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Posts Tagged ‘self-respect’

Art is said to imitate life. Such examples exist of present, past, and future. We also use it to give a more accurate representation of past events using exaggerated means.

 

In the movie, Tora, Tora, Tora, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was credited as saying,

 

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

 

No record was ever found that he actually said this but given the totality of what Pearl Harbor led to, it’s not out of the question that this sentiment was at the least considered by some. To me, it serves as a reminder of what we should contemplate as in the ramifications of war before we engage. Diplomacy goes a lot farther than slaughtering others.

 

No one wins at war. No. Our president and many others are wrong. Many want war because they have invested heavily in weapons of war. We have learned nothing from the past 50 years it seems. I want to be very clear in my views of war on terror. There is no winning. There is no end. It becomes a circle and in the end we stoop to their level and become nothing more than the extremist.

 

I have been horrified of how low we are willing to go in the world. Was I horrified at the chemical weapons used on the Syrian people? Of course I am just as I have been. I have also been enraged at all of the civilian causalities we have caused with our presence on foreign soils…all of the drone strikes…and depleted uranium ordinance – which by the way is a war crime.

 

I needed to write this. I want my view out there but my apologies for my mistakes. I am not doing well but with any luck, I hope to improve.

 

Happy Gardening! No matter how bad it is, there is sunshine somewhere. 🙂

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Words are used for many things but mostly we converse with words. Sometimes we use words for good but words are also used to hurt. It is unfortunate that we do such.

 

If I were to call you a liberal, would that offend you? What if I were to use the words…conservative, moderate, right-wing, evangelical? What about left-wing, spineless, weak, idiot? Well, what about feminist? 🙂 Why does anyone want to label another? I haven’t a clue actually other than to make someone feel inferior.

 

Today, I had the opportunity to give an account of some things that have happened in my life. It wasn’t planned. I don’t like to be called names. I think it devalues a person’s worth. Some people call me a feminist. Well, I guess I am to the extent that I advocate for women but I don’t see myself as one. I do have an advantage in that respect…I am a woman, lol. 😀

 

Story…Let’s say you have been raped and you tell someone but they don’t believe you. You tell someone else and they don’t believe you either. They say you are making it up…that you desire attention and just want to get someone in trouble. They ask for proof. You have none. They say, “No proof…then it didn’t happen.” Now, let’s say this event happened over 20 years ago. 

 

  • Does time erase the crime? Nope.
  • Does time make it so that it doesn’t exist? Nope.
  • People say that surely you are over it, right? You never get over something like that.
  • And, why wouldn’t you come forth when it happened? It doesn’t matter what your reason is.

 

For those of you who have never experienced rape, let me just say that for me, I felt devalued. I felt dirty, ashamed. I was told it was my fault by my attacker. Again, I know it wasn’t but rape doesn’t make sense. It is a power play and a control issue.

 

A certain writer did a piece about rape and the comments began. I could not believe the number of people (men) who judged the person that was being discussed saying that her story wasn’t credible. I found it credible but then again I have had weird things happen to me. The commenters made it sound like rape was nothing and that a man who has been falsely accused has a worse time than a woman who has been raped. I am not going to argue that false allegations do not happen. False allegations hurt everyone and I even said such but the words that came back…well, they cut like a knife. They were hurtful. The people were not interested in furthering the discussion or finding a solution or making the problem better. They just wanted to show their power. Gag me. Yuck.

 

Some guy told me that we should arm women on campus to stop rape—I rolled my eyes and asked if he really thought arming everyone was the answer. Another person mentioned the Duke Lacrosse allegations and how that played out. Another belittled me and told me I shouldn’t write on the subject after he decried several instances of blaming women, said some nasty things and then called me name (eye roll).

 

In the end, the writer thanked me for my thoughtful contributions. The person knew it was a bit rough for me. One of my comments was featured with the article which means a lot to me. I was advocating for respect of all people and to discuss and not tear at each other. Oh, btw, the writer is a man. 😉

 

Sometimes it takes courage to speak up for the injustices in the world but it also takes wisdom to know how to control one’s feelings and not lash out so that people will understand the true message. Something I didn’t consider at the time was the people who read the comments and don’t say anything…those who have suffered and cannot speak out. The writer brought that up when we talked and that is why I blog and work so hard in making my views known because deep down I know I’m not alone in what I have experienced nor in what I believe. We need to remember to extend a hand and show love and compassion and for goodness sakes, quit calling people names.

 

Happy Gardening! 🙂

 

 

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This is a personal plea from my heart about our youth. I encountered something that no child or young adult should ever have to face but I know it is happening in social media around the world. Children and young adults are very impressionable…they are trying to find their way, their identity, where they fit in. Most of us go through this type of quest to some extent. We question life and our purpose. We want value—we need it. There have been many killings in America over the years…but look at what is happening now all across the globe—large numbers of people with ideological philosophies that are a tad different than mainstream are acting out–killing others. Sometimes it is radical religious beliefs that pose such a problem. Sometimes it is subtle—sometimes not.

 

I’m sure you have seen the news where young girls (and some young guys) have left the US to join forces, so to speak, with those who call themselves something like ISIS. Before I go any further, the Muslims I know are not of this type. They are peaceful. They want to live in this world with others. They desire harmony. The ones I know don’t push their beliefs on others. They are respectable people wanting respect in return. The ones I speak of are not radicals. They want what all of us want…well, unless you want war against everyone because others believe differently—it is a two-way street you know. 🙂 

 

Let me break here and say after 9/11, America changed…the world changed…but peace should always be what we strive for. People will always want to accelerate things into hate and war but peace is something…the only thing that we should all hold dear even if we never agree about anything else. We have whackos on TV and online who have gone absolutely bananas about things. There are people who are spouting crazy stuff all in the name of God. There are people who criticize the president of the United States when he mentioned the Crusades but do you really know what the Crusades were about? You can say that they were peaceful and knights were needed for protection for people making their pilgrimage to Jerusalem but you would be wrong just like there are those who say that the US Civil War was nothing but about states’ rights and not about slavery. Don’t deceive yourself. Don’t look at things from only one angle.

 

Families are being torn apart by this aggression and this is not an “us versus them” type of thing. There was a young girl from a neighboring state who left her family telling them she was going to Atlanta for something but in reality, she was leaving the states to join a radical band of individuals overseas. She got involved with the wrong people. Her family are now suffering from a barrage of hate speech (and other things) while attempting to come to grips with losing a daughter though she is still alive. Can you imagine going through such grief…everything seems fine one minute and then your world has turned to hell in another?

 

People question how this is happening. I can tell you how with an example. These young people are involved with social media and think nothing of friending people from around the world. It happens when we find others that share similar tastes and interests. All in all, it’s not bad…well until you are contacted by someone who wants you to be sympathetic to their “cause.” I have been contacted by one such individual. The person left me a message on FB. 

 

I didn’t think twice about it at first. I didn’t respond and then I checked his page out. Not good. I was shocked! I never in a million years would think that this was the real deal. I never considered myself to be a target to join such a group but it is real. This type of thing is happening through things such as FB and twitter to name two but there are other forms of social media being used. 

 

Unsuspecting people who use the internet are being preyed upon, vetted and groomed to join these radicals in their fight. Right now, it is radical religious fundamentalism in Syria and such places. This is real—as real as it gets. This is not a dream or something that happens far away. This is happening here and now. We cannot become paranoid or overly defensive but we must arm ourselves with awareness–our best armor in any good defense.

 

I am more angry than anything. If this happens to me (of all people), you can bet it is happening to more people. You cannot follow blindly. You must be aware of what is around you. In self-defense, awareness is one of the first things you are taught. You don’t put yourself in danger and you protect those you love.

 

The story about the young girl is a very sad one. Parents have invested so much in their children—love, time, money. The dad in this case came to the states to avoid what was happening in his country now. He wanted a better life for his family and now he has lost a daughter and many in the country he sought as a refuge (US) have turned against him saying he is to blame. Senseless hate—not that hate ever makes any sense.

 

Get involved with those who you love. Make them feel wanted and appreciated. And, remember not to judge others. 🙂 Don’t hate and don’t separate.

Happy Gardening! 🙂

 

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Today marks 150 years since the signing of the surrender by Robert E Lee at the Appomattox Court House. The Atlantic publication published an article about it (as have many media outlets). They mentioned that the war and cease fire has not really gotten very far because in many eyes, it is still being fought. I can attest to that.

 

I have been commenting in a certain media forum where people are still fighting for “states’ rights.” There were comments yesterday that it was all Lincoln’s fault…I kid you not. I don’t understand. If people had their way, I would be living in a separate country that condoned slavery as a right guaranteed under the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. (excuse me a minute—I need to barf 😐 ) If you have never read this document that actually says the following, I encourage you read it—all of it.

 

We, the people of the Confederate States, each state acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America. (link)

 

It is not pretty. You have to remember that there were black people who were free but many whites did not recognize their freedom. I can go on and on about what I have learned over the years and I am ashamed at our country and I am ashamed of people today. From The Atlantic:

 

“It is easy to proclaim all souls equal in the sight of God,” wrote James Baldwin in 1956 as the Civil Rights Movement took hold in America; “it is hard to make men equal on earth in the sight of men.” Philosophically and theologically, claims of human equality are as old as the hills. But the real struggles for genuine equality of natural rights, of equality before law, and of equality of opportunity are much more recent in historical time. (link) 

 

Just because you claim something does not make it true in everyone’s eyes. In other words…you can lead a horse to water but if that horse doesn’t want to take a drink—it will die right there in front of all the water just because it refuses to do what it needs to do. People are not any wiser than a horse who refuses to drink.

 

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My great-grandfather

My Georgia family owned the farm I grew up on and what is known as Millhaven Plantation is less than 5 miles down the road. I cannot confirm this happened exactly as I was told but this was the story I grew up with… General Sherman made a visit to Millhaven on his march to the sea. That’s how close the civil war came to my backyard—that’s a little close for comfort. The story goes that Sherman was a Mason and the owner of Millhaven was a Mason. It is said that was the reason the plantation house was not burned but crops were stolen as were livestock and after the troops took what they wanted/needed, they destroyed part and ran off the rest of the livestock before heading to Savannah. I think the outbuildings were all destroyed but I can’t say for sure.

 

Being from the south, I have memories that have been relayed to me from people who were born just after the civil war. There were hard times back then from what I was told but no more than usual really, at least for the white families except those who lost family in the war. My family was mostly self-sufficient on the farm. That helped them survive the Great Depression and I am sure that the same holds true for the civil war. My family wasn’t into owning slaves. The only record I can find for a slave was an older black woman and I don’t know that the record is accurate because my great grandfather is listed as a black man on one of the census records and he wasn’t black.

 

I don’t know why people want to continue living like it was before the civil war. I have studied local history for many years and it astounds me that people want to still fight about something that is over with. Like I said, my children get it…they understand. I love it that they do. We are only as strong as our weakest part or link. Why wouldn’t we want to excel—for everyone to be successful? It is a sad thing–people wanting to be in control of others. I wish we could all leave this behind and move forward. Acknowledging history and culture is one thing but waving it in someone’s face is another. Pride and arrogance do not have a place in today’s world. I don’t celebrate the civil war but I honor the freedom it brought. To me, there is no need to scream for states’ rights. It was not Lincoln’s fault. It was stupidity and greed that caused the civil war and it is that same stupidity and greed that is driving some of our laws today. We need to wake up. Discrimination needs to stop! Equality for all people is what we need to honor.

 

Happy Freedom Day! 🙂

 

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To own a person is wrong. I have a difficult time understanding the fact that some people believe it is right in the year 2015. Can you imagine being owned by another human being? Some will tell you the story about how good slaves really had it. These individuals believe that they need to dispel the myth that slaves were mistreated even though there are accounts in newspapers and letters and write-ups telling and detailing the mistreatment.

 

I was also warned last night that I should not believe the Yankee lies that are being told called the revisionist history about the civil war. Think conspiracy theories and you will get close to the person’s mindset. It’s awful how people think we are still living in the 1800s and the federal government is evil and it was only states’ rights that were being fought over… People have been sold a bill of goods and something stinks…

 

It gets worse. This person had ancestors who owned slaves. She was proud of it and said she would never apologize for it. Her pride was her gluttony and will lead to her downfall. How in the world do people function like this? This is why there is so much hatred for others. She wants to divide people and prove that they are inferior. She takes pride in all of this.

 

It is disgusting but this is the mindset of some of the people from the south. It isn’t my mindset. Clearly, slavery is wrong. I was taught that early on. As I grew, I learned of more atrocities and I also heard the stories of how well slaves were treated. Some were treated well but it doesn’t excuse the fact and it cannot make up for all of the people who were mistreated and killed, raped and taken advantage of…not to mention being sold and never seeing their family again. Saying something doesn’t make it true either. It doesn’t excuse the people in America for owning so many slaves. I know it was a sign of the times but still—it is not right!!! And, until we all learn this there will always be racism and prejudice. In other words, we will never be equal in everyone’s eyes until all people see others as equals.

 

Truth be told, many people who came to America were slaves and indentured servants. Some slaves were able to gain their freedom only to learn they were never truly free in the eyes of others. How awful! Can you imagine being treated in this way? I can. I have done research looking for slave descendants. It is very difficult and with most lines it is impossible. It isn’t fair and those people who take pride in their ancestors owning slaves—I wish they could see life from a slave’s perspective in the worst situations but they refuse to believe there was any mistreatment. They are close-minded. It makes me sick.

 

Now do you see why I fight for people to have equality? I will continue to do so and I will speak out against this type of oppression. It makes my heart hurt to know people look down on others and believe their race is superior. How dare they!!! Not one of us is better than another. No one!

 

Have a great day and plant seeds of goodness! 🙂

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Meditation can help with fears. Do you know how to meditate? I began taking the first steps of meditation back in high school. I studied and tried some methods and then I met a guy who practiced meditation on a daily basis. He was unique—he had a wooden board thrust in his eye when he was young. Pieces of wood or splinters were lodged behind his eyeball for years. Ewwww. 😦 There was no damage to the nerve but those pieces were left behind. He learned to meditate each day concentrating on getting the small slivers of wood to the “surface.” Our minds are very powerful.

 

I use meditation to help me avoid seizures, to ease blood pressure, to help with chronic pain, to calm me when things get out of hand, but sometimes none of the “tricks” work. There are a variety of ways to get to that special place in your mind–the sanctuary–that place of peace and contentment. Some people use imagery. Some start with prayer. Some use relaxation techniques or a blend of these. Whatever way you choose, a disciplined individual can practice meditation in a variety of ways. 

 

I have chosen to write about my deepest fear—the one thing that meditation cannot fix and that is the fear of rejection. When I was young, my dad insisted on me being the best because he knew I would have difficulties along the way. He believed that if I were the best I could be, it would help avoid those instances where people will reject you (me). He had no idea he was setting up a cycle that I would learn to repeat over and over because I never felt good enough.

 

Kids need to be praised and their achievements need to be celebrated not for what is to come but for the present—what is now–today–this moment. I didn’t really have that. Even when I made the highest grades and was a high achiever, it was not good enough. I cannot find fault with my parents but I never felt good enough. I would make a 99 on a paper and my dad would ask why did I not get a 100. Emphasis was given to become better but never achieving it. It’s like the ring one keeps reaching for but never able to attain. I find it a little ironic that he never saw me graduate from college…with honors. I did not achieve honors for myself but to gain admiration from my parents–I sought their approval. It was an end goal and intrinsic motivation was passed over.

 

All my life I have wanted to do things but I settled for something else. When I graduated from college and interviewed with companies, they could only see me as a female—I didn’t measure up. Everything I have reached for I have turned away because I kept saying I couldn’t and others reinforced that same thought. My dream was to go into oceanography (thanks Flipper and the many trips to Florida to visit my granddad). My dad kept telling me to do what I wanted but then would say I couldn’t do this basically because of my disability, I guess, so I settled for something else. I have talked about entering college as a physics major and then ending up with a degree in math and one in computer science. I was conflicted in high school–such an impressionable time. This is not a post about what I should have done but rather a post of why I always settled for second best or worse.

 

I never treated myself to things…I didn’t go places I should have gone because I was always doing things for other people. I blamed myself for the failure of my first marriage but in reality, I tried so very hard. I chose to forget that because there were so many painful memories. Being married to a drunk (that sounds awful) was not what I bargained for but I did not know he was like that. He never got drunk like that when we were dating. Getting back in touch with him last year made me remember how I would come home after working sometimes 12 hours (on my feet) and then having to clean up after him night after night and that was after dealing with customers and employees and everything from A to Z.

 

There are always at least two sides to a story but my side goes like this–he wasn’t working because of an accident at work and I was working sometimes 60-80 hours a week. I should have left him but I was trying to make it work. Later, I did a really good job at suppressing the truth because the truth hurts. I am my harshest critic and believe things are my fault. He wouldn’t admit there was a problem with his drinking. I tried to get us to go to AA but he wouldn’t and the fights increased. I wanted safety and love but it wasn’t there in my marriage. When I tried to talk issues and solutions, he told me that one never gives more than half (he wasn’t willing). I felt I was giving more than half and I wasn’t getting anything back. Marriage isn’t supposed to be this way.

 

When my mom got ill, I moved back to care for her. Before I remarried, I was raped and I did a terrific job of suppressing what happened. I made it ok in my mind with the person’s insistence that it was my fault. It was wrong to hide it but it was the best way that I could deal with it—it’s never ok when someone takes advantage of you. I raised a family—I cared for my mom and then my grandmother, my children, my husband—I sacrificed so they would be successful. I did this because I loved them. But in the end, no one was taking care of me. My second husband didn’t. He didn’t have my back like he said he would. I made excuses for him my whole marriage. I remember times where I wanted to leave but I talked myself into staying because I settled. I didn’t want to harm the children. I gave up so they would have.

 

That fear–rejection–has been following me all of my life. I still hear my dad’s voice—“Why isn’t it a 100?” I loved my dad but I didn’t grow up like I should have and I hope I have not repeated his mistake with my children.

 

I went to visit an old friend in Texas almost 2 years ago. He wanted to get married. It was my Romeo story except he turned out not to be so much of a Romeo. I don’t know what happened–not exactly. He’s the one that got way from me and I’m the one that got away from him. It seemed perfect at first but sometimes you cannot pick up where you leave off. He is older and was ready to retire–me, not so much ready to retire or ready to clean up after another man. There were some red flags I should have seen. He has changed and I’m sure I have, too. I felt rejected–that dreadful feeling. Gosh! I fight that feeling that I am not good enough almost every day.

 

I don’t know how to be good to me. I have always pushed myself to do things until now. I am the type of person who must have things to drive me—self-motivation. I was the center of my family. I was like the watch keeper. I set the tempo and drove the ‘bus’ so that everyone got to where they were going on time. I was the organizer. I was the cog—that central hub.

 

I want to have fun. I want to dance again. I want to see the northern lights. I want to visit Ireland. I want to visit the Lia Fáil. 😀 I want to take some time with my children and do things with them before it is too late. I want to make this a reality. I want to live. I want to finish the stories I began writing. I want to make a difference. I don’t want to settle–to take what is last or to wait until it’s my turn. I don’t want to feel rejected in everything I do.

Lia Fáil – from wikipedia. Common usage license – no changes.

 

I am fine at times but then I hit a bump in the road of life. That’s when I hear my dad’s voice. I tell myself everyday that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone but I still feel that I’m not good enough. Do you know that between two husbands, I probably can count how many times I was thanked or congratulated on cooking a meal on two hands–about 25 years…and I tried to be thankful to them for the smallest things. To be happy once again, I have to get rid of the feeling that I am not deserving, unworthy, and not good enough. I am working on it and my aim in life is to be good to me. I’m trying… So, be good to you, too. 🙂

 

Have a great day/night. 🙂

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I have taken a hiatus of sorts again—wasn’t planned—I stepped away from the usual everyday things and spent some time with myself. I like doing that to see where I am exactly. I used to stick to a rigid schedule—a timetable for everything.

 

I believe in speaking out when I see things. That is who I am. I am making progress in taking control of certain areas of my life. We say that half of the battle is in our minds and it is—sometimes I think it is more than half. I am still an activist for certain causes—I don’t think that will change. I have become more vocal but I try to choose my battles and make them few. One area I see as a problem is what we call rape. When I wrote about my coming forward and reaching out to get help recently, I had no idea of the magnitude that rape plays in today’s society as in how much it is in the public eye and how prevalent it really is. I had not heard what all was going on at universities across our nation. There have been incidents of rape on college campuses for years. This includes date rape if you are wondering. These attacks have gone mostly unreported and are still under-reported in my view—I didn’t report my incident that happened on a college campus—I wasn’t raped that time but I was taken advantage of and was almost assaulted by someone I did not know. It should have been reported. I should have done that and given an account of what happened but I was scared just like girls AND guys today are scared to come forward. It isn’t easy to do the right thing because when something happens to you, you become the center of attention for something that is horrible and people will blame ‘you.’

 

I hope to write a more in-depth post later about a certain woman who appeared on CNN to talk about rape and how she blamed the “victims.” This is why I didn’t report the second incident when I was sexually assaulted. In her eyes, I wasn’t raped. It didn’t matter that I have suffered from it and that it was forced—and I did not give consent. I fought off the person as best I could but I was unsuccessful. In her eyes, I should have just said, “No.” I cannot believe I heard the things that came out of her mouth but this will wait until another time.

 

Another situation that has been discussed in the news is about women having to get permission from the father to have an abortion…I’m not addressing ‘right to life’ or abortion—we all have our views and that’s fine. However, when interviewed about the bill, the sponsor was critical of women who have been subjected to domestic abuse and said they must get permission from their abuser and possible rapist. If that’s not a bunch of horse hooey I don’t know what is. He said an abortion should happen only when the mother’s life is in danger or when it is a “legitimate” rape. People believe crazy things like that a woman’s body will not allow her to get pregnant if she is “really” raped…that’s about the biggest pile of malarkey I have ever heard. There are plenty of cases this happens where the woman gets pregnant. If she gets pregnant, does that mean it wasn’t a ‘real rape?’ I have some beach front property I would like to sell if you believe this. These people must have flunked biology or something because it only takes an egg and one sperm to make a zygote that leads to a baby, yada, yada. I thought that was simple biology.

 

I can weigh in on the topic of rape because whether someone believes I was attacked or not, I was legitimately attacked–taken advantage of. Both were scary incidents and the second one still gives me nightmares. There are other times that have scared me but sexual assault is something that doesn’t go away easily. Can you imagine being a woman who has been raped? That’s enough to try to deal with but what happens when you get pregnant by someone who raped you? The abortion bill that was to be decided would require her to PROVE that a LEGITIMATE rape happened–their words. I don’t know about you but if you attack me and I get pregnant—you have no rights to anything about me, my body, children, babies, nothing! You don’t get that right. You gave that up when you took advantage of me. This is where my mom would begin her talk about her belief of sterilization/castration for men who rape 😀 😀 😀 . I carry a lot of my mom in me–both humor and being very serious at times. 😉 I’m so glad she never knew. 🙂

 Candle

“Candle” by Shawn Carpenter (link) via flickr

[Terms of Use – Creative Commons (link) – no changes]

 

I am a survivor. I’m not a victim. I have been victimized many times but in the end, I survived and I am still surviving. To tell me that people who are sexually assaulted against their will are not victims or have not been victimized…that is wrong…terribly wrong. My heart cries out when those who stand up and call people liars because those people have suffered so greatly. Who are we to allow such?

 

Look around. What do you see? I still see inequality in so many areas and it stems out of lack of respect for each other. To think I was raped 25 years ago and didn’t come forward because I was scared people would say exactly what that woman on CNN said—that’s a quarter of a century later! We have made leaps and bounds of progress in other areas. Please don’t put us back to prehistoric times. Support survivors whether it is with grief, assault, all types of survivors…illness…PTSD…we need to stand together and not apart. And, please stop this thing about legitimate rape. Rape is rape—forced assault—someone taken advantage of. You can spray cans of sanitizer and perfume and whatever—it doesn’t change the fact of what happened. Reliving that horrid experience over and over is bad enough but making women feel insignificant and without control is not acceptable. After all, that is what sexual assault is about—someone taking from another so that they have control–they want to make the other one weaker.

 

Let’s support survivors and stop victimizing them. 🙂

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