Unalome Chronicles: Mattie Larson, Former US National Team Gymnast & Sexual Assault Prevention Activist

Mattie Larson was a consistent star in the world of gymnastics over the course of her athletic career, qualifying and competing for the most prestigious teams around the world at the highest levels. In 2018, along with 156 other women, Mattie courageously testified against Larry Nassar, her former US National Team Gymnastics doctor and serial sexual assaulter. As a result of this trial, which was one of the largest sexual assault investigations in US history, Nassar was sent to prison on account of hundreds of sex crimes. After the trial, Mattie went on to pass and amend bills with the US Congress in Washington, DC, to increase the protections of children from sexual assault. Testifying face-to-face with her abuser in court was one of the most difficult things Mattie has had to face, however, speaking her truth re-instilled her sense of self-worth and confidence that had been lacking for so long.

Facts & Backstory…

Mattie’s Gymnastics Career History:
In 2006, at age 14, Mattie qualified for the Junior International Elite Team, and in 2007 she became a member the US National Team, where she would remain competing through 2011. At the international elite competition, she made a name for herself as she won the gold in the Vault exercise and bronze in the All-Around (all four exercises combined). In 2007, she also competed on the international stage at the Pan American Games, where she won gold on the Floor exercise, with a show-stopping performance, as well as won the gold in the All-Around. After this competition, she was named the United States Olympic Committee Athlete of the Month. In 2008, still on the National Team, Mattie joined the US Olympic training squad, but due to a severe leg injury, she could not join the team. Competing with a double-sprained ankle at the Gymnix World Cup in 2009, Mattie still took home gold medals on both the Floor and Beam exercises. In 2009, Mattie had to sit out the World Championships due to injuries, but came back in 2010 to win the all-around title at the Cover Girl Classic, still competing on the National Team. That same year, she won the gold on Floor, the bronze on the Uneven Bars and the silver in the All-Around at the US National Championships and was selected to be a member of the US Team for the World Championships. In 2012, Mattie joined the UCLA gymnastics team where she competed through 2014 and received her BA degree in Psychology.

Sexual Assault Case & Bills Passed in Washington, DC: 
On January 24th, 2018, Larry Nassar, the former physician for the US National Gymnastics Team, was sentenced to 40–175 years in prison for hundreds of sex crimes that he committed with impunity over the course of decades. 156 brave women, including Mattie Larson, testified against the serial child molester for the sexual assault crimes committed against them. After the trial, Mattie went on to speak publicly about her experience, being interviewed on Good Morning America, Vice News, Megyn Kelly NBC News, CNN with Michaela Pereira, and Sports Illustrated. Mattie also, along with a small group of women who shared the same abuser, passed a new bill in Washington DC, with Senator Dianne Feinstein, called “Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act of 2017” and amended the “Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act,” further protecting young athletes from sexual abuse.

Let’s hear from Mattie about speaking her truth…

It took an incredible amount of courage and strength to speak your truth about your sexual assault story and to confront your assaulter face-to-face in court. Describe your journey coming to this place within yourself to be able to accomplish something so courageous, not just for yourself, but for the other victims.
It’s been a very windy journey. Growing up, I was a kid who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. However, as I started spending more time in the gym than anywhere else, I started to lose my sense of voice. I was often verbally punished by my coaches and was often not believed if I had a serious physical injury. Gymnastics is a sport where the average peak point for athletes is pretty young, especially for females — most female gymnasts retire between the ages of 18 and 21. I first starting competing at the age of 5 and at 10, I was leaving school early to train. In middle school, I was spending more time with my coaches than with my parents, so they inevitably had a huge influence on my character at that time. Unfortunately, this influence was a negative one. It wasn’t until I left for college at 19 that I realized how quiet and closed off I had become, as a result of being silenced by my coaches for so many years. Testifying against my abuser in court and talking about my past to people who make positive changes in the world, has really made me feel like I have my power back. I am no longer that little girl who’s afraid to ask my coaches to even use the restroom. I thought that if I could find the courage within myself to speak up for what is right, it may inspire others to do the same for themselves.

How has speaking your truth changed you internally?
Testifying a year ago was the first time I was proud of myself in a reeeeally long time. Being a professional athlete my whole life, I have always based my self-worth on my outward achievements — I was proud of myself if I learned a new gymnastics skill or if I won a competition. When I stopped competing about five years ago, that sense of self-worth was stripped away. Testifying in front of my abuser was one of the first times since I retired from gymnastics that I was genuinely so proud of myself and it had nothing to do with winning a medal. That was huge for me.

Talk about what speaking your truth has accomplished on a larger scale and about the bill you were instrumental in passing in Washington?
Around January of 2017 I, along with a small group of women who shared the same abuser, met with Senator Dianne Feinstein in Washington, DC. We shared our sexual assault stories with her and about two months later, a group of fifteen Senators introduced a bipartisan bill after hearing our stories. The bill was passed and requires amateur athletics governing bodies to immediately report sex-abuse allegations to local or federal law enforcement, or a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department. (It’s insane how that wasn’t already a law, right?!) The bill also amends the Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act, which governs amateur athletics governing bodies, to make it safe and easy for victims to report abuse, and also mandates oversight of member gymnasiums, to ensure that strong sexual-abuse prevention policies are implemented. For example, USA Gymnastics would implement and enforce policies to ensure hired coaches and personnel are trained in sexual abuse prevention. It was a really incredible feeling to not only be listened to and believed, but to work with people in a position of power make concrete changes to prevent what happened to me, happening to other young athletes.

What can a girl who has suffered similar trauma do to feel more empowered and in control of her future?
Everyone’s experience with trauma and sexual assault is different and I can only speak from my own experience. In my case, I felt dirty, disposable, and less-than after my traumas. I started to heal slowly by setting small goals for myself, working alongside a therapist that I trusted. And when I say I started out slowly, I mean it! Things such as simply leaving my apartment, turning to healthier outlets such as exercise or art instead of booze when I felt down, and the biggest one for me…reaching out for help when I needed it. I had to get out of the mindset that I was a burden to my friends and family if I reached out for help. That’s why our loved ones are here for us — to be with us through the good and bad. Sometimes I think, “Shit, if I made it through those traumatic experiences, I can make it through (insert challenge at hand).” I remind myself that however horrific those experiences were, I have had and will continue to have so many more positive experiences in my life. We can always find small ways to empower ourselves every day. Although I felt so much stronger after confronting my abuser in court, it doesn’t have to take something that big to make you feel powerful. Unalome hit the nail on the head…authentic self-expression really IS a superpower. I think it’s important for women to share stories of their tribulations and accomplishments because I know from my own experience, other women’s stories have inspired me to keep pushing forward. I love how Unalome inspires female artisans and entrepreneurs to work with one another to create something beautiful. After all, us gals gotta stick together! 🙂

Connect with Mattie: @MATTLARZ

Photos 1 by @CAMBRIA_FODEN

March 7, 2019

(Original article from UNALOME)

Me Fucking Too.

Cw: sexual assault

Sophia Akiko is a queer POC writer and educator based in Seattle, Washington.

This is not going to be a kind post.

When I see a social media “movement” started by rich white women who have systematically devalued and dehumanized trans/mentally ill/poor/black/undocumented immigrants/sex workers/PoC/LGBT/genderfluid/gender non-conforming folks, who have spoken over the most vulnerable, who have done nothing in the face of rampant and unforgiving racism, transphobia, xenophobia, genocide,who are abusers themselves and get lauded as the face(s) of (WHITE) feminism, who still get money, who still get a voice, who are, yet again, taking the voices of others to supplement their “movements” while doing nothing, while coating themselves in money and luxuries most will never have, I don’t see myself.

I know many don’t either.

I have told my story so many times, sobbed, screamed, begged for help at hospitals, university, in public, in private — to be stonewalled by well-meaning white people who asked me what I “could have done differently” at the hospital after my assault, or “nice” white fraternity boys who “politely decline” free seminars on sexual assault awareness and then wear tank-tops that promote reproductive violence as a “joke” at parties, at the university where men who commit rape and sexual assault can intimidate survivors in broad daylight and have nothing be done about it.

As a queer survivor, as a survivor of color, one of the hardest things I have learned is that there is no solution in answering to an institution — because they are innately governed by whiteness, power, the binary.

This dialogue does not represent me nor what I went through.

I have answered before and I will answer again.

Now is not my time to answer, but I have never been silent — speaking of which —

Your being alive is a testimony of the utmost perseverance and survival. Your being alive is an act of bravery. Your being alive is enough.


To share/amplify something you’ve seen on facebook, just email nonwhiteworks@gmail.com (subject: found on facebook) after getting the Original Poster’s permission.

How to Listen to Women When They Share Their Stories of Sexual Assault

More on sexual assault:

Men: Our Silence Will Not Save Us

We must decide how to deal with the predators in our midst too

melmagazine.com

“If You’re A Good Guy, You Can’t Possibly Be A Rapist”

Two sociologists on why that idea is dangerous — and lets men pretend they haven’t committed a crime

melmagazine.com

#MeToo, #balancetonporc, #yotambien: women around the world fight back at harassment

#QuellaVoltaChe: Asia Argento launched an Italian version of #MeToo. Image: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Beatrice Di Caro


The allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have prompted women around the world to share experiences of sexual harassment and assault on social media to end a culture of silence.

It began when the actress Alyssa Milano posted a tweet on the 15th of October with the hashtag #MeToo.

That initial tweet has motivated thousands of women to share their stories of catcalling, harassment, assault and rape, often in the workplace. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

Actresses such as Patricia Arquette, Viola Davis, Debra Messing and many more shared the tweet and hashtag. The movement also prompted men to share their own stories of assault, with actor Javier Muñoz’s tweet going viral.

The online campaign has amassed thousands of tweets and stories and has now expanded to various other countries and languages. French women have started tweeting with the hashtag #balancetonporc — literally meaning “snitch out your pig”, with journalist Sandra Muller asking French women to tell their stories of sexual harassment or assault at the workplace.This campaign has had such an effect that France is considering putting fines on catcalling.

Sandra Muller’s tweet:

The Italian actress Asia Argento launched the Italian equivalent of #MeToo: #QuellaVoltaChe, meaning “that time when…”. She posted a tweet explaining how a director exposed himself when she was only sixteen years old. The tweet has since motivated Italian women to share their stories as well.

Women in Italy have been sharing tweets about issues they have had to deal with when reporting sexual assault to the police, such as this woman: “#thattimewhen I reported it and they told me: ‘Madam, are you sure? You know that reporting it makes it a big deal?’ and afterwards nothing happened.”

Finally, the latest version of #MeToo is a direct translation in Spanish: #YoTambien. Lawyer Estefanía Palomino‏ shared the spanish version of Alyssa Milano’s tweet: “#yotambien Si todas las mujeres que han sido sexualmente acosadas escribieran “yo también”, podríamos dar una idea del problema.”

This Spanish professor sums up the overall feeling being shared by women all over the world: “#MeToo #YoTambien I have been harassed many times. I didn’t know what to do. It became normal. I stayed silent. Not anymore. We are many. We are strong.”

Harassment is one of many factors that contribute to a gender gap in the workplace. The economic gap between men and women won’t close for another 170 years, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report.


Originally published at www.weforum.org.

#MeToo…So I teach

HOPE

#Metoo : The Devil’s take on a naive mind

Seems like more than 12 million people across the world both men and woman have shared their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment using the hashtag “#metoo”

I was just a common spectator scrolling all through my facebook feed seeing other girls share their experience until I found literally every woman I knew were affected by some form of abuse. I Happened to talk about this issue and share my views with few female friends who mean a lot to me and I felt really bad when I came to know even they have experienced such assaults at a younger age when they had no clue what was being done to them then. They also claimed that they felt low and broken when they came to realise what had happened to them in the later part of their happy lives and guess what? They all had one thing in common!

None of the assaults were done by strangers but they were done by their relatives, they were done by their family friends who visit their house often, they were done by their neighbour but how could a child differentiate care and love with an act of abuse? How can a child question a person who means so much to their family who touches her without her concern? How does even a child know to defend her when such things happen to them? We warn our children only about the dangers posed by outsiders, while the real threat is from insiders, the people who had surround our children since childhood.

To all the parents who care much about their son’s and daughter’s education, health, lifestyle, clothing. Have you ever cared to listen to your child when they told you about the Abuse? In India, we are not comfortable talking to children about sex and sexuality. Hence they are not comfortable telling us about sexual abuse either. This is something which needs much attention as any other essential thing and it is something which has to be changed.

My humble request to parents out there, do talk openly to your children about such issues. Know whether they have experienced such assaults and tell them to stay away from people who commit such acts. Teach them how to react when such things happen to them. Have an open conversation about sex and other related stuffs when they attain a mature age so that they don’t commit such acts either. It’s better we educate them on such sensitive issues in a nice polished manner than themselves knowing from the Internet. It’s every parent’s duty to help them differentiate the good and the bad so does this.

P.S-My mom just expressed her grief about this issue and felt really happy and secure that I was not born as a female child (Without realising the fact that even Men experience such assaults too). I just then realised how bad every mother would feel when they come to know their child has gone through such phase. I guess it’s our responsibility to give a child their safe and secure childhood which he/she would cherish for their lifetime.

Irish Equity confronts sexual assault and harassment

Irish Equity has assured members that the union will support them should they have any concerns regarding their treatment in the workplace, following the recent media coverage of sexual assault and harassment in the film industry.

Irish Equity Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “Bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, is just not acceptable. Workers in the creative industries deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Irish Equity will continue to challenge those in the industry who abuse their position.

“From information collected in a survey conducted by Irish Equity in 2016 we know that the vast majority of members experiencing or witnessing this kind of behaviour do not report it because they fear losing work. This culture of not reporting is a long standing problem in the industry that created the original precarious workers. Sexual harassment, bullying or any kind of harassment is unacceptable, it must stop now and the perpetrators of such behavior should be outed and challenged.”

Irish Equity President, Padraig Murray, said: “Members should be reassured that they can talk to the union in complete confidence. We are experienced in dealing directly with these issues and will act, without fear or favour on behalf of members who have experienced inappropriate behavior at work. I would encourage any member who has a concern about these issues, to please contact by phone at 01 858 6403 or email equity@siptu.ie.”

Putting out to get ahead

The recent Harvey Weinstein “scandal” (I say scandal, instead of a less salubrious term) has erupted across our always-scandal-hungry media like a volcanic deluge of disbelief, horror, and incomprehension, heralded by astounded declarations of “everyone knew!” and, of course, the ubiquitous “Why did no one speak out before now?” — no one being those women whom he assaulted, demeaned, threatened and/or abused in his position of power as a high-ranking Hollywood executive.

The appalling ignorance inherent in these statements deserves underscoring. It shouldn’t come as a shock that the entertainment arena is rife with sexual malpractice. After all, Hollywood has cemented its mythical status as a place where dreams come true, luring thousands of young, comely, and often desperate aspirants to its tinsel-star promise of fame and fortune, both before and behind the camera, where attractiveness is one quality you can never have too much of. To succeed in the movie industry requires fortitude, perseverance, and tolerating things that should be unacceptable, as it does in many other businesses. Beginning actors, like any job applicant, are often judged on their appearance and frequently rejected because they’re deemed “not right” for a part; that some smarmy executive in charge of casting and promoting talent takes advantage of his position to solicit sexual favors, dangling the carrot that submission will advance a fledgling career, is as old as the much-weathered casting couch. Or, as some in the biz call it, the casting crotch. Sadly, there’s nothing novel about the revelation that Weinstein trolled younger actresses and models in hideously inappropriate ways. He is, by all accounts, an experienced predator, whose own press statement emphasizes his lack of remorse, declaring he believes the actions he’s accused of were “consensual.” What’s surprising is the fact that anyone is surprised.

Nevertheless, to ask why none of these women spoke out earlier is the height of victim shaming that degrades the very question. It’s not just Hollywood where such coercion and harassment take place, much as some in the conservative media and elsewhere relish tossing more shit at that hotbed of liberal sensibility and anti-Republican sentiment, as if to say, “Well. They work in Babylon and look, we were right: they’re all deviants.” Sexual abuse of subordinates by those in positions of power happens everywhere, in every business and of every type; if all those who’ve suffered it spoke out, well, it wouldn’t happen anymore, would it? It also doesn’t only affect women. Men experience it, too, though women experience it in disproportionate numbers, and in the entertainment field, no doubt it’s more frequent. Still, it’s an endemic problem in our society — one I’ve experienced it personally, on the receiving end.

Putting out to get ahead is what some old-timers would call it. You want a promotion, a raise, a chance to advance in your chosen career, and the jerk who oversees you and could provide the opportunity suggests you give him head to obtain it. When you’re young and eager to succeed, as many in Hollywood and elsewhere are, you don’t “speak out about it” because as we’ve seen with Weinstein, retaliation can be swift and merciless. If you refuse his advance, you run the risk of being labeled “difficult” by the predator-in-charge, and punished or run out of town because he has no tolerance for integrity. What the predator wants is to exert his power over you. It’s rarely, if ever, about sex. It’s about control over others — control which our very system both admires and rewards. For men in particular, professional success is considered the supreme affirmation of masculinity, so it’s to be expected that some disturbed individuals will take their success to an extreme by seeking out and abusing those who can’t, or don’t dare, fight back.

The women whom Weinstein accosted faced this very dilemma. Refusing him and speaking out carried the threat of dire consequences that could ravage their lives and their careers. Study after study has demonstrated that women must work twice as hard to succeed where men do, due to the entrenched misogyny and inequality in our system that continues to plague us. Like Hollywood, high-tech companies are riddled by this issue; and all the women targeted by Weinstein were young and untried at the time, victimized by someone with power over them, who knew precisely how to wield it. We can decry his behavior and call for his head, but he’s not the only one. And the allegation that “everyone knew” about him (when, in truth, not everyone knew) means little, as evidenced by recent statements from stars like Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Jane Fonda, Angelina Jolie, and others that “it happens all the time.” What these women who’ve reached the apex of a very tough climb to success are telling us is that knowing it happens never prevents it, so they had to navigate it because they had no other choice.

What needs to change is how we raise our boys. Our definition of masculinity is as twisted and outdated as how we define femininity. Men are supposed to be bold, unemotional, take-charge individuals; the pressure wrought on men from a very young age to confirm to these ideals is partly to blame for the terrifying tendency toward abuse that some later manifest once they obtain the power to do so. Because when we tell our boys, our sons, that to succeed is everything, we’re doing as much damage to them as when we advise our girls, our daughters, that to be beautiful, married and with children, are requisites to affirm their womanhood. We’ve come a long way, baby, as the old saying goes, but not long enough. Feminism isn’t only about women’s equality; it’s about deconstructing male notions of supremacy and recreating how men process and express themselves, because men are born with the same emotions as women, but are taught to suppress them, with sexual prowess and business acumen touted as the sole assets required to confirm their manhood. In a culture that continues to hawk unrealistic ideals of gender and achievement, how many neophyte Weinsteins are we incubating?

Yes, speaking out is an essential first step. Fear of repercussions might detain offenders of a less egregious nature than Weinstein and others of his ilk. But none of the women who’ve come forward to denounce Harvey Weinstein should be questioned for taking years to gather the courage to do so. It’s never simple nor easy after one’s been subjected to such gross advances to hoist a petard and take to the streets, demanding accountability. Those fortunate enough to never endure a boss’s suggestion of an after-hour rendezvous have no idea of the anguish, anxiety, humiliation, and fear said invitation creates. To speak out is an act of bravery that very few can summon, or even contemplate, at the time. What has happened is akin to rape: a verbal and sometimes physical assault on our body and psyche, designed to induce paralyzing shame. Shame is the shield behind which a predator can hide, the tool he depends on to silence his prey. Again, it doesn’t matter if everyone knew the boss is a pervert; all that matters is that it’s happened to us and now, we must tread the minefield he’s strewn around our being.

Weinstein will pay for his actions. He already is. But he’s a symptom of the depredation running rampant in a world where human rights and dignity are constantly devalued. This isn’t to say we should pity Weinstein; he’s an extremely privileged and troubled man who inflicted unimaginable suffering, but he’s also the byproduct of a system created by us, that should have prevented him from behaving as he did. We will always live in fear of sexual predators because we spawn them. What we need to do now is support the women he terrorized and stop asking why they failed to speak out earlier. What we need to do is start talking about why this happens so often. And what we, as a society, are willing to do to change it.

How A Random Dick Pic Sent Me Down The Assault Rabbit Hole

Photo by Louis Blythe on Unsplash

I had a nice day on Thursday the 14th. Work was great, my long distance boyfriend B was finally back in town, and I was feeling good. B and I had dinner plans so I went home after work and dolled myself up for once. We had a great time, eating pasta and pretending the iPads at the Apple Store were the new iPhone for our own amusement (I highly recommend walking up to an iPad, lifting it up, and going “Oooooh! The new iPhone!” just to see the looks on people’s faces). I had the next day off of work so we got a case of beer, went back to his place, and played video games, thrilled to be spending time together after he’d been away for a couple months for school. I headed back home around midnight with a smile on my face, feeling bubbly and content.

I drifted off to sleep easily, but was jolted awake by my phone ringing at 2:14am. I reached for it, startled, and saw that it was an unknown number. I declined it and turned my ringer off, but then saw I had two unread text messages from the same number. I figured someone sending me two messages between midnight and 2am and then calling me had to be someone I knew, so I opened the messages.

The first was a picture of an erect penis, pubes and random blanket near it and all, and the second was a video of whoever this person was masturbating with the aforementioned penis.

I immediately felt my stomach sink as thoughts began flying around in my head. I checked my contacts and didn’t find anyone with that area code. I Googled the number and found nothing. I messaged the number to my boyfriend and asked him if it was any of his contacts, and he said it wasn’t. But my gut told me it was someone I knew.

The area code is in Downey, south of where I live but still LA County. I don’t know anyone there, but it’s possible that someone I know has moved there.

I don’t recognize this penis.

You don’t recognize any penis but one, you nerd.

I looked at the times on the messages, partially covering my phone so I wouldn’t have to look at them directly. The penis owner had sent the picture at 2:06, the video at 2:10, and had then called me at 2:14. A new text message popped up at 2:23.

“Ok thanks good night”.

I stared at it.

What the hell is he thanking me for, I haven’t responded… oh. Gross. He’s thanking me probably because in this whole time that I’ve been stressing about this, the guy got off on sending these and finished, and now he’s saying thanks.

I felt a surge of anger in all the confusion and the voice in my head spoke clearly, cutting through everything else.

It’s Edward.

As soon as my brain thought it, it clicked. My gut feeling settled but my heart rate sped up.

This is Edward.

I tried to calm myself, trying to be rational. I had no proof that this was the man who assaulted me back in 2015. This wasn’t his phone number. Why would he have a number in Downey when I know he lives in Hollywood? I ran into him just a year ago in this area, so it’s unlikely that this is his number.

People move all the time.

I don’t think it’s him.

Have you seen his penis?

No. He didn’t get that far when he assaulted me.

Then it could be him. Maybe he’s showing it to you now as a way to mess with you. Maybe he’s read what you’ve written about him. Maybe now he’s coming after you again.

It could be someone else. Some dude I met at a bar when I was briefly single?

You gave out your number like twice, and you have those dudes saved as “bar guy yellow shirt” and “tall glasses hair.” And also, you gave them a number to that burner phone app you have, not your real number.

Right.

This is Edward.

Or it’s some random dude.

One way to find out.

I typed out a simple “who is this” but felt a rage slowly burning up inside me. I did not want to see this penis. But this guy just out of the blue sent it. He didn’t even lead up with anything. Even if it wasn’t for me, he was just going to send it to some other girl with no lead up. I don’t want to see his penis without my consent. I don’t want anything sexual to ever happen without my consent.

It’s easy to brush this off as overreacting. It’s an accidental dick pic, right? It would be easier to roll my eyes and move on. But this was, at the end of the day, a sexual event that occurred without my consent. Chances are this guy didn’t mean for that to happen. But he still sent it without a lead up. Not even an “I’m thinking about you” or whatever nonsense someone would say if they were sending footage of themselves masturbating to someone who consented to it.

“Who the hell is this?” I typed, staring intently at the keyboard and away from the images. “I don’t know why on earth you would call my number at 2am or send this content; I literally have no idea who this is”.

He immediately replied. “Sorry wrong number”.

Coward.

My mind flashed to that day I ran into Edward, a year and a half after he assaulted me. How he threw panicked glances at me. How I held my head high and walked toward him since he was in front of the door to exit the store I was in, and how he fled in the opposite direction. How he was a pathetic coward.

I took a deep breath. This guy wasn’t Edward. If Edward had been doing this in an attempt to retraumatize me, he would’ve at least said my name or done some other horrifying thing in that video rather than just panting while getting off by himself at 2am. But the rage stayed. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the actual woman who was meant to get those images didn’t consent to it either.

It’s unsolicited dick pics. It’s hollering obscenities at you from cars when you’re just trying to walk home in broad daylight. It’s standing too close to you and brushing your ass or breasts in a crowded place. It’s grabbing your forearm and pinching your ass and forcing their tongue down your throat while you try to push them off with all your strength but they grab harder. It’s “be happy you weren’t raped” and “it was a compliment” and “ok thanks good night.” And suddenly your heart is pounding in your chest and your eyes are welling up with tears and you’re furious because you feel suffocated, even though no one is touching you right now, even though no one has a vice grip on your throat, but you’re suffocating.

So I replied.

“Yeah. Maybe check next time before you accost people with that disgusting thing. And never text my daughter again you fucking creep. She is 13 and came to me crying with this. You’re lucky I don’t call the cops.”

He didn’t text me back.

Bruises can heal but the real hurt is concealed

Heal the world!!! by bluewinx15(black) licenced under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“On average, there are nearly 20 people per minute are who are physically abuse by an intimate partner in the United States” (NCADV) When crunching in the number that estimates that about 10 million women and men are being psychically abuse. This is not including women and men who are sexually assaulted, raped, stalked, or even worse victims of homicide. Take a look at statistics.

Many of them unfortunately go unreported and victims are being left untreated after the act has been committed. There can be various reasons why this happens: the victim takes blame, perpetrators threaten the victim, the perpetrator is someone they know, or even in some cases as said in a new report article that police may not providing enough protection .

In continuation of this topic, majority of people are unaware of the afterwork of people who seek out help after a life event happens. Sexual abuse can greatly influence a person’s mental health. Whether the incident just occurred or happened 20 years ago, victims experience the psychological effects of sexual abuse. The ramifications of sexual abuse include anxiety, depression, trust issues, lower self-esteem, feelings and thoughts of shame and guilt, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), fluctuations in mood, periods of intense anger, dissociation with feelings, self-destructive behaviors and more. If this goes untreated, the effects can last for months or even years.

Therapy can help survivors of abuse express and process difficult emotions associated with the abuse, develop self-compassion and self-care strategies for managing moments of emotional overwhelm, and learn to trust again. This type of psychotherapy is something that I am very passionate about would love to be apart of and be one of the people in the counseling. After taking many courses in the psychology field, it has been told that psychologist or counselors have to understand we cannot fix anyone, but we can help aid them back to some sort of normality. But I believe that having the experience, acknowledgement, and education in preparation for this therapy can make a significant difference in another persons life and I want a career like that


For some the fear of vulnerability and exposure to other strangers in therapy might be too much so there is another option and it is working one-on-one therapy. This can make the victim more comfortable in a relax and private setting to get to the root of the problems they are facing in their healing journey. And perhaps get resolution more sooner


Women’s Day March in Istanbul by Conflict & Development at Texas A&M licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0