raped, pregnant and ordeal not over: a re-blog

Not much I can add to this. Sexual crimes, like all crimes of power, violence, violation, live on with us for years after the ‘event’. This is worth reading.

Morven's Blog

Despite the recent ignorant comments of Rep. Todd Akin, the act of rape can and does result in pregnancy.  Imagine having survived a brutal rape, only to find out that you are pregnant as a result of that rape.  Nine months later you give birth to a perfect little girl, and you fall in love with her the moment you see her.   (Research shows that 30% of women who are raped and conceive as a result of that rape, choose to keep their children.)  The “mother bear” inside you growls ferociously, as you are determined to protect this precious little one from anyone who could bring her harm.

Then imagine learning that your offender – yes, the man that raped you – has legal rights as the father of your child!   He can co-parent her!

This was the experience of an incredibly gutsy woman named Shauna Prewitt, who…

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Can your heart do this?

I was going to write about the ‘legitimate rape’ thing. But others are doing it better.

 

Instead – how about you watch this. And ask yourself – Can you do the same?

 

 

Several years ago my darlingest life-saving headshrinker Dr Richard Golden (may blessings be upon him) told me I didn’t need to come chat any more. And he sent me a video clip of guys base-jumping in wing-suits. I had never seen such a thing before, and I asked him why he sent it to me. He told me: hey – I got you into the air. You can fly now. But it is up to you to learn how to soar.

 

It’s a scary thing, to feel stunted, wounded, amputated. You feel like you can never do the things that others take for granted. Like you can never love. Like everyone else is fine and happy, and you can definitely smile and laugh along; but in truth you are a crippled, isolated shell pretending to be a human.

 

If you want to overcome these nasty internal scars and lost limbs, you can. You have to work harder. You have to overcome pain and disappointment. It isn’t easy, not at all, and it requires more courage than you think you have.

 

It’s worth it. I’m cheering you on.

No. This is not politics.

Commentary will come tomorrow. I’ve tried a few stabs at this, but my thoughts keep repeating what this article already says, only not nearly as well. This post from the Onion is just too… too… right on to not pass it on:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/pregnant-woman-relieved-to-learn-her-rape-was-ille,29258/

 

Pregnant Woman Relieved To Learn Her Rape Was Illegitimate

LITCHFIELD, CT—Though she was initially upset following the brutal sexual assault last month that left her pregnant, victim Martha Byars told reporters she was relieved Sunday to learn from Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) that her ability to conceive her unwanted child proves she was not, in fact, legitimately raped.

“Being violently coerced into having sex was the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, so I take comfort in knowing it wasn’t actually rape,” Byars said of the vicious encounter in which she was accosted in an alleyway by a stranger, pinned to the ground, and penetrated against her will for 25 minutes. “It was absolutely horrific—I felt violated in the worst way imaginable—but thanks to Congressman Akin, I now realize it must, at some level, have been consensual after all.”

“Thank God for that,” Byars added. “I’m so relieved to know that my child’s father, the man who muffled my screams as he forcefully penetrated me over and over and left me hemorrhaging to death on the street, is not a rapist.

Explaining that the Republican senatorial candidate’s statements had “really opened her eyes” by helping her understand the workings of her own reproductive system, Byars said she only wishes she could have known at the time of her near-fatal assault that the female body has ways to shut down conception during cases of tried-and-true rape.

“Now that I know the truth, I realize none of the telltale signs of legitimate rape were there at all,” mused Byers, noting that her body did not in any way shut down but in fact continued to register excruciating pain throughout the entire cruel ordeal. “I must have at least subconsciously wanted it—otherwise, the sperm wouldn’t have been able to enter my body.”

“Not only is this knowledge a blessing for me,” she continued, “but it will no doubt bring great hope to the tens of thousands of women who are forcibly and savagely impregnated in the United States every year.”

 

I’m just going to repeat the money line once more. Because… ah fuck. Here’s the line. I shut my mouth:

 

thanks to Congressman Akin, I now realize it must, at some level, have been consensual after all

 

Glad we have people like this running the country.

 

 

 

The voices in my head say kill kill kill

Anais Nin apparently wrote (I quote this from the novelist Jonathan Carroll’s page on the Book of Faces): “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”.

 

I like that. I like the idea of the expanded life. I love the idea of courage – be it physical, emotional, mental… Life DOES take courage. But sometimes I’m really not that brave at all. My cowardice manifests itself as laziness. I’m scared to write because of the risk of not being all that good. I have grand ideas, start outlines of plots, and then run, trembling, from my computer because I suddenly fear I have only a half-formed, little idea. A seed. A spore.

 

And that’s just part of it. I want to be outdoors all the time, but I get scared of somehow disappointing the wife – that I’ll mess up her plans for an evening because I decide to be up by a fire-pit in the Angeles Crest. I want to learn the names of all that gorgeous flora and fauna up in the chaparral of Southern California – but the sheer volume of research involved scares me. Hell – I don’t even know how to pronounce ‘chaparral’. I want to live in a more beautiful place – I want to make a long table out of recycled wood and sit and type at it in our sunroom. I get scared of making something that isn’t all that pretty, of vision outstripping capability. I get scared of spending the money on the tools I’ll need. I’ve talked about it for a good few years now.

 

I want to work more. I work in the LA biz. I have the great fortune of being one of the precious few making my living as an actor. It’s a very small living. Everyone in this industry spends their lives trying to get work. Yet despite my faith in my abilities, my track record, I’m always too scared to ask anyone to help me get more work because I’m afraid it’s somehow pushy, bothersome, gauche…

 

I undermine myself constantly. My desires are many – so many that they remain inchoate, they rarely even pass the stage of ‘vague hope’ and become fully-fledged desires.

 

This is not uncommon. This is, perhaps, a near-universal condition. I’m not blowing any minds here. But how do we defeat this condition? I know people – one couple in particular springs to mind, my mates Rhys and Rosie – who have what I can only recognise as an overwhelming internal “YES”. They have ideas, and their inner voice says YES and they set about playing with those ideas in the real world. They make shit happen. They are brave as all hell, and being with them charges my batteries of hope and desire. But left on my own, that YES very quickly shrinks to a quiet ummm and finally a whispered how?

 

That’s the coward voice. The how is far worse than the no that I thought was YES’s opposite. How is an insidious, doubt-filled little word. And I think how is the nastiest bequest El Pedo has given me.

 

Doubt. Fear. That nagging sense that I’m not good enough. All from El Pedo. Shit, it’s almost dawn and I’ve been up since three because of his voice in my head, telling me I suck. I’m sure he talks inside the heads of the rest of my family.

 

Yet for ages I have known a way of beating him. I’ve just never had the courage to shut him up and declare victory. You see, if someone is talking inside your head with a voice you don’t like, it’s not like they have a scalpel to your cerebellum and are holding you hostage. You can surely chase them out and replace them. Surely! I have a picture of Sir Edmund Hillary in my wallet. I want his voice in my head. I pull it out to remind myself sometimes. Sir Ed famously climbed the tallest mountain because it was there. He dedicated his life to the people of Nepal not because he wanted to be a philanthropist, nor because he wanted to help. He once told an interviewer that he simply did it because he could. He was the first person to take a mechanised expedition to the Pole – simply because he was in the vicinity. He doesn’t give a toss about how. Sir Ed tells me if I want to do something I should just do it and not make such a bloody song and dance.

 

Or he would, if I could dislodge El Pedo.

 

El Pedo just sits there and dares me. He whispers his how and even though I KNOW HOW he paralyses me with it. He shrinks my life. Motherfucking pedophile kidfucking sickfuck is sitting there like a big orange wheel clamp in my brain.

 

Fortitudo!

 

Tenacitas!

 

Look – I’ve lived a pretty expanded life. I’ve wrestled rodeo bulls (I lost). I married a beautiful girl in a ruined village on a hilltop in Greece. I guess I really aspire to being in an ad for a certain mexican beer. I’m also high on painkillers right now because a surgeon had to reacquaint some of my tendons with their estranged bone partners. But I want my life to keep expanding. Don’t we all? So – this week, this year, I shall be brave and drown out the how with a resounding, Everest-conquering Hillaric Yes!

 

Shit – I may get that new recycled-wood table out of it.

On Courage

There’s a story I have often imagined. It is set on a summer beach in New Zealand sometime in the late 70s. There are four young married couples out there, all with kids in tow, hair sunbleached and skin sunbrowned, nicks and cuts on their feet from the ubiquitous oyster-shells, the nightly ritual of cleaning sand from cuts and taking a needle to the prickles that find their way even into the hardest, calloused soles. There are tents, and fishing rods, and cans of Double Brown cooling in a shaded pool in the stream that runs into the estuary, and one day a couple of those brown-skinned, blonde-haired boys say to their mums that one of the dads has been fiddling with their diddles and bums in a way that doesn’t seem right.

 

So the mums are a bit panicked and the dads want to know what is going on – and the fourth dad, the one who has apparently been touching the boys, feels the conversation in the air like a sudden draft of icy air on a hot day, and he doesn’t know what the fuck to do…

 

And now there is another conversation, the one where they come over and talk with him and his wife. And he promises things. And they promise things. And now it’s time to pack up his kids and his tent and get the tins of Watties baked beans out of the communal larder, grab the old Thermette he uses to heat the water for everyone’s tea, maybe collect a couple of the gnomes he was carving out of old wood he found in the dunes, load up the packs and hike back along the beach to the cars when all the while there are three couples (friends up until half an hour ago) watching him; friends who now know that he likes to fiddle with little boys. Their little boys.

 

And how angry you must be if you’re the wife, herding the kids, loading the bags, silently, pursed-lipped, livid, driving back to Papatoetoe, to Dingwall, with your arsehole husband in your fucking red ford cortina, waiting for the day when the money kicks in as his surgery practice kicks off, and you will pay off the mortgage and put in a para-pool by the barbecue, and buy a better car, with the kids fighting in the backseat and the youngest one already developing that pout she’ll put to great use in her teens… and not only is he a pompous dickhead sometimes but now he has to make a fool of you in the cafes of Parnell with his hands down some kid’s stubbies. But they promised they wouldn’t tell anyone about it. They promised, and we’ll find new friends, there’s that nice couple with the four kids who live out in Manukau… their youngest, Jonno, is only a little younger than ours…

 

And although I can reason with myself that they didn’t know what we know now about paedophiles, that it was a different time, I have at times been poisoned with a hot, unreasoning hatred toward the people who never said anything, who never warned my parents. I have wanted to kill them, to smear my shit all over their front doors, to smash their windows or faces, to ram large blunt wooden things into their body cavities… (and don’t get me started on how I feel about Patricia, his wife)

 

When the police discovered that El Pedo’s indiscretions went back that early; that adults who could have protected and saved me and the other boys did not do so; the anger I felt was so huge that it turned inwards, and drove me the closest I ever came to killing myself.

 

I can understand a pedo. I understand urges. I understand sickness, or manipulation, or even malevolence.

 

I can almost forgive them. Almost.

 

But I cannot understand an adult who stands by and lets it happen.

 

 

I’m going to paraphrase the Laches here – but Fear is a component of Bravery. A person who rushes into battle with no fear is foolhardy. A person who is ruled by fear, and runs from the fight, is a coward. Only someone who knows fear, who feels it and acknowledges the potential consequences of their actions and still goes in to fight can be called brave.

 

So –  to bring this post around to the what I’m really writing about: what was Joe Paterno afraid of? Was his image of godliness so important? Did the Cult of Joe allow no possibility of mortal weakness in it’s temple? Was the image of purity so important that you would allow one of your apostles to stick around even when you know he raped at least one boy in your team shower? What is the metric of bravery there? What is the fear? What is the battle? What sort of coward runs away from such a fight?

 

 

I was brave this week. After reading Freeh’s report, I was riding wife-wards on my motorcycle, racing for her shelter against the tears in my eyes and the leaping, furious beast of anger in my chest. Just as it did, many years before, the beast was doing all it could to annihilate me, to steer me out of my lane at 70 miles per hour, to express it’s anger in a final act of burning rage on the grille of an oncoming truck. As I have done many times before, I fought the fucker down.

 

I’m still here. I’m writing. I’m working on set. My life is a daily reminder to the Patricias and Paternos of the world: look at me, coward. I’m alive. I’m the guy who’s fighting the battle you pissed yourself and ran away from. Have a nice day.

Thought Experiment

While I’m writing today, a wee quick thought on buggery:

I have heard it stated a couple of times over the last 72 hours that sexual abuse is worse than murder. Which is a lovely sentiment, and I’m flattered, but…

 

Imagine:

Your child.

Dead.

 

Or conversely:

Your child.

In therapy.

 

Which would you prefer?

 

Reminds me of a guy I was chatting to once about pre-natal testing for spina bifida and other foetal developmental disorders. He was probably in his fifties, pretty cool dude really, wee motorized wheelchair zipping his football-like body around… you can just guess where he came down on the ‘abort or not abort’ question.

I’m kinda the same. To say paedophilia is worse than murder is to say I’d be better off dead. Trust me – I’m not.

 

 

A couple of friends with children have asked the pressing question about what they can do to prevent their kids from getting diddled. One raised the issue after that chap in Texas beat a guy to death who he caught with his daughter (which, while being the correct response is entirely the wrong response, considering what that girl has now seen, what she will feel responsible for, whether she will now grow up without her father, etc. etc. etc… )

 

But I am not an expert on buggery. I don’t read books on it, I don’t treat those who have been buggered, I don’t go to support groups. I tend to avoid the topic entirely – my wife bans me from watching films like Mysterious Skin because she doesn’t like the dark, brooding creature that walks out of the cinema afterwards. All I can rely on is my own experience, and that knowledge of mankind which comes from a healthy appetite for acquaintance, literature, and history. As Richard Greenberg pithily wrote: “The world is old. There have been a lot of people. I extrapolate.”

 

One way of looking at the issue is to ask the question: Why does it happen in the first place? Well – we infantalise sex all the time. Pick up a Penthouse or Hustler magazine and I’ll bet you a fiver there will be at least one girl in there with pigtails, or a lollipop in her mouth, or pictured in a playground (or at least that was the case back in the days when I was buying dirty mags…). Or just look at the state of pubic hair: Do we remove the threat the vagina poses, deep in our psyches, by rendering it naked? Is it some Vietnam War-style gynaecological deforestation, clearing the undergrowth so we can see the teeth better? Or is it just that the great Western Male really needs to look at a ten-year-old pudenda to get turned on? I’ll elaborate on THAT at another time…

 

Or check out this great plotline idea: There is a boy, with a crazy father (or, more likely, none). He’s isolated and imperiled, picked on, until he runs into an adult, usually a male, who is down on his luck, outcast, misunderstood, sensitive… The kid is fascinated. In a way, he falls in love, and presses this love on the unwilling adult who eventually caves in and reciprocates. The friendship, unlikely as it is, grows and blossoms as the boy learns from the man the ways of adulthood, and the man slowly comes out of his isolation, learns to love again, discovers the beauty of life… until the cruel, unfeeling world crashes in again and kills or exiles the adult.

 

If you said – Hey! That’s Shane! – you are absolutely correct. It’s also Karate Kid. Oliver Twist. A Perfect World. Annie. Jerry McGuire. Keep looking – you’ll find it, or portions of it, everywhere. Identifying films that have this basic pedo-wish-fulfilment plot in them is actually a fun wee parlour game. Here’s a hint of how to find one: 1: Think of a child actor. 2: Name one of their films.

 

We sexualise kids. We kidualise sex.

 

BUT – I’m avoiding the question. How do we prevent the bad stuff happening to OUR kids? No-one wants me to practice amateur psycho-sociology on this blog. You want cold, hard tips.

 

But in order to answer that, I have to answer the question of why it happened to me. I have to dive into deep, murky waters. I have to figure out why I was targeted, as opposed to the next kid. I have to figure out what made me a good target (and for twenty f**king years, obviously, I was great). These things I can do. But I also have to ask: what could my parents have done to prevent it? Which leads to: what didn’t they do to prevent it? Which leads to: Why didn’t they prevent it? And there, my friends, is pain, and anger, and hurt, and scars. Not mine. Theirs. I cannot begin to know how deeply, how painfully, how devastatingly cruel the fact of my buggery is to my parents. And I fear that no matter how gentle the archaeologist, I may end up hurting them by digging around in here.

 

But I will. And I think I must. Lovingly, loyally, caringly, just as my parents have been loving, loyal, and caring to me. This forum gives me a chance to explore things that are a bit too close to converse about.  But give me a day or two…