Yesterday I wrote this post. By noon MST I had 72 emails in my inbox, had 3 Facebook messenger chats and 7 iMessage chats regarding my post on Violence Against Women.
So MANY FEELS!
I have heard from victims, witnesses, supporters, friends, strangers, acquaintances and my children. There have been so many questions and comments I just cannot get to everyone and I am sorry.
The next best thing I can offer is a reply to you here, since many questions are similar I thought we could have a Q & A session right here, right now. I prefer to answer individually, but I just can’t – and I am sorry. I do want to thank you everyone for their support and kindness. It really means a lot to me.
The Edmonton Tourist Answers Your Questions:
1) I hate surprises. Why did I read about this and not have you tell me?
Honestly? I thought you knew. If you didn’t know then it was because I thought I was over it. Sorry. I hate surprises too.
2) This must have been difficult to write. How were you able to do it?
Good question. I didn’t find it difficult to write. Writing is my meditation, my creative outlet, my forum for sorting out my thoughts. I often don’t know what I am thinking until it comes out in written word. Then I read it and wow….that is how I am feeling or thinking. It is almost as if my emotions and brain have a life of their own and get to explore themselves while I am not looking.
Another reason it wasn’t difficult to write is because it happened 27 years ago. A lifetime ago. I am not even remotely the same person and I have the ability to look at the abuse objectively. I have knowledge and wisdom in my corner. The other part, convincing people it happened, that is painful. My daughter explains it best: That is just they was society is right now. It always seems to be the victim’s fault, like they should be able to control monsters. We all aren’t a SuperHero. My wise 18-year-old said: Unless you walk in their shoes, you have no idea how difficult the situation really is.
3) Do your children know?
Ummm….ya, about that. I am not the mom who hides things from her children. I face things head on. I am honest where other people blush. My 9-year-old asked me once about masturbation – they got a straight up answer and not the answer where you go blind and your hand falls off. The answer where they understood the mechanics. As they got older the questions changed from concrete questions to more philosophical. I taught my kids to be critical thinkers. They can hold their own in any conversation…watch out for that girl of mine, she will knock you down a peg or two if she thinks you are not walking within your set of values. Notice I said YOUR values. She doesn’t force her values on anyone, she expect you to live by our own code.So talking about me being abused was fine because they can see I am not a puddle on the floor and they can ask me anything and get an honest answer. I told them may not enjoy reading this blog, but I told them the basics. It’s up to them to explore for themselves. They know I am okay. They also know I can hold my own in any bar fight….so they are secure beds at night.
4) I never understood WHY my mom never left.
That is something you can understand. Listen to her. Be empathetic. You will figure it out. I have a feeling it had more to do about not letting you be homeless than it was about her not having courage.
5) It was stupid for you to confront that man.
I didn’t confront him. I supported her. If you can’t see that, then you still don’t get it and that’s okay, I can explain it a different way. I do not speak angry. Angry is a language that comes from somewhere deep inside and spews out hate. I have been on the receiving end many times but I shut down. I listen, absorb and hurt when it happens. I always stay quiet instead of fighting back. BECAUSE quiet is more powerful than words. Lowering your voice has greater impact than yelling louder. I wasn’t there for him, I was standing in solidarity with her. It wasn’t about him. It was about supporting her. I could care less about him. I cared about her. I could have been hurt. He would have had spent time in prison. Besides…..I know a guy ;)
Why is complicated. All I know is doing the right thing is hard. Doing nothing is easy. People say “Mind your own business”. Helping is different. Its part of who I am. All I wish for is for people to respect each other. Easy.
Respect means loyalty, kindness, equality, empathy and other things as well.
7) Did you do this to gain popularity?
HAHAHAHAHA no. I did this because I know how it feels to have no one stand up for you. It happened years ago. It happened last year and more recently it happened this spring. I was shocked when the one person I expected to support me didn’t. I get why now, he isn’t as strong as I thought he was. That’s okay too. Not everyone is who you need them to be. Just love them for who they are.
If I wanted to be popular, you would all get to see me naked. Being smart is way better than being naked.
8) How did you get out?
Hmmm. That is a bit more complicated. Without going into details that just don’t matter, I will say I did things that I would not have done today to be free. However, I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not done those things. It was hard and a lot of people were very angry with me. It was a lonely time and I don’t wish it on anyone. The one thing I might do differently is tell people EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. Victim shaming needs to stop.
9) You were brave.
If being scared is brave than I suppose I was. I just want to get people thinking. You may do something different because your life experience is different. BUT THINK. Think about actions and consequences. If you can live with the consequences, then you are golden.
10) I wish there was someone to tell him to be a better man.
All I can say to that is be the man you want your son to be. Change is possible. You do not have to follow in footsteps that are abusive, hurtful or sexually harmful. Fix your corner of the world. If everyone did that, this place would be awesome. I know WAY MORE GREAT MEN then I know terrible ones. I no longer give my time to terrible ones. It’s your time, your life. Live it so your offspring would be proud to call you Mom or Dad. If you don’t have kids, live your life so you would be proud to tell your Grandma, Mom or other important person in your life. They should know everything. No secrets. If you have a secret, then something is wrong. Fix it.
While we are on this subject, Men get a bad wrap. Women are far more sneaky and evil than men. Or perhaps that is just from my perspective. The men I have in my life are people I admire – except for that one guy….we all have THAT ONE GUY in our life that just needs someone to nurture a bit…then he will come around. But don’t condone his actions. Make him accountable…as long as you make yourself accountable. Judging is different. Don’t judge – it’s not cool or politically correct or nice. BE NICE PEOPLE!
11) How can you ever get over something like that?
You just do or you die. Everyone handles things differently. I have had triggers lately that have been upsetting for me. But there have been a heck of a lot of OTHER things in my life that are MORE upsetting. I suppose it is perspective.
Live is just a series of experiences. You take something away for each one, apply it to the next and so on. The plan is for one day to have learned enough from your experiences to have nothing phase you. Water off a ducks back. When that happens you die. The End.
Most of my experiences have been crappy ones. HOWEVER, I have learned a TON OF STUFF! I could start my own University, or Country or Planet with the stuff I learned. I can also tell you that I also don’t really know anything. Its complicated.
Just be kind and things will work out okay. If things are not okay, you are not at the end yet. Be patient, you will get there.