Category: politics

Curiosity

I’ve noticed something in the midst of all of this Gillette ad campaign controversy. Yes, I know that happened an entire week ago and most of the Internet has moved on to other things. I think the ad and the backlash speaks for itself, but watching this mess unfold took me a while to notice the pattern I’m addressing here.

Entertain my observation for a moment.

I’ve been in the social media trenches, not really voicing my opinion outside what I chose to post here and share on my other outlets. But I have been paying attention and what I’ve noticed is the most vocal, albeit small faction of men upset by this ad are voicing their often vulgar opinions online while their wives and/or female partners are working, breadwinning in fact, to support them.

To those men:

I’m curious just how evil this so called “feminist agenda” can be, allowing women to provide for your families while you (male partners) are left at home either with the kids, or a disability, or just not being motivated enough to keep a decent job, or maybe even actively looking for a decent job but unable to find one. Hmm?

Really, the reasons these men are left at home to muppet flail on the internet are vast, and none of them are necessarily bad.

Choosing to be a stay at home father is admirable if it’s something you and your partner agree is best for your family. Choosing to be a stay at home father that sits online and rants about the evils of feminism while your wife pays the bills? Not so much.

Disabilities preventing you from working? They’re out of your control. You can’t help it. I make the general assumption that people unable to work due to various disabilities WOULD if they were given the opportunity. But if you have a woman taking care of you as someone who is disabled and not contributing to the family financially (not to say you can’t contribute to a family in any number of other valuable ways) why are you yelling and raving online all day about the “evil feminist agenda”?

Lack of education and/or skills is a complicated one. In some circumstances it’s a choice not to pursue higher education. In some circumstances it’s not, so you can’t really say some one without an education has necessarily made the choice to be lazy. Still… whatever the reason your wife and/or female partner makes more than you allowing, you to be at home ranting and raving about feminism… she would never have been able to accomplish such a lofty goal as providing for herself and you, her ignorant ass partner/husband without the women who stood up for feminism before her.

Do you know where you would be if it weren’t for feminism and you weren’t able to provide for your family due to health, or choice, or education and or skills? Why you’d be stuck in a workhouse, or prison. Thanks to feminism, your wife/female partner is able to earn a decent wage (still less than a man with comparable skills but decent none the less) and you are able to live in relative comfort while ranting away about the downfall of society via decent human morals and rights for all.

Curious, isn’t it? This small number of men whining about needing “more real men” or needing more “traditional masculinity” as they sit in front of their devices taking full advantage of the institution which they supposedly abhor.

I think they’ve forgotten what so called “traditional masculinity” actually is. You know, back in the 40’s and 50’s when the men went to work and the women stayed at home raising the children. The men all had cooperate 9-5 jobs or hard laboring factory jobs to accomplish the goal of taking care of their families. They worked long hours and only spent Sundays (if they were lucky) with their wife and children.

They weren’t artists, or hobby enthusiast, and a very few of the working class were self employed. They were taught basically from birth to accept their fate of being salves to “The Man” and to enjoy the opportunities that were afforded to them ie a life of hard labor for the working class, and a life inside an office and board room for the upper class. And if it hadn’t been for women demanding equal rights in the workforce and voting booths, that would still be your fate as a working class man in America today.

Boys were taught to be tough, and suppress their softer emotional sides as coping mechanisms for an unfulfilling life in the workforce. They were taught that women were accessories to complete their picture perfect American families, but nothing more. Marriages were for convenience, and social status. Relationships were rarely healthy and men were rarely happy. That’s what “traditional masculinity” looks like. Normalized emotional abuse. Hence why it earned the label of toxic masculinity because in any other aspect of modern society the same behaviors ARE toxic.

SO while you don’t have to agree with every facet or aspect under the umbrella of the feminism label, and you’re certainly allowed to vocalize your opinions. I’d suggest if you are a man who is and has benefited from your wife/female partner being able to financially support you, that you take some time to reflect before you attack the very reason your life is so comfortable.

Wrapping Up: S.A.A.M. 2018

main_banner_1

Wow, from April of last year until this year sexual assault has been in the news more often than it hasn’t. Which is an overwhelming, amazing, and disheartening thing all at once. I always dreamed of having a lasting impact by choosing to speak out about my own victimization, but never would I have imagined being able to witness the turning of the tide so to speak when it comes to this very important issue.

Over the last year I’ve been involved in many spirited debates about the subject of sexual assault, harassment and sexual violence. The most common denominator I’ve heard from people who don’t support victims coming forward is this: “if those women are telling the truth, why are they just now coming forward? Why wouldn’t you go to the police immediately after such a horrible crime was committed against you?”

My answer: “It’s not that simple.”

Even before the explosion of media attention a lot of people have asked me why it took me the better part of ten years to share my story. In addition to why I keep sharing my story over and over again, but mostly the question I hear most frequently is “why now?” I’ve been thinking about that aspect of regaining my voice for the past few months trying to come up with an answer.

Like any crime of an intimate nature such as sexual assault or rape there are many intricacies involved in the incident itself and the time immediately surrounding it. A big part of the reason it took me several years to begin to speak up about what happened to me is the fact that I repressed the memories for so long. The incident itself happened in December of 2005, and the first memory that resurfaced from the fog of repression happened in April of 2013. It took me an additional two years before I felt comfortable publishing my account, and an ADDITIONAL two years before I told my family what happened. Twelve years from the time I was violated so violently, until I built up the courage to inform my family. I didn’t even tell them, I printed out and shared what I wrote here to the world with them.

Why? Why did it take so many years before I was ready to confront what occurred and heal from it?

A lot of it stemmed from the fact that I entered into a relationship with my rapist soon after the attack. If I hadn’t been so busy loving my attacker, I’m fairly certain that the memories would have resurfaced more quickly. Instead I spent the next two years immediately following the attack, deeply in love with my rapist. That contributed a lot to the denial I eventually faced once my memories resurfaced, the guilt I felt if I were to “oust” him as it where.

The deeper intricacies surrounding that stem from my lifetime of emotional abuse at the hands of my mother. I felt that love was entirely self sacrificial and I maintained that stance until I began therapy in August of 2013. I was still very much in love with my attacker, even after our relationship ended. I felt that to remain true to my feelings of love for him and “prove” how much I cared about him that I had to maintain my silence. That is the biggest emotional reason I waited several years after my memories resurfaced.

There were also many logistical reasons that I didn’t immediately run to the police to file a report. For one, immediately after the relationship ended I moved to a different state. I returned to my hometown for visits here and there but never moved back making the legal system fairly defunct. I saw no point in reporting the case when I couldn’t follow through with pressing charges. I also saw no reason to drag up the past and put his family life in jeopardy. I thought that I was coping just fine and didn’t need to stir up emotions that I thought I had already dealt with. I was wrong. I hadn’t been properly coping, nor had I addressed all of the repressed emotions that accompanied the assault.

The third and final reason that made going to the police one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my adult life was fear. For all intents and purposes I was Emily Doe, and my assailant was Brock Turner. His father is an educated, successful, decorated military hero with many legal resources, money and political connections at his disposal. At the time I was a stay at home mom, who hadn’t yet finished my high school diploma let alone continued my education. My marriage and family was just getting started, and financially we ran a tight budget. Plenty of money to live comfortably, but not enough to spend on attorneys for a court case that would last several months at the very least and no political connections in my old home town. When I first walked through that door at the police station telling them that I wanted to report a crime, I was terrified that I would see jail time and my assailant would go free based simply upon his social status compared to my own. I’d like to think that my assailant’s father has more integrity than Brock Turner’s father, but I’ll never know since my case never made it in front of a judge.

The fact that I couldn’t be sure how much sway my assailant’s father would have over a judge caused my anxiety to spin wildly out of control, my PTSD to explode out of remission, and me to hesitate when calling the police for anything related to my assailant and his influence over my life. Twelve years later, I’d finally had enough. It got to the point where I would rather spend time in jail than have to endure my assailant harassing me and cyber stalking me any longer. I had reached my absolute whits end.

My fears weren’t exactly unfounded. As I said the case never went before a judge. If my assailants father had any involvement in the matter it happened entirely behind the scenes never making it to public knowledge. I was at least vindicated of my own alleged crimes even if I’ll likely never see justice for those committed against me. I was cleared of making false accusations, and I can speak my truth without fear of the legal system throwing me under the buss. That’s about as good as it’s going to get for me.

Would it have been any different if I hadn’t endured memory repression after the trauma, or if I had gone to the police immediately after the memories resurfaced? I can only speculate at this point, but no I don’t believe it would have. In fact, I think twelve years ago if I had come forward immediately after the crime I would have ended up in jail for “making a false accusation” or at least in a mental hospital against my will for incorrect treatment of a disease that wasn’t widely diagnosed in the general public until five years after I was raped.

This is where things get infinitely complicated… I regret that I didn’t recognize and get out of the toxic relationship sooner. I regret that I wasn’t able to come forward immediately after the crime took place. I don’t regret waiting to go through my most important phases of treatment and recovery before I came forward and I’m not ashamed that it took me eleven years to do so.

If I had one parting word of advice or encouragement for victims it’s this: take time to feel and process your emotions before jumping into the court system if at all possible. Police are trained to mess with your head as part of the interrogation process. It’s not easy to endure even with the confidence and undeniable proof that you have been victimized. If it takes you two months, awesome. Two years? Okay. Two decades? Great! In order for rape culture to finally reach it’s demise we have to be stronger. In order to speak your truth loud and proud, you have to be healthy. Take care of yourself first. Even if your assailant doesn’t see justice in this world, your recovery is the most important outcome of all.

Kelli Goes to Court

Another old post that didn’t make it to publication last year. I held this one waiting to see the outcome of reporting my rape to law enforcement. Since things have pretty much settled down on that front I felt comfortable publishing the details of my case here. Not that I have any details that will affect the case. It’s still open, but it’s not likely to move forward. Unless my assailant has another mental breakdown followed by several WTF moments and gets caught anyway. Possible? Yes. Probable? Not likely. At least he’s not likely to pursue me anymore if his head gets away from him again. I’ve accepted the “end” to my case. But now I feel comfortable publishing it too. 

Omg this summer has been ridiculous. I’ve spent more time in legal battles over the past summer than I’ve ever been entangled in the court system before in my life. Now that I can finally talk about it…

The whole thing started with my mom and the assault. That was weird being swept up by the state and county prosecutor tumbled headlong into the most drawn out, court case I’ve ever seen. Of course before that incident I hadn’t been involved in any court preceedings lol. I’ve always been threatened with things, but this was the first time I actually went through everything.

Then, our builder tried to ghost us and leave our contract in limbo. That was an entire fiasco in itself holding everything up as far as purchasing a new home went. So I’ve got criminal court over here with my mom, and small claims court over there with the builder. I wanted to take it further and report him to the licensing board, county, state, BBB, you name it but I couldn’t because everything was in Hubs’ name. He just wanted to be done so we could buy a home. The more rational decision for sure, but my inate sense of justice was crushed. That happens a lot so I’m rather used to it by now lol.

THEN… things exploded with my ex and I finally filed a report about the rape/abuse I endured during the beginning stages of our relationship. That was the icing on the cake so to speak. The entire reason I ended up reporting the incident in the first place is because we got into an argument here on my blog. Instead of leaving me alone after we each said our piece, he continued to pursue me by sending me several emails. He wasn’t threatening by the legal definition, but his intentions were clearly implied. I responded to his emails asking that he discontinue further contact. He didn’t. So I called the police and submitted all of our most recent contact for them to review. Of course the fight we got into was about my S.A.A.M. advocacy and finally speaking up as a victim of a violent crime at his hand.

During the entire fiasco with two different police departments trying to get everything sorted out in the right jurisdiction, several officers asked me if he had indeed raped me. I answered honestly that he had which is why I began writing about it in the first place. The only thing that each jurisdiction could agree on is that I needed to go forward and file the report making my claims official. Off I went to a THIRD jurisdiction to file the report. It had been almost eleven years since the crime had occurred at that point, and while I was within the statute of limitations for that jurisdiction they still didn’t have enough physical evidence to build a solid case. The investigation is still technically open, and each jurisdiction has my name and contact information so I can testify if he finds himself in trouble again.

Which is absolutely killing me. I only wanted to take the appropriate steps to get him to leave me and my family alone. Now I’m wrapped up in three different jurisdictions for at least nine more years when the statute expires on my case. I appreciate the effort made by each officer, prosecutor and victims advocate I spoke to. They want to help me. They know that I’m a victim, but their hands are tied in bureaucracy. I don’t have any physical evidence that is solid enough for the US legal system to go on. It’s enough for law enforcement to verify that I’m not making false accusations, but it’s not enough for the lawyers and prosecutors to take the case in front of a judge.

It’s political. No one stands to gain anything from my case going forward. They’re keeping it on the back burner on the off chance that they need something highly publicized to boost their career. Maybe during the next election cycle the file will be opened again, but until then I’m just left in limbo with countless other victims who couldn’t come forward immediately or didn’t have “enough evidence” when they did. It’s disheartening to say the least, but it’s the way things are. This is why I continue my advocacy. This is why I keep on telling my story. It may not make a difference in my lifetime, but it will make a difference over all. Eventually the politicians won’t be able to ignore the Voice of the Innocent any longer.

On Their Knees

I’m not a fan of football. I never have been, and probably never will be beyond my kids potentially playing for school someday. Even so, it’s been impossible to ignore the conflict that’s been part of the NFL for the past two seasons. I’m going to share a status that a friend of mine who served in Afghanistan wrote on Facebook, because his sentiments pretty much match my own, with the exception that I never served in the armed forces.

“I served in the Army in Afghanistan and I gotta say. I don’t feel disrespected when people use their first amendment right to kneel during the national anthem at a football game. I personally don’t think that’s gonna change anything. No asshole abusive cop is gonna be watching the game in his Cheetos covered boxers and see players kneeling and go ” damn I’m an asshole maybe I should stop. But it’s what they choose to do and they aren’t destroying our country like the increasing debt we are acquiring. Or the wars/ conflicts we keep plunging ourselves into.”

I do understand why people are upset. I understand how it’s perceived as disrespectful to kneel during the national anthem and why so many people feel as though it’s a slap in the face of our service members. I also understand why Mr. Kaepernick began his protest, and honestly I’m not upset by it. I’m not upset by his motivations, nor am I upset that he chose to kneel during the anthem. Why should you salute an entity that grants you the freedom of choice not to upon a moral disagreement? Like… I mean it’s a big part of the reason the country is what it is. Granting it’s people the ability to say: “hey, y’know what? I don’t respect what this flag has come to represent in terms of treatment for people of color. I’m not going to pretend that I do by standing in salute to the flag.”

That’s what makes the US, what it is. Taking that away from anyone (yes, unfortunately that even includes the ass backwards racists, white supremacists, and facists) destroys the core of why the US is different than many other countries in the world. If we begin to demand undying, and unwavering loyalty to the State, we really aren’t too far off from Russia or North Korea. At the very basic level of concept, seriously. It’s no different.

I know it’s infinitely more complicated than that. There are different nuances that can be debated and argued for eternity. I’m only saying that I think this division and drama over something so trivial, and speaking on behalf of “ALL veterans” or “ALL people of color” is presumptuous to say the least. Those who chose to kneel have the right to do so, and those who are offended have the right to be so.

Continuing to bicker over it week after week is ridiculous. If you don’t like why these athletes are choosing to kneel, how about you listen to what they have to say? They want to see a change for the better in their communities. It’s not like they’re kneeling because they’re lazy or want an extra million tacked on to their already, outlandish salaries. Mr. Kaepernick has spent his time off the field donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity, and participating in positive community events around the country. He’s a rare breed of celebrity who actually wants to use his status to make a difference. He isn’t trying to sell himself by being as outspoken or outlandish as possible (Kardashians anyone?) he is standing up for his beliefs. Beliefs that will better the world as a whole. 

On a personal level, watching this debate unfold over the course of a week or so on my social media has really opened my eyes. I was very skeptical, from my privileged point of view, that racisim did in fact still exist in the United States. Now? I get it. I can stand here and say that racism and oppression of minorities does, in fact, still run rampant in the thoughts and minds of America. I can say that I was blind in my privilege. I can’t speak for the majority of the American population, but if nothing else Mr. Kaepernick’s actions have made a positive difference in my own life. So thank you, Mr. Kaepernick. #takeaknee