Cupcakes, Castaways and Conundrums

opinion.jpg

I make jokes about being an old lady because I read the news so much.When we tuned our TV, I got excited at the prospect of watching news reports (even though they’re biased). I scan Facebook news for ideas then go off in search of the actual articles. It’s become both a frustration and a fascination.

I came across this article (which you can read here) about a 16 year old girl who set herself on fire in order to stop herself from further being raped by ISIL. TW: rape. I could hardly make it through this article myself. It is not something I recommend for casual readers.

And while I read it (because I can’t fight my battles if I live in ignorance) I didn’t struggle to understand the girl. I remember there was a class a few semesters ago where we had to read The Joys of Motherhood and the main character attempted suicide (I’m working on an article about suicide-it’s coming soon) because her child died. The woman later fought with a fellow wife about the way she was living. The second wife left the household and became a prostitute so that her daughter would have a better life than she did. Anyway, long story short, I had to “argue” a class full of people who were quick to judge the second wife.

I sat there, red faced and somewhat surprised at myself as I defended her choice to be a prostitute. “She’s doing what she thinks is best”, I said, “I can’t think of a single parent who wouldn’t whatever it took to ensure that their child’s needs were completely met. She knew that her daughter wouldn’t get an education if she stayed, and she wasn’t making enough money pawning wares so she decided that her life would be spent making the most out of the only thing she had to her name: herself. You don’t have to agree with her choices, you just have to understand that she chose unselfishly for the love of her daughter.”

The class looked at me like a was an alien-and trust me, I almost felt like one. My face was red because I was passionate-not because I was embarrassed. And something similar happened when I was reading about this poor girl (and there are others in the article). I certainly felt upset-how could you not? But I wasn’t upset at the girl’s choice. There is one sentence I’d like to highlight-just in case the article is too much for readers.

“So she doused herself in gasoline and lit a match, knowing that if she survived that the militants would no longer find her desirable.”

I look back at the posts I made on Facebook years ago (thanks to the timeline feature) and shake my head sometimes. I was raised in the church, according to the idea that because of the fact that I was born a woman I was to remain silent and completely ashamed of my body-because it was a source of sin just because it was biologically female. Now obviously not all churches are like that, and my parents are much more awesome than that line of thinking. But to have my identity wrapped up in a religious doctrine that shamed me for existing gave me a worldview that was very close minded and very enslaving.

I used to be very pro-life, for example, because a human being is a human being. I used to be under the understanding that I was influenced by the devil for dating other girls. I used to think that there was something wrong with me because I hated myself.

And then I woke up.

I no longer believe that modesty is something that happens because a woman shouldn’t be seen or heard. I believe that modesty is a choice-and empowerment isn’t linked to it.

I no longer believe that one person can force another into decisions without their consent-because each person should have the right to do to their body what they want-and that means having sex, not having sex, tattoos or no, piercings or no, abortions or no. I believe that it’s not my place to take control of someone else’s body-that’s metaphorical and psychological assault-and that’s NEVER okay.

I no longer believe that there’s anything wrong with love, as long as all involved are there because of the same reasons and have respect for the other people-and consent is a vital part of that. Gender isn’t. I believe that love is love-and if you’re lucky enough to find someone you love and who loves you back, you can change the world.

I no longer believe that there’s anything innately wrong with anyone. It is the choices we make that make us who we are-not the choices of our ancestors or progeny. And we were not born as mistakes because of our sexes, our abilities (or disabilities), our skin colors, our orientations, our differences. I believe that life is precious-and that most DEFINITELY includes people who are different than I am, because we are all different, but we are all human.

You don’t have to agree with someone’s decisions. You don’t even have to like them. But before you judge them, you need to understand why they were made in the first place.

Rage Might Be What This Is

(First-thank you ! I looked and I’m over 100 followers! It is truly an honor to reach your eyes and have our interactions. I am blessed.)

Today’s the day. The day that Rapist Brock Turner is set to depart his joke of a sentence and return to my home state. I’ve never met him-and I hope I never do. But nonetheless I woke up this morning sick to my stomach with the understanding that a human being I have grown to hate (is that strong enough?) is about to live just an hour away from me. I’ve been looking at news articles and I have a few thoughts and links. This is the most informal thing I may do on the subject.

So first, a video from sexual assault survivors about what think think of Rapist Brock Turner. It’s sad, but the second half is really what I’m talking about.

Four Women Speak Out on Bustle.
And I’m going to highlight this article that I found this morning simply because I think it hits on a really important point.

Rapist Brock Turner Comes to Ohio
Okay, so I know these articles are so hard to get through. Especially for people who have lived through these scenarios. I understand. And you don’t have to read these if you can’t. I’m going to pull a quote from this article though (no triggers).

Still, despite the publicity dogging the case, some of the Turners’ neighbors in their leafy, upper-middle-class neighborhood were not familiar with the case nor knew that the family lived in the area. Others who knew about the case were hesitant to talk publicly about it. Several people in the neighborhood said they didn’t want to comment.

One more quote, becasue it emphasizes my frustration.

While the woman who spoke to The Daily Beast believed Turner should be serving more time, she also said he did not deserve to be vilified in the media.

EXCUSE ME?

First off, I know that the news can be brutal-but this rapist needs to be public knowledge. In fact, all rapists need to be public knowledge-that’s why we have a sex offender list. And if you think for one moment that he will refrain from doing something like this again, you’re not using the sense you were born with. You’re not protecting your children and you are teaching them that they have a safe place to return to in the event that they become criminals. You are no different than those who harbor fugitives. Ignorance is not a fortress with which you can protect yourself from unpleasant-at-best information. And I’ve met people EVEN TODAY who don’t know who Rapist Brock Turner is. And that infuriates me. I don’t even have a television and I’ve been following this story the ENTIRE time. (Now I know, this is my “hot button” but this is important stuff!!!)

So why am I furious? Well, because he’s not the only one. My news feeds are littered with rapists and domestic abusers who have garbage sentences because they want to “go to college” or “are star athletes”.  That mindset starts in high school. My high school was very football centric. Do you think I didn’t see athletes use that to their advantage? Use their coaches to talk to teachers about changing grades so that they could play? Use their “star status” to get out of trouble? And it worked. Why? 

Because our society respects athletes more than it does the rights of other human beings. We attribute super-human respect to people who are faster, stronger, more muscled than the rest and we let them go about and do as they please because why? Becasue physical aggression is a “sign” of masculinity. It has to stop. 

As a college student, it is not safe to be on campus without some form of protection.

As a woman, it is not safe to be anywhere without some form of protection (and maybe even then).

As a human being, it is not safe to be so opinionated against societal norms.

As someone who has seen human depravity and been at the receiving end of it-I cannot accept this as being okay.

It’s gonna be a hard day for a lot of people. For the Stanford rape survivor. For everyone who has gotten a similar verdict for their suffering. For people like the four women in the video. For people who just want to believe in but cannot see jusctice. May your fears take it easy on you today and may you find some peace.

If you make it through all of that, the other news stories of the day include a 23 year old man receiving a garbage sentence for molesting a child and a gang-raping group of athletes whose lawyers have claimed that by the victim being anonymous, her claims of being raped aren’t real. My rage knows no limits here and I am at a loss for words as to the depths of disdain I have at this today.

23 Year Old
Athletes’ Lawyer Is An Equal Monster
Have a safe and beautiful weekend everyone. May happiness follow you wherever you go.

A Call For Help

helo

Hi everybody!

I have a special request today-one that is of utmost importance. And sensitivity.

If you, or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, rape or abuse of that nature AND feel comfortable talking about it (anonymously is fine) I need your/their help.

I don’t know how many of you recall, but I mentioned that I was entering my IMADTTO (I Made A Difference To That One) proposal into the President’s Prize review. I have been selected (with others) to move to round two (out of three). For round two, I must come up with a timeline and some other things. And here’s where I could use some help.

What things (resources, technology, support, programs, ideas, etc) would have been helpful in your traumatic event? What do you wish there would have been but wasn’t? What suggestions do you have for prevention? What would you like to see changed in the reporting/justice system? What factors impacted your decision to report/stay silent? What information did you not have that you wish you did? What coping mechanisms work best for you?

This project, to give an overview, is a response to collegiate rape statistics-with implications for ALL rape and sexual assault victims. I have plans to go into high schools and talk about body positivity. Plans to make a mandatory education module for my college (which can then be used at other colleges). Plans to make an application/link with existing ones to better educate the public (and alert students to the areas which aren’t safe on campus). Plans to make small support groups which will be other survivors, who can be there for “trigger” days. Plans to make children’s books about body safety and positivity.

These are the ideas of both myself and a beautiful friend who has also been concerned. But we are just two people. What I know is that everyone experiences trauma differently. And you may recall that I mentioned how of the statistic (depending on sources) is 1:6 college aged women will experience this, but that when I looked at 5 of my female friends, way more than 1 had been assaulted. This is a problem I take very personally-because when it happened to me, I didn’t know it was sexual assault. I blamed myself. I never went forward.

And that has to stop. Women need to be protected under the law. And I will be a leader in that movement. I live close to the statehouse. I have access to a large university worth of resources. I just need to know what to focus my attention on. And that is why I need people to help me.

Any thoughts are appreciated-whether the survivor was a college age or not. Tell me what you feel works. What doesn’t. Becuase when I go to submit round two, I will be submitting (perhaps) the most important proposal I may ever turn in-in my life. I am using my experiences, my voice, to be the “change I want to see in the world”. I don’t want to grow up in (or raise children in) a world that defines women as “less than”-or tells men that this can’t happen to them because they are men.

If you, or a friend, wish to talk about this (and I don’t need details-unless you WANT to give them) you can reach me at my email: anthromichelle@outlook.com

Everything I receive will be anonymous, I will share nothing without consent. (Waiver: If I receive an email full of suicidal ideation or threats of harm to others I have to report that. Because I care.)

Also, if you have thoughts in general-ideas you think might be beneficial in this fight, I won’t turn those away! I will take what I can get and make it into something magnificent.

Thanks!

Oh and a quick side note: Rapist Brock Turner (the Stanford guy) is coming back to Ohio this weekend. I am not pleased, but I will also be actively fighting to make legislation more strict.

Reflections on a Theme

This post came across my Facebook feed this morning:


Naturally there were streams of support, streams of criticisms but one happened to catch my eye. Someone told Jared that he should not “stoop” and that she was “extremely disappointed” in his behavior, because he was calling out a human being publically. Here’s what he said (and yes, although probably unnecessarily, I did blot out her name):


I immediately gravitated towards the following phrases:

1. “Not welcome and “less than””

2. “Not entitled to share my concerns or unhappiness because I’m a “celebrity””

3. “That’s akin to the people who told me that I should be “happy” because I am “successful” and that I shouldn’t have “depression” or “anxiety” because “famous people” are so “lucky”. And I very much don’t appreciate being victim shamed, even though I’m “famous” and should just “deal with it and keep quiet about it”. At the end of the day, I am a human being that breathes oxygen.”

4. “I’m truly sorry that the existence of my hurt disappointed you, and I wish you peace and happiness.”
Okay, so I know I basically just typed out the entire thing, but the 4 quotes I pulled are important. Why? Becuase they are classic depression quotes. I numbered them so I can analyze them more strategically. And at the end, I will wrap up with some thoughts about my analysis.

1. Doubting self-worth, being sensitive to the actions and negativity of others. It’s a pretty common theme in depression to doubt everything about yourself, to feel that other people just “hate you” because of who you are. And it’s easier to pick up on feeling that way when you’re depressed.

2. Believing that you are required to be a certain person, act a certain way because of arbitrary factors in your life. This one hits pretty hard too, especially among individuals fighting their symptoms. It doesn’t matter if those arbitrary factors are “career”, “education”, “gender roles”, “age”, “geography”, “economy”, “culture” or other-you feel as though you cannot be yourself and have a hard time dealing with that.

3. Feeling like you must defend your feelings to others, based on the fact that you are human too. This one hits home. Because whenever I don’t feel acknowledged or validated in my concerns and emotions, I immediately volley between this one and number 4. It’s a quick jump to feel like you have to justify the way you’re feeling because you feel alienated by the people who should understand-on the basis that they’re people too. You extend them that courtesy, and expect them to extend it back.

4. Apologizing for feeling the way you do, because it causes discomfort to someone else-something you never intended. At some point we’ve all done it. Apologized for going on a rant (and feeling like you’ve taken up the entire conversation), apologized for crying after a hard day, bad news, or other event. Apologized for feeling like an inconvenience simply because you existed. You didn’t want to put your baggage on someone else, it just kind of happened and you’re sorry. (Even if there isn’t a reason to be sorry.)

Conclusion: While not all of these things indicate depression and in fact, are very typical to things like defending your actions, interacting with rude, belittling people and a host of other things, as someone who has spent more time in a depression than not, I think I stand by my analysis that the wording chosen is representative of a spike in depression.

Although I am incredibly disheartened that experiences like this happen (and we all know they do happen), I pulled this story because it is such a great discussion piece about mental health and the stigmas still faced. I can just as easily reanalyze those quotes in the following way:

1. Stigma: Those with mental illnesses aren’t welcome members in society.

2. Stigma: Those with careers in public spotlight should not suffer from mental illnesses.

3. Stigma: Those with mental illnesses shouldn’t express the pain they are in. (AKA: The “It’s All In Your Head” Stigma).

4. Stigma: People with mental illnesses are burdens to society.

And suddenly, it’s the same story remade to explain a broader issue. Think with me, if you will, how many things you could replace “mental illness” with. We’ve become a people who are afraid to stand up for ourselves. Afraid of what might happen if we demand basic human rights. Afraid of what might become of us when we call out an injustice. It has become a cultural trend to victim blame. I read over those statements and looked at the way my brain interpreted them. I jumped to depression because it is a condition I know and understand very well. But I also know sexual assault very well. And if I plop a little interpretation into this conversation it looks a little bit like this:

1. Stigma: Victims of sexual assault are not welcome members in society with equal rights.

2. Stigma: Those who choose to dress in anyway close to “revealing” should not expect to be exempt from sexual assault.

3. Stigma: Victims of sexual assault shouldn’t expect justice. (*Casts side-eye to Stanford and U.Colorado judges*)

4. Stigma: Victims of sexual assault are burdens to society.

What Jared did when he wrote this response was open the dialogue to the ways in which we (as a culture) judge others on arbitrary categories. “Celebrity”, “Mental Illness”, “Victim” all have become code words for a language we barely even know we’re speaking. Suddenly, we attribute roles to these words which themselves had no connotations before, and now have changed to “Perfect”, “Defective”, “Liar” respectively. The way we use the key to our culture, the very foundation of how we describe ourselves and the world around us is changing slightly every day. And it is because of this key that the formation of our very thoughts are coming into question.

Thought to consider for the day:

We are all human beings. We breathe the same air, our hearts pump the same way. Look at the way you judge others, the way you look them over and determine your interpretation of them. Do you see a person struggling to get by in life? Do you see their battles, struggles, victories and failures? Or do you see the person you want to see, covered in the veils of biases?

I end my thoughts today with a fitting quote from the movie Ten Inch Hero (which is one of my favorites).

When Logic Fails (A reaction to Ohio v Mole, Slip Opinion)

I enjoyed my “vacation” aka moving, but as I woke up this morning and booted up the laptop, some very disturbing news came across my screen.

Supreme Court of Ohio: Judges uphold decision striking down law barring officers from sex with minors.

EXCUSE ME-WHAT? MY STATE COURTS SAID WHAT?!

I honestly thought I was having a weird eye moment where I was reading things while still not awake and my brain was filling in the wrong words. So I immediately grabbed my coffee and began to pour through the court documents.

OH YES-IT’S A REAL CASE.

Now, a small disclaimer before we get into the reaction bit. I’m not in law school yet. Court documents are still kinda hard for me to digest. But just as I faithfully read through the Kesha case, the Stanford Case and others, I have tried my best here. My reaction is going to be limited to what I fully understand, as always.

And another disclaimer: I have friends who are law enforcement and they are decent, hard working people. It is not the moral, upstanding officers to whom I am referring here. I have tried to keep my sentences very specific so that there will be no confusion of message. But just in case, let me say, before we begin, that not all officers are corrupt or terrible, or anything other that the people sworn to keep citizens safe. I am talking about the ones who ARE corrupt, who are terrible, who are to blame for their heinous actions. And because of the recent tension between civilians and law enforcement, I understand that this is a touchy subject.

So if you want to read the slip opinion that I read, you can find that here.

The very first section of this slip opinion says the following (I’m copying-and-pasting):

Criminal law―Sexual battery―R.C. 2907.03(A)(13) unconstitutional―Statute violates equal protection by irrationally imposing strict liability on peace officers―Government cannot punish class of professionals without making connection between classification and prohibited act―Creating separate class for peace officers in order to subject their off-duty behavior to criminal sanctions on basis of strict liability is not rationally related to governmental interest in maintaining public confidence in law enforcement, ensuring integrity of its members, or protecting minors from sexual exploitation.

So let’s break this down, shall we? I’m going to do it the old fashioned way: “translate it” word by word.

Michelle’s version: 

Criminal law-Sexual battery-R.C. 2907.03(A)(13) unconstitutional-The in place statute has been interpreted to violate equal protection (The Equal Protection Clause is part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The clause, which took effect in 1868, provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction “the equal protection of the laws”.—-took that straight from the Google page). by “irrationally” imposing strict liability on peace officers (law enforcement)-Government cannot punish a specific group of people without making the line between job title and crime well known-creating more categories of crime based on whether or not the law enforcement was committing the crime on the clock or off it on the basis that what they do off the clock isn’t really the business of the government (or in the government’s best interest to look at) because people have to maintain confidence that the law enforcement is actually maintaining high levels of integrity even if they aren’t and that applies to minors in vulnerable situations as well (except for this slip opinion, which just blew that idea out of the water).

So I know I made that paragraph a little longer. Allow me to summarize.

This case argues that, as a blanket statement, police officers cannot be held to the same standards as say mental health workers, child care providers and compulsory education professionals in the realm of sexual assault. Why is this even a case, you ask? Let me tell you.

The problem I have with this case (well, one of them anyway) is that the wording says: Irrationally imposing strict liability. Now, I highly doubt I am in the minority here-but expecting (demanding) law enforcement to refrain from sexually assaulting a child is not irrational, nor is it strict liability. It is a basic moral requirement. If we place these expectations on other professionals who look after the well being of minors, that list most assuredly should include law enforcement and peace officers. No exemptions. It isn’t unreasonable to expect law enforcement to not commit statutory rape whenever they want to. It isn’t irrational to place that expectation on them (or anyone else for that matter!). It isn’t strict to demand safety for children. It isn’t a liability to hold a human being accountable for their actions.

Here’s the first paragraph to the Cleveland 19 News article over this issue (read the full article here.):

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) –

The Ohio Supreme Court overturned the 2012 conviction of Waite Hill police officer Matthew Mole, jailed for sexual battery for having sex with a 14-year-old boy, in a tight 4-3 decision on Thursday. The ruling upholds a prior decision by the Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals stating that police officers cannot be held to a higher standard than the rest of the public when it comes to having sex with minors.

The Ohio Supreme Court (the one who rules over the very state I live in) has put their official opinion out as: “We want children to be safe, but if they’re with a police officer or other law enforcement, it would be too much hassle to keep those officers from sexually assaulting the children, so we might as well just make it legal for them to do so.

THIS IS THE PROBLEM HERE.

We have decent, self-respecting police officers working beside rapists (yes-that word IS appropriately used here) and then everyone gets a bad rep. We have lawyers (and future lawyers) working to convict pedophiles, rapists and sexual assault perps. We have judges who rule in favor of victims (except in this case, where the jury was hung and led to a mistrial). AND THEN THIS HAPPENS.

Let me be very clear about this. I do not care if both parties “claim” that it was consensual: IF YOU ENGAGE IN SEX WITH A MINOR-YOU ARE A PEDOPHILE AND A RAPIST, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR PROFESSION.

This is Ohio’s Statutory Rape Law: Ohio statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16 whom they are not married to. A close in age exemption exists allowing minors aged 13 and older to consent to a partner under age 18.

I am so vehemently angry with the justice system today. This isn’t justice.

IMADTTO

I’ve mentioned a couple times (I think!) about the project proposal I was working on. If you’ll allow me, I’d like to introduce my project to ya’ll: IMADTTO!

My husband pronounces it “ah-muh-ditto” which makes me chuckle, but I pronounce it “I matter”. (If you say it with a southern accent it’s “I matt-uh” which is how I reached I matter.) Anyway, it’s based off of the story The Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley. I’m pretty sure I’ve shared the story before, but just in case, here’s a picture:

I Made A Difference To That One

I chose the acronym IMADTTO from the very last line. I Made A Difference To That One. This story is one of the ones I’d heard as a child, but the true value didn’t become apparent until I was older, but once I understood, it stuck with me always.

 

IMADTTO is my response to campus sexual assault. It is broken down into four parts: research, outreach, advocacy and education. And in order to execute all of those things, I have submitted my proposal to a newly founded President’s Prize through The Ohio State University. There are two rounds of applications. The first, I have completed-requiring a proposal, resume and application. The second will occur in October and will be the in-person presentation. And then I find out in December what the official verdict is. There will be two winners, who will be employed for 12 months by the university to actually *do* their project. So now that you know why I’ve been working on it, let’s talk about the actual project.

I said there were four parts, and that’s the truth. I’m going to break down those parts, and we can hopefully have some discussions about how they sound to ya’ll! I’m using pretty much quotes from my actual proposal, I’m just condensing it.

Research: A survey will be drafted to determine what students feel have been acceptable measure to prevent and address sexual violence at Ohio State. A portion will address which roads, areas and places students feel that they must exercise extra caution when utilizing. This step will also include data collection by means of determining a comprehensive list of resources available to sexual violence victims both on and off campus.

Outreach:This will encompass both a newsletter and a line of age-appropriate resources which cover body positivity and bodily safety for a broader age range of students.

Advocacy: Small groups of individuals (who wish to participate) come together on a monthly basis to maintain morale and to offer support to the other members of their groups. The members of these groups may offer support in many ways, be it conversational or in more tangible ways such as providing escorts for each other to and from work, making meals for one another on “trigger” days (times in which the well-being of an individual may be compromised because of associated trauma) or even going to a court date with one of the members, if a case was made of their attack.

Education: There are three sub-sections here: high school, collegiate and technological. The high school level involves guest speaking at high schools about body positivity in a question and answer format specifically focused on prevention of sexual violence as well as how to rise above body shaming. The college level will see the addition of an educational module in the required freshman course, using the information gathered from the survey. The technological level will involve a mobile application, as well as an accompanying website with the information from the survey, as well as plans for the outreach section, information about basic self-defense, the list of resources available and other invaluable information.

 

So that’s the basis for my proposal. I’ve been working on some of the specifics, and I have to say, although I’m very excited to have turned in that piece of work, I’m very ready to be able to present it in person, so the review board will see just how much passion I have for this project, and for my future.

So if anyone has any thoughts on my project, or what you think would be an excellent addition, I’m more than willing to consider ideas. I even made my own logo (with the help of a free logo creator!) I know it’s not the catchiest thing in the world, but it’s unique, and it means a lot to me. This logo might just end up on some shirts and stuff. I may do a fundraiser with it, in order to fund some of the untested rape kits in our state.

IMADTTO Logo

(This is my logo. I’m really proud of it.)

What We’re Telling Victims

I really wish that my career choice was obsolete-that there was no need for it anymore, that there was no position open because no one needed it. I wish that this blog was the space for poetry, for stories with happy endings and for laughter.

But that’s not how life works.

I’ve been saying for months now that the statistics are wrong, that they’re too low. I’ve preached at ya’ll about the unfairness of the courts, the struggle that women (and men) face each day because of hypersexualization. And while I have tried to be educational, this blog hurts.

I did a response letter to the Stanford victim (Read it here: My Letter to the Stanford Victim), back when Rapist Brock Allen Turner was all over the news. I did a response letter to the Kesha case (Read it here: Why the Kesha Ruling Matters), when she was told that her safety didn’t matter because of a contract, as well as a piece over an Oklahoma case about what “isn’t” rape (Read if here: Too Many). And here I am-once again-to write about the frustration I feel at a court system that isn’t quite just.

You might not have heard about this case, but I came across it today. It was just reported yesterday, and I don’t think there was as much stink in the press about it. But there should be. Here’s the link to the story: Indiana University (Note: This one is an actual news story, not one of mine.) The following picture is from Google. I don’t own it.

Imprisoned in DNA cage

Here’s what we’re telling victims these days:

You’re not a victim of sexual violence if the person who did it is athletic.

You’re not a victim of sexual violence if you are more drunk than the person attacking you.

You’re not a victim of sexual violence if you and your attacker are at a frat party (or frat house).

You’re not a victim of sexual violence if you wake up during sex you didn’t agree to.

You’re not a victim of sexual violence if you wake up during sex you didn’t know you were having.

You’re not a victim of sexual violence if someone doesn’t see it. Or if they do.

You’re not a victim of sexual violence if the attacker was also drinking that night.

You’re not a victim of sexual violence if you were dancing/wearing a skirt/wearing pants/wearing undergarments/not wearing undergarments/doing anything but staying at home under constant supervision.

You’re not a victim of sexual violence if the person who attacked you was a college student-even if they were on break.

You’re not a victim of sexual violence if you’re on a college campus.

You’re not a victim of sexual violence. Period.

 

I know that there are plenty of things to also say in regards to this article, these stories, and I understand. I understand that I don’t have the full picture. I understand that I wasn’t there-and therefore don’t know exactly what happened. I get it. But I also understand what it’s like to have no one believe the words that come out of my mouth. I understand the feeling of fear when I walk by myself-even in broad daylight. I get it.

If you want to look at some of the other pieces I’ve done in regards to this topic, or perhaps you’re new to my blog (thank you for reading!!) and haven’t seen them yet, I invite you to check out the following:

My Experience with Sexual Violence: Unsteady

A List of Resources for Information, Support and Justice: This One’s For You