Abuse: my story. [TW SA, SI, Abuse]

March 21st, 2014

The past week has been tough for many members of the youtube community. i made mention of things in this post recently. There’s been some powerful posts about the topic here by Meghan Tonjes, Hank Green as well as posts by Shawn and Maureen touching on the abuse they’ve experienced. That’s what i want to do here, i won’t name names, and i won’t go into graphic details, but here i’ll touch on some of the abuse i’ve suffered. It’s important to note that late last year i was diagnosed with PTSD, in no small part because of these experiences:

  • i was bullied verbally and physically during primary school. The physical violence included being kicked in the head as well as in the groin.
  • i was raped at the age of 15 by my boyfriend at the time, he manipulated “consent” from me through emotional abuse and manipulation.
  • my first serious boyfriend forced me to perform oral sex on him, and later in the relationship created a situation where my social life was impossible because he expected me to be available to him without giving me any indication of when resulting in me being home every night just in case. He would also squeeze a slightly protruding disc in my neck, knowing full well that it was extremely painful. i also believe that he systematically cheated on me with his mother’s best friend.
  • i invited an allegedly homeless man into the public area of the rooming house i was living in for a cup of tea. once inside i realised he intended to rape me. the only reason he didn’t is that one of my housemates was home and heard us talking. she may have saved my life.
  • at various times i dated men with sadistic possibly sociopathic traits. they tore my self esteem to shreds, one even manipulated me into self injuring in a way i had not until then or since done. the scars are still obvious over a decade later. one of these men also cheated on me, as well as allowing me to end up in a situation where i became homeless, all the while claiming that he was going to help and i’d be fine.
  • my most recent ex use passive-aggressive avoidance techniques to avoid telling me the truth about elements of our relationship, most notably lying and giving me false hope on the day before my stepfather’s funeral.

i am now in a healthy, happy relationship but i have a body that also abuses me in ways through chronic pain, mental illness and neurological disorders. but i’m not backing down and i am not ashamed of what i’ve been through. i didn’t do anything to deserve it and i am not a bad person.

if you or someone you know is being abused by anyone in your/their life, there are places to get help. in australia there are places like the Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) and your local police. Do not be shamed into silence.

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Power and abuse: a quick reflection. in tweets.

March 15th, 2014

The following is a series of tweets i posted a few hours ago, i’m posting this here so that people who do not follow me on twitter or may have missed them can see them in chronological order. This is about a very sensitive and triggery topic so i have tried to be careful about details, but as always, safety first. The reasoning behind using embedded tweets over copy/paste of the text is so that those who choose to can respond to certain parts by replying to the tweet, but also allowing you to see the true original posting. While i do feel there is a lot more to say, as i’ve said in the tweets, i don’t feel i can do so impartially or without doing myself harm (by turning into a giant squid of anger), so i’ve decided to leave it at this. if anyone feels the need to discuss this with me, i’ll be happy to try talking about it, but will ask for the discussion to stop if i am unsafe. Thank you for your understanding.

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Bullying videos on Youtube make me sad.

February 12th, 2014

So, i was bullied through the latter part of primary school and into the first year of high school (so grades 4 to 6 and year 7.) The problem is that the bullying i experienced bears no resemblance to what these terribly inspiring videos talk about… and this scares me, because i find it hard to believe that in a world of 7 billion people, i am the only person who was not bullied with words. The person who bullied me assaulted me on more than one occasion. This is something dangerous, something that you cannot dismiss by telling yourself how this person has their own issues etc. There are four incidents i remember – well three i remember and one my mother has since reminded me of:

  • i was once kicked in the head. i was laying on the library steps so i could spend lunchtime in there (to get away from said person, actually!)
  • i was once bailed up on a walkway by said person and two of their friends – they kicked me in the groin. this hurts for females, too, fyi.
  • the two incidents in high school were similar. being shoved passed and told “hello, bitch” (this was a threat…) and later blantantly shoved into the lockers.

on reflection, i suppose both schools should have involved the police, and while neither did, my primary school did try and get both sets of parents involved and tried to keep me safe as best they could. the high school, though? did nothing. i left at the end of that year.

once again, i’m not sure what my point is besides “these thoughts were in my head and now they’re on the internet” and the fact that the more extreme forms of bullying are still being ignored? does anyone have any thoughts or ideas on how to address this kind of violence? or maybe ways i can work through it myself?

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This makes me want to scream.

December 5th, 2013

The internet is amazing. news, information, they spread like wildfire. The problem is that lies spread just as rapidly. And this is what makes me crazy. Hate, bigotry, ignorance, and fear are all fuelled by this stuff that either wasn’t true to begin with or is so outdated that it’s now moot. Fact checking isn’t hard. If you don’t have the hole minute it takes, thanking those who do it and hand you the truth on a silver platter? Even easier. Arguing or dismissing fact as opinion? That’s not okay. That makes me so frustrated.

But since so many of you have no idea how to check sources or think critically, here it is.

Step One

Google. Look at who else is telling the same story. Is there more than one source? Are there potential agendas for those sources? Are the sources pointing back to one source? Can you find anything on reliable fact checking sources like Snopes or Hoax Slayer? (there are other sites like these, comment below and let others know which ones you use!) For missing children it’s worth checking Amber Alert if the child is missing from the US, or find the local paper or police website for the area the child allegedly went missing from. This is a great way to find out if there is or was a missing child, if they’ve been found, etc.

Step Two

Read all sources, no matter how reliable they’re considered, critically. Is the reporting balanced? Or is it emotive and one sided. Do they cite sources? Do they interview people involved? Look back, how old is the primary source? Is it being represented as new when it’s not? This is one of the biggest tricks, things crop up every year or so represented as new when they’re often sorely outdated.

Step Three

Ask people if they’ve seen anything similar, ask them to show you where. Refer back to step two.

 

Below i’ve posted some other articles on this topic, and here’s a video by Eva and AngryAussie that covers the same topic!

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Open Letter: Words Hurt (or: to the fat-shaming jerk)

November 10th, 2013

Dear Man in the Restaurant,

your glib comment that i couldn’t get past you far-too-pushed-back-from-the-table chair because i “ate too much” was not only rude, but extremely hurtful. i know that i am fat, but it is not solely due to diet – and as far as dietary element, it’s what i eat and now how much. how dare you, without so much as a thought, judge my diet and weight as something you have a right to comment on. i wanted to say something to you, that your comment was fat-shaming, and indeed in my case, rather ableist. i was tempted to, i was angry and i was hurt.

but here’s the thing… you’re a stranger, an ignorant, shallow stranger. you’re not someone i have to answer to, so i’m going to use this incident as a teaching moment for others who will listen, or who have had experiences like mine today. this is what i realised as i sat in the car on the way home:

  • my medical situation – my health, disability, weight – are none of your business.
  • the reasons for the above are none of your business either.
  • the only person i truly have to answer to when it comes to the above is myself. perhaps, to a lesser extent my family and friends.
  • being fat does impact on my health and my disability – because of their nature. being fat is not actually inherently a bad thing.
  • i don’t need to be ashamed of how i look because you can’t keep your mouth shut and choose to make smart mouth comments to someone you don’t know.

so there.

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Signal Boost: This isn’t bravery…

November 1st, 2013

Very dear friend of mine who blogs at http://mage-girl.net/crossroads/ has written a powerful post on the topic of Suicidal ideation and touches on the stigma related to mental illness. This is an important post, check it out.

This isn’t bravery, it’s survival & shouting in the dark

 

Guidelines for being welcome in my life/home

October 15th, 2013

Those who need to read this probably never will. but those of you who do read it, might take away something to use in your own lives. so here goes:

  • my partners are the light of my life, they are my rocks. if you cannot at least be civil to and about them, i don’t want you around.
  • the above applies to a slightly lesser extent to my family and chosen family. if you have a pass on this one, you’ll know about it. do not assume. this also applies to my partners’ families.
  • your religion may work for you, but that doesn’t mean i want to hear about it. if i want to, i’ll ask.
  • there is no place in my life or home for racism, sexism, whorephobia, rape apologism, victim blaming, oversexualisation, desexualsation, transphobia, fatshaming, thinshaming or general bigotry based on any form of religion, gender, or other belief. those supporting harmful beliefs will be asked to leave, but will not be treated in a harmful fashion.
  • objects brought into my home should be useful, beautiful or both. be they gifts or things of your own that will leave with you.
  • laughter is encouraged, music is required. food will be judged on how happy and content it makes the eater. cuddles are ALWAYS a good thing.
  • all animals should be treated with respect. yes, even that spider you have to kill because it terrifies you – do it as quickly and painlessly as you can. and yes, even the magpies auditioning for a remake of a certain Alfred Hitchcock film in my front yard.
  • when i am particularly unwell, either physically or mentally, i may drift away. this is nor rejection. when i am doing better, i shall drift right back. it’s simply not fair on either of us to try to deal with my issues at their worst AND try to communicate.

That’s pretty much it. hopefully this makes sense!

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my feminism

September 28th, 2013

my feminism started with women who risked everything for the right to vote.

my feminism encourages women to be who they want to be. be it single & independent, someone who makes 300 sandwiches for someone they love or somewhere in between.

my feminism includes sex workers of all genders, trans people of all genders, be they binary or not.

my feminism acknowledges that while some groups have greater privilege than others, we all have our challenges.

my feminism sees that men can be oppressed, too, and tries to help address those misperceptions of what it is to be male.

my feminism opposes violence in all it’s forms.

my feminism does not dismiss the pain of rape victims by equating someone’s gender identity with sexual assault.

my feminism does not exclude on race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

my feminism doesn’t tolerate treating others badly because you disagree with them.

my feminism encourages dialogue to find where disputing parties’ ideas meet.

my feminism comes via my mother who taught me to be myself and to be proud of who i am and what i’m good at, even if others see it as not feminist enough. i love to knit and crochet. i love to cook. and that’s okay.

my feminism doesn’t judge anyone on the clothes they wear, not women in combat boots, not men in dresses or vice versa. not ever.

my feminism doesn’t encourage or condemn 6″ high heels. i can’t walk in them, that’s the only reason i don’t own any.

my feminism won’t judge you if you wear make up, or not. won’t judge you if you shave or not.

my feminism isn’t involved in how you wear your hair, if you have piercings or piercings.

my feminism does not judge a person’s religious choices, but will fight those who force their own onto others.

my feminism seems to be being drowned out by people who want to use hate to make people agree with them.

my feminism is not the loud, small, bubbling brook. it’s the large, quiet river that will outlast.

my feminism is something i’m proud of even when the behaviour of others who use the word is something i’m ashamed to be associated with.

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Another angry post – Sex Work and Trafficking.

July 24th, 2013
Logo of the International Day to End Violence ...

Logo of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The issue of human trafficking within the various sex work industries has popped up again in my twitter feed due to a kickstarter project that i won’t be linking to because i don’t want it getting any traffic via me. So i’ve had a think about it and here is my list of tips on how to help those who are victims of human trafficking in the sex industry.

  1. Don’t assume all sex workers are victims of HT. There are many people (men, women, trans*) who choose sex work in all it’s forms willingly and enjoy it. They are not victims, they are not brainwashed. They are doing a job they chose, and generally like.
  2. Do not assume any sex worker who has a bad day and feels the need to express it is a victim. People in all industries have bad days. Venting is healthy.
  3. Do not force your beliefs down the throats of any sex worker you meet, trafficked or not. You will simply alienate them, and possibly, in the case of those you’re looking to help, make them too ashamed to seek help.
  4. Respect the privacy and indeed anonymity of all sex workers. Never link their real name with their work without permission, never show their photo in association with their work without permission. That’s explicit permission. From them.
  5. Be available to talk non-judgementally. In their time. Don’t push.
  6. Do not use pity porn to “create awareness”. It doesn’t help. It does more harm than good by a long shot.
  7. Try fighting the associated stigmas, issues and prejudices that lead to forced sex work or cases where there is simply no other option. These include addiction, transphobia, poverty, judgement of single parents.
  8. Find ways for those who do not want to continue as sex workers to find other employment. Again, do not use pity porn to do this.
  9. Realise that sex is not dirty or wrong and that some of the people you’re going to come across do not want or need your help. At all.
  10. Remember that stigma kills. There have been several sex workers killed in the last few weeks that i know of who died because of the attitudes towards their choice of work. This is not okay. They each tried to get help, but were dismissed at best because of their refusal to be seen as victims of sex work, as opposed to victims of violence.

 

An important note here: i’m not a sex worker, i’m not an expert. What i am, is an ally who listens to what various sex workers have to say about their work and experience. And this, to me, is the key starting point. Listening.

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2013 Sheep Show Haul!

July 19th, 2013

pretty happy with my sheep show haul, here’s what i got. i stuck with fingering weight yarns where the colours inspired me.

IMG_0449 IMG_0447
IMG_0448 IMG_0445

except for this little gem that i found on my way out and totally fell in love with:

basket

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