Rape Culture

Rape Culture: A society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.

We are seeing it in plain sight and full display in flagrant disregard for any sort of decency. Rape culture, to be clear, is not a defense of rape; but it minimizes sexual assault, abuse, and rape, the impact it has on victims, victim blaming, and leniency on the perpetrators of sexual crimes.

These last few weeks alone, we have seen any number of defenses that minimized sexual assault. Of Dr. Ford specifically but these defenses have been used for years. These are things are like
-I believe her, but…
-It happened X long ago
-Who hasn’t fooled around?
-Why didn’t they say something sooner
-Girls/Women are asking for it, look at what they’re wearing/doing etc.
-He was drunk/it was a party
-Not enough evidence
-He’s a good guy, he could never [Blank]

I don’t have to link anything to show these defenses, you’ve probably heard them from Republicans and can hear them from anyone defending Kavanaugh now. Everyone, called Dr. Ford’s account credible after her testimony, and even Fox news called it bad for Republicans. Then, after they heard Kavanaugh speak, and after the FBI investigation and hearing roommates claim he lied about his drinking and shouldn’t be confirmed, they can’t bend over far enough to defend him and call HIM the victim.

That is Rape Culture.

Hearing the victim, saying you believe her and having false empathy, then suddenly not caring when you hear from the man. Many say that the FBI scope was too narrow and even Fox news said agreed, among WaPo and others. CNN even went as far as to claim the probe was a cover-up, simply a shield Republicans could use to muddy the waters enough that they could safely call ALL allegations ridiculous.

That is Rape Culture.

Time and time again it continues to happen, and even when you can convict, sentencing is pathetic. Here’s one where a doctor raped a patient, and two more here and here where children were raped, and the perpetrators were only given probation. And those convictions were only obtained because they were guilty pleas, as I’ve already discussed if it goes to trial it can be difficult for the victim to prove.

That is Rape Culture.

It’s reasons like laughably small or no punishment for abusers that victims don’t come forward. It’s reasons like the difficult process that victims don’t come forward. It’s reasons like victim shaming and being told you’re destroying your abuser’s life that victims don’t come forward. This is Rape Culture.

And Republican’s have perpetuated it at every turn during this process. They have failed victims at every possible step. They have heard stories and protesters and victims and said loudly ‘we don’t care.’ They just keep thinking about those ‘good ol’ times’ when a boy could be a boy and girls just kept their mouths shut.

That is Rape Culture.

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Victim of Abuse and My Perspective.

It’s likely many of you have heard of the Kavanaugh hearing and the accusations made by Dr. Ford and several others. However it’s likely you do not understand what it’s like to be a victim of sexual assault, abuse, and/or rape. At least not entirely, it’s difficult, even when you try your hardest to understand, to know what it’s like unless you are a victim yourself.

So, let me talk a little bit about my story, as a victim.

First, I must start with the fact that trauma effects everyone differently. Everyone reacts differently and everyone’s mind copes differently. Many victims don’t want to recall, or relive trauma. That applies to trauma of any kind; could you imagine living through a horrific incident, then needing to relive it over and over and over again. For many, they want to move on with their lives. In the case of sexual abuse, however, should the victim come forward, they must live through their trauma, constantly, and in great detail under the scrutiny of many who may or may not believe them. In the case of Dr. Ford, she had to answer questions as a group of skeptical, accusatory, men, looked down on her.

For me, the initial trauma broke me as a child. At the time I was already suffering the beginning of a life long struggle with depression and anxiety. When it happened, I repressed it, for many years at great cost to my mental health. Regardless of not having remembered it throughout my childhood, I was forced to deal with a trauma left imprinted on my being that I could not understand. It wasn’t until well into my adult life, fifteen years after the incident, that it began to come back to me and my mental health rapidly deteriorated, and I ended up in the hospital for severe self harm, then in-patient therapy where I was first diagnosed with PTSD. As I began treatment, I was told it was likely I had been living with it ever since the trauma took place.

Though the abuser didn’t remain, the abuse did. After that there was continued abuse from others in my life, peers from school. And I was powerless to stop it, or at least that’s how I felt. I convinced myself I deserved it. I told myself it wasn’t worth standing up for myself. I was convinced I was no longer standing up for.

When you believe others are in control, when you believe you’re not worth anything, it affects everything you do and how you live your life. I’m still dealing with the trauma I endured because how it impacted me permeated everything I was and who I would become. It left me vulnerable to more abuse, that compounded until I didn’t know how to live anymore.

After the last two years of intense therapy, being in and out of hospitals for self harm and in-patient psychiatric care, I’m still only at the beginning of my recovery. And though I may become healthier, I will always, ALWAYS, have to live with mental illness.

Now, I don’t write this for pity, support, or any political reason. But, because I want to help people understand. What it’s like directly from the perspective of someone who’s been through the abuse. What it’s like to feel alone, and powerless.

I write this because one in five, a FIFTH of women, will be raped at some point in their lives. One in four, a full QUARTER, of girls, and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn eighteen years old.

Two thirds of sexual assaults go unreported.

I also write to let others, like me, know you’re not alone. Victims can be anyone, any age, gender, sexual orientation, ANYone.

I also want to relate how difficult it was to write this, behind a keyboard, anonymously, alone and facing no scrutiny or skepticism. It was painful to think about and discuss this with you. I want to thank anyone and everyone strong and brave enough to stand up for themselves and against their accusers and let you know how powerful you are and the message you are sending.

Finally, I wanted to wrap up saying, to what end, would someone come forward so long afterwards. I don’t care what my abuser is doing now, I don’t. However if he were to run for office where he would make decisions over my life, then I would feel compelled to say something. I don’t need or want anything from his life, nothing. I would just need him, and others, to know how much he had hurt me and affected my life.

Thank you, everyone who read this far on a very difficult subject.

Depression, Self-Harm, and My Wounds

Someone asked me about my scars tonight, and we had a fairly amicable discussion. I know it’s a sensitive topic for a lot of people, and for myself its quite awkward, but honestly not something I mind talking about. If someone is genuinely interested in why I self harmed, I don’t mind talking about it because it spreads awareness.

But here’s the thing, if you do ask, do it with genuine interest. If you know me, it’s hard to miss my scars, my upper arm is basically a sleeve of scars and for several months I always had a varying amount of stitches. I don’t cover them up because they’re a part of who I am, my past, my personality, and what I’ve become. I don’t mind having a conversation about them, but I know other people do and I can understand that. You wouldn’t ask an amputee how they lost a limb or how someone lost an eye, so why would you ask why someone has scars?

So, instead of being asked, I’m offering the information. It’s hard to impart what I need to in an easy to digest way, but pure and simple, self harm is something you just feel is necessary. For me, I did it for a number of reasons.

One was anger, anger I felt towards others, the world, myself, whatever it was, I was just angry. But I knew other people didn’t deserve to be the object of my anger, and taking it out on others was wrong, so I took it out on myself.

Two was ritual, the satisfaction of having control over something. It might sound grotesque, but it was exceedingly pleasant to cut myself, and be over control over it. Sterilizing the blade, hurting myself, cleaning the blade and my wound, bandaging myself. There was something very soothing about the whole process that made me feel like I could control something when there was nothing else.

Three was despair, harming myself for the sake of just doing it. Even now I can’t describe why it happened, but it did and I can tell you know if I feel the way I did before, I’d hurt myself again. It just makes sense when you’re that far in the well of misery.

I guess that’s all I have for now, I’ve been meaning to make more mental health posts, I think this counts. So thanks for reading.

Stay Weird,
Xenos

Conflating Companies with People

Once again as Trump tweets from his porcelain throne, he touts how great his trade war is, how amazing the tariffs are and how the money is flowing in for the treasury. How our market is stronger than ever while China’s is down and touts the incredible increase in steel industry profits.

But here’s the problem, that doesn’t anything good except for steel CEOs and government. Just because steel profits are up doesn’t mean anyone is getting money except for that company, that’s it. Why do people think just because steel does better, means steel workers do better?  There will be an increase of 500 steel jobs, that’s it. Steel jobs have been declining, in spite of production being steady, for decades because of automation and that trend will only continue.

And while there might be a few more steel jobs, the auto industry is already warning they will lose jobs because of the tariffs. Speaking of auto, I hope you enjoy paying upwards of 5k more for a car, because the price of steel is higher. The cost is going up both because of tariffs and steel. In fact, anything that requires steel to make, like, everything, will cost more.

Who’s paying? You thought China right? Cause that’s who the tariff is on, but no, it’s us. It’s a regressive tax on the poor. They tariff the cheaper imported steel, so now companies have to pay more for production and products which passes on to us, meaning we also pay more in sales tax as well on almost everything.

This isn’t even touching on the subject that the government has to put farmers on welfare because of tariffs on the United States is hurting them incredibly.

So, when Trump says that the government is making money, when he gives his tax breaks away to the rich, the big steel industries are making money; ask yourself, why am I, the middle class and the poor still getting fucked?

It’s Not About Preventing Pregnancy, It’s About Dogma

Trump to switch federal money from comprehensive sex-ed programs in favor of abstinence only education.
 
The man who can’t stay out of women’s changing rooms and his dick out of porn stars and hold on to a wife, will be championing abstinence only education that does not work. That is not an opinion, that is objective fact backed up by research and study.
 
Comprehensive sex-ed programs, in addition to access to contraception, does reduce unwanted pregnancy. Again, that isn’t opinion, that is objective fact.
 
Children are going to f*ck, that’s it, period. Abstinence only education tells the kids they’ve sinned, and now they must carry the baby to term, ruining their lives and setting up the baby to come into a world with unprepared parents.
 
Children who have access to comprehensive education and contraception might get into a situation they didn’t plan for, luckily the guy is ready with a condom, and if not, it’s likely she’s on the pill or has an IUD, then they get to have disappointing awkward kid sex, not have a baby, and go to college, and have a productive career where they can have a child in their late 20s or 30s when they’re ready.
 
MAKE NO MISTAKE, this is not about what’s more effective than the other, because we have numbers, research, and facts that tell us which one works better.
 
This is about religious dogma being pushed by the very man Jesus said could never make it to heaven.

Monsters Don’t Use Guns

Psychos, maniacs, sickos, crazy, insane, messed up.

Monster.

Stop, calling, them, this.

First, you are calling them this in the same breath as mentioning mental health and mental illness. This is offensive to everyone who is going through mental health issues. It deters people from seeking help with mental health because then they are ‘psycho’ or labeled as violent and dangerous. When people don’t seek help, they become worse and suffer in silence until it becomes a crisis. I speak from personal experience.

I’ll expand on that later, but my main point is that, secondly,  calling them monsters ignores a very, very important point.

They’re not monsters.

They’re not psychos.

They’re not maniacs.

They’re human.

They’re your classmates, co-workers, neighbors, friends and family. They’re sons, daughters, mothers and fathers.

They’re me, they’re you.

An uncomfortable thought, I know, but no one wants to believe someone they know is capable of murder. Everyone wants to believe that people who are going to commit murders are some deranged lunatic steeping in hatred in a basement. Everyone wants to believe serial killers and mass murderers are psychopathic monsters writing hieroglyphics on the wall in blood.

That simply isn’t the case.

People who commit violent crime; murder, spousal abuse, assault, are usually well adjusted members of society. So quit trying to de-humanize them.

I used to read the local paper daily, and there was almost always a shooting or assault report in the crime section. Usually non-lethal, but it involved everyday people going about their everyday life doing everyday things, then things just got out of hand, one thing led to another.

Other times there were reports involving death. Someone getting shot in the dark, a previous boyfriend suspected. A murder suicide, just two people going about their lives when an argument gets out of hand.

When you look beyond local there is always a story to see. A boy shooting his siblings over an argument about food. People shooting each other and themselves all the time by mistake or in a moment of passion. A negligent parent who is shot or loses a child because they left their gun unattended and a toddler picked it up. A family man who murders his family.

Hitler wasn’t a monster, he was a man. He wasn’t a psychopathic sicko, he was a veteran, a son. He wasn’t insane, he was an articulate speaker who had convinced himself what he was doing was right and just.

When you convince yourself only monsters commit these horrific atrocities, then you can’t see them. You won’t be able to see them because all you see are people. And just like in a horror movie, you only see the monster when it’s too late.

So when NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch says that the ‘Insane monster’ who shot students in Florida, what does she mean? When did he become a monster?

Before or after he shot people?

Before or after he decided to kill people?

Before or after he had a thought about killing people?

How do you define a monster? Who gets to decide? Are you a monster for your thoughts? Or actions?

If you have ever been on the internet, you know that death threats are almost as common as compliments. Is every who sends a death threat, or threat of any kinds, a monster? Should they be allowed to have guns?

What do you do for people when they’re a ‘monster’? Where do you send them? Who pays for it? How do you force someone to get help if they don’t want it?

Is someone who abuses their spouse a monster? How about someone who makes threats online? How about someone who assaults another person? What about someone who just thinks about those things?

It’s awfully convenient to say ‘insane monsters’ shouldn’t have guns, when they’re only ‘insane monsters’ once they start killing people.

Lets stop talking about monsters, and talk about people. Because that’s what this is about.

Let’s Talk About Mental Health.

If we’re going to talk about mental health, then fucking do it. Stop using mental illness as your distraction topic from gun violence. Because the link between mental illness and violent crimes is an important topic worth discussing, but the link between mass shooting and mental illness is very weak. In fact the crime rate involving people with mental illness with firearms is quite low, in actuality two thirds of gun deaths are suicides.

If these guys are so concerned about mental health, why do they only, ONLY talk about it when it’s in relation gun massacres. Why dozens of people are slaughtered, the bring up the mentally ill.
When 123 people die daily, 44,965 people a year, die to suicide each year. 494,169 visited a hospital in 2016 for injuries due to self-harm, with hundreds of thousands of self-harm and suicide attempts going unreported and untreated.

Suicide rates increase sharply in adults 25 and over, men are 3.5 times more likely to die than women and white men account 7 out of 10 suicides in 2016. Firearms account for half of all suicides. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall, being the 2nd leading cause of death among those 15-34, and 3rd leading cause of death between children 10-14.
That’s right, children, 10-14, 409 of them took their own lives in 2015. In comparison, 158 were killed because of homicide. That’s all homicide mind you, not just gun violence.

None of what I just mentioned, has anything to do with mass shootings.

So, why, the fuck, do we only talk about mental health when there’s a mass shooting?
Millions of people struggle with mental illness, minor and severe.

To say it’s only worth taking about mental illness in the context of violence isn’t only god damned insulting, it is stigmatizing and damaging to legitimate discussion about mental illness.

People will not seek help, if they believe only violent people have mental illness. There is a very real stigma with mental illness. People believe only those with problems should seek mental health physicians, which isn’t true. That people with mental illnesses are dangerous, which isn’t true. That it’s a weakness to seek help for mental health, which isn’t true.
But to talk about mental health in the context of violence gives weight to all these myths that we’ve been trying to dispel for years.
Trump mentioned mental health, but no plans, no ideas, no policy thoughts.

So, I expect nothing to happen, but if we as citizens want to stop mental illness and suicides from claiming lives we have to change the stigma.

If we want to help children struggling, we have to have comprehensive mental health and wellness education. We need counselors and professionals who can identify when children are starting to slip, and guide them and help them. And they will grow into a generation more mindful of mental health and hopefully reduce suicides in a time suicide rates are increasing.
That is going to require staffing, and funds. Something many schools lack.

But Trump didn’t mention anything that would imply he wants to actually do anything.

In fact, everything he is doing would imply he only wants to make it worse.

He has slashed taxes which could have been used for funding national, state and local programs for mental health.

He has removed the individual mandate which will kick 11 million people off medical insurance which would help provide assistance for those needing mental health care.

And most importantly he rescinded and Obama era policy that would help prevent those with mental health issues from getting fire arms.

So, when Trump says he wants to address mental health. He’s just doing the standard news cycle post school shooting.

Thoughts and Prayers

Mental Health

Forget and wait for the next one.