Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Hate Talking About This Stuff

But it's definitely a necessary evil. This Jaycee Lee Dugard case is clearly disturbing. At the time, I lived in the area and visited Lake Tahoe a few times because my family had a cabin up there. I was so young that I really don't remember hearing about anything. CNN is, of course, talking about this woman's breaking story. Today, this story (Victims of repeated abuse suffer complex trauma) found it's way onto the front page. Lemme break this down...

Victims of abuse suffer crazy amounts of trauma. I can't even explain to people close to me things that happened or why I tend to act weird around certain things. The slightest little thing can trigger a flashback - a color, smell, look - even a word. Maybe it is because I am someone who experienced this kind of trauma, but the headline of the story seems like a no-brainer to me. I'm not going to compare myself to Ms. Dugard, but simply analyze this article based on my experiences.

"Sexual abuse doesn't happen in silence," said Karen Duncan, a clinical therapist. "Things are said to the child before, during and after. Offenders say things in a purposeful way -- to convince the child what they're doing is OK and acceptable. The children do not know the laws. They really don't know this is something that's not supposed to happen."
Sometimes things are said, sometimes not so much. It's all dependent on the abuser, abusee, and the situation. I had no clue what was going on with me was all that wrong at first. By the time I did, it wasn't like I had any power to stop it.

In sexual assault cases, adults threaten or lie to get children under their control.

"We don't know if she was told her parents didn't want her anymore, or that if she tried to escape, they would kill her parents," said Dr. Sharon Cooper, a developmental and forensic pediatrician, who also is a consultant for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. "There are many threats to compliance in these kinds of situations."

Something I find upsetting about any articles like these is that they always fail to mention child-on-child sexual abuse. Is it because many of us who have experienced this kind of abuse try to play it off as ordinary childhood sexual exploration? Who knows. At some point, however, an adult had to be involved with a child in order to prompt said child to mimic his/her actions with another. Also, as I've discussed before, threats don't necessarily have to be said or even made by the abuser. I was scared to death that a) no one would believe me, and b) my family would be ashamed of me.

Because Dugard remained at the Garridos' compound for 18 years, she could have identified with her captives, experts said. Dugard may actually miss her captors now because they have been the center of her world for so long, forensic psychiatrist Helen Morrison told CNN.

"That was her life," Morrison said. "That's what she knew. That's the only thing she had. It's a little variant of what we call the Stockholm syndrome where you become identified with your kidnappers and in many ways, you become attached to them."

It's not uncommon to see someone fail for their abuser or be so "in-love" with their abuser that they cannot leave the situation. My childhood abuser was my best friend. Why in the world would I think that she would've done anything to hurt me? Best friends love each other right? This was just another way of showing it, like grown ups do.

The pivotal step for Dugard is to get connected with a mental health professional, Landry said. It's essential to reinforce to survivors that what happened is not their fault.
This really is one of the best things to do. However, it is also one of the hardest things anyone will ever go through in their lives. On a day-to-day basis - before I told my mom and after - I can pretend that I am just another normal girl. I've talked to a therapist at school a few times about my abuse. As hard as it was to tell my mom, the person every little girl idolizes growing up and is so close to, about what happened... Having to tell a perfect stranger and feel as though they are judging you is a whole different ballgame. Oh, and that's not even mentioning that you have to tell people roughly what happened to you and go through hell all over again. I'd rather suffer in silence personally.

On Thursday, she [formally kidnapped Elizabeth Smart] told CNN's Anderson Cooper that after the reunion she spent lots of time with her family and advised survivors to not let "this horrible event take over and consume the rest of your life. Because we only have one life and it's a beautiful world out there."

"I would just encourage her to find different passions in life and continually push forward ... [and] not to look behind, because there's a lot out there," Smart said.

Ms. Smart has some very good advice there. We cannot let ourselves be defined by the abuse we've suffered. It is a part of my life and something that I can't escape from (in the long-run anyway). People don't need to know what happened to me or even that anything happened. I know what happened, that it was wrong, and that I did nothing to deserve that.

Sometimes there are tornadoes and hurricanes. The devastation is terrible, but that doesn't mean that the sun stops shining. We have to pick up the pieces, rearrange them, and try to rebuild our lives. Sure, it's a process (it's been four years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and still the area is in ruins). As someone who is still in that process, I'm not quite sure that it ever ends. One can only hope.

Palestinian Freedom Walk, Milwaukee

If you are interested in learning more about this awesome event that I'm planning on behalf of the American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights, or AAPER, go to the official sign-up site or to our facebook page.

Here's the quick lowdown though:

What: Silent march
When: October 10, 2009
Where: Somewhere in Milwaukee (IDK yet)
Why: Because Palestinians deserve to be equal in their own country
Who: Anyone who supports human rights!

Also, if you're not in the Milwaukee area, you can find marches near you at the AAPER website.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Hazards of Love

If you haven't heard the latest album from The Decemberists, Hazards of Love, you outta look it up. The band is from Portland, Oregon - about two hours north of where I grew up. I'm not going to say anything about the album because I don't want to give things away, except to say that this is a story album that uses some old English wording.

Go listen!

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Job

So I started my new job today. Maybe it was just because I was training, but it was wonderful. It didn't get busy like Kmart gets busy which was a nice change of pace. I got to meet Bob Soerens, the owner of the joint, and he's hilarious. I keep training tomorrow, which will be nice. I catch on pretty quickly though, so I hope I don't get bored.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Boycott Marriotts With Me

Read this story. They could've had a solid argument if they had come from a different angle. However, this company is blaming a woman for her own rape in front of her children. Ridiculous.

If you want to complain to the company like I did, go here.


If you don't read it, here's a great reason (click on the picture to read the whole thing - stupid formatting):

It contains truth.

Whoa There

So I found this fun story off NPR's twitter page today about medical marijuana in California. California was the first state to legalize it and my home state (well, where I grew up anyway) eventually followed suit. I will be very honest here. I don't smoke pot - never even tried it. I've known enough people through the years who have tried it. As someone with a chronic pain ailment, I've looked at reasons for legalizing the drug for those of us in terrible pain. After all, it's really a lot less harmful than alcohol, which causes thousands of deaths on our roads and other places every year.

Back to the story. A federal drug agent in San Francisco thinks... Well, I'll just let you read his words:

"I think 215 was a complete sham. I think this was a hoax," says Ron Brooks, a federal drug agent in San Francisco.

"And I would encourage any citizen to do this. Stand near a dispensary and watch who goes in," Brooks said.

"And tell me how many people look sick and dying. How many people look like they are suffering from catastrophic illness, and how many kids are standing around the corner where people buy marijuana inside the dispensary — and resell it to the kids outside for a profit," he adds.

Earlier in the article, it talks about the history of legalizing the drug. It was to help those with HIV/AIDS, cancers, etc. You cannot tell by looking at people how close to death they are or how sick they are or even if they are in pain. People think that I am just lazy (which is partially true, but I do have medical reasons for a lot of what I do/don't do) and don't care to know anything about what is going on in my life. I don't look like someone who has a debilitating disease that has constantly made me want to chop off limbs. You just can't see something like that by looking at a person and it's ridiculous to think that anyone could tell that.

I can see why people might get mad at how easy it is to get pot. Hello, have you never walked down the street and been approached to buy pot? Do these people not walk around normal parts of town? Even in states where it is illegal, access to pot is not difficult to get.

Why not make pot legal and easier to monitor than continue to put drug dealers in jail for longer than pedophiles? Do we not ever learn anything from Europe? You can tax pot, you know - make some more money for the government, maybe help out people who have morals too high to do things that are illegal but might benefit from it?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spanking in Public Schools

I came across this article in the New York Times this morning about how disabled students are spanked more.

I wouldn't necessarily consider myself disabled, but I had an incident as a first grader where my teacher spanked me for no good reason. As a result of my JRA, it is harder for me to sit criss-cross-applesauce as was customary to do in our class. My teachers had been informed on what was going on with my body. Unfortunately, one of my teachers either didn't understand or didn't care.

We came in from recess one day and I was exhausted. Instead of coming in and sitting the customary way on the floor mat, I had my legs to the side of my body, which I could usually get away with in my other class if we sat on the floor. This even hurt, so I laid down on my side on the floor. A classmate tried to warn me to sit the right way, but I told her how much it hurt and that I just couldn't do it. Then the teacher came in. She was a middle-aged woman from Japan who had happily moved to the northwest in order to teach at this Japanese-immersion school. She was very upset that I was not following the rules. I tried to explain to her how painful it was to sit the normal way and how tired and achy my poor little body was. All she seemed to care about was that I was breaking the rules and then being argumentative about it. So she lifted me up by one arm and preceded to spank me in front of my classmates.

She put me down and told me to sit the right way. I was crying so hard between the embarrassment and the pain in my bottom and my knees as I bent them to match the other kids.

For kids who can't follow the rules because of physical limitations or for those who don't quite understand the directions, spanking is a terrifying experience. I was in terrible pain to begin with, but to have to go through being spanked and humiliated in front of my friends as well as having to bend my knees - the thing I was trying to avoid because of the pain - was not only annoying but ridiculous as well. Any sort of physical punishment should be outlawed in our schools. Teachers are people too - people who lose their temper or misunderstand situations. We should be able to put a certain amount of trust in them, but trusting them to physically punish our children correctly is a mistake and one that can scar someone for life.

Forget About Feminism

Some Muslims are moving way past equal rights. There are a handful of Islamic punk bands popping up around the United States. Their music is charged with current events and politics.

This is awesome.

(Also, this is the 250th post!)

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'm not following the latest on Obama's healthcare reform plans. I've just become so uninterested due to how the different news agencies and reporters/writers are handling this. I can, however, tell you why I would support nationalized health care.

I've talked several times about my Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthrits (JRA/Still's Disease) on this site and my other blog. With this as a pre-existing condition, any insurance I would be able to buy privately would require me to work 80+ hours a week and wouldn't really cover anything substantial.

I get insurance through school, yes, but it's enough to cover a visit to the school nurse... and enough to help me pay 80% of a regular doctor's visit (provided that they accept the insurance). Don't even think about dental, vision, or specialty docs like rheumatologists.

All the things going on with my sister right now would have been even more terrible had she not been able to qualify for BadgerCare. She had to have an appendectomy over the weekend. Without having the insurance, I'm sure that her appendix would've exploded and she wouldn't have been able to get help until things got dyer, if then.

And if that didn't do it for you, maybe this story will.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


My sister went to the emergency room last night with appendicitis. I haven't really slept super well since. We brought her home around 3:30 or 4 o'clock this afternoon. Any time that I have slept since we got into her room around 3 this morning was because of low blood sugar and exhaustion.

So exhausted. Blech.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Got A New Job

Working at a car dealership! It'll be so nice to get out of Kmart :)

In sad news, I just heard John Hughes died :(

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Can't Wait

The Time Traveler's Wife comes out in theatres on the fourteenth. I am so excited that nothing else seems to be all that important right now. For the past few hours, I sped read through the first 100 or so pages of the book (care of Google) as well as read quotes.

I think I'm kidnapping my boyfriend, who made me read the book, to go see the movie on opening weekend. It's a moral imperative.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Put Protesters On Trial You Say?

Yep, that's what Iran is doing right now. News reports say they are cracking down on the opposition, but if you've been following this at all, you know this is just a continuation of the abuse of the people. Ahmadinejad is going to be sworn in again in just a few short days and it seems as though this tough approach against the people will not let up anytime soon.