Category Archives: Abuse

Why Lily White

English: Lily in garden

Image via Wikipedia

The term Lily White has a long and ugly past as it applies to American history and its culture.

Specifically, the term Lily-White Movement, as defined by Wikipedia, was an anti-civil-rights movement within the Republican Party in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement was a response to the political and socioeconomic gains made by African-Americans following the Civil War and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which eliminated slavery.  Black leaders gained increasing influence in the party by organizing blacks as an important voting bloc. Conservative white groups attempted to eliminate this influence and recover white voters who had defected to the Democratic Party.

“The lily white movement is one of the darkest and underexamined eras of US Republicanism.”

This movement is largely credited with driving blacks out of the Republican party during the early 20th century, setting the stage for their eventual support of the Democrats.

In essence, the movements goal was to suppress the votes (or in my opinion, the VOICE and Validity) of Black Americans.

As I began to speak up and speak out about a problem that touches far to many lives I realized pretty quickly that most people didn’t want to hear about the reality of the problem. It almost seemed as though the words I spoke offended a falsely innocent view of american culture and the violence that is going on in american children’s lives at the hands of adults, usually the adults that are closest to them.

A few definitions from around the web:

Defined by Double-Tongued.org

1.) Lilywhite

n. a person without a police record; someone who does not trigger suspicions; a clean-skin.

This particular definition is the one that solidified my decision to use the term as the Pseudonym I would blog under. I started blogging specifically because the subject of Childhood Sexual Abuse, a subject that has recently and violently thrust itself into mine and my family’s life, was one that seemed to offend the public so much so that even as a victim/survivor, speaking about any aspect of the issue is highly frowned upon publicly. As I understood it, if I wanted to speak up, if I wanted to talk about this issue, it would have to be done privately and somewhat UNDER THE RADAR, so to speak.

The bottom line is, MY VOICE WON’T BE SILENCED. I WON’T CONFORM AND SHUT UP. But like many things, sometimes the best approach is one that is the least abrasive, for the moment at least.

I have quoted Dr. King many times before on this blog. Here are some that have resonated with me:

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

TheFreeDictionary.com

2.) lil·y-white (ll-hwt, -wt)

adj.

1. White as a lily.
2. Beyond reproach; blameless.
3. Informal Excluding or seeking to exclude Black people.
lily-white

adj

1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Colours) of a pure white lily-white skin
2. Informal pure; irreproachable
3. US informal

a.  discriminating against Blacks a lily-white club
b.  racially segregated

Adj. 1. lily-white – restricted to whites only; “under segregation there were even white restrooms and white drinking fountains”; “a lily-white movement which would expel Negroes from the organization”

white

segregated, unintegrated – separated or isolated from others or a main group; “a segregated school system”; “a segregated neighborhood”

2. lily-white – of a pure white color.

achromatic, neutral – having no hue; “neutral colors like black or white

 

Yourdictionary.com

3.) lily-white

adjective

white as a lily

innocent and pure; unsullied: often used sarcastically

practicing discrimination against, or segregation of, nonwhites, esp. blacks

 

White Washing or White Washed has a specific meaning as well and I found would be appropriate to be included into the Pseudonym.

To white wash something would be To conceal or gloss over (wrongdoing, for example).

The biggest problem with CSA is the refusal of adults to acknowledge that there is a problem at all.

This post is a work in progress and may be revised…

 

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Mothers of childhood sexual abuse victims

image

Its seems shocking and a bit odd that I haven’t found any wordpress blogs written by or supporting the Mothers of childhood sexual abuse victims. Their are countless blogs on wordpress written by the victims themselves. Often written by a adult survivor of such abuse. Obviously the ability to blog about such a life altering experience offers a much needed outlet as well as some amount of emotional support and hopefully healing from such a large community. I, as the mother of a child who suffered sexual abuse, long to speak with, connect with and get feedback from woman (and men) who are living through the same hell I am.
If their is anyone out there who is the mother/father/caregiver who is suffering along side their child while fighting to protect them please leave me a comment.
I feel like there is a lack of moral and emotional support for the parent/s of such victims on wordpress.
Or if anyone knows of any wordpress blogs specifically devoted to parental support of victims of childhood sexual abuse please let me know.
I just wanna find others like me who can relate to this kind of trauma.

Bravery is Beautiful

The image above is the property of The Star Online

Check out this astounding young ladys blog. Her story is heartbreaking. Her bravery is remarkable and her resolve to inspire change is heroic.

http://sacrilegeofthegoddess.wordpress.com/

She is a warrior in my opinion, fighting to bring awareness to an epidemic of injustices suffered by children across the world. She fights not with her fists, but her body, in beautiful dance. A dance to bring awareness to the problem of childhood sexual assault. My message to her is to stay strong. You have an amazing opportunity to inspire change and bring awareness. Who knows how many young lives will be changed for the better through your stories and sharing your dance. Though I’ve never met her, I feel a strong bond forged by similar stories we’ve endured. She’s a warrior for the young and innocent. I admire her strength and send her much love and respect.

You can also read more about her mission and her story from The Star Online.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/12/29/nation/10167925&sec=nation

The Reality: What was actually lost

ParentsPstcrd_052010.jpg

Image by Carolyn_Sewell via Flickr

So, it’s been 621 days, or, 1 year 8 months and 12 days since my children and my world came to a crashing halt.

I keep wondering why I havent healed yet. Why am I still so profoundly damaged and why can I not integrate back into the world with even a minute amount of success. What is wrong with me. I was diagnosed with PTSD  which made me ask myself, does this mean I will never heal. And if I can recover, WHEN?

After beating myself up for failing to get on with life, I figure it might be time to assess the gravity, the magnitude, the reality of what was actually lost.

Before I go on, Please understand, I would have it no other way. The relief I feel knowing that my daughter had the guts to stand up and protect herself by telling her secret is remarkable. I am grateful for her bravery. I’m also relieved that her suffering has come to an end. However, I’m writing this blog post to get a better understanding of why I am having such a hard time healing from what was lost.

During some of my darkest, most painful days I recall describing what I was experiencing like this…

My husband was murdered, my daughter was raped, my home was set on fire, my job was terminated, my bank account was robbed.

And all of this occurred in one day, in the blink of an eye. I went to bed one night and life was normal. I woke up to find everything I knew and loved had changed. Life from this moment forward would never be the same.

It’s funny because the above description is not exact, but for me, it’s the closest way I can describe how I feel and for the most part it’s the equivalent of the reality.

The Breakdown of what was lost

My husband was murdered

Everyone knows someone who has lost a spouse way to early. About ten years ago my husbands best friend died in a car accident.  Of course we were devastated. After all, our friends had recently married, which we celebrated as a new and exciting beginning of two friends sharing a wonderful life together. In his death, he was buried and honored with a funeral where all of his loved ones were able to pay their respects to the deceased. There was closure. Sure, it was painful to say goodbye to a friend. There was peace in knowing we could visit his grave, place flowers on such a good friends final resting space should we desire.

The bottom line is, I have spent every day since midsummer of the year 2000 with my husband. I truly loved this man with every part of me. I was still in love with him, which is quite remarkable. heck, I’ve been in relationships where the flame is snuffed out, and pretty quickly to. But this wasnt the case with us. I still looked at him with passion, still thought he was the most gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on.

No, in reality my husband was not actually murdered. trust me, there is a weird part of me (the part that has never actually experienced what that might be like) that feels like this would be a less painful scenario. Had he been murdered I would have been able to bury the man I loved so deeply. I could still look at him with love. Me and my children could visit his grave and place flowers. A gravestone for me has recently become something tangible that you can go to when the person you held so dear is no longer there. My husband, my children’s father is no longer there. There’s nothing. THERES NOTHING. Just an empty space in my home and in my heart. I feel his absence in the depth of my guts. There’s nothing left but the good memories that swirl around the new and bad memories. I still can’t think of him, talk about him, look at his things, go to sleep next to the spot he occupied, and yes, survive every holiday without feeling the tremendous sense of loss of this person in my life. I miss the man I thought he was. I miss my best friend. I feel like it was my husband who murdered the man I loved.

My daughter was raped

This is such a painful thought that I still have a hard time thinking about it, much less writing candidly about the feeling and emotions that are buried in my mind and heart. And for that reason I’ll simply say… this is self explanatory…and move on to the next item.

My home was set on fire

I see news stories all the time about families displaced by fire. Families that are homeless in the matter of moments. Nothing left of the comforts of home but a heap of smouldering ash. This is tragic and reported as such on the news, usually with a cry for help and where good citizens can send donations to help out the newly homeless.

For my family, our home is on fire, burning just under the surface. It feels like the Alzheimer’s disease for the exiled. without an income, saving my home, my children’s home is useless. we’re just watching it smoke, waiting for the day that it’s all gone. The saddest part is, there aren’t any nor will there ever be any distress calls from the local news media for my family. We will lose our home. My children will lose the last bit of normalcy they have left. Childhood friends, classmates, routines that provide comfort will all be gone. I cannot explain what its like to walk into your house and know that the very sights, smells, and personal space that brings peace and shelters you from the cold hard world, just outside your door will be gone. I don’t know the date but I know its coming.  My husband was ordered to pay the mortgage but he never has and my lawyer didnt push the issue. Because I was and still am absolutely broke, I’m unable to pay my lawyer. The last payment that was made on our family home was april 2010. I’m still in my home but its in foreclosure. I’m not sure how much longer before we are completely homeless.

My job was terminated

My husband and I started our own business in 2006. I took pride in working both with him outside of the home and as the accountant in the home. I wont lie, ive never loved doing receipts. I kinda despised getting all the paperwork prepared for taxes. But I did it, for years I did it. I did love the physical work though. It wasnt to difficult and I really loved going to work with my husband everyday. We were a team. We were business partners. We were best friends who got to hang out every day. I look back on these times fondly and unfortunately so. If I hated the daily grind than maybe that’d be one less good memory to grieve the loss of. Now my everyday is a struggle just to get to the end. Our business was and is a fairly profitable business. We did well for ourselves, making enough to live on and have a bit left over for the fun things in life. We enjoyed entertaining friends at our house, hosting the occasional get-together. He took the business. He was the only one we listed on the LLC. We never paid ourselves paychecks so I couldn’t file for unemployment. It’s as if I havent had a job since 2006. I miss enjoying my day-to-day life. I miss working and I miss the motivation I once enjoyed as a small business owner.

My bank account was robbed

Within the first week after the discovery and while I was still in shock at my mothers house, my husband cleared out our bank account. I had not a dollar to my name and three kids to support. This has not changed and I don’t expect that it will. He took every dime that we together made and saved and left me with nothing. I went to sleep one night with a certain degree of financial security and woke up to find I couldn’t even buy toilet paper. “I couldn’t even buy toilet paper” it’s what everyone who is running low on cash says…I had to steal toilet paper from a gas station bathroom. It’s not an exaggeration, it was our reality and it was humiliating. As something ive kept a secret from everyone I know including my children, its something I still cringe privately over.

So, what’s next

When I look at the list above it reads like the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, seriously. How much stress can one person suffer before they break? I’ll paste a link I found to a site where you can do a quick assessment. I don’t need to do the assessment to know that I’ve had a multitude of stressful life changing events happen in a short amount of time but after reading over it ive decided I need to get myself back into therapy. Heres the list:

Choose Life Events In the last 2 years, did any of the following happen in your life?

  • Minor violations of the law
  • Major holidays
  • Vacation
  • Major change in number of family get-togethers
  • Change in eating habits
  • Major change in sleeping habits (a lot more or a lot less than usual)
  • Taking on a loan (car,etc.,)
  • Major change in social activities (clubs,movies,visiting,etc.)
  • Major change in usual type and/or amount of recreation
  • Major change in church or temple activity (i.e.. a lot more or less than usual)
  • Major changes in working hours or conditions
  • Changes in residence
  • Changing to a new school
  • Trouble with boss
  • Revision of personal habits (dress manners, associations, quitting smoking)
  • Major change in living condition
  • Spouse beginning or ceasing work outside the home
  • Beginning or ceasing formal schooling
  • Outstanding personal achievement
  • Major change in responsibilities at work
  • Son or daughter leaving home
  • Trouble with in-laws
  • Foreclosure on a mortgage or loan
  • Taking on a mortgage (for home, business, etc.)
  • Change in number of arguments with spouse
  • Change to a different line of work
  • Death of close friend
  • Change in financial state
  • Sexual Difficulties
  • Gaining a new family member(ie.,birth,adoption)
  • Major business readjustment
  • Older adult moving in
  • Pregnancy
  • Change in the health/behavior of a family member
  • Marital reconciliation with mate
  • Retirement from work
  • Being fired at work
  • Marriage
  • Personal injury or illness
  • Detention in jail or other institution
  • Death of close family member
  • Marital Separation from mate
  • Divorce
  • Death of spouse

Read more: Life Stressors Chart http://www.medindia.net/patients/calculators/life_stressor.asp#ixzz1gZweOThD

I don’t know how long my pain will be so raw but I pray that it wont be forever.

SHATTER THE SILENCE



Preventing Child Sexual Abuse-An Adult’s Responsibility

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse-An Adult’s Responsibility

http://annyjacoby.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/preventing-child-sexual-abuse-an-adults-responsibility/

I have taken Darkness to Lights prevention program. Unfortunately it was after the fact. I am now a STEWARD FOR CHILDREN and encourage anyone who reads this post to visit the links to both the article I’ve quoted below written by Anny Jacoby, A Personal Safety Expert and Coach. You will also find a vast amount of helpful links and resources on her site.

ReBlogged article from Anny Jacobys website:

In the past thirty years the field of investigation, identification, and treatment for children who have experienced sexual abuse has progressed and changed tremendously.  But child sexual abuse prevention had remained relatively unchanged—teach kids about good touch/bad touch, tell them to say no, and teach them to tell a trusted adult if something happens.  But this set of strategies puts a weighty burden on the slender shoulders of children.  Most people who sexually abuse children are not only known to the child but trusted by the child and their family.  Teens and adults who abuse children can easily confuse and shame a child into silence.  Most victims of child sexual abuse do not disclose their abuse; leaving the victims to struggle alone with the emotional fall-out from the abuse.

Darkness to Light has developed a child sexual abuse prevention training, Stewards of Children, that puts the burden of preventing child sexual abuse on the shoulders of adults.  Stewards of Children aims to teach the facts about child sexual abuse and increase the protective behaviors of adults.  It encourages adult participants to learn the facts about child sexual abuse, to review the policies and procedures of the child serving agencies and communities of which they are a part, and encourages all child serving staff know what to do if a child discloses abuse to them.

The reality of child sexual abuse is hard to face in both its prevalence (some experts estimate that 1-4 girls and 1-6 boys are sexually abuse before their 18th birthday) and its impact.  The Chapel Hill-Carrboro and the Chatham YMCA, North Carolina has decided to face the harsh reality of child sexual abuse and has started the YMCA Community Coalition for Awareness and Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.  Community awareness meetings (Prevent Now!, one hour) are available as well as Darkness to Light prevention training, Stewards of Children, (2.5-3 hours) for interested community groups (day/evening and weekend training available).

continue reading this article here…

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse-An Adult’s Responsibility

Parents Helping Parents

http://parentsupportforchildsexualabuse.com/default.aspx

Omg, if only I had known of this websites existence a year ago, six months ago, yesterday. My God. I don’t feel completely alone in my tortured feelings and emotions. One of the first threads I came across had a response that was written on the page as though it was my own personal dialogue downloaded directly from my brain and displayed in in black and white, my language, a font that my browser can understand. This is the post I read from someones brain that has heard my thought.

I find that CSA is the “gift that keeps on giving”. It ruins you emotionally, psychologically, physically, financially. We are approaching the 1 year mark since my daughter’s disclosure. It is “easier” than last year. It is “easier” than 6 months ago. I still feel the sadness, rage, disillusionment and every other feeling I’ve had, but it is not every day. There are good days, lots of them and often many in a row. Then there are the bad days. While I don’t believe it will ever go away, I do see that it gets better. Hang in there, you are in my thoughts.

Omg, I’m not alone!

Don’t Dress Like A SLUT!

http://www.excal.on.ca/?p=5127

http://www.excal.on.ca/news/dont-dress-like-a-slut-toronto-cop/

http://www.slutwalktoronto.com/

http://www.excal.on.ca/news/cop%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98slut%E2%80%99-comment-draws-backlash-from-guerilla-activists/

Repost: What is Rape Culture? (via Dr. Kathleen Young: Treating Trauma in Chicago)

Repost: What is Rape Culture? Today I am sharing another post from the archives.  I think you will see why this one is important to revisit during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In order to get involved, we need to understand the cultural context in which sexual violence occurs. What is Rape Culture? Given that it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I think it is important to place sexual violence within a context. Understanding that sexual violence is more than isolated acts … Read More

via Dr. Kathleen Young: Treating Trauma in Chicago

Or read the full article below. But please visit Dr. Kathleen Young’s blog. She has a multitude of wonderful and insightful articles and links.

Today I am sharing another post from the archives.  I think you will see why this one is important to revisit during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In order to get involved, we need to understand the cultural context in which sexual violence occurs.

What is Rape Culture?

Given that it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I think it is important to place sexual violence within a context. Understanding that sexual violence is more than isolated acts by individuals is needed if we truly want to effect lasting change. I have written before, in my response to a commenter on How to Prevent Rape:

Only by putting responsibility where it really belongs, on those who commit acts of violence and abuse, can we start to break this cycle… It means looking at the larger cultural issues that create (mostly) men who become rapists/abusers.

The responsibility does not only belong to the individual perpetrator. As  a psychologist well versed in an anti-oppression model,  I understand sexual violence not just as random, individual acts, but also as existing within a broader cultural context. This context is a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women but also those who do not conform to expected gender norms) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence. This is Rape Culture.

Melissa McEwan of the blog Shakesville has a comprehensive and impactful post about Rape Culture. She details the stuff, both obvious and subtle, that keeps violence against women going. You can read her Rape Culture 101 post in its entirety here. I am sharing much of it here below as well:

(Trigger Warning: Please keep in mind that reading about sexual violence may be very triggering for survivors, so check in with yourself before and after).

Rape Culture 101 by Melissa McEwan

Rape culture is encouraging male sexual aggression. Rape culture is regarding violence as sexy and sexuality as violent. Rape culture is treating rape as a compliment, as the unbridled passion stirred in a healthy man by a beautiful woman, makingirresistible the urge to rip open her bodice or slam her against a wall, or a wrought-iron fence, or a car hood, or pull her by her hair, or shove her onto a bed, or any one of a million other images of fight-fucking in movies and television shows and on the covers of romance novels that convey violent urges are inextricably linked with (straight) sexuality.

Rape culture is treating straight sexuality as the norm. Rape culture is lumping queer sexuality into nonconsensual sexual practices like pedophilia and bestiality. Rape culture is privileging heterosexuality because ubiquitous imagery of two adults of the same-sex engaging in egalitarian partnerships without gender-based dominance and submission undermines (erroneous) biological rationales for the rape culture’s existence.

Rape culture is rape being used as a weapon, a tool of war andgenocide and oppression. Rape culture is rape being used as acorrective to “cure” queer women. Rape culture is a militarized culture and “the natural product of all wars, everywhere, at all times, in all forms.”

Rape culture is 1 in 33 men being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is encouraging men to use the language of rape to establish dominance over one another (“I’ll make you my bitch”). Rape culture is making rape a ubiquitous part ofmale-exclusive bonding. Rape culture is ignoring the cavernous need for men’s prison reform in part because the threat of being raped in prison is considered an acceptable deterrent to committing crime, and the threat only works if actual men are actually being raped.

Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality thatmany women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women’s daily movements. Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.

Rape culture is victim-blaming. Rape culture is a judge blaming a child for her own rape. Rape culture is a minister blaming his child victims. Rape culture is accusing a child of enjoying beingheld hostage, raped, and tortured. Rape culture is spending enormous amounts of time finding any reason at all that a victim can be blamed for hir own rape.

Rape culture is judges banning the use of the word rape in the courtroom. Rape culture is the media using euphemisms for sexual assault. Rape culture is stories about rape being featuredin the Odd News.

Rape culture is tasking victims with the burden of rape prevention. Rape culture is encouraging women to take self-defense as though that is the only solution required to preventing rape. Rape culture is admonishing women to “learn common sense” or “be more responsible” or “be aware of barroom risks” or “avoid these places” or “don’t dress this way,” and failing to admonish men to not rape.

Rape culture is “nothing” being the most frequent answer to a question about what people have been formally taught about rape.

Rape culture is boys under 10 years old knowing how to rape.

Rape culture is the idea that only certain people rape—and only certain people get raped. Rape culture is ignoring that the thing about rapists is that they rape people. They rape people who are strong and people who are weak, people who are smart and people who are dumb, people who fight back and people who submit just to get it over with, people who are sluts and people who are prudes, people who rich and people who are poor, people who are tall and people who are short, people who are fat and people who are thin, people who are blind and people who are sighted, people who are deaf and people who can hear, people of every race and shape and size and ability and circumstance.

Rape culture is the narrative that sex workers can’t be raped. Rape culture is the assertion that wives can’t be raped. Rape culture is the contention that only nice girls can be raped.

Rape culture is refusing to acknowledge that the only thing that the victim of every rapist shares in common is bad fucking luck. Rape culture is refusing to acknowledge that the only thing a person can do to avoid being raped is never be in the same room as a rapist. Rape culture is avoiding talking about what an absurdly unreasonable expectation that is, since rapists don’t announce themselves or wear signs or glow purple.

Rape culture is people meant to protect you raping you instead—like parentsteachersdoctorsministerscopssoldiersself-defense instructors.

Rape culture is a serial rapist being appointed to a federal panel that makes decisions regarding women’s health.

Rape culture is a ruling that says women cannot withdraw consent once sex commences.

Rape culture is a collective understanding about classifications of rapists: The “normal” rapist (whose crime is most likely to be dismissed with a “boys will be boys” sort of jocular apologia) is the man who forces himself on attractive women, women his age in fine health and form, whose crime is disturbinglyunderstandable to his male defenders. The “real sickos” are the men who go after children, old ladies, the disabled, accident victims languishing in comas—the sort of people who can’t fight back, whose rape is difficult to imagine as titillating, unlike the rape of “pretty girls,” so easily cast in a fight-fuck fantasy of squealing and squirming and eventual relenting to the “flattery” of being raped.

Rape culture is the insistence on trying to distinguish between different kinds of rape via the use of terms like “gray rape” or “date rape.”

Rape culture is pervasive narratives about rape that exist despite evidence to the contrary. Rape culture is pervasive imagery of stranger rape, even though women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know than a stranger, and nine times more likely to be raped in their home, the home of someone they know, or anywhere else than being raped on the street, making what is commonly referred to as “date rape” by far the most prevalent type of rape. Rape culture is pervasive insistence that false reports are common, although they are less common (1.6%) than false reports of auto theft (2.6%). Rape culture is pervasive claims that women make rape accusations willy-nilly, when 61% of rapes remain unreported.

Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that there is a “typical” way to behave after being raped, instead of the acknowledgment that responses to rape are as varied as its victims, that, immediately following a rape, some women go into shock; some are lucid; some are angry; some are ashamed; some are stoic; some are erratic; some want to report it; some don’t; some will act out; some will crawl inside themselves; some will have healthy sex lives; some never will again.

Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that a rape victim who reports hir rape is readily believed and well-supported, instead of acknowledging that reporting a rape is a huge personal investment, a difficult process that can be embarrassing, shameful, hurtful, frustrating, and too often unfulfilling. Rape culture is ignoring that there is very little incentive to report a rape; it’s a terrible experience with a small likelihood of seeing justice served.

Rape culture is hospitals that won’t do rape kits, disbelieving law enforcement, unmotivated prosecutors, hostile judges, victim-blaming juries, and paltry sentencing.

Rape culture is the fact that higher incidents of rape tend tocorrelate with lower conviction rates.

Rape culture is silence around rape in the national discourse, and in rape victims’ homes. Rape culture is treating surviving rape as something of which to be ashamed. Rape culture is families torn apart because of rape allegations that are disbelieved or ignored or sunk to the bottom of a deep, dark sea in an iron vault of secrecy and silence.

Rape culture is the objectification of women, which is part of a dehumanizing process that renders consent irrelevant. Rape culture is treating women’s bodies like public property. Rape culture is street harassment and groping on public transportation and equating raped women’s bodies to a manwalking around with valuables hanging out of his pockets. Rape culture is most men being so far removed from the threat of rape that invoking property theft is evidently the closest thing many of them can imagine to being forcibly subjected to a sexual assault.

Rape culture is treating 13-year-old girls like trophies for men regarded as great artists.

Rape culture is ignoring the way in which professional environments that treat sexual access to female subordinates as entitlements of successful men can be coercive and compromise enthusiastic consent.

Rape culture is a convicted rapist getting a standing ovation at Cannes, a cameo in a hit movie, and a career resurgence in which he can joke about how he hates seeing people get hurt.

Rape culture is when running dogfights is said to elicit more outrage than raping a woman would.

Rape culture is blurred lines between persistence and coercion. Rape culture is treating diminished capacity to consent as the natural path to sexual activity.

Rape culture is pretending that non-physical sexual assaults, like peeping tomming, is totally unrelated to brutal and physical sexual assaults, rather than viewing them on a continuum of sexual assault.

Rape culture is diminishing the gravity of any sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, or culture of actual or potential coercion in any way.

Rape culture is using the word “rape” to describe something that has been done to you other than a forced or coerced sex act. Rape culture is saying things like “That ATM raped me with a huge fee” or “The IRS raped me on my taxes.”

Rape culture is rape being used as entertainment, in movies and television shows and books and in video games.

Rape culture is television shows and movies leaving rape out of situations where it would be a present and significant threat in real life.

Rape culture is Amazon offering to locate “rape” products for you.

Rape culture is rape jokes. Rape culture is rape jokes on t-shirts, rape jokes in college newspapers, rape jokes in soldiers’ home videos, rape jokes on the radio, rape jokes on news broadcasts, rape jokes in magazines, rape jokes in viral videos, rape jokes inpromotions for children’s movies, rape jokes on Page Six (andagain!), rape jokes on the funny pages, rape jokes on TV shows, rape jokes on the campaign trail, rape jokes on Halloween, rape jokes in online content by famous people, rape jokes in online content by non-famous people, rape jokes in headlines, rape jokes onstage at clubs, rape jokes in politics, rape jokes in one-woman shows, rape jokes in print campaigns, rape jokes in movies, rape jokes in cartoons, rape jokes in nightclubs, rape jokes on MTV, rape jokes on late-night chat shows, rape jokes in tattoos, rape jokes in stand-up comedy, rape jokes on websites, rape jokes at awards shows, rape jokes in online contests, rape jokes in movie trailers, rape jokes on the sides of buses, rape jokes on cultural institutions

Rape culture is people objecting to the detritus of the rape culture being called oversensitive, rather than people who perpetuate the rape culture being regarded as not sensitiveenough.

Rape culture is the myriad ways in which rape is tacitly and overtly abetted and encouraged having saturated every corner of our culture so thoroughly that people can’t easily wrap their heads around what the rape culture actually is.

That’s hardly everything. It’s merely the tip of an unfathomable iceberg.

I know there is a lot to take in here. I’d love to hear your reactions and thoughts.

Kathleen Young, Psy.D.

You’ve changed so much I almost don’t recognize you anymore.

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My repsonse to him, after I realized he would never take responsibility for the pain and destruction he caused… also when I realized I was talking to a complete stranger. My husband of 10 years exists only in my memory.

Me: You denying the truth is expected but is also the worst thing you could ever do. It invalidates the pain you’ve caused to the people who loved you the most. I’m aware that the man I married and loved is no longer part of you, your being, your soul. You’re merely an empty, cold shell of the heart and soul that used to reside there. I will no longer seek an apology from you because you (my husband) are gone. Unfortunately, it also leaves you without the one chance to heal a wound in someone you once called your best friend and love. Your continued denial is hurtful as much as it is alarming. We (the victims) will get a form of justice but we will never get the one thing we long for…. ourselves back.

He failed to reply to this. This is very likely the last conversation of our relationship. How sad things end that started out so beautifully.

The picture is one taken of my husband after “April” and serves as a reminder of how different (to me) he looks. Its almost like going to a viewing to pay your last respects to a loved one. Even though you recognize the individual in front of you, they don’t look like the person you once loved. Its a deadness, a hollowness, a shell of a person deficient in spirit.