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Category Archives: violence against women

Ok, I’m writing….. I don’t know where this will go

I’m not really sure what it is I’m supposed to write about exactly.   I feel like it is something having to do with abuse in whole, specifying what happened in Mozambique.  But, friends, thinking about it all is overwhelming.
The last two years have been head spinning for me, and have seriously altered the way I see things.  The healing that has come from the last two years is far more important to me.  Yet, for some reason I am being led to continue to write about the events of the last two years.
First, I think it’s important to say – While back in the US after my time in Mozambique, an interesting phenomenon began to occur.  Simultaneously with my spiritual healing, I also began to see more of the dark side of things.  Fear began to overwhelm me at times.  I have never had panic attacks before.  Now I do.
I am realizing that along with seeing the greater good, comes seeing the greater bad.  I’ve always been decent at seeing both good and bad in situations, trying to weigh each against each other and making decisions based on how I feel the long-term outcome is more good than bad.  But now, now I am in a league I didn’t even understand existed.  I can’t NOT see the ugliness humans are capable of, and I also see the good so much deeper than I did before.
It scares me frankly.
My ability to be right here, right now is a cactus to hold on to.  I see the future impact of what the right here and now can bring.  It’s not an easy lens to look through.  But mostly it is difficult for me because, though I struggle with the adult land of all this, it is the children I am having the most difficulty with.
And by that I mean, seeing how the obscene scale of abuse that humans are capable of, and pull off constantly, affects our children.
Our beautiful children come in to this world innocent.  It is our societies that hone them into future abusers and we are all abusers.  Let’s be real about it.  Even if we don’t consciously abuse others, we abuse ourselves so regularly.  White privilege affords many of us the “right” to be abusive without feeling that it is so, or knowing that we do.  It shatters self worth across the board. It creates such a systemic divide and conquer system, that everything we do is in it and we don’t even know it.
How do we overcome?  We are creatures of habit, of comfort.  Even as we explore and expand, we maintain those spaces in our psyche that keep us comfortable enough to push past this boundary or that boundary.
And how do we deal with those that push abuse past the “acceptable” places?
I am currently friends with someone who pushes my verbal boundaries all over the place.  To be fair, though I would never have been ok with some of the things that are said, I wouldn’t have been so emotionally torn over them before the last two years.  I have never been ok with the nigger, ho, etc., being thrown out every fourth word in a sentence, but I have tolerated when people around me have spoken like that, saying to myself, “it’s the vernacular”.
But, it’s the vernacular of people who have been oppressed and degraded to a point that these derogatory words are put into common language, in order not to be hurt by it.  I own these words so they don’t hurt when you say them.  Because, guess what, words really do hurt.  Even the rhyme is meant to deflect, push away the hurt that comes from people saying mean things to each other.

It’s a verbal avoidance display of the hierarchy that comes with divide and conquer societies.
And I can’t handle it.  I can’t listen to it.  I don’t want it around me.  I screams in my face about so many things that are wrong about how we raise our children in this society, how we have it set up to raise them, even when we are doing everything “right”.
Reading through some of my light summer reading… (haha) I ran across this from Chris Biffle;

“Listen carefully to how rebellious students talk to each other… there is a continuous struggle for hierarchy, authority and power inside their group. They support each other out of fear of not being supported and of being ostracized, but their ongoing battles build up enormous reserves of bitter energy.

…harassing each other is their way of life, the way they maintain rank in their group. Think of a clique of challenging students this way: you’ve got Leaders, Followers and Bottom Dwellers. There is usually one Leader, call him El Supremo (or La Suprema, if you wish) and many Followers and Bottom Dwellers. El Supremo maintains his position by harassing Followers and Bottom Dwellers. Followers maintain their position by harassing other Followers and Bottom Dwellers. Bottom Dwellers maintain their position by harassing each other, and, when it is safe, joining in the harassment of Followers who are being harassed by other Followers and/ or El Supremo. So, these cliques are small societies that run on humiliation, intimidation and reprisal. They are only truly united when they face Outsiders, especially Outsiders who are in Authority.”

Biffle, Chris. Whole Brain Teaching

Add to that how society teaches our boys not to feel any emotions outside the “be a man” box.  Which btw, not feeling emotion is a part of a sociopaths profile.

Think about that for a minute.

And I guess that brings me to the sociopath that I had the misfortune to connect with, John Goosen.

The last few days I was in Mozambique, the every ready and apparently effective, “I’ve got an illness, feel sorry for me” tact was thrown and hooked into the people that I should have been able to count on to help me.  The available, yet meaningless tears as he said his I’m so sorry, to them.  Said he was diagnosed as a sociopath, and had decided to go off his meds when he left for Mozambique the year before.  (Though to my knowledge there is no such thing as a medication for sociopaths.)  His sorry for them having to take me in, his sorry for my putting everyone out.  He shouldn’t have been so aggressive, but he didn’t understand why I was causing everyone else to have difficulties because of it.

It’s a ploy.  It’s not real.  It’s meant to distract and diffuse.  Once he was “sick”, I became “unreasonable”.  I became the abuser because I needed help, and kept demanding justice for what he had done.  People don’t want to see abuse so much so, that they will turn on the victims even while they’re still black and blue.

And interestingly enough, I am watching this same style of scenario play out, yet-a-freaking-gain.  And again, the players involved are magically unable to see the power hungry abuser for what he is.  He keeps everything clean and above board around the people he needs to.   Shakes the right hands, greases the right wheels. He’s got just enough twisted around the players just below those, uses just enough of the looking like a good guy, says what they want to hear, and bam, they turn their head to everything else; the abuse of power, position, the verbal abuses, and yes, even the physical abuses.  Just choose not to see it, not to do anything about it, and in fact keep him right where he is because they choose to see only the “look like a good guy” things.

Frankly I’m amazed at how easily we choose to see what we want, opposed to what is.  I kinda still wish I could.

My ex-husband always looked like the good guy to people at church, or work.  No one could believe the things that he would do at home when only his family was around.  And I played my part as well.  I was the happy wife when others were around.  I was the one who caused any issues.  I took all the blame, until I didn’t any more.

Then it got worse.  Until I stopped playing the game, started seeing the truth instead of what I wanted to see, it escalated only slightly through time.  But then it escalated rapidly.

And even after I left, he played on everyone.  “I’m so worried about her, what is she doing?  Do you know where she goes?  I need your help to help her”.

I guess this is just a general rant……   but the main point I’m seeing in this rant is

We need to wake up and start looking at truth.  The real truth.  And change it.

Fear of the unknown is powerful, and that’s what we’re heading into.  All of us are living in a world that is rapidly deteriorating as an inhabitable place.  All of us will be dealing with how to get basic necessities like clean water and uncontaminated food before too long.

Sadly, we need to see how we treat each other faster than we need to see how to treat our power supplies.  

Because once we’re in the depths of the struggle for our collective lives, how we treat each other will be the final determiner.  How quick we are to just blow each other up instead of share and compromise and work together will be the truth that decides if we all die or find a way to live on.

Being all in for me and mine will leave a very lonely planet.

So how do we wake up?  How do we help others wake up?

I hear, “that’s just how it is”  “stop being so sensitive” “this is how it’s always been, since the beginning of time” and it makes me want to vomit.

Yes, of course this is how it has always been, why do you think it is so deeply entrenched in EVERYTHING.  But that DOES NOT mean that it needs to remain so.

Our world is all filled up with people.  We don’t need to go conquer new lands any more.  We have automatic everything, we don’t need to enslave people anymore.  We live in a globally connected and political world, we don’t need to have wars any more.  We have complex languages and lots of people that can speak any number of them, we don’t have to have language barriers and lack of communication any more.  We are not living in the same scope as the people who created these hierarchical systems were.  We don’t need them any more.

Yes, it’s been this way for 4000 years, ok.  Truth is truth, but WE DON’T NEED TO ANY MORE.

I don’t need to stop being so sensitive.

We need to help others become more sensitive.  Not only do women need to stop ” remembering their place”, men need to stop “being men”.  Let’s all just be people.  People who don’t subscribe to the -ism’s, don’t teach them to our children.  Let’s be people who work together for the greater good.  Let’s be people who leave a better world for our children, a world without abuses.

#noonedeservesvolence

I guess I need to just keep writing.  Whether or not I want to, and then what ever is supposed to come out will.  I’m trusting in my guides, who have been sending me every thing they have to tell me to write on here, so I will.

Peace and love to you all!

 

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?

.

 

Our parents generation was perfectly fine with domestic violence, why can’t we be?

Welcome to the Rodeo.

It’s a hum-dinger of a ride.

(It’s taking a few turns through sarcasm-ville too, so have fun.)

Smug isn't he?

Smug isn’t he?

Did you know that Elvis Presley hits a girl in every single movie he’s I’ve seen him in? 

He does. 

Wanna talk about influence over a generation?  Elvis was IT.  He set the standard.  “It’s ok to hit women” was displayed across every drive-in and movie theater from 1956 to 1977.

thUFWHUG0K

Did you know that The Beatles had a popular song about killing a girl over jealousy?

They do.

“Run For Your Life”

Well I’d rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or ya won’t know where I am
You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end ah little girl
Well I know that I’m a wicked guy
And I was born with a jealous mind
And I can’t spend my whole life
Trying just to make you toe the lineYou better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end ah little girlLet this be a sermon
I mean everything I’ve said
Baby, I’m determined
And I’d rather see you deadYou better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end ah little girlI’d rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or you won’t know where I amYou better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end ah little girl
Nah nah nah
Nah nah nah
Nah nah nahAnd Audrey Hepburn? thNFNKKRR1

Breakfast at Tiffany’s opening scene has a guy banging on her door in anger that she won’t let him because he “has rights” after paying for her dinner.

Her not letting him in -is the wrong, not his banging on her door expecting his “rights”, so she hides by going out of her window instead of telling him to go away.  And it just continues from there.

Really, this list goes on and on.  Watch any soap opera and you have a prime seats to the Victim Rodeo.

And now the tides are turning back again.

What happened to the strong, independent women songs?  Beyoncé got married, so now we all need to get back to domesticated bliss? There’s a whole new onslaught of I’ll cook for you, clean for you, you’re the strong one, give me lots of bling and I’ll do whatever you want, please make all my decisions for me, songs. Pop music is back at the effective conditioning of us all to “remember our places”.

It used to be that a guy could say, “Trust me” to get a girl, but we’ve learned haven’t we?

It’s a joke now,

“Trust me”.

Trustme

The abusers have learned too.  Now, the abusers wait to hear you say, “I trust you”, to them.  They play the roping game until they hear those words.

trust

Oh, they believe you alright.

BUT, because they know they are not trustworthy, their first thought on hearing you say you trust them is,

“You’re an idiot“.

And you can’t ever change that.

From that point on you are an idiot to them and they have every right in their mind to treat you badly, because that’s how one treats idiots, right?

I mean, who can deny it?  Sure, sure, sure, you can say that’s not the case, we all know the right words we’re supposed to say, PC and all, right?      Nobody should treat idiots badly.  Idiots are people too.

But it’s not real life.  In real life, ie, in songs, soap operas, television, movies, the ways we see and hear life told to us, repeatedly, throughout our lives, for generations, that must be how it’s done.  So, if you’re an idiot (ie a girl), that trusts me( an abuser), then you deserve whatever happens to you.  Case closed.

And we all go along for the ride.

If she’s such an idiot girl that trusted that guy, then she deserves what happened.  If she stays with him, she deserves it.  Why is she with him, she’s an idiot.  Why didn’t she leave him after the first time? What an idiot. She should have been more careful, so idiotic, she deserves what happened.  She’s such an idiot, who does that anymore?

Those are the victim blaming thoughts we’ve been conditioned to think.

And along with those, come’s the Victim Rodeo dance – where the abuser is really the victim and all the while they’re hog-tieing you, you’re apologizing for their hitting their knees too hard on the dirt around you because you were so confused with all the hoopin’ and hollerin’ and clown antics meant to trick you, you forgot to soften the ground for them.

Because they are masters of turning everything around.

Because they don’t care about anything except not having consequences.

Because controlling you is more important than reality.

Because they know the more you try to control them, the deeper their mind fuck is working.

Mass murderers? Rapists?  Abusers? Oh no, VICTIMS.  They are the abused, why else would they shoot up a whole school/office/theater?  They are victims. Why else would they throw a girl around a room and choke her?  They are the victims.

They don’t need jail, they just need some medication and a good counselor to work through their childhood issues.

If your first thought isn’t directed at the abuser, you are victim-blaming.  If your next thoughts aren’t for helping the victim, you are victim blaming.  If you are victim blaming, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Even victim’s victim blame.

Workin’ At The Brain Wash, sing it with me!

What most people don’t understand is the amount of brain-washing and conditioning that goes into creating victims.  And how we are all part of the process.  Yes, ALL of us.  We are all working at the Brain Wash and we are singin’ it with feeling.

objectify much?

Victims in abusive situations don’t leave right away, because there are so many colorful locks, laces, and latches put in place before the situation becomes so black and white to everyone else.

A victim’s sense of control in their lives has been systematically stripped away and replaced with confusion, lack of trust in themselves, isolation, and a distorted sense of what will happen to them without the abuser.

Abusers play on fantasies and fears.

Even though I had a round-trip ticket from Turkey to Mozambique, when the time came to use my ticket back to Turkey, I was reminded that I would get thrown in jail without my passport if I left the island.  I was told it would cost too much to get me to the city.  I was told that going to the city on my own, I would probably be raped, stolen, or both.  It was only safe for me to stay with him.  Everything about my finding a way to leave was distorted and my fears played upon in order to control where I was and what I was doing.

I got the fantasy of island life, a good peaceful job with the ability to “rest” while looking for work for the next school year.  And once there, I got all the worst fears of a woman travelling alone thrown at me; I was only safe while under his protection.  And, because of my prior conditioning, I thought I could make the best of the situation and still get myself on my own two feet.  I was doing many things to keep myself safe, while in a very unsafe situation, that I thought was, AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN, a safe situation.

Ya can’t control someone else to get your own control back.

Victims often try to reclaim their control by “controlling” the abusers.  Oh yes, the distorted idea that we can control the emotional healing of our abuser *cough* I mean victimized partner, we can love them into being better people.  We can show them how good it feels to be treated well, then they will know how to treat us well.  They were never shown how it can be to feel loved, so if I love them better, then they will see and it will all be back to the fairy tale they showed me at the beginning. Yep, I’m totally Disney princess style rolling my head with a sugared smile plastered across my face as my dream-filled eyes watch the screen while I type.Enchanted

Because that’s they way we victims are taught to think.  That’s what is put on repeat in our life soundtrack and movie script.  You know you just thought of at least one movie and two songs where that very thing happens.

When I was married, the level of the victim-rodeo dance was amazing.  Even now I am starting to see many of the ways that he made it look like one thing was happening – to everyone else- while making me feel like something else entirely was happening, I hadn’t seen before.

He still does that to our children.  He still makes everything appear how he wants in order to control the way they do things or feel the way he wants them to.  He uses money and “love” to manipulate them.  Sadly, they are learning those trade tools as well.

Survivor 2

Even we, the survivors, the mighty among the victims, the ones who are making great leaps and strides in our ability to reclaim our power and control while allowing the rest of the world to maintain their own, (yes, a little power hype there, I deserve it)

Even we are still caught in the thick blanket of perceptual lies that abusers have been piling on society for millennia.

Our parents generation seems to have not just merely accepted, but been perfectly fine with domestic violence.  Why can’t we be?

Because we actually can reach more people, we can have a louder voice, we don’t have to be divided and conquered, we’re the ants to the grasshoppers,

We have laws and the ability to have global laws that protect and

We know that ALL people should LIVE A LIFE FREE FROM VIOLENCE.

thRU28G03O thSS68L1U4 thZ3UN32PR

What do you think?

 

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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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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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The heartbreaking realities

The first month of any class is the toughest.  Creating routines, getting basic English words for keeping the class moving along as they learn new material, and learning English phonics.
It’s right around week 5 when I get to start seeing the little lightbulb moments as they recognize they’ve learned and can understand.

We’re just getting there in all my classes. This week I saw three little lightbulb moments. And this afternoon, as I was walking around the island, two little girls were walking down one of the side streets.  They were quiet and walking hand in hand.   They happened to look up and the one little girl , who is my student in the preschool class, opened her arms wide and ran to me,  teacher Mari!!  Without any hesitation she jumped in my arms and let me pick her up.
She gave me a beautiful hug and as I put her down, in her best new English she tried to introduce me to her friend and coached her in how to say, my name is…
The two girls and I parted with them smiling and happily laughing.
As I kept walking down the coast, I started hearing, teacher Mari, teacher Mari!  I looked up further and a small group of my elementary age students were gathered and called me over. I was so happily surprised with how well they were using English to explain the game they were playing and show me off to their friends.
My evening adult class is a newer class, only two weeks, but they finally understood the pattern I’ve been teaching them this week and three of them right away started using other words they know in the same pattern!
It’s these moments that I teach for. These moments when they realize they know, they try to share, and they take it farther on their own.

I LOVE teaching. I LOVE it.

And it breaks my heart, shatters it, to have to leave right now, just as it’s getting better for them.

Why does such terrible circumstances have to stop this progress?!  Who the fuck is this “nice guy” that everybody likes, that feels he has the right to keep me in a room against my will, and use ANY, let alone the amount of force, to make me listen to his drunken rants.  Who still maintains that if I had just sat and listened instead of trying to reach the door, he wouldn’t have hurt me so bad.

And as he’s all nice and calm again, admits he has a disease,
Well gosh! I should just let it all go, what’s the problem? , he’s going to get help.

Yeah. The fucking problem is that is a TRIED AND PROVEN PATTERN OF ABUSERS.
Diagnosing a disease doesn’t change the fact that abusers pick and choose, are in full awareness, and know how to look remorseful, and put on enough charm to get away with it.  They use time to make it feel like it wasn’t that bad. And they use their friendships to make it look like the victim is making too big of a deal out of it.

Tried and true classic pattern.

And the heartbreaking reality is that it doesn’t just affect me. The bruises are gone, I can almost put my backpack on, get dressed, or scratch my own back again without my shoulders hurting.  My wrists still hurt but you can’t see anything wrong. People don’t look at me and flinch, or ask how I am.  Time is passing.  But it’s a time bomb, and I know that.
A time bomb that I can’t be here to see go off.
The bomb may not go off here, if I leave. So in order to protect those that are helping me right now, I’m leaving here.
BUT THAT TIME BOMB WILL GO OFF SOMEWHERE IF LEFT UNCHECKED
I can’t leave that bomb unchecked. I will pursue the trial and whatever else is necessary to put checks and balances in place to ensure I’ve done my part.
Abusers don’t stop. They don’t get talked out of being abusers by the people around them.

The charming person isn’t who they are, it’s their cover up and protection against consequences. The charming side makes sure people, “can’t believe it” could be something the abuser would do.

This was a thought out act of violence. And because of it, my students will suffer.  My work here will be paused for who knows how long. These children don’t know what happened, all THEY will know is that I left. The adults have just another person who comes to help and leaves.

The heartbreaking reality is that it’s not just me that got hurt. But it’s me that will be doing the hurting of leaving.
And that sucks so much.

These tears fall with conviction. If education is my target, let violence be my arrow, and awareness be my breath.

 

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Each time I rise

The last 12 months of my life have been a true example of how the yin and yang of life works.

Once upon a time, the rotations of this wheel took a long time. Now as I continue to grow, it turns more quickly.  The changes are more immediate.  The ability to see paths of growth more illuminated.

From getting a good job in Turkey, a country I had longed to see for years, and discovering the beauty of the land and people – to the overwhelming need to remove myself.

From being happy on my own- to a dream like relationship – to the nightmare of its sudden end.

From the relocation to this beautiful country and island on the promise of a job – to the realization that the job didn’t exist, the money didn’t exist, realizing I was being held “nicely” as a hostage, getting typhoid, visa issues, – to building a rapport with the people, starting to teach again, loving my students, having people smile and try to talk to me everywhere I go – to the nightmare of this week.

This last 12 months has given me highs and lows.
I have seen beauty and ugliness in all the places and people.  I am surrounded, everywhere, by amazing people I am grateful to call friends.
We are all here to help each other.

I believe when I go home, I will be able to curl up for a little while; enter the ash stage, I am burning now.

But I will be reborn again. Each time I rise, I am stronger, brighter, and more complete within myself.
I don’t know the next step yet for sure, but I will be a force, a powerful force for change.

 

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As my bruises heal

On Sunday night I left the pier where I’d been sharing some fun photo ops. Using light to create hearts around the newly married couple. Laughing, dancing, having a good time.

The man I was having to live with, had been drinking all day. He had been being rude and belligerent all day. He was still.

I decided to leave. I made my apologies to everyone and headed back to the house.

I was working on school work when he knocked on the door. I let him in, he lived there after all.
I quietly went back to my work when he started verbally assaulting me.

Without saying a word, I quietly got my purse and shoes. As I headed for the door, he asked where I was going. I calmly replied I was leaving.

The next half an hour consisted of his locking the only door out, being slammed up against walls, while he spewed threats and profanities at me, twisted my arms and wrists, having my arms repeatedly wrenched back and up towards my ears, being picked up and thrown on the floor over 20 times, being thrown up against walls, strong-armed onto the floor where he put his forearm against my throat while telling me he was 4 times as strong as me and twice my size, repeatedly hit me while telling me it was too easy, held me down with his knee in my abdomen.

Miraculously I was, “allowed” to make a phone call while in the bathroom, where he stood watch as I changed the pants I had peed in, and finished emptying my bladder where he had held his knee into it moments earlier. Afterward, he tossed me across the room again where I begged him to let me go. Then, as I crawled across the floor he picked me up and threw me again, grabbed me by the throat, tightened his grip to the point I couldn’t breathe and began banging my head against the concrete wall.

Caroline came just in time. As she knocked on the door, he had his hands around my throat, choking me until I was unable to breathe.
I remember thinking if he hits my head one more time against the wall I wasn’t sure if I’d make it.

As he shoved me out of the house, screaming at me, Caroline was amazed at the state I was in and the amount of sweat he showed.

I did nothing, NOTHING to provoke this attack. I did nothing to prolong it. The only words I spoke were “Please let me go”, “we’ll talk tomorrow”, “you’re hurting me”.

Nothing short of someone else’s arrival was going to stop him. He was planning to kill me.

I tell you this because I need to get it out of me. I need to realize I didn’t cause this, I didn’t deserve it, and he had no right to do it.

And also because I want all of you to be aware. If you hear anything like this, like my neighbors staring out their windows as my friend came to get me, DO SOMETHING, don’t just listen.
If you’re in the position like I was, it’s not your fault, press charges, IT’S ASSAULT!

When I was married these things happened because he felt he had the right as my “partner”. This time it happened, though I refused to be/ wasn’t his partner.

It doesn’t matter the relationship!!! Assault is assault. Period. No-one has the right to hurt you. No-one has the right to keep you locked in a room against your will. (except police) No-one and nothing justifies these actions, ever.

And I write because I REFUSE to be a victim. I will not step back from reclaiming my rights as a human, to not be afraid.

Though the humanitarian in me believes that he also needs help, and for my own well being I need to forgive, I also recognize that forgiveness does not mean tolerance. Forgiveness does not mean allowance, or justification.

And though I know I will be back here, – I strongly feel for the people of this island and their education, – for the time being I need to leave. It will take a while. I need to finish classes so that I can raise money for the trial, flights, etc.

Who knows where to next, but wherever I go, I will be stronger yet. I continue my journey and get stronger and stronger.

I am a Phoenix, rising brilliantly from the ashes, my tears will heal others, my song will lead heroes.

 

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