Yellow November

I feel like this picture and caption were written just for me.   My feet are tired from running but I write with truth and love.  I have to believe in a world where this little girl in her hopeful yellow dress does not ever have to fear encountering a man like James.  She was born to be free and joyful and find the love in her life that she so richly deserves.   She is what Yellow November is all about.

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The Justice League, Part 2

Dear Man Perplexed by All of “These Women” Coming Forward with Allegations of Sexual Assault,

I’ve heard so much about you lately.  Let me begin by saying that I’m not really all the pleased to meet you.  But in instances of overwhelming ignorance where I can shed even a flicker of light, I am more than willing to put differences aside and be cordial.  I’m seriously not going to shake your hand, though.

Let’s start with your question of “Why now?”  I’m actually going to spin the question a little and revise it to, “Why didn’t you say something when this first happened to you?”   Okay, let me pause for a hot second.  Me having to even answer this question is testament to the fact that entirely too many people don’t get the dynamics of being victimized.

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There are many reasons why victims do not speak up.  Too many to name quite frankly, but I will focus on the ones that resonate with survivors.  We are traumatized, we are scared of the perpetrator, we are confused (perpetrators gaslight victims to believe that what happened either didn’t happen or that what happened wasn’t that bad), we are afraid that we will not be believed and we are worried that the legal system will not protect us if we speak up.  Staying silent is a way to survive the horror of what we’ve endured and protects us from being re-victimized.

Now I will flip back to the “Why now?”  Let me paint you a picture.  Imagine that your smart, kind and accomplished daughter’s life was shattered by a man who emotionally and sexually abused her.  Now suppose this man is now seeking an elected office of some sort and is receiving accolades from the masses.  The masses who know nothing about the real nature of the man they support.   Wouldn’t you be outraged?  Wouldn’t you want the masses to know that the man they idolize is actually, in fact, a monster?  Wouldn’t you want to protect others?  Wouldn’t you want justice?

A woman speaking up during an election season is not doing so out of allegiance to a particular political party or political agenda.  Neither is she speaking out for her own personal gain.  If you think that these are reason why, you are wrong.  You are also woefully ignorant so I want to help you out and set you on the straight and narrow.  This woman that you are so confounded by?  She had her power taken away.  In its place, she was left with paralyzing fear, humiliation, trauma and self doubt.

Does this make sense to you?  Can you see it even a little more clearly through her eyes?  Through her pain?  Can you see that what she wants is for not one more person to be victimized?   And culpability for men who have thus far lived their lives free from prosecution for their criminal acts?

Let me tell it to you straight.  She is speaking out now because she’s tired of seeing powerful evil men become even more powerful.   She is speaking out now as a way of seeking justice from the legal system against her perpetrator.  She is speaking out now because she has come to realize that she does have power and that her power is the truth and her voice speaking the truth.

Sincerely,

Me

The Justice League

Dear Predator Trying to Explain Himself Away in Light of Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore and Al Franken,

How’s things?  Feeling stressed lately?  A little off your game?  Although I’m in awe of the women who have come forward recently with their stories of abuse, victimization and assault, I can only imagine that you are scared shitless.

Here’s the thing about those stories, dark one.  They’re not fiction.  They are truths.  You know it as well as I know it.  If you are worried, you may want to think about why that could be.   I’m confident that men who have not victimized women are not trying to recall things that they’ve done that may come back to haunt them.  Why?  They’ve done nothing wrong.   Your worry is compliments of actual events, things YOU did.  You.

You may twist and spin this to say that there’s a culture of fear among men in the country right now.  That any interaction a man has with a woman can be viewed with suspicion.  That any glance, word, touch can be viewed as victimization.  That women who come forward just want attention.

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I call bullshit to all of those theories.  A man knows when he is behaving in an inappropriate or abusive way towards a woman.  It’s as simple as that.  He knows.  I have tons of friends and none of them are harboring pain due to the time a guy accidentally brushed up against her or told an off-color joke.  We know the difference here and so do you.  Stop pretending like you don’t get it.

Good men?  They are resting easy.  They are keeping track of their fantasy football leagues, taking their daughters to karate, helping their sons with art projects, working hard at their jobs, out having a pint with their friends and generally unaffected by this climate of fear to which you refer.  It’s not rocket science either, lil professor.  You tend not to worry about getting in trouble for something if you didn’t do something wrong.

Addressing attention-seeking on the part of the accusers?  I can assure you that women are not speaking out for fame, attention or any other such nonsense.  Telling our stories is extremely traumatic.  It’s not something we want exposed for all to hear.  It’s not something, for example, I want to have to discuss with my mom or explain to my son or daughter.

Before you call me a hypocrite because I write about domestic violence fairly regularly, let me tell you something.   I write for the very same reason more and more women are telling their stories.  We want justice.  It’s a beautiful word.  And not at all elusive.  We want to live in a world where justice thrives and women are safe from the harm we experienced at your hands and the hands of men like you.

I suppose your best course of action right now is to mimic the behavior these brave women have so kindly modeled for you.  Tell the fucking truth.  Admit your culpability.  Make amends.  Get help.  But for God’s sake, start first by telling the truth.   I’ve heard it will set you free.

Sincerely,

Me