Tag Archives: Rape

Cosby,Trump, Kavanaugh, and Rape Culture

The first time I was sexually violated was when I was around 6 years old.

 

Growing up my parents made SURE I knew where people SHOULD NOT touch me and what was inappropriate. I always thought this type of conversation went on in EVERY household and that I was instantly immune from the negative emotions and repercussions that came along with “being touched down there”. BOY OH BOY was I wrong.

Hearing and reading the various reactions to the Bill Cosby verdict this week have me reflecting on my experience with sexual abuse and misconduct. While I was never violated by a family member or neighbor, my first sexually inappropriate encounter was at the hands of my 7-year-old classmate. I remember how confused, scared, helpless I felt as he and his friends circled mine that day on the playground. I remember being shoved down to the ground as he got on top of me. I remember squirming as he simulated sex all while trying his best to put his hands down my panties. Thankfully I was able to get away before he could succeed. I remember running back to school, dirty from being held down in the gravel and being scolded by my teacher for getting back to class late.

When you are sexually violated (whether you experience some actual sex or not) it messes with you. You ask yourself a million questions and try to make sense of what happened — even as a child. Did you say something to make them mad? Did you do something wrong? Did you in any way make yourself open to this act and make the violator think it was okay?!

You don’t automatically process “oh I should tell someone”. You try to figure things out in your mind and decide how you are going to move forward.

This is what makes me annoyed and upset with people who have made negative remarks about the accusers of Bill Cosby and even Brett Kavanaugh. TRUTH: some women and men who cry rape cry falsely. TRUTH: most of them are telling the truth.

I remember going home that night and having a debate with myself — to tell someone or not to tell? I felt nasty and too embarrassed to tell my parents outright, so I was happy when my babysitter Sabrina Thompson asked me that night how my day was as she was helping me get ready for bed. My nerves were on 10,000 when I finally hinted that something was wrong. If you know Sabrina, you know she doesn’t take mess and is unapologetically bold. I’m so thankful for her persistence that night because I told her what happened and how “a boy jumped on top of me.” I still remember her face — now that I’m an adult I know why it was fixed the way it was — she was ready to jump into action; but she probably recognized that I was honestly afraid and was able to reel herself back in and calmly explain why what happened to me was wrong….. why she needs to tell my parents. At the time she was in 9th or 10th grade by the way.

CAN YOU SAY MATURE!!?!?

Even though she convinced me she wouldn’t tell my parents, she eventually did and I’m so glad. Later that week they sat me down and talked with me about what happened and answered questions I had. Because they knew the truth, they were able to truly put me at ease and I was able to continue my childhood with few lingering effects.

Like the Bill Cosby victims, all victims of sexual trauma aren’t blessed enough to have a ‘Sabrina’ to step in when fear has stifled our own courage.  Even though I was unfortunately sexually assaulted again later in life, I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I would be one messed up chick if I hadn’t had Sabrina’s help the first time in speaking out. If she would have not told my parents and allowed me to stay silent, I would have stayed in the bad headspace I was in and probably try to deal with the trauma myself. A child’s mind isn’t set up for that. No one is really.

While I can honestly admit, that first assault still has had some negative effects on my life, my life is richer and healthier than it could have been all because I was able to tell the truth and have a compassionate ear to listen.

Like you, I plan to keep an eye on what happens with each of these #MeToo and assault cases and take note of comments like Donald Trump’s . I know that the world has a long way to go and things are not going to get better overnight. It’s up to us to really HEAR one another and support one another instead of immediately resorting to jokes and harsh criticisms — you never know what victim you may be pushing into hiding.

 

  • Joc
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**The Road To 27** Post 3 of 7 – Friends and Relationships

** Reflections on Friends and Relationships **

I was actually debating whether or not to even reflect on this because I could go on forever. But for your sakes (and attention spans) I won’t take long.

These past 27 years haven’t always lent themselves to the best friendships and relationships until just recently. Since as far ago as I can remember, I’ve always wanted “friends of my own”. I know that sounds neurotic, but being the miniature tv addict I was, I wanted a core group of friends like the ones on The BabySitters Club or Harriet the Spy. Up until middle school I had those friends — but heading into high school some of the people I thought were closest to me, actually weren’t as loyal as I thought.

Wait. Let’s back up to the beginning and cover relationships. 

DAY 3

My little adolescent/tween view on relationships and dating was the same as my friendships. Since the day I and three other girls in my kindergarten class were molested by classmates (who were clearly exposed to too much sex), my view on relationships was flawed. From that point on, all I wanted was a boyfriend who would protect me (as my father strove to do each day), and grow into a husband that loved me like the Disney princess my parents always told me I was. I failed to realize that NO ONE under the age of 18 or 20 is truly equipped to protect ANYONE — they’re just learning to handle themselves. I remember the night I told my babysitter what had happened, I was scared to my tiny 5-6 year old core! Now that I’m really taking time to think on it, I was more embarrassed than anything because I didn’t want my parents to think I was ‘fast’. That’s why none of you have probably heard about what happened until this very second. I took all of that trauma, bottled it up, and carried it with me all the way until high school and college. Because I didn’t allow myself to really form the right view on relationships (despite the wonderful example I had in my parents) I was naive, too trustworthy, and felt like I could read people a little better than I actually could.  This led to me making MANY MANY bad judges of character and a few bad choices in boyfriends.

WHEW — did you get all of that?! Ok, let’s keep going and put it all together.

DAY 3 PART 2So here it is, 2010. I’m out of college, full time in the work force, and secretly damaged from all that I’d been through. It was serious, painstaking work attempting to really trust ANYONE — even the friends that were still sticking with me. By 2011, things with the last guy I dated blew up into oblivion and all I could do was just cry out to God…why me?! Why am I always the one getting lied to?! Why do these people insist on chipping away at the last bit of kindness I can muster up?! Why do people insist on misinterpreting my well meaning friendship? Will I be alone and friendless forever?! (dramatic I know, but this is what honestly went through my mind — it made for great poetry though, I’ve got notebooks full!)

That’s when God began to answer the prayers I’d prayed for so long! I began reconnecting with old friends, gaining new ones, and while my dating life was pretty much non existent, I was allowing God to heal me from my past hurts. Now, here I am on the brink of my 27th birthday surrounded by the best friends I could have ever wished for — and can testify that God certainly gave me double for my trouble! The dating life is still — eh — but hey, at least I can say I am free from the bondage of relationships’ past AND I’m looking to get my feet wet in the dating pool again! I’m looking forward to a wonderful future with great friends, an awesome boyfriend (whoever that will be), and a wonderful life!

#NawlinsJoc

Photo shot and edited by Rich Griffis (www.richgriffis.com)

[photo by Rich Griffis ]

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18. Graduation. New Beginnings. Raped.

While you were just getting up for the day, I was just getting in from my first class.

While you were walking to your afternoon lecture, I was being raped.

While you were worried about the yard show, I was worried about washing away the filth.

While you pregamed to celebrate the weekend, I pregamed to simply forget.

While you dated the love of your life, I subconsciously chose the wrong guy in an attempt to mask the shame.

While you were worried about finals, I was worried about running into [him].

While you admire my work ethic, I keep it going so I don’t have to face [that] part of me.

While you’re going through romantic partners like it’s no one’s business, I work in my singleness daily fighting voices saying “you’ll never get married.”

While you’re complaining about the consequences you brought on yourself, I’m warring every second to remind myself that “you didn’t asked to be raped.”

While you’re looking through my social media thinking my life is breezy, I’m looking through yours wishing you’d value your life blessings a little more.

 

But,

 

Now

 

as you’re reading this verse thinking “how did she hide it?”, I’m reading it thanking God I don’t look like the trauma I’ve experienced.

 

Jesus is a powerful word that has the ability to transform your darkest moments into beams of inspiration.  He doesn’t force Himself on you but waits – hand open – for you to take hold and be rejuvenated. It’s not as hard as we make it. There are some things that just aren’t logical. According to statistics I should be in prison for vandalism or murder – but I’m not. Like the average rape victim, I should be locked away in an insane asylum or carry a gun, a knife, and an arsenal of other weapons with me at all times – but I don’t. Statistically speaking, I should question how God can allow such a demeaning and traumatic experience to happen to me – but I don’t. The fact that I am who and where I am today (even though I still have emotional scars that are healing) means that there is a Heavenly Father who works all things out for my good and His glory. Yeah I was hurt in the process, but because of Jesus’ saving grace, I am now able to see that bad things happen to people every day. How I react to the bad events in my life will dictate what type of person emerges on the other side of it. I CHOOSE LIFE. I choose to help someone else who has gone through the same tragedy emerge on the other side, healed and in tact. I can let them know that they don’t have to turn to drugs, flings, booze, or anything else to cope…

 

While you were sound asleep in anticipation for work, I was up thanking God that [rape] is not who I am.

– Joc

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QOTD: African Americans and/or Christians Tend To Steer Clear of Therapy

Good morning! While I’m inside recuperating from a battle with this snowy weather, one of my friends posted this as their Facebook status:

 QOTD: African Americans and/or Christians tend to steer clear of therapy…but what are the pros and cons (if any)?

There were plenty of intriguing responses, but after thinking about the question for a few seconds, I looked at therapy as and overall pro. I, being of the Christian faith and having a close relationship with God, definitely advise others to seek God first. AFTER we seek God, He may lead us to someone (who is not our pastor) who He’s gifted a particular set of skills (aka therapy) that can help our hearts to open and allow Him to come in and truly heal us to the core.

I am TOTALLY all for therapy if it’s needed. A lot of the time we forget that God GIVES us these psychologists and psychiatrists with these particular gifts to ultimately help us. We [as African American Christians] shouldn’t feel like we are dousing our faith by seeking help outside of a pastor. There are some traumatic experiences that if not addressed properly, can really manifest in nasty ways down the road. I have seen it happen first hand. This is why some people end up being rapists, murderers, narcissists, sociopaths, thieves, and gang members. Something traumatic that has happened in their lives (or they developed a mental illness that) was not addressed properly; thus leading them down a path of destruction. We can read our Word (aka the Holy Bible), seek spiritual council, and CONVINCE ourselves that we are fine; but if we don’t truly FACE the issue in order to FIX it, then we are essentially closing our hearts up tight and God is locked out and we don’t allow Him to heal us.

Yes some of the cons may be the high costs, privacy concerns, travel, and the time we may need to take away from work or family; but ultimately God wants us to be healed. And if He blesses us with the funds and the time to be able to participate in therapy or counseling sessions; then by all means, use what God has given you!

– Joc

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A Pretty Good Article on Christians Who Publicly Drink

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN & PUBLISHED BY PASTOR NATHAN ROUSE

(http://www.nathanrouse.org/2014/01/01/a-caution-for-every-christian-that-drinks-alcohol/)

Something disturbing has crept into the american church and it’s not pretty.

Many Christians have allowed themselves to take drinking alcohol lightly.

Now before you start throwing the legalistic stones at me, let me first make the following clear:

I don’t believe drinking alcohol is a sin.

Christians that drink

Of course, getting drunk is. Alcohol is one of the biggest killers in our society, and as always it continues to take a destructive toll on marriages and families.

But, there’s another problem:

The often overlooked sin that is rearing its ugly head are Christians displaying their love and consumption of alcohol to those around them in public and on social media, when there are many around them that struggle with this temptation and addiction.

The Apostle Paul addressed a similar situation when dealing with those in the church arguing over whether they could eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul declared that even though they had the freedom to eat meat sacrificed to idols, they should love those that struggled with this practice enough to not do it front of them.

1 Cor. 8:9-13

8 Now concerning[a] food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.[b]

4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that“there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating[c] in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged,[d] if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers[e] and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

We sin against other Christians and “wound their conscience” (as well as sin against Christ) when we openly act in a way that would cause them to stumble.

Now, before you say you only do this with others that are like-minded or with your spouse, let me ask the following questions:

Do you highlight or joke about your drinking in person or on social media (posting pictures of your margarita, wine or bottles of beer)?

Do you drink in public when there’s a good chance you might meet someone struggling with alcohol?

Like it or not, people hold Christians to a higher standard (as they should). Do you love alcohol so much that you’re willing to let your witness be tarnished? Do you love your “freedom” so much that you could care less how it affects another brother or sister?

This isn’t about rules being broken. This is about loving our brother and sister enough to limit our freedom in Christ so as to not cause them to stumble.

Would you consider this truth?

I love you and I don’t want anything to dim the light that’s shining in and through you.

Article Written & Published by Pastor Nathan Rouse

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Got a Terrible Life? Why Not Add Some JOY!

Reflecting this morning on how I have dealt with some terrible stuff in my life. I’ve worked through health issues that have phased in and out since the day I was born. I have even dealt with people whose only agenda was to exploit my kindness, prey on my weaknesses, and hurt whoever they could because they themselves had been hurt in the past. I can truly understand the author who penned the quote:

“The prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets. The prettiest eyes have cried the most tears and the kindest hearts have felt the most pain.” – Unknown

You can’t always look at a person’s life from outside of the bubble and think you know them. The people who you fantasize have the greatest and happiest lives often have to fight daily to grasp onto whatever happiness they can find. Bad things happen to people every second of every day – the person you become the day after depends on how you react to it. Living the life I have so far and experiencing all that I have experienced, I can honestly say that I (by the world’s and society’s standards) have no reason to smile…but I still smile. And the reason I put a smile on each day is because I choose to. I have JOY which is different from HAPPINESS because unlike happiness, JOY is something that is gifted to me by God. It won’t waiver and it doesn’t disappear just because I encounter an obstacle. JOY is reminding myself that though things today may not be going so hot, there is always tomorrow to get it right. JOY is saying “Hey, if God brought me out before, He clearly can do it again.” JOY is reflecting on how thought I may have to deal with health issues that the average person may not, there are PLENTY of issues I DON’T have to deal with and that’s enough to be grateful.

Too many people, especially Christians, get captivated by happenstance and neglect the joy that is planted deep within every human being. If you grew up in an abusive household where you were told you weren’t going to be anything; you have the power to hold on to the joy (while it may be small) deep down inside of you and change your mindset and eventually your reality. Yes, your happiness may be diminished and shoot, may even be non existent; but the knowledge that how your grew up doesn’t have to be your reality forever can be the spark to keep your joy pumping. Maybe a teacher has told you that you are somebody and that you are needed in this world. Hold on to that memory! Let it feed your joy! Maybe you have been raped or have contracted HIV/AIDS from an unfaithful partner; how you react to that situation can either better or destroy your life. Going back to the quote mentioned above…you are going to have to cry, you are going to feel betrayed, dirtied, shamed, and abused – but after awhile, you need to latch onto the joy deep down in the depths of your heart and remind yourself that you are still alive and that you can get through this sane and in tact. Speak healing over your life physically, emotionally, and mentally. Tell yourself even though you are dealing with what you are dealing with because of a bad position you may (or may not) have put yourself in, to remember that at the end of the day IT ISN’T YOUR FAULT. No one stands in the middle of the street and hopes to be raped. No one enters into a monogamous relationship with the hopes that their significant other cheats on them. You did not rape yourself. You did not take a vile and infect yourself with HIV/AIDS. Though your happiness may be gone, your joy is still there waiting for you to grab on tight!

Joy is what can get you through the worst-of-the-worst of times, but YOU have to be the one to accept it, nourish it, and fasten tightly to it. Though I personally haven’t experienced any of the example scenarios I referenced above, I have STILL fought through SO much more! Proof that even if you grow up with loving parents and a pretty decent background, bad things can still happen to you. But when they happen, don’t react in fear, defeat, and chaos; respond with faith, confidence, and joy.

– Joc

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