It’s hard to believe I have lived in Colorado for a month now— even harder to believe how little time I have spent online and, even more, how little I have actually missed it. Everything has been so crazy I have barely had a moment to realize I haven’t spent the time I usually do perusing websites.
I have rarely had time for myself or the things I need done, let alone the internet.
That point aside, here are some of the things I have been doing the last few month:
- Moved, started work, trained new employees, participated as a main interviewer for our job fair. Working 6 day weeks, some days from 7 am to well after 10 pm at night
- Checking out around the city. Went downtown to the 16th street mall and walked around, viewed the capital building and downtown sculptures, small shops, and also the Mills, Cherry Creek and Aurora malls
- Found our apartment, moved in, enjoying the view of the mountains and the giant bath tub
- Swimming and hot tub Friday, snow Sunday
- Meeting with vendors, doing cake tastings, meeting with wedding officiant and going over ceremony details; locating new bridesmaids as some have needed to step down
- First day of regular deliveries at work and excited for more
Hopefully I will be back in full swing soon guys. I miss you!
I am sure everyone is wondering why I have suddenly jumped on the rape culture issue bandwagon. As much as it my seem that this has to do with recent issues brought to light about YouTube celebrities, I must admit that it hits a bit more close to home than that.
I was sexually assaulted in high school. I don’t talk about it much, or anything surrounding it. I am afraid to talk about it now. It was a terrifying experience, and in all truth I have spent a long time telling myself that it was NOT sexual assault because it did not end in rape, so I had no right to complain. The definition of sexual assault is broader than that, though:
Sexual assault is any physical contact that involves force, any form of coercion or intimidation, or is initiated when any party is unable to consent.
At a football game my Junior year, I ran into a man who I had my choir class with me freshman year. He had graduated two years earlier; I was 15 at the time. I never had a problem with him so I stopped to say hello and talk to him. Once my friends left and I went to follow them, he stopped me with a hand on my shoulder which pressed down and moved to touch my chest. I pulled away, but he continued with the touching, holding my wrist to keep me in place. I got frightened and lied, staying I needed to go to the concession stand; when I tried to run away he gripped my wrist harder, told me he would go with me. I told him no. He didn’t take no for an answer.
I tried to run off and he grabbed me and tried to drag me out into the parking lot. I started yelling for help and not a single person at a crowded football game stopped to help me. It spooked him so he let me go and I went and hid in the bathroom until my friends found me. I would not leave until they escorted me away from the game.
A month after this I was sitting at lunch with my friends when he came to school and entered the cafeteria. As soon as I saw him I got up and ran to the bathroom and hid crying in a stall until a friend found me. She rounded up all our male friends who escorted me back into the cafeteria and sat in a protective block around me. The guy came over and started screaming at me about how I wasn’t contacting him, grabbing at my shoulders. I told him to stop an he wouldn’t listen, so my guy friends all stood up and told him he had better leave now because they were not letting him near me.
I went to the office and spoke with the assistant principal. He had police monitoring the school for a week.
A year later, one of the guys at the table who protected me became my boyfriend. Despite this incident, he was very pushy about sex and pressured me into things I was not comfortable with. He eventually broke up with me because I would not have sex with him, but had me promise that he could come back to me after he had put ‘a few more girls under his belt’, because he was sure he would marry me. Two years later, he did ask to have me back. I told him no.
What did these experiences teach me?
1- My body was not mine, it was for the enjoyment of others and if I did not give them what they asked for, I was not worth their time.
2- I did not have the right to feel as if I had been assaulted, because my body was not mine.
3- My value was in my body and what it could provide to men.
4- Even my physical and verbal no did not count as denial.
I was single for 4 years before I met Ben, and a lot of the beginning of our relationship was building my self esteem, teaching me that I had intrinsic value separate from extrinsic, and developing a healthy, trust based intimate relationship. I didn’t tell Ben about the assault until years later, and it was the first time I saw something become genuinely upset about someone treating me with that kind of manipulative disrespect.
Me, not my body! It was such a novel idea and the first time I think I truly understood that I was not just my body and what it could provide for others.
No one should ever have to equate their value to their body. No one should have to feel as if they are not a human or are only good for one purpose because one person feels entitled to their body. No one is entitled to your body but you. No one else can touch you without your consent. Ever.
We need to stop raising people to believe they are untouchable; we need to stop raising men to believe that women do not have to say YES and continually say yes for it to be consent. We need to stop feeling bad for them when the victim comes out saying they were assaulted because it will ruin the future of the man. They wronged another human being in ways that will leave scars forever. I still struggle with the idea that my body is my own, and Ben has to pick up the pieces when I feel like a failure because of this. No one should ever have to feel that way, so why do we blame the victim instead of the person who committed the crime?
Women’s bodies are not a temptation. Temptation is the donut you shouldn’t eat because of your diet and you chose to do so anyway, the cigarette you crave to smoke even though you are trying quit. Women are not food, they are not a bad habit. They are humans. View them as such and suddenly that temptation disappears because they become real instead of an object.