Thursday, October 17, 2013

A lesson in corruption...

This shit made me so effing mad when I watched it last night. Images of the Koch brothers haunted my dreams...

If you don't know who the Koch Bros are then go find out and start boycotting their vast industries. In light of the recent government shutdown/Obamacare fiasco, start here:

Because we love Jean-Luc..and all the other good men.

Let's cheerlead the men who love women and want to educate their brothers...


Rape is an assault that according to the sexual violence charity RAINN happens to a woman in the US every 2 minutes. 
Much was made earlier this year of the conviction in the Steubenville rape case. Yet this week we are confronted by articles on the miscarriage of justice in the Daisy Coleman case: and of the Ohio University student raped on the street last weekend while pictures of the crime were uploaded to Instagram:

These cases have key similarities. All of the victims were intoxicated. All of the crimes were witnessed. All involve inhumane efforts of bystanders to humiliate the victim rather than shame the rapist. I know some of that humiliation.
When I was 21 years old I was raped. I was raped by a man I knew, a colleague, his name was Carl.
It was the year 2000 and my first year in college. I had delayed entry out of high school, because unlike most of my friends I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. At some point three years later I realized my life, such as it was, was passing me by and so I decided to bite the bullet and apply to school. 

I won a last-minute place to study Business at Leeds University about 4 hours north of my hometown, which doesn’t sound far, but in my native UK might as well be on Mars. And living on Mars is how it felt. At that point in time it was the culture shock of my life, directly comparable to the bafflement I would feel 8 years later when relocating to Los Angeles. We almost spoke the same language the locals and I, but everything was alien, and I was alone. 
Being a 21-year-old female is to be supposedly indestructible. It’s the “time of your life”, it’s wall-to-wall fun and frolics, it’s the world at your feet. Far from the image sold to me by glossy magazines, my life at that time was a monochrome of unmanageable poverty, pernicious body issues, and loneliness. I had not yet learned how soothing my own company could be, rather the idea of being alone filled me with dread. I was a mystery to myself, an awkward person I didn’t want to know. My preoccupation with being thinner and therefore finally “acceptable” had crippled my attention for anything else in life, and I was one of the many girls I would meet over the course of my 20’s who threw up almost everything they consumed. Suffice to say, I was not a happy person.
But on the surface I was fine and dandy. I was 24-hour party people. I was quick tongued and sharp witted. I was daring, extremist, bravado. I was a “fun girl”.
I imagine that was how I found my job as a bartender at a trendy downtown bar “The Courtyard” that was frequented by the combined student body of the two-college town. The Courtyard was known for its female bartenders. Hot young girls with bleached hair and perfect capsule wardrobes. At the time I had no idea why I was hired. Nor it seemed did any of my colleagues. 
My job compounded all my worst insecurities about myself, but as it was my only source of income (I self-financed through college) I couldn’t just leave. I chose to drown my feelings in booze. If you take two parts British drinking culture, one part college drinking culture, add a liberal slug of depression and top it off with a bartenders job, you have an idea of about how much alcohol I was consuming. Without doubt I knew this wasn’t clever, but in the face of no support network it was the coping mechanism I clung to, and it got me through the day. 
Roughly two weeks before my rape, in desperation, I went to see a family doctor. I told him about my eating disorder, how depressed I felt, that I wasn’t sleeping at night, and that I was worried about how much I was drinking. I broke my heart in front of him and sobbed all the sobs I had been holding back for the past four months since my relocation. He unflinchingly wrote me a prescription for Prozac and one for Restoril and sent me on my way. This was my first experience with prescription drugs outside of antibiotics, I had no idea what I had been given, and I didn’t bother to find out. Sure the label says, “don’t use alcohol” but it says that on all drugs doesn’t it?
So it was on a Thursday morning in mid January I woke up face down on my bedroom floor in the LBD I wore for work. As soon as I opened my eyes I knew something was wrong. A sickening lurch in my stomach that filled me with dread. I had woken up wasted on other occasions, this was something else. I made it downstairs to the kitchen of the house I shared with five other students. Two of them were there and regarded me with such concern that I knew something had definitely happened to me. They told me I had been thrown from a slow moving car onto the sidewalk outside the house at 2am. That they had dragged me inside and got me to my bedroom. 
I had worked the night before. Work finished at 11pm. That was three hours unaccounted for, even more as I didn’t remember the end of the shift. I was filled with hysterical fear. I was due back at work that night, I didn’t want to go. I wracked my addled, hung-over brain for answers; it offered me darkness, no flashes of images, nothing. Eventually I readied myself for work and tearstained and panicking I went in. 
I didn’t have to wait long for an explanation. I was greeted at the door by one of our bouncers, Lenny. He didn’t mince his words, he told me that he had been the last one to lock up the bar and had found me in the disabled bathroom unconscious while Carl, another bartender, was having sex with me. He had kicked Carl out, but apparently I couldn’t walk so he had put me in his car and “dropped me off”. He told me he “didn’t think I was like that”, when through my sobs I asked him what he meant, he replied “a slut”. 
Although it was a long time ago now, I remember just how physically acute the feelings of shame and fear were. I felt disemboweled, I felt powerless, and I felt like it was all my fault. I figured it must be what I deserved. The thought of my body being violated by one man, and then thrown from a car like trash by another, was too overwhelming. It never occurred to me to report the crime, because I couldn’t bear witness to it, and because I felt responsible for being a drunken mess. I did tell my assistant manager (another young woman) that week and was almost instantaneously given “the soft fire” by having all my shifts removed from the schedule. It seemed a fitting confirmation to me of my lack of worth. 
I know that girls with low self-esteem make perfect victims. They have no concept of their own sexual power, of their attractiveness, and they are also far more likely to use excessive drugs and alcohol to lower their inhibitions. These girls, like the girl I was, are at risk. They are vulnerable, they are fighting for a place in a society that dictates a multiplicity of necessary attributes in order to be “let in”. They are bombarded with images, suggestions, requirements of who they should be long before many of them have figured out anything about themselves.
It is undoubtedly important to educate boys about the female experience, to teach the definition of statutory rape and that it is rape, that date rape is rape, that rape is rape. But it is of paramount importance to teach our little girls to be ok with who they are. Girls need a world where they know supermodels, porn stars, and Miley Cyrus should not objectified as desirous role models. As women we need to be models of the integrity and self-assuredness we wish for our daughters. We need to be centered in our own feminine power however we each conceive of it if we are to raise girls who will not experience the same fate as Jane Doe of the Steubenville case, Daisy Coleman, or of this week's unfortunate victim. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

I have a new blog!!

In my tireless search for a cure to social network addiction "REDD SAID..." will now be posting my random musings, musical stylings and socio-political rantings.