What do you want? #rapeculture #vaw

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Sexual Violence
People who have witnessed the recent steps on my journey have sent me good wishes and hopes for the outcome I want. Truth be told, the healing, the outcome I wanted for myself, happened long ago. But I've started to talk publicly about it. And I recently told my ex my thoughts about our past. This has inspired the following question from many corners: What do you want? I want to agitate. I want to make people feel uncomfortable. I want to counter rape culture. I want people to stop blaming victims. I want to add my voice to the chorus of survivors. I want partners to question their entitlement over another's body. I want people to talk. Especially men to their friends and brothers. To their sons and lovers. Rape…
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Just asking. #rapeculture #vaw

30 Day Blog Challenge, Sexual Violence
Is it possible he really forgot? It's been twenty years. I'm the one who was traumatized. I'm the one who said nothing. Did nothing. Well, that's not really accurate. I buried it. Allegedly got over it and got on with it. Honestly, I tucked it away from sight, but it was never very far. I carried it with me into each new year. Into every new relationship. It colored every subsequent encounter. Every single one. So it leads me to wonder: is it possible for someone to inflict such harm upon another and not recognize it as such? Apparently it is.
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Yes, yes, yes. | #vaw #fem2

30 Day Blog Challenge, Sexual Violence
In rape culture, "no" is not always honored as "no." No was an important aspect of my experience of sexual violence, because I had initially given consent. I said yes. The problem came when I changed my mind, and my "yes" became a "no." I was alert, angry, and unambiguously vocal in my "no." Sometimes the situation isn't as clear. One lesson from #Steubenville? Yes, boys and men need to be taught how to prevent rape. But some also need to be taught what rape even is. — Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) March 17, 2013 In Steubenville, OH, two high school football stars were convicted of raping a teenage girl too drunk to give consent. She was too drunk to say yes or no. By taking advantage of her inability to respond, the…
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Midpoint check in! #NaBloPoMo #amwriting

30 Day Blog Challenge
[caption id="attachment_1499" align="alignleft" width="225"] Jorge and me getting our salsa on![/caption] Cue the salsa music! Let's dance! I've made it to the halfway point. I committed to writing 30 blogs in 30 days, and so far so good. I'm amazed and inspired this time around. I've wondered why it feels so much easier than August. I think it's because: There's no angst. It's something I've accomplished before, so I began with the foreknowledge I can definitely be successful. Whether stream of consciousness, quick check-ins, or other short entries, I can blog every day. I'm wiser. I discovered a lot about my writing process, so I realize my morning brilliance may or may not be written (much less published) by afternoon. Sometimes thoughts need time to germinate. Related to that... I'm more…
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A word on hope. #NaBloPoMo #Buddhism.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Spirituality, Temple Building
What is your philosophy of life? Does it involve action, momentum, value creation and good cheer? Is it passive, reactive, somber? Quality of life is more about how we decide to live, rather than what happens to us in the living of it. There's risk in choosing to live optimistically. We can't predict or control the hurricanes or floods, the disappointing diagnoses, the betrayals. Sometimes we don't see that knock out punch coming, and there we are dazed, contemplating the wisdom of standing. The decisions we make in difficult moments are grounded in our approach to life. I advocate a philosophy of hope. It's funny, because I've often said, "hope is not a strategy." But that's incomplete. What I mean is hope is not going to write your paper, deliver…
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On looking and leaping. #NaBloPoMo #amwriting.

30 Day Blog Challenge
Do you always look before you leap? Of course. Gravity is real and objects are solid. Not looking where you leap can lead to injury. Or worse. That said, looking first doesn't negate the leaping. It simply means assessing the situation beforehand. I weigh pros and cons. I mull things over and consider multiple angles. I do a gut check: How does it feel when I think about leaping? I can't say if I put more stock in feelings over facts. It depends on the leap in question. I don't do all of this to talk myself out of leaping, but rather so I can leap mindfully. I think a related question is Have you ever taken a leap you've regretted? The answer to that is a solid no. Regret…
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No means no* #NaBloPoMo #vaw #fem2

30 Day Blog Challenge, Sexual Violence
At times boundaries are rendered ambiguous, when in actuality, they're sharply drawn. In rape culture, this means no is sometimes given an asterisk: No means no* when your partner says it three times. Or no means no* when your partner hits you in protest. No means no* when (fill in the blank). No means no. It means no when it's a stranger. It means no when it's an acquaintance. It means no when it's a family member. If it's your spouse, significant other or otherwise longterm partner, it still means no. Rape culture perpetuates the myth that perpetrators of sexual assault are always scary men with ski-masks and guns, hiding in the bushes for the easiest target. Or maybe they're burglars who break in to steal your electronics and get…
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Stories of Sexual Violence #NaBloPoMo #vaw #fem2

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Sexual Violence
I am a survivor of sexual violence. I've never stated it publicly, but I've hinted about it here and there. I'm tired of hinting. It's risky, claiming survivor status out loud. It's old wounds ripped open and sprinkled with salt. Once-dried tears, bubbling up, spilling over. Heart racing. Doubts. Anger. It's triggering. Digging into that history, thinking about it, remembering it, and sharing it is triggering. One could reasonably wonder why do it? I'll tell you why: to counter rape culture. Telling my story gives other survivors permission to tell theirs. It opens a channel for dialogue, healing and transformation. It creates a space for would-be perpetrators to see the effect of sexual violence and potentially make more loving choices. It adds to the public discourse about sexual violence, masculinity…
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Present moments and future pleasures. #NaBloPoMo

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Spirituality, Temple Building
Love in the past is a memory. Love in the future is a fantasy. To be really alive, love — or any other experience — must take place in the present. ~Jack Kornfield I don't want to get too caught up in what's next. I want to enjoy what's now. (While still excited about what's next.) I'll admit that's been hard the past few months. After a period of dormancy, my life is in the full bloom of spring. It's glorious. I have big plans and I'm working toward them day by day. Still, I find myself saying things like, I can't wait until... Now, I want to be clear: There's absolutely nothing wrong with being excited about the future, no matter whether future means five years or five minutes. But being…
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Speak to me. #NaBloPoMo.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Feminist Thought, Personal Narrative, Sexual Violence
Yesterday I touched on the risk of remaining silent. I have more thoughts on the topic, but I wanted to broach the other end of the continuum – speaking up. In this case, I don’t mean speaking out, per se, but rather truth-telling to yourself. And of course I am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger. ~Audre Lorde Silence into Language As a narrative inquirer, I investigate stories. I wonder what we can uncover when we treat stories as data; when we mine them and make sense of them. I encourage women to tell and delve into their own stories, to engage in deep reflection about the gems they unearth during this work. This…
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