Sharing our stories, not sharing our stories

It seems that each day, new stories appear on the news of men who have been called out for sexually harassing and sexually assaulting women they know. On one hand, it’s been amazing to watch these men actually facing consequences for their actions. On the other hand, it is very difficult for a survivor to watch. Suddenly, the daily news is rife with triggering stories.

The flip-side of these stories of harassers is the stories that go with them of women who are brave enough to come forward and share their stories of assault. As a person who waited years to share my story, I know how difficult this can be. I found this article that reminds women that it’s okay NOT to share your story.

Never feel that you have to share your story in order to be brave. Remember that simply getting up every day is an act of bravery and strength.

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Jury Duty Redeemed

For those of you have been reading my blog for awhile, you may remember a particularly triggering experience I had during jury duty a few years ago. If not, please take a moment to read this post: My Civic Duty.  The cliff note version is that I was summoned to serve on a jury involving domestic abuse. In the course of the voir dire process, where lawyers question potential jurors in order to uncover potential biases, I had to give very personal details of my prior abusive relationship and rape in front of a room full of strangers. I was excused, but left the courtroom feeling very triggered and angry.

Fast forward to last week. More

Victim Blaming

I found an interesting video about how framing the way we describe an assault can actually reduce victim blaming. Very interesting…what are your thoughts?

Happy New Year!

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Well, we have made it to the end of 2016. It has been a rough year all around and I, for one, am not sad to see it go. 2017 will be a year of unknowns and I’m sure it will hold many challenges.

I wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a very happy New Year. My “resolutions” if you can call them that focus on self-improvement. I hope to continue writing, both here on the blog as well as my fiction work that I have been trying to improve this year. I have also been attempting to improve my French skills this year and hope to work more on that in the coming year. An overarching resolution is to improve my productivity in all facets of my life.

I would also like to ask for suggestions from you, my readers. What kind of content are you interested in hearing about in 2017? This has been a main reason for my lack of blogging this year. I am not sure what direction to take this blog. Any suggestions from you would be greatly appreciated. As survivors, what do you need to hear or to learn more about?

Take care tonight, be safe, and enjoy your New Year’s celebrations. May 2017 bring positive changes in your life.

Happy New Year!
Aimee

The Questions of Children

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My heart is heavy today after the conversations I was forced to have with the children I teach. I teach in a low-income, racially diverse elementary school just across the border to a large city. My students have various learning disabilities, but they are astute and curious about the world around them.

On Monday, we held a mock election and the children were very excited to be a part of the election hooplah. Many voted for one candidate or the other for childlike reasons…”She’s a girl”, “I like the boy”, “She has a blue jacket on and I like blue.” Others voted based on what they have heard their parents saying. A few voted their own conscience, against how they knew their parents were voting.

As always happens during an election year, my students ask me who I plan to vote for. Of course, I maintain neutrality and tell them that voting is a secret process and you do not need to share your vote with anyone. I never ask who they voted for. This year, their questioning was more insistent and had a greater purpose.

They were attempting to figure out what their place would be in Trump’s America. They were carefully watching the television and they were scared by what they saw. To a child, all of my students confided in me that they did not like Donald Trump and that he scared them. More

Election Night Triggers

As I write this, it is 12:37 on November 9. The nation is still biting their nails awaiting the decision of the 2016 Presidential election. It is looking more and more like Donald Trump will be our next president. By morning, this may somehow be different, but I am going to publish this now before we know.

I do not know how this election season has been for other rape and abuse survivors, but it has been awful for me. I have been in a near constant state of trigger for months. Donald Trump has so many personality traits that take me right back to the behavior of Mark, my abuser and rapist. His flippant “jokes” that he laughs off as sarcasm. His threatening attitude toward everyone. His quick-tempered anger. His actual threats of violence. His demeaning treatment of women. His habit of hurling personal insults at people who disagree with him. His superficial charm that sucks some people in.

I was particularly triggered by the comments that were broadcast about Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe. I saw a video of him at the gym, watching Ms. Machado working out, laughing at her and saying how she “loves to eat”. This is how Mark acted toward me. Insulting and putting me down for superficial physical attributes, but doing so in a laughing manner so that he could always fall back on the “I was just joking. Why can’t you take a joke?” remark.

Then came the “locker room talk” incident. I can’t even go into that. It got so that simply hearing the phrase “locker room banter” set my heart racing and gave me that feeling in the pit of my stomach. Here was a man who might soon be president, bragging openly about committing sexual assault. And it was on TV every night, every day, over and over and over. If I turned off the TV, it was on Facebook. If I turned off Facebook, it came up in conversation with colleagues. I absolutely could not escape it. This was the worst.

Almost as bad was the way people have been talking with each other. The vitriol and anger that has been out there, on both sides, made my heart hurt. The open racism, the open misogyny…from people I thought were friends, and from family members. It’s like the nation has turned into the Jerry Springer show and suddenly everyone feels it is OK to say anything. Because Trump does.

I thought that, one way or another, it would all be over today. I woke up with a huge knot in my stomach. I burst into tears for no real reason this morning. But I went through my day. I went to work. I voted. And I made it through.

But how will I be able to handle four years of seeing this man on TV every single day? What will he say? What will he tweet? Who will he hurt? More importantly, what will we as an American people turn into? For me, it is like my rapist has come out of the depths of my past and is now in complete power over me. This is the most triggered I have been in years.

I have been trying to find refuge in my family, a big bowl of ice cream, pictures of kittens, videos of dancing baby goats, and now in my writing.

Am I the only one who is experiencing this? I heard that RAINN experienced a big upsurge in calls to the hotline after the “locker room” incident. I wonder if this is still true.

Hold tight if you are feeling like me. Know that I am sending you virtual hugs and keeping you in my thoughts. We shall see what the morning brings, my friends.

Isn’t it the truth?

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Whispers

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Heroes

  

Dream a New Dream…

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