Femme Writes: A victim. A survivor. A sufferer. August 5, 2010Posted by jeneypeney in femme writes, life, the 'f' word, women's writes.
On the 5th of every month, bloggers from around the world are open to write about rights and issues concerning women. First started by Shine and Marie, we’re hoping to bring a variety of women’s issues to the forefront to make people aware of what’s going on. For the month of July, we’ve chosen to write about Physical and Mental Abuse. Please join us in telling us your stories, thoughts, and ideas on a monthly basis. To read previous installments, click here.
***WARNING*** This post will probably shock 99.9% of you who read it. I have decided to be brutally honest in this post and I am holding nothing back. I haven’t spoken of these things very often or very recently to anyone – some of them I have never mentioned until now – so read ahead at your own risk.
I would bet that most of those who know me would never guess that I was a victim of sexual abuse from the time I was a small child through my years as an undergraduate. Upon first impressions, I probably come by as a well-adjusted, happy, and relatively normal twenty something girl trying to make her way in the world.
You’d never guess that inside I am constantly fighting feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness, pain… the list goes on.
I wrote about one of the instances of the abuse I suffered as a child before for Violence Unsilenced* – and at the time it was the most difficult thing I had ever done.
I was wrong.
Writing about it a second time, now, for Femme Writes is the hardest thing I have ever done. Why? Because for some reason memories I had suppressed and completely forgotten about are coming back and I’m not sure how to handle it all.
I suddenly remembered it all started in the first grade when the boy I was assigned to sit next to in class would expose himself to me on the playground. Because he thought it was funny.
Then in third grade another boy talked me into taking all my clothes off for him. Because “that’s what boyfriends and girlfriends do together.”
Then when I was 12, the mailman molested me right outside my home – along with several other young girls on our route. Because he was sick in the head.
Exactly a year later, a very close family friend molested and penetrated me with his fingers while he thought I was sleeping. Because he was drunk.
When I was a junior in college, I was forced to go down on a guy at a house party. Because he was pissed that I wouldn’t sleep with him.
The one that finally broke me? When I “blacked in” after a long night of drinking and the boy I had been flirting with all night was on top of me… and inside of me. Because I wasn’t coherent enough to stop him.
After all of this, I went though a long, awful phase where I would get absurdly drunk and sleep with inappropriate people. I didn’t know how to handle all the pain and unwanted guilt I had in my heart and mind. I felt so worthless, unwanted, and broken. Acting out as I did was the only way I could just not feel… even if it was for only a few hours.
It didn’t help that by best friend only judged me for my behavior. She wrote me off as a reckless slut and turned against me. I know I probably deserved it, but I think deep down I wanted her to ask me what was wrong and why I was being so stupid. I just wanted someone to care about me.
I am still learning to get over my feelings of guilt and broken-ness. It’s a process though, and I’m not sure if I ever will truly be fixed.
I was a victim. I am a survivor. But I am still suffering… and I fear I may always be.
* My post has not yet been published as the waiting list is about eleventy billion months long… but as soon as it is posted I well let you all know.
Why working in athletics sucks sometimes… June 15, 2010Posted by jeneypeney in femme writes, girl problems, i wish i was still in college, i'm a moron, life, piss and moan, post grad dilemma, sports, the 'f' word, women's writes, workin girl.
I had originally wanted to write this for Femme Writes, but I am obviously a whole ten days behind the deadline. However, something happened this past week that I have to address.
I’m a sports nut.
I have a box with a football, softballs, glove, volleyball, basketball, soccer ball, hand pump, and softball bat in my trunk – just in case.
I refuse to make plans on Sundays during football season because, duh! The game is on!
The Actual actually has issues watching sporting events with me because I get so worked up (“What the hell was that?! My dog could have caught that goddamn football!” “Who in their right mind would swing at that shit?! Worthless!”).
I also happen to be lucky enough to work in the same area I am so passionate about – athletics. And although the role of women in athletics (especially collegiate athletics) has continually increased over the past several decades, my particular field (equipment) is severely lacking in the double X chromosome department.
I was in Tennessee last week for a conference where I was one of maybe about a couple dozen women in a sea of over 500 athletic equipment managers. That, doubled with fact that I was a new, young face in the crowd, meant I kind of, sort of stuck out. (Best pick up line of the week? “We may be in Tennessee, but you’re the only ten-I-see!”)
Being a woman in the athletic work field, I have become used to the off-hand comments and subtle belittling that comes with it; it all just makes me work harder.
But this week, I was shaken so bad at one of my seminars that I almost spent the rest of the day in my hotel room.
You see, I was in a seminar called ‘Helpful Hints’, which consisted of us equipment managers sharing our own hints and shortcuts for the group. I decided to get up and share my ‘hint’ about donating the hotel toiletries athletes leave in their travel bags to battered women’s shelters or homeless shelters in town. I ended my hint by saying, “If you have a SAAC, you should get them involved as well.”
Of course, considering the room was full of 99% men, they heard me say, “If you guys have a sack, get them involved!”
For the remainder of the conference, I was known as the girl who talked about sacks in the Helpful Hints meeting. I was absolutely mortified. Not because I unintentionally mentioned a man’s private parts (Lord knows I do that intentionally on a normal basis), but because no one would drop the damn subject for the rest of the week.I had lost credibility because of my verbal slip.
I can’t help but wonder if the same thing would have happened if I had been a man and actually had a sack of my own?
I am just as intelligent, talented, and damn good at my job as any of those men in my association. I can talk sports and understand the metaphors just as well as the next ass hat out there. Just because I have a vagina does not mean they have the right to ridicule me because I stated something with a double meaning.
You can all take your sacks and kiss my skirted ass.
Women’s Writes – Taking Control May 5, 2010Posted by jeneypeney in all growed up, girl problems, life, pop culture, sexy time, women's writes.
When the Criminal Homicide and Abortion Amendments bill passed in Utah at the beginning of March, both Shine and Marie reached the end of their rope when it came to women’s rights and issues consistently being pushed backwards rather than moving forwards. They decided create Women’s Writes, the fifth day of every month in which any blogger could write about women’s rights and issues and bring them to the forefront so that we could speak up and make all of our voices heard.
When I began writing for this month’s Women’s Writes, I was originally going to talk about birth control and the difficulties of getting it whilst one is in attendance at an all women’s Catholic College.
But I figured that’s kind of a no-brainer, right? So instead I am going to write about (dramatic pause)….
“But, Jeney… Condoms? Isn’t that a guy thing? Why talk about jimmy hats for Women’s Writes?”
Well, I could be completely off base about this, but it seems that there is still a stigma on women who purchase, carry around, or otherwise have condoms in their possession. Frankly, I still feel a small twinge of embarrassment when I buy condoms myself and have to avert my eyes from the cashier.
You’ve seen The Pregnancy Pact**, remember the scene when the one girl in the group who wasn’t pregnant was embarrassed to buy condoms? So Thora Birch’s character offered to do it with her to show the girls that there was no need to be ashamed of it?
That is exactly what I am talking about here.
Why is it I feel like Suzy McCashier is judging me? There is absolutely no reason to be embarrassed of taking control of your right to manage what happens to your uterus. After all, if we as women are expected to be on the pill, patch, shot, ring, IUD, etc., to prevent pregnancy, shouldn’t we be able to take charge on the condom thing too?
Because let’s face it, guys aren’t always going to be cooperative when it comes to wrapping it up.
Don’t be ashamed of buying condoms. Don’t be afraid to stash some in your purse when you go out for the night. It doesn’t mean you are a slut or easy – it means you’re an intelligent woman who is in command of of her reproductive rights.
* Of course there are other forms of non-hormonal birth control like female condoms and diaphragms, but as those are considered “female” forms of contraception they may not hold the same social discomfort as male condoms.
** Don’t lie to me. I know you did.