Tag Archives: rape

I am an activist to end violence against women: Part 3 – The Rape

How has my personal story been sitting with you so far?  My hope is to help you begin your journey of healing shame, and become the activist you desire to be!  Meanwhile, I’m taking a DEEP BREATH.  What I’m about to tell you will help me “Live-A-Brighter-Life.”  This is the vulnerable place that Brené Brown talks about. This is the place where Indrani Goradia encourages me to be brave.

UntitledSo, in the Part 1 blog I slightly touched on my story of being raped as a young teenager.  As a young girl, I was walking tall, confident, and very secure in myself as I entered into the high school scene.  I was involved in all of the sports, highly regarded in my church, played many instruments in our school band, and never broke “the rules.”  My parents were known as responsible and loving people, who were living the blue collar “American Dream.”  But as we know so often, many of these kinds of families are hiding a secret.  Our secret was I had an older brother who was suffering from his own demons of a mental illness and drug abuse.  This was back in the 70’s and 80’s when families rarely talked about their private lives.  As you can imagine, I made sure I was the “good little girl,” and wanted to make sure I never disappointed my parents, my community, or my church.

In my youth, I was taught that being a “good little girl” meant that you should help people, and do the things God would want you to do here on earth.  I thought that was a reasonable request, so I set out doing my best to do JUST that.  I had found and befriended a teenage boy who was older than me, and living in a challenging home situation.  I continued a friendship with him against my father’s wishes.  You see, my parents had some kind of gut feeling about this boy that I wasn’t aware of.  So (on a rare decision to disobey my father) I decided to go to this friend’s house and invite him to church.  This is where my nightmare began, and did not end for 30 years.

Many of you reading this article right now can completely relate to this story.  Certain feelings are stirring up in you, and you can understand the rush of trauma I was experiencing during and after I was raped.  Some of you have been raped, sodomized, or sexually abused in your life.  You know the feelings of guilt, shame, humiliation, denial, anger, confusion, betrayal, uncertainty, and grief about the loss of innocence that was taken from you.  The nightmares have been haunting you for years, and your entire existence revolves around this suffering.  And then the biggest question of your lifetime…. Do you tell anyone what happened to you?

I made it home somehow that horrific day, crept into the shower, and felt frozen in my body.  I made the painfully conscious decision that I could not tell my parents, or report what had happened.  I had disobeyed my parents, and “this is what I deserved.”  I told my best friend at the time, and throughout the years I have felt obligated to tell my partners.  My parents found out just a few years ago about my rape, and even after a 30-year career in law enforcement and private investigations, I could not NAME my feelings about what had happened to me.

UntitledIt’s been almost four years since I received the opportunity to start REALLY healing from my rape.  When I began to tell my story, the grip it had on me began to release.

What story is gripping you tight?  What story is holding you hostage?  I had not been open to therapy…. Ever!  But through the encouragement and help of people I trusted, I began to see a therapist for my PTSD.

At Indrani’s Light Foundation, we encourage our community to reach out to the people they trust if they need help.  In module 4 of the “Live-A-Brighter-Life” workshop series, we teach about “Finding Resilience.”  Indrani teaches that separating and insulating yourself from others is a petri dish for shame.  Brené Brown’s book, “Daring Greatly,” is my new Bible now, and as I continue to teach Indrani’s “Live-A-Brighter-Life” curriculum, I continue to heal my shame.

Part 4 of my blog series is coming up next.  If you’ve been a victim of discrimination, or have ever been shamed or treated differently because of your race, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or any other situation, I encourage you to keep following my blog series.  I lost my beloved career because I was a woman, and a lesbian.  I will talk about how I coped with this loss, when the grieving process began, and how I have come to understand this trauma.

 

With love & light,

Amy

Children having children…..

IMG_0580Real gut-wrenching stories reminding us that there is much work to be done.

#doonething #makeitstop

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-sight/wp/2015/08/19/child-victims-of-sexual-abuse-in-guatemala-are-giving-birth-at-an-alarming-rate-these-are-some-of-the-young-mothers/?hpid=z6

Steps to prevent rape…..

2014-12-10T125249Z_01_MUM01_RTRIDSP_3_INDIA-PROTEST-3038dont-rape1. DON’T RAPE

2. See step #1

 

Check out this article from The Washington Post about things that are being done around the globe to cure this pandemic that women everywhere face.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-to-cure-the-pandemic-that-women-face/2015/01/02/c6052fd0-913a-11e4-a900-9960214d4cd7_story.html

What an apology letter from a rapist might look like……

A Letter from the boys of a University of Virginia Frat House

920x920(This “letter of apology” is based on a recent article from Rolling Stone Magazine that you can read here.)

To the victims…err…women…of University of Virginia,

It has recently come to our attention that being lured up to a room, thrown through a glass table, punched, and sexually assaulted by 7 of our frat brothers is not a preferred sexual experience for women. We are shocked and feel great sadness that what we called “a great Friday night” was so harmful to others.

We will also, in light of this information, stop referring to women as “it”. We now realize that may not be respectful or appropriate. It…we mean a woman, is a person too.

We, the boys of Phi Kappa Psi would like to apologize for our treatment of you, and beg forgiveness. Although we are all well-educated, intelligent men, we have suffered from confusion over how to properly treat women, and believed, in good faith, that our actions were acceptable.

After all, we were simply following suggested practices from the University fight song “Rugby Road”.

How were we supposed to know that:

  • Women do not prefer to be drunk and taken advantage of (“fill you full of beer. And soon you’ll be the mother of a bastard Cavalier!”)
  • Not all women like to perform certain sexual acts (“Are the ones who stay up late at night, and take it in the rear”)
  • Not all women prefer multiple partners (“And you never know how many men they’ll bring home every night”)
  • That women do not prefer to be seen as nothing more than “twat” (“She’s a helluva twat from Agnes Scott”) or that women don’t want to get get paid for sex (“she’ll f*** for 50 cents”)

We admit, we have heard some of these complaints previously, however it was always explained to us that women being upset by our actions were just “looking for attention” and that they were not leaving school because of these bad experiences, they were just moving on to other opportunities.

Even our own school, which runs a Sexual Misconduct Board, ensured us our actions were not that big of a deal, helping most of our victims realize that they had just had a “bad experience” and should continue on without pointing fingers and giving the school, or the frat houses, a bad name.

Amidst all of this guidance what were we supposed to do? In retrospect perhaps we should have reflected on our morals and values and realized that we were in the wrong, but to be honest, we were drunk, just didn’t give a shit, and were having a good time.

We are sorry you were not having a good time with us and promise to change our ways.

The Frat Boys

(You can read the full article this “letter” is based on here: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-rape-on-campus-20141119?page=4)

Self acceptance…and why it matters.

selfacceptanceIn the book The Six Pillars of Self Esteem, Nathaniel Branden tells us that “self acceptance is more primitive than self esteem. It is a per rational, per oral act of self affirmation.”

I think in the caveman days it served to say to the tribe that we, too deserve to eat at the fire, to have a place in the cave for shelter and we have a place at the fire for community and camaraderie.

In modern times this means that girls have the right to eat the same healthy food as her brothers and father. She has the same rights for schooling and she has the right to expect and demand that she and her body be respected.

The women in our colleges have the right to NOT be raped. Parents of boys should expect that their favorite sons will be held up to face the music if they violate a women. (See this article about a horrific rape at UVA.)

“Self acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself.”

“An attitude of basic self-acceptance is what an effective psychotherapist strives to awaken in a person of even the lowest self esteem. This attitude can inspire an individual to face whatever he or she needs to encounter within without collapsing into self hatred, repudiating the value of his or her person, or relinquishing the will to live. It entails the declaration : “I choose to value myself, to treat myself with respect, to stand up for my right to exist.” This primary act of self affirmation is the base on which self esteem develops.”

When we cannot dig deep enough to uncover this basic self acceptance, we fall prey to what others want to say and do to our minds and our bodies.

We must, at all costs, find the strength to face ourselves and to declare: “This is the day that I stand for ME.”

Will you practice standing up for yourself in small ways?

Maybe at the grocery store, or at the doctors office or perhaps with the your child’s teacher.

If you practice in small places, the larger places will not seem so very dire.

 

Love and light,

 

Indrani


P.S. Read The Six Pillars of Self -Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. It is worth every minute of your time.

Rape IS A CRIME!

“Rape within marriage is not illegal in India which says everything about the position of women. We are donated for marriage rather than enter it as a partner. The ownership is with the man and whatever he does after marriage is acceptable”, said Ranjana Kumari, a women’s rights campaigner who lobbied members of parliament on the issue. 

If the above statement does NOT grab you and make you feel like choking, I do not know what will.

That women are “donated” in marriage, to do with as the partner damn well pleases is both frightening and inhuman.

How can we enlighten our “educated” leaders who sit in Governments, in Courts and in Village councils everywhere to see and hear the inexcusable torture that is reflected in this statement?

If having mothers and sisters and daughters of their own is NOT enough to force the courts to take a tough stance or to force the responsible powers to change the laws what will?

Women will have to take to the streets in droves to demand the rights to their own bodies.

As it stands, there are NOT ENOUGH women for all the eligible males in India to marry and some of eligible men are lucky to get a wife.

On top of that, some of those LUCKY enough to have a wife, will mistreat her and torture her?

What must we do, say, to end such abominable behavior by these unthinking men?

I do not have the answers to these questions, BUT we must put our heads together and find some.

Please begin to try to answer these questions for yourself.

 

Love and light,

Indrani

How long should one girl have to carry the weight of rape?

*Psst.. Did you know you can highlight any sentence in this post to automatically share it via Twitter or Facebook? Go ahead, give it a try!**

enhanced-4298-1409708626-1This college student has vowed to carry a mattress to class every day until her alleged rapist leaves campus.

Emma Sulkowicz states, “The idea of me carrying a mattress sort of stuck in my head. I guess I decided to unpack why I was so fascinated with that idea. I was raped in my own dorm bed, so I think the idea of carrying the mattress represented, in my mind, carrying the weight of the memories that I have of that night and carrying the weight of how the school dismissed not only me but the other two women who reported against him, and the way the police harassed me when I reported my case.”
 
If we were on campus, we would help her carry the weight of that mattress. 

Read Emma’s full story here.

 

Love & light,

Team ILF

Guilty of sexual assault but still allowed to play…….

tyTxiWjgQPCVaAb-556x313-noPad

“I feel that he’s earned a second chance.”

That’s what Steubenville High football coach Reno Saccoccia has to say about his decision to welcome convicted rapist Ma’lik Richmond back to his team. ~Elizabeth Beier

 

Please visit this link and let us know how you feel about this article.

 

How else should be be handled?

 

What are we teaching other young predators ?

 
Love & light,

Indrani

 

How BRAVE must they be?

A few weeks ago, there was a disturbing news report from a city called Lucknow in India.

Seems that a mother who had reported the rape of her young daughter was brutally attacked and in critical care.

The attackers were demanding that she withdraw the rape charge against their family member.

She did not.

SHE IS BRAVE!

What do you think she taught her daughter?

She is one of the bravest women I have never met.

I wish I could meet her and help her.

But chances are, I will never even know her name.

I can still help by continuing  to do the work of ending violence against women.

I am sure that my efforts will not help THIS woman BUT we will help others.

We will help as many as we can reach.

Will YOU help us to help other women?

How, you ask?

You can:

  1. Sign up for the Live a Brighter Life FREE classes and begin to stand up for yourself and for others. www.liveabrighterlife.eventbrite.com
  2. You can train to become a trainer of this work. Just send an email to Stacie@indranislight.org and she can answer any questions you may have and help you get started.
  3. You can make a donation to this foundation so that we can continue to do the great work we have started. http://indranislight.org/donate/

Any amount helps.

The choices are yours.

 

Speak up about abuse or stay silent and allow it to continue.

 

Love and light,

Indrani