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28 September 2016

I Survived

NOTE: I initially wrote this as an answer on Quora, to the question "What incident has traumatized you for good?" I'm reposting it here because I don't feel like re-typing all this.

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The six or seven years I spent with my abuser. Yeah, I’m including some snark in parenthetical comments, some of which is stuff I always wanted to say to him.

When I met him, he was charming, intelligent, polite.

That… that all changed after he moved in with me. I suspect it was changing before— no. I know it was changing before. Couldn’t see it at the time, but it’s all very clear now.

It started small. Pushing tiny boundaries, asking me to do things I was slightly uncomfortable with, small transgressions that you’d typically just brush off because “relationships are about give and take,” and most relationships do require some compromise because even the best, most compatible couples aren’t going to agree on 100% everything. And, you know, most couples work these things out in a way that works for both parties. Right?

Those little things turned into bigger things.

Before I knew what had happened, I was doing all the giving, and he was doing all the taking, and I had zero boundaries left.

If he wanted sex, he’d just roll me over (or drag me out of my wheelchair) and take it. From whatever orifice he decided he wanted to violate. Whether or not I was in the mood. Regardless of whether or not we had guests. I’ve been raped vaginally, orally, and anally.

He’d stay up all night playing video games. In and of itself, not necessarily a problem, and I’ve been known to pull all-nighters while gaming, myself. The problem was, he’d crank the volume UP until there was no way I could sleep. His excuse? “I can’t hear it if you turn it down.” (But he could somehow hear me just fine muttering obscenities under my breath? Yeah…)

I offered him headphones to use. “But they hurt my ears!”

Padded headphones, designed for comfort. “But they’re uncomfortable!”

And gods help me if I just so happened to make more progress in a game than he did! (Like, I swear I’ve seen more reasonable toddlers.)

His diet was just atrocious — all carbs, fats, and meats. He had no respect for my dietary needs, and forget about the occasional treat. Then he’d blame me when the inevitable digestive disturbances happened. (Because I just loved having chronic diarrhea, and was totally doing it on purpose…)

And then there was the physical violence.

He didn’t hit me a lot, but he did use physical intimidation (twice my size, three times the weight, able-bodied) and the threat of violence quite a bit. When he did hit me, it was always my fault. I shouldn’t have told him to give me back my things. I should value him more than a seat cushion. I shouldn’t have contradicted — or worse — corrected him. I should have kept my mouth shut. And yeah, there’s a story behind the seat cushion thing, it’s really weird, man.

I’d gotten a new seat cushion for my wheelchair. Now, proper support and positioning is important, not only for my joints, but for my skin. He got it into his head that this somehow meant the seat cushion was “more important to me” than he was. Which is friggin’ stupid, yeah? Well, he then decided to take a knife to my brand new cushion in retaliation for this “insult”. Result: One permanently deflated seat cushion that would no longer offer the required support, and YEARS of skin issues.

Back to the physical violence — I’ve been bitten (skin broken), stomped in the ribs, slapped, punched, manhandled, choked out, forcibly restrained for no good reason, and held at knifepoint. All by the same person.

So, seven years of this. And over those seven years, there were multiple contacts with law enforcement.

Here comes the kicker. The cops always, without fail, took his lies as truth, and would only ever tell me to “stop provoking him.”

The pigs only took action after he assaulted two able-bodied men.

It’s traumatizing enough to spend seven years suffering domestic violence, and yeah, that did a lot of damage.

But the most traumatizing thing? The thing that scares the living shit out of me?

The police not giving a single, solitary fuck about victims of DV.

26 June 2016

Anxiety

You know those dreams where there's something terrible chasing you?

The ones where you can't ever run fast enough, because no matter how hard you try, you can only move slowly? If you can move at all?

All the while, the monster -- you can't see it, but you know it's big and evil and indescribable -- the whole time it's gaining on you.

Almost close enough to grab you.

Always out of reach.

But close enough that you can feel it breathing down your neck.

You know that absolute terror?

Try living like that all the time -- except the monster is living in your head, and there's not even the hope of waking up from the nightmare.

It's the shadow that constantly hangs over you, even in the brightest light.

The unnameable thing in the darkness that drives you to insanity, not just with the fear, but with the constant doubt planted by people questioning what you could possibly have to be anxious about.

Which, of course, just feeds the beast, because if there's "nothing to be worried about", you must be losing your mind!

28 October 2014

"Psychology of Victimhood"? More Like "Psychology of Bullshit"!

This paper -- Psychology of Victimhood -- is victim-blaming bullshit on mile-high stilts.

It claims to explore the "psychology of victimhood", and I suppose, on some level, it does that. However, despite saying several times that "the intent isn't to blame the victim", the author goes on to explain how victims are "really" responsible in some way for being victimised. Author assigns levels of "responsibility" to victims. The bolding amd other formatting (lists) in the following excerpts is mine, and intended for emphasis and/or clarity.

4a. Non guilty- innocent victim:

This category includes victims who do not share the responsibility of the offence with the perpetrators. These are innocent victims whom we cannot expect to be able to avert the offence by anticipating it or by preventing it.

Examples:

** Children who are sexually or physically abused, or neglected.
** Rape or murder victims when the crime is unforeseen, unprovoked, and perpetrated by complete strangers.
** Severely mentally ill or disabled adults who get hurt or exploited.
** Those who suffer a crime while unconscious.
** Victims of random or rampage shooting.
** Victims of unexpected natural disasters: victims of earthquake in a non-earthquake zone.
** Victims of corporate greed, such as those perpetuated by corporations who sell genetically modified foods which cause cancer, or corrupt banking practices, which scheme people of their savings or homes.

This first section seems reasonable on it's face. Just wait. It gets worse. Much worse.

4b. Victims With Minor Guilt:

This category includes victims who with some thought, planning, awareness, information, or consciousness could have expected danger and avoided or minimized the harm to themselves. They 'could or should have known better.'

Examples:

** Adult victims of repeated domestic violence where shelters are available (after patterns are established and it is no longer unpredictable).

** Marital rape victims after the first few episodes (when the pattern has been established and it is no longer a surprise)

These specific claims ignores the fact that abusers are often charming, can be very loving and sweet, and start the abuse in a very subtle manner, conditioning the victim to accept being treated like shit as "normal." It starts small. Little words of disapproval. Ignoring boundaries. Just little tiny things that you brush off as anomalies. Then they start getting more abusive, more controlling, and often, the abuse progresses to the point of violence. Some abusers also rape their victims, because they feel they are "entitled to" the use their partner's body. By the time things reach this point, where there's an established pattern of abuse and/or rape, it's damn near impossible to get out without serious intervention from outside sources -- outside sources that the abuser will say, do, or promise literally anything to keep his victim away from. On top of that, the riskiest time for a battered woman is when she's leaving or trying to leave.

It is never the fault of the battered spouse. EVER.

** Women who are raped after choosing to get drunk (the minor responsibility is for electing to be completely helpless and unconscious, at the full mercy of others, in a situation that has the potential to be dangerous).

Wait. What was that in the first bit about unconscious victims being guilt-free? Ah, yes: "Those who suffer a crime while unconscious."

<sarcasm>I guess rape isn't a crime if the victim was drinking... </sarcasm>

** Adults who were victimized due to being in the wrong place and the wrong time, where with some awareness, preparation, and caution they could have prevented the assault.

Really? REALLY?! So if the author of this "paper" were to get jumped and mugged, he'd just shrug it off and say, "Oh, well. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and should have been prepared"? Somehow, I doubt it.

** Jews who suffered during the Holocaust (are of course not responsible for the Nazi's evils, but they could have resisted more, been less co-operative, and not gone like lambs to the slaughter. They could have read the situation better and left in time, as many of them (40%) did).

Saying the victims could have resisted more, co-operated less, etc. is victim-blaming. The Nazis were entirely responsible for this ginormous cluster-fuck of a tragedy. Yes, I do see the parenthetical up there, but it does not, in any way, lessen or negate the inherent victim-blaming in saying that the Jews "should have" resisted more. (And really? Second-guessing victims? So not cool!)

4c. Victims who share equal responsibility with the perpetrators:

This category includes victims who share equal responsibility with the offender for the harm inflicted on them. These are people who are conscious and aware of the situation and chose to be part of it. They are not caught by surprise, and common sense could have anticipated the damage that occurred.

Uh-huh, because victims "choose" to be victims, riiiight.

Examples:
** A man who contracts a sexually transmitted disease from a prostitute.

Isn't a fucking "victim", and should have worn a condom in the first place. This is a bad choice, and one that he is entirely responsible for.

Victims who seek, challenge, tease, or entice the perpetrator.

This? This is just another way of saying, "What did she expect, wearing that dress?" "She shouldn't have led him on." "Why was she out at that time of night?"

Fuck. That. Noise.

Willing participants in a Chicken Game, gun dual, or double suicide.

Are not victims -- they made a bad choice, yes, but they are not victims.

Co-alcoholics, co-addicts after the initial phase of their relationship (after it has been clearly established that the partner is an addict).

What's this shit about "co-alcoholics", anyway? Is it her fault that he keeps drinking? NO! He chooses to keep drinking. The addict can always get clean, and having a supportive partner or supportive friends is a very important part of getting and staying clean.

4d. Victims who are slightly more guilty than the offender.

This category is comprised entirely of perpetrators, and not victims.

This category includes victims who are active participants in an interaction where they are likely to get hurt. While they seek the damaging contact, the offender can easily withdraw from the situation, unlike those in category #5, to follow. Unlike those in the previous category #3, the offender is less responsible for the damage than is the victim.

Yes, yes, let's paint the people making conscious bad choices as "victims". Please. These are just as much "victims" as my abuser was.

Examples:
** Drunk people who harass sober bystanders and get hurt.

Drinky McDrunkerson there has nobody but himself to blame. In fact, most alcohol-related injuries and fatalities are entirely self-inflicted because the drunk idiot decided to do something stupid and dangerous, and paid the price.

** Cult members who chose to enter the cult as adults and then were brainwashed and harmed. (i.e., Jonestown, Waco).

Cult members are victims, and are not to blame for getting suckered in. Cult leaders tend to be charismatic, convincing, and quite charming. Cults use manipulative techniques to recruit members, and downright abusive tactics to keep them in. Brainwashing and/or Stockholm Syndrome are nasty beasties, and hard to fight alone.

** An abusive husband who is killed by his battered wife (he is primarily responsible but, as this paper states, the abuse must be viewed also as an interaction, and some responsibility shared between the couple).

Once again, I need to point out that, while abuse is an "interaction", it is NEVER THE FAULT OF THE VICTIM. Not even a tiny bit. When the abusive husband is killed, it is nobody's fault but his for abusing a woman so badly that she felt her only recourse was to kill.

** Citizens who collude by passivity in their country's atrocious acts and get hurt by other countries armies (i.e. politically inactive German civilians who did not fight the Nazi regime and got killed by the allies army attacks)

This one -- surprisingly -- is somewhat accurate, though I'd argue that "collusion by passivity" is, yes, bullshit. Those politically inactive German citizens were not to blame for getting killed by the allied forces. That blame falls squarely on the leaders (and subordinates) who prompted the attacks in the first place -- you know, the Nazis.

4e. Victims who are exclusively responsible for their victimization:

This category includes victims who initiated the contact and committed an act that is likely to lead to injury. In these cases, the one who inflicts the damage is not guilty and acts in pure self-defense or as expected from his position. This category is reserved for legally and clinically sane adults.

These aren't victims.

Examples:
** Rapists who are killed by their complete stranger- victims in self-defense.

Because acquaintance/date/partner/marital rape isn't "really" rape, and those "victims" brought it on themselves... *gag* Rape is rape is rape is rape, it doesn't matter what kind of relationship existed (or didn't, or for however long) between rapist and victim.

** Mercenaries who are wounded or killed.

Pretty sure mercenaries aren't used much any more. In the case that they are, well... it's a known job hazard, and honestly, considering what mercenaries do, I'd say that their life of violence begot more violence.

** People who smoke and get lung cancer.

Are no less deserving of compassion and appropriate medical care. It's well-known that Big Tobacco has continuously lied to consumers. (Not to mention the fact that it's easier to quit using heroin than it is to quit smoking.)

Suicide by those who are not mentally ill. (Mentally healthy and competent individuals can choose to commit rationally planned suicide for which they bear the full responsibility)

Are victims only of the disease that left them in such a state that suicide was the better option.

Can we, as a society, please stop doing this? Stop trying to find ways to hold victims -- especially women/AFABs -- "responsible" for all the shit that happens to us? Can we stop with the "why didn't she just leave?" And the "what did she expects?" And the "Well, she was drunk..."?

It doesn't matter. None of that matters.

What matters is, someone chose to victimize another person.

27 October 2014

Gallbladder Function, Location & Anatomy | Body Maps

So here's a throwback, and it's not even Thursday! Someone apparently stumbled on to an old (like, years old) blog post of mine concerning my (long-since removed) gallbladder, and sent me this link. It's pretty cool -- 3D models of human anatomy and decent explanations of what's what and what things do!

Gallbladder Function, Location & Anatomy | Body Maps:

'via Blog this'

11 May 2014

A Response To Top Ten Momisms

This popped up in my feed today, and holy crap. So many of these pissed me off as a child, and still do as an adult.

Top 10 Momisms
01. Why? Because I said so, that's why!
02. I'm going to give you until the count of three!
03. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.
04. I don't know is NOT an answer.
05. I would never have talked to my mother like that.
06. I'm not running a taxi service.
07. If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?
08. Someday your face will freeze like that.
09. It hurts me more than it hurts you.
10. Bob. Sue. Joe. Fido. Whatever your name is...

01. Why? Because I said so, that's why!

Sure, if you're raising yourself a little unthinking Authoritarian automaton. But no. Unquestioning obedience to authority is a really, really bad thing to teach a child, because it puts the child in a position where they cannot refuse an authority figure. *cough*Catholic priests*cough* And, speaking for myself, I was (and am) more likely to listen, consider, and cooperate when given a good, solid, sensible reason for something. I think, with children, it's important to start early, teaching critical thinking, how to question, and how to find the answers.

02. I'm going to give you until the count of three!

No you're not. You're going to get to two, and start counting in ever-shrinking fractional increments towards three until you get fed up with it or just can't do the maths anymore. You know the routine: "One. Two. Two and a half. Two and three quarters. Two and seven eighths. Two and fifteen sixteenths."

03. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

Yeah, then it's hilarious! (Aah, Schadenfreude...)

04. I don't know is NOT an answer.

Yes it is. It's an honest answer, too; damn sight better than "Goddidit". Seriously, parents, brush up on your fallacies and don't use bad arguments with your children. Teach them how to think.

05. I would never have talked to my mother like that.

This is straight up Tone Trolling, and while I'll agree that one should show at least a minimal level of respect for their family, I've heard too much from too many people about "tone" and "if you [feminists/atheists/PoC/LGBT/other oppressed minorities] weren't so angry, people would listen" to really be comfortable with this statement. Politeness, civility, "tone" in general has it's place, yes, but sometimes, dammit, you just gotta get pissed off. If women hadn't been angry enough to stand up and demand the vote, we wouldn't have it. We also wouldn't have had the Civil Rights Movement. Or Stonewall.

06. I'm not running a taxi service.

No, but you did choose to have kids, and you did sign them up for activities (or allowed them to sign up for activities), and -- particularly in regards to the younger set -- you are at least partially responsible for their transportation. This line just isn't clever at all.

07. If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?

We all get the intent of this one, you know, resisting peer pressure, not "going with the crowd". I just feel like it could be phrased a lot better. Individuality is, and should be, more important than being another identically-dressed teenage clone.

08. Someday your face will freeze like that.

I'm sorry (no I'm not) but no, no it won't.

09. It hurts me more than it hurts you.

Ha ha ha no. Nothing hurts more than someone who is supposed to love you does violence to you. I firmly believe that one can discipline a child without using fear or violence to gain compliance.

10. Bob. Sue. Joe. Fido. Whatever your name is...

No. Just no. Hell no. I can't even. I don't have the words to even describe how dehumanizing this one is.

24 April 2014

They're Trying to Kill The Internet. Again.



If the above widget isn't working, CLICK HERE to go to the petition.

Please help keep the internet free.

13 November 2013

Depression and Anger

Perhaps the hallmark of this sort of anger, like the intense forms of irritability, fear or despair, is that they perpetuate themselves. After a while, they simply take over. You’re raging, irritable, intensely anxious or despairing for no apparent reason. Or if there is a reason at the beginning, the distorted emotions keep going without letup. They have a life of their own.
--- From Depression and Anger: A Destructive Partnership

So... this struck a nerve.

How many times have I screamed "I'M NOT ANGRY", when, to all outward appearances, I've gone right off the fucking rails into Angryville?

How many times has my anxiety manifested as HULK SMASH?

I can't even count the number of times I've just straight up snapped at people for no reason beyond "you are existing in my space". (It's so, so very stupid of me, I know!)

All that, and it turns out to be my own fear, insecurity, and anxiety masquerading (quite effectively!) as anger.

I'm not angry.

I'm fucking scared and overwhelmed and (re)acting on pure instinct -- and I end up angry and frustrated at myself for not being able to just "snap out of it".