Thursday, October 19, 2017

Me Too

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the “Me Too” campaign. It’s designed to bring more awareness to sexual violence against women by those affected posting “Me too” on social media. But by its very nature, it’s a very personal subject, one that many are loathe to talk about.

My thoughts automatically went to this: I can’t help but wonder how many women won’t post “me too” in such an open forum because of who it was that abused them. They might feel trapped into silence. 

I won't be silent any longer, but I will only reveal basics.

I was molested by a relative growing up. I didn’t even have words for what was happening to me, so I never told anyone until years later.

When I was seventeen I was date raped repeatedly one night, and once again I had no words for what had happened until the term “date rape” was coined years afterward and the awful memory of my experience came raining down on me.

And then as an adult, my husband from my thankfully short first marriage raped me repeatedly. Because I was married to him, I didn’t know that it was rape when I said no but he refused to respect my choice. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone that he insisted on forcing himself on me whenever he wanted.

It took me years to come to terms with the experiences I had and to recover from the shame I felt. I learned that it’s not my shame to carry, but theirs.

Forgiveness for what these men had done to me took a few years also, but I knew I had to forgive them or have no peace inside myself. I hold no ill wishes toward any of them, I freely forgave them so I could be free myself.

There is so much more I could say about each of these experiences, but I’ll leave it at what I’ve said already. I’d like to encourage women to speak out, to reach out for help when needed, to get counseling and support. We need to maintain awareness of sexual abuse, we need parents to recognize the signs and believe children who tell them they are being abused (mine did, thankfully!), and we need to be vigilant about teaching our children (boys and girls) that sexual abuse is not okay.

For help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. They are a confidential support organization and will direct you to a local support provider if you want it. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Of Locks and Keys and Car Doors

On Sunday Megan and I had ourselves a little adventure. She had gone to her sister Caitlin’s house to stay for the weekend, and we had agreed to meet halfway between Roanoke and Radford so I could get Megan and bring her home. That in itself was extraordinary because there was a backup on the highway that made my 30 minute journey take an hour and 45 minutes. Oy.

So we did eventually meet up and talked for a bit, gathering Megan’s luggage that felt like it had concrete bricks in it. And soon we left and were on our way to Walmart. That was another extraordinary event for me, because #1 I’ve never driven there from Roanoke, #2 I have driving anxiety so I usually only make short trips anywhere, and #3 I’m awful with directions, even with a GPS directing me. Have you heard of the phrase “Recalculating route?” Need I say more??

But Megan and I did arrive at Walmart, parked, and I got out of the car, standing in between the car and the door, waiting for Megan to exit. And I pressed the electric lock button to secure the car.


The lock clicked shut but immediately slid back into the open position. Hmmmm, that’s odd. I pressed the button again.

And again the click-click-slide.

Okay, what’s going on? For a third time I pressed the button and for a third time watched the lock on my door slide shut and then slide back in the off position. It must be broken. Great, now I have a broken lock. How much is that going to cost to fix??

So the only thing I could think of to do was to manually push the lock into position and shut the door. Whereupon I checked, as I always do, to make sure my keys were in my purse.

There were no keys in my purse.

Omgoodness, I must have left them in the car! I pulled on the door, knowing I had just locked it. Then I look at Megan and started to tell her not to shut her door. Too late, she had shut it. I went around the car to her side and looked in. Sure enough, my keys were in the ignition, dangling in that carefree way that only inanimate objects do.

Ah, it was all coming together now. I’d never locked my keys in the car before, but I could now understand it: apparently my car has a feature so you can’t lock your keys in it. If they’re in the ignition and you try to lock the doors electronically, it won’t let you, thus alerting you of the problem.

Ohhhhhhh, why didn’t I ever read the car manual?? Why did I insist on my own way when the lock kept sliding back?? Why didn’t I check for my keys before I locked the door??

So, Megan and I trekked our way into Walmart to customer servive, got the non-emergency number for the police, and I made the call for help. A very nice officer came to our rescue and after about 5 minutes of fiddling and faddling, got the car unlocked, whereupon I retrieved my naughty keys and thanked him.

Then we went into the store to get the shopping done. The moral of the story: trust your car; it may just know better than you!