Posted in Abusive Relationships, Blogging, Mental Health, Relationships

Oh… Hey, would you look at that, I’ve still got a blog…

It’s been quite a while since I last posted anything in this blog. I wasn’t sure if I would ever come back to it and I may never have come back at all if it weren’t for the fact that I made friends through this site that I have had contact with via other forms of social media during my absence.

I’m not sure exactly what caused me to walk away from my blog in the first place. But the longer I was away, the harder it seemed to come back.

And then recently I started reading Rara’s blog posts on both her sites about coming back to blogging after being imprisoned for 438 days. After all she suffered, and all she lost, she is finding her way back.

So, if she can do it, so can I.

I had just barely started to actively follow Rara when she was no longer able to continue blogging for a while, but her’s was one of the blogs that I went and binge read back through the archives. I was anxiously awaiting the day that my friends on social media announced that she was free again at last. And it hit me like a ton of bricks when I instead read the words that her husband had died while she was still in prison. So much unfairness that it just can’t be comprehended.

But she’s back to blogging, and I want to try to come back too.

But if I am going to come back, there will have to be a few ground rules. I realize that the most popular and searched posts on my blog are the ones about me cutting off ties with my sister. They were the most commented on by people who were going through similar situations themselves before I closed comments. I do not regret writing those posts, and I hope that people will take comfort that there are others’ who are going through things like what they are going through, but I can not give people advice on how to handle their situations anymore. I am not qualified to give advice and constantly talking about my sister, or randomly being reminded of her via people bringing up those posts and asking for my advice is not healthy for me at this time. So, unless I bring it up myself, those posts are off limits for discussion. I am trying to move on with my life, and I can’t do that while looking backward.

Another ground rule, be patient with me and please don’t be upset if I am not able to keep up with your blogs. There’s a lot going on in my life that has me feeling very overwhelmed, and I just can’t add staying completely up to date with all the blogs I follow to that list.

And related to that last one, please don’t be offended if I take a long time to respond to/approve any comments you may make, or if I never respond at all. I’m sometimes very bad about social interaction.

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Apartment Living, Bullying, Childless by Choice, Family, Marriage, Mental Health, Stay at Home Wife

My (super long) post about religion…

The household I grew up in was Protestant, but not extremely religious. Some Sundays my mom would take my sister and I to church, others we would just stay home and have leisurely Sunday morning breakfasts. My dad didn’t attend church with us very often because he didn’t like crowds of people, but he would come with us some Sundays. I attended Sunday school, and apparently even some sort of vacation bible school at some point based on the certificate of completion that I recently found in some of my stuff. The vacation bible school must have been when I was fairly young, because I don’t remember it at all. I do remember getting involved with the church choir when I was in middle school because I loved to sing and because a lot of my group of friends were in it. To be honest though, it was probably more because of my friends.

Choir practice happened after school once a week at the church, so we’d all take the school bus that went to the Green after school because the church was located right on the Green. We had time to kill before practice started, so we’d usually go the shops that lined the Green. Especially the candy shop. Then we’d hang out either on the Green, the front steps of the church, or if the weather wasn’t nice we’d retreat inside the church itself. We had fun during choir practice itself too, but a lot of the appeal was being able to wander around the Green before.

The youth choir and Sunday school classes also would put on plays for the entire congregation, and my group of friends and I also became involved in that. These were big productions that involved set pieces and costumes and we had a lot of fun performing them.

Like I said before, religion wasn’t ever really a big deal in my household, it was always just kind of there. I grew up just assuming that what I was taught was “Truth”, and that everybody was taught and believed the same things that I was taught to believe. It wasn’t until I was in middle school and one of my classmate’s father came in to show the class something that I found out that not everyone was Christian. My classmate was Jewish, and it blew my mind. I can’t remember what it was that my classmate’s father came in for now, possibly something to do with food, but the knowledge that not everyone believed in Jesus came as a complete shock. I had assumed that everything that I was being taught at church and at home was just more “knowledge” like what I would learn in school, and never thought that other’s might not all believe the same thing. 

When I started high school I was still a “Christian”, but that didn’t really mean much. I had never really had to look at or defend my beliefs. I was brought up Protestant, so that’s what I was. When I started dating Justin I would go with him and his family to another Protestant church a few towns over most Sundays. It was a church that I had gone to as well as the one on the Green while I was growing up because my grandmother lived in that town and attended that church. I liked that church better than the one on the Green because the Minister was more of a storyteller than a preacher. He was funny and he always made his sermons interesting. The church was a old stone church right on the shore, and it had beautiful stained glass windows. But of course the biggest draw was being able to spend more time with Justin. He went to church because he had to to keep his mother happy, and didn’t take it seriously most of the time. We would sit in the back of the room by the doors in a couple of great big wooden chairs instead of in the pews with everyone else. I think it was around this time, that I started to realize that it was possible that not everyone believed in God. If I thought a lot about religion, or why believed what I did I might have come to this conclusion sooner.

I think that I might have realized that there were a lot more religions in the world than just the one that I had grown up in sooner than this, but I still assumed that everyone believed in God, just in different forms. I had become somewhat interested in Wicca near the end of middle school, but like my being “Christian” never really looked much into it. After Justin and I became friends with John and Lauren, I started referring to myself as being “Wiccan” though. John and Lauren were Wiccan, and it seemed a lot more interesting than being Christian. Not to mention rebellious. I was starting to look into my beliefs some, but not too thoroughly at this point, and Wicca called to me in some way. I didn’t really take any of it all that seriously though.

I went through the rest of high school as some kind of weird Christian and Wiccan hybrid, and didn’t really think all that much about religion again until I started dating the man who would later become my husband. He grew up in an LDS household and I asked him a lot about his church. I didn’t like what I heard, and would have animated discussions with him about how messed up his church was. He didn’t really care all that much, he would defend his church and try to explain things better, but his religion was never really a big deal to him. He went because he was supposed to, and believed what he was told to. His religion only became an issue once in our relationship when he all of the sudden decided he had to go on a mission and dumped me. We talked it over the next day and when I told him that he didn’t have to dump me to go on his mission and that I’d wait for him for the 2 years that he would be gone, we got back together. Only instead of going on his mission he ended up deciding that he didn’t want to go to church anymore and stopped going.

When we got married, we were married by the Minister of the the stone church on the water. We attended that church for the first year or so after we were married. But during this time we were living in his parents house, who were still members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and my mother in law is a very religious person. I ended up asking my husband about the church he grew up in again and this time I was interested in checking it out.  A short time later I was baptized into that church. Part of the reason for this was because I was still ashamed of being arrested a few years earlier and I figured if I became devoutly religious people would have to stop judging me for my past.

Making the decision to join the LDS church was probably the first time that I ever really looked at or really thought about my beliefs. But even then I didn’t really have to think very much about it because the church very clearly told me what I was supposed to believe if I was to be a member of this church. It told me how I was supposed to live my life, and promised me that if I did as I was told, I would be happy. I decided if I was going to join this church, I was going to be a model member. I almost wasn’t allowed to join though, because during the interview process before the baptism ceremony could be performed the fact that I had had same sex relationships in the past came up. I had to denounce my prior behaviors as sinful and express remorse for my actions, as well as claim that I no longer had any attraction to members of the same sex and that these sorts of actions would never be repeated by me. I wanted a chance to see if this church could in fact make me as happy as it claimed that it could, so I denied who I really was and denounced my attraction to the same sex as sinful. In order to become a part of this church my thinking on homosexuality had to change from believing that people were born either being straight, or gay, or bisexual, or anywhere else along the spectrum and that there was no choice involved, to believing that being homosexual was a choice and a sin.

This was just one thing among many that I had to change about myself and my world view in order to be a part of the church. I changed how I dressed, and removed all but one piercing from each ear. I changed the movies I watched, the books I read, the music I listened to. I threw myself into scripture study and learned all I could about church history. Like I said before, I was going to be a model member of the church. I was determined to do everything that I needed to in order to be found worthy of going to the temple, because I was told that if I made it there I would know all there was to know about the religion. That great truths would be revealed to me. And also that I had to attend the temple if I wanted to make it to the highest kingdom of heaven.

Our first apartment was owned by the parents of one of my husband’s friends. It seemed perfect at first, especially when my husband had a health crisis that kept him out of work for a little while and then he was temporarily laid off for the winter season until work picked up again at his job. Our landlords told us not to worry about the rent, that we could pay them back once we got back on our feet. But when my husband lost his job permanently a few months later, they were much less understanding about it. Our landlord, a former Bishop in the church, told us that he wanted us out of the apartment by that weekend, just a few days away. He also informed us that we were worthless and would never amount to anything. He changed his mind a few days later and decided that would be allowed to stay if we could find a way to pay our own rent by the end of the month. You see, we had paid our rent for that month already, but he decided that it didn’t really count because we had had help from the church in order to do so. But it didn’t matter that he had decided that we would be allowed to stay, because we had already made up our minds that we no longer wanted to live there with him for a landlord. My father in law offered to help us get caught up on our rent and start off with a clean slate, and we asked him if he would be willing to help us move instead. We had decided that it was time to get out of New England and start over in the West. We were moving to Utah.

When we made it out to Utah, we threw ourselves into being the best members of the church that we could be. That should have been one of the happiest times of our life according to the church, but instead the stress of all the constant demands on our time by the church caused us to constantly be fighting with each other. But we still couldn’t be honest with ourselves, the church said that we should be happy, so we must be happy. This was also the time when I was constantly being told that all of my mental health issues could be taken away, if only I was good enough and prayed hard enough. And when my mental health issues just kept getting worse instead of better, I blamed myself, because I must have been doing something wrong. Because of my mental health issues, we had some problems with making it to church every week , and because we weren’t making it to church every week I wasn’t being the model church member that I should have been and that’s why my prayers weren’t being answered.

We were also being made to feel like we weren’t a real family because we didn’t have any children. We were pressured to have children, and when I was not able to conceive for whatever reason, I was made to feel like I was less of a woman because of it. We tried for years to have children, but it never happened.  We were made to feel guilty about it, and were told that because we didn’t have children our time was worth less and that we should happily volunteer as much of our time as the church wanted us to.

I started to have some doubts about whether or not the church was the best place for me, but because I was taught that if I left the church I would no longer make it to heaven, I stayed and tried harder to be perfect. I started to regret ever having joined the church, and felt extremely guilty for those thoughts. I decided that we needed to buckle down and do anything and everything that we could to be found worthy to enter the temple. Because if I could just make it there, then I would learn things and life would finally make sense to me and I could finally be happy.

But when we did finally make it to the temple, I didn’t actually learn any new truths. There was just more things that I needed to memorize if I ever wanted to be allowed into the highest kingdom of heaven. Life did not get any better. My mental health did not improve. I had done everything that was asked of me and although I was promised that I would be happy, I was finally having to admit to myself that I was not happy. When I stopped and really looked at my life, I realized that all of my actions for the last few years in the church were motivated by fear and guilt. I was told that if I didn’t do exactly as the church told me, I would go to hell. I was told that if I wasn’t happy, it was because I was doing something wrong and that I needed to try even harder, give even more of myself to the church. We slowly stopped going to church, and then eventually admitted to ourselves that we didn’t have any plans of ever going back. We had not been to church in a year or more, but the thought of actually admitting that we were leaving the church was terrifying. I knew that my life had improved in the time that we had not been going to church, but I was still afraid that we were making a big mistake because I had been told that anyone who decided to leave the church was in the grasp of the devil.  I had been taught that I couldn’t really be happy outside the church, and was very confused with the fact that I was happier outside the church. My husband and I got along better. My mental health had improved significantly. All the stress from all the demands of the church had gone away. Looking back,  I had to admit that the years that I was in the church were actually the unhappiest, most stressful years I have ever experienced. When I decided that I wasn’t going back to church, in order to deal with the fear that I was making a big mistake I had justify my decision to myself. I told myself that I didn’t want to go to their highest heaven because if I wasn’t happy with having to live by all the rules of the church while alive, and didn’t want to be around other members of the church now, there was no way that that was how I wanted to spend the rest of eternity. I reminded myself that their idea of heaven would actually be a kind of hell for me.

After I got over my guilt and fear for leaving the church, I started to do a bit more in depth research into the church. I soon realized that a lot of the things that I was taught were in fact contradictory, and that the church wasn’t in fact true at all. I now no longer look at the the LDS church as a “church” but instead see it as a cult.

I thought that when I left the LDS church I could just go back to the religion I had grown up with, but I realized that I no longer believed in any Christian religion. Once I had opened my eyes and really examined my beliefs, I realized that I could no longer call myself Christian, or even religious in anyway. But because my family and my husband’s family are both still religious it was hard to admit that I no longer believed what they wanted me to. So I would tell my family that after leaving the LDS church I was taking a break from religion for a while.

But now, years after leaving the church I have come to realize that I am not just “taking a break from religion”. I have in fact had more than enough religion in my life already. In the years that I have been living in Utah, I have been forced to live with religion shaping the laws of the state. I have had to deal with being discriminated against because I am not the “right” religion. I have gone from being devoutly Christian to not being able to stomach religion at all. I still have not been honest with my family, but I am now being honest with myself. When I really look at my beliefs, I realize that I am in fact an atheist. I do not need religion in my life to be a good person.

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Bullying, Family

Let go of the guilt…

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Whenever I get to feeling guilty or upset that my life turned out differently than I expected it to, I remind myself that even if my sister was still in my life, my life still wouldn’t be the way I would want it to be because my sister is incapable of contributing to a healthy relationship with me. All that would happen were I to allow her in my life would be that she would have another person to abuse. There is no reason for me to fill that role. If I’m not there she’ll just find someone else to abuse. Because unfortunately the only sort of relationship my sister seems to be capable of is one where she is in the role of an abuser.

Yes, families are “supposed” to stick together. But family members are supposed to not be abusive as well. I have nothing to gain from allowing my abusive sister room in my life. Keeping up a relationship with her simply because it’s what I’m “supposed” to do is nowhere near a good enough reason to subject myself to her abuse. She’s never showed any signs of feeling guilty for all the hurt that she’s caused me over the years, so why should I feel guilty for not allowing her to continue to abuse me?

 

Links to more posts about my relationship with my sister can be found on my “My Toxic Sister” page on this blog.

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Blogging, Family, Mental Health

The realization that there is no “wrong” way to live my life…

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I was replying to a comment on my last blog post earlier and it got me thinking about how I was feeling when I made the decision to cut my sister out of my life over 2 years ago, and when I revisited my decision earlier this year. When I originally made the decision to cut my sister out of my life I was at a crisis point. It was a situation of either my sister had to go, or my sanity would go. I chose to keep my sanity, but it was an extremely difficult decision to make. I felt like I had failed even though I knew that I had already done all that I could do in order to try to keep my relationship with my sister. But since I was the only one willing to try, the only one willing to compromise I ended up compromising my sense of self. When I realized that I had to be a different person around my sister than who I truly am in order to even attempt to avoid confrontation, I knew that our relationship could not continue. Especially since I was acting less and less like myself even when I wasn’t even around my sister. I was more nervous, had a harder time making decisions, and always in the back of my mind was the thought “will this get me in trouble with my sister?” Nobody should have to live like that.

I knew that I was happier when I didn’t have to have contact with my sister. I had had minimal contact with her for years before, and had decided to try to “have a more normal sister relationship” with her… which turned into me having to drop whatever it was that I was doing in order to answer her call no matter what time it was, or immediately respond to her text messages or emails. And always living in a constant state of dread of when those calls, texts or emails might come next… and if this next phone call would be the one where my mask slipped and I inadvertently fell out of character long enough to provoke my sister’s rage. I did not like being in contact with my sister, and I felt extremely guilty for it. My determination to suck it up and force myself to have more contact with my sister in order to be a “good sister” wasn’t working out. I couldn’t figure out how it was that other sisters could happily talk to each other everyday… until I realized that not everyone had a sister like mine. Other people could have a good relationship with their siblings because those relationships weren’t one sided. My relationship with my sister was always about my sister and keeping her happy, and it simply wasn’t sustainable. One day I simply had enough of her bullshit and wrote that email cutting her out of my life… which she ignored, so I had to repeat myself a couple more times before I decided with the help of my husband that if I simply stopped responding to her emails she might get the message.

I didn’t simply make the decision to cut my sister out of my life and never revisit it though. I would have conversations with my mom where my mom would tell me how her relationship with my sister was doing much better and I would have to tell my mother that I just didn’t think that I was ready to allow her back in my life yet, and that it was possible that I might never be ready. I was feeling guilty for still not wanting to have my sister in my life. I felt like if my sister really was “doing much better” and had “really changed” then I had to give her another chance. That if I didn’t, I would then be the the bad guy.  I would have conversations with my husband about whether or not I was doing the right thing. I didn’t want to have my sister in my life, I was happy not having contact with her, but I was afraid that I was doing the wrong thing simply because cutting our sisters out of our lives is something “we just don’t do”. I once said to my husband “Who cuts their sister out of their life???” and he responded “Who treats their sister the way your sister treats you?” It took me a while to realize that even if my sister did “really change” I still had the right to continue to not have contact with her. The trust had already been damaged beyond repair. And in the end it isn’t about her anyway.  The choice of whether or not to allow my sister in my life is about me. I need to do what is best for me. My sister could really change for the better, and when it comes to her having a relationship with me it could be too little, too late. If I don’t feel right about having contact with her, if I still dread the thought of talking with her, then I am not ready.

I cut off contact with my sister because it was what was right for me. If I choose to resume contact with my sister it should be because it is what’s right for me. 

But even though I realized that I was doing what was right for me, it still felt like I was getting life “wrong”. It’s a very hard feeling to try to describe… It’s kind of like when I made the decision to cut my sister out of my life I had done something that just isn’t done. Like I had broken some unwritten rule that everyone just follows. Like there’s a way that we all go about living our lives and I had done something that took my life outside of that and made me different from everyone else. Sharing my story on here and hearing from others who have had to make similar hard decisions has helped me to feel less like I am going to be told at any moment that I have to get my life back on script with everyone else. I have the right to do what is best for me, and there is no wrong way to live my life. And since there is no wrong way to live my life, I am now free to discover who I really am… and that is a very exciting thing.

 

Links to more posts about my relationship with my sister can be found on my “My Toxic Sister” page on this blog.

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Blogging, Family, Mental Health

There seems to be a lot of toxic people out there…

I’ve noticed recently that the search terms that bring people to my blog the most are ones about removing toxic people from your life. The blog post that I wrote back at the beginning of this year about my decision to cut my sister out of my life, entitled “Removing toxic people from your life, even if they’re family…” gets around 20-30 views a day lately. Now, I know that it’s possible that not all of those people are actually reading my entire blog post, but the fact that that many people are searching for advice on how to deal with toxic people in their lives is shocking and sad to me.

When I first wrote that blog post and the ones that followed dealing with my relationship with my sister, I never expected that anyone would be able to identify with my situation. I braced myself for negative comments about how I was being selfish, or how I would eventually have to give my sister another chance because she was family. But those comments have not come. Instead people have recently been commenting about how my story reminds them of their own story and have been asking for and giving each other advice on how to deal with their situations. I never expected to be giving people advice on how to decide whether or not to cut someone out of their life. When I wrote those blog posts I felt like a complete failure as a sister, and as much as I hate the fact that anyone else might be going through a situation like mine, it helps to know that I am not alone in this. The guilt over my decision has lessened considerably and I hope that my story will help others to let go of any guilt that they might be feeling as well.

When I was first struggling with the idea of no longer allowing my sister a place in my life I kept having the thought that “this isn’t how things are supposed to work. You aren’t supposed to have to cut your sister out of your life.” I felt like I had failed in some way. Until I realized that the fact that my sister and I couldn’t have a “normal” healthy relationship had nothing to do with me or my choices. I couldn’t choose how my sister interacted with me. The success or failure of my relationship with my sister was not solely my responsibility. A relationship where only one person is doing all the work to keep it going is not worth it. A relationship where one person is being abusive toward the other is definitely not worth it.

Like I said before, I never expected to be giving advice on how to decide if you should cut someone that you think is toxic out of your life, but since so many people have been ending up at my blog while looking for this sort of information I think I’ll share a bit of my advice here in this post. I recently wrote a reply to a comment that someone else had written on my blog asking for advice on her situation and I’m going to go ahead and post my reply here with some added emphasis.

How you should proceed really depends on whether or not you actually want to have your sisters in your life or not. If you want to try to have a relationship with them then you should go ahead and allow them to continue to be a part of your life. However, if the only reason that you are considering giving your sisters another chance is because they are making you feel guilty, that is not a good enough reason to allow them back in your life in my opinion. You should have a relationship with them because you actually want to, not because you feel that you need to. Perhaps you should take a few days  with absolutely no contact with your sisters in order to figure out how you actually feel about the situation. Don’t read any emails from them, don’t take any phone calls, no contact at all. It doesn’t matter what your sisters say, if you feel that your life would be better off without them being a part of it, that is your decision to make.

Also, if you do decide to give your sisters another chance, make sure that they know that there are some ground rules for how you expect to be treated if they want to continue to be a part of your life. If they can live with those rules and you can have a healthy relationship with them, then great. But, if you find that you are unhappy with your relationship with them you have the right to end it at any time. You need to do what’s best for you.

I hope that this was helpful and that things work out well for you. Good luck.

And now I will leave you with a song that always reminds me of my relationship with my sister and why she is not a part of my life. “It Ends Tonight” by The All-American Rejects. Here are some of the lyrics that really jump out at me and remind me of making the decision to cut my sister out of my life.

“Your subtleties
They strangle me
I can’t explain myself at all.”

“Maybe it’s best you leave me alone.
A weight is lifted
On this evening
I give the final blow.

When darkness turns to light,
It ends tonight”

“I can’t explain what you can’t explain.
You’re finding things that you didn’t know
I look at you with such disdain”

“Just a little insight won’t make this right
It’s too late to fight
It ends tonight,
It ends tonight.

Now I’m on my own side
It’s better than being on your side
It’s my fault when you’re blind
It’s better that I see it through your eyes

All these thoughts locked inside
Now you’re the first to know”

 

Links to more posts about my relationship with my sister can be found on my “My Toxic Sister” page on this blog.

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Blogging, Bullying

A post I shouldn’t have to write…

One of  the original reasons this blog was created was as a place for me to vent about things that I read on Facebook. It’s been a while since I’ve written one of those types of posts, but unfortunately I feel the need to tonight.

I read tonight about how some students at the University of Southern California have been told that they weren’t really raped because their alleged attacker didn’t orgasm.

No, you read that right. Some idiot actually seems to think that if a rapist doesn’t actually ejaculate, that invalidates the rape.

Other than the obvious (like how this is just completely fucking stupid…), let me tell some you reasons why this is such a horrible thing to say to someone who is a sexual assault survivor.

As those of you who have regularly read my blog know, I myself am a survivor of rape. The first two times that I was raped happened on the same day, by the same person. And during those two assaults my rapist did not ejaculate. There were many things about those assaults that had me questioning whether or not I had brought this on myself in some way, if there was some way that it was my fault. But the fact that he didn’t orgasm was not one of those things. It was only years later when Republican men all decided that they needed to try and redefine rape that the fact that he didn’t orgasm became another reason for me to start doubting whether or not what happened to me was really rape. But even during the whole “legitimate rape” thing, and all the mess that followed this was never actually said. It was something that I myself thought about after listening to some of things that were being said about what was and wasn’t rape. And I worked through it and once again assured myself that what happened to me was in fact rape, and that I wasn’t overreacting.

And then tonight I see that someone has actually told someone else that an attacker not achieving orgasm makes what happened to them not rape. And even though I had already worked through my doubt on this point earlier, all the shame and guilt and uncertainty came flooding back.  And this was after I had had years to deal with the original self doubt and shame and admit that I had actually been raped.

Now imagine what something like that would do to someone who had just been sexually violated. Someone who had worked up the courage to actually report what happened to them only to be told that what they just suffered through wasn’t really rape because it was missing one element. A technicality, really, that invalidates the rape. Like it’s some fucking court case and not a violent assault on a woman that will scar her for the rest of her life.

But that wasn’t all that I read. I also read about how campus police had the audacity to tell a sexual assault survivor that women should not “go out, get drunk and expect not to get raped.”

Now, I know that this is an old argument made by people who seem to think that the victim is always to blame in some way for their own attacks. But that doesn’t make me any less pissed off about reading that campus police would say this to some poor woman after she had the courage to report her attack.

If this is how people are treated when they actually report their attack, is it any wonder that the vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported?

I never reported mine.

We seem to have a situation where women are automatically assumed to be lying when they report having been sexually assaulted. No one should be accused of being a rapist if they haven’t actually raped anyone, but coming at it from the standpoint of assuming that woman doing the reporting is guilty of lying is not the way to go about protecting anyone.

Yes, there are women who lie about being sexually assaulted. Why? Because women are human, and some humans just suck. But just because some women have lied, that doesn’t mean that every single woman should now automatically be viewed as a liar. And I really doubt that the number of false reports that have been filed justifies the number of women making reports who are being viewed with more suspicion than the men that they are making a report on.

Here’s what should happen every time that a woman comes in to report a sexual assault. Her complaint should be taken seriously. An investigation should be done. If you do happen to find that the woman was not in fact assaulted, charge her with filing a false police report and whatever other crimes she may have committed. Make her pay back the expenses of the investigation.

If a woman accuses someone falsely, punish her. But don’t punish every single woman that finds herself in the horrible situation of having to admit to being the victim of a sexual assault by automatically labeling her a liar and giving her more reasons to blame herself for the awful thing that just happened to her. Because I guarantee she’s already got a bunch of reasons why she feels that she herself should be blamed in some way that she is already struggling with. She doesn’t need any help from you in that department.

Posted in Abusive Relationships, Bullying, Family, Keeping my promises, Mental Health

Keeping my promises, part 6…

Previous “Keeping my promises” posts can be found here.

My junior year of high school was a rough one for me. Not only was Justin no longer in school with me, but he was no longer dating me either. I tried to pick up old friendships that I had somewhat neglected while dating Justin, and for the most part my friends were happy to have me back. They were all happy that I was no longer with Justin, seeing as none of them had liked me dating him from the beginning. They had no idea how hard of a time I was still having with losing him. You don’t have a close to 2 year relationship with someone and then just get over them immediately after you split up. Justin had been my world, and I was having a hard time navigating my life after suddenly finding myself alone again.

I dated a few people, trying to move on from Justin. But none of the relationships lasted very long, and after splitting up with my latest boyfriend I was back to missing Justin and wishing for him back in my life. It was during this time that a new student named Antonio moved into my hometown and started attending my high school. The girls in my group were intrigued by this new guy and he ended up becoming our friend. When he started talking about how he was a “pimp” we didn’t think he was being serious, and we started joking with him about becoming his “girls”. We thought that it was funny and never really thought that it would amount to anything, but we made the mistake of writing him a note (this was back before cellphones) talking about prices for services and joked that we weren’t “cheap whores”. Like I said, we all thought it was a joke and never intended to actually perform any of these services that we had listed prices for. We found it exciting that this guy found us attractive and that he thought others would find us attractive too. We were all sophomores and juniors in high school happy for the attention that this guy (a junior himself) was giving us. I ended up hanging out with him alone after school a couple of times. He had his own car and offered to drive me home. Things started to get weird one afternoon while I was hanging out with him though. He stopped by another boy from my high school’s house and we went inside for a few minutes. There were a few guys hanging out in the living room and Antonio started talking to them about his prostitution idea, and pointed to me as a example of what he’d have to offer. I should have known to run from this guy at this point, but I was not in my right mind. By this point my dosage on my Zoloft had been upped by quite a bit, and my decision making skills and impulse control were significantly decreased. I was probably in a full blown manic state at this point, but wouldn’t know that until a month or so later. So I didn’t run, and when Antonio drove me to a secluded spot and we parked there talking I decided to try and pursue the possibility of having him as my boyfriend. He said that he would not be tied down, but he had also talked about wanting to “test the merchandise” for all his “girls”. So I decided to go for broke and see if sex with me would convince him that I was worth being with and we had sex right there in the backseat of his car.

My experiment didn’t work, and I wasn’t the only one who had sex with him trying to convince him to date them either. We didn’t really have any contact over Winter break, and when I got back from break I had come to my senses somewhat. I decided that he really was serious about his prostitution idea and that my friends and I needed to get as far away from this guy as we could. But one of my friends who had also had sex with him couldn’t be convinced that this guy was bad news. She had fallen for him and wouldn’t believe that he wasn’t going to start dating her. Unfortunately, our discussion about Antonio was happening in a classroom and the teacher decided to send us to the dean’s office to try and help us sort the whole mess out. One of my other friends and I told the dean about Antonio and how we just wanted for him to leave us alone now, and we thought that he would help us out. (My other friend was still upset though, and still couldn’t see that this guy for who he was.) Next thing I knew I was having an interview, without my parents present, with a detective in an office at my school. I was under the impression that he was there to help us, and so I was honest with him. I told him that we had joked with Antonio about prostitution. And that, yes, some of us had slept with him. But we had never actually done anything with anyone else, and that we were never really serious about it. I was the oldest girl out of the group and I told the detective that I felt that I needed to protect my younger friends from Antonio… only I made an unfortunate choice of words at this point… I called them “my girls”. I didn’t realize at the time how big of a mistake this was. But I know that I told both the dean and the detective that I wanted Antonio to leave me and my friends alone, and that I no longer wanted to have anything to do with him. But by that point it was already too late. More interviews followed, and I still thought that this detective was going to help me out. Right up until the day that he was scheduled to come by my house for another interview. Before the time that he was supposed to arrive he called my house and told me that I needed to come down to the station. I don’t remember if he made it clear over the phone that I was going to be arrested, but it was made abundantly clear once we got down to the station. I was being arrested for running a prostitution ring at my high school. You see, Antonio had saved that note that we had written joking about price lists and showed it to the detective. I figure that the detective looked at that, plus the fact that I slept with Antonio, and then decided to misinterpret my having called my girl-friends “my girls” at one point during my interview and see me as some sort of high school prostitution ring madam. Never mind the fact that this whole mess started because we went to the dean for help in getting away from a situation that we belatedly realized was very, very bad. Or the fact that absolutely nothing criminal happened. No sex acts were performed in exchange for money. The system failed.

My mother was the one that drove me down to the police station and I remember her bursting out in tears and me being annoyed with her. I think I might have even said something to her about stopping crying, but the reality of my situation still hadn’t set in for me yet at this point.

It became very real when they brought me back to a room and took my mugshot pictures and fingerprints and then locked me in the little cell in one corner of the room. Then as I was sitting there on the little bolted to the ground stool in the cell in shock they started asking me more questions. I don’t remember all of the questions that I was asked, but one of them was about if I had ever felt suicidal. I was honest and told them that I had been suicidal in the past. They also asked how I was feeling right then, and I answered honestly again by telling them that I didn’t know. The next thing I knew they had decided that I needed to be admitted to a mental hospital. (I found out later that they had told my parents that I had threatened to kill myself. Which was not true at all.) They called an ambulance for transport and I was driven to a nearby hospital where my parents met me. We waited around for hours for a doctor to come and talk with me. We eventually found out that at some point earlier I had apparently accidentally been discharged. The waiting continued and then my parents and I were eventually moved to another area of the hospital to wait for the doctor to talk with me. It had become really late at night, and my parents had to go home to my younger siblings. So I was left there to wait by myself. I was told to go lay down on one of the beds that were separated by thin walls for a while. That’s when one of the scariest nights of my life started.

To be continued…