Sunday, December 5, 2010

My feeble and earnest call to action.

I have always tried to be elusive on this blog. tip toe around things. hem and haw and hope that someone catches what I'm throwin'.

But then I went to church today and learned of the 4th occurrence of this kind (including my own) to happen to a woman in my singles ward in the last 3 months.

So now I'm upset, like really upset...and now it's time to get explicit.


two months ago I was attacked. by a man I didn't know. in a place I have always felt safe. he threatened me, then raped me.

Up until about the 19th century there was a form of eugenics used among offenders of this sort. If they used their... possessions... for evil instead of good, it was not only acceptable but extremely common for them to lose said possessions (i.e. forced mutilation). Although I have been off and on tempted to jump on such a band wagon of thinking...my well developed, educated and also feminine mind ultimately shies deftly away from such vindication. I know that justice feels like safety sometimes. But it isn't. This is bigger than one person being punished for a crime.

So instead of going into details of the event, or addressing the man that has forever altered me and those around me, I want to talk about something else. something much more important and far reaching. the core of all of this awfulness.

The very essence of the understanding between men and women. the very tiny boxes both genders work hard to break out of but ultimately end up stabbing themselves in the foot with picket sign posts. 

Because I know that buying mace, not walking alone at night, and taking self defense classes-while all good things to do- will not solve this problem. Particularly since the bulk of these incidences are found in the domestic setting, or even in the deceivingly innocuous stage of a date.

Let it be known my firm stance on the subject...

Men are not evil. Women are not weak. And the very blurry generalizations and deep seeded beliefs that cause the kind of thinking that leaks into the unfortified minds of the hurting souls who actually act on these irreverent impulses are, at least in part, to blame. 

Please do not applaud me, pity me, or treat me as glass.
Yes, I am hurting. Yes, I am fragile. Yes, my whole reality has been uprooted. But. I will heal. I certainly didn't always think I would... but it's those low low points in eerie valleys that are the beginnings of long and rocky climbs up tall mountains- or some other less cheesy way to say that I am doing the work I must do and so I should not be your focus.


So what should we do? Become super paranoid? Highlight our perceived weakness? Never go anywhere alone?

I think not. That would be feeding it and developing the problem into a state of heightened fear that is simply an unacceptable way to live. I never subscribed to this kind of living before what happened, and I do not plan to now. I will not have my independence taken away, tarnished or questioned. simple as that.


Bob Dylan said "How are you ever going to change anything if you only want to look at what's pretty?". 



I think he's got a point... but in the same breath, I want to say that all this focus on all the terrible things of life certainly help to create them (hasn't anyone read the secret?!) I'd love to just put on my naive smile and tell you all to just love life and that will feed the starving children. Or that if we never think about the reality of sexual offense, it will never be a reality. But you should know by now that I'm not that stupid. I know that being kind to your neighbor won't halt global warming in it's threatening tracks. The point is... we each resonate something outward into the world from our minds and our unconscious (or conscious) beliefs...

So instead of focusing on my personal trauma, I want all of you to think today. think about what your femininity or masculinity mean to you. this is my plea to you to look deep inside and decide... does what exists inside of you concerning your beliefs about your gender resonate in a helpful or harmful way towards the very real and all too prominent issue facing us... or facing me. no, facing us... it needs to be your problem too.

I will not quote stats, however horrifying they are, because this post and my efforts are aimed to strike in the channel of pathos, higher intelligence, moral consciousness, and blatant awareness that we as a human race are supposedly capable of. But I will say this... these women, these victims (what a disgusting word, with even more disgusting connotations attached to it). They are among you. do not make the ignorant or perhaps willful denial mistake of believing they are not.

I know this because as my story slowly permeates my immediate world... more and more women share with me their similar stories.

Each story is different. Each woman. Each man. And as much as I wish I did...I don't have the answers. No one does.


But one right answer to any question never felt very real to me (maybe it's why I always hated math class).What I do know is that as my family and I have waded our way through the swamp that this event has placed us in... we've become increasingly disgusted by the gross shortage of literature, understanding and general awareness on the subject.

So here I am. creating it. baring my soul. in the only way I know how. through the only lens I have access to... my own.

so please share. share this. share me. please talk. please question your own stigmas. please, let my horror of an experience become a rock in a pond pulsating ripples that flood over as many people as possible. 

do it because the helpless, hopeless feeling that plants itself stubbornly in the minds and bodies of women like myself is one I am unwilling to live with anymore.

18 comments:

  1. Love you. Thank you. And you are right - you are not alone. There are countless women - and men - around us who have had to live with the consequences of sexual assault. And women like me who have not been through it nonetheless have to worry about it every time we are out at night, in a park or parking garage, on a date, trying to enjoy nature, etc. Thanks again for sharing this.

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  2. You have a wonderful way with words. Love you and thanks for helping people become aware.

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  3. Thank you for sharing, it shows how strong you really are kelsey. Do your best to keep moving forward, let me know if you need anything :)

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  4. kelsey you are beautiful inside and out. I love you and i love this post. thank you.

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  5. i love you kelsey. always have, always will.

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  6. xo. you are my inspiration.

    and i'm so sorry about your story flying around all twisted up. little is as frustrating as that. i would be angry too.

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  7. This post was raw and beautiful. Awareness is key, our lives cant always be stickers and puppies and rainbows. shit happens, (thank you Forrest Gump), and thank YOU for sharing.

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  8. this was beautifully said. i love how you said men are not evil, women are not weak. because when this sort of a think happens, sometimes you blame the whole gender for the one awful thing that happened to you. i love you kels!

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  9. You in my thoughts and prayers and my heart goes out to you in as tender a way as I can summon up with all my spirit. You are such an inspiration, your story, your truth, and your courage to share so that others may feel the peace that comes from honesty, self reflection, and sharing moves my heart completely. I love your awareness of yourself, your process and your pain, honesty, yet your willingness to move forward, to face it with courage and to be conscious of the mental energy you put out in the world. Should you hate men, should you never trust again, should you be concerned every second and governed by fear, or should you live your life with your head high facing the day with mental energy that radiates love? That is the hero’s journey and that is the courage and mindset you project. I am so proud of your honesty, your truth, and the freedom of your spirit that is filled with hope, let us examine the nature of our thoughts, the nature of our sexuality, and what is it that we project into the universe.

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  10. It's sad to hear that this is the 4th occurance of this type to happen in your area. That is why It's so important for women to stand up, come forward and make sure these guys are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law so that it doesn't continue..and also so that these perpetrators can get the help that they obviously need.

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  11. Kels, thank you for daring me to take an in depth look at myself and what my masculinity means to me. I haven't done that for along time and all "real men" should and NEED to do that with more regularity. Kels, I love the light you shine. I wish you all the best, and i know the strength you have inside is greater than any thing else..

    Hunter

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  12. What I really have enjoyed when I read about your experience is that you aren't a victim your surviving and thriving regardless of your experience. You have chose to advocate for others rather than living in self pity and that's a beautiful thing. Over coming something like this is not an easy thing and not all chose to do so. You provide hope in being a strong woman who has chosen to survive her experience and better her surroundings and life.

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  13. I loved reading your remarks. I am grateful that you realize that you do not have to stay a victim. That takes courage, wisdom and a lot of work. I am sure your remarks are helpful to many women who have experienced this type of violence. Your remarks also shed light for those who have not. Thank you for sharing. Love,Marta

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are amazing and strong and have such a bright future. I too am a survivor of sexual assault, and for a long time, I didn't think I would ever be able to move past it or ever experience happiness again. I am so sorry for what you went through - it pains me to hear of any woman having to deal with this, but you will be able to move past it and have a happy life, as I have been able to do.

    This will always be a part of who you are, but the pain will diminish with time. I do still cry from time to time when I think about what happened (mostly now just on the anniversary of the assault), but I don't think about it every day. Things will get better. You are not fragile, you are strong. Stronger than you think.

    My philosophy about what happened to me is that I don't want it to have happened for nothing. I want my pain to do some good for someone else - I want to use this experience in a positive way, by helping others, just as you are. May God bless you.

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  15. Kelsey, thank you for writing this. I live near the trail, walk on it with my little daughter, I love it and wish it were safe for all. I too appreciate that you've stated that "men are not evil and that woman are not weak." Plus I also cringe at the word "Victim," the word is connotative of helplessness to me. I have been raped as well, two times, by a boyfriend and by my ex-husband. I have moved forward, there are reserves of strength within me that I never knew were there.

    Womanhood, to me it is about intuition. To follow my inner spirit, to accept my feelings about what is good and what is not. My opinions are valid, my best efforts are enough. It is a process, I am becoming who I want to be.

    I'm glad to hear of the cities commitment to making the trail safer. I wondered for a while why drifters were allowed to camp out there. Safety along the trail (for the most part) will be a reality when all who walk along the trail make it there concern. I make that commitment, I will stay aware and help if I see anything out of the ordinary.

    Thank you for the reminder that we are not alone.

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  16. Thank you for sharing your story and feelings on this very personal matter. In 1996 I to was raped by someone I didn't no In down town Provo but because I was married and in a bar (not drinking alcohol on coke a cola) . The cops were not supportive at all they kept asking me if I hadn't really just cheated on my husband and was afraid to tell him. I told them over and over again that no I did not that all I was doing was enjoying a band and drinking a soda when a nice gentleman sat next to me and started a conversation during the time I was talking to him I excused myself and went to the rest room. When I came back he had ordered me a new soda and I thought nothing off it so I drank it. That is the last thing I rembered until I woke up alone in a hotel room. The police refused to do anything about it since I didn;t no his name the only thing I could remember was he was from CA and was here working on the resterant cavers in orem. So sincie they dediced to do nothing my husband and me went to his place of employment and found him and told him I would not press charges against him if he would get an aids test and give me the results. By this time the police where called and he agreeded to go to the hospital and do the test what was unbeliveable to me was I could'nt find out the results from the hospital since it was private info he had to call me with the results. He did call me and tell me they were negitive but how do I know he didn't lie to me. After all this the police asked if I wanted to press charges and I told them no because If the police treated me that bad how would a defense attorney treat me. I just couldn't handle it. I know this makes me a coward but emotionally I felt spent and didn't think I could hold up under this strain. At the time I had to little girls to think of. Looking back now I wish I had pressed charges because there are still times I blame myself and I also turned to xanax to help deal with the anxiety but I only ended up addicited to them and they stole seven years of my life. I have now been clean now for 10 yrs. I hope you have a good counsler and support system those things are very important to have. I wish you luck and send you lot's of hugs and prayers

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  17. Wow I can't imagine what you have been going through. I've also been raped, but what worst is that he was my ex husband who is addicted to pornography, and he denied when I called police on him, and it has been 2 years, and I am still not emotionally stabled from raped experience even if he was my ex husband. It was hard to bear! I struggled when I felt powerless.... I had no idea what you are going through, and treatment you request for.

    Thank you

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