With TWO NIECES In UNIVERSITY CHANGING The RAPE CULTURE Becomes Personal

Rape, whether by a stranger or someone you know, scars beyond the physical … sometimes even for life. Unfortunately also is the fact that the only way the scarring heals is as with any required healing … one has to participate in the healing.

Ahead of her time, I once knew a woman who had been doing international business travel for years. Men from many different cultures were her primary contacts. I wondered about her safety in some of the countries she had to work and one day the sad truth finally came out. Yes, one of her South American co-workers raped her in her hotel room. No she told no one until years later. Who, besides me, I am not sure, but hopefully someone who could help her see the violent act for what it was and not something to be brushed off.

Myself, my rape was by someone I knew. Someone I was supposed to trust. Someone who supposedly loved me and I him.

Sixteen or seventeen, naive, and defiant, my first husband who took to violence, especially when drinking, decided he needed to teach me a lesson about obedience. Could be why for years later the wedding vow and Bible instruction to “obey” or anyone supposedly to have authority over me riled me up to the point of outrage, but I digress.

Can a husband rape his wife. Well, you decide if this was rape.

Seizing my brown hair the force pulled me to the floor as his powerful arms and body dragged me from the living room to the bedroom. Throwing me upon the bed, he yanked off my clothes, and ripped my underwear off me. Cursing and belittling, he raped me and fell asleep, but only before pushing me off the bed with his strong legs.

To get off the floor, I was forced to move to the fold-out bed in the room, the rough surface tearing at my aching, red skin. Denying me any blankets because I was not worth any he told me, I lay sobbing and shivering until he finally fell into a drunken stupor.

Silenced for years afterwards by his friends who did nothing when I told them the story, I thought my story and pain would be taken to my grave. But many years later, after much personal work to heal from this and other earlier traumas, I find my writing voice that had also been buried with bad memories and pain was finally freed with everything else.

Was he sorry? Oh yes. Every time after a beating. Even more so after the this.

Did we stay together? Not long after that. Whether due to guilt or a multitude of reasons, he found himself another sweet young thing a few blocks away and took up residence there. Who knows why. I now I no longer conjecture.

However, I do know this. He did what he saw his father do, the beatings I mean. Maybe the rape too for all I know because his dad was mean, even when not drunk. He was so mean he even sterilized his fourteen year old son with a kick to the groin when the boy-becoming-a-man stepped in to protect his mom after his dad had just pushed her down the stairs.

Am I angry still? No. A lot of work, including spiritual, freed me from the hold.

Have I forgotten any of it? The memories grow dimmer.

What kept and keeps me going? Helping change the mindset that inflicting harm on anyone is not okay and speaks only to the brokenness of the one who harms … which my work is also meant to help heal.

Of course, preventing the development of the mindsets that regard rape as a game, as a right, or anything other disrespectful perspective is the goal of raising people’s “Respect Levels” for both the ones raped and those who rape.

If you really want to learn more about the impact and consequences of rape, whether by stranger or someone known, the book, “Not That Bad … Dispatches from Rape Culture” edited by Roxane Gay may shed more light.

As for my two nieces who just completed their first year at separate universities, I hope and pray they have been safe … and if they were not, I pray for the courage they need to speak up and get the help they need now rather than a lifetime later.

KAITLIN ANN TREPANIER

Human/Animal Rights Activist Social Scientist Founder Entrepreneur Author Artist

ORIGINALLY Connecting the Dots … with The Respect Principle ©All Rights Reserved since 2014

NOW Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle ©All Rights Reserved 2018

July 11, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To Follow or Not … Normal Means the Average, the Majority … Not the Right

Anyone familiar with the story of Esther in the Bible? I so identify with what Joyce Meyer wrote (and Joyce’s own story) about Esther … how she probably had other plans for her life … a “normal” life, like most women of the time, but she was called to live differently for something more than just for her, even though she probably knew the dangers involved, as well as the discomfort and many other things she would have to experience.

For years, I have gone back and forth, trying just to live the “normal” life everyone I know who mostly live “normal” lives keep telling me I should have, but I am just not made that way. At first, when I first tried to “not follow” the backlash was incredible, not only from the outside world, but from my inside world. Even though visions were put in my heart to follow that I dearly wanted to follow, repeatedly, I went back and tried and tried and tried to live “normal” but my personality does not thrive in “normal, mainstream jobs.” I get sick, in many ways and the older I get, the longer it takes me bounce back from such endeavours because I get so out of balance in trying to cope with the effects such things have on me.

All those “failures” of not measuring up to normal are not even failures, they are just indicators of what is not right and not working, which has meant learning a new way to live … to thrive successfully. I know for sure now what I can do, enjoy doing, what I am truly good at, getting better at and that is spending hours studying, analyzing, researching, continuously learning, and communicating … sharing my story and what I have learned to individuals and groups of people, which are not things most people could do or would want to do, revealed by the fact that one of people’s biggest fears is public speaking. Like all jobs, this is hard work, plus it is mostly very lonely work. This work and lifestyle has its own unique challenges, as do all jobs, including establishing a good balance of working time because this work is not like other jobs where you spend a number hours at someone else’s place, doing what somebody else tells you to do and then collect payment every week or two for services rendered (lawyers being the primary exception, because many get paid before they do their jobs).

No, an eight to ten-hour day for me includes all the correspondence, using the social media tools, the blog and other writing, research, learning, and study, speech writing and practice, design work for the website, book cover, poster, card designs, etc., and time away from it all to clear my head so solutions, fresh perspectives and what to do next are made clear. This kind of life is definitely not for most people I know … the discipline must come from within because like any job, you have to get the work done … but in this case, with no one standing over you with a yearly review to tell you how you have done and no one giving you a regular paycheck after a few weeks of work is done, but only after months and even years of hard work, perseverance and the unflinching knowing that it is the best work for me to do considering who I am and my experiences.

I am delighted to discover stories, particularly about women now, whose calling has pulled them out of the mainstream, sometimes even kicking and screaming at first on the inside, to do something outside of the “normal” life many desire and take for granted. Thanks to Esther and to all the women I keep discovering who inspire me to keep moving forward … in faith that as I do the right thing in my heart, my mind will catch up with all I need to keep going, as will my bank account, now that I know “normal” does not mean normal is right and I am wrong, but that normal just means normal … the majority.

The other inspiring point to consider from all the stories of people like Esther, Joyce, etc. is that, when the time is right, the payoff will arrive and because it hasn’t been a weekly paycheck, it comes in large lump sums. It is a very different way of living and working than anyone I have personally known, but that doesn’t mean not following the majority, the normal path, is not right … it is just a different path. And we only make it more difficult for those who are called to break away from “normal” by not understanding this and not supporting them, even if only be encouragement alone … because realizing our potential is not something we do in competition with others … it is ours alone and no path is more “right” or “wrong.”

Yes, often I have longed to be part of the majority, have tried it, felt rejected, then bad, then depressed and apathetic, but not anymore, thanks to all those I read about in books and listen to on television, who, from a distance, have encouraged me to rise up, stand tall and just be who I am. Hallelujah. Please pass this on to anyone you know would feel better about themselves after reading it. Thanks!

October 1, 2013

http://www.kaitlinatrepanier.com

All Rights Reserved by DARK HORSES PRODUCTIONS/KAITLIN A. TREPANIER, Connecting the Dots … with The RESPECT PRINCIPLE Developer, Author, Speaker, Playwright, Altruistic Entrepreneur, and Human Rights Activist … because every child should know, by their own experience, they are valued … RESPECTED