Hey, Don’t Get Raped.

I just came from two hours of a very emotionally intense sexual assault support group I’ve been attending for the last six weeks and I’ve learned two things:

1. Don’t get raped. Now I realize it’s not a choice, that assault and rape are about taking away the control of another person. But if you find yourself in a situation where you think “Huh, this isn’t what I want…” but either the voices in your head or the voice of your attacker says “You asked for this/this is your fault/you owe this to him/me.”

fuck.

that.

shit.

You imagine me right now, full of impassioned anger with my hands on your shoulders and you FIGHT LIKE HELL. I wish I would have fought.  The worst that would have happened is he would have gotten angry and hurt me. But hey, he did hurt me. And he did knock me unconscious — and I’ve been working through a thousand layers of guilt, shame, and blame ever since.

“Don’t get raped” may be the stupidest thing I’ve ever said in my almost 10 years of doing this, but if ONE person reads this and finds themselves in an assault situation I hope they know that fighting is an option. Yes, you may get hurt, but I would hope any physical wounds that may occur would heal faster that the emotional and mental pain of a consent violation crossing over into a sexual assault.

I’d take broken bones and a black eye over what I’ve been through the last couple years.

I may know you, I may not…but I do know this — I don’t want to see the magnificence of any more of you dimmed by the selfishness of another. You are so magnificent in a way that is unique to you, and I hope you believe that that magic only you possess is worth physically fighting for if it ever comes to that.

2. If you have already been hurt, or for whatever reason you aren’t able to fight back if something does happen to you: GET HELP. Cody left work today to drive me to therapy because there was no other way I was going to go. Therapy sucks. Individual, group, all of it. It sucks and I hate it. It hurts and it’s raw and it’s vulnerable and I freak out a little bit every time I have to go.

But I am getting better.

I am so. much. stronger.

I never could have imagined I’d be where I am now with everything in less than 4 months. When I first met with someone they told me there’s no possible way of knowing when things would get better, but if I did my work things would eventually improve.

I saw improvement as an impossibility.

I was convinced my only option was to learn how to cope with this entirely new and uncomfortable life.

If you’re here in Indianapolis the place I’ve been going to is called Prevail, it’s completely free for victims of domestic or sexual abuse and the advocates there have changed my life. I’ll never be able to repay them for the life they’ve helped me reclaim, but someday I will be able to do something. All I can do now is be an example that the work they are doing is working and that it is worth it. To the donors and foundations that keep Prevail free for everyone, thank you.

This post won’t mean much to many of you, but to one of you it may be everything. The thing that keeps you safe, or convinces you to get help.

You’re totally worth it. I promise.

Jovie…

Four years ago my sister had her first baby, Tayden.

Long story short, all 9 pounds of him made it out after 36+ hours of labor, 2.5 hours of pushing, and a dozen other complications that basically left my sister a wreck both physically and mentally.

I got to the hospital just after her early Tuesday where she was already 90% and a 5. (For those of you who don’t speak birth, her body had already done half the work of getting the baby out before she even changed into her gown.) Her epidural was set within a half hour and before an hour had even passed she mentioned to the nurse she was feeling a lot of pressure.

The nurse checked her and said “Oh. Well. That’s because there’s a baby down there trying to throw herself a birthday party.”

On came the lights, in came two nurses, a doctor and our mom and my sister was pushing within minutes.

Only this time instead of 150 minutes of pushing, she pushed for around 17.

And instead of her baby being rushed off with nurses to be attended to by a doctor, she was placed skin to skin and able to remain there for over an hour.

It was amazing.

It was everything she deserved.

I’m fairly certain she couldn’t believe that was all it took.

That’s really all there was to it.

Just like that I had a perfect little niece to call mine.

Her name is Jovie, her middle name is Kay after her grandpa that passed in December, and she shares a birthday with the best aunt that ever existed.

She also managed to come 21 hours before my flight departed SLC, so she’s already proven herself to be a punctual people pleaser.

Jovie? I love you. I love your mama, your poppa and that crazy brother of yours. My heart swallowed you whole this week and I can’t wait to see who you become.
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Miss Jovie