Believability in unbelievable times…

Why didn’t she report it?

WHY?

WHY?

WHY?

In this day and age, after all that has been revealed by many, many women and men to ask WHY their pain and embarrassment and shame wasn’t paraded about for all to judge, criticize and tsk tsk is tantamount to siding with the abuser.

After all, when our own president vacillates between acting like a wronged man-victim and a cruel bully all within the course of a day it’s not hard to see where the inspiration for all the other abusers and powertrip seekers to assert their new found dominance came from.

But, it’s the supposedly conflicted fence riders that get me the most. If you can’t muster the strength of mind to speak up when you see blatant harassment and abuse occurring in real-time, right before your eyes, then what goddamned hope do we really have?

This is how I see this topic playing out in my mind:

Fence Sitter: But, I NEED to hear all the sides here! 

Empathy: Are you the judge and jury?

Fence Sitter: Well, no but I can’t make up my mind who to believe until I know all the dirt about the accuser.

Empathy: Hasn’t she been hurt enough by this? You do realize that by bullying her into revealing things that aren’t your business just to satisfy your gory car crash mentality is a form of revictimization right?

Fence Sitter: Hey, she asked for this by going public.

Empathy: Wow, can you hear yourself?

Fence Sitter: Hear what? I need to know more so I can make up my mind. She is making some pretty damaging allegations that could ruin a man’s life. You have to admit, she probably just wanted to be with him and he rejected her or something. Scorned woman syndrome.

Empathy: So, you actually have already made up your mind that she’s lying but you just want to tear her apart further by laying her personal life out on the table for the world to mock? 

Fence Sitter: Oh, I bet you weren’t perfect in high school or college either…

Empathy: Great job deflecting and playing the worn out tune of whataboutery. Bravo! Time to get off the fence dude, we all know where you stand now.

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Hey judgemental people, why do YOU do THAT? This is the question I pose to everyone out there that immediately casts doubt upon any woman (and men too but for this piece, I will speak to that which I know) that dares to talk about being sexually harassed, assaulted, molested or raped. Does the subject hit so close to home that in order to hide your own shame its easier to lash out at the person already knocked to the ground by years of keeping their trauma to themselves? Whatever happened to reserving judgment until all the facts are weighed while also remaining neutral AND respectful of both parties?

Wouldn’t that be nice? It would but it doesn’t happen that way. Not that I have ever personally experienced anyway. To mock sexual assault victims with jokes about their appearance, intelligence and morality is plainly a dick move. A big, bullying, shaming dickish move committed by both men and women, which is a huge head-scratcher in itself.

Women have the unenviable position of being shit on mentally and emotionally by both sexes while also juggling the fear of potentially being assaulted, raped or murdered should they dare venture out by themselves after dark to get a fucking chai latte or walk alone to their car doing any number of banal things men just DO without any thought to potential personal risk. Want to talk about something not being fair? THAT right there is hugely fucking unfair and it shouldn’t have to be this way.

So, what can women do to be believed when shit goes down? Start acting like men? Hmmm.. so if some dude tries to pussy grab me at a concert I should just do a sack clutch, squeeze and twist for fair measure? Okay, sounds cool to me! Of course, this is said in jest as I have no desire to touch strange sack but the point is this: WHAT GIVES YOU THE FUCKING RIGHT TO TOUCH ME IN THE FIRST PLACE? Who taught you that it was even remotely an acceptable thing?

Or…were you just taught that if you were going to do it then make sure you don’t get caught? Boys will be boys…until they assault and rape and then they are just criminals. Pretty simple to understand right?

If not, read up on it here

I am tired. Tired of always being on guard. Tired of having to check my facial expressions, emotions, and attire against the preconceived notions of how male society thinks a woman should behave. I’m fucking tired and no longer care if I hurt your feelings by speaking up when you say shitty things to me. I will no longer sit idly by while certain men tell me what a “lady” should be.

YOU’RE NOT A FUCKING WOMAN SO HOW THE HELL DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT WOMEN!!! I would never proclaim to be an expert on men but, yet…women aren’t even allowed to be experts on their own minds, attitudes, likes, dislikes, jobs, education, pay scale or their own vaginas. Fuck that!

Lady? Why should any of us be a LADY when abusers, molesters, and rapists hide behind the mask of GENTLEMAN all the time. Women have very legitimate reasons to not believe or trust men yet we are vilified as bitches, she-devils, banshees, sluts, whores and on and on just because we might have wounded a man’s pride somewhere down the line 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years ago?

Your pride? I would take a bruised ego and dented pride any day over being choked unconscious, slapped, hair ripped out of my head, drug across a room, thrown down stairs, beaten, stabbed, shot, raped and murdered any day. Pride! Get out of here with that!

Seriously, get out of here with that nonsense and start doing better. We are better than this and I’m ashamed at how little we have progressed. Boys can be tenderhearted, kind, loving and considerate just like girls can. It’s how they are taught to interact with others that makes the difference.

The issue of abuse of women will never end until men are taught to value themselves enough to invest in their hearts and stop being so fearful of women taking over. Aren’t you tired of this shit yet? I know I am.

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The silence continues…

It has been 3 months since I have heard anything from my immediate family. Nary a text from sisters, nieces or nephew. Radio silence. Not even a short email or text asking for clarification about what happened. It’s almost as if they don’t give a shit! I say that with great sarcasm because…I know they don’t and laughing it off is my coping mechanism.  Ha! Ha! My family is a hateful lot of selfish assholes! So hilarious right? One sister’s emotional outbursts rule the rest of the family.

In this time I have sold my house, planned a move and my dear daughter graduated from high school. The last event they knew about but didn’t acknowledge except for one blurb via social media to my daughter from her cousin.

This is own new life.

A fractured family that no longer cares about our momentous occasions (unless the occasions are their own) and the weight of this realization sits square on mine and my daughter’s shoulders.

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The guilt I feel about offering her such an uncaring family tree is immense and something I think about every day. She has no caring and involved blood relatives left on my side of the family that she can count on for true emotional support. And, to now know that they don’t care about her or her accomplishments breaks my heart. All I can do is reiterate that the failure is theirs and not hers but I know she still feels the sting and my guilt remains.

Believe me, (and this is a Reverie “believe me” not a Trump one) it has been a tempting option to just call and try to smooth things over for my daughter’s sake. But then, I remember that I did that several times before and the shit kept rolling my way. And, I also took into account the respect I earned for not letting those who wish me ill get away with continually heaping verbal abuse upon my head. My daughter’s respect means much more to me than any one-sided, short-lived truce between me and a sister who has made it clear that her true allegiance is with herself, her spouse and her children, and is not shared with me or my daughter.

In the past, if something bad was happening to my younger sister or her family everyone was expected to rally around and offer support, which I did. I helped my nephew get an apartment on his own by acting as the guarantor on his lease since he had no credit and his parents had poor credit. I also helped out twice when he had car issues. Although, the second time I wasn’t quick enough to jump to and got accused of brushing family off to have dinner with friends when in reality I was offering crisis support to a client. I felt no need to explain that to my nephew or my sister at first because it was really none of their business but even if I had the selfish response would have probably been the same.

I forgave that particular outburst and was willing to move on yet the resentment apparently lingered on her part and the emotional imbalance grew. This is very evident in hindsight and I do not foresee receiving a peace offering in the near future…or ever really.

When my sister expressed how much our parents had hurt her and her children, I supported her without hesitation. When our mother chose to send a scathing letter to my siblings in defense of the indefensible abuse we experienced I backed my sister completely. During that time I also expressed to my mother descriptions of the abuse I, myself suffered. I effectively shut the door on any relationship I had left with my parents but did so gladly because it was for the right reason. I was defending her and her family while also standing up for myself.

Do you always have to forgive?

If the tables were turned?

Suck it up! Our problems are more important stupid snowflakes!

This I know and this I accept.

Does it still hurt and do regrets linger? Hell yes! When I think about everything that has transpired over the past few years the tears immediately well up and I get a burning lump stuck in my throat. That is pure pain moving up from my gut to my mouth, ready to burst forth in the loudest fucking scream imaginable. I want to punch things, to kick out and sob until I’m weak. I want to stop feeling it but, I can’t.

Am I angry at my family for what has happened?

I was for a long time.

But now? I am simply sad.

Sad to know that if the silence continues they will not get to know my daughter as an adult. Sad that they will not get to visit me in my new home. Sad that they will not get to experience all the great things my daughter, their niece, and cousin, will accomplish while in college and after. Sad that they will miss weddings, births, birthdays any potential family get-together with us and all for what? Built up envy and resentment disguised as a disagreement online over gun control? Amazing! I know it isn’t just about the latter but it’s amazingly ridiculous nonetheless.

Adult Sibling Estrangement

With all of this…I still hang on to hope. Hope that 3 months will not turn into 3 years and hope that I someday we can all sit down and talk, face-to-face like adults rather than tossing nasty texts and Facebook comments back and forth. To facilitate this I set up parameters that limit my sister’s ability to text me or contact me on social media but email, phone and in person are still options I will permit. Sending a nasty text or leaving a shit comment online are cowardly acts so, I figured, if I take that avenue away then, if the message is important enough, it will get to me.

I hope.

Again, giving it time, giving it space to breathe. It’s all I can do.

© 2018 L.A. Askew
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.