Friday, April 3, 2009

April isn't a month for joking

Twitter is a pretty wonderful thing. It allows for contact with people I never would have otherwise met. And to read things I never would have otherwise read.

For rather illogical reasons, I'm picky about keeping the people I follow on Twitter at 36. No more, no less. (The "following" area on the sidebar only goes up to a 6x6 block of images, after that it puts a link and I think that unappealing. The square is a nice, aesthetic shape and I like it.) A friend of mine closed their account last week so I had an opening, and found someone at random--usually I pick friends or celebrities, but figured that random people follow me and this might be a good way to learn about someone else.

I'm glad I did it. I chose to follow a girl who's Twitter handle was 'katwithsword' which I thought was a cool choice. And she writes a blog which is fun to read.

Yesterday she posted this, and I want to share it with more people:
"Excuse me but can I be you for a while"

Bear with me, please. This isn't an easy post.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. One in six women will be sexually assaulted at some point during her life. You have a mother, two grandmothers, maybe a sister, daughter, wife, friend. Look around at the women you know, and think, one in six.

Or, well. Hi. My name is Kat. I'm a survivor.

(I hate the term "victim," by the way. Because while I was that once, the thing that I do every day is survive. The friends of mine, the women in my classes, they survive.)

One of the things that helped me was knowing I wasn't the only one. I mean, intellectually, I knew. I read the statistics. But knowing was different. I'm a huge Tori Amos fan, and she wrote a song called "Me and a Gun." I hate listening to that song. It makes me tremble, and I feel sick inside when I hear it. But I am so glad that she wrote it, because it also made me feel a little less alone. That song is one of the things that helped me get through some of the worst days.

I got help. I found RAINN. For years after, I was too ashamed to tell anyone that I loved, because I was afraid they would think less of me, that they would think it was my fault. I wouldn't have blamed them: that's what I thought, too. But RAINN helped. They listened. I got counseling. And I survived.

So if you can, this month, support RAINN, or your local crisis center. Give time if you can't give money. Or give space on your blog for a link, or write a post like this one. If you need help, be brave enough to ask for it. And if you are a survivor, and you can speak out, and let someone know that they are not alone, please do that.
I'd like to have written something similar, but I don't feel anything I could write would equate with this. I have some experience in these matters--I've known girls who have been raped and sexually abused, even dated some, but I've never experience it first hand.

We just had April Fools' Day and we all had a good laugh at the jokes friends and companies played on us. But now I'd like something more to come from this month; I hope anyone and everyone who has experienced sexual assault or rape can feel safe about seeking help and counseling. The girls I've known who have gone through it have given me some idea of what happens, but as one girl I know said, "The actual event is terrible, but it doesn't last long and it's over quickly. It's what it does to you afterward that's really damaging." I don't think it's hard to imagine a rape happening, but I can't begin to comprehend the psychological damage and effects it causes to the victim.

Do your part; make sure everyone you know knows that helps is out there.

1 comment:

Brooke said...

As one of your female friends, thank you for posting this!