A Letter to the Abused

To the abused,
There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Yours is a human, normal reaction to a fucked up situation, or a fucked up person. If there is anything wrong with anyone, it’s your abuser, not you. Normal people don’t tear down other people. Normal people don’t destroy a person’s self-confidence or self-esteem. Normal people don’t destroy other people.

We all have damage. Anyone who has lived any amount of time has been hurt somewhere down the line. But we all have to face our damage and deal with it head on, alone. I’m not saying you can’t seek help, you should. I’m just saying you have to come to terms with it in your own head in order to heal. No amount of counseling can do that. You have to do that part yourself. The first step to healing is to first acknowledge that your mistakes are not who you are. Your mistakes are only part of what shapes you. There is so much more to you than that.

You have to stop over-thinking. To over think is to let negative thoughts take hold of you. When you start to feel like that’s where your thoughts are going, redirect your mind to something else. Something your passionate about will help you focus on something much more productive. Or start exercising. I found that walking helps me, especially when that walking is at a local park where nature surrounds you and eases your thoughts into beauty and life.

You will know you have finally healed when you start to recognize the signs and protect yourself form them before they can work their way in. Know when someone is displaying abusive behavior and put a stop to it, or remove yourself from that environment. You don’t deserve to be mistreated. No one does. Demand respect and kindness or walk away.

And whatever you do, don’t inflict your own damage on someone else. Don’t become the person who hurt you.

Love yourself

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Chained

Am I chained by gender rules
To this private womb
Made public by morals
Not my own.

Imprisoned in femininity
By a public entity
Poisoned by power
Demanding dominance

Am I to be
Prisoner to pregnancy
Denied choices, living
In forced dependency.

The Rights We’re Fighting For

The Rights We’re Fighting For Are Yours Too
The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I have recently made a comment about a meme I saw in which it compared the women at the Million Woman March and sister marches all over the world to women in the military. It was belittling the women of the marches. It struck me as a complete fallacy and I pointed it out, to which the poster completely missed my point. She was one who doesn’t want to hear anything contrary to her own views and got defensive immediately. I wasn’t insulting her; I was merely stating that it was comparing apples to oranges. The reasons for the two groups marching are completely different. The soldiers are sworn to defend the Constitution, yes, but their marching is a part of the job they signed up for. The Million Woman March was about the rights our own government is trying to deny us under this new administration. So the only comparison I see is that they defend the very rights we are exercising. You would think they would feel good about the fact that we’re actually using the rights they defend instead of letting them lie dormant and unused. If we do that, we will most surely lose them. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I will state that no, I don’t understand conservative thought patterns any more than they understand liberal ones. I don’t understand how any woman could support donald trump when he has been very vocally anti-woman and has even bragged about committing sexual assault and getting away with it. Did you not learn at any point in life that sometimes a man just says what he thinks you want to hear to get you to do what he wants? To listen to what someone says and not pay attention to what he does is putting yourself in a vulnerable position to be taken unfair advantage of. And of course when that happens, you get the blame for putting yourself in that position. That is where rape culture was born. And chalking it up to “locker room talk” encourages the behavior because they got away with it, so they’ll continue to do it. And believing that something never happened because they told you so and ignoring that fact when someone shows you video proof is willful ignorance. You become the victim of gas-lighting when you do that because you’re buying into the illusion of innocence. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I see so much out there that is critical to the protesters in that they are being judged. Another commenter said that half the people out there didn’t even know why they were there. I was there and everyone there except perhaps the little ones knew exactly what they were doing there. Even some of the little ones did. Between signs, conversations, t-shirts, buttons and chants, everyone had a valid reason to address during that march. There were many, but all of them were born of the acidic vitriol that came out of the trump campaign. There is much fear and rage out there over the things that he promised his followers that put us all at risk. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

To assume that the marchers were all out there for the same reason is to make an assumption with no facts. Try a Google search of the protest. There are literally hundreds of signs posted on Facebook alone that were at the actual protests that address a multitude of reasons for protest. All of those signs all boil down to one thing. The protesters fear that they’re losing rights under this administration. More than just reproductive rights. More than just equality. More than just one issue. I alone made signs for multiple reasons. All of our concerns should be addressed. All of our voices should be heard. Not just by the new administration but by the supporters of it as well. Pay attention. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too. You might think we’re fighting for something we already have but you’re not paying attention if you think there is no threat to them. The truth is, trump has threatened the first amendment multiple times already. If we allow him to attack a primary constitutional right specifically mentioned first in the Bill of Rights, they will slowly pick away at the others as well. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I know the first argument will be that his threat to the media is only those reporting lies, but the ones reporting lies are not the ones he’s attacking. He is attacking the respected media outlets that have earned their place as respectable reporting entities. He is attacking those who report anything he dislikes, even if there is documented proof of it. And 6 reporters have been arrested and charged with a felony for rioting because they were on protest sights reporting on those protests. We can’t allow this to happen. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/business/media/journalists-arrested-trump-inauguration.html?_r=0) that’s the NEW YORK TIMES ladies and gentlemen, not just some fly by night organization that just popped up over the last few years. Not just some tabloid on tv organization. The New York Times….The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

The first amendment gives us the right to free speech, free press, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. All of these things are involved in our protests. To arrest people for exercising our first amendment rights is a violation of the Constitution of the United States. Yet there are states that have bills on their agenda trying to criminalize the right to peaceful assembly and petition the government for redress of grievances. (http://www.snopes.com/lawmakers-criminalize-peaceful-protest/) Yes, Snopes is a legitimate source. They are a fact checking organization. And the article does say they are definitely on the agenda, but that none have passed into law. These are the things we need to pay attention to. This is a FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT they’re trying to criminalize. They’re trying to chip away at the foundation of the Constitution ladies and gentlemen. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.
Yes, we have a problem with the right trying to criminalize and ban abortion. You can’t legislate morality because morality is subject to individual interpretation and some of us believe it to be more moral to spare our offspring a short and extremely painful death than to force it to feel that pain. YOU DO NOT KNOW what leads a woman to the decision to have an abortion. You don’t even know when you see a pregnant woman going to a Planned Parenthood office if her fetus is even viable. A D & C is also performed at Planned Parenthood. This is done after a fetal demise, yet people who insist on judging these women stand outside of Planned Parenthood offices and brutalize these women for their decisions without knowing the first thing about them. Stop judging when you don’t know what’s going on. And stop supporting legislators who want to force these women to risk their lives to carry out a pregnancy without knowing the circumstances either. These decisions need to remain between a woman and her doctor, NOT her legislator. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

Stop trying to force your beliefs on everyone else. Science is real. Scientists have made a career of studying their choice of scientific field. They have devoted their lives to it. Just because you don’t know the difference between a theory and a scientific theory does not give you the right to discredit their research and make assumptions about it, much less to allow lawmakers to make laws governing it. Science is responsible for every advance to improve human life. Open a book. Not just any book. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly don’t know anything but their right wing propaganda. Open a book by A SCIENTIST. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Open a medical Journal. Learn about genetics. Explore how genetics works and learn that there are genetic variations that people might find to be odd but they recur in nature more commonly than you might think. Like genetic mutations that cause a human being to be born with more than one set of reproductive organs. If that can happen, then being born with a male identity in a female body and vice versa is also not only feasible but occurs often. Quit making assumptions and do some research. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Ask yourself this question. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you think everyone you meet sees you the same way you see yourself. If you have any critical thinking skills whatsoever, you know that they don’t. So do you want people that don’t know you making assumptions about you and condemning you for it and stripping you of your rights based on an assumption? That is exactly what is happening. Pay attention. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Stop assuming that because it gets cold, Global Warming is not real. ALL scientists agree it’s real. The only people that say it’s not are politicians. And if we let it go and continue in the direction we’re going, we will kill ourselves when we kill our planet. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

Multiple species of animals are dying due to the actions of humans. This is not natural selection; this is human beings becoming the cancer that is killing the whole planet. We have to do the right thing for all of us, for our children and future generations. The Bible doesn’t defend your denying what’s happening. We’re supposed to be stewards of our planet. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.
Start paying attention….before it’s too late.

Declaration

To be free is to be able to live as I choose;
To decide who I am;
To decide who to love and be allowed
To marry my choice.

To be free is to be able to plan
How to build my future;
To educate myself where I choose
And in what field without restriction;
To choose when, how and how many
Children to bear.

To be free is to do as I please
And go where I will
Regardless of the color of my skin,
The religion I choose or lack thereof,
Or the origin of my heritage;
To not be judged and restricted for these choices.

If we allow regulation of our personal choices
We are not free.

You don’t know what its like to be us

I was recently talking to a fellow writer and friend of mine about his travels. I was telling him I was envious of his travels and how I’d love to be able to live my life that way but that its more dangerous for a woman to travel alone than for a man. His answer was that it’s not as dangerous as I think. My response was that he doesn’t know what it’s like to be a woman. We must be ever vigilant for our own self-preservation. I think that most men make assumptions and judgements on how they see the world as they are unable to see it from a female perspective. They are often dismissive of the dangers we face because they’ve never faced them. Unfortunately, I think the only way for them to truly see it is for them to see it first hand with someone they care about. And even then, they can’t fully appreciate the impact of these experiences.

Women are constantly exposed to the possibility of being assaulted any time and under any circumstances outside of being locked up in their own homes. And even then, there is the possibility that someone will compromise their protections to get at them. And their clothing is not a factor in that in most circumstances. That’s a misogynistic idea at best. If a man decides he wants a woman despite it being against her will, he will act. Many think they’re entitled and are taught that not only by society but often by religion.

When I was in New York City with a group of people on a college trip, I was sexually assaulted. It wasn’t a brutal assault but it made me feel just as violated. Knowing myself and knowing how I react to things and how I best handle them, I redirected my mind to the protection of someone else.

The assault happened on the subway in broad daylight (or as daylight as the subway can be). It happened on a crowded train. The perpetrator took advantage of the crowded train to press his body against mine from the backs of my knees to my shoulders. When the train stopped and some people got off, he didn’t move. I turned and realized he was taking advantage and I told him firmly, I AM MOVING NOW, as to discourage him from following. I didn’t say anything about his assault as I was surrounded by younger women and I felt that I could take this assault better than they could. Had I moved sooner, he might have turned on one of them. As it happened, He had attempted to assault one of the girls, a 15 or 16 year old girl that was with us, by holding his hand opened in the general vicinity of her genitals in the hopes that a bump or shift would allow him to cop a feel. Once we left the train, I made my way to her father and notified him that he needed to check on his daughter. I remained close by because, knowing how I am, focusing on her well-being allowed me not to crumble to my own emotional panic. As a mother, I focused on the child’s well-being. Her father noticed my hovering and snapped at me, adding insult to injury. He unknowingly shattered my resolve.

Upon leaving the subway, I was shaking in the knees. I went to the nearest wall of the building and watched as the rest of my group ascend the stairs as I tried to hold it together. I wasn’t completely together when the last of us emerged so I followed despite feeling on the edge of panic. I at least had the presence of mind to know that if they left me, I’d be alone and in a panic in the middle of New York City. We were headed to The Guggenheim where I knew I could sit and calm down safely. I had been there before so I was comfortable with it. I knew that we’d be there a while. I told two close friends what happened but that was it for that day. Later that week, I did tell one of the professors what happened. I distanced myself from the father. It destroyed my ability to concentrate, affecting my ability to stay with working on my thesis. I ended up completing my thesis the next semester. While the father did apologize for snapping at me, I doubt he fully realized the impact of what he’d said. And I was not about to clue him in on how truly vulnerable I felt. I was angry at not only the perpetrator, but at him for his lack of insight and at myself for feeling so weak and vulnerable.

While the perpetrator did me no serious harm physically, I emotionally went to pieces. I had a panic attack in the middle of New York City. When men dismiss sexual assault as not harmful, they’re wrong. Until they experience it themselves or witness someone they love experience it, they cannot fully understand its impact. That was not the first sexual assault I’ve experienced. The first was at age 4 and was perpetrated by a family member. I’ve also experienced sex with someone because I felt it was safer to submit and survive than to fight. You don’t know what women face if you are not a woman. And you can never fully appreciate it even when a woman or girl you love is assaulted. So what right do you have to judge us in these matters? None.