Wednesday, June 08, 2016

My hometown rape culture

Since the grief, triggering and rage that was Monday, learning about the verdict in the Stanford rape case, I've written and re-written this post in my head.
*A ninja edit: I love Joe Biden!*

Like millions of other people, the emotional rollercoaster between those three kept going around and around. And I don't want to be silent about it. Not anymore.

Stanford is in my hometown. The judge that is now up for recall was elected in the county where my family still lives.

In high school, we were warned not to go to Stanford frat parties because we heard girls got raped there. We stayed away. It didn't protect us.

Apparently the law still can't, either.

Even after decades of feminism, of advocacy, of public awareness campaigns, it is being argued that "alcohol and promiscuity" are to blame for a violent crime.

This rape culture existed in my hometown in the 1990s. Some things, apparently, don't change.

More even than the ridiculously light six month sentence are the ludicrous objections to any sentence at all by the rapist, Brock Turner, and his family. His father, it seems, is more interested in whining about him being so "depressed" that he no longer craves his favorite steak, than showing any concern whatsover about the woman he treated like a piece of meat.

This tells us what we have always heard before: don't tell. 

No one will believe you.
Your name will be dragged through the mud.
It isn't worth it.

And our internal voices told us: just blame yourself.
Which is what so many of us have done.

The longer I am involved in advocacy, the more people come to me and disclose that too many of us - far, far to many of us - have been suffering in silence.

Brock Turner's father wrote in a letter to the judge that his son would never be the same. Turner himself complained that he had already lost two jobs because of "this." This, bucko, is the fact that you raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Clearly he thought of her as trash.

Try living with PTSD for 25 years. Try burying things that happened to you when you were 14 because the handful of people you tried to talk to 1. didn't believe you (therapist), 2. couldn't handle it and changed the subject (family), 3. groped you and tried to get it on with you when you just needed a hug (male friend. Yes, really. He's a district attorney in upstate New York now.)

Try living and reliving this in your nightmares and having lifelong trust issues and only recognizing it now.

My boss said he hadn't signed the petition to recall this judge because "it's not here, I can't vote to recall him, so I really can't do anything about it."

I disagreed. I told him what I thought: expressing outrage, protesting, sends a message around the nation and the world that this is fucking unacceptable. That no one should be afraid of coming forward because they're afraid of being humiliated. That rape is never, never the victim's fault. That it is a violent crime that should be punished like any other violent crime.

After the triggers, after the hot, angry tears all through my drive home Monday, I decided that I am not going to be silent anymore, in hopes that other people will believe it should be OK to speak up.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Sexual Assault Helpline at 800.656.HOPE (4673.)

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Surfacing to say...

Go buy this book! My friends over at A Beer for the Shower have been kind enough to check in on me throughout all of my symptomatic shit, even though they are busy as fuck with their new release, and so I am sending a big hug towards Colorado. (Did I swear enough in that sentence? I fucking hope so.)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GFCWXMO

Humor is how I get through the day, and it probably saved my life these past few months. And I don't think I know anyone funnier than these two. So, Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now? Go buy this e-book and they'll send you a signed copy free of charge, because apparently they don't want to make any money. (Hint: you can always buy the Kindle version and offer to pay them for the hard copy.) At $2.99, it's cheaper than a trip to Starbucks, unless you're one of these people who waltz in there and ask for a venti iced water with light ice. (Yes, I have seen people do this.)

I hadn't planned an extended absence but between getting divorced and my grandmother's cancer, my brain kind of went splat. I'm feeling much more like myself this past week. I found a great therapist who took one look at my intake form and said, "Wow, there's a lot of mental illness in your family, isn't there?"

Nothing like validation!

Fortunately, one of the things I live with is OCD, which, no joke, allows for great organizational skills. It allowed me to pull off an event like this without an assistant, during a week I was debating a trip to the hospital. 
Seriously, thanks to all of you who have been checking in on me during my time of hermiting and licking my wounds. If you or anyone you know needs help, please reach out. Help is available.
It does get better.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Words for Wednesday: for reals

First off, I'm hoping this time around I'm not getting any more lecturers from prudes. Thanks to all of you who supported me during that fuckery!

This has been a week where I've been presented with situations that cause me to ask, "For real?" (Or more honestly, "Are you fucking kidding me?")

My ex has a sleep study tonight to see how bad his sleep apnea is. He was given a printed list of instructions of what *not* to do during said study, including:
- Taking sleep aids
- Bringing guests (reminder, this study is done in a sleep lab, not your house)
- Masturbate
Which means that enough people have done ALL of these things that it necessitates such an instruction list!

Meanwhile, a friend who is an attorney is banging his head against the wall because a jury is coming out with questions like this: "Was there a dashcam in the undercover cop car that captured the drug sales?"

Yes, really. I reminded him that dumb people can make it onto juries. Given the current mistrust of law enforcement, he said these days everyone wants to act like they're on CSI.

Another interesting tidbit: volunteering last Saturday, I saw a guy who I hadn't seen since my first night volunteering back in September. It was good to see him - he said he usually doesn't come on Saturdays, which is the only night I can get out there - because when you don't see people for awhile, you wonder if something bad has happened to them.

Anyhow, I was wearing a Beatles t-shirt and he said back in 1965, he bought a ticket to see them for $1.50, and decided to skip the concert and go to the beach instead! "And," he said, "I've been regretting it ever since."
I'm thinking about starting another blog with stories like this from the people I meet volunteering. A lot of people don't think about homeless individuals having stories, lives, etc. It helps take some of the stigma away if you chat with a person.

So my words for Wednesday are:
Beatles
undercover
instructions
dash cam
ticket
stories

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Words for Wednesday (idiocy version)

I'm sorry to say that event season can be idiot season. Or as a friend says, "I'm afraid I think that every season is idiot season!"

*A ninja edit for those who feel they need to correct my language. If you can't handle the word fuck, don't visit this blog. I don't appreciate lectures. I'm going through a divorce and have a loved one with terminal cancer, and I am entitled to say fuck, thank you very much!*

Case in point. Sunday, I get an email from someone that has our 5,000 person event name in the subject line and he says, "Hey, RK! I'll be there. Let me know any details I need to know."

I thought, since he got my email address from the event website itself, that no one could possibly send an email so moronic...so I asked if he was the one from his organization hosting their table.

"No, I just plan to show up. What do I need to know? See you there? "

Yes. Really. Because there are only, like, 12 of us coming.
Another call. "It says to enter my fundraising goal. What should I put?"

Maybe I should give you 50 cents to call someone who gives a shit?

In addition to being the IT whisperer, I am also expected to be the idiot whisperer.
Then my least favorite person in the organization (and we have about 2,000 members in our state, so that is saying a lot) keeps calling and emailing with questions like, "Can you send me the direct link that shows this information?" (Tip for the uninitiated: he created the link.)

So my words are:
Idiocy
Fuck
Platypus (someone else suggested that while I was typing. Please don't fuck platypus.)
Painful
Crying
Fuckery (this shit deserves two fucks, methinks.)

Have fun. 

PS I will visit blogs as soon as the fuckery dies down a bit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Words for Wednesday (annoyed version)

Hello! First of all, I *love* all of the contributions from last week! I'm still catching up on blogs and will check out the ones who posted on your own pages. Once again, I am taking over for the wonderful Sue of the Elephant's Child blog.

And just for the hell of it, because it made me howl with laughter and prompt a family member to see what the hell was going on, I'm including this amazing illustration from my friend She Who Seeks' blog post about Bunnies Behaving Badly. Don't you wish there was a Little Golden Book like this when you were growing up? Maybe I'll write one.

My words this week are ANNOYED. Because, once again, it's event season. Did I mention that I am the first person in this role who does not have a full-time assistant (no assistant at all, actually) for this event? Which is the largest one in our field of advocacy in our state? OCD works for me! Seriously, I told my boss everyone who has this job in the future will require that (my) diagnosis to get all of the details taken care of.

Some of the things going on daily...

1. People who have no business trying to register online expecting me to be their personal tech guru. Use a fucking paper form! Really, this is an option! You don't have to join the 21st, or even 20th, century for this event.

2. Said people bitching about why we can't make the website easier, telling me how they loved the last website, when they bitched about the last one too!

3. The same people emailing all of their team members about me, telling them I'll fix any technical support issue they have.

I truly love advocacy work, and I don't mind the fundraising. But for the love of God, I'm not IT!

So here are my words for Wednesday:

Shoo
Irritable
Bother
Whine
Voodoo
Scream
Fuck
Off

I am allowed six to a dozen, so there you have it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Words for Wednesday

Hello! I'm at least temporarily out of my cat cave. I'm sorry for the absence and will visit your blogs soon.

My good friend Sue at the Elephant's Child blog passed the torch on to me for Words for Wednesday.
The skinny: I give you words, you run with (and write with) them if you so choose.

This has been a trying time, so I am choosing words that represent things I take solace in:

Coffee
Profanity
Cats
Flowers
Cards
Writing


I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sure, buy me a muffin. Who are you?

Is it me, or is way too much texting done for work these days?

As a general precaution I sometimes exchange cell phone numbers with people in case something comes up DOE.

But it's a bit weird to get a text like this, from an unknown number:

"Sorry about all the emailing you had to do to make sure I had the right time. Will make it up to you Friday. Will BUY YOU A MUFFIN!"
Really? How about telling me who the hell you are first? And...who capitalizes muffin? Ever?

It's just about event time, which means 1. I will have PMS that week, and 2. I start to get unreasonable requests.

I got this meal request from someone the other day:

Mind you...she has come to this event every year for the past 8 years and had no restrictions. Also, what is with the "no soda or chocolate or MSG?" Does she think we're going to force feed her soda and chocolate Chinese food? Just curious.

Update: Today, she called to un-RSVP. In lieu of attendance, she wants me to write up a synopsis of what each speaker says. Since we're going to have 300+ guests, that should be no problem, right?

Anything ridiculous going on in your lives?