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Archive for the ‘#MeToo’ Category

#StigmaKills – The Sexual Predator/Victim Edition….

http://www.rainn.org
http://www.thehotline.org
http://www.suicidepreventionhotline.org 1800-273-8255
http://www.befrienders.org

What I’m about to have to say, is bad enough…It’s actually tragic…

The current social climate I have to say it in, is ALMOST as bad.

In multiple ways, for multiple reasons. Let me explain…

Very, very, very carefully.

Because the nature of the activism that I do, is usually suicide prevention, oriented, while I blog about all things mental health, including rape and sexual harassment (especially this year!!!), I had worried and wondered when, not if, someone either an accuser or the accused would die as a result of this, either in the form of murder or suicide.

Well, let me clarify that. I’m already know that people have gotten murdered for raping someone else’s loved one, people have died in domestic rape and assault situations both victims and perpetrators and people who have been accused and or convicted or people who’ve been violently raped have died by suicide.

And maybe somebody has already died this year (either a victim or a perpetrator) but it’s been buried in the news, we are constantly bombarded with, even for someone like me, who’s rarely on social media and on limited platforms.

I hate to say this, as it’s of personal nature and it’s honestly NOT meant to be self serving and it can be potentially hazardous to someone’s emotional health, if I don’t choose my words carefully AND if someone doesn’t read them just as carefully.

I’ve already discussed about my own rape in 1996, talking about it in greater detail than I would’ve already liked (as I really would’ve not liked to have to talk about it at all) and I made my peace with it, in my own ways, a LONG time ago.

Only going public about it, in hopes to help others.

I would NEVER want to hinder the progress that the #MeToo movement has made, which was WAY long overdue, nor they or anyone is to blame for the nature of this particular blog, and that I need to make CRYSTAL clear.

But I’ve had to relive my rape way more in 2017, than I ever did in 1996, when it actually happened.

Over and Over again. Due to the nature of social media.

Okay, I can live with that.  And not die from it, either. And I’m not being glib.

But I’m only saying this, while the #MeToo movement was SO necessary, I can’t be the only one, where I’m glad that it’s occurred, but it’s also been a trigger, that I can be okay with, but be sensitive to the fact or just aware, that while those of us, who’ve had to survive trauma like that, want all stories to be told, but it’s causing some of us to have to relive traumatic events, over and over again, as a result.

I’ve done all the soul searching in my case, where other than it being a VERY traumatic life event, it hasn’t played into any kind of self destructive behavior, like it can for other victims of rape and physical assault, as I had the same vices going out of my rape, that I did going into it, that’s the only reason why I’m mentioning it, in this particular blog.

And again, I’m trying to choose my words carefully.

As I strongly believe everyone’s (victims) stories need to be told. And while my blogs, won’t ever lead to a national dialogue (which to me, is kind of scary to me, as I really have no desire to go “viral”) it does help people talk about things that are strongly stigmatized, which is my goal, even if it’s private or helps them get the help they need.

HOWEVER, as I said in a MAJOR blog that I wrote about Harvey Weinstein and victims of rape and sexual harassment, there needs to be a dialogue on how we can best all help ALL people.

Including the predators themselves. Whether it’s in prevention or rehabilitation initiatives, for those who ARE willing to get help.

IF you do the math, most women know another women, if not a man, who’s been a victim of sexual harassment and/or rape.

In my case, where I am an activist who deals with body diversity issues and while I’m not a a clinically trained professional, I’m already fully aware of that both people of weight and anorexics, it stems from trauma caused by rape, assault and harassment, regardless of gender, socio-economics, in every age group, relationship (i.e. familial,professional or stranger) and in every religion.

So, if most, if not all of us know, someone who’s been a victim of these crimes, we obviously know someone who’s possibly done this.

Even if we DO NOT know, that they’ve actually done this.

Or sometimes people do know someone who’s done this, that they love now, who has this in their past (or present), and they can’t tell due to stigma, nor can offenders talk about what they might have done in the past, that could currently come back to haunt both them and their victims.

And that could be a deterrent on why they don’t seek professional help, either for preventative or rehabilitation purposes, due to the potential consequences.

And I’m not even going to elaborate in detail, the conversations we aren’t having about those who are victims and predators, not in the public eye, where more discussion is needed to help eliminate if not reduce rape, assault and harassment, for those who don’t have anything to lose, like the people of power, who are celebrities, as well as that there needs to be more discussion on the fact that assault victims aren’t always women abused by men. Females can be predators of either gender, and at any age.

But the above paragraph, is another in blog in itself.

I was already thinking about the potential for both victims and perpetrators might already be prone to the potential of suicide, in the last couple of months and ironically had wondered this, as this morning, when I got a phone call from a friend.

My friend had a friend, someone I had met briefly, a few years ago, for like 2 minutes.

While my friend and I had talked about unusual behavior of this friend (i.e. no-show on a job of over 2 decades) a few days ago, I was extremely  concerned.

My friend had found out today, that their friend had died last week, due to suicide, due to concerns of a past sexual assault allegation, allegedly.

Now, I’m going way out of my way to protect everyone’s identity, as they didn’t ask for me to write this blog.

I’m only writing it, because now I know someone who’s died this year, from a perp perspective and I’m sure he’s not the only one who has contemplated or will do this.

But, because  I have a serious responsibility as an activist, to not only have a voice for those who don’t have one, but to make sure I don’t cause further harm, in this case, with this topic, to those who’ve been victims of a sexual harassment or rape, too.

We need to talk about this.

We need to have support services in place. That serve and help EVERYONE.

That it hurts people, whether you care about this, based upon whether or not you like or care about the outcome of the victim and/or of the accused and/or perpetrator of these crimes.

We can’t continue to try people in the court of social media, especially in cases for people who either are victims that come forward or perpetrators who are terrified of something like this going public, so they commit suicide because they can’t or they actually DO NOT see another way out.

I’m not saying that those who’ve committed sexual harassment or rape, shouldn’t have consequences, like people in power, who are in the public eye, or any perpetrator,like we’ve seen, such as losing their careers.

Or that they shouldn’t face further consequences, in a court of law.

But it shouldn’t be okay, that people are okay with someone dying for a grope, they did a long time ago, and felt so much shame, that they would rather die, than face their family, when being scared that it was going to come out, either.

And again, it bears repeating,  I’m NOT trying to do, in any way, any kind of sexual harassment and/or rape victim shaming, which I find repugnant.

But there’s a very good reason that sexual harassment and even more heinously, the crime of  rape, usually doesn’t come with the death penalty.

We need to talk about this more so that more people, even if they aren’t so innocent, don’t die as a result, while remaining respectful to their victims.

(I do need to say, when talking about the above, I’m not talking about predators/perpetrators  who have no remorse for crimes they commit and/or who are violent and/or habitual offenders, but it’s not for me, as an activist, to say what they are due as a punishment, either)

Otherwise, there are going to be more families, blindsided, like this particular family, who now has to deal with the aftermath of a loved one who tried and convicted himself and then killed himself.

And there will be also sadly, victims of rape and sexual assault, who due to the nature of social media bullying having to be buried, too.

Note: Please ask for clarification, if one is a victim of sexual harassment or rape, before making any negative assumptions about this blog.

Also, comments that are not constructive in nature, will NOT be posted.

IMPORTANT Addendum: There are things I need to say, a little over 36 hours after publishing this blog, that I can’t go back in, without “muddying” it, even more.

One thing that I’ve tried to make clear not just in my activism in talking about rape and sexual harassment, but other mental health issues, is about the possibility, if it’s possible, with initiatives and open dialogue for PREVENTION.

Prevention of suicide. Prevention of rape and sexual harassment, as it applies to this blog.

As we have taught kids, from the time they are young,  how to describe and identify a “a good touch” versus a “a bad touch”.

But we haven’t done nearly enough in both kids and adults is talk about more means on how to prevent in the first place, so it doesn’t start at home, doesn’t  end up in schools or on the grounds, in a park, places of worship and in the workplace, to name a few.

I knew when I wrote this, it’s too soon to discuss this, though even though a couple of hours ago, a Kentucky congressman died due to suicide among allegations of molestation of a minor child.

And while I feel sad for the family and friends of both the victim and the congressman, as well as more victims that will come out and truthfully, more accused and/or perpetrators might die, so I stand by what I say, there is something else I have to say, that I would’ve rather not.

Most of my blogs, sometimes talk about the issues I’ve been up against, because I’m limited in what I can say about those I love the most.

But because it has relevance, I’m hoping that I will be forgiven, but I want it understood from the victim perspective, I get the enormous amount of damage and pain this topic causes victims.

My 14 1/2 year old daughter has been a victim of sexual harassment, groping by a peer and bullying.

And while I was a suburban kid, while I was bullied anywhere I went at her age, by words, I could take the bus, to lets say, where I live now, in Downtown Minneapolis, because then it was fun and less physically unsafe thing to do for an unaccompanied teenage minor, like it is now.

While my daughter lives in a upscale neighborhood though and she can be trusted, we live in a society, that many cannot be trusted and for that reason,she is very RARELY left or allowed to be alone, in a public setting, because of what she’s been through, as it applies to the bullying and harassment.

So if there was any doubt from a victim’s perspective of my not being extremely sensitive and empathetic, I hope there isn’t now, because I don’t think of just my daughter and son, I think everyone who’s been a victim.

 

 

“Why didn’t you fight back?!?” #MeToo #WhyIDidntFightBack

Sigh…

I really didn’t want to write this blog. I figured my last blog, I’d do the topic justice regarding rape and sexual harassment and why people don’t come forward to report sexual harassment and rape, regardless of socio-economics, gender and ages of the perpetrators, among many other factors.

I figured I’d do what I can, to help others and then be able to walk away.

Shortly after I published my blog, the ONLY hateful thing I got about what I wrote, was someone, insinuating that it would’ve been “unlikely” for me to be a rape victim and asking me to define, what I  “defined”  as rape.

Which relcutantly I did, by additionally adding a clarification, on my last blog. It wasn’t to help myself. It was with great trepidation, as I explained that both my parents and my children are on the internet, including my teenage daughter, who has NO idea that this has happened to me. And NO ONE had known all the details, the VERY little I’ve talked about this both in my personal life and the little I’ve brought up, as an a activist/blogger.

I’ve seen though enough misguided dialogue on social media and the media in general,that I will explain a few things about how not only is it insensitive at best, but at worst, it re-victimizes victims of rape and sexual harassment when it’s questioned and debated ad nauseum, why they don’t fight back.

Let alone say anything at all, and maybe this will add necessary feedback to what’s needed in the dialogue of prevention of rape and sexual harassment, as well as making it a safer society for victims to come forward.

When I was raped in January of 1996, I didn’t fight back, because while I was very heavy, my rapist had 40 lbs on me and also had said he wouldn’t hurt me if I didn’t.

He also had an established career in the MILITARY (I’m not demonizing his profession in any way, other than it was why I didn’t feel it would’ve been worth the risk to fight back).

I had a young child, to think of. Who then, I couldn’t be his mother, if I was DEAD. I didn’t trust the fact he said he wouldn’t hurt me physically, because for one, he already had and while I was seriously violated physically and emotionally, I at least didn’t increase my odds, of unrecoverable physical injury or death, which I’m not blaming those who do fight back and seriously hurt, if not killed, (of course,if it prevents rape and assault, I’m grateful that was that person’s result)  it’s just my mindset at the time, was I had to survive this and go on with my life, in hopes that I could at least walk away from this.

I’ve seen since my experience in the mental health system, people though who are 90 lbs be able to beat the crap out of someone’s a foot taller and 100 lbs more than them, due to RAGE.

So all I have to add at this point, while the dialogue that’s happening is SO necessary, be VERY careful on what people say either clearly or insinuate, of why others should’ve fought back or that if they were in that situation that they would’ve, is extremely HARMFUL.

For more than one reason, as I’ve tried to highlight.

I can’t speak for everyone who’s been a victim and/or would rather consider themselves just a survivor of rape and sexual harassment, of why they didn’t fight back and or what their triggers going forward, are.  I can only speak for myself. Only they can tell you their stories and hopefully they will be listened to, with sensitivity and their physical and emotional safety, going forward.

But I’d ask, for those who’ve NOT experienced any type of rape, physical assault or harassment, aren’t a clinically trained professional and/or law enforcement professional who hasn’t worked with victims, of choosing words carefully when you question any aspect of an assault, no matter what the circumstances ARE.

Especially, especially, ESPECIALLY, when it comes to “Why didn’t you fight back?!?!”

Note: I’m pubishing this blog, with great tredpidation, in hopes it helps others. I do the activism that I do, to help other people. I’m not saying I’m better or worse than anyone, in my case, where with my disability sets, I don’t monetize anything that I do, nor do I crave being in the spotlight in any way.

I feel strongly enough, that it’s worth for me to try to help others by chiming in this dialogue, to risk attention, this way. I’m only doing so, because I truly believe it can help other people.

I’m also making it clear, with like most of my blogs, any comment that’s not constructive and respectful, will NOT be published. Thanks!!!

Edit/Additional Note: When I created #WhyIDidntFightBack, it was to open the door of giving victims/survivors a means of telling their stories, not being able to forecast of how many people will read this blog.

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