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Q&A: Thanksgiving 911

Every Thanksgiving hostess has his or her moments of anxiety. Hell, I've been making holiday dinners and hosting dinner parties for a decade, and I still get a little nervous when it come to roasting the perfect turkey. That combined with kids, houseguests, and having to make an endless supply of side dishes all timed in perfect harmony...it's a lot for one person. Hopefully by the time you've read this post, I will have answered any of your looming questions, but if there is still anything you are concerned about, please leave a comment at the end of the post, and I'll be sure to answer. Pictured above: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
1. What if I overcook the turkey, and the breast meat is dry? Slice it thin and soak it in warm chicken or turkey stock.
2. How do I get the skin beautiful golden brown? Lots of butter! Separate the skin and push butter directly over the meat then spread more butter over the outside of the skin. Also cover just the breast of th…

Me Too...

 

There is so much to be said on this subject, and speaking from experience, simply being able to hear other people's stories can have a huge impact on healing. So, yes, just the fact that women are speaking out, will in itself help other victims. So for this post, I am simply sharing my own stories. And of course the specific point of #metoo is to shed light on the magnitude of the problem. I don't know what the solution is, but I do hope that this helps in some small way, if only to help some of my readers to feel as if they're not alone, and that healing is possible.

Have you ever been sexually harassed or assaulted? Me too...

With the phrase "grab them by the pussy" reverberating since the presidential election (unfortunately) and new and disgusting details of the Weinstein scandal surfacing by the day, it is hard to keep anxieties at bay. It's difficult to watch the news or scroll through Twitter when just the words "rape" and "molest" make my skin crawl and make it hard for me to not have a panic attack.

As my husband and I have discussed the current events, it has occurred to me that in addition to the biggest form of abuse I survived long ago; there were so many other moments throughout my life. They are the moments that I assume many other people have had to suffer as well. Hence the very large and very sad response to #metoo.

Have you ever been sexually assaulted at school? Me too... I'd say the earliest incident was on the elementary school playground. There was a group of boys that would chase me around every day. You might consider it harmless fun, but I didn't think it was fun when one of these boys tackled me to the ground every single day. And I may have been young, but I was old enough to know that he was enjoying the tackling a little too much, if you know what I mean. When I realized I would never be able to outrun those boys, and the teachers were no help, I kicked that boy right in the balls. He fell to the ground crying, and they never chased me again.

Have you ever been sexually assaulted by a friend? Me too... In high school, a guy in my group of friends, who was also my boyfriend's best friend, slapped me on the ass as he walked by. I immediately told my boyfriend, and he just laughed it off. I wasn't sure if he simply didn't believe me, or if he actually didn't care. Either way, it made me feel like community property. Needless to say, we weren't an item much longer.

Have you ever been sexually assaulted by security guard? Me too... Years later I was "randomly" selected for a thorough security search at the airport shortly after 9/11. As the man went from patting me down in a professional manner to placing his hands underneath my shirt and rubbing all over my back, I had to stop him before his hands went to other areas.

Have you ever been sexually assaulted at work? Me too... About the same time, when I was in my early twenties, I was assistant manager at a candy store in the mall. My boss was handing me a key, though my hands were full. Rather than setting it down, he slid it (and his hand) down into my pants pocket. I knew in that moment that it was inappropriate, and it was certainly unwanted, but I never told the shop owner.

Have you ever been sexually assaulted by a stranger? Me too... As I was getting onto a very crowded metro in D.C., a man rushed up behind me, and I mean RIGHT behind me, practically dry humping me as I tried to get onto the train. As soon as the crowd dissipated enough for me to move, I darted forward as fast as I could. As I sat down in one of the few empty seats, I felt so afraid. I couldn't believe that this man had done that to me in public. But on the contrary, there were so many crowded people, that I don't know if anyone else noticed. I felt so disgusted, and the ride felt like an eternity as I kept an eye out for this man, worried that he was going to assault me again. I told my husband (now ex husband) and he didn't believe me, because I "didn't say anything right after it happened."

And this would fall under harassment more than assault, but I can't tell you how many times I've been yelled at and/or cussed at for failing to respond to some guy hitting on me. And it never happened late at night in some ally or a crowded bar...I'm talking about broad daylight in the Target parking lot, or at my place of work (when I worked at the candy shop in the mall). And these instances are not even including the online stalker-ish messages and random dick pick emails.

Have you ever been sexually assaulted by your partner? Me too... (Just to clarify, this is about my EX husband. My current husband is the love of my life and is so supportive and makes me feel so safe, that it's enabled me to heal even more.) Now let me be crystal clear about this - unwanted advances by anyone, including your spouse, are NOT okay. And should you need to stop during sex, because you are in physical pain, or in my case, having anxiety from previous trauma, your partner should always be sensitive to that...always. You shouldn't be put in the position where you feel like you should just go ahead and get it over with so your spouse will be nicer to you. That is abuse.

You should always be free to say no, and in fact, you should never have to say no, much less shout it while pushing the other person away. If they love you, they will be sensitive to your needs as well, and they'll never put their physical desires over your physical health or mental well being. I am VERY thankful for my husband now, who is always considerate and caring. We actually have a very healthy sex life - something I had previously thought I would never be able to have.

Have you ever been sexually assaulted at home? Me too... I could write a whole blog post...hell, I could write a whole blog site, on the last one alone. It's so hard to sum it up into a paragraph, but I'll try. It was my mother's boyfriend between the time I was 9 years old to 14 years old, and the word "survive" certainly does apply here. This type of abuse is the cruelest..the kind that makes you feel like a prisoner in your own home, makes you on-edge 24/7, and afraid for your life almost every day. Worst of all, it makes you feel ashamed, because the human mind cannot make sense of such cruelty without thinking that it somehow must have been my fault, or I should have done something to stop it. It took me about 15 years before I could even admit to myself that it was abuse, and from there I was able to start therapy and learn to manage the depression, anxiety disorder, and PTSD. Now it's mostly the anxiety and very occasionally PTSD episodes. It is not something that can go away completely, but something I have learned to manage with techniques and even more so with the love and support of my husband.

Do I think it's possible to lead a normal life after traumatic abuse? Well, what is normal anyway? We all have our sensitivities and limitations, and we learn to be our best selves and how to be happy regardless.

Are you a survivor? Me too.

Comments

  1. I saw this all over social media and I was so sadden after seeing so many #metoo this should not be a problem. I am so glad that you are talking about it because I believe more people should now!

    Camila,
    My Vogue Style | www.myvoguestyle.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I haven't heard about this #metoo thing but that's terrible! But I think it's great to talk about and let people know what's going on! Thank you for spreading this message!

    http://violettedaily.com

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  3. I've seen a lot of the #metoo trend in the last couple of days. I'm sorry you had to deal with any of that. My half of the species can be repugnant in the extreme.

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  4. It saddens me that there is a lot of #metoo on social media and I am so sorry you had to go through it too. Thanks for being vocal about this and hopefully a chance can happen!

    www.rdsobsessions.com

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  5. Reading your story is heart wrenching...I'm SO sprry to hear about your experiences and applaud you for sharing your #metoo message. Hopefully this will out an end to this all. Thanks again for being vocal!


    xoxo, Vanessa
    www.WhatWouldVWear.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am so happy you wrote this post. I think the #metoo movement is so empowering. If nothing else, it let's other victims of assault and or harassment know they are not alone. The numbers on social media have been staggering. For the most part it has been positive, but it has been unsettling to see the some negative backlash. The criticism from some, why they hadn't reported assaults, they were trying to get 15 minutes of fame or even trying to politicize it. It is most upsetting to see negative comments toward the #metoo movement coming from women. It is no wonder why people don't speak up, so often the victims are blamed and belittled. Great post!

    xx, Elise
    www.sparkleandslippers.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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