How about we just all do what we want in love and stop being jealous and envious of people who have something we want? How about we let other people make whatever mistakes in love they wish to make? That sounds like a plan to me. And guess what? It may sound crazy, but I do everything I want to do. I do everything single people can do with the one difference of having multiple sex partners and one night stands.

If you want to be single, then be single. Just know it’s not for everyone. If you want to be in a relationship, be in a relationship. Just know it’s not for everyone.

I only ask that you stop making young, married/engaged people the target of your bullying. We have lived life just as you have; please stop acting like being in a long-term relationship is a death sentence. Otherwise, you’re going to scare a bunch of people into never falling in love. We do things. We are free.

We just found that freedom and have taken one other person along for the ride.

Beauty, Dating, Ideals, Life Lessons, Love, New Year's Resolutions, Relationships, Self Improvement, Self-Help, Sex, Uncategorized, Women

The Secret of Life, Part Three

His eyes seemed like endless pools to his soul. What color were they? Brown, maybe hazel. They complimented his skin tone and his smile.

It was safe to say that I was completely and totally infatuated. He even seemed to be reciprocating the feelings. That was a plus, right?

Well, maybe not.

I tried making plans; hanging out, getting food. You know, the usual types of things that I thought would get me what I wanted. And he at least entertained the ideas and said they sounded awesome.

But we never did those things.

Because there was always an excuse he made. Last minute plans….they always so frequently came in right at the exact time we were supposed to be going to dinner. This scenario went on for months, and I let it go on for months. I was on the back burner and I let myself be. I was waiting for a relationship that was never going to happen. It was like a sickness I had. Yet, for some odd reason I couldn’t bring myself to swallow the pill of realization.

I was being played. It may not have been entirely intentional on his part, but I was being played.

Finally, it got to the point where I said it: “Ali, you deserve to date and be with someone who wants to show you off and isn’t keeping you in the shadows. You deserve to have someone who tries to make you happy every single day.”

And on June 10, 2011, I handed my number to this random gentleman in the bar that I had never met before. He was quiet and reserved until he got a couple of shots of Crown Royal in him. I was bartending that night so I gave him said shots, but he had a certain mystery that I could not quite figure out. I went out to the dance floor because the DJ had put on “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga. I started to dance and the next thing I knew he came out to the floor to dance with me. At the end of the night I wrote my number on a napkin and handed it to him. He was waiting for it, hoping I would give it to him. Despite his friend’s plea for him to get out of the place. Then I waited for him to text me and I thought I would be waiting for a day, maybe two.

I waited ten minutes and my phone lit up with a good night text. It’s 2013 now, and we have been together ever since.

Part Three: Don’t Settle for Anything Less that You Deserve

I have blogged about my boyfriend before, but I’m not going to talk about him in this blog very much. I’m going to talk about an epidemic that is plaguing the females of the nation, and that is called settling for penny when you could have a 100 dollar bill. If you didn’t get that analogy, I mean, women settling for crappy significant others.

I know quite a few girls that let themselves make this mistake. And I can’t help but wonder what our society has become that this is allowed to happen. Women are more independent than ever it seems with their careers and their money. So why shouldn’t that be the same with love?

The epidemic was probably started because women constantly feel like they are either too fat or worthless to actually deserve a happy relationship. They settle with what they have because they are afraid to go after something bigger and better. It’s sad because all of those things that females are self-conscious about make a lot of men swoon. Then there are women that go back to their exes. Why? What exactly has changed? Because 95% of the time your ex has not changed. Again, we have the worthless factor. “I’m too worthless to actually have a meaningful relationship. So I’m settling for something I know because I am too afraid to try this again.” That’s all it is. There is no logical reason for a woman to stay with someone who treats her like a rock in the dirt when there is someone out there that will treat her like a diamond. There is no reason for a woman to go back to someone who they broke up with that treated her poorly either.

You know how men say, “Man up!” I’m calling all women to WOMAN UP!
You know you’re better, smarter and sexier than settling for a penny. A penny gets you nowhere. It takes 10,000 pennies to make a $100. Why go through that many pennies when you can go straight to the $100? It doesn’t make sense!

Women, I give you these rules:

1) Once a cheater, always a cheater: Unless God intervenes, a tiger will not change his stripes
2) If it looks like a lie and smells like a lie, it’s a lie
3) If your significant other ever, and I mean EVER calls you ugly, or makes you feel less than beautiful, away with them
4) If you break up with him and he says he has changed, you know better. Have you changed? What makes you think he’s had this radical change? His change is probably as legit as a heroin addict that says jail has changed their behavior
5) If a person strings you along, they have no intention of actually committing. Move on
6) A person in the past is meant to stay there, don’t bring them back into your present. Move Forward
7) The Ultimate Rule: You deserve to be head-over-heels ecstatically happy, DON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS

The lesson here is not settle for anything less than happiness. Don’t be afraid to move on from the toxicity just because it’s familiar and you’re too afraid to try something new. Try something new. It’s good for you. It may just be the best thing you could have ever done. After months and months of being strung along, I met my boyfriend. He treats me like a princess. Just today he bought my mom a hot water tank for the house because she couldn’t pay for a new system all on her own. His cuddles are the best. Sometimes I take him for granted and I shouldn’t, but it doesn’t stop him from loving me. I have learned how to be myself a little bit better than I was before. I haven’t had to radically change who I am either. I’m still that same, independent woman I was….

I just have someone who appreciates the independence.

And ladies, you deserve the same thing.