Friday, October 12, 2018


I'm so tired.  I’m not supposed to be.  That’s supposed to be next month, when my anniversaries hit, and I wait around for the shit to hit the fan.  When I wait so much that I can't sleep, and walk through the month in a haze. But this month has already been so hard.
I watched a brave woman testify in front of the world about her experiences as a teen.  I was moved when she said that she had trouble with her schooling, like I have. Online, friends state she should have remembered more, that her limited memory makes her less credible.  It doesn’t matter how long I explain how memory works after a traumatic event, the swiss cheese like holes we are left with, people still think she should remember everything with picture perfect clarity.  I'm tired.
A former friend states that he will support survivors as long as he knows a rape actually happened.  I get mad, and told him it's irresponsible to demand proof before offering support. His friend says I am twisting his words.  He then tells me that women who don’t report are contributing to the problem. I remind him that victims are in control of who they do or do not tell, and that the only person responsible for raping, is rapists.  I tell him that forcing victims to come forward doesn't always help. I tell him that his exact attitude only hinders the healing of survivors who never told. He decides “he’s out" and ends the conversation. He has that luxury.  I'm tired.
An out of state relative posts a long post, the gist of which says “innocent until proven guilty.” This family member has always been supportive, so I decide to ask her about proof.  I ask about the rape kit backlog in her state. I ask what should be done for the survivor in cases where they don’t have physical proof. She tells me that my views on false reports is troubling, even though that's not what I was trying to discuss.  She tells me she is sorry that I am unable to move on, and understand that not every man is guilty. She refuses to discuss what we can and should do for survivors, seeing my views as problematic. She discusses with me no further, breaking my heart just a little because I know how capable she is of having a discussion that is not biased and free of politics.  I am tired.
I watched the news as the FBI put on a sham of an investigation, in which neither the accused nor the accuser was interviewed.  I watched as parties either praised or denounced said investigation, aligning pretty much as I had expected them to. It doesn't matter that sexual assault happens on both sides of the political aisle.   The left blames the right, and the right blames the left, and we are left with people in between who, like me, are so tired.
Today I watched 50 senators show how little they care about the plight of the survivor.  I watched people everywhere wonder why we even bother. I have seen my peer's exhaustion, and I feel that.  I wonder honestly if roles were reversed, if this would have gone the same way, and am disheartened when I think that the outcome would have been the same.  The whole situation almost makes me want to give up, and stop fighting, and just resolve myself to the reality.
But then, I see the new activists.  Survivors who have just found the courage to come forward.  Survivors who are ready to take on the world and whatever it brings.  These people give me strength. I am still so tired. But I will drag my tired body along with them, and fight beside them, holding them up as they become as exhausted as me.  We are not alone. We have millions of people to lean on throughout our exhaustion. We have people who understand exactly how difficult this last month has been. With them, I will continue fighting, speaking, writing, until we can make a positive change in this world.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Celebrating Tragedy: How I am Celebrating my Sexual Abuse

I remember driving in the car with my Mom, just a few days after my life turned upside down.  I stared out the window at nothing, and finally voiced one of my thoughts out loud.  “I’m just another statistic.”

“Don’t say that.”  My Mom’s voice pulled my gaze from the window.  “Don’t start thinking like that.  If you think like that, you’re letting him win.”  It was hard to think of a life where he didn’t win.  He had already pulled us from our homes, severed us from our family, and effectively ended my childhood.  “You are so much more than a number.”  Her words brought comfort to me, like a mother’s words should, and I decided then to strive to be more, to make some good out of this.
(Me and my amazing Mother)

Now, I embrace those statistics I once feared.  One in four women and one in six men will be sexually abused or assaulted before they turn eighteen.  I am one of the one in four.  It’s hard to say exactly when the change happened, but at some point, I decided that being a statistic was better than ignoring the problem.  Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

This year is a big anniversary for me.  Because this year, on November 13th, marks ten years.  Ten years since I made that decision to tell my Mom that her husband was molesting me.  Ten years since I decided that situation was not ideal.  Ten years since I escaped the hell I had been living in for so long.  So I need to do something big.  I found something, and it is so poetic, it’s like it was set up for me to succeed.

The plan: run a half marathon.  What better way to show that I can persevere than by running for 13 miles?  Sure, I’m not the best runner, but anyone can do it, I have done some training, and I’m not walking in blind.  I have faith in my ability to finish this.  On top of it all, I can run for a charity.  The Joyful Heart Foundation is always something I planned to run for at some point, why not for my anniversary?

The race:  The race I chose was a RunDisney event.  Why Disney?  Well, for me, Disney was a huge part of my healing process.  We went the summer after I told my Mom for the first time.  She took us so we could see there was still joy in the world.  Boy did it work.  The cast members had no clue why we were there, they just treated us with respect and made our visit as magical as they could (Shout out to Recneps Gamazing!).  I left with the hope of making that magic some day.

Spoiler alert! I did!  I completed not one, but two Disney College Programs.  One I spent making magic at Animal Kingdom, at Restorantosaurs, the other hanging with Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrowland.  My two favorite memories were singing Christmas Carols with guests in the Resto dining room, and announcing the Galactic Heroes who maxed out their scores on Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.  Each time I made numerous friends, and created bonds that i will never forget.  As much as Disney was there for me during that time, I hope that I, as a Disney Cast Member, was able to make magic for a family like mine.

To top it all off, the RunDisney event is superhero themed.  I can be a real-life superhero.  I can run a race that means so much to me, donate money to an organization dedicated to improving the lives of survivors, and heal some more in the process.  It seems like a win-win-win situation for me!

I do need some help.  I need help fundraising to meet my goal.  The race is in 6 days.  Yikes!  I have a shirt, it is pictured at the bottom.  I plan to run with names of survivors on my shirt.  For a $10 donation, I will write the first name of any survivor you know somewhere on my shirt.  I truly believe that all survivors are superheroes in their own right, and I want to carry them with me for 13.1 miles. I need you to share this campaign.  Share it everywhere you can, the more exposure the better.  And I need you to pray for me as I tackle this next chapter of my healing, and celebrate my victory as I compete.  Thank you! (Donation address)

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Some of you may be wondering why I have shared this picture of frogs.  Others, who are disnerds like me, may be wondering why the photo of Tiana and Naveen.  They are not my favorites, it's not a covert message that I thought I would share.  Instead, last night, they were a coping mechanism.

I was triggered last night at the Magic Kingdom, the one place in the world that my problems don't tend to affect me.  Part of it was because I have discovered one of my triggers in the last year.  That nursery rhyme that starts, “star light, star bright, first star I see tonight.”  It was part of our nightly prayers with my abuser, and the day I heard his voice in my ear is the day I realized why I hated that rhyme.  I hear it and immediately want to be sick.  It makes me angry, and afraid, and my reaction tends to be out of control.  Part of me thinks that being consciously aware of it should help, but I fear the anxiety that grips me every time I hear it, wondering whether I'll be okay this time or if I'll have a meltdown.

Last night, I had a meltdown.  I called my Mom in hysterics, unsure of what to do with myself as I waited for my bus home.  Now, I've said it before, but I'll say it again now.  My Mother is the best.  She talked me down, reminded me of my strength, and made me tell her all the wonderful things I had done with the rest of my day, even though I'm sure it wasn't easy to listen to me like that.  And when I got home, she told me to get some sleep, and reassured me that she loved me.

I didn't sleep though.  Instead, I grabbed the coloring book I have of Disney animals, and colored a page, blasting Carrie Underwood’s So Small in my ears until my roommates got home.  I talked with them, and continued my coloring after they went to bed.  I colored and listened to that song until all traces of him were scrubbed from my conscious thought.

Now you may be wondering why I am telling you all this.  I tell you this because I worry that I am falling into a trap that I don't like.  When I created this page, I did it because I always wanted people to know that someone out there gets it.  Because we don't always see how this may affect our favorite celebrities who have been through the same thing on a day to day basis.  And I worry that by being an activist, people may not think that I struggle with the healing process.  How outspoken you are or aren't doesn't show all the work that you’ve done.  Having a bad day doesn't mean that all the work you have done is invalid.  Healing is a process.  It's never the same for any one person, and I never want anyone to discount their healing because they think that someone else is doing better.

Today is a better day.  I made food for the week, I'm going to work, I got to know one of my roommates a little better, and I'm still in a better spot than I was a few years ago.  And I want to thank every single one of you for listening to my ramblings about a subject people don't want to talk about.  I'm thankful for you, I'm thankful for life, and I'm thankful that I'm in the spot I'm in today.

For anyone having a bad day today, you're so much stronger than the shit that life is throwing at you.  I believe in you.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Dear Olivia Benson

So, is doing a Fan Mail Project. They're taking a bunch of letters fanmail to all the badass female characters that we know, and are making them into a book. I missed the deadline, but I wrote one to one of the most badass detectives I know:

To Olivia Benson,

This seemed like a weird concept to me, but as soon as I decided to do it, yours was the first name that came to mind. I haven’t watched your show for as long as others in the world have, but I have watched it long enough. Growing up, I never would have believed that a show about sex crimes would bring me such comfort. 

That was, until I told my Mom about my Step-father, and what was happening to me at night while she was at work. And how I suddenly felt like I was all alone in the world. And how, when he decided that he didn’t want to face the consequences, he took himself out of the world, instead of allowing me to feel some sense of justice. I was angry, confused, ashamed, and an all around mess while I figured myself out. And it took some time, but I’m no longer ashamed.

I contribute some of that to you. Watching SVU, and how you supported other survivors helped me to feel validated. The show helped me realize that survivors feel all sorts of emotions, and no two people react the same way. It helped me to understand that I wasn’t alone, and that these horrible crimes happen every day. But that there are scores of people willing to help out and really make a difference.

How you do everything, even toe the line of the law, to bring a character justice is somewhat therapeutic. I will never have that opportunity, but at least I can have an idea about what that is like. And I think that when a scumbag defendant gets acquitted, I am just as let down as you are.

But your show did something even more amazing for me. Your show gave me a voice. It inspired me to speak out, to spread the statistics, and to become the activist that I am today. Your character has inspired me to push through my PTSD and fight to support other survivors. Liv also taught me that some days are tough no matter what, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I am weak, in fact, it means that I am strong. So thank you, for being flawed, and for working with them to support a cause that you love. Thank you for refusing to give up on the survivors. Thank you for always fighting for justice, even when it seemed futile. Thank you for helping me decide to fight back, instead of staying silent. It means more than I could ever put into words.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Speaking up

So, last night I had the night of a lifetime (thank you Genevieve!) at a Carrie Underwood concert.  It was absolutely amazing, I was awestruck, and I'm pretty sure my jaw was on the ground when she finished Amazing Grace at the end of Something in the Water.  Her song, So Small was instrumental during my healing process, so it's always a treat when I get to see her in person.  And my problem wasn't with her at all, but with one of her opening acts.  

While talking about musicians that had influenced him, he brought up Michael Jackson.  "I always wanted to dance like Michael Jackson.  That didn't work out so well for me.  But there is something I do better than Michael Jackson.  I'm a much better babysitter."  You could tell by listening to the crowd, the joke didn't go over that well.  But why tell it at all? 

It can be hard, when people make jokes, to be able to speak up in a respectful way.  Hell, it is hard to speak up at all.  The most I can usually choke out is a "I don't like that, please don't say that," before running off.  But people don't realize how prevalent this issue is, and they don't think that the people around them have ever dealt with it, so they make jokes.  

Me being me, I decided to speak up.  So much to Genevieve's surprise, I found this opener on Facebook, and I sent him a message.  So far it has been read but not responded to, but I thought I would post it as an example here so you might have an example of what to say when people joke.  And I'd love to hear what people think.  

"I'm almost positive that this won't get a response, but I'll hate myself if I don't put it out there at least.  I was at the Carrie Underwood show that you opened for today.  And I was enjoying your set, getting geared up, but was extremely put off by the Michael Jackson joke.  I'm a survivor of sexual abuse, and it really rubbed me the wrong way.  

I know it can seem easy to think of us as faceless people, or to think that there are only a few of us in the crowd.  But the reality is harsh.  One in four women and one in six men will be sexually abused or assaulted before they turn eighteen.  So chances are, I wasn't the only one in that audience that the joke hit in a bad way.  

And I'm sorry if this seems pushy at all.  I intern at a rape crisis center, and have pretty much focused my education into helping other survivors like me.  I feel that it's better to speak out against it, and to normalize the discussion.  The problem with joking about it though, is that every person in the audience who may have those bad thoughts in their head, can now see you as an ally.  

And I'm sorry if I brought down your night.  Please, enjoy the rest of your tour, and have safe travels. 


Friday, February 19, 2016

Sometimes people are assholes...

My response to this post shared on Facebook.

Okay, anyone else notice the bible verse on the bottom of the shirt? Galatians 6:8- "The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life." (NIV)
It seems to me that what this person is saying, is that if you have sex outside of a marriage, you actually deserve the destruction that comes with a rape. That you deserve to be hurt for making a decision to be an actual human being. That's harsh.
But what if you read the whole paragraph? Galatians 6:7-10- "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life.Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." (NIV)
The heading for the 6th chapter (is that what they are called??") is Doing Good to All. Yes, that says all. To me, what this is telling me, is that if I spend my money and time on things that are frivolous (binging Netflix, buying snacks, needing the latest technology, etc.) then my life will not be fulfilling. It tells me that I should instead donate my time and energy into helping the needy, because if we all helped the needy we would all have fulfilling lives. This is yet another verse that tells me I should love an help all people, regardless of what they believe, who they love, what they look like, or any other factors. This verse does not say to me that I deserve to be raped for wearing revealing clothing, or deciding what I do in my relationships.
After the fallout from dealing with my abuse, I fought long and hard to find my faith again. It took a lot of praying, and a lot of thinking, and plenty of faking until I was able to love God again. Sometimes, I worry it's not quite the same as it once was, so I begin to fight again. And this kind of thing kills me. That people take verses out of context, twist them, and make me worry that God says that I deserved to be sexually assaulted. I'm sorry, random asshole in a shirt. What did I do? What did 14-year-old me do to deserve the treatment I received?
After I made a comment online about how I felt like the bible told me to love everyone, someone told me that I was wrong, and I needed to "go back to bible study." I don't know, maybe I'm not the only person who needs to do that.