VERY MIXED FEELINGS TODAY

Five years ago, on Saturday the 24th of September, my life changed in ways I could never have predicted.  And though my life now, 5 years later, is amazing, the road to where I am now has been challenging.  Understatement of the year.  All in all, for the majority of the time, I am happy, healthy, newly married (in May) and ‘completely’ healed from my attack.  I have to put completely in quotation marks because I am not sure I will ever be completely over what happened.  That has been very apparent this last week.  Physically I have been a bit of a wreck.  My body seems to understand what my mind is incapable of grasping:  my attack is still stored in my cells, in the muscle memory of my physical self.  Well, crap.

On Monday I decided I needed to know exactly when DCD was being released from prison.  According to my calculations it should’ve been right around now.  He received a 6 year sentence and has to serve 85% of it, less time served at sentencing, which was 317 days.  When I put his name in the ‘who’s in jail’ web site, I got nothing.  I remembered he had used another name, looked through my files to find it, put that name in, and got the same result…not in the system.  I thought I had signed up to be notified when that happened, but, it turned out, I had not.  Crap, again.  So I called the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to find out his status.  The officer I spoke with asked for his prisoner number, which I did not have.  He asked if I was the victim.  I told him I was.  He gave me the number I was lacking and told me where he is now housed and that he would not be getting out any time soon.  He also suggested I call the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services to find out more information about his release date.  I did this and that’s when I found out I neglected to actually sign up to be notified when he would be released.  It’s not that I am afraid he will come after me once he is released.  I simply want to know when he is out.

Life does go on, and as much as I’d love to never have had this happen, it did.  The following quote pretty much sums up how I feel about it now:

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-7-54-28-am

We all get to choose how we react to what happens to us.  I choose to see it as a blessing, and to share my ongoing, ever-changing story.  My hope is that I am making a “difference by being the difference.”

Advertisements

FOUR YEARS AND A DAY

Today is the 4th anniversary of the day my life changed forever.  But, really, every single day is an opportunity for our lives to be changed forever.  It’s not so much the events of our lives that determine what happens next, but, rather, it is what we do with those events, how we respond to them.  And how we ultimately deal with and grow from them.  While it would have been far easier to not actually deal with what happened to me on 24 September 2011, for me at least, this was not even a remote option.

 

I wrote the above paragraph on Wednesday, which was actually the day before the anniversary.  It was as far as I got because I thought I should wait and see how the day unfolded.  Let’s just say it rather sucked.  The following is what I wrote in my journal yesterday afternoon:

I thought, mistakenly as it turned out, that the discomfort and sadness I felt at the end of last week and into this week, up to today, which I attributed to the 4th anniversary of my sexual assault, might be all I had to deal with this 24th of September.  No such luck.  The good news, I suppose, is no nightmares/flashbacks have come up today.  Well, that’s not quite accurate.  Every time I close my eyes I feel DCD’s weight on me.  You better believe I snap them open as soon as I can.  I was okay in savasana this morning, I think because I was mentally chanting I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.  My neck and back are killing me.  This is all muscle memory.  There is no physical reason that I should be having pain in either place today.  I guess this whole week has been a build up to today.  I am ever hopeful that tomorrow I will awaken feeling back to my normal self.  Right now, though, I have splitting headache.  ///J was so loving and patient with me this morning.  When I got home from beach yoga, I was pretty much covered with sand, which meant I had to shower.  After my shower, I laid down on the bed and just stared into space.  He came and laid behind me and simply held me, not saying anything.  Eventually, I was able to talk about what I was feeling.  The first thing I said was, “I just wish he {he being DCD} knew the effect of what he did to me, and how it continues to impact my life.”  Not that it would make a difference if he did know, but maybe, just maybe, it would in a tiny way.  I cannot imagine that he won’t do it again once he gets out of prison, and because he must register for the rest of his life as a sexual predator/offender, he’s pretty much screwed.

 

At the end of each day, for the last 2+ years, before I go to bed, I write down 5 things I am grateful for.  Yesterday all I managed to write was, ” I am grateful I made it through.”

And by the way, I do feel a lot better today.

 

THE HUNTING GROUND

Today is the first day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2015.  As unpleasant and difficult a subject that sexual assault is it is still vitally important that we, all of us, do what we can to change it.  I saw THE HUNTING GROUND on Sunday, and though I cried through most of it, I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.  I only wish it was required for all high school students.  Sexual assault  is an epidemic that we have the power to stop, and we must stop it.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.44.11 AM

“THE HUNTING GROUND

From the Academy Award-nominated filmmaking team behind “The Invisible War” comes a startling exposé of sexual assault on U.S. campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families. “THE HUNTING GROUND” debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival and is being released by RADiUS and CNN Films. The film has captured attention across the country, and it has even made it to The Daily Show where Oscar-nominated filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick talk about the film’s impact and the scope of this problem.

This film is powerful. Through stories and statistics this film highlights the far-reaching scope of campus sexual assault. It adds names and faces to the many reports, trends and articles on this timely issue. Most importantly, it looks to engage audiences to take action to end sexual assault on college campuses.

NSVRC is partnering with The Hunting Ground this April to help spread the word. We know this film is going to be a conversation starter, and we want to play a role in building this conversation toward action. Stay tuned to hear more from us about how you can be involved.”

For more about the film and a list of screening locations, go to www.thehuntinggroundfilm.com.

Graham Moore’s Oscar Speech Sends a Heartfelt Message to Those Kids who Feel They are Weird, Different or Don’t Fit in.

Loved this post on KINDNESS BLOG…

Kindness Blog

Graham Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game” at Sunday’s Oscars.

The screenplay was about Alan Turing, the genius codebreaker who did so much to help the Allies overcome the Nazis during World War II, but was later demonized and eventually committed suicide.

He used the win to give a powerful speech about being ‘different’, depression and suicide awareness.

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

His moving speech has been welcomed with much praise with several stars including Ellen DeGeneres and singer Ariana Grande applauding it.

DeGeneres wrote on Twitter: ‘Congratulations Graham Moore. That speech was beautiful. You should think about being a writer.’

While Grande posted: ‘Anyone else want to hug and thank Graham Moore?’

The screenwriter said he had imagined the moment on stage as a teenager when he would get to say those things during an acceptance speech, and said that it was surreal to be able to do it for…

View original post 18 more words

CRASH INTO ME

While trying to decide on which book to choose for today’s post, this one practically jumped off the bookshelf and into my hands.  CRASH INTO ME, by Liz Seccuro, was published in 2011, and that’s when I read it.  How I was even able to at that point, I’ll never know.  The only thing I can think is I was still in shock and my brain simply shielded me from the horror of what I was reading.  (It continues to amaze me how my body and brain protect me when I don’t even realize that’s what’s happening until much later.)

DSCN3886

From the inside dust jacket:  “Dear Elizabeth:  In October 1984 I harmed you.  I can scarcely begin to understand the degree to which, in your eyes, my behavior has affected you in its wake.

In September 2005, Liz Seccuro  received an apology letter from William Beebe, the man who had raped her twenty-one years earlier.  Liz was only seventeen when she was assaulted at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia.  Although she reacted as best she knew how–going straight to the hospital and taking her story to the college administration–the school’s deans discouraged her from going to the city police, and effectively denied her the kind of justice she sought.

For years, Liz struggled to put the trauma behind her and lead a normal, happy life.  The letter brought it all raging back.  Terrified that her rapist had tracked her down, Liz began an email correspondence with Beebe, and became determined to pursue the criminal investigation that should have happened years earlier.  She wanted justice, and the case seemed clear-cut: she had a confession from the man whose face had long haunted her.  But as the highly publicized investigation progressed, a narrative unspooled that was darker than she had believed: a gang rape with at least two other assailants and numerous onlookers, and a wall of silence among the fraternity brothers that persisted two decades later.

Liz Seccuro’s experience of campus assault and justice deferred is an all-too-common one, but it is a story we too rarely hear.  In CRASH INTO ME, Liz tells her story with candor, courage and hard-won hope.”

 

Truly, I do not know how I read this book, as I was right at the beginning of my ordeal.  It is easy now, though, for me to see and understand that as difficult as it was and as hard as I had to fight the justice system to make sure my attacker was convicted and sentenced to prison, I actually had it better than a lot of women who suffer similarly.  I had the support of family and friends.  I also had the maturity to not let anyone keep me from what I knew was right and necessary to do.  The ignorant comments from the police (Are you sure it wasn’t a robbery? I HAD NOTHING TO STEAL! and Are you sure you didn’t just trip? YEAH, I TRIPPED AND MY CLOTHES FELL OFF!) not withstanding, there was no way, NO FLIPPING WAY, I was letting this drop.  It was too late for me to be safe from him, but getting him off the streets and keeping other girls and/or women safe was my responsibility.

Although Liz Seccuro’s book is a difficult read, I do recommend it, especially if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted in any way.  It is also another example of how it is possible to go on and live a normal, happy life after surviving a horrendous event. In the end, getting the justice you deserve is its own reward.  It may not be easy, but is it ever worth it!

BEING KIND COSTS NOTHING

Today’s post is short…

My mother always said it was far easier to be nice or kind than it was to be mean or unkind.  I didn’t really believe this when I was a teenager.  I had brothers who were always mean to me and when ignoring them did not work, I thought being mean back was the best solution to the problem.  It wasn’t.  As an adult, I can understand that being kind is the only way to go through life.  A smile, a compliment, a simple ‘good morning,’ though all seemingly small gestures, may make the difference between a good day or a rotten day for someone, whether a friend or a stranger.  Really, how difficult is it to smile at each person you meet?  Even if you are feeling less than great yourself, the very act of being kin to someone else will make you feel better.  Since it is impossible to tell what people are going through or dealing with simply by looking at them, kindness is always the best bet.  We’ve all heard stories about someone who had made a decision to end his or her life, but because of the kindness that a friend, or even a complete stranger showed, perhaps a smile that was directed at them, they felt a little less alone and decided that, maybe, just maybe, life was worth sticking around for, after all.  We have also all seen the bumper sticker MEAN PEOPLE SUCK, and while it is true, why must we put out such a negative thought into the world?  Why not have a bumper sticker that says, KIND PEOPLE RULE or ALWAYS CHOOSE KINDNESS or KINDNESS IS THE WAY?

The quote below, stolen from a friend’s Facebook wall, pretty much sums it up:

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 7.28.37 PM

 

A QUESTION OF TRUST

I was recently asked, given what I went through because of my sexual assault, if I trust again.  I was pretty sure what I was being asked, but I replied, ‘You mean people in general?’  Hesitantly, he said, ‘Yes.’  I suspect he was asking if I trust men again.  What I told him was, ‘Yes.’  He thought maybe I look for ‘the lie’ when dealing with people.  No, no, I don’t think I do.  I’ve thought about it a lot in the last 10 days or so since the question was posed to me, and the longer I think about it, the more I know this is true.

I have definitely been accused in the past of being naive.  Seems hard to believe that someone  would think that of me just because I tended to expect the best from people, and tended to give people the benefit of the doubt.  As Anne Frank said, “Despite everything, I believe that people are good at heart.”  I do my best, though I am not always successful, to live my life this way.  The truth is, even immediately following my assault, when I was still in shock, afraid of most everyone, men, women and children, I still knew, deep inside, that in spite of what had happened to me, most people were not bad.  And just as I really hated living on Coronado for a long time after 24 September 2011, I also knew that it wasn’t the island that had done something to me.  It was one person; well, and the entire process did not help, but it was never Coronado that hurt me.  Didn’t make it any easier to live there though, until I got through it.  I can’t even tell you exactly when it changed back for me, but one day I was walking home from uptown and it suddenly hit me that I no longer wanted to move away anymore.

I believe what I am told…is this the same as trusting someone?  I don’t think people are going to lie to me.  If you tell me something, I trust that you are telling me the truth.  Somerset Maugham said, “It’s a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”  I prefer to live my version of his quote:  It’s a funny thing about people: if you expect the best from them, you very often get it.  Or as Claude M. Bristol said, “We usually get what we anticipate.”  I think Anne Frank, Somerset Maugham and Claude M. Bristol sum up the way I used to be pre-attack, and the way I have, finally, gotten back to after a whole lot of work.  Part of what made my healing process so difficult was getting my head around the fact that it happened to me at all.  The only thing I did ‘wrong’ that morning was be tall, thin and blonde, and was be in a place that a predator was looking for just that type of woman.  I never expected it to happen to me.  Never.  And in spite of doing everything I was ever told or ever heard about how to behave in a situation like I found myself in, nothing worked, starting with no warning bells going off in my head when I first encountered DCD.  I attribute that to the fact that I didn’t expect to be attacked.  I trusted that I was safe.  Turned out I wasn’t, and my world turned upside down as a result.

What I do know with absolute certainty is I cannot, I will not, live my life being afraid.  Part of the reason I worked as hard as I did to heal from this was because no way was I letting one person, one awful event, determine the rest of my life.  I was very lucky that at the time of my attack, I was in a healthy, happy, loving relationship.  I know that my healing process would have been very different, and much more difficult, had that not been the case.  The fact that my boyfriend was very supportive and encouraging made all the difference, and even though, ultimately, the relationship did not survive, he was there for me through the worst of it.  For that, I will be eternally grateful to him.

Back in 2013, I chose TRUST as my word for the year.  This is what I wrote then:

“I TRUST that everything is working out. I TRUST that I am right where I am supposed to be. I TRUST that I am doing just what I am meant to do. I TRUST that everything happens for a reason. I TRUST that even if it may not seem like it at the time, everything truly is happening for my highest good and to make me a better person. I TRUST that the right people, the people who can be helped by my story, will read my story. I TRUST that the right people show up in my life at the right time.  I TRUST that even in the darkest hour, there is light. I TRUST that I am safe. I TRUST that even behind the clouds the sun is shining. I TRUST that I am making a difference. I TRUST that all my dreams are coming true. I TRUST that everything happens in perfect and Divine timing.”

Yeah, what I said more than two years ago!  And since I am two years further along my healing path, I can honestly say that, yes, I do trust people again, though I’m not positive I really ever stopped.  And last, but not least, my new favorite quote from Pinterest:

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 4.32.13 PM

 

And while the patience part is challenging, I do TRUST my journey.