Crime/Punishment, Criminal Justice, Mental Abuse, Politics, PTSD, Sexual Abuse, Speaking from Experience, Stigma/Taboo, Victims of sexual abuse/sexual assualt

Consent, Respect and Believe

believe-survivors

 

I’m back to talk about consent, boundaries and believing survivors. I will keep talking about this because there are still so many people that are quick to judge survivors for coming forward. These people are so quick to judge for one of two reasons, perhaps both apply.

Reason one: They have been fortunate to have never experienced any form of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, molested, raped. Reason two: They support an abuser, sexual predator or they are a sexual predator which makes me think we should pay particular attention to those that bash victims.

I will point out that those sexual predators that are convicted of rape/sexual abuse are housed together in prison, away from the general population for THEIR protection.  Why do you think that is? Even murderers, members of gangs and the rest of those in Gen Pop find rapists disgusting, less than human scumbags. I’ll let that sink in. This is not my opinion, this is a FACT.

I know what’s coming next, Where’s your proof, Hannah? How can you say such things without proof? This is exactly what I’ve had to deal with in a recent twitter war when I made the statement that sexual predators stick together/protect each other in a tweet that mentioned Trump was in full support of Kavanaugh. I also made the comparison that this type of behavior is how the churches have been able to get away with abusing so many kids, they protect each other, turn a blind eye and cover it up.

The twitter poster and I exchanged six or seven comments each, to which he (I assume it was a he I was dealing with) kept insisting that I show “PROOF.” Honestly, it was like having a conversation with a toddler that keeps asking Why.  First of all, I don’t need proof to form an opinion, I know that won’t sit well with some of you, but hear me out. Opinions are NOT based on facts, opinions are personal preferences much like trying to agree on pizza toppings. No one is right or wrong, it’s based on preference or in the case of pizza, a matter of taste.

If I had come out with “I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT TRUMP IS A SEXUAL PREDATOR,” then yes I better cite my sources and have proof to back it up. My opinions are based on interviews Trump has given, statements he has made on the record and as a person that has endured several accounts of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, I recognize certain behaviors/phrases that are common with sexual predators. That is why I feel strongly that Trump is a sexual predator. I will not apologize, I will not retract my statement. Trump supporters lose their minds when their orange idol has something not so nice being said about him. Honestly, he does that to himself.

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, then you have a good idea as to the many reasons why victims don’t come forward right away. There are people that still don’t grasp those reasons and think the sole reason that some of us come forward many years later is for a big payout.

Let me make this as clear as possible… Those of us that have been sexually assaulted, sexually abused, raped or molested feel too ashamed, too embarrassed, too scared to admit that we had been taken advantage of, that we had been violated. We don’t want to call attention to ourselves knowing how we will be judged and made to feel after we do share our experience. Society has made sure to shame us, make us think that we are crazy, try to convince us that we are not remembering the event correctly.

It’s ironic, the fact that there is so much pressure and emphasis to have a witness, to which there rarely is a witness, yet somehow those who don’t know us, they weren’t there seem to have an opinion as to how things went down. THIS IS A PROBLEM!!!!!

Countless survivors have come forward, we speak up which takes a great deal of courage, WE WERE THERE, yet we are not believed, we are made to relive our trauma over, and over, and over. Believe me when I say that when we do come forward, we are not doing it for the fame and fortune. We come forward when we are ready. We come forward when we see an abuser looking to gain a position of power, and we feel it is our civic duty to come forward with information that should help keep them from gaining that advantage. You’re welcome… None of us are thanked for coming forward. Instead, we are met with disbelief and instant accusations of being gold diggers. Some of us will never come forward, and that’s okay too. Our actions to come forward are not an act of seeking revenge, but more about trying to prevent our abuser to continue abusing others or making laws that take away our rights.

I see that I’ve gone off topic slightly…

I realize that the concept of consent is confusing for many people, so I’ll do my best to clear that up. Consent, as it applies to engaging in sexual activities, means that both partners agree that it is okay to keep going. Getting consent is the equivalent of getting a YES or a similar phrase that lets you know that your partner is on board, you have permission.

Where this gets muddled is when a couple starts off with consent and one partner changes their mind (for whatever reason) and they say NO, STOP,  I’m NOT READY or any phrase/action like pulling away that is a clear indicator to STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING. If you are on the receiving end of a NO, this is not personal and is not a reflection of you in any way. Respect that NO means NO. If you love your partner and truly care and respect them, you will stop and acknowledge their boundaries. If you insist on continuing what you’ve started, now forcing your partner to continue against their free will, you have crossed a line that you can not come back from. You are a rapist.

If you don’t want to be known as a rapist, or you don’t want to register on the list of sex offenders, then don’t force someone to take part in sexual activities against their will. It’s that simple.

What about teenagers that are experimenting? NO means NO.

What about when an 18-year-old is dating a 16-year-old? In most areas, 16 is the legal age for consent. Still, NO means NO.

What about when an 18-year-old is dating a 15-year-old? The 18-year-old is taking a huge risk, and NO still means NO.

What about a married couple, there’s got to be an exception made for that, right? No exception here. Your spouse doesn’t owe you anything. Being married doesn’t give you a free pass to have your way with them. This is known as Domestic Sexual Abuse and NO still means NO. If you find yourself in this position, your spouse is not respecting your boundaries and continues to treat you as their personal sex slave, GET OUT of that marriage if counseling doesn’t work and the marriage is not salvageable.

I have endured this type of abuse as well, it is very real and often is not viewed as rape, when it is exactly rape. Your spouse should want to engage willingly, not made to lay there and take it because they owe you or you feel it falls under the “for better or for worse” section of your vows. Find another way to get out your pent up frustration/aggression and leave your spouse alone. Learn to accept the phrase “Not Tonight, or Not Now” as NO.

A person that truly loves you and respects you will not take advantage of you or make you feel like shit for saying NO.

What about casual sex? Casual sex is perfectly fine as long as consent is freely given by both parties. Agree on a safe word if that helps to establish a level of comfort and honor that.

How can I avoid being accused of rape? Don’t force yourself in a sexual manner on someone else. Don’t continue any sexual activity when your partner says NO, Stop, pulls away, changes their mind in the middle of what is happening. If your partner breaks down in tears, shows signs of being scared or nervous, respect their boundaries. Don’t give in to peer pressure or to the idea that all of the cool kids are doing it, so should you.

Have respect for yourself as well as respect for your partner.

Don’t drug your partner (or potential partner). Don’t take advantage of a person while they are intoxicated, even if they appear to be of sound mind at that time. Don’t go in for a sneak attack and catch another person off guard by putting your hands on them and touching/groping/fondling them. That is not appropriate and unacceptable behavior, and chances are, you did not get consent to do so. I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will. KIDS ARE ALWAYS OFF LIMITS. The short answer is, if you don’t want to be accused of rape, then don’t be a rapist.

Rape is not a result of what the female was wearing. Rape is not the result of a woman jogging alone, minding her business as she tries to stay fit.  I actually read a comment from a guy that claimed that if you don’t want to get raped, avoid being alone with a man. What the actual HELL!!!! It’s statements like this that make me think this guy is a rapist. Similar statements have been made by the president of the USA. So what, women now and forever need to use a buddy system and all men are not to be trusted to keep their hands to themselves? That is the message he is sending on the post he started about why he doesn’t believe survivors.

The act of rape is not accidental, it is done with intent. I will not budge on that statement.

Our sex drives are not equal, not all humans crave sexual interaction 24/7? While yes, males tend to have a higher sex drive and tend to crave it more often. Just as there are many women that have the same urges/needs. Some of us have a sex drive that is somewhere in the middle, and some of us are content with having less sexual interactions. All of which are normal by the way, so don’t let someone make you feel that you are inadequate in any way.

If you find that you do crave sexual interaction frequently to the point where your day is often disrupted, please consider seeking help as you may have an addiction. I’m not judging or shaming, just pointing out that it is a possibility.

This is not a male bashing post. I recognize that boys/men are also victims and come forward less often than females do, and that’s okay. Sometimes it only takes one survivor to come forward to make a difference. Sometimes the courage of that one survivor will encourage other survivors to come forward. Think about that next time a highly influential person is accused of rape, and several victims come forward to stand together for support as they seek justice. Not having the courage to be in the public stoplight and having their name in headlines is not an indicator that they were not sexually assaulted. Acknowledge the fact that they came forward as proof against their abuser.

Learn to RESPECT Boundaries, Learn to RESPECT yourself, Give CONSENT freely, Get CONSENT, any sign of hesitation from you or your partner is an automatic NO. You don’t owe anybody anything nor should anyone feel that they are owed.

Believe Survivors!

Otherwise, I have to assume that you support sexual predators and you are part of the problem.

#MeToo, #MenToo, #KidsToo, #IBelieveSurvivors

 

 

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Crime/Punishment, Mental Abuse, PTSD, Sexual Abuse, Speaking from Experience, Stigma/Taboo, Victims of sexual abuse/sexual assualt

Why I Didn’t Report…

Hashtag2

 

By now you’re aware of the #MeToo movement and there have been countless reports of men and women coming forward with their stories/experiences of being sexually assaulted, sexually harassed, and sexually abused. It’s about time that we acknowledge these victims/survivors that have been taken advantage of, abused, mistreated and more importantly that we listen and BELIEVE them.

I’ve talked about this topic in my book and in this blog as well as on various social media platforms and I’ll keep talking about it until changes are made. Right now the laws protect the abusers and silence/shame the victims and that needs to stop.

How is it that we as a society continue to turn a blind eye when clearly there are thousands of victims coming forward which means countless crimes have been committed and their abusers are still out in public not being held accountable? I’ll tell you why…

Here’s an example: We have a 70-year-old woman that just moved into her new apartment. The landlord meets her to give her the keys and makes the comment that he’d gladly take sex as payment and asks for her to think about it. The woman feels harassed (rightfully so), she feels threatened and scared so she does the right thing and reports the incident to the police. The male officer asks if there is anyone that witnessed this, to which she says “no, I was there alone with him.” The officer replies with, “I don’t think you should worry about it, I think he was only flirting with you.”

Do you see the problem with how the officer handled that situation? If you answered no, allow me to enlighten you. First, the woman did the right thing, she came forward immediately. She felt threatened, scared and wanted to file a report because she felt that her safety is at risk and she had just been sexually harassed.

What went wrong is how the officer handled the situation. Rather than actually taking the report and having a paper trail in the event that the landlord makes a second attempt; the officer dismisses the woman’s claim completely and brushes it off as “flirting”, so there is no crime in flirting. Second, as he clearly pointed out, there wasn’t a witness, so how does he know that the landlord was only flirting if he himself was not there to witness it and make that judgment call.

Last but not least, the officer completely down played the situation and may have assumed that since the woman is a senior that a sexual predator wouldn’t target her. I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it: Sexual predators don’t discriminate against age, race, gender, or religion. They do however prey on those they feel that they can manipulate and easily take advantage of.

If you’ve taken a moment to read through the #WhyIDidntReport claims you will notice similarities as to why victims don’t come forward right away. Things like the sexual predator using blackmail, extortion, gaslighting, scare tactics, drug/alcohol induced (date rape), their position of power/authority ( Religous leaders, Movie executives, Military officers, Doctors, Government officials) or their celebrity status (paying them off) to keep their victim(s) quiet. The most common form of victim silencing is family members turning a blind eye, family not wanting to admit that there is a sexual predator in the house.

Parents have a duty an obligation to protect your child(ren), right? What happens when it’s your spouse, your sibling, or your oldest child that is a sexual predator? It’s easy to sit back and come to the conclusion that you remove the threat in order to protect your child no matter the cost.

It’s not so easy to call the police on your husband if he’s the breadwinner. It’s not so easy to admit that your own sibling or oldest child is a monster. In most cases, when a child does come forward to a parent, it’s much easier to dismiss that child’s claim and make them think the sexual abuse they endured is all in their head, it never happened, they are never to speak of it again.

They are only a child after all, kids fabricate stories and have wild imaginations, so who’s going to believe them, right? It’s this way of thinking that has been the problem for years and it has to stop! Young children don’t know what sex or rape is, so when they come forward don’t dismiss it. You are the adult, so be the adult and do the right thing! It’s not up to the child to go to the police or go to the hospital for a rape test, it’s up to you, the parent to protect them and see this the whole way through because your child needs you.

Here’s my #WhyIDidntReport story. **** SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ MY BOOK*****

I was 8 years old when I had my first encounter with my mother’s boyfriend. I endured several accounts of sexual abuse/rape over a 14 month period. During the first encounter I was made to believe that my mother wouldn’t believe me, he said he would deny everything and that I would risk my only parent not loving me anymore. There were many times that I heard that this would be the “last time” which it wasn’t. One night he took his handgun out from his dresser and placed it next to my head while he was raping me. I was not cooperating ( I never made it easy for him, but I was always overpowered) to which he felt the need to go to that extreme and he made threats of killing my mother and my brother if I ever came forward. Death threats that I believed as a 9-year-old. My mother walked in on what would be my last encounter with her boyfriend while his son and my brother were sleeping in the next room. I told my mother what had been going on for the last year, where the encounters happened, the threats he made and he told my mother his side of the story (more lies). My mother didn’t know who to believe. Turns out her boyfriend was right, my mother didn’t believe me and I chose to spend the rest of the night sleeping in the car (locked myself inside) because I did not feel safe sleeping under the same roof as my abuser. If my mother wouldn’t do anything to protect me, clearly I was on my own. A rape test was performed the morning after and the proof my mother needed was confirmed but that didn’t stop her from having a relationship with a pedophile.

Do you think an officer would have believe me if I came forward on my own? Naturally, the officer would want to talk to my mother and her boyfriend about my claims, and how do you think that scenario would play out? My mother didn’t believe me even after walking in on the encounter. She opted to stay in a relationship with my abuser even after the doctor confirmed that forceful penetration had occurred, that semen had been collected, it was tested and belonged to her boyfriend. If my own parent decided not to protect me, what was I suppose to do at 9-years-old?

My story is a prime example as to why victims don’t come forward right away. It’s not that we don’t want to come forward, it’s because we have been made to feel that we CAN’T come forward. We’ve witnessed time and time again what happens when those victims with enough courage do come forward, which is that the abuser is free to keep abusing and the victim is made to suffer in silence. If a rape test isn’t performed immediately after the incident (up to 48 hours after), then there is no proof that it happened unless there is a witness (in most cases there isn’t, or if there is, the witness doesn’t want to get involved).

What about the cases of sexual harassment, groping, inappropriate touching, fondling or oral sex taking place? These all fall under he said, she said (not to suggest that this couldn’t happen between the same sex). Without a witness, video, pictures, or audio it is very hard to prove and in most cases these claims go ignored, they get played down to flirting or chalked up as a misunderstanding while the victim(s) goes on feeling violated, ignored, and made to feel as if they somehow deserved it or asked for it.

Sexual predators are never sorry, they show no remorse, spending a few months in jail/prison only serves as a slap on the wrist. Sexual predators are only sorry that they have been exposed. They are sorry that their victims have united together against them so that justice can be served. Those sexual predators that pay off their victims are STILL sexual predators, the only difference is, they have money to throw around to keep their victims quiet and to pay their staff/associates to look the other way.

We need to look passed the celebrity status, the affluent sexual predators, the elected government/religous sexual predators and knock them off of the pedestal and recognize that they ARE sexual predators, they ARE criminals and need to be treated as such. No special favors granted, no shorter sentences because they are a young athlete with a bright future ahead, no going back to work after a few months of not being on television, no going back to the comedy clubs and no more putting them back out in public to continue sexually assaulting more people! Right now, this is the message being sent to all sexual predators.

Why are people so quick to discredit the claims from victims? When you don’t know the victim, the family, or the abuser why are so many people compelled to jump in with their opinion that a false claim is being made?  Open your eyes folks, try putting yourself in our shoes and ask, “What do the victims coming forward have to gain?”

We want to be believed, we want to be heard, we want closure, we want to feel safe and stop sleeping with one eye open, we want justice for the crime committed against us, and we want to raise awareness to bring to light just how often crimes of this nature happen, and show where they are happening and how they are being dealt with. We are speaking up, but are you really listening?

Changes need to be made, there has got to be a better way to process these cases that protects the victims instead of protecting the abuser. There has got to be a more efficient way of processing the rape tests that have been sitting in an evidence storage room for years. We have to start holding people accountable on all levels in this process, the abusers, the officers, the lawyers, the judges, the lab technicians, our family members.

In the end it’s a matter of choosing to be a part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.