Marie Talks: Bullying; Do We Know Enough?

 

So I’ve shared my story about Smith in my The use of LGBTQ2IA terms as an insult blog, my high school bully that tried to use being a lesbian as an insult (among other things). Now however I am going to share a few snippets of my experience with bullying throughout my descriptions of the types of bullying. Growing up I had this friend, let’s call her Janice, I had known her since we were four and she was great when she wanted to be which is why I do recognize her as a friend. However I also recognize her as my childhood bully. A lot of my stories will probably involve her to some degree. Any I have no experience with I will not share a story on, however if anyone has any stories they’d like to share feel free to leave it in the comments.

What are some things that can make someone a bully:

1) Physical violence:
– eg. pushing, spitting, shoving, hitting,  grabbing, stealing, damaging property, hair pulling, etc.. for the younger kids (and everyone else as well, it’s just more common in the younger years) biting
– Any act that invades another persons personal bubble with ill intent, intentionally threatens a person’s physical safety or well being.

At the age of eight me and Janice had class together, some days were fine and we’d laugh and talk, or not interact at all. Others however were not so great. Sometimes it would be arguing, others I would be shoved or tripped. Sometimes when she pushed or tripped me I would end up covered in mud other days I would just have a face full of whatever the floor was made of. One day I don’t remember what it was over, or how it started.  At lunch I was running for all I had from Janice. I ran and ran and she was yelling threats out at me as she followed. I remember losing her and spending a good fifteen minutes under a table in our classroom hiding from her, afraid of being seriously injured if not worse. Lucky for me that day the teacher came into the room before Janice did and so I felt safer.

However That is not the only cases of physical bullying I have experienced so I will share two more. 

  • Age eight: I made the mistake of bringing my diary to school as I hadn’t spent the night at home. At lunchtime I had a group of boys steal it, they tried to get into it to read it and when that did not work they tried to destroy it. All fun and games right? Not in my eyes, the stuff inside of it was pretty embarrassing.. trust me I’ve read what my eight year old self decided to write in it. Right there that’s theft and damaging property.
  • Age eleven: Janice and me were helping take some photos off the wall. We were given butter knives to take the staples out, we weren’t talking but she decided I have pissed her off and tried to stab me with it. No major harm was done, but I learnt butter knives hurt. Later that year at our after school center she decided she didn’t want to help clean up the mess she had help create and hit me over the head with a folding metal chair. I don’t remember the next few moments but I do remember the throbbing pain and bump that was left from that incident.

2) Verbal Bullying:
– eg. Name-calling, mocking, insults, slurs, threatening, humiliating, sexual harassment, telling them to “kill themself” etc.
– Anything said to make another person uncomfortable. Or anything said with the intent (or possibility of) to hurt, humiliate, or shame another.

All through out elementary school I was made fun of, one common thing we all go through is making fun of our names with rhymes or mispronouncing them to make them sound funny or teasing. That happened a lot. I was a heavier kid and that never ceased to be one of the many things I was teased about. Whether it was to call me thunder, tell me that I’d break something if I put my weight on it, told I wouldn’t fit places, or questioned if I was capable of doing something due to my weight.  Along with Smith, who I talked about in my other blog who bullied me through high school, was pretty nifty with his large vocabulary of insults.. please note the sarcasm.

3) Electronic bullying (or Cyberbullying)
– eg. threaten, harass, embarrass, socially exclude, or damage reputation/friendships with the use of texting, email, the dirty, Facebook, etc.
– Using electronics and any social platform, whether it be to blast something around to multiple people, or a private message to another or about another, to hurt another person.

I was seventeen and I had dated this guy for awhile, after we broke up he started seeing this other woman, lets call her Leila. Now maybe a month or two into their relationship I started getting these Facebook messages from his new girlfriend without even having any contact with them. Originally they were nothing special the ‘so your his ex’ type of stuff, however they soon progressed into much worse without me even replying or opening the chat. Leila then started calling me some pretty nasty things and using a lot of profanity. Okay so she has a stick up her bottom, I could handle that I thought. I hadn’t thought much of it until she started threatening me, and sending me photos she took of places I frequented such as my house and my school. Now that freaked me out, then out of the blue one day she texted me, after probably getting my number out of my exes phone, trying to blackmail me. At this point I was pretty sketched out, what was this woman’s end game and how much longer do I have to deal with her for was one of the things constantly running through my mind. Skip forward a month or two after this all started and we run into each other, Leila starts yelling at me and ye get into a huge argument.  Luckily for me everything was resolved that night and we realized someone was trying to pin us on each other for their own personal entertainment.

There you have it, the three most recognized forms of bullying, at least from what I have seen.

Don’t forget to hit like and/or drop a comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say on the topic, did I miss something? Is there another form of bullying you think is more prevalent? Or is there a form of bullying you think is always overlooked?

Stay Proud. Stay Loud. Stay Strong Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Marie Talks: Things I wish I was told about Sexual Assault

Trigger warning: talking about sexual abuse/assault and rape.

Growing up you don’t hear much about sexual assault , at least not about the stuff that really matters. I see a lot about how it wouldn’t have happened if the victim did this or didn’t do that. I hear a lot of people telling victims they’re lying, that it’s not sexual assault , or they provoked it. What I don’t see a lot of is people supporting the victims and making their life a little easier by just making them feel safe to talk to someone about what happened.

Here are a few things growing up I wish I had heard about sexual assault and rape:

1) It is never the victims fault.
No matter what the situation it is still not their fault. Even if they were fine while kissing and touching but then changed their mind and wanted to stop, it’d not their fault.
Times when it’s not the victims fault:

  • they never wanted it
  • they are drunk or under the influence of any substance
  • they are showing skin, and when they aren’t
  • they changed their mind
  • it was their boyfriend
  • etc.

Times when it is the victims fault:

  • never.

2) It doesn’t matter how you are dressed
Whether you are covered in clothing all the way from your chin to your toes or you are absolutely naked you are still not at fault and can be sexually assaulted. If the amount of clothing or lack of clothing made you a target then sexual assault could be solved by covering up; however that is not the case as even in the winter sexual assault still happens. The assailant does not choose their target necessarily on attractiveness and lack of clothing, they go after someone who is an easy target. More often this means the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in an isolated or dark area, or someone that trusts them.

3) The assailant is not always a stranger
Yes they can be a stranger but your assailant is just as likely to be someone you know. Whether it is a coworker, your best friend, your boyfriend/girlfriend, a classmate, or a family member they can be your assailant and it still is assault.

  • It is still assault if you are or have been intimate with the person. Giving them consent once does not give them free reign to be intimate with you whenever they want to be.

4) Everyone can be a victim
Boy, girl, man, woman, mother, or teacher can be sexually assaulted. Just because you wouldn’t expect them to be assaulted. They are just as much a victim no matter their relationship with their assailant, their gender, or their ‘title’.

5) Sexual assault does not make you dirty, slutty, worthless or take away your value as a person
As a victim you may feel this way, but sexual assault does not make you any of these things. What happened does not take away your worth as a human, you are just as valuable as you were before your assault. You are still the same person, just something horrible happened to you. You are not dirty or slutty, you had no control over what happened to you and you should not let what happened have control over you. The only title your sexual assault gave you is a victim, a survivor.

6) After being raped or sexually assaulted you should report it. 
Reporting it can be a tedious and stressful thing to do. However it can be beneficial to do so, along with getting a full STD/STI testing done. There are many organizations such as Surrey Women’s Centre (Surrey, BC, Canada) that can offer their support through this process.

Stay Beautiful Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Ivybelle on Bullying

“Things will get easier, people’s minds will change, and you should be alive to see It.”
-Ellen DeGeneres

“You’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re stupid. Your mom doesn’t love you. Who would like you? You’re fat and ugly! You’re worthless. Nobody will care if you die.”
Those are a few of what I was told ever since I was a kid.

I remember being in first grade and a classmate (a boy) didn’t like me very much. I never knew why but he always picked on me. I remember one day trying to look at a book that I wasn’t supposed to touch and he punched me in the chest. I also remember crying in pain and the teacher not doing much about it but he kept yelling at me. Most of the class didn’t like me to be honest. I only had 1 friend in my class but most of the girls would steal my things and the boys were always making fun of what I was eating and throwing my things. They would throw my backpack, my notebooks, my jacket, etc. At some point my backpack fell apart. When I was young, I was very shy and reserved so I didn’t really communicate with people. ASL was my first language then English and French but because my mom is deaf, she couldn’t help me pronounce words properly. For the longest time people used to make fun of me because of my accent and not knowing the difference between some words; e.g. “Fork” and “Fort”.

When I was in grade 4 I was the new girl. I moved from Ontario to Quebec at this point and I didn’t know anyone. I was the girl with the deaf mom again and I was the one who didn’t wear clothing with brands. I remember one guy and his best friend were the school meanies. They bullied a lot of people at school and ¾ of the students were scared of them. One day I played basketball and the ball ended up rolling beside him and I tried to get the ball but he kept kicking it away. I got annoyed and told him to stop it but he got pissed off and started pushing me and at some point I fell to the ground. Him and his friends started laughing at me. He called me every name in the book. “ Ugly, fat, dumb, stupid, trash, loser” among other things that is not PG rated.

I stayed at that school for 3 years. I kept telling my mom that I was getting bullied and she would tell me to tell the teachers, but they never really did anything. I was scared of going to that school. When I was 10 years old a few girls and I were talking (I thought we were friends), they were telling me how my friends are pretending to be my friends- that they told them. I argued with them for a good 30 minutes about how they are lying but I was still really hurt and I felt really alone. That’s when one of the girls said that if I was to die no one would care. I told her that she was lying but she was so convincing. After arguing for a while, she started a petition called “Who wants Ivybelle to kill herself?” Every time someone wanted me dead she would add a mark on the sheet. She came back with 4 sheets filled. I told the girl that I would commit suicide and wont show up the next morning. The next morning I didn’t show up and my mom didn’t know. However, The teacher caught her and she got in trouble. She talked to her dad and she was grounded.

In high school I bullied too. From being thrown basketballs at, to turning people against me, to telling classes my deepest secrets, to getting abused, etc. The first 4 years were hard. I didn’t fit in anywhere, I was depressed, my mom moved to BC and I stayed behind. I was sexually abused, being bullied and I was struggling in school. I started self-harming, drinking and smoking. I was being discriminated by my dad for being hearing and not deaf and on top of that he and my half-sister were bullying me. The bullying didn’t really stop until I moved to BC and went to a good high school where there was no tolerance for bullying.

Bullying is really hard to go through and see someone go through. Over the years it seems to be getting worse every year. It’s gotten so bad that 12-year-old kids are turning to serious physical abuse and even murder. When I hear/see things like that on the news, my heart breaks and I worry so much about what the future holds. Some of these situations happen at school and some out of school.. If you know anyone that is getting bullied here are some steps to help.
10 Steps to Stop and Prevent Bullying:
Credit: http://www.nea.org/home/51629.htm
Whether you are a parent, an educator, or a concerned friend of the family, there are ten steps you can take to stop and prevent bullying:
1. Pay attention. There are many warning signs that may point to a bullying problem, such as unexplained injuries, lost or destroyed personal items, changes in eating habits, and avoidance of school or other social situations. However, every student may not exhibit warning signs, or may go to great lengths to hide it. This is where paying attention is most valuable. Engage students on a
daily basis and ask open-ended questions that encourage conversation.

2. Don’t ignore it. Never assume that a situation is harmless teasing. Different students have different levels of coping; what may be considered teasing to one may be humiliating and devastating to another. Whenever a student feels threatened in any way, take it seriously, and assure the student that you are there for them and will help.

3. When you see something — do something. Intervene as soon as you even think there may be a problem between students. Don’t brush it off, as “kids are just being kids They’ll get over it.” Some never do, and it affects them for a lifetime. All questionable behaviour should be addressed immediately to keep a situation from escalating. Summon other adults if you deem the situation may get out of hand. Be sure to always refer to your school’s anti-bullying policy.

4. Remain calm. When you intervene, refuse to argue with either student. Model the respectful behaviour you expect from the students. First make sure everyone is safe and that no one needs immediate medical attention. Reassure the students involved, as well as the bystanders. Explain to them what needs to happen next — bystanders go on to their expected destination while the students involved should be taken separately to a safe place.

5. Deal with students individually. Don’t attempt to sort out the facts while everyone is present, don’t allow the students involved to talk with one another, and don’t ask bystanders to tell what they saw in front of others. Instead, talk with the individuals involved — including bystanders — on a one-on-one basis. This way, everyone will be able to tell their side of the story without worrying about what others may think or say.

6. Don’t make the students involved apologize and/or shake hands on the spot. Label the behaviour as bullying. Explain that you take this type of behaviour very seriously and that you plan to get to the bottom of it before you determine what should be done next and any resulting consequences based on your school’s anti-bullying policy. This empowers the bullied child — and the bystanders — to feel that someone will finally listen to their concerns and be fair about outcomes.

7. Hold bystanders accountable. Bystanders provide bullies an audience, and often actually encourage bullying. Explain that this type of behaviour is wrong, will not be tolerated, and that they also have a right and a responsibility to stop bullying. Identify yourself as a caring adult that they can always approach if they are being bullied and/or see or suspect bullying.

8. Listen and don’t pre-judge. It is very possible that the person you suspect to be the bully may actually be a bullied student retaliating or a “bully’s” cry for help. It may also be the result of an undiagnosed medical, emotional or psychological issue. Rather than make any assumptions, listen to each child with an open mind.

9. Get appropriate professional help. Be careful not to give any advice beyond your level of expertise. Rather than make any assumptions, if you deem there are any underlying and/or unsolved issues, refer the student to a nurse, counsellor, school psychologist, social worker, or other appropriate professional.

10. Become trained to handle bullying situations. If you work with students in any capacity, it is important to learn the proper ways to address bullying. Visit http://www.nea.org/bullyfree for information and resources. You can also take the pledge to stop bullying, as well as learn how to create a Bully Free program in your school and/or community.

If you are a victim of bullying, please talk to someone. I know it might be scary right now, but please hold on and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not your fault.

Stay Strong. Stay Beautiful. Stay You.
Keep Fighting.
-Ivybelle-Xx

Marie Talks: Safe Sex

I don’t want to come off sounding like a PSA with this topic but it is one that we can hear a thousand times but still not completely use in our lives. We have heard it a thousand times.. ‘Wrap it before you tap it’ ‘Wear a condom’ etc. But how many people can say that advice is always taken to heart. Who can say that they don’t know anyone who doesn’t use a condom on a regular basis with a partner who is not a long term partner? Whether it’s you, your friend, or sexual partner (current, ex, or just a fling), do every one of you make sure you are not at risk of contracting an STI or creating a child when you get intimate? Most likely we all know one person who has carelessly forgone using a condom because sex isn’t the same with one on or they don’t have one ready, even just once.

Chances we’ve all heard it before but I’ll cover this because you can never hear it enough. Wear a condom, not just to avoid an unwanted pregnancy but to avoid STIs. No one wants to find out that they caught anything from a fun night, whether it’s anything from Chlamydia to HIV.

Get tested regularly, make sure you haven’t contracted anything.

Be honest with your partner if you do have anything, whether it be Chlamydia, herpes, herpes, HIV or anything.

YOU CAN WALK AWAY AT ANY POINT IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLEWITH ANYTHING. JUST BECAUSE YOU GAVE YOUR CONSENT AT ONE POINT DOES NOT MEAN YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR MIND AND NOT CONSENT. It doesn’t matter why you changed your mind… whether it’s because you aren’t in the mood any more, they won’t wear a condom even though you want them to, they have a weird bump on their privates/mouth or they do something you don’t approve of, it does not matter you are not obligated to have any contact with each other’s genitals or any other intimate act.

Questions You Should Ask a New Sexual Partner?

  • Do you have a condom?
  • Do you have an STI? Is there anything I should know about?
  • When was the last time you were tested for STIs? Are you clean?
  • Are you on a form of contraceptive? If so what? (You should still use a condom)

You should also divulge all this information to your partner as well, it’s not a one way street, you both should be fully aware of what you are getting yourselves into.

There is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of about asking these questions to the person you are wanting to be intimate with. You are not bound by contract to have sex with them, you can change your mind at any point and there is nothing fun about having a fun night only to find out it led to a not so fun consequence. You can make a decision regardless of what comes out of their mouth, and you should not feel guilty if you find yourself doubting anything they say, it is your personal health that you are protecting.
Story Time:

When I was eighteen I started dating this guy, lets call him Dion. I had gone to get a STI screening and Pap smear recently and just gotten the results back, I was clean. I had the ritual of going every three months regardless of whether I was sleeping with a single partner, wasn’t sleeping with anyone or had had more than one partner. I also was getting tested after I slept with a new partner. Anyways me and Dion had the conversation about our sexual health and been through all these questions and I had trusted his answers. We used condoms the first few times and he agreed to get tested as it had been a while since he had been, he said he came back clean. We had been dating for a while and we stopped using condoms, as I was on depo provera (The shot), and I had felt comfortable trusting him.

A month or two later my birth control was running out which meant I needed to go back to the doctors for the shot and my routine screenings.  As always I thought nothing of this visit it was routine, take a pregnancy test, do all the STI testing, Pap test, get the shot, and come back in three months. However I got a call a week or two later, it was the clinic asking me to come back in asap, that they needed to talk to me. When I went back in they told me I had Chlamydia then gave me the pills I needed and did all that fun jazz, I immediately thought there was a mix up, both Dion and I were clean, and he wouldn’t lie to me. Afterwards I called Dion and asked him if we could talk about something, he was reluctant but finally agreed and met up with me to talk. When I told him what happened he started screaming at me that I was cheating on him, it was impossible for him to have something and all that. Through all of his fuss I had determined he had three things set in stone 1) he did not have chlamydia, 2) he would not get tested (nor would he take the pills to be safe), and 3) we weren’t breaking up over this. Well I was not happy with his response nor did I want to put myself in this position where I would be constantly putting myself in risk of getting chlamydia again, so I broke up with him and got retested two weeks later coming back clean.

I learnt a few things from this experience and the most important one being people can and some will lie about important aspects just so they can sleep with you. That I should trust my gut instinct when someone tells me something, and safe is always better than sorry, even if it means putting a barrier in between me and my partner in a moment of intimacy.

Stay True. Stay You. Stay Healthy Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

Howie’s take on Healthy relationships mixed with unhealthy relationships

Hey blog readers it’s me Howie Defranco and this week’s topic is healthy relationships.   A healthy relationship is a mutually beneficial bond between to people based on mutual trust, mutual compromise and mutual interests.  In this day and age finding something like that is getting harder and harder, just look at the topics we’ve wrote about so far here that are about relations between people.  I mean the relationship, whether it be friendship, family or a love relation can turn bitter sweet, or even sour before you even know what caused it to turn.  I’m going to talk today about the very healthy relationships I have in my life in contrast to the unhealthy ones I’ve had.

Let’s start off actually with sour and bitter sweet relationships, these come from a few different things, broken trust, heart ache, jealousy, unbalanced feelings and power struggle being the chief among them.
Broken trust is one that has haunted me quite a bit, it’s pulled me to the point where I went from being someone who trusted people until they did something wrong to someone who holds back more.  There’s a lot that doesn’t go outside my inner circle that used to be public I didn’t care how much people knew about me because it was my life, why hide it?  If you’ve read my depression blog you know I had a friend blow a secret I kept for basically a year and a half to the one person I was keeping it from.  I’d say though the real kicker came about a year ago though, I did something I shouldn’t have… It is the one thing I refuse to share on this blog.  To this day I regret getting involved in it and falling back on it for almost a year at my lowest points.  I told a few people, just a few about it and of course next thing I know everyone knows.  I told them to keep it secret but no, now I don’t mind that a few people know they know everything about my life but it pains me that some people, people that treat me differently because of it know.
There’s not much more I can say on heartache I haven’t said in a previous blog, it poisons a relationship.  It can cause turmoil, feelings of doubt, and can turn you into someone you don’t like.  So let’s move on to jealousy, when a person is jealous it can cause them to do things that cause the relationship to become unhealthy.  These include but are not limited to, insults, belittling you, talking about you behind your back.  The people in your life that turn out this way are what should be called two faced and unlike the batman villain you don’t see the other side till its to late.
Which brings us to unbalanced feelings, the person on one side cares way more than the person on the other side.  I guess this category is pretty fitting for me, as I always seem to be the one that cares more.  It almost always ends up hurting me, once again I refer to my depression blog but beyond that.  Let’s start with the fact I’ve been friend zoned by almost every other girl I’ve ever liked beside Sarah.  I can list them all in fake names just for fun here, Monica, Erica, Rita, Tina, Sandra, Mary, Jessica (please someone get the reference haha).  Anyways it never ends well there’s a point yes we’re gets a bit better but there is that part of you that is always hurt the other person didn’t care as much as you.
Finally power struggle, this is where a person becomes that micro managing, controlling person we all know and love.  I’m talking more so about the ones that it’s there way, no highway option, then just a person who is the leader of the friendship.  Basically the person who decides everything, overshadows you, bosses you around and generally makes you feel small.  I used to have a friend like that, we’ll call her Amy, like amazing Amy from Gone Girl.  She basically controlled everything we did everything our group of friends did and got really upset when it wasn’t her way.  So much so that when I finally just decided I was done with her she went behind my back and made some people I considered good friends stop spending time with me.  Told them I wasn’t a good person and to stop hanging out with me, more than one person told me what she said.  When I was friends with her though it felt like she always came first like I wasn’t as important as her.  I’m a big guy and she’s the only person in this world that made me feel like I was Jiminy Cricket sized.
Let’s move on though and talk about what a healthy relationship looks like to describe it I’m going to talk about Raph, Leo, Karai, Mikey, Paris, Marie and Madison.  Raph and Madison, are to very good friends of mine that I don’t get to see that much anymore.  Well more since I joined time, I’ve helped them out of a couple jams and there always a phone call away if I need them despite the fact there always busy, then again so am I.  Leo and Karai, first they just got married so happy for them, they live a few blocks from me and I see them probably once a week.  They’re always there when I need them too and I’ve been there for them through some of there toughest times, were planning on moving out all together somewhere.  In reference to Raph and Leo, I’ve given both a lot and they’ve paid me back in spades with their friendships for what I have done.  Then there’s Mikey, now Mikey and I have drifted apart over the years and have only recently become close again but he’s probably the most understanding friend there is, and he always has my back and vice versa.  Paris, oddly enough is a bond that was strengthened by unbalanced, her and I became closer because she knows how I feel about her.  Which is kinda cool, she’s pretty awesome and never judges me for anything.  Finally there’s Marie who with Madison invited me to be a part of this very organization, by doing so she’s given me something to do that’s helping me feel better about me and in return, I’m doing my best.
I love my friends through the good and the bad because at the end of the day we just make each other laugh and forget our worries, there are more I could of listed here but hey maybe they’ll be in another blog.  I leave you with a final thought, what’s the point of a relationship if both people don’t feel good about themselves because of it.

Lynn’s favorite book genre

When I was in school, I really didn’t like doing book reports. The thought of reading for work instead of enjoyment really put me off, so I just didn’t do any of them. My mom and teacher, however, really didn’t like that and neither did my grade, so we can to an agreement that if I did at least one book report that term, my teacher would disregard my incomplete ones. Naturally I agreed and picked the smallest book off of my mom’s bookshelf, seeing as I didn’t have many books of my own.

The title was “A Murder in E Minor” by Robert Goldsborough. Since it was a small book, I thought I’d give it a bit of my time and be done with it. Hours later, at about 2 a.m., I was still awake, reading and getting myself involved deeper. I couldn’t put the book down, I was loving every minute of sleep I lost. I swore to myself I would finish the book that night. The text was actually quite small, which made the book a lot longer than it appeared and obviously I failed, but I was right back into it the next morning.

That’s what I love about mysteries. They make you feel involved. They take you on a puzzle filled adventure and just when you think you’ve got it, they throw you for a loop and keep you on your toes. Personally, it doesn’t feel like I’m wasting my time “just reading some book” and makes me use my head, keeping my mind at work even away from the book. I really like the mystery genre more than I can say and I really wish it was a bit more mainstream. It’s really hard to find a good mystery these days…

What if.. On Sexual abuse and consent

Welcome to the Last Installment of the Five part collaboration on Sexual abuse, thank you for reading. This week we’re trying something new, as we were struggling with this topic on our own. Four of us have teamed up to answer some questions and dispel some myths. This team up is coming to you in five installments:

Monday was of myths

Tuesday was answering questions

Wednesday was more baffling myths

Thursday was even more mind boggling myths

Finally today we have a ‘What if..’ question that we are going to answer.

Enjoy!

Q: What if someone verbally consented to a sexual act, whether it was kissing, taking their shirt off, or having sex, but later, when they were in bed and making out, felt unsure and only said yes because the other person was pressuring them? Would you still consider that consent?

Marie: If they were pressured into saying ‘yes’ then no, in my opinion I do not consider that consent. In the eyes of the law it defines consent as voluntary agreement to partake in sexual activity with another person. If you feel pressured into agreeing to partake in a sexual activity your consent was not voluntary, making your agreement not consensual. As the law recognises consent by not only verbal consent but also by non-verbal cues, eg: body language and or struggling, despite ‘yes’ being said body language said no, making it sexual assault.  People have the legal right to change their mind at any point and if the partner does not stop when one changes their mind it becomes sexual assault, because there is no longer any consent. Personally I didn’t understand the idea that you were legally allowed to turn around and say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ at any point even if consenting earlier, and that at the moment you communicate your lack of consent it becomes sexual assault.

My boyfriend at the time (now my ex-boyfriend) a couple years ago who ignored me when he wanted to take kissing and fooling around farther and I had said no stop. At the time I didn’t completely understand that that was rape, but I knew it was wrong. I do now consider it rape because I did not consent, however I was in that haze of ‘well he’s my boyfriend, and we were fooling around’ that was trying to justify his actions.

 

Ivybelle: I remember a few years ago I was in a new relationship with a guy I really liked. However, my ex-boyfriend wasn’t happy about it and he tried everything to get me to break up with him or vice versa. Stress was kicking in and I remember that my ex and I were always fighting about me being in a relationship with my boyfriend. At that time I was living with my ex’s sister until I could get back on my feet again. My ex told me that if I didn’t dump my boyfriend I would be kicked out of his sister’s place and I would have nowhere to go. I was scared and angry every time he would mention it.

One night, my ex told me he needed to talk to me face to face and I did. When I got there it was 1am and we got into a huge fight. Once he calmed down I was about to leave but my ex didn’t let me; he said it was too late and that he didn’t want something to happen to me.  He told me that I was going to sleep over, and that’s when my fears kicked in. I sat on his bed in the living room because there was nowhere else to sit. He asked me if I had dumped my boyfriend and I said no. He wanted to watch a movie so we did and he kept putting his hands on my body. I took his hands off me and told him no 3 times. That’s when he pinned me to the bed and asked me to have sex with him one last time. I didn’t want to, I was screaming on the inside and all I could see were my past abusers. I just froze and didn’t know what to say. He asked me again and again until I could say something. The only thing I could say was “I guess”, I was scared and I couldn’t move. See at this point, I could have ran for the door but it was as if I was paralyzed. I wanted to cry and scream but I couldn’t. He kept pressuring me to have sex with him even though I told him 3 times to take his hands off me, but I said “ I guess” instead of saying no…

 The next day I woke up and I felt like crap, I got dressed and left. When I got home I got a message from my ex saying “if you don’t tell him you cheated on him, I will and he will be pissed. Either way, you and him it’s over.” I was hurt and broken; I felt bad and took the blame. I didn’t hear from my boyfriend for 3 days and I messaged him telling him what exactly happened. When he finally texted me back I knew he was pissed at me. He told me that he trusted me and that he was in love with me but now the damage is done and there’s no way to fix this. I tried telling them that I was pressured into it, but to him it’s still considered cheating. I was confused at that moment… All I could think was “is it rape? Did I cheat? Was it my fault?” I didn’t know what to think. When I talked to my ex’s sister she told me I should have just walked out, I should have pushed him away, and that it’s my fault for cheating…

Now the guy who I once loved, is married, has 3 kids and is happy. As for me? Well, I finally was told that yes, it’s rape. If you are being pressured into a situation, yes it is rape. If you feel forced into saying yes but you mean no, then yes it is rape. If you don’t give an answer, then yes it is rape. Unless you say yes and actually mean it, then it is rape.

 

Madison: When it comes to feeling pressured in a relationship. You never should, you should feel safe enough to be honest with your partner. I was in a relationship a little while ago where the same thing happened time and time again. I was afraid of telling him because I didn’t want him to feel rejected or hurt by it, but every time it happened I felt more and more regret because I wasn’t being true to myself or him. When I finally came out to him he was more offended but that I hadn’t been totally honest. I try now to always have a good communication with my boyfriend’s now.

When it comes to having this kind of thing happening with a stranger or friends. The only thing I really can say is that you really shouldn’t have to feel that way. What I could recommend is trying to be honest with the person and let them know that this isn’t a good time and maybe we can try again another time.

Thank you for reading!

Don’t be afraid to leave a comment leaving your opinion on this ‘what if..’ question, our responses or any questions you may have. If you can think of a myth you’ve heard and haven’t seen here please don’t be shy and leave it in the comments.

Until next week,

Marie Olsson, Madison Taylor, and Ivybelle Teller

Source:

“What Is the Legal Definition of “Consent”?” What Is the Legal Definition of “Consent”? N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2015. <http://www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/faq/what-legal-definition-consent&gt;.

Sexual Abuse Myths #2

Welcome to the Third Installment of the Five part collaboration on Sexual abuse, thank you for the read. This Week we’re trying something new, as we were struggling with this topic on our own. Four of us have teamed up to answer some questions and dispel some myths. This team up is coming to you in five installments:

Monday Was of myths

Tuesday was answering questions

Today is more baffling myths

Thursday was even more mind boggling myths

Finally Friday we have a ‘What if..’ question that we are going to answer.

Enjoy!

A rapist is a stranger.

Marie: No, the rapist is not always a stranger. Personally I have been raped by 6 different men, only one of those six men was a stranger to me. Of the others 2 were friends and 3 were boyfriends. This isn’t even taking into account just sexual abuse that did not end in sex, but I think rape alone painted a good enough picture. This idea that you don’t know your rapist is not always true, many times you know your assailant well. It is very likely that your rapist be someone you trust.  Realistically 80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim making it a lot more likely that you are more likely to be assaulted when you feel safe then walking home alone.

Ivybelle: No, a rapist can be anyone: family, friend, boyfriend, ex, stranger, co-worker, etc… I personally know this because I was abused by family members, an ex-boyfriend, school mates and friends. A lot of people who go through abuse, rape is by someone you know and it makes it a lot harder to admit.

Madison: No, it’s not always the case. In cases when a child is the one being sexual assaulted it is typically coming from someone they already trust. In the case of a stanger taking sexually assaulting someone that has already been stalking them a while or they were an object of opportunity.

Lynn: Not always. Rapists can be strangers, but they can also acquaintances or friends or even family. Personally, I really trusted my sexual abuser until I found out what it was he was doing to me, seeing as it was my mom’s boyfriend at the time.

 

They didn’t struggle so they were not raped.

Marie: Personally I have fought back; but I only fought back the first few times or if it was a new assailant. I learnt pretty quickly that it hurt less and was over faster if I didn’t struggle or put my all into it. Overpowering my assailant was a fight I could not win, I was left drained and hurt but that did not stop me from being raped. That’s not to say that trying to stop your attacker from sexually assaulting you is useless or will not make a difference and I am not saying you should not try. All I am saying is that I knew my struggling was futile and I gave up, but that does not mean I consented. I was much younger and much weaker then all my rapists, leaving me at a disadvantage. But just because I did not give it my all to fight back does not mean I consented and was not raped.

Ivybelle:  That’s not true. Not everyone reacts the same way in the moment. Some people are too scared to do anything, some people are in shock mode, some people already have their trauma’s and they don’t just don’t want to fight it cause they know there’s no point. I can say that I’ve been sexually abused and raped but I’ve never actually fought to make it stop. I remember being scared and telling myself that if I tried anything I would probably get hurt.  When fear takes over you never know what’s going to happen. You cannot blame a victim for not defending themselves.

Madison: In my past I was sexually assaulted by the same guy for almost a year. After a certain point I couldn’t fight anymore. That is still considered rape, I was half the guy’s age and I did not consent to any sexual activity but after a certain point I couldn’t fight any longer. When it comes to rape it doesn’t matter if the female fight back or not, there was no consent. Your brain goes into the 3 f’s mode (Fight Flight or Freeze), if a person doesn’t fight back it could either they froze in fear or in a state of shock. If your judging someone on how much they fight back, that could be more harmful to their mental and emotional state the not giving any support.

There are always visible injuries when someone is sexually assaulted.

Marie: Just because there are no marks left on a victim’s body does not mean it did not happen. Just because you cannot see an injury doesn’t mean it’s not there; they could have hidden it or could be somewhere no one else should see. The trauma of sexual assault can scar you mentally, and that’s more than enough.

Ivybelle: No. Not everyone has marks left behind. It depends on the force of the rapist/abuser.

Madison: Not all sexual assault is rape. It can be anything, sexual assault can be; Groping, kissing, touching inappropriately, rape, it’s can be anything that would make you feel violated. It comes to a point where if that person crosses your boundaries willing or after you have clearly stated you are unwilling then that is clearly sexual assault.

You can identify a rapist by just looking at them – and they are usually from a particular race, or from a disadvantaged background.

Marie: yeah, sure, that makes complete sense… I mean just looking at my assailants you could clearly tell they were. I mean a couple white guys, an Asian and a Hispanic, how did I not see the pattern. Majority of my assailants came from a relatively advantaged background and most seemed like perfectly sweet gentlemen until you really got to know them. The only way to know someone is a rapist is from being told or experiencing it.

Ivybelle: The rapist can be anyone. Sometimes it can be a friend, family member but sometimes it can be a complete stranger. When it happens in the street or anywhere, you can’t always identify the rapist.  There’s no specific race or background that makes someone an abuser. The rapist can be white, black, Asian or any race.

Madison: If you are walking down the street I wouldn’t be able to honestly tell if someone has sexually assaulted someone or not. I believe there is no particular race or background that sexually assault someone, it honestly can be anyone. You may be able to tell if there is something off by their behavior, not by the way they look. If we start judging people by the way they look are jails will be ten time more crowded with innocent people. Let’s stop judging people by their ethnicity and cultural background and start looking at people with their own personality, because every person is their own person.

Lynn: Not at all. There is no “poster child” for rapists. Rapists come in all different shapes, sizes, races, and genders. Anyone could be a rapist.

 

Unless she is physically harmed, a sexual assault victim will not suffer any long-term effects.

Marie: Sometimes the most harmful events are the ones that don’t (always) leave physical scars. PTSD is a very real problem, and it can be an issue for sexual assault survivours. I personally have a hard time being intimate with another person in fear that if I say no they’ll ignore it or force me.

Ivybelle: No matter what way you were harmed; physically, mentally, or emotionally, you may suffer in the long term.  When you are being sexually abused it takes a big toll on you emotionally and verbally. You could spend most of your life looking over your shoulder, not being able to trust others. You may feel worthless and disgusting. When it comes to relationships you could have a hard time giving everything you have because you’re scared of what they can do to you or you may have problems expressing yourself. You may have trouble focusing in school or at work. Sexual assault trauma isn’t something that just goes away. Your life may change after that.

 

Rape is a sexual act that is taken too far.

Marie: Rape is rape. Rape is assault; it is violence. Rape is not a sexual act nor is it is not a sexual act gone too far. Rape is a physical assault violating someone’s body.  It is something to not be down played, justified or made excuses for; it is a vile act of ignoring a person’s wishes to not perform a sexual act upon them. Without consent a sexual act is not sexual, it is rape.

Madison: At what point is it too far? The moment the person says no or when the person is screaming in pain. For me as soon as a person says no and the other person continues then that is already going too far.

If a woman has had many sexual partners then she cannot be sexually assaulted.

Marie: Without consent a sexual act is sexual assault or rape, regardless of how many or few sexual partners the person has had.

Ivybelle: Sexual assault has nothing to do with how many partners you’ve had.  When’s there’s no consent, it is rape. Even if you are in a relationship it’s possible to be sexually abused.

Madison: It should not matter how many sexual partner she may have, it’s about having her rights stripped from her. What is the different is a female has 2-30 partners. The point is that no matter what no one deserves to be sexually assaulted

 

 

We’d love to hear your opinion on this what if question and if to you there is still consent.

“Q: What if someone verbally consented to a sexual act, whether it was kissing, taking their shirt off, or having sex, but later, when they were in bed and making out, felt unsure and only said yes because the other person was pressuring them? Would you still consider that consent?”

We’ll be sharing our opinions on this on Friday!

Thank you for reading!

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow for more. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment leaving your opinion on any of these myths, our responses or any questions you may have. If you can think of a myth you’ve heard and haven’t seen here please don’t be shy and leave it in the comments.

Until tomorrow,

Marie Olsson, Madison Taylor, Ivybelle Teller, and Lynn Rascal

 

Source:

“Sexual Assault Statistics in Canada.” N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.sexassault.ca/statistics.htm&gt;.

Questions on Sexual Abuse

Welcome to the Second installment of our five part Collaboration!

This Week we’re trying something new, as we were struggling with this topic on our own. Four of us have teamed up to answer some questions and dispel some myths. This team up is coming to you in five installments:

Monday Was of myths

Today we’re answering questions

Wednesday is more baffling myths

Thursday even more mind boggling myths

Finally Friday we have a ‘What if..’ question that we are going to answer.

 

 

Questions about Sexual Abuse:

 

  1. Was it my fault?

Marie: No. When you are sexual assaulted or raped it is never your fault. It does not matter how many ‘what if..’ and ‘if only I had..’ thoughts went through your head, not consenting for a sexual act that took place makes it not your fault. Did you ask for it to happen? Did you consent to the activities that took place? If you answered no to either of these questions it was not your fault. I asked myself this question when it happened to me and sometimes I still do, but I have to keep reminding myself that I do not take any blame in my sexual abuse.

Ivybelle: No. No matter what people say, it is never your fault. When something is taken away from you without your consent, it is not your fault. Someone took advantage of you. For the longest time I thought it was my fault that I got abused because everyone told me that I started it, that I wanted it. At first I blamed them, but then I thought “what if I did start it? What if it was my fault” and I started to believe myself. I was lucky to have my best friend around at that time to help me and remind me that it’s not my fault and what they did is wrong.

Madison: No, if you are sexually assaulted it is not your fault.

 

Q: Will I ever feel better?

Marie: You may, it varies from person to person. You will not always feel as bad as you did right after it happened, but it may never fully go away. Personally I still have a lot of triggers and trust issues when it comes to touching me, which I don’t think will ever disappear. However I can say they are not as bad as they were, and I can learn to trust others and let them in. It may take baby steps but I no longer cringe every time a male is near me and I have managed to have a physical relationship since with a lot of trust building. Having support from friends, family and, if you decide to seek it, therapy.

Ivybelle: Honestly.. No. It doesn’t go away. The memories are still there sitting in the back of your mind. One day you may be fine and the next you might have a meltdown or not even want to get out of bed. You may be angry and push people away without realizing it. You have built this wall between you and the world, you might shut down. You may not be able to be intimate with someone for a long time. You may become more protective of your friends and family. You may always look over your shoulder. When a guy/girl flirts with you, you may get scared. When you drink you might feel vulnerable. You may have trouble sleeping at night, sometimes you may feel like someone is on top of you. Sometimes you may feel like you are being watched. There’s a lot of things that may happen. This constant fear might take over. I’m not saying that this will happen to everyone, but for a lot of people that’s the case. Please, don’t be afraid to get some help.

Madison: I agree with Ivy belle the memories will all be there, and it may not fully go away. But it’s the also the part of us that can make us stronger. I wouldn’t be where I am today if my past was not what it was.

Q: What do I do, or whom do I tell, if I am sexually assaulted or my child is sexually abused?

Ivybelle: Tell someone you trust, whether it’s a friend or a family member, also call the cops. It’s a scary thing to do, but the cops will be able to help you. If you can’t call the cops, try to get someone who you trust to call for you so he/she can send the cops to your home or wherever you feel safe. Maybe if you are scared to be alone with the cops, get someone to sit down with you and support you. The cops will give you a phone number or reference you to some therapy or someone to talk to. Therapy does help.  The cop will ask you to go to the hospital, so try to not take a shower after the assault has happened.

Madison: if my child or I had gotten sexually assaulted then I’d so to my family doctor or the police. But in a different situation especially when fear is involved then the only thing I can recommend is go to someone you trust. That can be anyone from friend and family to a social support work and counsellor.

Q: I do not know how to help a friend who has been sexually assaulted.

Marie: Be there for them. Be supportive and patient with them. When you find out they have been sexually assaulted ask if they’re safe, are they in any danger. Ask if they’ve reported, and if they have not ask why. They may be unsure of the process, they may be scared of their assailant, or they could feel like reporting it is not going to help. They could also be afraid of talking about it out loud, in a lot of detail over and over again; or that they will not be believed. Those on top of many other things are legitimate thoughts to think in that sort of situation; but urge your friend to report the incident and reassure them that you will be there for them and that it is a good thing to do. But never pressure your friend into anything, whether it’s talking to you or the police, that’s the last thing they need at that moment. Talk to them about the possibility of support groups or therapy and help them look for that if they’re interested. When someone reports their sexual assault to the police they can also be referred to services such as support groups and/or counselling through them as well. If they don’t want to report it or go to therapy or support groups don’t force them, be supportive of them. You can also ask if they have thought of seeing a doctor for screening (STI testing and such) to ensure their health.  All you can do is ensure their safety, and be there for them, reaching out is their job and you cannot force that to happen.

Ivybelle: All you can do is be there for them and don’t judge them. They are already struggling with expressing themselves and they feel like everyone will judge them. Tell them that things will work out, but never tell them to just get over it. Ask them if they have reported it, if not ask if they plan to. If they haven’t yet because they are afraid, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help. Sometimes they just need a little push to help them get the ball rolling. After I was sexually abused, I didn’t report it to the cops or get help, but my mom knew I needed help. She took me to therapy and my therapist gave me 2 choices. Either I go to the police station myself or he was going to call the cops to get them to meet me at my place. It took me a week, my mom knew I didn’t go. She grabbed me by the arm and made me make a report. It was hard, they didn’t want my mom to be in the same room, but I told them that the only way I was going to do this is if my mom joins me. They let her come in but I wasn’t allowed to talk to her. After the report, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I thank my mom and my therapist for it. I still struggled and when I needed a friend the most, my best friend was there for me. She gave me comfort, gave me hugs, reminded me it’s not my fault and talked a bit. It was a relief to know that my best friend wasn’t judging me. Sometimes people need a little push. Before taking that step, make sure the person asks for your help.

Madison: The one thing I needed most after mine attack was compassion. The only thing you can do is try to just listening and supporting them.

Q: Aren’t gay people more likely to sexually abuse children than straight people?

Marie: I hear this quite a lot and honestly, no they are not. That’s like saying girls are more likely to be smart then boys are. It’s quite an outdated, uneducated and baffling way to think. It’s not true and it never has nor will it ever be.

Ivybelle: Yes, I also ride a polar bear to work, live in an igloo and I drink maple syrup… No! I’ve never heard this before but no. Gays are just like straight people, there’s no need to label people. Anyone can be a rapist, gay, straight, transgender, etc..

Madison: No, Being gay does not automatically mean you will sexually abuse a child. People who sexually assault children struggle with something more the sexual identity. I don’t think it matters if you are straight, gay, bi sexual, lesbian when it comes down to it anyone could be anyone.

 

Q: Can I be sexually assaulted by my boyfriend, girlfriend, friend or acquaintance?

Marie: I cannot say this enough, without consent it is sexual assault. It does not matter what your relationship with the person is you still have to give consent for it to be a sexual act.

Ivybelle: Yes. I know this can be confusing for a lot of people… “He’s my boyfriend, they can’t rape me.” Yes there is. If you tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, friend or whoever else that you are not in the mood or no and the person is still being pushy about it – it is rape. Whether you are married or not, if you don’t want it and they force it, it is rape. It’s something that not a lot of people mention but yes it does happen. If there’s no consent, it’s rape.

Madison: not every person get raped or assaulted by their partners but it can happen. As soon as you say no and your partner does not stop it is consider assault/rape.  Doesn’t matter who it may be, as soon as you say no it means no.

 

We’d love to hear your opinion on this what if question and if to you there is still consent.

“Q: What if someone verbally consented to a sexual act, whether it was kissing, taking their shirt off, or having sex, but later, when they were in bed and making out, felt unsure and only said yes because the other person was pressuring them? Would you still consider that consent?”

We’ll be sharing our opinions on this on Friday!

Thank you for reading!

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow for more. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment leaving your opinion on any of these questions, our responses or any questions you may have. If you can think of a myth or question you’ve heard and haven’t seen here please don’t be shy and leave it in the comments.

Until tomorrow,

Marie Olsson, Madison Taylor, Ivybelle Teller, and Lynn Rascal

Sexual Abuse Myths #1

This Week we’re trying something new, as we were struggling with this topic on our own. Four of us have teamed up to answer some questions and dispel some myths. This team up is coming to you in five installments:

Today being the first. We have a blog of myths today

Tomorrow we’re answering questions

Wednesday is more baffling myths

Thursday even more mind boggling myths

Finally Friday we have a ‘What if..’ question that we are going to answer.

Warning: Talks on Rape and Sexual Assault

Meet the four of us involved in this big collaboration:

I am a victim of sexual assault. I am here for anyone who needs anything. I will not turn a blind eye to sexual assault. It’s not one person’s, one gender’s, or one age group’s issue, it is everyone’s issue. It is global, it is common and it is scary, we need to feel safer to come forward and report our assault not hidden in the darkest corner of the shadows. No one should ever be alone in their struggles. Marie Olsson

I am a victim of sexual assault. I may not be with you in person, but I am with you in spirit. If you need me, I will be here. Whether it’s a comment, a question or a message, I am here to help. Never feel you are alone because you are not. It’s time to speak up and try to break our fears. I am here, we are here. – Ivybelle Teller

I am a victim of sexual assault. Though it has been a number of years since it has happened, I still have the compassion to help. I will also love to listen to your stories, comments and questions. – Madison Taylor

As a child, I was molested by someone I thought I could trust. Since I was so young, I didn’t quite understand that what was happening was wrong, but I didn’t feel it was right. Turns out I was correct. I hope to educate children, and adults alike, so that they know that what may be happening to them is wrong and that it’s okay to talk to someone about it. – Lynn Rascal

Sexual assault is not a common problem.

Marie: Growing up I believed that sexual assault or rape only happened once to a person if it happened at all, I wish that were true. However I have been raped countless times by multiple men, most of which I had called my boyfriend or friend. I have been sexually assaulted by strangers, by classmates and by men I held dear to me. My idea of how common rape is that I had built in a bubble of childhood innocence was shattered at a very young age, I wish that that idea was true though. Rape and sexual assault should not be as common as it is. In 2009 Canadian women reported 472,000 sexual assaults, according to Statistics Canada. That number alone is heartbreaking; however to make things worse only 6 out of 100 incidents of sexual assault are reported to the police. Sexual assault is more of a common problem then you think, it needs the attention and awareness to help those who are suffering. Every victim should have a voice and every voice should be supported.

Ivybelle: It’s more common than people think. It is just that social media or school don’t bring it up because it’s either they don’t see it as a serious issue or the subject is taboo. To a lot of people sexual assault is not a big deal because it’s considered like “sex” but it’s not.

Madison: Sexual assault is a common problem but not every victim speaks up. In all honesty I did not speak up about my assaults until 8 years later. It’s not a common issue brought up in social media or in public education, but that does not mean it not any less important or common. Sexual assault is a very touchy topic to discuss and not everyone is open to it.

Lynn: Honestly, it is a bigger problem than people realize, what with victims keeping quiet out of fear. People could lose their jobs and even disowned for speaking up. Hell, even Ke$ha is losing face over talking about her sexual assault. Plus with rape culture practically becoming normalized on social media sites, the problem only continues to grow.

Women say “no” but they mean “yes”.       

Marie: No means no. In what world does the meanings of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ get reversed when it comes to consenting to sexual activities? This is utterly absurd, no is never yes. Someone who thinks otherwise is living in a bubble of denial about word definitions. I honestly don’t know what to say about this because all I want to do is give dictionary definitions and yell profanities at people who think this way.

Ivybelle: No doesn’t means yes, it means no. People tend to forget that when someone says no, it’s because they don’t want it. When you are putting your wants and needs before someone else’s rights, it is not right. For some reason this whole “no means yes” thing is science… no means no, it’s not science.

Madison: when it comes down to it no matter what you may think no is no. As soon as someone says no any sexual activity should stop, otherwise there is no consent from both side. There’s nothing more you can really say for that because really it’s common sense no mean no, nothing else.

Lynn: Well, the dictionary says that the definition of no is “a negative used to express dissent, denial, or refusal of a question or request” Hmmm…nothing about it meaning yes in there. When someone says no, they mean no. NO if, ands, or buts.

People who get drunk or take drugs or don’t take personal safety precautions shouldn’t be surprised if they are raped or sexually assaulted and must take some of the blame.

Marie: Wait, what? What this is saying is if I am not sober at all times and constantly on guard for being sexually abused I am at fault? How does that even make any sense? Just because I am not walking around wearing a shirt that says I do not want sex or introducing myself with “hello I am Marie, and no I do not consent to sexual activities at any point tonight.” does not mean I should take partial blame for my sexual assault. I don’t know what part of sexual abuse or rape people don’t understand but a women never asks for it or is to blame. I could be absolutely naked in front of a guy but that does not mean I consent for him to touch me or anything more. No one should be even partially blamed for being assaulted because to an outsider it could have been prevented if the victim was proactive in preventing it. As a victim of sexual abuse when I hear these comment it feels as though you are making a personal jab at me.  As a victim I repeatedly asked myself what I could have done to prevent these attacks and why me. I what if the situation until I drive myself mad. But realistically with the fact that one’s sexual assailant is likely to be someone they know (and trust) you could feel safe and it still happen.

Ivybelle: Really!? I don’t understand how this could even make sense. A person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol isn’t aware of what they are doing. Whether someone is sober or not and they want to have sex with someone who is under the influence, regardless if they say yes or no it’s still not acceptable. Mentally, the person is not there, they have no control over their body or what they say, so yes it is rape. Even if the women/men flirt or come on to you the other person who is sober shouldn’t take advantage of the situation because they might regret it the next day or feel used. No one can blame it on the victim because of the influence.

Madison: when it comes to this one there are rule set in place so thing like this don’t happen. No one under the influence of either alcohol or drug can consent to any sexual act, because they aren’t in the right mind space to do so. I will not sleep with my partner if he has had a couple drink in him, even if I know he would consent to me but how do I know if he really will say yes. It all comes down to safety, not just for yourself but for the other person to.

Lynn: Definitely not. People drink or take drugs to enjoy themselves, not to constantly fret over whether there’s a rapist lurking about. That’s like saying people who get hit by cars and get critical injuries should take some of the blame for not wearing protective gear while crossing the street.

If a man pays for dinner or a movie, the woman owes him sex.

Marie: No the woman owes him nothing besides a thank you. Paying for the date does not mean sex is owed to him. If you want money spent to sex get yourself an escort.

Ivybelle: No. If a man plans to pay for dinner or a movie, a woman does not owe him anything. Back in the day, a man would take a woman out on a proper date yet she wouldn’t have sex with him. Back then there wasn’t such thing as sex before marriage. Why would a woman owe man sex now? Unless the woman and man wants to have sex, she doesn’t have to.

Madison: I’m sorry this I find hurtful to no existent. Yes I believe in 50/50 but that does not mean I owe you anything. No one should owe anyone sex, sex is supposed to be something special between two people you care about. It’s almost like if I say yes to a date you owe me the most expensive dinner.

Lynn: Nobody owes anyone anything for acting like a decent human being, sex related or otherwise.

Women secretly want to be raped.

Marie: There is a big difference between roleplaying and rape. No one wants to be raped, this rumour is ridiculous and I have no idea why anyone would think this.

Ivybelle: I don’t know who started this “rumour”, but this is 100% false. There’s a difference between being raped and rough sex, BDSM, S&M. Rape is when someone doesn’t want it, when someone takes advantage of someone. Rough sex or other, is when there is consent.

Madison: No person in their right mind want to get raped. Rape is having their whole body violated. I was raped and I never want to go through that feeling again.

Lynn: I highly doubt that. Consent exists for a reason; to confirm that a person does in fact want sex. Rape is sex without the other’s permission/consent, meaning they do not want sex.

Men cannot be sexually assaulted.

Marie: Rape is not just a female problem. Men and boys can also be raped or sexually assaulted. 1 in 10 adult men have been sexually assaulted (estimated) and a majority of their assailants were heterosexual men. On top of that by the age of 17, 1 in 6 boys have been sexually abused.

Ivybelle: Yes a man can be sexually assaulted. It’s not only women or children. I know multiple guys that have told me that they did not want sex from a woman or a man, but they were forced into it.

Madison: Yes, a man can be just as assaulted as a female. Like I have said it’s not about what action were took but how they were forced and not consented to it. Male have just as much rights to say no as females do.  When it comes down to it males have a most difficult time being able to identify the assault let alone help find support for it.

Lynn: Yes they can. Men can not want sex and are just as likely to be violated and/or abused as anyone else.

 

We’d love to hear your opinion on this what if question and if to you there is still consent.

“Q: What if someone verbally consented to a sexual act, whether it was kissing, taking their shirt off, or having sex, but later, when they were in bed and making out, felt unsure and only said yes because the other person was pressuring them? Would you still consider that consent?”

We’ll be sharing our opinions on this on Friday!

Thank you for reading!

Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow for more. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment leaving your opinion on any of these myths, our responses or any questions you may have. If you can think of a myth you’ve heard and haven’t seen here please don’t be shy and leave it in the comments.

Until tomorrow,

Marie Olsson, Madison Taylor, Ivybelle Teller, and Lynn Rascal

 

Disclaimer:  Everything stated here is opinion and may not reflect everyone’s views.

 

 

Sources:

Women Against Violence Against Women. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.wavaw.ca/mythbusting/statistics/&gt;.

“Sexual Assault Statistics in Canada.” N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.sexassault.ca/statistics.htm&gt;.

“SACHA » Statistics.” SACHA » Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2015. <http://sacha.ca/resources/statistics&gt;.

Education For Educators On Mental Health -Marie Olsson

“Kids are falling through the cracks and nobody notices it. That to me is what’s wrong with the school system.” – Melinda Gates

The educational system is rich in topics for us to learn: English, math, science, etc.; however it is lacking in the education on learning disorders and mental health for the school staff.  School can be difficult for youth as it is, which can be heightened further with undiagnosed issues or educators not understanding how they affect a student’s learning process. I believe if educators had a higher level of training in understanding how learning disabilities and (at least the most) common mental health diagnoses affect how one learns and/or focuses, along with how to spot them it could make learning easier for the youth that are struggling.

When I was in school I was going to see a therapist and I had fairly regular appointments, which unfortunately meant I had to leave early from class those days to make the appointment. The teacher I had that block was very understanding on the matter; however my vice principal was not as lenient. My vice principal one day pulled me into her office wanting to know where I went when I had to leave early, to which I responded honestly telling her I went to see a therapist and where my appointments were. From there she went on to demand to know who they were with and wanting to speak to them.  When I told her that she had no need to know that information, she threatened me with expulsion. For  her to talk with my therapist I would have to first give my therapist permission to talk with her, which I was not comfortable with. My vice principal pulled up the page of therapists who worked at the facility I was going to and was trying to figure out which one I was seeing, she went as far as to try and contact all of them, I felt like all my rights were taken from me at that moment. My parents were dragged into this mess that was created and it went from ugly to worse.

At the time I had not been officially diagnosed with anything specific besides ADHD, we were still working on diagnosing what we now know is bipolar type II but at the time had just labeled as depression. This is information I was not very willing to share with many people, nor was it of anyone else’s concern at the time, as it was not impacting my learning besides having to leave early from class. However it got me thinking that if that is how my vice principal handled my situation how would they handle another student struggling with a mental disorder. My vice principal’s blatant disrespect for the confidentiality between a therapist and client concerned me; how would they handle a similar or worse situation with another student.  Their careless, insensitive, and under educated approach to the matter could cause a lot of unneeded stress and damage to someone’s mental state.

When it comes to one’s mental health and how others actions affect the person dealing with a mental disorder it can feel like you’re running through a mine field if you are not fully aware of what repercussions your actions can bring.  Which is why I think the educators should be well educated on not only mental health but also the legal boundaries surrounding mental health. Whether or not a student wants to share that they are struggling with their mental health, the people we put in charge of their education should be fully aware of what boundaries (legal or personal) they cannot cross and fully equipped to help their student’s excel even if they are struggling with their mental health.

No one should be alone when they need someone there the most.  Sometimes having a teacher put the effort in making sure you have the tools you need to succeed makes the difference between graduating or not.

Stay Strong. Stay Brave. Keep Fighting Lovies,

Marie Olsson xx