Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thinking Out Loud....Literally.

Sexual Assault as defined by Wikipedia: Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

We’ve seen movies about sexual assault. The girl (or boy) gets assaulted, he/she is beaten, bruised and bloody and left to die. We don’t see the movies where the girl/boy is lying in bed, sleeping next to a person they know and trust that takes advantage of their small frame and inability to push them off. We don’t see movies where it’s quiet and the girl says “no” over and over again. There’s no beating of any kind, no visible bruises or blood. Just a person left, laying there, left broken, confused and worthless. A person that will have nightmares almost every night afterwards and assumes that any man/woman that comes near them will do the same thing.

2 years ago, I was raped. And for the first time since it happened, I’m strong enough to say it out loud.

It took me 2 years to acknowledge that what happened was wrong and that I didn’t do anything to provoke it. I wasn’t wearing a short skirt, I wasn’t “asking for it” and I hadn’t been drinking. I was a girl, fully clothed, laying in a bed, just trying to sleep when a man twice my size used his weight to hold me down and force himself on me after I repeatedly said “no” and “please stop”. For 2 years it has controlled my life, it has controlled my ability to eat normally, have normal relationships and for that I am angry. I have been angry since the night my innocence was taken away.

I write this in hopes that it will help even just one person. Not for sympathy, not for attention, but because I don’t want any other girl or boy to feel like they don’t have a voice. I stayed silent for too long and because of it, my health deteriorated, my feeling of self-worth diminished and my ability to let people into my bubble became impossible.

Please tell someone, a doctor, a therapist, if you don’t feel comfortable telling your family (like me), tell your best friend, someone you trust. I’ve been in therapy for a little while now and the night I told my therapist what happened, I felt an immense weight come off my shoulders. I’m no longer hiding behind a smile, I don’t get as tense when someone touches me in the grocery store or a man looks at me for what I think is too long when I’m in a public setting.

Below is a list of services and hotlines for you or for anyone you know that needs help, the first step to getting better is admitting that it happened. Saying it out loud.

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 (24 hours a day)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-787-3224
Victim Connect: 1-855-484-2846

"In life, you realize there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some will love you, and some will love you and some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important are the ones who out the best in you. They are rare and amazing people who remind you why it's worth it." -Unknown

Friday, January 27, 2017

Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down...

For those of you who think it’s an easy thing to walk into an abortion clinic, those of you who think we walk in and leave an hour later like nothing happened, those of you who think women aren’t personally responsible enough to make decisions for our own bodies, here’s what a day at the clinic really feels like...

6:00am – We pull into the driveway; my boyfriend drops me off and tells me to call him when I’m done. (Um, yeah, thanks babe)

6:05am – I’m greeted by a wall of protestors, yelling at me, judging a situation they know nothing about, calling me names, shoving pictures in my face, making the whole experience much worse than expected.

6:10am – along with 10 other girls, ranging in age from 16-40, we check in and are told to wait until we hear our names called.

6:15am – as we sit in a cold waiting room, we’re reminded what we’re here for. Looking at each other, wondering when and where our life stories took a turn and how we got here, by ourselves.

6:45am – my name is called and I’m taken to a cold room, with lockers, hard tile floor and hanging sheets for us to change behind.

6:50am – I’m told to put on a gown and wait to hear my name called.

7:05am – I’m brought in for an ultra sound, I hear the heartbeat, I see the photos. My heart breaks all over again.

7:15am – I’m brought back into the cold room with lockers and tile floor, yet again, waiting to hear my name called.

8:05am – my name is called. I’m walked down a short hallway and taken into the procedure room.

8:10am – I’m asked to confirm my name and birthday. I’m then asked to lay down on the table, all the while, they are still in the process of wheeling out the girl before me. I lay down on my back and I’m asked to place my feet into stirrups. Not the kind we’re used to at the Gynecologist. These ones are higher, colder and would make any person feel horribly vulnerable.

8:15am – An IV is administered, a mask is put on my face to put me to sleep and a machine that sounds like a vacuum is turned on before I fall asleep. In that moment, tears run down the side of my face onto the pillow I’m lying on, in this moment I realize these are my final minutes with my unborn baby.

8:45am - I wake up. I’m in horrible pain, I’m bleeding, I’m disoriented, I’m sick, throwing up on myself from the anesthesia and I’m left there to wait because they only have 1 nurse to tend to 10 women.

9:15am – I’m cleared to leave, out the back door as to not be bombarded by protestors…again. Bent over, holding my stomach, I’m able to get in the car with the help of my cousin. I immediately start to sob.

1 month later – depressed, still recovering and in constant pain, crying all the time, feeling worthless, feeling alone, dirty and like I can never take enough showers to wash off the pain of that day.

2 months later – still depressed, crying in the shower everyday so no one will hear, having recurring nightmares of that day and the sound of the vacuum.

3 months later – even more depressed, questioning my decision, knowing that I made the right one, but still wondering if I could have made it, knowing I couldn’t.

6 months later – those damn nightmares still taking up space in my mind

1 year later – I still cry, every time I see a baby or one of my friends becomes pregnant I immediately go back to a depressed state. Why do they get the fairy tale? Why didn’t their boyfriends leave? Why, just why?

Almost 7 years later and I still remember every moment from that day. Every. Single. Moment. I can tell you what I was wearing, I can tell you how I felt, I can tell you how cold the metal was when I laid on the table.

But I can also tell you that it was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. At 23 years old, I wasn’t strong enough mentally or physically to bring another life into this world. My life now is full, I accomplished things I never dreamed that I could do before, because I decided to be selfless instead of selfish.

Some of you may not agree with abortion and that’s fine. What’s not fine is judging someone, calling them names, making them feel like less of a person because they decided to put themselves first. Until you’ve felt that cold metal on your back, gone through the months of recovery and had to pick yourself up and hold your head high, you don’t get to judge me. You don’t get to say that what I did was wrong.

What is currently happening in our country is embarrassing. When did it become okay for a room full of men to tell me, my mom, my sister, my cousins, my aunts, my grandma, my friends or any other woman, what she can and cannot do with her body? One of the alternatives to abortions is death. Women all over the US and the world will be forced to carry babies to term, even if it endangers their lives. They’ll throw themselves down stairs, leave babies in trash cans, abandon them at fire stations or hospitals, and they’ll be forced to find health care that can and will endanger their lives. If we have enough money as a nation to pay for a “Wall”, then we have enough money to fund these treatment centers that offer a wide variety of treatments. Don’t forget, no government funds go towards abortion services, they do go towards birth control, STD and STI tests, pregnancy tests, mental health care, and here’s the one that might shock you, some people use Planned Parenthood as their main health care provider, not because of money, but because they offer amazing services and care.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, until these men grow a pair of ovaries, they most certainly are not going to tell me what I can do with mine.