Monthly Archives: April 2014

The importance of men

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*men are also victims of sexual assault and I understand that completely, but general information is not my point for this post

I saw this PSA today. It made me tear up a bit. Seeing men take part in change where sexual assault is concerned makes me feel very happy. Validated. If you are a man in my life (family, friend, more), you absolutely must be the type of guy who I can count on to stand up on this issue. If you won’t, then you’re not my friend, family, and you will most certainly never be more to me.

Here is the link to the PSA seen on BuzzFeed.  A Bunch Of Famous Men Star In White House PSA On Sexual Assault http://www.buzzfeed.com/jtes/a-bunch-of-famous-men-star-in-white-house-psas-on-violence-a?s=mobile

First of all, you should WANT to be the type of man that makes women feel 100% comfortable. You have a mother, a grandmother, maybe a sister or a daughter, aunts, cousins, female friends. It is so important for men to take part in changing rape culture and tolerance for sexual assault.

I don’t need you to stand on the steps of government buildings with signs of support. Unless you want to, then you’re extra awesome.

But I do need you to do something.

It’s not comfortable to stand on a street with advocacy signs. It’s not comfortable to confront someone using the word rape inappropriately or victim blaming.

But it IS absolutely necessary.

One of the best things my husband ever did for me when we were married was participate in a display of anti-rape signs on a very busy street. Even when the police came and tried to get the group to stop. I was blissfully happy most of our years together and always felt loved. But I felt more cherished and loved that day than any other day in our marriage. And that is not even a little bit of an exaggeration.

If your friend makes a joke about rape, you stop them and explain why that isn’t funny. If you want to provide an example, you feel free to talk about my experience. I don’t keep it private, so that’s my permission to use my story for GOOD. If you work with people who find rape funny, or use “I was raped” when you mean “I was taken advantage of financially,” STOP IT.

STOP IT NOW.

Think about the women in your life. Right now. Imagine for a moment how those women would feel hearing a joke about the most horrifying trauma that may have or could happen in her life. Then imagine how she would feel hearing you add to the laughter. How awful! How invalidating. How truly unacceptable.

Stand up, men. Do something to show your support and the need for change. That is the definition of a good man.

KK

Deep breaths

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Concentrate on breathing.

Dumb.

I hate when people say that to me. I mean, I know that the person is telling me to relax because they want to help. But don’t you think if I could, I would? I don’t love walking around many days not able to get a deep enough breath.

Today was a good day. Lots of positive things happened.

But all throughout the good things I couldn’t breathe. Some days that’s just how it feels. The weight I carry feels heavy today. The “I should have done something” feels heavy today. For lots of reasons.

Thank goodness for apps like white noise and Relax Melodies. They help me fall asleep. Even when I can’t breathe.

Tomorrow I hope for deep breaths.

KK

I am…whatever

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I’ve had 2 sessions with my new therapist.  As I said previously, it is no fun to start over.  However, this is going well so far and could possibly be something I wish to continue even when my other therapist would be available again.  I’ll deal with that when the time comes, I guess, for now I’m just happy that after 2 sessions I feel this comfortable.

I am somewhat stubborn.  I don’t mind being told I’m wrong, I’m open to other ideas and enjoy learning new things, and I really am ready to become the best me.  Still, I am somewhat stubborn.

I need a therapist who will push me to face certain things.  Without inappropriate laughter or justifications.  This woman is quite possibly that therapist.

Today, after only hearing me talk a bit about my week, she completely unpacked what was going on in my head that I was NOT saying.  Well done, lady.  Then she handed me Examples of Cognitions.  Oh boy.  The idea with cognitions is that we all have them, positive and negative.  With survivors of trauma, many of the cognitions are negative.  The lists of negative and positive are long.  When a person decides to do EMDR therapy, cognitions are discussed at length because the goal is to have the negative thing a person believes irrationally become untrue and replaced by a positive cognition.  I’ll give some examples from the list.  There are many more on the list.

Negative

  • I am not good enough
  • I cannot succeed
  • I am not in control
  • I am stupid
  • I am a disappointment
  • I am ugly
  • I cannot trust anyone
  • I should have done something

Positive

  • I am a good (loving) person
  • I am fine as I am
  • I can trust my judgment
  • I am significant
  • I did the best I could
  • I am lovable
  • I can be myself (make mistakes)
  • I can choose who to trust

When the therapist handed me the list, she asked me to look only at the negatives and choose one that feels the most true at this moment.  Unfortunately, many rang as truth in my head.  I started to physically shake while reading them (she wrote that down).

I should have done something.

That is the phrase that most represents my head most days.  In my day-to-day, logical state of mind, I fully understand that I am not to blame for being assaulted, ending my marriage all by myself, or ending my first serious relationship.  But I have absorbed all the blame and turned it into “I should have done something.”

The worst part of that ringing so true in my head is that I can’t quite follow the phrase back to where it began, but I really need to think about it more this week.  I will try desperately to make myself too busy to think about it during the day so I can do my life.  But at night, that is often how I feel going to bed.

I should have done something.

You know what the facilitator in my group therapy said when this came out as how I feel?  “That must feel very heavy.”

It really does.

So as heavy as it is, I am going to keep doing something until it isn’t so heavy anymore.

KK

 

“What were you wearing…”

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I avoided this when I saw it on twitter because I didn’t want to read things that would make me angry. But it IS so important to stress that what someone is wearing is NEVER an invitation to rape.
KK

Rape Culture

By: Devin Casey

In March Buzzfeed posted an extremely powerful article that compiled a series of tweets regarding the clothes worn by victims when they were sexually assaulted. It began when Twitter user @steenfox prompted followers to answer the question “what were you wearing when you were sexually assaulted?”

An overwhelming number of responses were posted and the Tweets were extremely diverse. Some were children, teenagers, or college students when it occurred. Some were dressed for school, work, or bed. There were some responses that indicated second, third, and fourth assaults. Many of the women’s stories reflected sexual assaults committed by someone the victim knew, which RAINN indicates is common to 73% of sexual assaults.

Many of the women describe how it took them years to call what had happened to them rape and realize it was not their fault. Some had internalized the stigma that, “maybe if I was…

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So who am I?

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I got divorced this week.  We have been living separately since 2012, so it was sad because it was the final, legal ending of almost 18 years of marriage.  On the other hand, we still left the courthouse together talking, laughing and deciding on where to go out for lunch.  Most of the heartache in the ending of this marriage took place over the last few years, so in some ways the court hearing just felt like a division of stuff, but in one way it really left me feeling void of an identity.

My name.  I left the courthouse sort of without one.

I never asked how he felt about me keeping my married name because it never really felt like what I would want to do.  But going back to my maiden name feels scary and full of shame.  That was the girl who was raped.  That is the girl who feels shame, guilt, blame, anger, sadness, loss, and all sorts of other things that I don’t want to continue to feel.  So when asked by the judge if I wanted to restore my name, I said no, but that I had chosen a new name for myself.

He asked why and I replied that my legal maiden name holds shame.  He didn’t ask anything further.  But he wondered out loud if it will be allowed since the legal language is that the person wishes to “restore” their former name.  He didn’t have any objection to it, but pointed out that it may be rejected from the people in Vital Statistics.  I don’t mind a challenge.  So I said “that’s ok, I want it anyway.”

After the hearing, my attorney and I filled out the Vital Statistics form.  But I can’t say that it was comfortable for me to leave the courthouse.  It felt a lot like I left the married me behind and now I had no name at all.  The judge had granted my name change, making me feel no longer the person I was an hour before the hearing.  However, he had also given me some doubt about whether or not I will get my chosen name.

So who am I?  If they reject my name, am I the married name, or am I my maiden name, or am I without a name at all?

I know I’m not the first person to make this decision.  And I got the idea last year in reading the book WILD by Cheryl Strayed.  It is a FABULOUS book and was very important in my beginning to really rediscover who I am and who I want to be going forward.  If you haven’t read it, you should.

I won’t tell the story about how I decided on my name because it was a very personal moment for me.  One filled with excitement, joy, tears (both happy and sad), and relief.  But I will say that I am absolutely sure that is who I need and want to be from this day forward.  So I guess for now I have to wait to see what the Vital Statistics people think, which is strange because why would they even care what name I want?  If they reject it, I’ll go forward with a legal name change process, but I hope they grant it.

I hope they give me the right to be the rediscovered me.

KK

Therapy change

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I have to start with a new individual therapist tomorrow. No fault of anyone, just can’t continue with my current one for now. But starting again is making me crazy!

I had the option of just taking a break from my individual sessions, but after only one week of the group I knew that going through group without an individual therapist would just be too challenging. Especially since I have other stresses in my life like the divorce this week.

I mostly hate starting over with a new therapist because there’s a need to explain things all over again that are tough. In some ways, this is probably good timing because I do have a disclosure expectation in the group. So talking about where I’ve been and where I’ve come to in therapy so far may be helpful.

My mind and body say it will just be traumatic.

I don’t like to cry in therapy. That takes a lot of effort. And isn’t helpful to me at all. So I’ve considered that this change may have happened for a reason. That reason could be that I need to just show up and really let go. It sure would feel good.

The bottom line with starting over is a lack of trust. I’m walking in not knowing the therapist or if we will be a good match. And then I should say my innermost feelings. It’s tough.

KK