Ivy belle: Fear of relationships Pt.1

Fear of relationships

 

“It’s okay to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” – Mandy Hale

Have you ever stopped yourself from being in a relationship because you’re too scared to get hurt or be in one? I have.

The last time I was in a relationship was when I was 19 and left him when I was 22. I was engaged to this guy and we lived together even though he put me through a lot. From cheating, to lying & even using me, I stayed with him because I thought that I was just being a bad girlfriend and I was overreacting. When you’re in a relationship with someone who blames you for everything and tells you it’s your fault- you start to believe it. That relationship was my first serious relationship and I think that’s why I kept forgiving him because I also thought that this is the only relationship I will ever have and that no one else will love me but him.

I remember being vulnerable, angry, anxiety, hurt and I felt betrayed 90% of our relationship. He would be with another woman but lie to me, and even if he wasn’t I got so paranoid that I couldn’t sleep at night until he would show up. When I would ask him where he’s been, he would get very defensive. I didn’t know at the time that lies could really destroy a person. I took him back at least 8 times but every time I told myself “ this time is it! Me and him are over for good.” However, I would always take him back even when I knew it was bad news. I stayed with him until I literally hated him. I couldn’t stand having him around anymore. I didn’t want to be intimate, I wanted him to go sleep over at his friends, I would get upset for no reason and I was angry all the time.

Instead of leaving him and saving myself the pain I stayed with him to the point that I hated him more than my dad. Later on, when we broke off the engagement and everything I told myself I wouldn’t get into another relationship but then my ex’s sister introduced me to someone else. He was a nice guy and with time I fell hard for him. He would always try to surprise me but little did I know, my ex knew him too and he didn’t like him- apparently he’s a “goof” whatever that means. My ex did everything in his power to make sure that we broke up. One say my ex called me and told me I had to chose to break up with my boyfriend or having no where to live. I remember being hurt, torn and I told him that I wasn’t going to break up with my boyfriend for him.

One night my ex called me really angry and told me we needed to talk face to face. When I showed up we got into a heated argument about my boyfriend and he kept asking me if I broke up with my boyfriend, I told him no. At this point it was 2 am and I was ready to walk out the door until he wouldn’t let me leave because it was late. Eventually I gave in and he told me we would watch a movie together until we fell asleep. At that moment I knew all this was wrong and I just wanted to sit in a corner and cry. When we were watching a moving my ex put his hands on me and I kept telling him no to take his hands off me. I thought he would of understood but next thing I know I was pinned to his bed and he forced me to have sex with him. I felt disgusted even though I kept telling him that this is a bad idea that we shouldn’t do this. It was too late. The next morning he left for work and I hurried to get all my stuff together to leave but his roommate told me that I shouldn’t of slept with him that I would hurt my ex’s feelings. I tried to explain to him that I tried to tell him no but he kept blaming me. When I got back to my ex sister’s place (where I lived) and I tried to avoided talking about the night before.

When I got home I was trying to get a hold of my boyfriend but I wasn’t able to get a hold of him. My ex’s sister confronted me about what happened last night because apparently my ex called her. I tried to explain the situation but she sided with him by saying that he didn’t point a gun to my head and I could of left at any point, I was hurt. I texted my ex telling him that that night wasn’t supposed to happened that he pressured me into sleeping with him but he said that I could of walked away. In that moment I was so confused if it was rape or if it was actual sex. My ex threatened to tell my boyfriend that I cheated on him and that I liked it and etc.. After 3 days I finally got a message from my boyfriend asking me what the hell happened and explained that he got a message from my ex and he was really mad. I explained that I didn’t want to sleep with him but he pressured me but my boyfriend only saw it as cheating not rape. At the moment, he broke up with me and I was devastated.

I didn’t really have anyone to talk to because I wasn’t on good terms with any of my friends and I didn’t want to have this talk with my mom. I had so many plans with my boyfriend: we were suppose to move in together, build a family and get married but that night of the break up he got back with his ex girlfriend and got engaged. Now he’s happily married and has 4 kids. Still today I miss him. I wish we could talk things through and be friends but I know that’s not possible. I keep telling myself that I might actually have had a good life right now and be happy.

After all the heartache I moved back to Quebec with my family to get my life back together. I told myself that I would be doing a job that I love, that I could heal my heart again, and take care of my family- but that wasn’t the case for most part. My ex-fiancé was always trying to get a hold of me-texting, snap chatting, Facebook, etc. I kept telling him to leave me alone but he wouldn’t. It took me a long time for me to be able to supress my anger and bitterness. I stayed single even though my friends and family tried to hook me up with people. I’ve had people ask me for one night stands but I’ve turned them all down because I don’t personally think that sleeping with someone while I’m healing will help me at all or just sleeping with someone for the pleasure of it.

To be continued….

Stay Strong. Stay Beautiful. Keep fighting -Ivybelle- Xx

 

 

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Madison’s Struggle with Depression

I suffer from Depression, which is no news flash for anyone who knows me. I struggle every day with it, it is not something that will ever go away. I know that, and I’ve grown to accept it, so in a way I have it under control with just the acceptation. I’ll give you a definition on depression then I’ll get into a little more detail about what brought upon this topic.

Depression: a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

I got this definition from Dictionary.com

I wanted to bring this topic to light because I have been struggling with my emotions lately, and it’s starting to drain me physically as well as emotionally. With people who have depression of any kind go through emotional detachment between them self and others or themselves and object/activity they enjoy. They may even withdraw from people or certain objects due to their emotional detachment. A big one for me is a loss in energy or motivation to do anything. There can be days where I don’t even have the motive to lay in bed, and all I want to do is disappear. Another one that I go through is feeling lost and alone even though I may have 2-200 people around me. Sometimes my emotions will get the best of me and I have thoughts. Thoughts about packing my stuff up and taking a trip no phone, not internet, nothing, and only telling family where I’m going and seeing how many people notice. Though that may be fun and relaxing that’s nothing more than a thought for two reasons. One: because I do not want to put my friends through that, two: I don’t want to know the answer. Depression can send your head through so many situations and put every day fears in you then times them by 10.

There are some pros that my depression has brought into my life. One of the pros in my depression are that I feel it has given me is empathy. I have a great sense of empathy for those around me, and with that it’s given me the strength to help and relate to others who are struggling, and the power to say you are not alone. The second pro is my friends, it’s given me a group of friends to relate to and confide in. And the biggest pro is me, I wouldn’t be me without my depression, nor would I be capable of being who I am at without going through the struggles I have.

What I am about to talk about is going to be a little touchy because it’s going to be of how I feel and act when I’m the middle of my depression, so I advise you to read with caution from here.

I go through what I call episodes where my depression affecting me the most  and then I have my highs which means I’m alright and then my lows where I’m not doing so well. My episodes only typically happen for a week maybe a week and a half at most before I reach out for help. Right now I’m sitting at my 12th week in a very bad low, my worst in a long time. This episode has taken over me emotionally, right now I feel like an empty shell with over bearing emotions that aren’t mine. Because of this it is causing paranoia, fear, desperation, OCD, and anger. I’ve been going through multiple anxiety attacks, yet I got it in my head that I cannot show it, because I’m afraid of being judged and it’s funny because the only one who would judge me is me. I was once told that we are our own worst critics. In many ways that is too true and I am afraid of letting myself down, I have been trying for so many years to prove to everyone around me that I am better then what I am now. I have pushed myself further than I ever thought possible, but not for the right reasons. I shouldn’t have had to prove I was better to anyone else but myself. My depression stems from a lot of my fears, my worries, my lack of self-worth, my lack of self-confidence, etc.… I don’t know how to correct it, but I have learn to live with the fact that I am better then what I think I am. People always tell me it will get better if you talk to someone, but what I don’t understand is how you are supposed to approach someone and go “hey I feel depressed today because I feel unimportant”. One if I say that to someone all there going to say back is that I am important to them, which is nice to hear don’t get me wrong but that not what I need to hear. But at the same time I don’t know what I want to hear. It’s funny cause I just said that my friends are a pro to my depression and in many ways they are, but sometimes I just feel that if I keep them in the dark I give them a better chances to let go of their emotions and help them deal with what their struggling with.

I have always been told I act older for my age when I’m having to deal with situations, yet every other time I act too young for my age and people always seem to wonder why. It’s simple that’s a wall I’ve had up since I was little, you can’t hurt someone who is already insulting themselves it takes the fun out of it. The same way how I always talk myself down, because no I’m not the smartest pea in the pod but you can’t talk me down when I’ve already said it myself. It is not a healthy way to live and I’m trying to break the habit just for the fact that I’m not a dumb women I can be smart if I tried but after being told that so many times it’s hard not to always believe that, but hey I’m still working on it and my boyfriend is calling me out on it. As well as a son that always tells me I’m beautiful, when I’m feeling down.

I apologize, I know it’s not really a blog it’s more just vomit of words and emotion, but to be honest I am feeling a bit better now that it is out. Feel free to leave any comment, concerns, questions anything I’d love to hear from you.

 

~Madison

Lynn self care part 2

So this subject honestly could and couldn’t have come up at a better time. A couple months ago, I got my first job. I’m now working in a kitchen at a fast food joint in a mall food court. It gets stressful and I’ve broken down almost every day since I’ve started. Since that’s a pretty bad thing to happen on the clock, I’ve been trying to find ways to improve my mental health. I’ll be talking about how I handle my self care, so if it isn’t what you’re looking for or it doesn’t work for you, I’m sorry and I hope you find something that does.

Taking the little things life has to offer has kept me going for years now and honestly some of these things really help lift attitudes, both mine and other peoples, even if it’s just by a small amount. Putting on a clean pair of pants seems to work well, even if you’re not planning on going anywhere. Not sure why it helps, but it does. Taking a shower and getting yourself cleaned up works too. Heck, go all out and give yourself a pampering day!

Getting yourself out of the house on free days works too, even for just grabbing a snack or a drink but sometimes you just need a day indoors and that’s fine too. Just make sure to let people around you know what’s going on if and before you close yourself off. I’ve been pretty guilty of that lately with TIME actually and I feel super bad about that. Thinking is all well and good too, but just be sure not to overthink things and dwell until you’ve drained yourself even more. Make sure to have some fun and keep yourself preoccupied.

If all else fails and this problem seems to be out of your hands, you might want to seek professional help, like a therapist. Don’t worry, it’s been suggested to me a few times too and I’m told there are some that are there solely for people with low income. I have yet to find any myself, but I trust that there are.

I hope you guys find a method of self care that works for you! Remember, you have your whole life ahead of you!

Howie, Self Care Part 2

Ok so today as I’m writing this it’s coming up on my 21st birthday so I’m actually gonna talk a bit about that.  Also hey blog readers it’s, Howie Defranco and you might be wondering why I started this differently because it’s what I did for self care this month.  So let’s see to start with this Thursday my friends from work and I are going to go see Hail,Caeser! and then go get some dinner at my favourite restaurant Boston Pizza.  Movie and pizza what can I say I’m a simple kinda guy, but it’s gonna be a fun night.  Friday I’m going with my main crew of friends to see a movie I’ve been waiting for since I knew who the character was…… Deadpool!!!!!!! like geez one of my all time favourites gets a movie release on my birthday.  I’m so excited to see it and then spend another night in great company.

A week and a bit after that because it’s mine and my friends 21st’s this weekend were gonna go on a road trip down. To the states for few days.  For one to get a break and get away from everything for a few days and just relax, go gamble, meet some new faces, do something stupid.  Whatever we do it is dedicated to just forgetting our responsibilities for a while and taking care of our mental health.  So yeah that’s what I’m doing for my self care this month I think it’s a pretty good thing to do for it.

Howie on cross cultural relationships

Hey blog readers, it’s me Howie Defranco and our topic today is cross cultural relationships, a topic I’ve been looking forward to writing! Let me explain why first, simply put I have a lot of them like ok sure there’s the small group of friends I grew up with who have similar ones. Today though I have a lot of people I talk to who are from different backgrounds, culturally speaking and it’s awesome. Who doesn’t think it’s cool to learn about other ways people live in this world, or have friends that were raised differently from you. It’s something that makes me fairly happy to have in my life.
First a small shout out to my few American friends, ok culturally speaking there are minor differences but I love to debate them over. From there I’ve had close friends from various backgrounds who’ve walked in and out of my life. There’s my friend Paris, she’s from India and she’s very proud of her heritage and whenever we’re talking about something she tells me stories or about how things are in her culture and it’s fun to listen too. In the same breath she likes learning about like my culture and how we’d do thing in it, lol she gets mad at me cause I say she’s Canadian. See she isn’t a citizen yet and doesn’t want to be called Canadian since she’s not a citizen yet but I like to cause well to me she is. She lives here and I never think oh hey you weren’t born here, therefore I’m gonna identify you as something else.
I think my best cross cultural relationship though is the one with the bulk of my co workers who are Filipino. Every day while I’m working with them they speak Tagalog, and taught me a few words and I usually get the gist of it. They laugh when I have to ask them to translate though because, of how often I get the gist. They always bring lots of food I’ve never even heard of before that I enjoy partaking in and they’ve told me a lot about their homeland. In the same breath I’ve tried teaching them about my culture, like showing them around town or bringing them food or helping them with English. It’s kinda fun being the guy they come to when they don’t know a word and need me to define it.
I’ve never cared about someone’s background in the sense of where they came from so I love these kinds of friendships. It’s nice when all you need to see is who a person is to be friends with them.

Howie discusses self esteem

Hey blog readers, it’s Howie Defranco and today we will be talking about self esteem and this is going to mostly be a personal story. Self esteem is how you see your own personal worth, and how you judge yourself. Often people confuse it with confidence as that is believing in yourself and I suppose if you have confidence you should have a good self esteem. As there is a correlation between believing in yourself and having a good view of yourself. In this day and age though self esteem just seems to be a fleeting thought though when you hear stories of people hating themselves, hurting themselves, or just not trying because they think there’s no point.
Which brings us to the personal story, about my own level of self esteem and how it came to be. I truly think sometimes that I do not have a great amount of worth in my life, as a kid I was raised to believe I could do anything, or be anything. Every time I try though I mean yes obstacles come up in life, but when it feels like life is taking a baseball bat to your head for trying you lose faith in that. It all starts with my mom who is a yo yo of emotions, as in one minute she’s the best mom in the world, the next she’s saying she wishes you were never born. Sometimes this is said in the heat of an argument and sometimes it is just said, growing up with that I never could tell if I was doing the right thing.
All I’ve ever wanted to do as far back as I can remember is be a good person, and I love my mom but stuff like that is why I question things in my head so much. I mean can you blame me there was that, and then in elementary school I was the smartest kid in the class but my teacher always said I acted like a 40 year old in a 10 year olds body. A part of that I like to think meant I had a good head on my shoulders, truthfully though he meant that I didn’t fit in. I was an outcast in elementary school except for like two close friends and I don’t even mean the guys I’m friends with today. We weren’t close back then and I spent quite a few lunches aimlessly walking around the school.
Then you know if you read my blogs I had a rough time emotionally in high school, after high school and recently. Even now I question my worth everyday at my job and in my social life. At work they’ve been talking about promoting me for two years and I feel like it’s an eternity, every time they say it’s gonna be you Howie and then they’re like oh sorry. In my social life I just I can’t help my own brain, it always thinks someone is mad or upset and I obsess over it and over apologize and I don’t know I just can’t accept when my friends say I’m the best guy they know.
Self esteem is one of the most important things for you to have in this life. It can drive you to be better and believe in yourself so if you have it hold on to it and don’t let anyone destroy it.

Marie Talks: Anxiety -Calming Techniques

In this blog I will be touching on:

  1. Different Types of Anxiety Disorders
  2. Different Tricks To Help You Calm Down
  3. Grounding Techniques
  4. How To Help Your Friend Calm Down

Anxiety:
noun: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
From a Psychiatry stand point: a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

There are seven main types of anxiety disorders and they are:

    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
      • characterized by chronic, persistent anxiety without a specific cause.
      • This may be seen in a variety of ways:
        • Disaster Thinking
          they may convince themselves of worst case scenarios
        • Unyielding Thoughts
          may be unable to turn off minor worries, focusing on them and possibly obsessing over them.
    • Social Phobia
      • Experience profound anxiety at the thought of social interaction.
      • Often overly worried about being judged by others.
      • Avoid situations that may force them out of their social comfort zone.
      • Often overly concerned about how they’ll act in public.
      • May experience worst case scenario thinking towards social situations.
    • Panic Disorder
      • Had more than one panic attack in the past month.
      • Fear having more panic attacks.
      • Change who you are because of your panic attacks.
      • Panic attacks cause you distress regularly.
      • Panic attacks are not caused by any underlying health problems.
    • Agoraphobia
      • Fear of being out in the open or in public.
      • Fear of being in an area with no easy escape.
      • Fear of being in unfamiliar places.
      • Fear of leaving your home.
    • Phobias
      • Experience severe anxiety when faced with a stimulus (the thing that causes fear).
      • Experience severe anxiety when anticipating the possibility of facing the stimulus.
      • The fear is uncontrollable, to the point where it can escalate – possibly into an anxiety attack.
      • Alter life in some way to avoid the stimulus.
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
      • Reliving the trauma through memories, sensations, nightmares, flashbacks or more.
      • Experience anxiety, emotional numbness, or detachment.
      • Go out of the way to avoid situations that may relate to the event.
      • Are hyper-vigilant, often with an easy startle reflex, the inability to concentrate on tasks, or becoming easily irritable.
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
      • You must have either obsessions or compulsions or both.
      • You may or may not realize that your obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable.
      • Obsessions and compulsions are significantly time-consuming and interfere with your daily routine and social or work functioning.

How do I deal with your anxiety when it gets too much?
I’ll be talking about the different tricks that may help you calm down, things that work for some people. I included just a few that I have found, and used.

Abdominal Breathing Technique
Step 1) place one hand on chest and your other hand on your belly
Step 2) Take a deep breath in through your nose making sure your diaphragm (belly) not your chest inflates.
Step 3) Repeat breaths eight time (or however long it takes to calm yourself down)

Progressive Relaxation
Step 1) Close your eyes
Step 2) Focus on tensing your toes and feet and inhaling for a count of five  then exhale through mouth and release the tension at the same time.
Step 3) Repeat step 2 for your knees, thighs, rear, stomach, chest, hands, arms, neck, face and eyes.

“Going Crazy”
If you are struggling with relaxation techniques due to your anxiety causing too much pent up energy, sometimes it can help to let out the energy and anxiety in a more unorthodox way. For this one you may want to be in a quiet and private place to avoid the worries about being embarrassed.
Step 1) Let everything out. Run in circles, flail your arms, throw a tantrum and scream.. The list is endless do anything that lets it out, this also includes: laughing hysterically, jumping on your bed and throwing your pillow.Whatever you wan to do, do it, let go of you sense of what is ridiculous.
Step 2) Do this until you feel as though you’ve let it all out. Then you keep going, do this until you have let go of so much pent up anxiety, stress and frustrations that you are left feeling drained and satisfied. Let it out for 5 to 10 minutes straight.

Other ways:

Grounding Techniques
For these make sure your eyes are open and lights are on, as these exercises are meant to bring you out of your fears/traumatic memories, etc. and back into the present.

5-4-3-2-1
Step 1) Think of 5 things you can see. (or say it out loud if it helps more)
Step 2) Think of 4 things you can hear.
Step 3) Think of 3 things you can touch, and physically touch them.
Step 4) Think of 2 things you can smell or like the smell of.
Step 5) Take 1 slow, deep breath. (Or as I have learnt prior, name 1 good thing about yourself)

Categories
Play the categories game with yourself. Choose a category (eg. types of dogs) and list any you can think of (eg. Rottweiler, Husky, Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier)

Safety Statement
‘My name is _________; I am safe right now. I am in the present, not the past.
I am located in _____________ the date is _____________.’

Take a Shower
Jump in a hot (as hot as you are comfortable with) shower, not because you’re dirty but to release the tension in your body and relax.

Find more here:

How Can I help my friend calm down if they’re feeling anxious?
While going to college we were taught a few tricks on how to calm someone down. I found one fairly helpful but can cause the anxiety to worsen for some. This is particularly helpful when someone is having difficulty focusing on one thought or one thing.

We learnt it as the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise however it may have other names.

As the person to help another through this it is important for you to speak in a calm, friendly, and quiet voice. As well as to focus solely on them and remember to ask them periodically through the exercise how they are feeling.

Step 1) Have them sit (preferably if possible), and ask them if they want to close their eyes, but if closing their eyes causes them more anxiety or don’t want to assure them keeping their eyes open is okay as well.
Step 2) Have them take a deep breathe.
Step 3) Ask them if they can tell you five things they can remember seeing around them. (eg. clock, chair, food or a person) Remember to validate what they are telling you, and to repeat what they have told you in a calm, friendly voice.
When they’ve told you five things tell them that they have done a good job.
Step 4) Ask them to tell you five things they can hear around them. (eg. clock, breathing, vehicles) Again don’t forget to repeat back and reassure them on what they are saying in a calm friendly voice. If they get stuck make a sound (cough, tap the ground, or humm etc.)
When they’re done again reassure them that they’re doing well.
Step 5) Ask them how they are feeling and how they feel about the exercise.
Step 6) Repeat steps 3 and 4 except instead of asking for five things ask for four. Then repeat the steps for three instead five. Then repeat step 5.
Step 7) Repeat steps 3 and 4 for two things they see and hear and then one.
Step 8) Ask them to open their eyes and ask how they are feeling.

I hope everyone can take something out of this, even if it’s not what you are looking for.

Love, Peace and Serenity Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

 

Source:

Madison: Stereotypes of Youth Homelessness

There are sadly lots of stereotypes around youth homelessness. So fist like always I’ll give you the definition of homelessness from dictionary.com.
Homelessness: “persons who lack permanent housing.”
Stereotypes/Myths
All homeless youth are heavy drug users;

As a youth worker I work with a lot of homeless youth. I say about 80% of the youth I’ve encountered haven’t even touched any drugs or smoke weed in their spare time. A lot of the youth I’ve worked with are really good kids just in a bad situation. Just like the homeless adult not all of them are on drugs.

There can’t be a homeless crisis because I don’t see that many youth living on the streets or in parks;

​That’s because not many youth do, they either try for a shelter, a friend’s house or somewhere isolated and can’t be found. It’s safer for them that way. Because some youth are only 14 when they go to the streets it’s not safe for them to be out in the open sleeping, they would be an open target that way. Also just because you can’t see a crisis happening around you doesn’t mean it’s not going on. There is a lot more homeless then we think out there and not enough resources to help.

MOST ARE RUNAWAYS;

​Very few of the homeless youth population are runaways otherwise a missing person report would be filled and the youth would be brought home. Most youth are either custody of the ministry or have been kicked out of their homes. Most runaways only stay out for a couple of days and then return home 2-5 days later and never really become homeless. Because there is still a home for them to go back to, which sadly some youth don’t have and find safety in a shelter or with a friend.

Homeless youth are scruffy, smelly, criminals who couldn’t care less about their communities;

​Most youth who are homeless aren’t, most still attend school and some even have part time jobs to help pay for their necessities. But yes some youth who can’t find shelter will tend to be a bit scruffy or smelly. But just like other youth they still do care about there hygiene, because hey who wants to go up to their friends smelling like a pig. Most youth will respect the community as long as the community stops putting negative stigmas on the youth. As a youth myself I’d walk into a store and I’d have the cashier either tell me to leave and to come back with an adult or follow me around the store until I left. I myself worked 6 days a week I had the money to buy what I wanted but because I was a youth I was automatically a thief and could not be trusted. I remember once when I was 13 my mom asked me to pick up the groceries while she went across the street to get gas. The cashier made me empty my purse and pockets before she would ring in anything, I was shocked, my mom gave me a $100 for 4 things if I wanted something I would of just bought it, the bill only came to $35. Let’s just say my dad started screaming when he found out and they tried to tell him it was protocol.

I hope you guys liked my blog. Leave a comment down below if you have any questions or comments. I love hearing from you guys.

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
-By Audrey Hepburn

-Madison Taylor

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 #3

Welcome to the Fourth 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

Wednesday was more baffling myths

Today is even more mind boggling myths

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

Enjoy!

  1. Women get raped because they are dressed provocatively

Marie: As I stated previously in my last response, I could be standing there absolutely naked and that still does not say I want to take part in any sexual activity. The first time I was sexually assaulted I was seven wearing jeans and a fully buttoned up shirt. The last time I was sexually assaulted I was wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt. However I will sound like a broken record by saying it does not matter what I am wearing, even if I am absolutely naked in front of you I am not asking for it. Every time I was raped or sexually assaulted I had on pants and a shirt that did not show off my body. A woman does not get raped because of what she is wearing; they get raped because the other person had no concept of consent or controlling their urges.

Ivybelle: This is a big no, a girl can be wearing a long baggy shirt with baggy pants and she will still get sexually abused/rape. I know this for a fact because when it happened to me when I was younger. I was wearing a covered up with baggy t-shirt and baggy pants and yet I was sexually abused. A girl can wear a mini skirt and just a bra, or walk around naked but that still doesn’t mean a man or woman have the right to touch her body. A women should have the right to wear whatever she wants and still feel safe and not judged. It’s like saying if a guy walks around just in boxers, shorts or walks around naked then he is asking to be raped. It doesn’t make any sense.

Madison: when it comes to clothing it shouldn’t matter if a female wears short shorts and heels or baggy pants and a t-shirt, when it comes down to rape it could happen to anyone. Females do not go in to a store to pick out an outfit going “does this outfit help me get raped tonight” most females look for outfits that best fits their body, and makes them feel good.

Lynn: How one dresses has no relation to anything, sexual desires especially. The only thing it has relation to is what clothes a person feels happy and comfortable in and making them feel less so is a really dick move.

  1. When men become sexually aroused they have to have sex and cannot stop.

Marie: No, that’s rapists. Men respect women, they make sure their partner is consenting. Men do not rape. A man is able to control his urges when he becomes sexually aroused, he does not absolutely have to have sex. Males are not the only gender of rapists, women can be rapists too.

Ivybelle: It doesn’t matter if a man has sexual urges. If the person does not give you consent, you can’t just continue because you want it. If you really need to get some relief, pleasure yourself or find another consenting partner.

Madison: No, men can get an erection at random points of the day. Men aren’t always aroused when they have an  erection. Also men have just as much self-control as a female does.

 

  1. Rape only happens to young sexy women.

Marie: Then explain to me all the children, men and older women who are raped or sexually assaulted. Rape is not just a pretty young women issue, it’s everyone’s issue. Anyone can be a victim of rape, no one is safe. I was 7 the first time I was sexually assaulted, and I was barely 13 years old the first time I was raped… If that’s the definition of a young and sexy woman, what’s the definition of an innocent child?

Ivybelle: It happens to children and men too. There’s no specifics to who it happens, it just does. You can be 3 or 17, man or woman, be 90 lbs or 200, unfortunately it happens.

 

  1. A weapon is used.

Marie: One’s hands and body are a weapon in this kind of assault. I don’t need a gun pointed at me or a knife to know I am at danger. A weapon is not always necessary, the fear is more than enough to freeze someone and give their attacker an advantage. Never mind the fact that if your assailant overpowers you they don’t need a weapon to get their way.

Ivybelle: Weapons are not always used. Sometimes force is all they need and some people are too afraid to say no.

Madison: A weapon doesn’t always have to be used. A person could use body strength to overpower someone. You do not need to put a knife or a gun to someone head to assault someone else.

  1. If the attacker is drunk at the time of the assault then they cannot be accused of rape.

Marie: I’m torn on this, it all depends. I’d have to know all the facts as this varies from situation to situation. However just because the attacker is drunk it does not excuse raping another person.

Ivybelle: That’s like saying if a murderer was drunk then he cannot be charged for murder… how does that make sense? Whether you are drunk or not you still know that rape is wrong. Unless the person gives you their consent (says yes I want this), then you are not to have sex with them.

Madison: Yes and no, it all depends on the person. Some people can be much disoriented after it happens. But then there are some who are able to hide their pain better than other. There not really a toll tell sign of how someone acts after sexual assault.

 

  1. Women lie about being sexually assaulted to get revenge, for their own benefit, or because they feel guilty afterwards about having sex.

Marie: Why would a woman do that? It’s not funny nor is it something to be taken lightly. It’s a scary, life altering event and it’s not a scapegoat. If a woman uses it as an excuse then there’s something wrong with the whole picture.

Ivybelle: I’ve heard cases that a woman would lie about being raped out of revenge but some of them have a mental illness. I am not saying that they are right for doing it, but it happens. When women/men lie about that it makes it hard for cops to believe us victims. I once knew a guy who met this girl at a bar and they both agreed to a one night stand, but the next day she got attached. He told her that he made it clear that there’s nothing going on between them. She got so mad that she told the cops that he raped her and he had to go to court. He never got charged guilty because of proof, however she went to jail for falsely accusing him of rape. It was really sad because it had an impact on his career.

Madison: No not all of the sexually assault case are going to be lie. There may be the odd case where a female was upset. Majority of case that have to do with sexual assault are actual case and no matter what should be taken seriously. No assaults should be joked about it’s not a method to be taken likely because it can physically and mentally harm someone.

 

  1. You can tell if a woman is really sexually assaulted by the way she acts.

Marie: You may be able to tell she is uncomfortable in certain situations; but in no way can you tell for sure she has been sexually assaulted.

Ivybelle: Yes and no, everyone reacts differently. Some people will act distant yet others will act like nothing happened. Some people will want to stay single and not sleep with anyone for years while others will want to sleep around or want to be in a relationship. However most people, will have a bit of a change to their personality or attitude. They may either be bitter or just withdraw themselves from everything.

Madison: Yes and no, it all depends on the person. Some people can be much disoriented after it happens. But then there are some who are able to hide their pain better than other. There not really a toll tell sign of how someone acts after sexual assault.

 

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

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;.

Marie Olsson on Grieving a Loved One (In honour of her Granddad)

Personally I am struggling even trying to write this blog for you; as I am still struggling with accepting the loss of my loved ones. However I am going to do my best to give you guys something, even if it is short. For that I apologise. Without further ado here is my blog on grieving a loved on.

—-

  “There are as many sorrows as there are people who feel them and there are no rules…

It is solitary… Grief is such a lonely thing. There is no-one in it with you – others may grieve for the same soul, but they do not grieve exactly for what you also grieve. No-one has lost precisely what you have lost. Not exactly, never exactly. We are in it alone…

 Oh it is wild and it is lonely. It is as if you’ve woken to a world that you recognise but it has been tilted, somehow – coated, or rubbed down, or made colder or less bright. It echoes where it should not echo; where it should echo, it is as echoless as a single, muffled thud. And grief is not merely sadness, as if sadness alone was not enough to bear. I had imagined the sorrow to be as deep as a well, a howling grief, but I had not imagined the other feelings that have no right to be there, which seem wholly misplaced in a state of grieving – rage, impatience, self-pity, disgust. They come from the dark and rush in upon you…”

― Susan Fletcher, The Silver Dark Sea

No one does things the same way another person does, no one feels the same way either. For some people moving forward is easier and for others it feels a lot harder. Everyone takes different amounts of time to move through the steps of grieving and encounters them in a different order; but everyone who has ever lost someone has been through them, and could still be going through it.  However I feel as though you’ll have seen all about the stages of grieving in at least one other blog so I will not be covering that.

As I am currently writing this it is five days before the fourth anniversary of my grandfather’s passing, and as the date (Saturday, Sept. 26) grows closer I am realising that I really am not done grieving. I’ve yet to accept he is really gone, that I will never hear his voice on the other end of the line, or be able to give him a hug.  For months after he passed I would still call my grandparents’ house hoping to hear his voice, asking me how I’ve been, yet I was met with a short clipped message of him apologising for not reaching the phone. I tried again and again, not ready to come to terms that he wouldn’t one day pick the phone up and we’d talk and laugh together. Eventually the number was disconnected and that’s when I started to really feel the loss. When reality hit me I didn’t break out sobbing or lock myself in my room for days, although I would have much preferred that, instead I felt numb… absolutely numb.  I continued on with life as I had been prior, I was just void of any and all emotions.

For months after the loss of my granddad I tried to fill the void in my heart and find some emotions by drinking every weekend. I found comfort in the alcohol induced emotions, figuring that even a ‘fake’ emotion was better than the nothingness I was feeling.  However that did not get me anywhere, when I would sober up I was back to feeling nothing, it did not help me move forward.

“You can’t truly heal from a loss until you allow yourself to really FEEL the loss.”

Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

I didn’t realise by feeling numb it wasn’t really helping me and the worst hadn’t even started yet. I had thought feeling numb had been a good step towards healing. However when the numbness faded I was not prepared for the tidal wave of emotions which rushed over me. I was a mess, I was crying, I wanted to curl up in a ball and rock back and forth, but I expected that. What I wasn’t expecting the short temper, exhaustion or codependency that came along with it.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”

― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I have come a long way in my process of grieving for my granddad, but I still have a long road ahead of me. I don’t think the hurt will ever go away but I’m closer to fully accepting that he’s not with me anymore. I’ll love him forever and always, and he’ll always be alive and well in my heart, and that’s good enough for me.

“But in all of the sadness, when you’re feeling that your heart is empty, and lacking,

You’ve got to remember that grief isn’t the absence of love.

Grief is the proof that love is still there.”

― Tessa Shaffer, Heaven Has No Regrets

 In Loving Memory of my Grandad,

Marie Olsson xoxo

Brian on Grieving a loved one

Losing someone is always, always, always hard and tough to swallow because you don’t want to believe the fact that their gone. We all have lost someone we love the most: from grandparents, to parents, to aunts and uncles, to cousins, to brothers and sisters, and even a close dear friend. Some of us even may have lost a husband or wife and honestly it sucks every time because you can be doing something and out of nowhere their memory hits you. It’s like how does one person digest the thought of losing someone they love. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of time to get through it; but eventually through time and talking to someone it gets better, not saying it will be right away but it does get better.

 I know from my experiences after losing my grandpa six years ago have been getting better slowly each day that goes by, the first couple years to be honest was the toughest for me especially losing him on valentine’s day and I had to really accept the fact that he is gone. Although there is nothing I can do to change that or get him back and it sucks a lot but that is the honest truth. I wish there was a way I can bring him back every day but I know I can’t. Life is too short though to be upset I know if your loved one was still here today they wouldn’t want you to be upset they wold want you to be happy because they are in a better place.

 There are ways of dealing with grief though some of us deal with it by drowning ourselves in drugs and alcohol, some of us deal with it through depression, and some of us just need a distraction. Keeping yourself busy is one way to deal with grief and helping to control your emotions. With that said, ways with dealing with grief vary person to person. Find yourself a peaceful spot where you can go and just relax and calm your mind from everything. Just remember to stay strong and that you will overcome this ordeal at your own pace and in your own way.

  • Brian O’Connor