Why is she laughing? https://whyisshelaughing.com From PTSD to PTS-Free Fri, 31 Mar 2017 01:34:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 https://whyisshelaughing.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/cropped-wisl_favicon-32x32.png Why is she laughing? https://whyisshelaughing.com 32 32 “If He was that bad? Then why did you put up with it? https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2017/03/30/why-did-you-put-up-with-that/ https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2017/03/30/why-did-you-put-up-with-that/#respond Fri, 31 Mar 2017 01:34:32 +0000 http://whyisshelaughing.com/?p=155 He starts as the perfect gentleman/dream guy. He will have all his peacock feathers on full display. Her family will encourage her, “wow. You finally met prince charming” .

However then starts the name calling and belittling, he reinforces  her insecurities and exploits them.  If she thinks she is fat – he will remind her how fat she is and how amazing it is that he loves her.  If she is an introvert with few friends he will tell her how nobody wants to be around her – except for him.  He showers her with adoration and gifts. He carries on and on and on how much he loves her and how they are destined to be together forever. If she wants to go hang out with friends, he will start complaining that she never pays attention to him. He will tell her about how he could never ever possibly live without her, he threatens suicide if she was to ever think about leaving him.

And he may never even hit her.

Until that one day that he decides to hit her. But she just made him so damn mad…. And we have all gotten so mad that we wanted to break/hit something. This is no different.  She pushed his buttons. She knew that he would get angry if she did ____ and yet she did ___ anyway.  He deserves her respect and if she makes him mad then obviously she doesn’t respect him. He commands respect. He will not be played. He will not be treated like a b****.

She becomes a POW in her own home and she doesn’t even know it.

She wants to leave him – but if she does then she has to admit the abuse. She will have to face the stigma – she will have multiple people question her and ask her why she “put up with it”, she will hear people say, “real women do not tolerate abuse”. She will lose count of the number of people who  ask her “If it was so bad then why did it take you so long to leave?”

She will read articles and blog posts and listen to the rhetoric that reminds her that only terrible mothers stay in abusive relationships. She will be reminded that children should never have to witness domestic violence.

But she stayed to protect her children.  

He has money and resources. He has promised her that if she was to leave him he would get custody and she will never see her babies. Afterall, everyone knows what an amazing father he is – he shows up for all the little league games, he brings cookies for the PTA bake sale, he is a model employee …

Like most perpetrators he does not have an anger management problem. Quite the opposite. No One knows how to control their anger quite like him. He can escalate and deescalate at the drop of a hat. To everyone that knows him – he is calm, cool and collected.  Except when she disrespects him, but that is only natural as he has to put his wife in her place. She can not get away with disrespecting him.

She has bruises that no one can see.

He would lever be careless enough to leave a mark. After all – that is what wife beaters do – and he is no such thing. He just needs to teach her, she must know her place in the household. She blames herself. She knows every single trigger. She knows how to provoke him – and sometimes this comes in handy.  She has a job interview/PTA meeting/client call/girls night at the end of the week. And she knows his escalation pattern. She knows that if she can set him off on Tuesday that he will be super apologetic Wednesday so that she can get a decent night sleep on Thursday.

She is stuck in fight or flight mode.  

She has been conditioned – he escalates and she calmly panics. She wonders if tonight will be the night that things get *really* bad. Perhaps tonight is the night that she decides to fight back – and then the police are called, but by the time they arrive he is cool and calm – she is still hyperventilating, crying and screaming.  The police clearly see that she is the “crazy” one.

Or maybe this is the night – this time he hits her. Again. And Again. And Again. She ends up in the hospital and when her friends come and visit her, the first thing they ask is “Why did you put up with this?”

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Please Stop Using Women’s Safety as an Excuse for Bigotry https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2016/04/28/please-stop-using-womens-safety-excuse-bigotry/ https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2016/04/28/please-stop-using-womens-safety-excuse-bigotry/#respond Thu, 28 Apr 2016 03:09:37 +0000 http://whyisshelaughing.com/?p=144 OMG – We can’t let in a refugee because they might be a Muslim rapist and we need to protect our women and children.”

OMG – We can’t let transgender women use the women’s bathroom because they might be a sexual predator and we need to protect our women and children.

OMG – we need to close down our borders because Mexican drug dealers and rapists might come over and we need to protect our women and children.”

AAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHH – Will people stop using women’s safety as an excuse for bigotry??

If you care about women’s safety – start by admitting that we have a rape culture problem here, it was not caused by Muslims, Mexicans, or Transwomen.

If you care about violence against women, then let’s start by discussing a few facts;

  • Let’s start by being horrified that only 3% of rapists (who are already here in America) serve a prison sentence…
  • Let’s start with the horrifying statistic that 4 of 5 sexual assaults are committed by someone that is known to the victim (IE NOT A STRANGER IN A RESTROOM)
  • Let’s discuss the fact that 25% of women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime (this was waaaay before we ever got scared of refugees and immigrants)
  • Or maybe the fact that 68% of our Trans Sisters are sexually assaulted in their lifetime
  • For 80% of child victims, the perpetrator was a parent. 6% were other relatives. 4% were unmarried partners of a parent.

As a survivor of sexual assault – every time you try to argue that “we must protect our daughters” as a reason to oppress another group of people you give permission to my rapist. When you throw temper tantrums about refugees or my preference to let my trans female friends pee in the same restroom as I – you are basically telling me that my assault is not valid.

Would my rape suddenly matter if my rapist was not a CISgender white male???  Or Maybe if I had been attacked in an alleyway or a restroom that would make it legitimate???

NO!

If you care about violence against women, then start actually caring about the women that are here and that are being attacked every day.  Speak out against rape culture – stop ignoring it.  Speak out against domestic violence.  Speak out against child abuse. Stop pretending its only Mexican/Muslim/Trans people committing these atrocities.

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Dear Person Who Wrote The Open Letter to Target: https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2016/04/25/dear-person-wrote-open-letter-target/ https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2016/04/25/dear-person-wrote-open-letter-target/#comments Mon, 25 Apr 2016 14:07:54 +0000 http://whyisshelaughing.com/?p=138 Dear Person Who Wrote The Open Letter to Target:

Feel free to agree or disagree with the politics and policies regarding public restrooms. That is your perogative. However, it is incredibly cruel and ignorant to assume that transgender people have any need when going into a restroom other than clearing their bladders, checking their Facebook and taking a gander at themselves in the mirror just like the rest of us.

Being transgender is an incredibly complex thing with plenty of sound scientific backing to prove that it is not just a whim or a scheme by perverts to prey on innocent children. If that were the case, what the heck is the deal with the enormous numbers of transgender children? What is their wicked scheme? Isn’t is just possible that the glands and hormones that wreak havoc in all of us constantly could be shooting out at levels in some people that leave them incredibly confused as to why they have the genitals of one sex, but the mind and soul of another?
Choosing to accept and embrace ourselves authentically is a human birthright. It does not lead to a life of perversion. I assure you, there are far more non transgender people on the National Sex Offender Registry.

As a person who has been the victim of sexual assault I find it insulting that you used that as part of your argument. How dare you toss those stats out there in an attempt to push at people’s moral heartstrings. Here are some stats for you since you seem to love them so much:

4: The number of times I was touched inappropriately as an adolescent.

4: The number of those men who belonged to or were involved in a church or church youth camp setting.*

*I refer to them as men because
a.) that is what it states on their birth certificates
b.) that is the gender they identify as and
c.) that is the term their wives, children and members of their churches use to describe them.

I do not call them men because they deserve the term. They only deserve the term weak and hypocritical.

0: the number of times I have assumed all white Christian men are sexual predators simply because they share some basic traits with men who harmed me.

0: The number of times I have been accosted by a transgender individual in a public restroom.

0: The number of times I have looked at the genitals of anyone using a public restroom at the same time as me.*
*minus diaper changing of my own children. And even then it was nothing I enjoyed. At all.

Infinity: the amount of hope that I have that your insensitive letter does not bring one ounce of shame or pain upon any person struggling with their identity. And if some day that person is a child of yours, I hope they blossom into a beautiful, free, authentic human.

Guess what? You have used a public restroom with a transgender individual in your lifetime. You survived. I’ll give you a minute to deal with that truthbomb.

In the meantime, I can help you with a problem you mentioned. If your children ask you about the genitals they see in a public restroom, please ask them politely to leave the stall where someone is trying to do their business. Then have a talk with them about looking at other people’s privates. That should take care of it. Thanks!

Sincerely,
Denise Salinas
Ps. Thank you Target. Equality rocks. ❤

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Stop saying, I’m #$*&$ Sensitive https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2016/03/15/stop-saying-im-sensitive/ https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2016/03/15/stop-saying-im-sensitive/#respond Tue, 15 Mar 2016 04:21:35 +0000 http://whyisshelaughing.com/?p=130 Recently, On more than one occasion I have been accused of being “too sensitive”.  I always get surprised when someone says that I am sensitive, I had never thought of myself that way… and now PTSD has turned me into an over sensitive cry baby.

I had to learn to let things roll off my back. I was used to the name calling, the patronizing lectures, the learning-to-shut-up-before-I-regretted-it.  My friends would encourage me, “You just need to learn to set boundaries”. But I had learned the consequences that would occur if I stood up for myself.  Basically I got used to being silenced. Silence was my normal. I was compliant when others informed me that they “would have never put up with __________.”  

It has taken me along time to learn that I am not unique. In his book, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Jack Lundy writes, “YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ANGER; HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ANGER.One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him.

We survivors have to unlearn many things – we no longer need to swallow anger as it has always been used against us in the past. Our emotions were “proof” that we were irrational and crazy.   Jack Lundy continues and says “[…] Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.

So now, here I am, almost three years out of that relationship, learning to heal. I am learning how to be myself again – actually I am learning who “myself” is. I had always viewed myself as a strong, intelligent, independent woman. A firecracker – my friends once referred to me as “a force of nature”.

I am building a new life. In a new city. With a new job. As a new me.  However, I find that this version is of “me” is anything but “a force of nature”.  I find myself entering social situation – and when conflict arises, I shut down, I silence myself. For nearly a decade this is all I knew.

“You are so sensitive” more than one person has said that to me.  In turn, my eyes well up with tears and my head screams, “I’m not fucking sensitive you beligerent twant waffle”.  My mouth stays silent.

I do not have a problem with disagreement. I can handle opposing points of view – what infuriates me is when someone uses an opposing point of view as battering stick. My difference of an opinion does not give another the right to berate and belittle me, that is what makes me angry, not sensitive. I have a right to be angry when I am mocked and put down.

So to those people who complain, ”You’re too sensitive” –  

Eff your feelings about my sensitivity. I am allowed to feel. I am allowed to be angry. I am allowed to be upset about the way I am being treated.  Especially now. I am a survivor and it took me a long time to learn how to stop being a doormat and victim and start standing up as a survivor. I spent enough years pretending to be hard, pretending that words were not hurtful, but the matter of fact is – word hurt. Condescension hurts.  … And you know what?  PTSD is a bitch. I may not even be upset with you. Maybe I am crying because the stapler did not work correctly. I do not have to explain my triggers to you.

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Domestic Violence – Sometimes the Recovery is more painful than the abuse https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2016/01/15/domestic-violence-sometimes-recovery-difficult-abuse/ https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2016/01/15/domestic-violence-sometimes-recovery-difficult-abuse/#comments Fri, 15 Jan 2016 17:53:10 +0000 http://whyisshelaughing.com/?p=102 It has been a little over three years since I left an abusive marriage.  I always thought that leaving would be the hardest thing that I would ever have to do – yet now, three years later, I am at the conclusion that recovering from the years of abuse trauma is significantly more difficult.

During the relationship(s) it was easy to know what was coming next -I knew exactly what to expect as I when through the various stages in the cycle of abuse. I became a cliche, but the thing about a cliche is that cliches are predictable by nature.

He would become upset. Usually, it was my fault. Maybe that I night I burned dinner, or did not load the dishwasher, or rolled my eyes, or spoke out of line – it did not matter what it was, just that it was something I did. That is when the rage would come. Most of the time it did not get physical. Moreover, of course, there was the following morning, either flowing apologies or complete denial.

I still don’t understand the denial. I could not understand how he did not see that waking up our toddler at midnight to teach her to say, “Mommy is a giant bitch” was wrong. He could not see that forcing me to sleep in the corner of the living room floor was wrong. He could not see that breaking my only pair of eyeglasses; or taking the keys to my car; or hiding my cell phone; or the constant name-calling; or the sexual demands. The list goes on and one – he never saw any of it as wrong, and many times he was in complete denial that it even happened in the first place.

The gaslighting and crazy making became part of my expected weekly, or even sometimes daily routine…

However, now I am free of him.

The abuse has fundamentally changed me as a person.

I left him over three years ago – and it has been a little over two years since my most significant (physical) assault.  However, the memories are still there. The PTSD still keeps me up at night. I have a hard time connecting with anyone who knew me as my previous self. It is pretty obvious that they barely recognize me anymore.

It became much easier to cope, once I figured out that recovery is a process and hard. I am relearning basic self-care – self-care that had never previously existed.  The abuse was my normal, even though, for years, friends pleaded with me “to just leave” because his behavior was not normal.

It is a hard thing to reconcile, I am a survivor in recovery – and triggers are everywhere.  I am finding myself filled with anger – a passional social rage – every time I hear another survivor’s story, every time I witness any social injustice. I am drawing parallels from different facets of life to the abuse that I “put up with” at just about every corner.

Recovery after survival is hard – during the abuse your body adapts; your sleeping habits, your adrenaline response, your emotional response. When I was in my marriage, I learned how to sleep lightly, just in case my drunk husband decided to have a fit. At the beginning of the relationship, adrenaline would course through my veins, and I was always ready for fight or flight. That fight/flight response changed over time – as my personality changed. I learned how just to accept what was happening If I could accept the pain it was easier to cope.

Now I am a survivor; often I do not sleep. I do not know how to handle flight or fight response.  I do not know if I am overreacting because someone or some situation has triggered me or if that situation is a problem. I have forgotten how to set boundaries. I am learning when to stand up for myself  – and when I am just creating drama in my head.

… Moreover, all of that is just the emotional/mental part of survival.  Before, and during the abuse, I held a steady income.  I was self-employed, and I was able to provide sufficiently for myself, my daughter, and my husband, despite the ongoing abuse to which I had adapted. Similar to a chemical addiction, I had built up a tolerance, and I was functional.

Financial disaster did not occur until about six months after I left.  I suspect it was because I was going through a type of withdrawal. I was no longer able to predict things.  I did not know how to react to everyday life situations. I had a full-time client who had ‘laid’ me off, so I went from a very blessed and healthy income to no income whatsoever. I became a ‘welfare mom’. I was more of a stereotype than ever before.

I struggled with job searching, I “knew” I was talented, so why didn’t anyone want to hire me. I was a smart, educated white woman who grew up with the privilege of middle class. Nature and evolution of societal constructs dictated that it should be easier for me than my welfare-mom peers. I felt the shame of using an EBT card while checking out at the grocery store. The stigma of “putting up with abuse” wasn’t enough. I became one of “those people”.  I was one of the people that you see ridiculed in social media memes. I had a fancy smartphone AND and food stamps. However, I learned how to cope. I learned how to laugh at my continuously overdrawn bank account.

Eventually, though, after a series of now-comically bad job interviews, I found new employment. I resumed a life of income.

Even with the new job, it is hard, this is my first traditional employee role in over ten years of self-employment. I am back to the emotional and mental rollercoaster of triggers everywhere. A battle of learning how to set healthy boundaries.  I still juggle rage and anger.

I try to comfort myself with the idea that I am still learning. I am learning who I am. I am discovering the world around me.  I am learning that part of the recovery process is learning how to learn a  new normal.

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Speak The Truth Even If Your Voice Shakes https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2015/12/15/speak-truth-even-voice-shakes/ https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2015/12/15/speak-truth-even-voice-shakes/#respond Tue, 15 Dec 2015 18:26:42 +0000 http://whyisshelaughing.com/?p=77 Listen. Look. Don’t speak. Be quiet. Can you hear in his footsteps he is angry? What did you do? Where has the light gone from his eyes? The tension in his body. Can you feel it, even when he is not hitting you? The pain. The words.  You can’t run, you can’t fight. Don’t try, it will make it worse. Listen. Look. Don’t speak. Be quiet. He is coming.

Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.

August 2012. I met Jake at the pief where I worked as a lifeguard. He was handsome and charming, Two weeks later, He told me he wanted to spank me. I imagined just gentle sensual foreplay. The first time he did it he flipped me over his knee, face down, held my hands and arms down. He was hitting me hard, real hard. I thought this would be a onetime thing. I didn’t like it. But I thought it meant something was wrong with me.

It then became a form of “punishment” when I had broken a rule of his, or he felt like I just needed to be punished. Every single time jake spanked me he gave me deep tissue bruises, that would last for weeks at a time, that would make it painful for me sit, and move. He said he liked the color of my bruised ass.

I can’t remember the specific details because I put my mind somewhere else to deal with the pain, the humiliation, because if I fought back it could make jake angrier or make him hit me harder. I just remember moments in time like when he gave me a clean sock to bite down on. Once I hit my bed so hard I got a bloody nose, and I was crying and jake didn’t stop until he said “my ass was bleeding”. I was terrified it was like I could feel all of Jake anger into my body. “Dammnit girl, you need to get some respect. You’re such a pushover.”

October 2012, Jake said he wanted me to come to a Halloween party with him wearing a certain dress and underwear. Instead he took me to his friend’s apartment. I was really drunk, and it felt like I was these guys’ toy, their fingers were near places they shouldn’t be, jake decided he wanted to spank me, I said no and tried to run away but jake grabbed me he pulled my dress up and started spanking me with his friend. I tried to fight and get away. I had a panic attack, and jake just rubbed my face saying “your ok Mary, you’re ok.” that following week or longer I had a bruise mark of a hand on my left arm, I was upset so I just wanted to do was be held by jake on the couch but when I tried he pushed me off hard and said “stop fucking nagging me” I was on the floor crying. Jake’s friend brought me back to his room, he said jake didn’t have any feelings for me, he told him he’d never ask me out, just used me as a thing. I was upset. Crying. Very drunk. Falling asleep. Michael started touching me, I didn’t say no, but I really didn’t want to but I was broken, I let Michael take advantage of me.

After two months of waiting, Jake finally asked me out. I thought things will get better now. I ended up drinking with the guys in my hall, I wasn’t allowed to do that. “oh my fucking god! Dammnit girl you’re going to get it now! You’re sweet ass is mine! We made an agreement!!!”

November 11 2012.  jake’s 19th birthday.  jake was behind me with a white wood paddle, hitting it against his hand. He said if he ever found out I was drinking again without telling him he would beat my ass with that paddle. Jake texted me that he was going to allow me to miss one more class before he would beat my ass with that paddle, and he would know because he was going to be waiting on the steps of Jamrich for me on the days he had class, when he didn’t have class I was to text him at 8:45 or else he would assume I had over slept, and he would know if I was lying because he had a friend in that class.” The next day I slept through my class. Jake texting me saying “I’m waiting” “guess you just slept through your safety net, and on the first day too. What a shame.”

It was a couple days later. That day it was ominous what jake wanted to do to me. We were making out when I giggled, Jake got really angry it was like a flip of a switch the light leaves Jake’s eyes, his voice changes and his face becomes like stone. I was on top of Jake and he had his hand above me shaking trying not to hit me, I closed my eyes waiting for him to smack me hard. I started trying to rub his face “you’re ok.” he screamed at me “STOP IT.” always like walking on egg shells with Jake, say the right things, do the right things, always do and say what makes Jake happy. “you have no reason to be afraid of me.” He said “I’ve got a deal of you.” I said “ok” he said “I can hear the fear in your voice Mary, you don’t have to be afraid of me, I genuinely care about you.” I said “ok.” He said “I can still hear the fear in your voice, Mary. But I’ll make you a deal, I’ll never spank you for anything to do with school, but if I find out you’re drinking with out telling me, so help me god. And I don’t understand why you have such a problem with spanking, this college Mary, everyone does it.” Any effort I had ever thought about to stand up to Jake again left me, when I remembered that image of the light leaving jake’s eyes and his hand shaking above me.

December 13. I saw that my microwave was gone. The boys in my hall stole it as a joke. Jake saw it, and the switch flipped. I went to go get it back, I was pleading with the boys, didn’t they understand how angry they were making Jake? How all that anger was going to be put on me? jake yelled “give her her fucking microwave back!!” I said “come on boys.” Jake punched the metal door hard next to me I cowered down, covered my head. The boys opened the door it was like I was protecting those boys from Jake, they had joked around before that they could take him but I didn’t want anyone to get hurt. He talked of wanting to kill them. I told him it might make him feel better to kiss me, and he said he didn’t trust himself, I said I trusted him, even as tears rolled down my face. I remember I just wanted him happy. To not hurt those boys. He handcuffed my hands behind me. I didn’t fight, I didn’t say no. I gave up. I was taking it for those boys. I let my mind go numb, but cried out that I was sorry over and over again, jake yelled are you going to get a backbone now? He stopped took the handcuffs off and in my most sincere voice said “I’m sorry for the way I am” and started hitting my backside with the handcuffs.

He wanted to give me a hickey, he had me pinned down and was on top of me. I told him to stop, he pushed my head back forcefully and said “move your head now”, it looked like he had strangled me, this wasn’t a hickey, this was a marking of me that I was his. A branding. he said “you’d better not cover it up, Ill know okay.” I said “I”m afraid I’d get in trouble.” He said “You’ll be in a lot trouble with me if you cover it up, because it’s the last part of your punishment to wear it proudly, and if I come to the PEIF tomorrow and its covered up I’m gonna turn your butt that color again.” I was so scared, I felt embarrassed, I felt demeaned,

The next day I went to file my police report, than later for a Personal Pertection Order, There was supposed to be no contact, but jake said he loved me, couldn’t he atleast give me his Christmas present to me, I thought he would change, your mind tells you it isn’t possible for someone to really treat you like that. I knew deep down that this man was a horrible man. It was like I was brainwashed. It was a constant battle between trusting heart and my logical head.

 

The first day of second semester Jake was expelled from NMU with twenty four counts against him, five of them sexual assault. He told me I was going to be a witness on his trial. He would call any waking moment for a week. Jake said “if you don’t say this right, if you don’t save me I might as well kill myself if I don’t have school…and “do you really want me to kill myself Mary?” Did he remember who this all happened to, not him, me! A lot more people were at this trial. I thought they all think I’m going to lie. What will jake do to me if I don’t say the right thing? I was just here to fight for a second chance for jake. He talked of going to batters anonymous, he never did. He said he had started to go back to his therapist, the same therapist he had went to because was abused by this dad, this therapy wasn’t for an abuser but instead for a victim. All this people knew about such the horribly intimate details of my abuse, of my life. I chose to speak about my abuse rather than hide it. This wasn’t about me, this wasn’t my trial. it was Jake’s. I testified because I felt I had to, if I had wanted him to have no consequences for what he did to me I would have lied. Jake wasn’t able to negate a single count and was expelled.

I got rid of my PPO against Jake. Jake had complete control over my life. Life was go to school, work and Jake. He had it all planed out for me told me in 5 years we were going to be living in his trailer with a baby he talked about me dropping out of college, or transferring colleges. It was like I was trapped in a life already planned out for me.

January 2013. jake woke me up at 4 am and told me I had to sleep in his car alone. In below 0 temperatures, he would be back for me later. He shut the door told me the alarm would go off if I tried to get out. I was afraid I would freeze and no one would know. I cried myself to sleep as I tried to cuddle myself for warm, It’s funny because someone could say why didn’t you just unlock the doors, that was never an option.

Another type of punishment Jake used was oral sex, he would just move my head. My body would shake, tears would roll down my cheeks. I had to start dissociating to get through it, because Jake would be so angry if he didn’t finish and wouldn’t let me stop. I was just a body. I tried to tell Jake’s step dad once that he was beating me he just said that he didn’t know why Jake thought that was ok. But that was it, I knew he believe me but why wouldn’t he try to help me? Help Jake?

The things I learned were daily life, Jake stood behind me once with scissors wanting to cut my hair off, held my face down to shave because he said I had a mustache. I had to stay behind the cart at the grocery store. He was by the book personality disorder narcissistic. Always needing to be greater than me, better, feel like he was God.

Febuary 2013. Jake told me he had figured out what we were going to do for Valentines day but told me he had to work on Valentines day and he didn’t want to take it off, but I was busy when wanted to meet. He called me asking if I cared about our relationship? Told me I wasn’t putting enough in to it. He told me that “I had to tell him every time I had a doctor’s appointment, a party, etc. where ever I went because what if he had a date planned for us and I had fucked it up”. “Yes Jake I need to tell you every time I have anything.” This person talking wasn’t me, where was mary? I saw my razer I had never thought about hurting myself before, but I was so used to this feeling of do something wrong get punished. Jake was talking on the phone but I just couldn’t take it anymore getting all this emotional abuse atleast the physical pain hurt less, so I grabbed my razer and cut up my legs deep till they bled and scarred, still on the phone with jake. I couldn’t cry my PTSD had gotten so bad.  Jake saif that he was going to take valentines day off but he wasn’t going to like it .

A few days later I had to meet with the dean of students. All the people in life made me feel stupid for staying with this guy, they had no idea what I had gone through how scared I was to leave, scared to die or worse how myself was slowly dying inside, how lost I really was.  Some people said staying with Jake was self-harming myself, I vowed to never cut myself ever again, and I never did. I still needed to go to a routine psych evaluation, the head psychologist told me in her 25 years of working at NMU she had never told anyone nor believed so strongly that an abuser would kill a victim as she was in my case. She said I am going to see your name in the obituaries. A part of me knew I was going to die on this path.

Valentine’s day 2013 The school withdraw me for my safety because they were afraid Jake was going to kill me. It felt like my life was crumbling before me, I felt like the world was punishing me for doing nothing wrong, giving the victim the same punishment of the perpetrator. The dean wouldn’t let me stay.

Not even a week later I went back up to the UP on a bus. Jake wanted me to take lots of pictures and post them on facebook to show people I wasn’t dead. The guys in my dorm hall commented “slut”, “looks like someone’s hungry for a knuckle sandwich.” “looks like someone’s ready to get hit” the same guys I had taken a beaten for over a microwave.

Jake kept talking about killing him self, he said maybe we should just off it off together. I said “kill ourselves? Jake I don’t want to die.” He said don’t say it out loud. He wanted me to come up again, he came down to get me. We were driving when he pulled out a knife put it up to me. Telling me we could just off ourselves off right now. Said how tempted he was to just serve into a tree or semi on the way here, started swerving saying thes trucks looked like good ones to crash  into. Jake took me to the trailer we were going to live in, it was nostalgic, like a graveyard for all my dreams

I ended up telling Jake’s mom he had been beating me. I felt alittle strength telling her. Then Jake found out. He said I had no right to tell his mom about that I did have a right it had to do with me, she had to know, than she’d help him right? Help me?

I’ve found when people don’t know what to say or do they don’t say anything at all, I’ve noticed this with my family and especially my friends they don’t understand, they don’t know what to say, upset that you would stay with someone that would hurt you like that, so they distance themselves from you, the old Mary was so cheery, fun, who would do anything, this Mary was different. This Mary had internally pain, some of my friends didn’t want to accept it all, accept me, so I lost them.

March 2013. Jake said we should take a break.  He was breaking up with me because I was too broken for him. My life had been erased. A part of me just wanted to be dead but I knew I was stronger than killing myself that was what jake wanted and I was stronger than that.

May 2013. Jake’s friend’s Jannis sent me a message saying that his girlfriend Michelle (who was one of jake’s best friends) had left him for jake. My heart stopped this was the moment that I knew I was wasn’t jealous, this had nothing to do with jake getting a new girlfriend and not wanting me. I was scared no one deserved to go through what I went through, you can’t change people who don’t want to be changed. Abusers only escalate. I had to save her, some way, some how. I told Jannis of all the abuse, how horrible it was how I had to help her. I called Michelle crying I just wanted her safe. As far as I know I changed her mind but I guess I’ll never know.  Jake sent me a message saying “thank you for setting me free, from you and everything else that was ever between me and Michelle or ever was going to be between me and Michelle I am grateful to for that because I just couldn’t do it and I’m glad that you did thank you, I am free from the past now that Michelle knows, I couldn’t tell her all of it because of how much it hurt.I can finally let it go never have to think about it. I’m grateful that you did what I knew I could never do, thank you for freeing me babe.” It was like he was taking this inner strength I had to try to speak out to Michelle, try to help her, be that person I wanted to help me and throwing it in my face. Throwing it in my face that it was the past, whatever he did to me it didn’t matter now because he wouldn’t have to think about it. He could just let it go, how he was the victim of MY abuse.

It was here that I knew I had to try to stand up, try to get charges on him because it wasn’t about me anymore. It was about the other girls out there who can’t stand up for themselves; who could be his next victim. If all this happened to me, if I was this close to him killing me what would he do to the next girl? Abusers only escalate. How long can he go thinking he’s doing nothing wrong? He just got to start over at some community college in Illinois. They never had to look at his school record. Never had to know that he was expelled. He has no current criminal charges. He gets to forget it all. That makes me angry. But I can’t I have nightmares, flashbacks, if someone hits my backside; to the sound of his hand hitting against me, the car he drove. My life is changed. Inside I am so broken, I try to hide it, I am afraid of people, afraid of my past, afraid of my future.

July 2013 I sent a message to Jake’s ex girlfriend Tresse asking her if jake had ever hurt her. Terese texted “Only once, the only way you can help him is pressing charges, He got the pleasure from smacking people on the ass I guess but then I broke his nose. So he never did that to me again. That may not sound terrible but he was holding me down, she was at Wisconsin Dells with him when she made a joke about Jake being gay. She said he had tried to assault her in the back of his car the same place he had assaulted me multiple times. She had broken his nose. She was still terrified of the back of cars like that now.

October 2015. It’s been two and a half years, Charges had been denied because they didn’t think there was enough evidence to stand before a jury and get a guilty verdict I fought for months, a year, nonstop. I called lawyers, politicians, public safety, I even mailed and received a letter back from Obama. It felt like everywhere had washed their hands of me. Telling me they couldn’t help me, that I consented enough. Everything I went through, everything he did to me, he got away with it. I feel like I don’t matter, forgotten. He just keeps to keep going like I never existed, that he did nothing wrong. The beginning of this month I saw he got a big scholarship for his new school. Call me dumb, but I emailed the new school letting them know what he had done, saying they could do what they wanted with the info. They said they took it very seriously. They told me they confronted him and followed standard protocal, what that means I don’t know. I suppose I might never know.

I refuse to give up though, I will fight, I refuse to be silent, I refuse to not be heard. I will not give up. Even though I know I cannot legally put charges on him, not even give him a smudge on his record I continue to fight by sharing information, speaking out, I have gone to so many therapists, support groups for sexual assault survivors, It’s funny because all our stories are different yet the same. One day he will wake and think “I never should have hit that girl”

I wake up every day terrified, changed by my past. I’m still trying to find myself again what I’m good at, who I want to be, who I am. Tears well in my eyes but I am determined to keep going.

I have power. I came back starting this last winter semester, to finish what I started. It’s scary, to see the same places, the fear that I may see him, be afraid one day he’ll snap and come kill me, because who would stop him? but I want to eventually work in a shelter to help woman with domestic abuse so I need to be here. I am stronger then him.

When I started at NMU August 2012 I thought I had it all figured out but than my life was changed but not by my choice. I don’t have it all figured out yet but I think that’s ok. My speaking up, my fighting back isn’t about revenge, it’s about having my power back, trying to save another girl who doesn’t have her voice. To speak the truth even if my voice shakes.

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Why the Bloomingdale’s “Spike your Best Friend’s Drink” aka date-rape ad is a problem… https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2015/11/13/bloomingdales-spike-best-friends-drink-aka-date-rape-ad-problem/ https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2015/11/13/bloomingdales-spike-best-friends-drink-aka-date-rape-ad-problem/#respond Fri, 13 Nov 2015 04:00:15 +0000 http://whyisshelaughing.com/?p=66 Why the Bloomingdale’s “Spike your Best Friend’s Drink”  aka date-rape ad is a problem…

So by now – you probably gather that I feel strongly in disfavor over the Bloomingdale ad. An ad that portrays A woman, laughing, head tossed back, focused on something over her right shoulder. A man stares at her, unsmiling. The caption reads: Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking.

View post on imgur.com

Yes, I see it as a major issue and another proof of our #rapeculture.  I have seen many comments from people stating things such as “Geez, lighten up, it says ‘spike’ a drink not drug it”  or  “but it says BEST FRIEND”   – and here is my rebuttal to those two arguments.

Their defense: “SPIKING someone’s eggnog doesn’t generally involve roofies, It Involves a shot of brandy”

My rebuttal: No.  Drink spiking is when alcohol or drugs are placed into someone’s drink without their permission. Note the “without their permission” part of that definition. I will concede that drink spiking does not always lead to sexual assault, but it is unfortunately common and often goes by unreported.

  • 55% of female students and 75% of male students involved in acquaintance rape admit to having been drinking or using drugs when the incident occurred.

  • 90% of all campus rapes occur when alcohol has been used by either the assailant or the victim.

  • As many as 70% of college students admit to having engaged in sexual activity primarily as a result of being under the influence of alcohol, or to having sex they wouldn’t have had if they had been sober.

Their Defense: “But it says BEST FRIEND, if you can’t trust your best friend to not rape you with a shot of brandy… well, that says more about you and your friends than it does the advertisers.”

My Rebuttal: This defense I take particularly personally. I am a rape survivor and my rapist was my then husband who felt that I was his best friend. Sexual assault has no bearing on relationship status with the attacker.  It’s not uncommon for a person to be raped by someone he or she has been dating for a long time, or by a former lover, or by a spouse.

  • 84% of women who were date raped knew their attacker.

  • 45.4% of female rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.

 

Sources:

http://healthresearchfunding.org/21-amazing-roofies-statistics/

http://www.police.ufl.edu/community-services/myths-and-facts-about-date-rape/

https://casapalmera.com/effects-of-drugs-used-in-drink-spiking/

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6308a1.htm

 

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Revisiting #WhyIStayed – two years post abuse https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2015/09/10/revisiting-whyistayed-two-years-post-abuse/ Thu, 10 Sep 2015 00:27:14 +0000 http://whyisshelaughing.com/wisl/?p=33 Facebook likes to remind me of memories. Today it reminded me of this Mic article, “19 #WhyIStayed Tweets That Everyone Needs to See” – If you haven’t seen/read that article make sure you do!

Here are some of the tweets (both current and from a year ago) that really hit home for me.

I still struggle with trying to understand why I stayed. In my situation I felt that I didn’t have a choice. I felt trapped. Trapped for financial reasons. Trapped for legal (child custody) reasons.  Trapped for religious reasons.  I was paralyzed by the decision. I wanted out. I didn’t love him anymore.  (I don’t even remember ever loving him.) I knew that he was abusive, emotionally, psychologically, sexually… but he never hit me.  Until he finally hit me.  Then, then finally I had an excuse to leave. I had a reason that my church and his family would finally understand. Then lawyers told me that it would be a “He Said vs She Said” argument.  So I stayed even longer…

Here is what the creator of #WhyIStayed, Bevery Gooden had to say

There is still so much confusion about “staying”. After #WhyIStayed went viral, subsequent (and necessary) hashtags arose, such as #WhyILeft and #HowIHelped. So many voices were heard that day, and it was beautiful.

But society is not opposed to victims “leaving” or communities “helping”. It is “staying” that is the scandal.

It is staying that society at large condemns. It is staying that breeds victim blaming. It is staying that we struggle to comprehend. We rejoice when survivors leave. We celebrate when communities help. We demoralize victims who stay.

So, I think we must reexamine our reactions to the power of individual choice. I stayed because I knew what was best for me. I stayed because I wanted to make it out alive.

On this one year anniversary of #WhyIStayed, let’s recenter our thoughts on those who have made this impossible choice, and learn how to support them right where they are.

Now that I am 2 years out of the abuse (how I got out is for another story on a different day) but I still ponder my choices and the consequences of my choices.  I also stayed because I felt, like Beverly, I just needed to make it out alive.

Do you have a story? Do you want to share it – and write for WhyIsSheLaughing? Email Editor@WhyIsSheLaughing.com

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Stop Survivor Pity https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2015/06/08/stop-survivor-pity/ Mon, 08 Jun 2015 00:24:54 +0000 http://whyisshelaughing.com/wisl/?p=30 If you have not been living in a cave during the past two-or-so weeks, you have probably heard of the Duggar drama. Facebook and Twitter blew up with people on both sides of the issue (Yeh, I know, I don’t even understand how this issue even has more than one side)

Regardless the media onslaught has triggered many issues, one of which I want to discuss now, Survivor Pity.

My gut reaction to the Duggar story was instant fury. If I am completely honest with you, I am still furious and I did engage in the social media debates.  Some of my debates I took off the public eye and I sent a few private messages explaining (defending?) my staunch opinions.  One of the responses I received was,  “I feel sorry for you and what you went through but…”

I didn’t tell my story so that someone could take pity on me. (That person didn’t even know the full story, only that I have been a survivor of assault) You know, what sharing my story is difficult (hence, me writing anonymously). As a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault, I am still working on my healing process. I still cannot count the number of times that I was reminded that my story was personal and embarrassing. Are not ALL stories personal? But why does it have to be embarrassing? It is embarrassing because society keeps telling me that it is embarrassing. It is embarrassing because we have nurtured an environment of stigma around abuse survivors.

This is also what I feel the tragedy of any abuse story – it focuses on the VICTIMIZATION, it dictates to the world how we need to feel badly for the “victim”.  I don’t even know quite how to articulate how much this frustrates me. Of course, I cannot speak for other survivors, but I am not sharing my story because I want pity. I share my story because I want you, dear reader, to get angry.

I want you to get angry at the abuse. I want you to get angry that we live in a society that fosters acceptance and silence in regards to abuse. Get angry at the abuser. Get angry at the court system. Get angry. I do not want your pity.

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The Boy Snapped Her Bra – and the Girl Did Exactly What She Was Supposed to do. https://whyisshelaughing.com/index.php/2015/06/02/the-boy-snapped-her-bra-and-the-girl-did-exactly-what-she-was-supposed-to-do/ Tue, 02 Jun 2015 00:23:20 +0000 http://whyisshelaughing.com/wisl/?p=27 I ran across this story on my Facebook feed this morning, and I wanted to find out more – like who was it, where was the school, where was this story originally published.

If you have not seen it yet – here is the jest – Mom of a teenage girl gets called away from her ER Nursing job to come to school to deal with her daughter and school administration because she punched a boy. The back story is that the boy had been continuing to snap the girl’s bra despite repeated requests to stop.

When the girl complained to the school teacher, the teacher advised the girl to ignore the boy.  Yet, the boy continued to snap the girl’s bra. Then the girl’s bra came undone and the girl decided to punch the boy in the nose in an attempt to get him to stop.

Of course, the girl was sent to the principal’s office because she was the one who was “violent”. The story takes a positive turn as the mother is quick to defend her daughter.

The Mom: “You let him do this? Why didn’t you stop him? Come over here and let me touch the front of your trousers.”

Teacher: “What?! No!”

Me: “Does that seem inappropriate to you? Why don’t you go and pull on Mrs. [Principal]’s bra right now. See how fun it is for her. Or on that boy’s mother’s bra. Or mine. You think just because they’re kids it’s fun?”

Principal: “Mrs. [My Name]. With all due respect, [Daughter] still beat another child.”

The Mom: “No. She defended herself against a sexual attack from another pupil. Look at them; he’s nearly 6 feet 160 pounds. She’s 5 feet and 84 pounds. He’s a foot taller than her and twice as heavy. How many times should she have let him touch her? If the person who was supposed to help and protect her in a classroom couldn’t be bothered what should she have done? He pulled her bra so hard it came undone.”

Just in case it matters to you, Snopes thinks the story is fake – because the mother’s comebacks were too clever and well thought out… but I don’t care if this story is real or fiction or a combination of the two.

The point is real.  If an adult grabs another adult’s undergarments it is sexual assault.  Why is it any less sexual assault because they are teenagers?

I know that I want to teach my daughter that it is absolutely unacceptable for anyone, of any age to touch her bra, underwear, or body unless she expressly gives them permission.

I am 100% ok with the idea of my daughter punching another person if they grab her bra.

In case you want to read the original story, I have copied it below. It was originally published in NotAlwaysLearning.com.

(I’m an A&E nurse. We’re not allowed our phones on us; they’re to be kept in our lockers. A call comes into hospital reception on a private line for me.)

Phone: “This is [Teacher] from [School]. There’s been an incident involving [Daughter]. We need you to come in.”

Me: “Is she ill or injured? Can it wait until my shift is over in two hours?”

Phone: “[Daughter] has struck another pupil. We’ve been trying to call you for 45 minutes. It really is very serious.”

(I go to the school and am ushered into the head’s office. I see my daughter, her head of year, a male teacher, the headmaster, a boy with blood around his nose and a red face, and his parents.)

Head: “Mrs. [My Name], how kind of you to FINALLY join us!”

Me: “Yeah, things get busy in A&E. I’ve spent the last hour administering over 40 stitches to a seven-year-old who was beaten by his mother with a metal ladle and then I had to deal with the police regarding the matter. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

(After watching him try to not act embarrassed, he tells me what has happened. The boy had twanged my daughter’s bra and she had punched him in the face twice. I got the impression they were more angry with my daughter than the boy.)

Me: “Oh. And you want to know if I’m going to press charges against him for sexually assaulting my daughter and against the school for allowing him to do it?”

(They all get jittery when I mention sexual assault and start speaking at once.)

Teacher: “I don’t think it was that serious.”

Head Of Year: “Let’s not over-react.”

Head: “I think you’re missing the point.”

(The boy’s mother then starts crying. I turn to my daughter to find out what happened.)

Daughter: “He kept pinging my bra. I asked him to stop but he didn’t, so I told Mr. [Teacher]. He told me to ‘ignore it.’ [Boy] did it again and undid my bra so I hit him. Then he stopped.”

(I turn to the teacher.)

Me: “You let him do this? Why didn’t you stop him? Come over here and let me touch the front of your trousers.”

Teacher: “What?! No!”

Me: “Does that seem inappropriate to you? Why don’t you go and pull on Mrs. [Head Of Year]’s bra right now. See how fun it is for her. Or on that boy’s mum’s bra. Or mine. You think just because they’re kids it’s fun?”

Head: “Mrs. [My Name]. With all due respect, [Daughter] still beat another child.”

Me: “No. She defended herself against a sexual attack from another pupil. Look at them; he’s nearly 6 feet and 11 or 12 stone. She’s 5 feet and 6 stone. He’s a foot taller than her and twice as heavy. How many times should she have let him touch her? If the person who was supposed to help and protect her in a classroom couldn’t be bothered what should she have done? He pulled her bra so hard it came undone.”

(The boy’s mum is still crying and his dad looks both angry and embarrassed. The teacher won’t make eye contact with me. I look at the headmaster.)

Me: “I’m taking her home. I think the boy has learnt his lesson. And I hope nothing like this ever happens again, not only to [Daughter], but to any other girl at this school. You wouldn’t let him do it to a member of staff so what makes you think he can do it to a girl of 15 is beyond me. I will be reporting this to the governors. And if you—”*turning to the boy* “—EVER touch my daughter again I WILL have you arrested for sexual assault. Do you understand me?”

(I was so angry I gathered my daughter’s things and left. I reported it to the Board of Governors, several of whom I know from Church (it’s a Catholic school), and was assured it would be strongly dealt with. I also reported it to OFSTED (Government-run school monitoring) and they were equally as horrified and assured me they would contact the school. My daughter was put into a different class for that subject, away from the teacher and the boy.)

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