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Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

*Disclaimer* This post is about harassment and assault, but does delve slightly into politics, so if you don’t like it when I write about politics, don’t read it. I’m not debating politics with anyone. Fair warning.

So, when is sexual assault and/or harassment acceptable to you, exactly?

When is it okay to sweep it under the rug?

When is is okay to brush allegations aside?

Is it when the perpetrator is white?

When the perpetrator is a Democrat?

A Republican?

When it’s someone who fought for civil rights?

When it’s someone from your party in an election?

A television personality?

A senator?

A representative?

An entertainment mogul?

A comedian?

A woman?

The President of the United States?

How do you decide whom to excuse and whom to condemn when the allegations begin to fly?

How do you choose which victims to believe and which to shun?

What is your reasoning? What does your heart say, no matter how much you want to fight against it? If your religion, politics, or family ties have anything to do with your decision on believing whether or not someone is a predator, that’s the wrong answer. Religion, politics, and family ties mean nothing to someone who’s been victimized, who’s been subjected to unwelcome advances, or worse.

I heard it said over and again that if allegations were true, victim(s) would have stepped forward immediately or much earlier than they do. False. One million percent false. I didn’t tell the majority of my family, including my husband, about my years of abuse because I thought no one would believe me. The truth made me sick and scared and the prospect of losing my family over it was terrifying, so I stayed silent. It wasn’t until I had my own child that I took that risk and revealed the truth. The thought of my son growing up in the shadow of a predator was worse than being alienated from the people I loved. Painful? Hell, yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

Like many girls, I was harassed in high school and in waitressing jobs that I had, mostly by customers making sick comments and once by a creepy dishwasher. One drunk actually grabbed me by my wrist, only to be thankfully removed from the restaurant by my friend. It was always uncomfortable, and sometimes scary, but I never really felt that I could say anything about it, except to friends or coworkers afterward. There were always customers we watched out for, asking the busboys or male waitstaff to stay close by. It still amazes me, and grosses me out, how some middle-aged men think it’s okay to make lewd comments about a teenage girl’s body, or about anyone’s body for that matter. It stays with a person, even after all this time. Remember that.

None of this is new, it’s been going on ever since there have been people. The difference now is that people are finally starting to speak out, we’re finally beginning to not be afraid of offending the powerful. Several giants have fallen in the last few months, most admitting to at least part of what they are accused of, some have admitted to everything. It’s been difficult to watch, even shocking sometimes, but necessary. Ugly secrets, even about the rich and powerful, have a way of coming out, sometimes years later. Nothing stays hidden forever.

When I talk about harassment or assault, I’m not talking about playful banter, or silliness between friends. I enjoy bawdy jokes as much as the next person, but the key to that is knowing when the other person is comfortable with it or not. If they’re not laughing, shut up and back off! Using your position or power to behave inappropriately toward someone else or to coerce them into sexual favors is WRONG. Don’t touch what you don’t have permission to touch.

Watching all of this happen just makes me angrier and angrier. I’m angry that allegations can be overlooked in order to beat out another political party. Just this morning, the Today show, which is going through its own crisis, revealed the 71% of Alabamian Republicans were planning on voting for Roy Moore, even with everything alleged against him. Even more sickening is that many of them profess to be Christian. How would Jesus, the champion of the downtrodden and voiceless, feel about this? At the very least, Christians should be asking for an investigation instead of instantly blaming the alleged victims.

Think for just a minute. What if he is voted in and later admits to everything? I have a feeling that he would still have supporters. After all, the prospect of what he allegedly did doesn’t seem to bother them one bit now. I don’t understand. People are willing to vote for a sleazeball into office even with some pretty strong testimony from several women about his actions in the past. Even with many in his party encouraging him to step down, more have stayed with him, someone with huge creeper potential, because they don’t want an evil Democrat in office. Barf.

For more info: https://www.snopes.com/2017/11/17/roy-moore-banned-mall-harassing-teen-girls/

Speaking of Democrats, several accusers have come forward against John Conyers, the longest-running person in the House of Representatives who conveniently retired today in the wake of many allegations of inappropriate behavior ranging from holding meetings in his underwear to groping. This stuff isn’t confined to one party, one religion, or race, folks. It’s widespread.

I’m angry and deeply disappointed that people I have admired or followed are now tainted. I’m angry that this culture exists. I’m angry that people think they have the right to abuse others. I’m angry that people are deceived, that lives are ruined. I’m angry that powerful abusers have supporters, excusers, sympathizers. I’m angry. I’m just…angry. Mad as hell, really.

Until we take a stand, until we say, “No more!”, until we knock the feet of clay out from under giant golden statues and give a voice to the wronged, the problem will go on. Force the ugliness out into the light so that it shrivels up and dies. Give victims a place to turn, educate our children, and make this world a better place. Don’t make excuses for bad behavior.

The world is a scary place these days and I’m really trying to stay positive.

Hang in there.

 

 

 

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*Caution- This post contains information that is disturbing, especially for younger readers.  So why am I writing this? Because it’s time for responsible, decent, people to stand up and stop letting it happen, to stop shoving it away because it’s uncomfortable and ugly to talk about. Because children’s lives matter and we must protect them. We’re not. That’s why.

Each time I became a parent, I loved to watch my babies sleep. Their faces were so peaceful, so serene, so beautiful. I loved interacting with my children, talking to them, watching them as they discovered new things, their joy at sneezes, peek-a-boo, and snuggling. Their innocence is awesome, and in using that word, I mean it would literally fill me with awe. I marveled at how pure they were, unspoiled by the world, and it was bittersweet to realize that bit by bit, they would slowly lose that innocence as life happened to them. It’s supposed to be that way. Our brains grow and change, enabling us to handle more complex thoughts and emotions that take us into adulthood, leaving that childhood innocence behind to be a moment of nostalgia for our parents.

But there are children who lose their innocence much more quickly than they should. This has been focused on more by the news lately, especially where I live, but also on the national level. A child prostitution ring was just busted this week in the Detroit area involving nineteen children, the youngest of them only twelve years old, the same age as Youngest Child. Does Jarod from Subway ring a bell? The actor Stephen Collins? I don’t think that there is a week that goes by without a story in the news about some pimp or pedophile being caught at what he was doing. Yes, I said he. I realize that there are women who also abuse children, but the vast majority of child sex offenders are male. By the way, I absolutely detest the way people use the word “pimp” to compliment a man. A pimp is a filthy, heartless, money-grubbing person who sells women for sex and then takes their money. The word “pimp” is not a good thing. Please understand that and adjust accordingly.

Before you dismiss this blog content as something that doesn’t touch your life, think again. Perhaps you don’t know anyone who was forced to be a child prostitute, but read about this ugly statistic: You know at least two people, probably more, but at least two people who were molested as children. You may know their stories, you probably don’t, but statistics show that one out of about four girls and one out of about every six boys has been sexually abused before the age of 18, meaning that it’s much more common than most Americans think. (https://www.nsopw.gov/en/Education/FactsStatistics?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1) Most children never tell, not even as adults. That’s a sick, sick, sad, thing. Now think about this. You may also know someone who perpetuates this, either by actually being an offender or someone who knows what’s happening, yet does nothing to stop it. Eradicating the world of this disease is something that should be on the radar of any decent adult’s conscience. More on that in a bit.

Websites and chat rooms help these creeps connect. When the internet was invented, it was a huge bonus for their sick minds. It’s a big, anonymous playground, a place where they can bond and connect over their crimes through complicated servers. Millions of pictures and videos of children being abused are traded online every day, like baseball cards. Millions of children are physically sold online every day. Let me say that again. Millions of children are physically sold online every day, in India, Japan, Russia, China, Nepal, Malaysia, France, Germany, and almost every country in the world including the US. The sex trade doesn’t just encompass children in poor developing countries, it concerns the children next door, down the block, your on relatives. You just don’t know, so it’s really important to pay attention to the children in your life. Make yourself accessible to confide in and above all, BE PREPARED TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND CALL THE AUTHORITIES!!!

You see, abusers don’t broadcast what they’re doing. Mine didn’t. People were absolutely shocked when they found out what had been going on. That’s the way it usually works. When I told my 6th grade teacher the situation in a journal entry, she told me to talk to my mother, but never bothered to call the police. I’ll never know why she didn’t, but I still feel betrayed to this day. Children are helpless when it comes to this kind of thing. They need adults, they need YOU to step in the minute you understand that something is going on that shouldn’t be. You don’t have to confront the suspect, in fact, you probably shouldn’t. It’s very easy: Call the authorities. You don’t need a fancy phone number or website to report abuse. You can, if you want to, of course, but 911 works, too. Be that hero that a child needs and get them help. End their nightmare.

Another thing that we need to do, as the responsible adults we should be, is to not only raise our kids right, but to also be a good example for them. We need to teach our kids that no means no. We need to teach our boys that girls are not to be objectified, but to be respected as the equals they are. We need to teach our girls to not let anyone mistreat them. We need to teach our kids, boys and girls, about sex, real sex, not the kind that they can find online for free. We need to teach them that sex is about trust, intimacy, and love, and that they have the right to say no at any time. We must teach them that no one has the right to touch them in ways that are uncomfortable and that if someone does touch them, they are not to blame. We need to teach them that they must never be afraid to come to us with any scary situation, and that we will believe them, even if the person that touched them inappropriately is a beloved family member, family friend, clergy, or teacher. They need to know that they can trust us, that we will help them no matter what, and that they are important and loved.

What kind of a sick mind uses a child for sexual purposes? What sort of person knowingly destroys a child’s life for their own sick appetite? Pedophilia is a real psychiatric condition, one for which there is no cure. Control is another issue for many abusers. Do I feel sorry for these people? I feel sorry for someone who has the urges that they do, but my compassion takes a serious hit once they victimize a child through pornography or any other means. There is no excuse to abuse another person, none whatsoever. I have no answers, so I leave them to the psychiatrists. And God’s judgment. This is where I have trouble controlling hatred.

I also don’t have a lot of sympathy for adults who know that a family member or other loved one is viewing child porn or is actually abusing a child. For whatever reason, ignoring the fact that someone is sexually abusing children is selfish and wrong on so many levels. It’s never okay to not help a child. An abused child will suffer the effects for the rest of his or her life. Take it from one who knows. Adult survivors are more likely to suffer depression, low self-esteem, are more likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol, and are more likely to attempt suicide, especially if they never told anyone about the abuse or if their abuser was never caught. If you know someone who participates in child pornography, you need to pick up that phone right now and end it. Every child in those photos has been abused and if you don’t turn them in, it’s on your hands, too. Do the right thing.

I don’t mean to be a downer, and abuse against children has, unfortunately, always existed. But I hear about it almost every single day and I’ve had enough. Enough of hearing about girls being raped on their way to school in Detroit. Enough of seeing teenage boys tearfully recount their victimizations as children. Enough of high-profile citizens trying to hide behind celebrity and money to cover their crimes. Enough of seeing pictures of little girls in brothels in other countries, who are the same age as my 3rd graders, being interviewed in magazines about the life they’re forced to lead. For the love of God, and I don’t take His name lightly, ENOUGH! We must stand up, we must fight against this evil. If these realities don’t make you sick, I don’t know what will.

Do the right thing. Let our children lose their innocence naturally and gradually, the way they are supposed to, not through the hands, or computer, of a pervert. Again: do the right thing.

If you are being abused or know of someone being abused, please call 911 or your local police department. If you need help, message me. I will support you.

Amen

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