Friday, 6 July 2012
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Monday, 30 April 2012
Welcome to the Spank Out Day 2012 Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the Second Annual Spank Out Day Carnival hosted by Zoie at TouchstoneZ. Spank Out Day was created by The Center for Effective Discipline to give attention to the need to end corporal punishment of children and to promote non-violent ways of teaching children appropriate behavior. All parents, guardians, and caregivers are encouraged to refrain from hitting children on April 30th each year, and to seek alternative methods of discipline through programs available in community agencies, churches and schools. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #SpankOutCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Spank Out Day Carnival Twitter List and Spank Out Day Carnival Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- What Spanking Taught Me Meg at MommyStoleTheSugar explains the spankee's perspective and how it has affected her disciplining choices as a parent.
- A Memory of Spanking Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles explores her own upbringing and how it has affected her and why she is changing the way she relates to her children.
- Redirecting the Impulse to Spank Amy W. shares at Natural Parents Network about her experience redirecting the impulse to spank, and encourages all parents to respond with sensitivity and redirect anger before it becomes harmful.
- Perspective is Everything Patti at Canadian Unschooler learns to heal from the trauma caused by the childhood death of her sister, and gains a deeper understanding of her own mother's love for her as a child.
- Remembering and Recharging Emily at The Other Baby Blog shares how she refocuses her mindset during high-stress times.
- Does spanking work? Megan at TheBehavioralChild lists the five reasons why spanking doesn't work.
- Love is All There Is: A Spank Out Day Post Tree at Mom Grooves shares her thoughts about needing to find a way to discipline her 5 year old that could give her daughter the boundaries she is craving while still treating her with only love and respect.
- Discipline isn't SOmething You Do; Discipline is SOmething You Have Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children questions how parents can expect their children to show self-control if they, themselves, do not exhibit self-discipline.
- No Spanking, No Yelling, No Time Outs....What's Left? Sheila at A Living Family shares that though spanked as a child herself, she has made efforts towards an alternative approach to setting limits.
- Forgiveness is possible; loving others in a way that works for us Kelly Hogaboom finds that if we are to raise our children in a humane fashion, we must first recognize our own humanity.
- Dear Daniel, (On Discipline and Love) Amy at Anktangle writes a letter to her son about the many choices we have in life: how we treat people, how we parent, and how we use our bodies in the process.
- Spanking: A Day to Consider Our Muddy Boots recognizes that some see a difference between abuse and spanking, and maybe today is a day that we can consider some other perspectives and utilize available resources to make different choices.
- Mutual Respect Sithyogini at Very Nearly Hippy learns how mutual respect between parents and children leads to peaceful parenting.
- What Is the Difference Between Spanking and Abuse? You know what is difficult? Trying to explain the difference between spanking and abuse to a child. Dionna at Code Name: Mama can understand the confusion.
- I Hit My Kids and Now Begins The Real Work To Heal The Honesty Conspiracy hosts this powerful, anonymous story about how it's never too late to start on a different approach to spanking.
- How To Talk To Parents About Gentle Alternatives To Spanking Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares some useful ways to discuss the often divisive issue of spanking.
- Spank Out Day: 3 Untruths and 11 Alternatives to Spanking MudpieMama at Positive Parenting Connection breaks down 3 of the biggest myths about spanking and shares a list of effective gentler discipline alternatives.
Monday, 26 March 2012
As I read these posts and the comments that followed, I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of sadness, not only because of the awful comments made by some readers, but even more so because it finally brought me to the place of fully recognizing something: I was raped. Not once, but three times and by three different individuals. So many years have passed and I have no desire to address the individuals who were involved, but I have been going through a great deal of processing, trying to make sense of what happened, and how I came to view these incidents as completely and totally "my fault." I seem to have been enculturated with the same twisted ideas as some of the commenter's on Blue Milk's articles, ideas that sound so ignorant and anti-woman to me now. I was brought up in a culture of victim blame, a culture of excuses, but there is no excuse for any man or woman to have sex with an individual who has not willingly and openly consented to such an act. How I didn't see this before is baffling to me, but I'm glad to know it now, and hope to impart that sense on my own children.
I am so very saddened to think that I, as an intelligent and capable young woman, did not see what any of the men who took advantage of me did as all that wrong. It certainly wasn't right, but who could blame them. It's what men did, I thought. I was flirtatious, I was playful, so what did I expect? Would it have been so wrong to expect respect for my own right to choose when and how I wanted to have sex? How about to expect the men to hold themselves up to a higher standard? I really don't think so. I'm disgusted by the idea that I put all of the blame on myself for the conscious decisions these so-called men made to take advantage of me. My point of view at the time was so very twisted that I even continued to have an amicable relationship with at least one of these men, because it wasn't their fault, after all. I was stupid. I was irresponsible. I made bad decisions.
All of these years later, I can finally see that no decision I made gave another person the right to have sex with me without my consent. No decision I made "led" to unwanted sex.
As part of my processing, I have been going over and over these scenarios in my head, trying to figure out what led me to think and to do the things I did, and to completely and totally let these guys off the hook. I want to know what led me to think that what they did was okay, in large part so that I can protect my own daughter from a similar fate.
The first scenario involved my boyfriend at the time. This boyfriend, several years older than I, knew I had not had sex and that I was not ready to have sex. We had discussed this on numerous occasions. One night, he invited me to join him at a friend's house party, where I hardly knew a soul. The drinks got to me quickly, so he suggested that we should go. I got the sense that I had embarrassed him, and half expected him to take me home and go back to the party unencumbered. His and my apartments were within a four or five mile radius of one another, as was the one where the party was located, so taking me home would have been easy, really. To my surprise, he wanted to go to his place. We did, I relieved that my hip older boyfriend had not ditched me for embarrassing him. I was extremely intoxicated, sick, and out of it, but glad to he still wanted me around all the same.
Before long, I found myself in his bed and we did things we had done before, all of which were fine with me. What I didn't know at the time was that he was planning to have sex with me. It's all so clear to me now, looking back on details from the night, but I didn't see it then. I was enjoying myself, so I suppose I believed that what followed was the logical next step, and that because I had willingly participated in the lead-up to it, I had consented in some way or another. One minute things were normal, and the next I realized that he was having sex with me. I was shocked, since he had given me no warning whatsoever, but believed I had brought it upon myself and made him think that I wanted it, so I didn't speak up but merely waited for it to be over. Very few, if any words were spoken afterward. We went to sleep, and the next morning he proceeded to enter me again, with little to no warning. We never discussed what was actually happening, he never asked my permission. He really didn't seem to consider what I wanted at all.
In the days that followed, I spent a lot of time processing what had happened and ended up convincing myself that I had wanted it. I know that I know that if I had actually been asked if I were ready, if I had been consulted at all, I would have told him I wasn't ready. The fact that our entire social circle had heard the news, and was congratulating me on having lost that antiquated thing called my virginity, helped create and feed this twisted idea that it had been a good thing. But the reality is, he took advantage of me. And I didn't stop him. I'm really not sure which is more upsetting - my passivity or his complete and utter selfishness and lack of consideration. If I had asked him to stop, said no, would he have stopped? I'd like to think the answer is yes, but I don't know. It's this not knowing that caused me to blame myself. I couldn't say he acted against my will, I felt, because I failed to make my will known. I wish I had said no, sure. I could have said no, sure. But absolutely nothing gave him the right to assume a yes and move forward with something he knew that, sober, I hadn't wanted, especially without checking in with me first.
Fast forward a couple of years and I found myself in an even more disturbing scenario, for which I fully blamed myself and agonized endlessly over my poor decision. I had flirted with a coworker, not because I was the least bit interested in him, but because I was young and flirtatious. We worked in a social environment where this type of interaction was going on constantly, and it was fun, but didn't obligate anyone to follow on with anything at all.
I went out one night with two old friends who I trusted, rightly. They were kind and gentlemanly and I had known them for years. When the two of us who were not driving had consumed our fair share at the bar, they drove me home and came up to my apartment for a chat. Meanwhile, I had been texting with the coworker, who wanted to come over. Against my better judgment, I decided this sounded like fun, and invited him. I have absolutely no memory at all of his coming over. My first clue came in the morning, when I found a note apologizing for his having to leave before I awoke. I was a bit surprised, since I didn't recall going to sleep beside him anyway, and certainly had not expected to wake up to him in my bed.
A bit later, I went to the bathroom and found a piece of latex inside of me. I can actually remember thinking, "well, at least he used a condom." This was a relief to me at the time, and more pressing a concern than the issue that I had no memory of agreeing to a sex act of any kind. Again, I blamed myself. What had I been thinking!? Looking back now, I know exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking that I wanted to have fun with my good friends, who I had not seen in ages. Because I felt safe with them, and was not particularly good at rejecting others, I allowed a coworker to join us. Beyond that, I can only imagine, but I know that I was in absolutely no condition to give consent. Is it wise to drink to excess? Perhaps not, but as an adult do I have every right to make a decision to do so? Of course I do! Does another adult have a right to use the situation to their advantage and have their way with me? Abso-frickin'-lutely not.
That time in my life was a wild, spontaneous one and it involved many nights of drinking and spending time with friends. There are certainly experiences that are fuzzy, times when my wits were not entirely about me, but I always remembered at least bits and pieces from every hour I was awake, even if only half awake. The fact that I remember absolutely nothing - not a single moment from my time with this man - is very suspicious to me as well, especially since I did not drink that excessively. Either I had already entered a hard sleep, or something else occurred without my permission.
Later on that next morning, I received a call from the trustworthy friends who had been my drinking companions the night before. They called to check on me because they were worried. They had not felt comfortable leaving me with my coworker the previous night, but at the same time had to get home, so trusted that I knew him well enough to be safe. I thanked them for checking in on me, and told them everything was absolutely fine that morning. In reality, I was angry, upset, horrified - but I was also embarrassed, so my response was to pretend like nothing had happened. It was my fault anyway, right? I took one hundred percent of the blame and responsibility. A few days later, when my coworker (who fortunately wasn't working all that often, and who I asked not to be scheduled with again) started texting again and asking for a date, I made up excuses until he gave up. I didn't have the nerve to tell him I thought he was scum, or that I was furious, or horrified. I just made up excuses and waited for it all to go away. I was to blame, after all.
Just days after that incident I was enjoying a game night with close friends at their home. We were all drinking to some extent, so the plan was for everyone who didn't live in the neighborhood, to sleep on the couch or a futon. Sometime later in the night, a friend's brother joined us, someone who I knew by reputation but had interacted with very little. I actually thought he was cute, but too cool to be friends with me anyhow. This was the only person I did not know well and trust, but given that others seemed to, I felt safe enough and eventually went to sleep, with trusted friends nearby. Before long, I awoke to the friend's brother making a move. I was not all that out of it, so I woke fully and for whatever twisted reason took his advances as a compliment. There was some kissing and we agreed to go for a walk.
It was snowy and perfectly quiet in the middle of the night and my new companion was just about as charming as he could be. I enjoyed talking with him and somehow felt comfortable. The whole situation had started to feel like something out of an indie film, so when our walk took us relatively near to my house, I suggested we head there to get out of the cold. I agreed to let him sleep there, but was quite clear that I didn't want sex, especially because neither of us had protection. Still, I was enjoying myself, so kissing continued, and before I knew it he was apologizing. "Sorry, sorry, I couldn't help myself," he said. "You're just so hot, and I can't believe you're hanging out with me." I was angry, annoyed, but still somehow charmed (you can see why I'm disgusted looking back. Why did I not send him away immediately? Better yet, why did I not see and call him out for the scum that he was when he made advances toward me, someone he hardly knew, in my sleep?), so I got dressed and went to sleep, allowing him to stay. The next morning, he accompanied me out for coffee and was so outrageously sweet. I was organizing an event at my place of work that evening and he said several times that he wanted to hang out with me, and was going to come by. I actually thought this might be the beginning of something - what a destructive relationship that would have been! - but fortunately he never turned up that evening. I never saw him again.
There is a common thread I see when I look at these three stories together, and that's a lack of confidence - in both myself, and in my rights. It disgusts me that the tiny bit of flattery used in that third scenario was enough to make me excuse such a plain and simple violation. In that situation, I had said no, but the other person chose to do what they wanted anyway. In the first situation, the warm feeling of being wanted likely played a huge role in my silence. In the second scenario, I was too embarrassed to even admit that anything had happened, much less call the person involved out for his actions.
Aside from that I felt a definite lack of power as a woman. The image of rape I had been presented with growing up was one where a woman was in clear danger, and attempted to fight off an attacker to no avail. This image has been a sad reality for far too many women, but it ignores the fact that every woman has the right to choose who she will sleep with. Every woman deserves to be asked whether or not certain actions toward her are acceptable. The opportunist who does not give a woman the chance to say no may be less violent than the men I pictured when I thought of rape, but their behavior is in no way excusable. And yes, women can and do rape men, too. This is no more acceptable, and it saddens me that society paints it as though it's often some sort of privilege for the man.
The bottom line is, everyone has the right to give or deny consent for sex, and no one has the right to take it just because the moment is right. I'm not in a position to say exactly how and what at this point, but a lot of things need to change so that future generations of women and men can grow up knowing this at the very core of their being.
Thursday, 15 March 2012
"The fact that he met with you to discuss this and he was the one to decide to do it that way instead of just stopping things right then in a reply, clearly shows that he is getting something out of this. Either he feels the same way or he enjoys that you do so he is taking advantage of that to give him some kind of fulfillment."
Having spoken to a couple of friends outside the situation, they have come to the same conclusion. They trust my instincts too.
"However, I think all that is besides the point. If you are having these feelings, you are not in the relationship you were trying to convey in your previous post. I think you are trying to convince yourself that it is so great when that isn't the case (I DO believe that some of it is great, but that isn't the whole picture). The fact is that you need something more in your marriage or you would not be in this situation AND acting on it. I don't know what that is you need, but I think you need to find out for yourself, and your marriage, what that is. If you were happy in your marriage, you would have never felt the desire to act on it and it would not eat at you like this. That doesn't mean that you would never be attracted to someone else on some level, but this is deeper than that hun, and that's because you are lacking something in your relationship that you are seeking (on some level... be it seeking or ceasing the opportunity when you found it) elsewhere. I hope you find what it is hun."
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
I previously wrote on here about a friendship which seemed to be turning into something more - despite both parties being happily married.
I tried taking the advice of the second commenter and pull right back. This did not work for me, it just seemed to add fuel to the forbidden fire.
I took an opportunity to broach the subject sideways on in an email exchange that I could maneuver to discussing our friendship in more depth - to try a figure out what was going on for him. We met in person to continue the conversation - he saying he had more to say, but wanted to say it in person. But when we met, nothing else was broached. It was as it always is- flirty, uncomfortable, relaxed, open in equal measures...
So the next day I wrote a very brave email, broaching the subject in complete clarity.
I felt sick for the rest of the day. 7 hours later a response. A very kind, sweet, caring response - a little veiled, which I looked for clarification on. The whole thing, it seems, was a misinterpretation on my side. Which makes me feel embarrassed, foolish, desperate, unsure of how to return to "normal" with him or his wife. We exchanged a couple of jokey emails straight after - I tried very hard to sound light hearted and upbeat. I know he won't ridicule me, he has a lot of respect for my courage. And I am trying to too. But you know what. It just feels so awkward. I have spent 2 1/2 years worrying about, playing with the idea of, avoiding, something which, apparently, was all in my head. I feel rejected, spurned - which is ridiculous. Because the whole reason I broached the subject was so that the energy could be taken out of the building flirtation and everything made safe, as we were being adult and playing our cards on the table. But now I just feel like a silly school girl with an inappropriate crush. And, ridiculously, a little rejected.
I would like to make the point at this juncture that he is not "my type", therefore I was not bound to fall for him. A large part of my discomfort was in picking up on his signals. Which apparently weren't there. Which makes me feel confused. I put lot of trust in my intuition and feelings - I would initiate a communication like this lightly, unless I was pretty sure - the stakes are so high on both sides, as is the potential for ridicule. Now I feel so vulnerable with my heart on my sleeve. I worry that he thinks I'm "after him" now, a home wrecker or something.
I manufactured it so I could bump into them not long after, so the ice is officially broken. But it doesn't feel like it really. How to proceed?
Monday, 6 February 2012
I spoke to her on the phone before Christmas, a few days after her disasterous stay- emotion and tears bubbling up - she wanted me to tell her what was going on for me. I did my best, cool and calm, but didn't want to get into stuff which wold be held against me at a later date.
Christmas was a bit of a write off. And coming into the new year in a tail spin I knew what I had to do.
I sent her a short email saying that I needed space (I find her an energy vampire who is always needing involvement in my life and lots of my attention). I requested that we have no contact (we live in different countries) for two months. I have been wanting to say that to her since I was at university, more than ten years ago. But because of her mental health issues, this has been too dangerous a proposition for me. She had told me she was in a good space and had changed over the past year. So I felt this was a good opportunity. I am going into an intense period of my own work - personal and creative - for the first few months of 2012 - and I wanted to be completely free of feeling angry towards her, and these negative energies blocking the important development and creative work which was emerging for the first time in my adult life.
This is what Jung calls individuation. And I have been needing it for so long. She gave me her blessing and said she understood. So knowing I had OK'd it with her and that I would not be having to avoid her, I felt free. I had the divorce from my mother which I was longing for, but without the anger and recriminations and raking over old stuff that I did not want.
Then over the next four week I set about journaling, thinking, reading, learning and healing - reframing the images in my head which were blocking my relationship with her, shifting shit so to speak - but safely, by myself. It gave me insight into my relationship with my own daughter too.
Books I found helpful were:
Light Emerging: The Journey of Personal Healing by Barbara Ann Brennan