I believe Dr. Ford: Why women don’t come forward

I believe Dr. Ford. I believe her because I was her.

When I was 19 yeard old I was sexually assualted, in front of mutliple witnesses who relunctatly (and that part comes in to the story later) were willing to tell the truth.

This is important to the story because I was lucky. There were witnesses. Most cases are a a he said, she said.

This was two drunken boys who fucked up publicly over the course of a few hours and the question was now  how much word they be punished.

I was lucky in that my school reacted quickly. The boys had been acting out, nakedly entering young women’s apartments and refusing to leave. These women had reported it to campus security however, none of them would sign a sworn statement as they were too afraid of how the campus community would act.

I had pretty much made up my mind at that point to press charges, however hearing the stories sent my mind in stone.  I made my report to the police (campus and local).

In a matter of weeks, both boys lost their scholarships, were kicked out of the campus apartments, kicked out of school and permanetly banned.

And that’s when hell broke out.

It was March I believe when this happened though it was over ten years ago, and I don’t remember the exact date. (I do however still vividly remember the details of what occured). I understand how Dr. Ford forgot some facts but still remembers the incident. Trust me, most of us wish we could forget.

I first heard that I was ruining their lives! How could I? They were my friends and now because of what I did, they would lose their scholarships and get kicked out of school.

This was reiterated so much to me, that I started to believe it and question my own sanity.

Then came the death and rape threats. People would stop by my apartment to see if I was there and threaten to fight me, or show me what it was like to be raped. These were people I knew. People that until that week, I hung out with.  They were my friends.  And they wanted to harm me, over something I didn’t do. Over something that was a known fact.

Everyone there was my friend. It was a small campus apartment building about 60 people. The boys who assualted my friend and I were my friends, they were people I trusted. We hung out with them most weekends. I’d crashed at their place.

Girls, even ones who had expereienced the boys inappropriate behavior, barred me from their apartments. Even my best friend, who witnessed everything told me not to come to his apartment as his other roommates (one who was mad solely because he may have to come back to testify to what he say) were too pissed.

I had food thrown at me, as well as every name in the book.

Most nights I hide. That was when my classmates would start drinking and usually when the threats started up.  I hid in the laundry room with the local pot dealer. He was perphaps the only person hated on this campus more than me and was one of the few people who took my side. And it was a ridiculous friendship as I had never done a drug a day but at least I was safe.

I transfered out at the end of that year, but even when I came back to visit a friend, almost a year later I recieved the same treatment.

Sitting on a park bench, talking with Dan, a group of boys threw food out their thrid story window at me and yelled how I ruined the campus. I had ruined their fun.

I think sometimes how my life may have been different. I remember my mom saying that she didn’t know how hurt I was but she knew I was broken because after it all happened, I couldn’t take the silence. Woke up, head set in. Music blaring. Showering, music on. Sometime twenty four seven to keep the silence away. To keep me away from my thoughts.

I think of what I went through, when the facts weren’t disputed and wonder what hell it is like for women who aren’t as lucky as I was.

I believe Dr. Ford because I am her. So are you friends, your wives, your sisters and daughters.

 

 

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Parenting is hard

I’ve been debating how I should start this blog post (my first in what almost a year). I’m torn between two cliches:

“Parenting is hard”

or

“I love my kid but….”

It’s odd to feel the need to soften the difficulty of parenting. That somehow admitting it’s difficult is equated to not loving your child.

*My wonderful loving child who is currently pretending to be a tornado on the bedroom floor because she has a sick sense of when mom hides away for some free time*

Of course the difficulty is not equated to loving your child.  I’d take a bullet for my child ( I know another cliche right) but let’s face it, when your lovely daughter or son is channeling their inner demon, at of course the most inappropriate time, pretending childrearing is some instagram dream is just foolish.

Or when you throw a birthday party. Remember back to the magic of your birthday. You’d get hopped up on all kids of sweets, run around crazy with your friends and open presents.

Remember that precious childhood memory.

It was probably horrible for you parents.

Coraline’s fourth birthday party was yesterday.  After spending a good three months lying to myself that I was gonna channel Martha Stewart and countless hours wasted Pinning birthday party ideas from parents that are frankly MUCh more talented than I am, about three weeks ago, I realized that “hey you have a birthday party date announcced on facebook” with nothing prepared for it including a venue.

But since I’m trying to be Zen (I mean I meditated….sometimes…occassionally and it’s not court ordered), I decide to just brand it as “simplistic” and lie to myself that it’ll be a relax ing time.

Who needs Facebook memories? We will just invited family and friends and hold it somewhere local.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.

That is until it’s 15 minutes befor the party starts and I’m trying to pack everything into my Subaru and hope that I can beat that one annoying party guest who has to show up early.

I’ve spent the night before cooking 4 batches of spaghetti sauce(which frankly I suck at), sent Kyle to decorate becuase frankly I suck at that to. Suprise we find out the kitchen is locked and they forgot to give of the key!

Coraline, who is NEVER sick, somehow magically had a cold and was a crab pants. And I have about twenty guest coming, ten or so of which are children most under the age of 6. And for some reason I planned the party during my child’s nap time (because that was the logical thing to do).

Fast forward an hour, Coraline’s grandfather is telling a lovely famliy story about how his grandfather MURDERED his son. (Which suprise was the first I’ve heard about it).

Coraline and her gaggle of tiny toddler friends have decided to plan dino balloon war which is about as loud as I imagine an actual war to be.  At least I think they were playing, it’s hard to tell if toddlersaurs are actually getting along sometimes.

And this goes on for about five hours.

Yeah parenting is hard. I think I’ll go with that.

 

 

 

 

Pussy has to grab back

I stopped writing when my father died. I was numb, an actor stuck in a horrible play and while my world slow-motion shattered the world went on. It was just another Tuesday after-all.

I sat there knowing he needed a lung, knowing my words world helpless as the single most important thing I love slipped in front of me. And I realized how meaningless my words were. Air, vapors dancing around the world but never touching flesh.

And now, I sit after a night of crying, watching a man who has admitted to sexually assaulting women, who is racist, who is anti-gay, who is xenophobic, a man who wants to commit war crimes and jail his political opponents ascend to the highest position in our country.

And I realize my words are needed again.

Mark my words there are plenty of people in the United State who will not sit quietly by as our friends and family and freedoms suffer.

 

Advice, create create create

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’d like to say that I’ve spent my time away from the blogger-sphere creating, unfortunately it’s been much more mundane than that…surviving if you will. (I’d say living but that implies a certain zest that these droll winter months haven’t much afforded me.)

But this morning, a deary day with nipping hints of Persephone’s legacy swirling around my face, I stumbled upon this and decided today would be a beautiful day to rededicate myself to writing  and to the world at large.

In short, I’m back. And if you have had a creative drought or are feeling your work isn’t up to par, please take a minute a listen to the video below.

A minute can reset your life after all.

(throw back) Saturday morning

Sitting here at work, way to early on a Saturday, I’m reminded of a piece I wrote a copy of years ago, when I was struggling with that post-graduate, job-you-love-some-aspects-of-but- you-feel-doesn’t-work-you-to-your-full-potential experience.  This fist appeared in Illinois State University’s literary journal, Euphemism:

The flip side of a copy

Rachael Stanford

Time moves slowly when you’re a glorified copy wench. As the pale glow of replication illuminates the growing wrinkles adorning my face, the realization slowly sinks in. A train monkey could take my place, not a NASA rocketeering monkey either but a sleep-most-of-the-day in between poo-flinging one.

As the minutes tick to the void, my eyes scan the room. I want to rip down the OSHA poster, burn it to the ground, screaming to my coworkers, “six years, two degrees, honors societies and publications have to amount to more than paper cuts. And sleepless nights slaved away with library crammed house should amount to more than a no-benefits, crap-dollar an hour pay.”  I want to start anew.

A battled scared vet returning to a reformed nation, I find myself longing to be lost in The Wasteland, strung out and strung up in a hotel full of beatniks and hippies hell bent on filling the worlds with flowers.  But the best minds of my generation are wasting away in cheaply pressed suits, long retail hour eyes wearied, as their back breaks with the loans on which their future was built/destroyed.  And my rent is due in a week.

The copy machine spits out my order. As my hands shake, I pick up each warm piece, permeating my skins. But my bones shake as I turn out the light and slowly walk away, each step echoing down the hallway.

Yale documents weird regional English, deems it “grammatical diversity”

“‘My aunt makes hats all the time anymore.’ ‘The car needs washed.’ ‘I so might run this race with you.’ Relax, grammar nerds. There is no need to vomit with rage at these apparent abuses of the English language. These strange sentences are merely examples of the colloquial expressions collected by Yale’s Grammatical Diversity Project. Through nationwide surveys and online crowdsourcing, Yale’s diligent researchers set out to catalog as many weird, regionally-specific phrasings as they could find throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and parts of Canada. “I so might run this race with you,” for instance, is an example of what Yale deems the “dramatic so,” a California specialty which also turns up frequently in New York. Surprisingly, grammatical diversity has not been the subject of much academic attention previous to the Yale study, which finds that grammar is further affected by age, ethnicity, and social class. Of course, anyone who has ever traveled beyond the borders of his or her home state might have made the same basic observations.

But now, thanks to Yale, there is a clickable online map which allows users to easily find examples of strange expressions particular to certain English-speaking cities, states, or regions. Each such phrase is given its own red location marker on the map. In Utah, for example: “He said I might could call purchasing and order it through someone else.” Or in Florida: “I ain’t never had no trouble with none of ‘em.” Or in Pennsylvania: “She really likes cuddled.” Yes, it’s a big, grammatically diverse world out there to explore. And for those who would prefer to digest this information in guide form rather than map form, Yale has your back. (AVCLUB)”

What are your guys thoughts? I think this is personally amazing! I get so very tired of people assuming that English fell from the heavens and that local and regional dialect is somehow inferior to standard English. Remember much of standard English was at one time on the outskits too!!!!!

Out of the ashes, I rise with my blonde hair……

I’m coming upon the year anniversary of my father’s death. And what has been, for a lack of a better term, the least productive year artistically of my life.

I was depressed about it. Lost, one could say in the volume of silence, the abyss of nothingness.

That was until yesterday when in a passing conversation with my fiance’s dad, I mentioned that I had previously been a math major.

“Math major, pshhh. Let me see those grades. You had to be failing that is the ONLY reason that anyone would switch from math to English…..”

Enraged, I took my grievance to social media where I got a bevy of responses similar to:

“Why would you do that????? He’s right. Don’t you know companies are poaching math and science high school teachers…..”

A rekindled fire burned with in me.

Why would I switch from Math to English?

Very simply, when it came down to studying for my Cal final freshman year of college, I decided instead to watch Young Guns.

Yes the 1980’s brat-pack western.

And it dawned on me, I was good at math, oh I was, (got a high A in the course) but I wasn’t passionate about it. I didn’t stay up late at night to study or work on math, but I sure as heck did for writing.

I have railed in previous posts about how much art matters, but have, through the course of the last year, partly forgotten how passionate I am about it.

His words, though, and others fuel my fire. Art matters. My art matters. You’re art matters.

And don’t let anyone tell you otherswise.

Now, where is my pen, do I dare to disturb the universe?