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Category Archives: assault

I have to, but I don’t want to

I have to write about it. I don’t want to.

I have been procrastinating, avoiding, doing anything else but writing on here; worrying about the abuse, the execution of John Gooson’s plan to find someone, it just happened to be me, to isolate and abuse.

But all my spirit guides are screaming at me. I can’t avoid it any more. Someone else may be looking, searching to see if he’s an ok guy, someone who is trustworthy.

HE IS NOT.

This is not the post I have to write. Just a step I’m taking to prepare myself.

But if you are wondering if Willem Johannes Goosen of South Africa, living anywhere, about 5’9″tall, dirty blonde, big calves, is a safe person. He is not. Do not trust him. He is an abuser. He kept me on an island, sold my passport, lied to everyone about who I was, and then tried to kill me.

Do not trust him.

 
 

The Pendulum

The Pendulum

Today, this morning, my heart is heavy.  My soul is crying.  Every place I go, people harm each other.  The -ism’s abound. Racism, sexism, ageism, etc.  The historic ruling method of betterism is as rampant today as it has always been.

I am better than you.  My god is better than yours.  My house is better, my land is better, my job is better, my skin color is better.  My army is better than yours.  My views are better than yours.  And so the Pendulum swings.

Pendulum

One side getting pulled up, having maximum potential.  And as he comes crashing down at those below him, he meets resistance.  The other side demands, cries out that they must be equally high!

And they are right.  But, if they only want to be equally high on a Pendulum that swings back and forth, with brute force in the middle as they meet, only transferring energy from side to side. No one wins.  Equality will never be found.

We HAVE to stop the Pendulum.  We have to get off the ride.

depositphotos_10208334-Pendulum-ride-at-the-amusement-park.jpg

On this ride, no one gets to be equal in anything except their turn at fear.

We are passengers on the Divide and Conquer Pendulum, throwing insults and violence as we careen back and forth on the fear ride.

And this isn’t even a fair assessment.  White Privilege makes one side heavier.  White Male Privilege makes it even heavier.

The Pendulum is only being swung from one direction, knocking into everything else, causing only chaotic energy at the bottom, enabling a few to get pushed upward on the other side of all those in the middle, who are just getting smashed into, feeling the energy moving through them, with no way to get anywhere with it.

All the -ism’s are different ends on the same ride, different end balls getting smashed into by the same originating force.

Many people say I can’t understand what it is to be a black American.  That is undeniably true for the most part.  But, as a woman, I can understand more than you give me credit for.  All women, regardless of color know harassment just by being women.  We know the victim blaming that will come no matter how we were dressed or behaving. We know the fear and risk of deciding to walk down a street alone.

No, I cannot completely understand.  I cannot.  I know that as well.  My status as a white woman has given me privilege, that even as much as I understand, still provides me with more just because I am white.

But I can and do empathize with a great deal of understanding.  And because of that, I also know that the only way for all of us to get equality, is to stop swinging the Pendulum.  To get off the damn ride. To refuse to play.  To STOP killing, harming, insulting, and believing in the betterisms.

YES, it is far more dependent on those who have the privilege to stop swinging their balls.  I know.  I fight for it all the time.  I get into discussions regularly with people who say “I’m not racist.  I’m not privileged. I have black friends.  I treat girls well.”  Who also catcall and judge every girl walking down the street.  Calls anyone or anything that doesn’t behave they way the want a “nigger”.  People who turn their backs on, or blame Person A when a tragedy strikes, because Person A should have …..  People who blame ALL of this group because a few did something horrific.  People, everyday people, riding the ride, comfortable in their discomfort because it’s what they know.

We need to get uncomfortable.  We need to be willing to throw away Betterism first.  Once that one is gone, we can show that all the other ism’s are a form of betterism, and they too can be discarded.  Then, can we look at each other as equal.  Equal in our decision to get off the ride.  Equal in our humanity.  Equal in our choice to stop giving our money and time to fear of not being ‘as good as’.  Because, ‘not as good as’, is a strand of betterism, it’s the fear of not being enough, of being unworthy, of not being significant, of being deprived.  Betterism hits all the basic human fears.  And all negative actions begin in one of these fears.

fears

 

We need to be brave, face our fears, be accepting of each other, stop, JUST STOP needing to be better than in order to feel self-worth. And for Pete’s sake, STOP KILLING EACH OTHER.  STOP BEING VIOLENT.

I support the #BlackLivesMatter movement in part because I have a black son, but more importantly because any mother of a black child shouldn’t feel guilt for having had their child, shouldn’t feel fear every time they leave the house, and shouldn’t have to go to  their child’s funeral because someone else couldn’t face their own fears, and chose to be violent instead.

#noonedeservesviolence  NO ONE.

We have had amazing leaders who proved that peaceful protest is better than war, better than violence, unites instead of disenfranchises, and gets things done quicker.  When the aggressor feels there is justification in being aggressive, it only strengthens the viciousness of the cycle.  Peaceful unity, standing together in all of our understanding that we don’t really know how to do it just right because we’ve never had an example of how to before.  All we know is that we want to give our children a future that doesn’t involve the Pendulum; a future where we have stepped off the ride; a future where we are equal, blessed in our diversity, but equal in our humanity.

My hope and prayer is that enough people feel the same, that we can collectively get off the ride quickly.

Love and light to you all.

 

John Goosen knew exactly what he was doing.

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During the time that John Goosen was assaulting me, I found one thing very strange.  He would hiss insults at me as he twisted my wrists and shoulders, wrench me into wrestling submission moves.  Growl threats while throwing me around.  Spit in my face with his quiet words meant to tell me how much pain he was going to inflict on me, as he kneed me and held me down.  And then, after I would cry out for him to let me go; he would shout, “I’ll let you go as soon as you calm down!”.  That happened 5 or 6 times.  I would reply that I was calm.  “I am calm.  I’m completely calm.  Just let me go and we’ll talk about it in the morning.”

It didn’t make any sense to me at the time.  Even in the state of things, I was at odds with myself at how calm I was.  Part of my mind kept insisting that I needed to fight back, to get out, to shout for help.  But something kept me from doing any of that.  There was a calmness that I could not comprehend, but that kept telling me I couldn’t give him any reason to feel justified with what he was doing.  So why did he keep shouting for me to calm down?

It wasn’t until the last minutes, where he was choking me and banging my head against the walls, that I couldn’t stay calm.  The survival instinct was louder than the calm voice for just those last few minutes.  And even then, once I decided to stop fighting and let him kill me, I was crying for my children, for their loss.  I was crying, but I was not hysterical until I heard the knock on the door.

I remember thinking that the only thing he was truly shouting was for me to calm down.  It didn’t make any sense.

Immediately after I was assaulted, I went to the local police station.  They told me to go to the hospital and get checked out.

So I did.

As I left the hospital, with Caroline, John Goosen drove up.  He started shouting at me from the vehicle that I had to listen to him.  He had more to say to me.  He got out of the vehicle and took a few steps towards us, still shouting profanities, insults, and demanding that I listen to him.

I ignored him.  We kept walking back to the Police Station.

He got back in his vehicle and drove off.  He had parked at Louis and Caroline’s house, halfway between the hospital and the police station.  He was standing on the side walk, in the shadows of an already dark street.  Then as we got closer he started in again.

I kept walking.  Kept on ignoring.  Gave my report.

The next morning, I found out that during the time I had gone to the police station and then to the hospital, John Goosen had called my mama.

In that call he told her, in his best concerned voice, that he was so worried about me because I had been acting like I was possessed and that he’d had to restrain me to keep me from hurting myself or him.  What could she do to help him help me?

He spread rumors that I had been drunk and he had needed to calm me down.  Police went to ask others who had been with us that night, how I’d been behaving, what they thought had happened.

He knew before he even locked me in the room, how to play the crowd, so that he could avoid any consequences for what he planned to do.  He flipped his whole persona, put it all into place, acting the concerned citizen, immediately after he attacked me.

And then flipped back and continued to harass me afterward.  He tried to get me to react. Tried to find a way to make me do something to look the way he was trying to paint me.

He knew exactly what he was doing.  He wasn’t acting crazy.  He didn’t “have a moment”.  He didn’t just snap.  He planned it out.

His “calm down” shouts, were his alibi.  His call to Jean was an attempt to  deflect anything I said to her afterwards.

John Goosen knew exactly what he was doing the whole time.  It was a premeditated act of violence by someone who had done this enough times to know how to premeditate it.  He knew where to hit to not leave visible bruises.  He knew the twists and holds that inflict pain and injury without leaving marks.  He knew to say some things loud and everything else soft.  He knew exactly what he was doing.

I keep writing because I want his name to come up on Google.  I want someone else trying to find out if he’s OK to visit, to know that he’s not.  I couldn’t put him in jail where he belongs.  But I have to do something, to do my part in protecting his next potential victim.  How I wish that whoever else he has assaulted had written something I could find.  He had no concerns at all in telling me to look him up.  He knew nothing was out there.  He doesn’t now.

I know he reads this blog.  Now he knows his name and what he’s done is out there.  I will continue to put his name out there for the world to see.  This is the only way I have to try and inform, to protect.

#noonedeservesviolence

 

 

 

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A lesson in parallels, holding my head up high: Stop victim blaming.

I cannot help but notice the undeniable parallels of my time in Mozambique and my time in Montana, besides the fact that they both start with M and have 3 syllables.  This month, and this weekend especially has been enlightening.

Let me elucidate a little.

I went to both places on a hunch, a spiritually guided hunch, knowing one person.

I went to Mozambique on the promise of a job as an Admin Asst for a construction company,  I am currently an Admin Asst for a construction company.

Both John Goosen and my dad are emotionally abusive.

I was invited last minute to a friend of John Goosen’s wedding, I was invited last minute to a friend of my employer’s wedding.

I went out dancing with the group of people I barely knew for both weddings.

And here is what made this weekend, these particular moments stand out to me.

A couple weeks ago, someone I know posted his outrage at a man who had choked a girl and thrown her across a room.  At first, I thought he was standing up for me, shedding light on what had happened.  But, it was about someone else he knew.

That being the case is fine.  Be outraged. We all should be. And he was properly outraged at the abuser and stood up for the victim.  But it was in the comments where ‘situation’ came up that began to bug me.

The idea remains that there are situations that violence can be tolerated, understood, or at least not in need of outrage.

This woman’s situation and mine were parallel.  We were both violently attacked, choked, and thrown across a room.  I was continuously assaulted for half an hour.  I don’t know what else happened with this other woman, but it doesn’t matter, two men decided that was the way to behave.  She and I were both violently attacked. Neither of us deserved it.

This weekend’s wedding and ensuing revelry gave me tangible evidence, something so very in my face real, that the last shreds of doubt are gone that even one tiny bit of my assault was my fault.

I am, quite literally, in the same setting I was expecting in Mozambique, same job, same social circle.

And, the first time I’ve really gone out while here in Montana was practically the same situation as the night before I was assaulted.  Wedding of people I’ve only just met, out on the town, dancing, drinking, etc.

Here in Montana, I’m having to be the same kind of trusting, the same kind of maneuvering through the living situation, the same kind of putting myself out there socially.  It’s too similar to be mere coincidence.  I believe that the Spirit has given me this glimpse, this reminder, this moment to be able to compare and to see truth.

Every step of the process that wasn’t safe for me, was John Goosen’s purposeful, deliberate fault.

I put as many precautions into going as I knew how to, but he was intentionally creating an unsafe environment and circumstances, while also creating the illusion of the opposite.

Everything that made Mozambique unsafe for me was his orchestration.

It was not my choice to go to Mozambique that made me unsafe.  It was not my choice to “make the best of the situation” that made me unsafe.  It was not my choice of living situation, my choice to leave Turkey, or Taiwan, or Czech, or America that made me unsafe.  Nothing I did made me unsafe.

It was solely John Goosen’s deliberate intentions to manipulate me, lie to me, isolate me, threaten me, make me feel unsafe, and ultimately assault me that made me unsafe.  His choices made me unsafe.  He made me unsafe.  He assaulted me.  He is at fault.

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John Goosen. Willem Johannes Goosen of South Africa.

JohnGoosenFB

JohnGoosenFB; living in Mozambique

There is no situation created where the victim of violence is at fault.  No domestic situation, no relationship status, no style of clothing, no sexual orientation, no amount of alcohol, no color of skin, no language, no religion, NO anything, EVER that is deserving of ANY kind of violence.

I don’t know if it just makes people feel unsafe themselves to think that this type of violence could happen to them, no matter what, without provocation, without reason, so they have to make the victim have some fault in order to absolve themselves from the possibility that it could happen to them, and therefore feel safer.  I don’t know.  I don’t understand it.

But I put myself in exceptionally similar situations in both places, and here, in Montana, with the same type job, having to work through things with my dad/ live with an abuser, going out with new people, mostly men, wedding of new people, drinking, dancing, general debauchery, etc.  I was completely safe.  People I had only just met, my male boss, a bar situation, lots of ways that could be construed as putting myself into dangerous situations.

And if a violent action had happened to anyone there, it is reasonable to think that others would blame the victim.  It was only a “fun night out” because no one ended up in a violent situation.

In Taiwan, I lived with 4 men.  I was never in danger.  Not once in a year and a half did any of them even come close to raising finger to me.  They were kind and protective.  In a wide variety of situations, I knew at all times that I was safe with them.  Living with men doesn’t make me unsafe.  I wasn’t lucky that I found a rare breed of good housemates.  The general population of men are safe.

Being a victim does not make the scenario dangerous.  Being an abuser does.

#StopVictimBlaming

Because we do so little to put the focus and the blame where it belongs, abusers get away with violence over and over again.  We only live in the “dangerous” world, because we don’t stop violence, instead we question people for being victims.

~

I did 2 sets of 8 pushups today.  My wrists are healing, my mind is healing.  My determination remains strong and new avenues to pursuing  justice are coming around.

My goal is to make sure that John Goosen can never hurt another woman, another person, again.

This month’s, this weekend’s parallels bring me even more healing.  Even more understanding. Even more determination.  Everyone deserves to live their dreams, go for their moons and stars, to be the best version of themselves.

#noonedeservesviolence

There are some really wonderful groups out there I’m aligning with, some great bloggers, and some non-profits with strength beyond what I am capable of solo.  Violence stops people from believing in their greatness.  It stops people from believing in each other.  It stops peace.  No amount of violence can ever bring peace.

Education needs to include teaching ways to achieve peace.  Education needs to be given to everyone.

“If we don’t teach our children peace, someone else will teach them violence”  Colman McCarthy

 

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Understanding how deep we are invested into the abusive cycles.

Understanding how deep we are invested into the abusive cycles.

Once upon a time I loved Elvis Presley.  My parents played his music all the time.  I knew every hit song by heart.  My sisters and brother and I would swing dance in the living room to Elvis and lots of other oldies.  His musical movies were a highlight to my not so light childhood.

Fast forward through troubled early teens and into an abusive marriage and through to finally getting divorced.  On the upside of that fast forward, I was lucky enough to have been a full-time at home mother to my three amazing children.

So those first few years of their spending every other weekend away from me, were exceptionally difficult.  Not just because they were the first times in their lives I’d ever been apart from them for more than a school day, but also because I knew they were spending the weekend with a man I had divorced because of his violent, manipulative, controlling and harmful behaviors.

I can’t even describe the first weekend.  But I made a plan, of sorts, for the next few.  And one of those included going to my childhood happy place and watching an Elvis marathon.  I rented every Elvis movie at the Blockbuster down the road.  Yes, back in 2002 Blockbuster was still open.

I made popcorn.  I got Twizzlers.  I was set to get through a weekend in a happy place that ignored the real world and existed in song, dance, and “the good ‘ol days”.

And then I started watching and what caught my eye, even back then when the self-loving person was just being formed.  When I was barely learning how to see abuse for abuse, I stopped watching after the 4th movie. I had seen Elvis hit a girl in every one and couldn’t handle that reality.

Here I was finally learning it wasn’t ok to BE in a situation where daily concern for what would happen was normal.  I was finally learning how to stand up for myself and not accept abusive behaviors.  And I here in my happy place, I was seeing that it was in fact ok and accepted by one of my childhood idols.

In my last post a fellow blogger and Elvis lover mentioned that he does not hit a girl in every one of his movies.  At first I was going to re-watch them and check for myself, to make sure, because I did make a blanket statement.

However, I feel that even if he doesn’t hit a girl in every single movie, which I will easily admit I may have exaggerated with saying every single one, the comments on the blog I feel prove my point better than describing the movies.

This is in NO way a personal note.  This blogger’s comments represent the ideology I was addressing in the last post, the idea that we are all in on this brain washed, brain washing dance of abusive cycles.

It’s not her, but she helps illuminate how we’re caught up, how often we don’t recognize the beginnings, the first ways that we are taught how to be victims and that violence is acceptable.

So please, be understanding and know that I am not using the comments in a personal way, but in a so many people think this way she just happened to be the one that said it, it’s not about her it’s about what the comments represent generically.

“….he only hits ronnie to try to revive……The Trouble with Girls is to sober Sheree North up –

and he also disiplne spanks a girl in Blue Hawaii and threatens a spanking in Fun in Acapulco –

it’s the response to girls too young and otherwise, it’d the girl actying hysterical….”

Part of  me is crying on the inside because I know that I used to believe that there were acceptable forms of violence as well.  It has been one of the most difficult processes within myself to see how deeply I have been invested into abusive cycles.  It is overwhelming to see how deep we are all invested in them.

I am also very lucky to have been in many more non-violent situations than violent ones, as an adult.

Because of that luck I can say with full knowledge that there is NO reason to revive, sober up, or discipline a girl with violence.

I have passed out from drinking too much and been revived without a single hit or smack to any part of my body.  I was revived with gentle hands pushing hair out of my face, a glass of water to my lips and requests to drink.  I was revived with a helping shoulder to get me to stand up.

I had a seizure in Mozambique when I got Typhoid Fever.  I was not revived with any form of violence, not even a shout.  I came to with people around me worriedly saying my name, holding my head, and basically protecting me.

I have had multiple panic attacks since my attack/ assault in Mozambique.  None of which were met with a smack to calm me down.  In fact, I think I would have completely lost my mind if someone had smacked me at that point.  And not in the mental institution way.  People spoke calmly to me, helped me get my breathing under control through their words and their own breathing.  They sat beside or spoke with me on the phone.  No one even hinted at thinking about smacking me, even when I seemed completely hysterical.

And, unless you are playing out an agreed upon sexual role play fantasy, there is absolutely NO time it’s ok to spank, (even if I was ok with spanking small children), a full grown girl because you think she’s misbehaving.  It is violence meant to assert dominance and superiority.

I don’t need to watch any more Elvis movies to show that they did their work.

The idea that there are acceptable times and forms of violence against women continues to be imbedded into our generation.  Spanking, hitting, smacking are all ways to hurt, intimidate, remind of “place”, and dominate.  None of them are ok.

They are not even ok with children.  We are not our children’s dominators – we are their teachers.  We shouldn’t try to control their actions and commit them to submission to what we think is right for them.  We need to teach them to discern what is right for themselves and how to think through situations to make their own conscious decisions for their behaviors.  They are not our property, we are their mentors.  We are how they learn to adult.

Hitting children teaches distrust and fear.  It also teaches them to believe there are acceptable forms of violence.

The beginnings of the cycle are difficult to discern because it’s a circle, it’s the chicken and the egg.   But the only way to stop it, is to see it.  We, as a society, are so very deeply rooted in these cycles that it’s extraordinarily difficult to see the pattern.

SO I ask you to rethink the answer to the question:

Why did the chicken cross the road?

So she didn’t get eaten.

That chicken finally realized that no matter the amount of feed, hay, barnyard fun with the rooster, or whatever else made its life the norm it knew; that chicken finally realized at the end of the day it was going to get eaten, so it left.

Elvis, is not to blame for the violence in his movies.  He didn’t write them, he only acted and sang in them.  And, he is also a product of the ideology that violence against ‘people seen as less than you’ is acceptable.

We all have the moments when we feel that someone is less than we are.  We are taught to.  If we hadn’t been taught to for generations, there would be no reason to have to bring awareness to the rights of others.

We have to bring these awarenesses because, through White Privilege, we have been socially conditioned to believe that any one not a white, affluent, heterosexual, Christian male belongs in a hierarchy of ‘LESS THAN’s’.

We have to bring awareness to minority rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, etc because we are ‘the less than’s’.  Through standard Divide and Conquer practices, all the ‘less than’s’ are fighting separately and therefore remain less than.

And we all subscribe to it.

Minority women and non-minority women are fighting over whose women’s rights are more valid to fight for.  Though the LGBT community stands together on some fights there are still the lesbian activists that are anti-man, gay or not.  There are gay people who are racist and black women against immigration rights; the list goes on and on.  One of my very good friends fights hard for LGBT rights, but still thinks the Confederate flag, a symbol for fighting against the US government in order to maintain slavery, should fly proudly – because that’s what he was raised with.

If the Confederate flag had represented fighting the US government to maintain enslaving anyone identifying as gay, he would think differently about that flag.  But the divide and conquer approach works really well.

We remain glued to what we’ve been taught, right or wrong, even while trying to fight for our own power back.  Our need for habit and creature comfort keep us in the cycle, keep us from seeing the cycle, keep us divided, and keep us abusing and victimizing each other.

Violence is one major part of the abuses that keep the ‘less than’s’ subdued, controllable, and less than.

We, all of us, have to see abuse as abuse and stop it.  We have to see all forms of violence as abuse, and stop it.

There are no acceptable forms of violence.

No one is above consequence for violence.

No one deserves to live in fear.

No one deserves violence in their lives.

What do you think?

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The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

HEALING

Through a variety of ways, I have healed internally much faster than anticipated.  Mostly, through determination to not stay stuck in a place of fear.  However, there have been some other wonderful helps along the way. That is not to say I am through with the process.  Hell no.   But I’m farther along than I thought I would be right now.  Much farther.

My journey through becoming a shaman is slower than I expected, but far more powerfully healing than I anticipated.  It packs a punch and then I need time to process it all.   But, I am.  AND THAT IS AWESOME.  I am reaching and stretching and seeing life in bigger and better ways.  I am definitely more confident in my own abilities to trust my journey and its processes.  I am more confident in my spiritual strength and ability to follow my own path no matter who says what about it.

I have had to stare down my childhood and many of the ways that my parents, but specifically my father at this point, primed me for abuse in my future, albeit mostly unknowingly.  And I have had to work through the fear, very real and serious fear of confronting him about it.  But I’ve done it.  And he’s listened.  And though it was incredibly scary, it has been equally freeing since.

I am sifting through the book of my life and placing bookmarks between the pages I need to work on.  I am unfolding the page corners that I had dog-eared for quick reference; the stories I keep thinking back on, that keep me from growing.  I am going back and making new notes on the memories to remind little me that we figured out that problem.  And I am holding my book with newfound love, wrapped in my arms, against my chest; whereas before I held it at arms length, always afraid it would open to the wrong page when I wasn’t looking.

I am ready to travel and teach again.  I am ready to meet new people and find more joy.  I’m ready to start being me again.  And it feels pretty damn good.

RESEARCH

My research and discovery process is and has been enlightening to both the awareness that is already out there and to the still greater amount of awareness and education that is needed.  I have discovered terms I had never heard of, yet know the details of intimately, like Gaslighting.

Unless you know the term, you can’t find it as a form of abuse.  There’s no Google lookup for the individual terms within the forms of abuse, that I’ve found anyway.  It takes looking through hundreds of other avenues to find the term, then start looking that up. I’m working on changing that.  I’m collecting terms.  In fact, if you know of any, please comment, I need the help.

Boy have I had my fair share of gaslighting!  Look it up, you’ll be amazed, enlightened, and hopefully strengthened in your understanding of abuse, how to spot it and stop it.  And I’m starting my own new term, Halfening, the victim-blaming coddling of an abuser for fear of repercussion, after those that did it to me.

FEAR

I don’t like to think that I’m afraid of the unknown.  I actually like heading off into some new adventure, not sure what to expect or how things will turn out, who I will meet along the way, but ready to find out.

However, the unknown of where and when my next adventure begins…….   I am not liking this unknown at all.  I actually pretty much hate the interim.  It causes me panic and to make decisions too fast in order to at least be headed in a certain direction.

BUT HEY, I am in learning mode.  So, even though I’ve had a couple different opportunities to just head into the crazy wild blue, I haven’t taken them.  I’ve given more thought, I’ve taken more time.  I am learning.

LEARNING

I’m still working through the fear of trusting myself.  It is frustrating because I know that I made a fast decision to head off to Mozambique, but I also know that I was guided there.  I trusted my guide and I am actually coming out of this far stronger than even I would have guessed.  But, I am keenly aware that I was guided there to find out that I don’t know how to see the signs of abusers.

I asked for understanding of what happened with Sven.  I thought I had figured out my confidence, my refusal to put up with abuse, my love of self.  And then bam, confidence shaken.  And on the heels of that, Willem Johannes Goosen, aka John Goosen, of South Africa, happened.

This lack of confidence is a layer of the thick blanket of victim blaming that we hold onto.  It is both safe and suffocating.  I need to trust my gut and the results of following my gut.  Sven went against what my gut told me, but he worked until he convinced me.  Mozambique was completely following my gut.  Bad things happen no matter what.  Great things happen no matter what.

During the time I thought Sven and I were moving forward, I was so happy. I was so in love.  I had a great time, and I don’t regret one minute of it.  People ask me if I ever think of revenge; plot for someone to beat him up or something.  I don’t.  Truthfully, the best revenge is that he lost me.  I’m pretty awesome.  Don’t abuse me, and I’m top freaking notch.  That’s his loss not mine.

Mozambicans are wonderful people.  The local people amazed me in so many ways.  The scenery was wonderful and I am so grateful to have been to Africa.  And because of what happened in Mozambique, I have learned what happened with Sven, and what happened with the ex-husband and the few other ex relationships along the way.

I need to trust my gut and press forward with the decisions I make based on my instinct, without fear.  That blanket makes it safe to say, “if only”, “why didn’t I”, “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t”.  Those things feel safe, like they will keep me safe, but bad things happen no matter what.  Hiding from my path doesn’t keep me safe.  Running into or away from, doesn’t guarantee safety.

Just like I keep telling my little step-neice, it’s ok to make mistakes, that’s how we learn.

and

GREAT THINGS HAPPEN NO MATTER WHAT

ANOTHER DREAM

I need to stop worrying about safe and put my focus on non-abusive.  I had a dream last night.  I was swimming deep in the ocean with a group of whales.  They kept coming over to me and then going up to get air.  Somehow I was not needing to go get air, yet they kept insisting I should.  After I did, they showed me where land was and so I went up.

Everywhere I walked there were snakes. They were mostly out in the open, yet all of them had only their head and part body showing, the rest curled up in their hiding places.  A few were slinked back inside their hideout.  There was a child with me, and we were walking together.

I was not afraid of the snakes, but I knew I couldn’t give them any energy/ acknowledgement/ attention or they would bite.  I had to teach the child to see without giving acknowledgement, to not be afraid, not be curious or get too close.  The scenery was varied as we walked, rocky, grassy, outside, inside, and there were snakes in a snack booth and a book case.  They were talking to us, some trying to be helpful, give advice, offer to get things for us, but we had to remember they were still snakes.  If we gave them any acknowledgement, they would bite us.

There were many blue things as well, blue was a significant color.  There were people, men, women, children all around us, some talking to the snakes, some not.  Some were holding the snakes, some were collecting them, but many just ignored them.

Snakes and whales have interesting meanings in dreams and as power animals.  I’m curious to see what comes of this.  But I woke up feeling very good.

That’s all for now follks.  I’m doing really well.  I’m looking forward to my next adventure.  I’m singing, crying, laughing, and otherwise feeling the feels of life and loving it.   Go be awesome today, I plan to.

 

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The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

They say when things get tough, that’s when you see people’s true colors.

In each of my trials, I’ve been shown the “true colors” of my friends.  I’m lucky to have so many good friends.  I appreciate all the calls, messages, shows of support, and offers to hang out now that I’m stateside again.  And, I truly appreciate my online friends as much as my in-person friends. 

Blog of many colors

Right now I’m coming to grips with how this atrocity even happened.  I was handling all that Mother Nature was dishing out; no electricity, no running water, violent storms, horrendous heat, Typhoid Fever, with a fair amount of grace I think.  And then without warning, at the end of my weakest state, John Goosen went on an unprovoked ape-shit rampage and decided to fling me around like a rag doll to make me listen to his drunken rant.

Some days are good.  Some days are bad.  That’s normal.  I write more on my good days, but lately it’s writing about my bad days.  That’s also normal.

I value being able to read through other blogs to see the uplifting and helpful information out there.  Feeling like there is a community of people who understand the process I am going through is so wonderful.  Sometimes it can be difficult for my in-person friends to understand.

And then there is always the hope that through this blog someone else can be helped as I work through everything and keep living the day to day as well.  Life goes on and this is how I’m trying to learn as I go.

All the Colors change

Once something traumatic has happened, you see the world differently.  I see the world differently.  Not better or worse, just different.  Things that were once important aren’t any more.  Things that weren’t important suddenly are.  Everything is colored a little differently.

Different or not, I’m still trying to walk through this world. I’m still trying to learn from this and become a better person for it.  I still see the beauty in the sunrises and sunsets.  I love listening to the birds in the morning and the coyotes in the evenings.  I enjoy conversations, cold beers, painting, reading, laughing.

But behind it all I’m trying to find my voice, give voice to those who don’t have it, and blaze a trail for change.

I pick at and piece through the trash pile that is the ways abusers work.  It is alarming how often I pick up a piece of that trash and think, “Oh, that looks familiar, that must be mine.”  Only to turn it over and see an Abuser’s name on it. It’s a bit disheartening to see how pervasive the blaming/ shaming way we treat victims is. 

For example, we all have heard “there’s a way victim’s walk, or hold their head, or (….) that clues abusers in that they are a good target”.

First,

and I want to scream this at the top of my lungs,

NO ONE SHOULD EVER. BE. A. TARGET. 

It doesn’t flipping matter if PersonX walks around with a real sign that says, “I let people abuse me”, PersonX should not get abused.  PersonX should not be a target.  PersonX should feel and be safe.  End of story.  Even if the sign has shiny flashy lights with arrows.

No one should be a target.

Think about that for a minute.  If PersonX has poor self-esteem, (and that shows through their posture), there are people out there who are compelled to hurt PersonX because of it.  Abusers look for people who already feel inferior, then Abusers humiliate them, isolate them, manipulate their emotions, make them feel crazy, makes others think they’re crazy. 

And instead of denouncing the Abuser, instead of stopping the Abuser from finding and hurting others, the general population looks at PersonX and says, “hold your head up more, walk straighter so abusers won’t target you”.  Everything gets shifted over to PersonX.

Why are people so afraid of Abusers that they can’t stand up to them?  I stood alone in trying to get people to see see John Goosen as an abuser.  The other people in Mozambique were so afraid to stand up to him.  He needed to work. He needed his space.  It wasn’t good what he did, but he’s sorry.  He needs medication.

Not a single person, other than myself, looked at him and called him out.  Not one person actually stood up to him, except me.     

It has been enlightening to say the least, to realize every single person I’ve discussed abusive situations with has given ways to change PersonX.

Ex:   “I’d try to get them alone to tell them I could help them if they leave the abuser.”

“Abuser has a (…) problem.  PersonX needs to be more understanding.  I mean get away, but then they need to worry about themselves, not Abuser.  Good riddance, they can deal with themselves”

“If you just tell them to leave, they say ‘it’s only one time’, or ‘Abuser loves me’.  You have to give them little examples how to leave without really saying they need to.”

“I don’t understand why PersonX would go back after that.  PersonX needs to get their head examined.”

Not a single person suggested that the Abuser needs to change. 

The Abuser straight up thought, “Hey PersonX looks (insert adjective of choice ie, lonely, sad, etc.).  If I make them a little less (adjective) they’ll take any shit I dish out.”  “If you feel bad, I want to make you feel worse.”  “And I’m going to make you and everyone else think it’s your fault.”

And everybody else thinks, “PersonX should’ve made themselves look less like a victim.”

This is what abusers do.  They work the whole scenario from the beginning.  From the initial lure to the end, everything and everyone in their environment is part of the set up to get off scott-free.

Our True Colors

I think we are so entrenched, as a general population, in generations upon generations of dysfunctional families, war torn memories, secrets, and lies that we don’t even know how to see the first red flags anymore.  Abusers have done such a trick on the mainstream psyche that when we finally see the red flags, we all point fingers at the victims.

But how can we stop the abuse from happening if we start at the end?

What do you think? 

As you’ve heard/ read my and other stories, how many times have you asked the ‘questions of change’ to the victim rather than the abuser? 

How can we change that scenario?  How can we really stop abuse if we don’t change it?

 

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The Blog Tour Blog Post

Thank you BetterNotBroken for your wonderful and thoughtful blog; you have helped me and many others.  And thank you for the invite to be part of The Blog Tour!

Let’s see there are a few rules…..   I need to answer 4 questions, write an original piece, and nominate 4-5 other bloggers.   If I nominate you, and you accept, you are supposed to answer the same 4 questions, nominate other bloggers, and write your original piece to be published on Monday, June 8.

This is not the first time I’ve been invited to something similar or given a blog award. It’s not the first time I’ve accepted. But it’s the first time I’m following through. I have been worried about having too many people read my blog. But, as I’m in “conquer fear” mode, well….. let’s do it!

1             How does your writing/ creative process work?

Oi. I don’t really know. I write how I feel at the time. That’s about the only prerequisite I have for myself. I don’t write on a prescribed topic or stick to one thing. I write when I feel like writing, I don’t stick myself to a schedule. I’ve tried a few times to do the 30 day challenge and I have yet to complete one. Doesn’t mean I won’t, just haven’t yet. My process: write when I feel like it about what I want to.

2             What are you working on at the moment?

Right now, I’m working on how to spot the abusers. I’m trying to pull out the secrets and display them so that we can all just be safe. No one should have to worry about their safety. There are tells, I want to put them out there.  Oh, and my fear of dogs.

3             Why do you write or create what you do?

I started as a way for my friends and family to know what I was up to as I finished University and embarked on my journeys around the world. Now I write because it keeps me whole. And hopefully it brings goodness to the world on some level.

4             How does your work differ from the others in your genre?

Well, how does it not really? I think all diary type blogs are unique. We all have different lives, learning different things. Maybe mine is different in that I jump from topic to topic.

The blogs I nominate are:

MarriedNomads

MeerkatTravelGang

Taiwanna Adventure

Our Life in 3D

And now for my original post:

Dear Me,

I hardly ever tell you, but I know how strong you are. I know I tell all the ways you aren’t strong too often. I’m sorry. I know you put your brave face out there and make comments about how awesome you are to make-up for all the awful stuff I tell you.

Those words are not true, but you don’t like to hear how good you are. I was just trying to keep you comfortable. I shouldn’t keep repeating them. It’s not fair to you. You’re good with uncomfortable. It’s one of your strengths. I’ll be better.

I don’t tell you often enough how brave you are. I know you say you aren’t, you’re just living your life. But you live your life by your heart. That’s bravery. You don’t take no for an answer when you make up your mind. That’s bravery. I sit silently hoping nothing goes wrong and ready to help you pick up the pieces in case it does. But maybe if I told you more that you are brave, told you more that your courage in the face of obstacles, that taking that first step, every time, made me so proud of you, maybe you would take more first steps.

Your fearlessness scares me sometimes. But we get to have wonderful adventures because of it.

It’s ok to stay open. It’s ok to still be all of who you really are. You have been so true to yourself these last 10 years. I know I keep telling you that you should be more like other people. Sometimes I get so frustrated when you refuse. But, it’s only fear I’m speaking.   Why should you listen to my fear? I’m really grateful you don’t. It’s habit, but all habits can be broken. I will work so hard on this. I don’t really want to be like everyone else. I like you just the way you are.

I’m sorry I keep stringing out those mean questions, flooding you with doubt. You don’t bring these terrible circumstances to you. You are not defective. You don’t have a sign that says, “abuse me”. Those people are out there, with or without you. It’s their place to choose their actions, not yours. It is their wrong doing to harm you, not yours. Their abusive nature is their legacy, not yours.

I know you’ve been hurt. It’s ok to feel the pain. It’s ok. Feel it and keep speaking. Speak up. Speak out. You have a voice that can help others, which can help stop abuse all over the world. Your strength can help, can make a difference.

Go ahead and do it. I will be here supporting you. Along the way there will be more people supporting you. Look how many friends you have supporting you right now. Please forgive me for a life time of misguided thoughts meant to derail you from the inside. Remember this when the naysayers start talking. Remember to dismiss them. They are not speaking from truth, but rather from their own derailing misguided inner voices.

You are kind and patient and accepting and loving. That is your legacy. You know thousands of people and only a small handful have hurt you. Kind and accepting are not bad traits lady, they’re pretty damn good ones. Thank you for not entertaining those doubt-inducing questions, no matter how persistent I was. I am ashamed I ever asked them. I won’t again.

I want you to stop joking when you say that you are awesome. Please believe it. You are. Keep taking the hands of others and help them see how awesome they are, but believe it of yourself as well. Because it’s true.

It’s almost lunch time, so I should probably stop writing so we can eat. Keep strong my darling. There are bright beautiful skies ahead.

If YOU also want to join the Blog Tour, let me know  🙂  

Good Luck to you all in your many adventures!!!  Thanks for reading  🙂

 

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Graceful movement

Graceful movement

As I laid quietly, I began to feel something under my hands, something with hardness and warmth. I tried to feel my abdomen but it was no longer there. There was movement, an undulating, left, right, left, right. I tried to figure out what I felt. It wasn’t a horse, but it had that type of rhythm and movement to it. But the shoulder blades were different, more pronounced, a different angle. The gait was different, but similar. As I let my mind wander, I realized I was no longer lying down, but rather, sitting up and riding a still-unknown animal.

As I quickly ran through several animals it could be in my mind, I heard, “Just look down”. And there, below me was a magnificent and lustrous giraffe. Her long, strong neck was just ahead of me. I looked down past her shoulders, past her neck, to watch the ground move smoothly under me. Graceful.   She was so elegant and graceful. As she bent down to get a drink she told me to scoot further back that I shouldn’t fall forward onto her neck.

I marveled at the course, yet thick soft hair, at the beautiful angles of each spot on her, and the strength that was so obvious with each movement she made. She raised her head and I hugged her neck as we continued on. I felt her smile.

A piece of my soul that had fled during my time in Mozambique was found.

Before my beautiful spirit animal sent me back into this reality, she nuzzled my face and neck. She let me feel her face and we saw each other.

I came quietly back into consciousness with such a peaceful feeling of strength.

It has been 6 weeks today since I was brutally attacked. Each day brings more healing, more strength, more resolve, and more opportunities. I am grateful for the journey that I am on now. I am grateful for my strength. I am grateful for friends who support and encourage me.

And for those still struggling with what to say, or not to say, ask, or not to ask, it’s all ok. Do or say what you are comfortable with. I am fine. I am strong. I have many more wonderful stories of my travels than the one of a pathetic little man with an abusive mentality.

There are so many more stories of times with friends, trips to beautiful places, teaching beautiful children, and the wonderment of new places. I have had an incredible last 3.5 years and plan to have many more travel stories in the future. I can’t give up the travel bug. I’m already beginning the processes for next spring. I love being out there in the world.

I need to write still about the situation, how I see the situation, etc. I need to write it, to let it not dictate my future. Much of what I will write will be to have a final send off, a sort of farewell. It’s one thing to free yourself of the emotional attachment to these traumatic situations, but you also have to let go of the story, stop retelling the story in your head. And for me, I stop retelling it in my head, if I write it on here.

And I can hold on to the stories I want as I write them on here. Who knows, maybe someday I could forget about the dream with the giraffe, except now that I have written it, it becomes more deeply etched in my memory.

Life is really good. In the words of Kid President, “Go be Awesome!”

 

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You need consent to touch me

You need consent to touch me

Let’s talk about a more round meaning to a new buzz word: Consent

Disclaimer:        Absolutely all of this post is about adults. I am not even going to venture into the world of children with this post; not parent/child, child/ child, adult/child. This post is about adult/adult behaviors, and more specifically about violence against women.

I hear consent being used a lot these days, and for good reason.

Consent is agreement or permission to do something, for something to happen or be done or to allow something to happen.

But it’s becoming a very squared off version of a much rounder word. I’m finding that consent is being squared off into a meaning that solely relates to sex. And it’s being narrowed down more and more into that, as we try to define what is and is not considered consensual sex.

Giving / receiving consent for sex is SUPER MEGA AMAZINGLY IMPORTANT CRUCIAL and UNDENIABLE. I am not saying it isn’t.

What I am saying is that isn’t *all* consent means.

Consent over what happens to my body should not stop at my lady parts. My WHOLE body needs consent to be touched in any way, at all times.

It’s my body.

Sexual Assault is a part of Physical Assault. You can’t touch me sexually without touching me physically.

Any means in which someone continues to touch you sexually, without your consent is sexual assault. All sexual assault is horrible. Rape is the end all worst thing that can happen in a sexual assault.

Non-consensual sex is rape. End of story. It is. And it is a crime.

But, what about the rest of my body? What about the rest of Physical Assault? If I’m not getting raped, does that mean they don’t need consent to touch me?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

What’s the end all for physical violence against women that doesn’t involve sex? Death

Again, let me state that I am NOT trivializing rape, –rape is a form of death. I know. I’ve been raped. I know the shroud and have spoken with the reaper. But I am trying to complete the whole here.

Consent does not stop at sex. Consent means any way you touch me needs to have my approval.

If I reach out my hand to shake yours, that’s consent. Feel free to grab hold and shake my hand. If I reach out to hug you, and you want to hug me back, that’s consent. Hug away. If you come up behind me and put your hand on my shoulder, I turn, see who you are, smile and say something nice, then shaking my hand or hugging or other forms of nonsexual touch will probably be ok.

If I see who you are and pull away, then you no longer have consent to touch any part of me. Not even my fingernail. You don’t get to reach out and try to pull me in. You don’t get to grab my arm. I don’t care how much you want to talk to me.

If I want to leave the room, there is NO way that you can stop me that is not abuse.

It’s a very general but important concept.

No one can make another person do something. You can’t control anyone.

No matter how high ranking you are, the other person still has their own ability to decide.

The only way to MAKE someone do what you want is through coercion, manipulation, deception, and physical means. Each of these is a form of abuse. No one can make you do anything without being an abuser. ( *this does not include those incarcerated by the law)

You can’t make people do anything.

Each of us has the right to choose what we do.

Sexual or not, you don’t get to touch me without my consent.

So here are a FEW things that I don’t consent to have happen to my body that don’t involve sex:

Having your face in my personal face space. Don’t crowd me. It’s a threat, it’s meant to be a threat, and it’s not ok.

My hands squeezed to a point that my fingers and knuckles press together painfully.

My shoulders or neck squeezed or grabbed with intent to hurt or stop me.

My chin pinched to turn my head or hold my head still.

My hand/ wrist/ arm yanked in order to turn me or stop me from going somewhere I choose to go.

You probably shouldn’t flick me either. I will probably not see that as an acceptable way to touch me.

And some real for sure definite no ways:

Getting pushed up or down stairs, through a hall, over a chair or table, or down into anything.

Being shoved up against a wall or door.

Being picked up and thrown down.

Having my arms wrenched behind me and pulled up.

Being hit, open-handed or closed-fist. Neither one is acceptable.

Having my throat closed by squeezing.

What are the little physical clues? The things that abusers start with? They ways they test the waters? No one starts out the way the man who assaulted me did. The level of violence he went to the first time he chose to assault me went far past testing the waters.

My ex husband started with small things; things I didn’t notice because I was already used to them. But even at his worst, he never reached the level this guy did the first and only time. Yes, this guy knew I’d been abused in my marriage. Because of that knowledge, he felt safe to jump in right where he left off with his last victim.

The thing is abusers start small and subtle. How much power can they take? It’s a rush. It’s about control and power. And abusers use control and power like a drug. They have to have more to keep the rush. They need to see loss of power in the other in order to feel the rush. It’s not a Snap! There’s no moment when all of a sudden a normal guy goes all abuser on someone.

I want to open this discussion up to you. Let’s help each other. What are the physical clues that a man is an abuser? What are the subtle ways they test the waters to see what they can get away with? What physical touch do you not consent to?

I’m going to write about emotional abuse soon, because that is a predecessor to physical abuse. It may not always lead up to, but physical abuse is never without emotional abuse. But this post is about the physical.

 

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