I’ve never been raped. But….

31 10 2014

I have been catcalled, told to smile while walking down the street, been in a bar and had my neck licked by some fucking idiot. I have felt afraid to walk home, I have feared about where I was, I have been in many situations that, later, I wondered sickly to myself “what if'”? I have had men expose their penises to me. I have had my breasts grabbed, my ass groped. I have had a man follow me home. I have been called CUNT. BITCH. SLUT.

What if that guy chose to grab me around my throat? I’m not as strong as he was, he could have pushed me down, lifted up my skirt, punched me and violated me.

What if I was raped? Would I be brave enough to report it? Would I be ashamed? Would I be believed? Maybe I was drunk, maybe my heels were too high, maybe I laughed too loud and made eye contact that was perceived as sexual. Maybe signals were sent?

Would it be my fault? Would you think so? Maybe I touched his chest while I laughed.

Maybe I smiled while tilting my face down and glancing upwards at him, the “come hither” look.

Maybe I licked my lips. Maybe I tousled my hair.

Maybe I kissed him.

All of that… all of that does NOT matter.

It is alarming to me to hear people ask questions about WHY? Why were you there? Why did you drink so much? Why did you dress like that? Why didn’t you tell anyone?

Look, we all know better. We all know the statistics. Violence against women is NOT a fable, it is NOT a ploy to demean men, it is NOT a lie. It is REAL.

The sooner everyone accepts this, and starts the long walk towards ending it, the better. Dialogue with our daughters and our sons starts now. No more slut-shaming, no more victim-blaming. No more asking why doesn’t she just leave him? Why she didn’t say anything?

No more defending someone famous because his radio career might be ruined. NO MORE.

Let’s talk. Let’s all talk about this.

Let’s start asking HOW. How can we fix this? How can we educate everyone about women’s rights and equality? How can we end the stigma of rape culture? How can we understand the cycle of abuse? How can we help?

How can we all help?

Ask yourself this.

How?





Fewer and farther between

18 10 2014

I glanced over from the kitchen today and my heart stopped for just a moment.

There it was.

For one split second, a single heartbeat, with the autumn light cast upon my daughter’s face, there echoed her smile from years ago. I saw her three-year-old smile. I saw, only for a moment, the remnants of her child’s face. In a blink of an eye, it vanished, and there she was smiling at something, her almost grown up 13 year old face, as lovely as ever, glowing and beautiful.

I froze, my heart caught, my throat squeezed, tears rose up. I recalled that fuzzy bunny of mine, her white-blonde hair and stubborn personality, her fervent love of me, her kindness and sprays of giggles that she offered up every chance she got. Her joy when she was excited relayed through a delightfully excited way of walking, kicking each step as her feet couldn’t seem to contain her spirit. My heart ached with a depth I cannot convey.

Oh my lost little ones, I do miss you both so much…. yet here now they navigate through adolescence. My son’s voice as deep as his father’s, when once it was as soft and pure and sweet as vanilla ice cream. His face now rises above mine as I speak to him. How did he get so tall? His cheeks, once so full and chubby, they beckoned for kisses and his arms, soft and hairless, wrapping around my neck for hugs. Now his face is thinner, his shoulders broad, his chin sprouting whiskers. I wondered during his toddler years what his man-face will look like and now… now I look at it daily.

It is no slight thing to watch your children grow. Wobbly newborns, smiley buddha-babies, frustratingly curious toddlers: we bear witness to their courage and faults and uniqueness as they discover who they are.

I love the age they are now, I hesitate to even ponder the idea of having babies now. We have freedoms now as a family, freedom to allow us to go zip-lining and skiing and hiking. We can all get into the truck without diaper bags and car seats and sippy cups and barf buckets. We can watch movies together that aren’t of Disney or Pixar or Dreamworks. (I can’t tell you how glad I am that I never have to watch Frozen or Cars IV or whatever is out right now, these mass-produced money-wringing Hollywood ploys). I can now see clearly who they are, though their future is as fogged up for me as it is for them.

But that treasure the Universe handed me today, that tiny immeasurable gift of what once was and what is now has resonated beyond anything I can explain. That glimpse into the past as the present gave way for just one brief touch of time gave me such bitter-sweet joy.