Tag Archives: personal

Don’t Be a Victim: An Ode to Personal Responsibility

25 Jul

Let’s talk about a dicey subject.

Victim shaming.

Often considered an integral piece of rape culture,  victim shaming is generally known as any behavior, attitude, or stance that places blame on the victim for the incident or causes the victim to feel ashamed of his or her actions secondary to blaming the incident on the victim’s actions. As a part of rape culture, statements such as “she shouldn’t have been wearing that” or “she shouldn’t have drank that much” are common ways to propogate feelings of rape being a result of a woman’s actions, instead of that of a man’s (I’m using these particular pronouns because of the statistical frequency of rape to particular genders, however, I do very much acknowledge the presence of rape of men by men or by women – I’m not forgetting you fellas, I promise!).

It is important that we help to eliminate this brand of propogation of rape culture by teaching men and women what consent is and means and understanding that blaming anyone but the perpetrator is not okay.

I have, however, seen a lot of social media coverage of things that are basically telling anyone to throw caution to the wind. Run naked and drunk through that dark alley into that windowless van, young girl! Rape isn’t your fault!

Well, no. Rape isn’t your fault, and I do not want anyone thinking that I am suggesting that. I’m going to continue to use this scenario for explanatory purposes. If you do, in fact, run naked and drunk through a dark alley in a windowless van, this is not an excuse to rape you. It is not a reason to rape you. You should not be raped in this situation, or ever. (It is an excuse to provide you with a warm blanket, and probably call the police because a safe place for you to go is needed.) I am also not, in any way, attempting to make any person feel ashamed of whatever experiences they have been or will go through.

BUT…(yes, there is a but)…don’t be a victim.

A dark alley probably isn’t a great place to walk, regardless of your gender, how you are dressed, or your degree of sobriety. Getting into a strangers vehicle is not a great idea regardless of your gender, how you are dressed, or your degree of sobriety. Doing these things while drunk and naked is an even worse idea regardless of your gender or how you are dressed.

These things are unneccessary risks, especially in combination.

What it all comes down to is this:

The only person responsible for you…is you.

Please. Take personal responsibility for yourself. Be accountable for your actions. Be safe.

I recently saw a social media post about a girl who got hit by a car because she was playing Pokemon GO explaining that it was the game’s fault. There is no personal responsibility in that statement. It is terrible that she got hit by a car, and we would all hope that the driver in that situation was paying attention and had enough time to come to a complete stop without hitting the girl, but the fact of the matter is that this girl needs to understand that in the future, she should decrease the risk level she is taking by being more proactive in her own environment.

If you have done an acceptable degree of prevention, whatever the incident, and the incident still occurs, then at the very least you can say I did my part. It isn’t my fault. Because the last thing anyone wants to feel is that feeling of maybe I could have done this differently, or this, or that…The less someone has to face these feelings after a rape, the closer they are to healing.

We can tell everyone all the time from a young age until we are blue in the face that “no means no” or “lack of communiction is not consent” but just as it is with anything, variation in the human element means that rape will always happen. It is a lonely world out there, and I can only hope that there is someone out there that cares about you, but at the end of the day, we are all selfish human beings with our own needs to take care of.

That’s okay. We also try to be decent humans to each other and support each others interests.

But if you aren’t being responsible, there is no guarantee that someone else will be responsible. Empower yourself. Take the precautions needed when you need to take them. It’s okay.

What do you think of personal responsibility? What is something that you do to take charge when you’re feeling unsafe in your environment?

Consent and Consequences

14 Dec

This is not my first blog about this, and will undoubtedly be my last.

But I want to talk about rape culture, sexual assault/harassment, and consent.

It seems easy enough…right? Consent is consent. You need consent. Problem solved.

Wellllllllll…not so fast.

I could even argue that there are some gray lines with rape. But I won’t. Not today.

The reason I bring this up because the words “assault” and “harassment” and “consent” all make me feel victimized, which is not something I like to feel. You are a victim of assault. A victim of harassment. All because you didn’t give your explicit consent. Here are three scenarios for you to think about:

Stranger slaps your ass.
Person you are hanging out with takes your hand to hold it.
1st date kisses you.

All of these have [sort of] happened to me. Does it matter the relationship of the person? Must you explicitly tell them that something is okay…or does it have to happen once followed by a firm “no”?

The reason I ask is because if a stranger slaps your ass, is it consensually different than if your SO does? Most people say well, yes…it is very different but when do you give your consent if your SO smacks your butt? You COULD do an SO agreement like Sheldon and Amy on Big Bang Theory. OR you could wait until it happens, then tell them no, but that kind of defeats the purpose of consent. Finally, your SO could ask if he/she could slap your ass prior to the slapping.

I don’t expect anyone, ever to take such measures. It borderlines crazy.

That is how I feel about things like kissing, and holding hands, too.

Because apparently, if someone kisses you without asking, that is sexual assault? Harassment? I don’t know the difference. I think a strong part of being assaulted or harassed is the emotional feeling it causes, and I can’t say I’ve ever had that feeling from someone kissing me without asking first. I’m not a victim of anything.

I think it adds drama, unnecessarily. I also don’t think it promotes rape culture.

I also think it would be super awkward if someone asked me if they could kiss me or hold my hand.

Person: Can I kiss you?
Me: *looks around* Uh…sure…

Followed by what would probably be the most awkward kiss in the world.

It doesn’t seem fair to me that women (and probably some men, too) are doing so much to make consent sexy. Yes. You should not be forced to have sex against your will. But a kiss? A held hand? I don’t think it is necessary.

Thoughts?

How to Better Deal with Criticism

4 Oct

If there is one skill that you have in your arsenal for dealing with people both professionally and personally it should definitely be an ability to handle criticism with grace.

It’s human nature to get irritate, angry, mad, or even furious if someone is critical of you, albeit constructive or otherwise. We naturally think the way we do things is the best way, and when someone tells us we aren’t the best, well…it makes us mad.

The best way to handle criticism is to first calm yourself. By realizing you have become angry, you can better calm yourself down in order to think about the criticism itself – not that someone criticized you. Once you are calm, you should take a moment to understand that no one is perfect, and that this could be an opportunity to improve yourself.

Once you are calm, think about what the criticism was about. Did the other person have a point? Was it something you could actually improve? The likely answer to both of those questions is yes. If this is the case, it will ease both parties if you thank them for their criticism. They could have not said anything and seethed privately and you wouldn’t have had any opportunity to improve. Once you thank them and tell them they had a point, you might choose to elaborate on why you chose to do something the way you did, but be careful to not be defensive. If you think you will sound defensive, then it might be better to not say anything at all. Remember: stay calm and don’t be angry or respond in anger.

Once you have acknowledge the criticism at hand, make improvements. The person dealing out the criticism likely had a reason. But don’t dwell on the criticism…let it go. It’s more than likely that the other person didn’t mean any harm.

What do you do to handle criticism gracefully? I always try to, but often I fail and internalize it – any suggestions? 

The [True] Value of Friendship

29 Apr

Friendship is something I value greatly, but I’ve found as I’ve developed and lost friendships, that not everyone feels as strongly about friends as I do.

Recently, I had a bit of a falling out with a friend. Something inside of me is holding back from relaying all the nasty little details, so I won’t indulge, but really…it sucks! One should always surround themselves with positive energy and good people, so it isn’t unusual for me to stop being friends with people who bring me down, but I feel like when I say that, most people think that I mustn’t value friendship at all. That isn’t accurate in the slightest, though. It’s actually extremely painful to lose a friend, and no matter how mad I am at someone, or what they did, I always relish in the fun times that we’ve had together. Honestly, I wish I never had to deal with friends being…unfriendly…because it hurts, and I hate it, and I just want things to go back to being happy.

There is one thing I’ve found with every friend-problem I’ve ever had that just isn’t fair. The other friend never admits fault. I’ve always been the one to break the ice, and go in, and usually apologize for not talking to them or being mad or whatever it may be.  Okay…that’s a lie. I had one friend admit that she was acting poorly to me.

Regardless, it’s just not fair. And no…life isn’t fair, but I don’t want to lose a friend just because I want them to want to be my friend, but they won’t take the steps to make that happen.

That’s what it comes down to: they don’t want to be my friend, or rather, they don’t need to be my friend.

Every friend I have is a jewel in their own right. They come with their own set of rules that makes them them. And yes, I generally hand-pick my friends because I want to surround myself with good people and good influences. Any one of these friends means the world to me, and I don’t have a lot of investment in anything else: I don’t have a best friend and I don’t have a significant other, so each friend is massively important to me.

Unfortunately, I think that is the problem.

While I consider my friends so important and I want to keep each and every one of them, my friends don’t consider me as such. Or some of them, at least. That has to be the reason why friends don’t come to me and apologize. We all have those friends who have a million friends and/or acquaintances, and they have a best friend, and they have a significant other…and they don’t need you to be friends with them, so they don’t try and they don’t care, and if they do something wrong…whatever.

These friends don’t apologize, and it makes me feel so dispensable. That’s really all I want, is for my friends to consider me as important to them as they are to me. I know I’m not the only one with this problem – I’ve talk to some folks who are feeling the exact same way.

Unfortunately, some people value friendship much more than others, and that makes me sad.

Do you ever feel like you are dispensable to your friends? What do you do when you miss being friends with someone, but don’t want to have to be the one to break the ice again? What are your most common friendship issues?

30 Day Letter Challenge: Dear Ex-Boyfriend

18 Jun

Dear Ex-Boyfriend,

I haven’t talked to you in a very, very long time.

Our breakup wasn’t as smooth as it could have been, and it’s really unfortunate because, while you technically broke up with me, it was a mutual breakup.

We never talked about this part of it all, but…here we go.

First of all, how dare you break up with me via text message. I can recall the moment you demanded that if I ever broke up with you that I had to do it in person as if it happened just today. I also remember so vividly that I told you I was a decent person, and simply out of respect I would do it in person, but that I didn’t have to do anything you told me.

And then, you break up with me with a text and tell me I’m being difficult when I call you on it? So much for that year and a half we had.

But it’s okay. It was a relief to be done. Mutual, remember?

It didn’t stop there, though. You had to try to argue with me all summer after that. You had to spread rumors. You had to try to hurt me. Well, it’s fine; things like that don’t phase me.

Oh, and by the way…I never dated that black guy, I didn’t drink that summer or really any other summer and I still don’t really drink, I never went party-crazy, and all the friends you say you hated when we were together? Yeah. They still hate you.

I do look back on some of the memories I have with you fondly, though. Our relationship wasn’t bad by any means, and while there are some things I wish I could yell at you about, I won’t because it doesn’t matter any more. So, while I will continue on with my life, know that even though things ended horribly, it was all for a reason.

Everything happens for a reason. Even us. Even our break up. Remember when I would always tell you that? That’s because its true.

Always, Me

30 Day Letter Challenge: Dear Bestie

12 Jun

To introduce what I’m doing before I just jump in…there are various “30 Day Challenges” running amuck around the interwebs. One of them, as introduced to me by a subscriber/friend/blogger I follow, is a letter challenge. Basically, you just post a letter each day to the person dictated by the challenge list. So, here we go. I hope you enjoy reading. I think this might be as raw as my writing gets, so it might not make much sense, but I suppose that’s how my brain flows.

 

Dear Bestie,

We haven’t always been best friends, and I’m not sure if you even consider me your best friend, but at this point in my life you are definitely my best friend.

I’ve actually been afraid to label it that for a long time, but I don’t know why. Seems silly.

You are there for me through thick and thin, and you’ve always been so supportive of me. I can only hope that I have been supportive of you, and that I’ve been able to match your niceness and generosity.

No one else has made such attempts to stay in contact with me. I so wish you would move to Fort Collins; you would love it here.

Remember all the nights we would “break in” to old houses trying to scare ourselves? Or the nights we would drive up and down 6th street for hours, some times dancing like fools?

What about the time we didn’t talk to each other for 2 weeks? I’m so glad that we pulled through that, because it is not something I would have wanted to look back on and regretted. It was really stupid of us.

But we made it. I look forward in the future and see you living only an hour away, so that we can hang out whenever we want. I see friend dates and cooking parties and card nights. Definitely card nights.

Hopefully, I’ll see you soon. I miss you so much!!

Always, Me