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My head hurts.

It’s too much.

The warning that lies within these words is that we are speaking up, speaking out now, and I hope forever more. I am adding my voice to this movement with this first story to encourage others to do what I didn’t do for too long; tell somebody. Hell, tell everybody.

This is a two-fold unleashing:

  1. Speak up. Speak out. Speak your truth. Know you will be heard.

  2. To those that have abused your power of another in any manner; Your time of getting away with it has come to an end.

Too many instances over the past two years to count my outrage. An outrage on top of an outrage over the times of discrimination, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, rape, rape culture, mansplaining, and double standards I have had reflected back on me from our society. Stirring back a reflection from my own experiences; too many times to count throughout my life in regards to the inequality in behavior and grotesque abuse of power shown me by a handful of people.

I will no longer remain silent and want anyone reading this to know you can speak out too.

4 important ingredients in this dish:

  1. Listen. Get quiet.

  2. Speak your truth. Say something. Say it loud. Say it with your whole being.

  3. Change. We have the capacity to change. To do better. To make this world a better place for all people.

  4. This one’s for those that use their power to harm others in a way that should land them in jail: GO. AWAY. Stay Gone. **I want to add a caveat based on my optimism; I would love to hear some of these men come clean. Truthfully acknowledging their abuse, expressing remorse and telling their story so we all can learn from them and those teetering on the edge can choose a path of respect instead of abuse. Then a quote from The Shawshank Redemption slams into my already aching head, “everybody is innocent in here, don’t you know that?” I’ll stick with: GO. AWAY.

The veil has been lifted. The deceit and pervasive manipulation that I have lived with is shattered.

For most of my life I have suffered from what I think now is an all too common ailment: this is just the way it is so best of luck navigating the creepiness and grotesque behavior you’ll experience because it is just a fact of the world you live in little girl.

A total lie. A total lie built by those that abuse their power and have gotten away with it for far too long.

Change. I changed. I no longer believe this statement to be true and anyone that wants to join me, you are invited to come along to make a more level landscape for our future.

The lie was handed down to my parents and this was their response in raising me:

  1. My Dad: You are going to be sexually assaulted so I’m going to teach you how to defend yourself. I was maybe eleven and he was still late in delivery.

  2. My Mom: You are going to be discriminated against and harassed; called a bitch and worse with a encouraging addition of, don’t be seen crying because then you’ll be called emotional and weak.

They were onto the deception but still trapped by its spell.

They were just trying to protect their little girl with very practical and what turned out to be very useful advice.

All of those things happened, many repeatedly and I was always able to navigate through, get out, get away, find a work around but I never told anybody that could help shift the balance of power. In this I fully perpetuated the abuse of power.

Let me assure you now that - hopefully - that this abuse of power - the people abusing this power are in the minority but that their abuses have created a sickness that we have all been exposed to. I’m now encouraged because if a very few can have a very powerful effect on the perception and behavior of many, the tables can be turned.

It is time for the tables to turn because this has shown me that I can have that same power. You can have that same power. We are going to make changes that help prevent these abuses of power from happening and in the tragic event that they do, we will all know to take immediate and direct action for justice with no hesitation.

This waiting years and years to say anything will end. Mine ends today but starts with a difficult truth that I have had to face. I will address it now with the apology it deserves.

This is to express my own part in how we got here, that by not saying anything or speaking up I played a part in this culture of abuse, rape, harassment, the list goes on and on. I’m not gonna play that game anymore.

this decision comes more easily now. I’ve been practicing a bit. Sharing pieces and parts vaguely for awhile now.

A soft opener might be that a male friend of mine came to visit me at my new place a few weeks ago. He came for the weekend and it was overall good but on the last night we had a little too much to drink and he made a bad joke at my expense in my home. It’s just a joke, but he has made them before and I let them slide. I got mad, then I got up and left him sitting at my bar. I went to my room, shut the door, and had a hard time getting to sleep.

The next morning I got up and came downstairs to his chipper voice greeting me a “good morning”. Chipper in that way that says whatever happened last night can be brushed under the rug and forgotten about. I had forgotten to tell him that after my last break-up I vowed never to play this game again: the let’s pretend that never happened game. I looked him the eye and told him just that. “I’m not playing this game anymore. You need to acknowledge your inappropriateness and apologize before we continue.” He is one of the good ones, which is why I share this. He apologized and we moved quickly back to our weekend of fun.

Yes, it’s a softball but for me it has become second nature to pretend it never happened. Taking that small stand opened the door to this one.

This part is a little harder: I’m sorry I never told anyone.

I’m sorry I never went to my parents and told them you sexually assaulted me because I thought I they might be mad at me. By not saying anything, maybe you did what you did to me to someone else and that breaks my heart.

I’m sorry I never went to the fraternity leaders or the university when you tried to rape me at that frat party. By not saying anything I put other women in danger of being raped.

I’m sorry I didn’t call the cops when the whole group of you had my girlfriend drunk in the bedroom, wouldn’t let me get her, and started crowding around me, the circle closing in tighter but I got away, got out, got in my car, and drove home crying. I left my friend with you and in doing so let you all know that gang rape is something you can get away with. Me and that girl never spoke of it again.

I’m sorry I didn’t call the cops when you tried to rape me at a house party by playing on my graciousness with the old -”let me show you the house trick” which ended in a back room where once I was inside you locked the door behind and jumped on me. I lost my shit and have ever since borrowed a line from James Brown, (yes, he is another celebrity famous for some of his abuses)  - “I don’t know karate but I know crazy!” I got away. I left. I didn’t turn back, and you may have gotten away with it with someone else because of my silence.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell the bouncers or the owners or whoever at all the clubs and shows that I have been groped, grabbed, attacked, and jumped at, nor did I do anything other than feel sorry for the other women I would see it happening to in the crowd around me.

I got away and never looked back because that was what I believed the truth to be.

Predators are everywhere.

Nothing can be done about it.

It’s going to happen to you so try your best to get away and don’t look back.

Try to forget.

I’m so sorry I let the greater prevalence of rape culture delude me for so long.

I’m sorry to anyone that may have gotten hurt because I didn’t say anything. I was happy to get away and felt stronger for it. That false sense of strength shattered by the recognition that my silence put others in harm's way.

Stop! This stops now!

To all those that have taken advantage of and abused their power with no regards to the rights and respect of others, this is what the opening of the floodgates looks like.

Today, I want to honor those that are standing up and speaking out against these abuses. Thank you for sharing your stories. Thanks as well to those that are helping all of us along the way.

I hear you and I am with you.

Today, I am in no mood to help those few that have hurt so many or even those teetering on the edge in an attempt to help prevent them from such abusses. That may be a story for another day or another voice.

Today and the days that follow are filled with empowerment.

My head feels a little better.