Friday, February 8, 2013

Shameless Stuff #13 : Speak up about something crummy that was done to you.

I've been putting off this post for a long time, but I've decided today is the day for it! I kept thinking "What if this drags down my blog views?" or "What if HE finds me?" or "What if I'm not ready?"... but when it all boils down to it, I know I can hold my head up high because I was not at fault.

You've probably heard these numbers, or some variation, before. 44% of victims are under age 18. 80% are under age 30. 54% are never reported to the police, and 97% of offenders will never spend a day in jail. Approximately 2/3 are committed by someone known to the survivor.

Yes, I'm going to that taboo topic - Rape. In the United States, someone is sexually assaulted approximately every 2 minutes. There are an estimated over 207,000 assaults PER YEAR - which when you do the math, averages out to over 567 per DAY.

My story is not just my story, but the story of so many women and men. Maybe some of the details are different, but the pain and trauma are the same.

For me, I was raped at age 19 by a guy that I was seriously dating. I was NOT drunk, I was NOT wearing "slutty clothes", and I most definitely was NOT sexually active before it happened. It was not some stranger in the alley, and I wasn't just "crying wolf."

But even if I WAS drunk, WAS wearing slutty clothes, and WAS sexually active, or even if it WAS a stranger, it still wasn't ok.

I reported to the police a couple of weeks after it happened, because I couldn't get over the shame or embarrassment at first, but I wish I had been strong enough to go right away. They treated me like the perpetrator instead of the victim - making me sit in an interrogation room with a tape recorder while they asked me questions that shouldn't have mattered. They accused me of being a "willing partner" and just "crying wolf" because he had dumped me afterward, saying I just wanted to "get back at him." They insisted that he couldn't have possibly done what I said he did, because he was the son of a well-known and well-respected pastor in the area. Their comments and treatment of me hurt almost as much as the crime itself.

To add insult to injury, my test results came back that I had contracted an STD - HPV, one of the most commonly contracted STD's. My strain ended up costing me several doctor's visits and a part of my cervix.

It's been 11 years, but it still feels like yesterday sometimes. The difference is now I have the strength and perseverance to admit that I am a Survivor - and I do what I can to advocate for higher awareness, better response and counseling, and any other program that can try to reduce the prevalence of this blight on our communities. I refuse to participate in any language that indicates it's ok to blame the victim or that it's ok to force someone to do something against their will, and that includes not purchasing music/books/movies/etc that may perpetuate that image.

Want to help me make a difference? Join V-Day 2013! This year is the 15th anniversary, and it's a big deal - they are trying to invite ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, AND DEMAND AN END TO VIOLENCE. Year round, you can donate your time or money to RAINN, which is recognized as one of the top charities in the country.

The video below is from my local community.
Local Omaha events:

one billion rising omaha (Start a Rising) visit our facebook event page
ONE BILLION RISING began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. On February 14, 2013, V-Days 15th anniversary, Omaha will join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and women and men across the world as we express their outrage, demand change, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.

From 2-6 pm on February 14 at the First United Methodist Church, join us and add your voice to the ONE BILLION in saying NO MORE. Enough is enough.

Planned events include:
-Booths from the following organizations will be
at the First United Methodist Church from 2-6 to provide:


*Catholic Charities*
*Legal Aid of Nebraska*
*NHHS Child Protective Services*
*NHHS Adult Protective Services*
*Omaha Police Department Domestic Violence Unit*
*Project Harmony*
*Planned Parenthood*
*Youth Emergency Services*
*Heartland Family Services*
*Girls, Inc.*
*Lutheran Family Services*
*Domestic Violence Council*
*Women's Center for Advancement*
*Women's Fund*
*UNO Counseling Center*
*House of Loom*
*More TBA*

Musical performances by:
*Max Holmquist*
*More TBA*

4 pm: Mayor Jim Suttle will proclaim February 14, 2013 'V-Day Omaha'.

5 pm: Marching, dancing, and rising around the block of 72nd and Dodge to show support. Gather in the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church at 4:45 pm.

-Sign Making

-Record your video messages of support

-Bake Sale to benefit the Women's Center for Advancement. Bring something to donate to the sale!

***There are opportunities planned for you to listen, speak, ask, sing, and dance, and tell, as we RISE to put an end to the culture of rape and violence. If you are unable to attend, you can still RISE. On 2-14-13 at 2:14 pm, for 3 minutes go out to the street and raise your hand and DANCE in solidarity with one billion others on this planet who say, NO MORE.

UNMC student group EMPOWER, in partnership with Nebraska Methodist College, will host various speakers and performers while providing a space for the community to STRIKE.DANCE.RISE on 02.14.13.
Event Schedule:

PLEASE JOIN US AS WE STRIKE|DANCE|RISE IN OMAHA! 02.14.13   12:00 PM-1:30 PM THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER MICHAEL F. SORRELL CENTER, AUDITORIUM 3002 (ON THE CORNER OF S. 42ND STREET AND EMILIE) 2:00 PM-6:00PM   FIRST UNITED METHODIT CHURCH 7020 CASS STREET   4:00 PM-6:30 PM NEBRASKA METHODIST COLLEGE THE JOSIE HARPER CAMPUS-CLARK CENTER 720 N. 87TH STREET STRIKE|DANCE| RISE! JOIN THE REVOLUTION! Check out our event invite on Facebook at One Billion Rising Omaha, NE   Check out the One Billion Rising-Omaha Dance Video courtesy of Nebraska Methodist College students, faculty, staff and administration! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013 (All Day Event) GMT+00:00
Host:Keri Wayne-Browne
UNMC AND Nebraska Methodist College (Omaha, NE)
720 North 87th Street
OmahaNE 68114

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