Friday, April 28, 2006

Social Security and Sugar Shock

Guess where I went today?

The World's Longest Candy Counter. That's right. Candy, candy, candy as far as the eye can see.
(My goal to limit refined sugars has been blissfully forgotten.)

My goal for the day was to take a road trip to Littleton, NH to get my social security card changed back to my maiden name and then spend the day hanging out with Friendster Guy instead of sitting at work. The latter part of my goal was great. But as for the former, apparently the documents given me by the court were not official enough and didn't give enough information about me to actually let the social security office change my name. I can't believe that I am the only woman who ever got divorced in NH and needed documents to change her name. As a matter of fact I know two other women - my Mom and my step-mom (divorce is a fine family tradition) - who needed to do the same thing in the past. I may be crazy, but shouldn't they always give the person who wants to change their name a certified copy of a document saying they can and having all the details the federal government needs to make the change? Am I asking too much for things to make sense? I know I'm dealing with the state and federal governments here so I can't expect too much but divorce has been legal in NH since what? The 1960s or earlier (I Googled but had no luck finding the actual date). Sometime in that period SOMEONE should have made the state paperwork jive with the federal requirements.

If only I ruled the world.

Anyway, besides that, Friendster Guy and I had a really great day. We wandered Littleton, had lunch, ate bags of candy we bought at the world's longest candy counter, and then drove around New Hampshire trying to find me a moose. I've lived here most of my life and have never seen one. But it was not to be. No moose. I'm pretty sure they know I'm coming and have an eleborate system of communication to make sure I don't see them. On the roundabout way home we stopped at the Basin in Franconia State Park. It was a beautiful day even though I didn't accomplish much besides being a tourist. But that ain't too bad either.

Do you have that in extra large?

Scientists are closer than ever to creating a Male Pill.

Friendster Guy thinks they should come up with a Nuva Cock Ring.

I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Blogging Against Heteronormativity

I always miss the "Blog Days" when we bloggers are supposed to blog about something specific in unity. I don't even know where to find a list of those days although I'm sure a quick trip to Google would cure that.

A few days ago it was Blog Against Heteronormativity Day. Utilizing the definition of heteronormativity from Blackademic: "in brief, heteronormativity is a term that can be used to describe institutions, policies and beliefs that reinforce the rigid categories of male and female. these categories, supposedly, determine our sex, sexuality, sexual desire, gender identity, and gender roles. therefore, there are expected behaviors for males (such as the patriarch of the nuclear family for example), as are there expected behaviors for females (the submissive wife to the patriarch, among other things). but we all know---THAT'S BULLSHIT!"

I haven't read anyone else's entry who blogged about this. And it may be a day (or two) late and a dollar short but I did want to address it.

I'm a very progressive person. I'm also very sensitive to what I say and how people of different backgrounds, religions, and races might translate it. I'm cautious about race and I've had people of color tell me I "get it" and that they know if they explain something to me I'm probably already on the same page. I'll readily admit that I can be slightly insensitive about religion, at least until I find out that you are actually religious and then I'm much more apt to temper my words and not say things like "God sucks and so do you." I tone down the atheist holier-than-thou attitude (Oh the irony) in that case. Not that I really have this attitude externally but of all the things I could have an attitude about it is this. I'm prejudiced when it comes to religion. Yes, yes I am. I'm not proud of it but it is a bias I have. I tend to look down slightly on people who have faith. Not really people I know who have faith but people of faith as a general group. I'll save you a seat by the fire.

But Sassy, this is supposed to be about heteronormativity.

Why yes, you are quite right and I am getting to that post-haste. Stop interrupting me. Sheesh.

I understand what it means to be a minority, to an extent, because I experienced it in junior high. My school was 70% Hispanic, probably about 20% African American, and then 10% Caucasian. Being highly caucasian (you do NOT want to see my legs right now people. Don't believe me? Go to the picture of my back a few posts ago. Highly. Caucasian.) in a school of non-caucasians was eye opening. Very few white folks ever get to experience being a minority and judged solely on the color of their skin, something people of color experience every day.

As for religion, in college I took a good hard look at how I was raised (Lutheran) and what I believed in and then was planted in Texas for a couple of years where my views were confirmed because everywhere I turned someone was screaming at the top of their lungs their views which were the antithesis of mine. You really don't know what your views are until you know you disagree with someone else's. Again, I had actually experience to bring me to my intolerance of religion.

My experience with heteronormativity is different. I, like most (all) of us, am immersed in what is decidedly a heterosexual patriarchy. Being immersed within it, it is very difficult to see it from the outside and recognize it. Sure there are times when I'm like WTF?! and I can see and acknowledge gender roles and a lot of other male/female misogynist crap. Where I find myself failing is in my inability to see my heterocentricity as well as I see my other prejudices. It's not that I'm prejudice against homosexuality, it's that I don't always realize when something I say makes it seem like I am. Or at least that I'm thinking in a heterocentrist way.

I have many good friends who are gay. But I still say something I think is heterocentric and insensitive once in awhile. Let's see if I can give an example...when I was describing a few of my guy friends and how us going to lunch recently was innocent I said, "Well, he's married and he's gay." Both true, but the gay friend is also married. It didn't even cross my mind until someone pointed it out and then I felt awful. Another example is my post about lingerie. I stated, "Lingerie is not for women. It is for men." A lesbian friend of mine sent me that quote followed by "And lesbians. : )" Now, obviously, not being a lesbian I wouldn't necessarily know that. And I'm sure my anti-lingerie argument stands up despite this. However, there was never a point where my mind thought, I wonder what lesbians will think of this? Most of the time I do wonder what people of other races or religions will think of what I write if it has anything to do with race or religion. But sex, gender, and relationships? I'm still mired in heterocentricity.

And so my blog entry against heternormativity.

I'm going to bed. This one tuckered me out.

Groan and grin and groan again

The trouble with humor is that the more true it is, the more funny it is, but then the more you think you shouldn't laugh. Check this out. You'll see what I mean. Thanks Not My Spot for the link.

Psychedelic witches embedded in asphalt*

Here in New Hampshire we have three seasons: Winter, Mud and Construction.

We are now deeply into Construction season. I cannot leave my office without encountering a series of orange cones. There are three ways out of my office park. There are flaggers in all three of those directions. You'd think the new state color was orange.


*The title of this post comes from a comedy bit by Brett Butler regarding the orange construction cones.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Netflix, Northern Exposure, and Nostalgia

You know how your parent's friends or distant relatives were always so shocked at how much you'd grown since the last time they saw you? "Oh my goodness! This can't be Sassy! The last time I saw you you were this high. Time goes by so fast." Sometimes followed by an under the breath, "I'm getting so old."

I had a similar - but not really at all the same so bear with me - moment while watching my Netflix copy of Northern Exposure. (For those of you living on Pluto, Netflix is the best thing that ever happened to the internet. If the internet was invented and nothing else ever happened but Netflix (and maybe Blogger) it still would have been a good invention.) I used to love Northern Exposure. I totally wanted to be Maggie O'Connell, aka Janine Turner. She was gorgeous and sassy and vulnerable and strong and neurotic and sexy all at the same time. Even now I have something resembling her haircut, when it's not in a mohawk. (Sadly, she is now the spokesperson for some drug for when you can't make you're own tears.) Anywhoo, I was reading the DVD cover thingy and the episode I was watching was first aired in 1991. Meaning I was only 15! Fifteen. That means what, a sophomore in high school? My memory of my mental state when I was watching the show originally is that I was so much older than that. I was grown up. I couldn't have been 15 ,could I? Time goes by so fast.

I'm getting so old.

I leave you with the immortal words of Chris Stevens, at KBHR -
"It's a messy business, life. It's hard to figure and it's full of surprises."

Oddly enough, my friend Josh blogs about seeing John Corbett and his band in Rochester, NY a month or so back. It's a small world and it spins mighty fast.

Equal Pay Day

Today is Equal Pay Day. It's not exactly something to celebrate.

"Each year, the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) organizes the national observance of Equal Pay Day to raise awareness about unfair pay for women and people of color in America. Equal Pay Day is observed in April to indicate how far into each year a woman must work to earn as much as a man earned in the previous year. For more info:http://www.pay-equity.org/day.html"

I believe this quote came from Pink magazine.

In good news, I got my tax return today. Of course, it's already spent, and not in a fun way.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Aaaggghh!! The horror!

The horror of BACK FAT.















Egads! There are reasons we don't often see ourselves from behind.
But you gotta admit I'm rocking the mohawk and the catwalk.

Lingerie

I have lingerie issues. The kind of issues that potentially need therapy.

I have owned two pieces of lingerie in my life. That's right, two*.One, a black teddy, purchased for me. The other a maroon slip thing I think I purchased for myself. Neither did I feel at all comfortable in. With the first, I was not yet comfortable in my own skin and although the purchaser seemed to like it, during the rest of the relationship I was often put down and made to feel fat and unattractive (He's since apologized and wished he could go back in time and kick his own ass. I'd encourage him strongly to find a way to do that.)

The second item I was also uncomfortable in. Part of it being that the person for whom the lingerie was meant didn't really seem to care one way or another if I had it on. He wouldn't have cared one way or another if I had been buck naked with a bow on that said "take me I'm yours," so I can't blame the slip too much.

Anyway, my issue. Lingerie is not for women. It is for men. I have yet to be made to feel comfortable by a man while wearing lingerie. The thought of going out and buying something to be once more rejected for my effort, or put down and made to feel ashamed, honestly makes me want to burst into tears. (See my previous post on Victoria's Secret)

On the one hand, I understand the allure of lingerie for a man. If a female is wearing it it often indicates they are ready for sex. Since men don't get subtlety it's nice when we essentially wear a sign that says "Come and Get Me." (Unless of course they can't read the sign for whatever reason.) And guys, being the visual creatures they are, like the visual stimulation. I happen to be aurally stimulated. If I hear a couple in the next hotel room going at it, well, it won't be long before I return the favor. I'm pretty sure I was part of some sort of competition this one time in Quebec. But I digress...

A woman wearing sexy lingerie needs to know that she looks sexy. Specifically, Sassy Pants wearing sexy lingerie needs to know that she looks sexy. She also needs to know that you think she's sexy and desirable even if she's wearing an old Planet Hollywood T-shirt and sweatpants.

I'm at a point in my relationship where it would be nice to surprise Friendster Guy with a little something more than a tan bra, cotton briefs, and sweats. But I am honestly so averse to going to buy lingerie, in whatever form, that the thought of it is making me tear up as I write. I wouldn't have thought my experiences were all that bad but something at some point messed up my head on this issue. Believe me, I want to be sexy. I want to be free with my sexuality. I want to wear garters or something slinky or, hell, even a french maids outfit (I LOVE costumes, although none have ever made it into the bedroom). The crux of the issue is that when I have worn lingerie, which to me is a very vulnerable act, that vulnerability has bitten me in the ass and I've lost any power I had in the relationship. There has to be a balance, an equality, not one person being lessened by the experience. And my experiences with losing my power and confidence are symbolized by lingerie.

Damn you Victoria whoever you are! Your secret is that you make woman feel shitty about themselves either by wearing your garments or by making us feel unfeminine if we don't. Fuck you too Fredrick.


*This does not count the bag of lingerie that my ex-mother-in-law gave me that had been hers. Her intentions were good but I don't think she was thinking the implication through. "Hey, X, isn't this sexy? It was your Mom's." Blech. Shiver.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A (Satur)Day in the Life of Sassy Pants

I'm trying something new. Here's a photo essay of my day on Saturday.

Here I am lying in bed reading Eldest by Christopher Paolini.








At 10:03am I decided to get up.









At 10:04am I got an obnoxious call from "Chris in Cincinatti" who desperately hoped that the weather was better wherever I was than it had been in Cincinatti because boy was it yucky over there. Eventually he got to the point and told me he was selling magazines. I wanted to chastize him a little about him glancing over Newsweek and Time to wonder if I'd be more interested in a "woman's magazine" like People. Luckily, he wasn't a hard sell and he left me alone after one No. I didn't want to press my luck so I let him go without a feminist diatribe. Besides, I had gotten up only a minute before hand.

My first task of the day was to get to the Transfer Station. For those of you who don't know what a Transfer Station is it's a community recycling center. You see, not only do I not get food delivery out in the semi-boonies, but they do not collect recyclables. I had no idea what a Transfer Station was myself until I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity once and the woman I was working with brought all the recycleables, and me, to it. I had been guiltily throwing away everything for two years until I made this discovery. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera today so I have nothing to show you. Suffice it to say it's oddly fun and communal when you go. Like an old fashioned barn raising or church supper, everyone sorting their trash and saving the environment. You can also leave stuff there in the free pile if you think someone might want it. I left this.












Then, I treated myself to a latte and a donut. I had a coupon people! Don't yell at me about my goal to avoid refined sugars. I know! I know! It's why I didn't get the mocha swirl. Baby steps!








Next I put on my headphones and transcribed part of an interview for my thesis. I have indefinitely borrowed this transcription machine from my place of employment.









This is the lovely view from the window behind my computer. Can you feel the power? mmmm bzzzz mmmm bzzzzzz









Apparently feeling productive this day I did some chores - watered the plants, vacuumed.











I even made fudge! Sort of. I'd give you this 5 minute recipe but it tends to become fudge you have to eat with a spoon. It doesn't solidify so well. Still tastes great, but not something you want to share.








The coolest thing I did on Saturday was a charity fashion show featuring clothes from a funky vintage clothing store. We all had our hair and make-up done and most of us came out pretty nutty.
I ended up with this orange mohawk and crazy flame make-up! You know you are totally jealous. It was my first ever mohawk. I can die happy now.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Warning: Under Construction

If you stop by Big Girl Underoos over the next few days you may see some changes. Do not be alarmed. Change is good. Really. I've been playing with html and organizing some things. You'll be ok. Things will calm down soon. I figured it was time to branch out from the Blogger template and shake it up a little. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Geek Love

One last thing before I leave for the day.

My ex-husband used to play Dungeons and Dragons. Well, "used to" is the wrong wording for it. He still plays but it is no longer my problem. Among the many reasons we divorced would be the weekend long D&D game in NJ on our anniversary weekend. Or that Valentine's Day when he hosted a game at our house. Yeah, that was fun.

Anyway, this article at the Onion is frightening in that I know what the guy is talking about (although it's a computer game, not D&D. Don't make me explain the difference.) and it's sad in that if my ex had had even a smidgen of that interest in me (pathetically voiced though it may be) our relationship would have been much better. Very, very sad.

My 2 Part Plan to Prevent Procrastination

I am so much better at getting things done on days that I have meetings than on days that I don't. You'd think a wide open calendar would be a good thing. "Look at how much time I have to get stuff done!" But no, there is nothing I need to do any time management around so I just say, "Look how much time I have to do whatever I want! I'll still have plenty of time in the afternoon to buckle down." Lo and behold the afternoon comes around and now, "It's Friday afternoon and no one gets anything done on Friday afternoons so why should I?"

I am such a slacker sometimes.

However, to counteract my slacker tendencies I have created a plan. It's a two fold plan. (See, this is what I do while I'm slacking off. Make plans, lists, think about what I should be doing at home. I'm still doing something, just not what I'm supposed to be doing.)

The first part of the plan is to pretend I am leaving my job in two weeks and I have to wrap up all the loose ends before my replacement (not that anyone could replace me) comes in.

The second part of the plan is to set a timer (I found one on-line) so I have to work for a certain amount of time before I get another amount of time to "play." This keeps me on the straight and narrow and not searching the internet for vast amounts of time.

What you have to understand is that I have a strange job with no deadlines except those that are self imposed. [Oops! Gotta run, my "play" timer just went off. Back in 30.] [I'm back] Luckily, I am not a procrastinator by nature or I would have been fired years ago. I have to create fake deadlines in order to function and move projects forward. It's actually working quite nicely this two part plan of mine.

You're probably wondering what sort of job has no deadlines. I am the unofficial queen of "other duties as assigned." You have no idea. I am the receiver of projects that do not fall in anyone else's job description or department. Sort of pie in the sky - "Wouldn't it be nice if someone could work on this? Hey, wait a second, why don't we give it to Sassy Pants to figure out?"

While there are a few things that have deadlines, most projects are so long term, or so amorphous when I get them that I have to make up what needs to be done when. In addition, none of my projects have any bearing on any other project so nothing builds on anything. It's nice in a "choose your own adventure" sort of way but can really get you frazzled when you don't know what is a priority, or you are working on three different projects at once and get an email about the fourth. It is helpful that I am afraid someone will ask me out of the blue where I am on something. This is probably secret Part 3 of my 2 part plan - use my fear of letting someone down, or looking stupid, to get stuff done.

Well, I have one last 30 minute chunk of time today so I gotta go. My Monday self will thank my Friday afternoon self when she arrives at work and her email in-box is clean and all the sticky notes are organized or chucked. Have a nice last few minutes of work! Unless you are in a different time zone. If so, best of luck to you.

Things that make you go hmmm

I don't understand...

...the appeal of Paris Hilton and why her 15 minutes aren't up yet.

...why I can be bounding with energy on my way to work but as soon as I walk into my office it's as if my walls are made of kryptonite.

...why I can remember all the lyrics to Salt-n-Pepa's "Shoop" but I can't remember what I had for breakfast or why I am standing at the photocopier.

...why my landlord has not yet resolved the hot water problem in my apartment.
...why no matter how many clothes I buy, I still have nothing to wear.

...why pants sizes and underwear sizes do not match up. I wear an 8-10 pants (8 on a good day) and yet I wear a 5 or 6 in underwear.

...the attraction of Crocs. Ugh.

...why people can't just talk to each other and figure out world peace.

...why I trust the Geico Gecko more than any spokes...person? on the planet.

...why my maid hasn't come in and vacuumed or washed the dishes this week. Oh yeah, I don't have a maid. Nevermind.

...why my best hair days are on days when I'm getting my hair cut.

...what it is about politics that makes everyone corrupt.

...why George W. Bush is still in office.

...how people can be Christian and so obviously not follow Christ's teachings.

...why people still have a problem with educating our kids about sex.

...how assassination plots manage to actually kill good people (JFK, MLKJ) while evil dictators or otherwise not so great politicians remain bullet free.

...why the concept of RSVPing seems lost on some people.

...people who don't paint their walls.

...Nascar.

...why Subaru hasn't made a hybrid yet.

...whether or not "boyfriend" is an appropriate term for someone in their 30's.

...how I can leave the grocery store having spent $50 and not have any food.

...why my apartment for one month and a vacation cabin for one week can cost the same amount.

...the allure of niknaks bearing logos. How many foam doohickeys does a person need? (The answer is none in case you were wondering.)

...how photos actually get from a real event to an image on a piece of paper.

...why English people automatically sound smarter.

...people who don't read.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Compliments and Caffeine

I just got one of the nicest, most unexpected compliments from my co-worker.

He said, "If I ever had a sister I'd want her to be just like you."

Wow. Commence blushing.



P.S. The Coke TOTALLY worked! It's like crack. I'm bouncing off the walls a little and I think I will go running after work. No more nap for Sassy Pants. Obviously I don't have caffeine very often. And that's probably a good thing.

The choice of a new generation

My inability to keep my eyelids open overrode my need to avoid refined sugars. Therefore, I have purchased a full octane Coke from the vending machine. I can't do diet soda. I just can't. So I usually avoid soda all together. The good news is that it's the first Coke I've purchased from the ever present vending machine in at least 6 months, if not more. There is no bad news. I'm a grown up. I can do what I want. I just have to suffer the consequences. I choose that the consequence not include guilt, but perhaps they do include a salad for dinner.

Narcolepsy

I am SO tired.

I am this close to closing my door and curling up under my desk. I'm serious. This close. I can barely keep my eyes open. I went to bed at a reasonable time, slept well, woke up a little later than usual so I got extra sleep and yet I'm about to do a face plant on my keyboard. I didn't even work out that hard yesterday. I'm blogging to see if I can get any energy out of the creative process. So far no good. The industrial grade carpet is still calling to me. "Saaassy Paaants... You know you want to wake up with your face all waffley and your arms stuck in horribly stiff configurations. Not to mention having your boss walk in on you drooling on yourself." Oh yes, I definitely do. Sign me up.

Let's see. Creative process. Creative process...Nothing is coming to me.

Oh, I know. I need your help. I apparently have no willpower whatsoever and have not lost a single pound or ounce since I began running like a fiend. Yes, I recognize that some of that is based on muscle gain but in reality, it's mainly because I've given myself permission to eat like a pig. Or at least a piglet. I'm running! I need fuel! Yes Sassy, that is true. But a box of Devil Dogs does not count as fuel. So, maybe if I state it here that I am cutting down on refined sugars it will actually stick. I managed to stop myself from getting or making a mocha latte this morning so that's a first step. I think it might be time to renew the good old food journal. I'm sure I think I'm eating better than I actually am.

So far today: cinnamon raisin bagel, cream cheese, decaf coffee with only one sugar. It could have used two packets but I'm cutting back. Not all the way yet, I'm not a masochist people. Also, what you have to know is that I realize this breakfast is heavy on the carbs but what I passed up was worse. What I really wanted was a mocha latte and a chocolate croissant. So leaving the store with what I got was actually quite good.

I don't know if I'm more awake now but I have to get work done. I think I'll take a walk and check my mail. Maybe that will help.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Death, taxes and high gas prices

Where is the cheapest gas near you? Look it up here.

Calvin and Hobbes

I love Calvin and Hobbes.

I hate, hate, hate every iteration of this.
Poor Bill Watterson drew a picture of Calvin holding a water balloon like this (minus the butt crack and spray) and now it's become a national obsession to pee on something you don't like. How classy.

When I was looking for that obnoxious image to share with you I found this site about it. I love this quote - "Americans love their cars, and Americans love to put ugly art on their cars, but nothing says “I’m an idiot with a pointless opinion” like a window sticker of Calvin peeing on something."

Amen!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Going off the deep end

Continuing in my silence and conversation thread, here's another quote I chanced upon.

The best things said come last. People will talk for hours saying nothing much and then linger at the door with words that come with a rush from the heart. ~Alan Alda

If I was going to be deep today, although I'm not sure how much depth I can muster because my brain is on autopilot, I'd say we're supposed to tell people the heart felt stuff now instead of when it is almost, or actually, too late. "Gee thanks Sassy Pants. If you hadn't translated the quote we'd still be scratching our heads going, huh?"

I'm tired. I've yawned like 14 times in the last 5 minutes. Yaaawwwn.

Show of hands, how many of you just yawned as a result of those words? The transmission of yawns is so weird. It's like the mystery of life (Again, very, very deep commentary. Do not try this at home kids. You might give yourself a brain aneurism.). If only we could pass on good feelings, kindness and peace so easily.

Random comment: I like Alan Alda. Except in And The Band Played On, but it's his character, not him, that I dislike. If you'd like to see how the Reagan administration fucked up the whole AIDS epidemic in the 80's this is a movie to see. It's also a book but it's very long and the movie wraps it all up nicely. And has a heck of a lot of heavy hitters in it.

Sounds of silence

Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy desperation. ~James Thurber

When was the last time you had a one on one conversation with someone when there wasn't food or coffee involved, the TV was off, there was no radio and you weren't simultaneously checking email. Seriously, when?

Last night Friendster Guy and I each plopped down in one branch of the L of my couch, heads together, and just talked. Nothing else was going on. Nothing else had to be done. Mainly we reminisced about our nerd/geek tendencies in high school: me - AP/Honors classes, president of band two years in a row, him - fencing, a little too much chess. It was fun. We laughed, we picked on each other. I think that because we were both totally in the moment with no distractions we actually became a lot closer over an hour of mildly asinine conversation.

I'd recommend you work in a distraction free conversation with someone this week. It will probably feel a little awkward at first but enjoy the lulls in the conversation. There is wisdom in silence. I don't think he know it but Friendster Guy is teaching me to be less uncomfortable with gaps in the conversation. I tend to be a talker. He is not. I'm learning to stay silent once in awhile and I'm rewarded by his participation.

I am annoyed by individuals who are embarrassed by pauses in a conversation. To me, every conversational pause refreshes. ~George Sanders

Friday, April 14, 2006

Perspective

I keep mentioning that I'm poor. A friend pointed out that really, I'm not poor, I'm just short of cash. This is true. And the distinction is a good one to remember. There are people out there who make a hell of a lot less than me, have a heck of a lot more mouths to feed, who don't have transportation, who's housing is inadequate, no healthcare, and who have no one but themselves to rely on. I, on the other hand, have a great apartment that I can share if necessary, a newish car that runs well (although I probably just jinxed myself), health and dental insurance, savings, a 403B (the non-profit sector's version of a 401K), no kids, people I can rely on in an emergency, and, with the exception of my student loans and car payments, very few debts.

In the grand scheme of things, I'm a very lucky girl...er...woman.

Good coming out of tragedy...I think.

According to an article in the Chronicle of Higher education, the Duke Lacrosse team rape scandal is causing a ripple through college sports. Some highlighted points below.

"A new lacrosse landscape. Several college lacrosse coaches predicted that Duke would permanently disband its lacrosse program. "

I think that's stupid. Why? Because it doesn't solve the problem of great big drunken (or worse, sober) bohunks in a group acting like savage animals. Sure, it punishes a few of them but really it's like putting a bandaid on a stab wound. You may not see it anymore but the problem is still festering and hemorraging below.

"No more free rides. Some legal experts predicted that the Duke investigation would lead more colleges to dismiss players who violate team rules."

*Sassy Pants scratches her head in confusion* Shouldn't they have been doing that in the first place? Isn't that what rules are for? Isn't there a consequence when the rules aren't followed? Of course not. These are American college athletes, second only in stature to our American heroes serving in Iraq. Strapping young lads sacrificing their bodies and souls for the good of our country and entertainment (the athletes, not the soldiers). Now before I get any hate mail saying I'm unpatriotic, I think our soldiers deserve to be held in high esteem regardless of whether I think the reason they are in harms way is justified or not. Unless of course they too act like savage animals (more savage than is required in a war) and then all bets are off. However, college athletes are so coddled and revered it's disgusting.

"Rooting out problems. The Duke scandal was a topic of conversation this week as 100 college officials gathered at Clemson University to discuss what causes athletes to act irresponsibly and how universities can prevent students from misbehaving."

Here, here! Let's get it all out on the table and do something about it. It's only been a few hundred, if not thousand, years.

"Looking inward. In light of what is happening at Duke, some college officials are starting to scrutinize their own programs."

As well they should. As well they should.

Eat Here Get Gas

Is anyone else having heart palpitations about the current price of gas?

Good. I'm glad it's not just me.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Some people have too much time on their hands. Thank Goodness!

I used to take yoga. I try not to feel too guilty that I no longer take yoga despite the tightness slowly creeping back into my no longer flexible body. But I can take heart! Not only can I continue practicing yoga but I can get all the healing benefits of a deep chested guffaw at the same time. Fussy has created a new website called Yogabeans. It's yoga demostrated hilariously for you by action figures. At least I think it's hilarious. Maybe I'm demented. No. I think it's just plain funny. And gosh darn creative. I wish I thought of it.

Oh, and if you'd like to check out something else done by someone or several someones with too much time on their hands, here's an Easter miracle (of sorts).

I'm trying to keep your mind off the fact that you should have done your taxes weeks ago and now only have until Monday to get all your paperwork in order. Which is an extension anyway. It's going to be quite a weekend for some people. Good luck.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Say hello to my little friend"

Um.

This does not make me want to go out and buy a gun.

In fact, it does the exact opposite. An anonymous reader left this link in a comment on my post about women having constant fear. It's sort of the right sentiment - i.e. rely on yourself. But it goes about it all wonky and wrong. The images alone are worth checking out for entertainment purposes. It's sort of like gun porn. The post tries to be friendly and sound like someone's blog entry but in fact, it's part of a larger gun related website. I tried to go "Home" but there was an error.

It's fear mongering to sell you a product. Don't believe the hype.

Having a gun would scare me even more.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sassy Pant's Eight

Otherwise known as things that bore you when I blog about them.

1) Finances - I did some calculations and it seems that my life costs me between $45 and $65 per day. That's a heck of a lot of money. Half of that seems to be my cell phone bill which is too high considering I hardly use it. I should look into changing my plan. My biggest expense is rent. So much so that I'm thinking about getting a temporary roomate for the summer. There are students in my masters program who come in specifically for the summer session. They are usually teachers so that wouldn't be so bad. What is looming over my head financially are my student loans. If I had to pay them currently I wouldn't be able to which is why it is great that I have them in deferrment because of my...

2) Thesis - I finished transcribing another interview. 15 down, 2 to go. Then I may have to do a handful more to round it all out. I vow to have a Masters by my 30th birthday. Therefore, I have until August.

3) Vacation - Nova Scotia is now out so Friendster Guy and I may go scuba diving off of Cape Cod instead. I am licensed but haven't gone since I got that license which was when I was 14. One of us (me) is going to die.

4) Fitness/Physique - I've already run 9 miles this week. According to my training plan I'm supposed to do a 7 mile run this weekend. Eek. That's a 10K. Have I mentioned that up until about 3 years ago I was pretty much a couch potato? Sure, I went to the gym now and then and watched TV while walking on the treadmill. I even lifted a couple weights here and there. But to be a runner now really boggles my mind. Still. Even though I've done (i.e. survived) 4 sprint length triathlons I still don't consider myself an athlete. I have to work on that. I guess I was in the fat, or at least unfit, crowd long enough to know how annoyed people get with people like the me I now am. But I wasn't always like this. You too can compete in triathlons, and run 10Ks. Seriously. If I can do it, so can you. Start here. It's an all female triathlon. And they don't call you "girls".

5) My Stuff/Clutter - I'm slowing down on this front slightly but I did pull out boxes of financial documents to go through and then shred. And I brought the bags of other stuff to the donation center.

6) Work - Pblttt. Work is work. I'm bringing projects to fruition after years of languishing in half completed states so that's good. I have the world's least defined job so I'm attempting to bring definition to it. Or at least purge the old projects in favor of new ones.

7) Diet - There is a reason I do not purchase things that are bad for me when I go to the grocery store. Things that are bad for me being defined as 8 packs of Devil Dogs. The reason is that I will eat them very, very quickly. I had 3 with dinner the night I bought them. The box is empty. It's been maybe 48 hours. Maybe.

8) Relationship - This is good. If our only problem is me freaking out about him taking too much over time, I think we're doing ok. At least we enjoy each other company when we do see each other. Oh! and can I just tell you that the man made salmon crepes with capers and bechamel sauce yesterday! For no reason. He just felt like it. And they were good. They gave me a little problem when I was running today (I had to sprint to a campus building) but that may be too much information.

That's the latest and greatest on my goals. You can wake up now. I'm sure I'll get indignant about something else soon enough.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Silence is golden

And in the category of "Why should we care?" we have TomKat giving birth in silence (That's Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes for those of you who have a life and don't follow the entertainment 'zines. Not that I do. It's hard to completely remove yourself from the pop culture no matter how hard you try.) If only they had taken this silence advice many months ago. At least Tom. We all could have lived without his Oprah couch antics and evil overlord interview with Matt Lauer about post partem depression (launch the video and go to about minute 8). We haven't heard hide nor hair from poor Katie in months. I personally think her brain's been permanently scattered as a result of actually getting her preteen wish to marry Tom Cruise. We should not get what we wish for when we were tweens. If we did, I might have some frightening relationship going on with Kirk Cameron and have 10 of his uber-christian babies. Either that or I would be Astronaut Barbie or something equally disturbing.

If it wasn't for the scientolgy part, I'd probably embrace the idea of silent childbirth. That way any men in the room wouldn't have an opportunity to say something stupid.

Blubbery Ball of Goo

You know what I like about blogging? You can go on a week long rant about something important to you and the world and then do a 180 and share asinine details about your life for no apparent reason.

For instance, Sassy Pant's Seven (see side bar) may need to be turned into Sassy Pant's Eight which doesn't quite have the same ring to it but would encompass "Relationships." Why? Friendster Guy and I hit a mini bump yesterday. Or I hit a bump and dragged FG over it. It came down to this: In my former marriage I was 3rd or 4th on my X's list of priorities. I refuse to go through that again. FG has a job that is more of a lifestyle than what most of us 9 to 5ers are used to. Lots of random overtime, night shifts, emergency calls in the middle of the night. I'm ok with that. Especially the emergency runs. A guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do. And I'm even fine with the overtime as long as I have enough warning. However, yesterday I had to stand in the same room with FG while he said "Sure I'll come in tonight" when I had assumed we were spending the evening together. I tried not to let it bother me but it really did. He had a choice (to some extent) and the decision became job first, me second. Logically I understand all the reasons why. But logical does not always override emotional. I tried to hold it in but I was so disappointed. I lasted about an hour before the tears came. Then we had a very honest and open conversation about both of our concerns and I think we came out all the stronger for it. At least I hope so. I don't want to be a big blubbery blob of goo for no reason.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Hollaback y'all

Now THIS is a good idea. Getting harassed? Take a picture and post your story. (Probably not all that legal but hey.) (Thanks Josh).

I need to learn how to use my camera phone.

You should also visit Josh for this disturbing birth control ad.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Fear

I don't think men realize that women carry around a continuous sense of low grade fear that spikes precipitously in certain circumstances, like when finding oneself alone on a street at night with a figure coming toward you. Relief is instant when the figure turns out to be a woman.

Constant. Fear.

Like what the guys probably felt in junior high and high school gym class. Only it last forever.

The gift that keeps on giving.

I'm so not going to get any work done today!

Aaaagghhh!

I just got an email inviting me to take part in an "Iron Girl" 5K/10K event.

Guess what an Iron Girl is? No seriously, guess. (I have definitely become an angry feminist in the last few months.) Ok, here are the attributes.

1) strong and feminine
2) fashionable
3) aspirational
4) energetic
5) empowering

Fashionable? Fashionable!? Feminine? What the hell does that mean? Do I get to sweat at this race? Do I have to wear pink? WTF?

And if Iron Girl's misson is "for women to embrace a healthy lifestyle and aim to achieve their personal bests." Why, oh why, is it called Iron GIRL? I'm all for embracing a healthy lifestyle and achieving my personal best but I am not going to belittle those achievements by calling myself a girl. I've earned the right to be a woman. That's part of my empowerment.

I sent them an email telling them I was insulted.

Go me!

Educating the menfolk and seeing through different lenses

One of the comments I didn't put in my post on the Sexual Assault Awareness Survey (down a few posts) was this:

"When are men going to stand up for us?"

Luckily, there are some men out there who get it and want to make a difference. My guy friend Josh is requesting our help to do just that here. Guys don't get subtly. Sometimes they need to be smacked upside the head. And we are just the people to do it. Dr. Nik is another one. He often comments here at Big Girl Underoos.

Unfortunately, what we need to teach them is very hard to tell. Speaking the words is often impossible. And we feel foolish or overreactive or downright silly to do so. But we aren't. And the silence is crippling. To us. To our partners. To society.

I went to a presentation last night by an artist, Marta Sanchez, whose work is inspired by her expriences with abuse and assault. Even though she says she rarely speaks about it, her pieces do. The audience at the presentation was interesting. I don't think the organizers got the word out soon enough so there was a scrambling to get participants. I went because a friend of mine told me about it and I felt the guilt of not going given that I'd just been blogging my heart out about the subject. Anyway, the majority of the audience was the college's football team. I'm sure they were strongly encouraged to attend but it was nice to see them there. (That's the kind of thing Duke's administration should encourage.)

I think they got a little scared when they discovered the presentation was going to be interactive. Hell, I did too. We all had to pick a print from the artist's Angel series that spoke to us and then when it came up in the powerpoint presentation we had to explain why, and what we saw in the piece. It was interesting hearing their descriptions because they see things through their lens of (mostly white) American male jock. Many of them described the images with words like innocent, peaceful, pure. I felt them wanting to protect the angels.

What I liked about the presentation was that it may have helped them see things through their lenses differently. It helped me. You see, the whole point of the series is that we often assume that only women who did something wrong can be assaulted and raped. They were wearing the wrong clothes, were in the wrong place. Or that "bad" women (strippers, hookers, women "with a past") can't be raped because, well, the cats already out of the bag. But it can happen to anyone. The questions, 'A whore can't be raped? Can an Angel?" appears over this image. An angel is perfection. No one can be a perfect angel. And it's ridiculous to think so. And even if they are, do they deserve to be believed any more than someone considered less than angelic? Bill Napoli thinks so. This image flaunts the assumptions.

The victim is victimized twice by those assumptions that she somehow did something wrong. But what's so special about 2 in the morning that makes it ok for you to assault me? "She shouldn't have been there." No! His fists should have stayed in his pockets. His cock should have stayed in his pants. This is not about HER. It's about HIM. HE shouldn't have been there. I wish more people would get that. Here's a poem that's part of the Vagina Monologues that finally helped me get it.

He's a cold hearted snake...look into his eyes...

oh oh, he's been telling lies...

No, this is not a post about President Bush or Dick Cheney.

This is a little cheer to Paula Abdul for not just sitting back and letting some guy get away with roughing her up. She's been in the entertainment news so much you'd think she wouldn't want to deal with it anymore but no, she did the right thing and reported it. You go girl. Straight up (now tell me!).

Sorry for giving you Paula Abdul earworms for the rest of the day. Don't Rush Rush to get them out of your head. And remember, Sassy Pants is Forever Your Girl. (I really am evil sometimes.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rape doesn't matter as much as race

The Duke Lacrosse team rape story has turned into a story about race and class as opposed to rape and assholes.

Duke now has a 5 step reponse plan to deal with everything but the fact that a woman was raped. I'm getting very irked. No, scratch that, pissed. In summary the 5 step plan is as follows:

1) investigation of the men's lacrosse program based on reports, separate from the criminal allegations, of "racist language and a pattern of alcohol abuse and disorderly behavior."
2) investigation of the administration's response to the allegations against the team.
3) examine student judicial processes and practices and make recommendations for reform.
4) direct a "campus culture initiative" to "evaluate and suggest improvements in the ways Duke educates students in the values of personal responsibility, consideration for others, and mutual respect in the face of difference and disagreement."
5) presidential council of higher-education leaders and local representatives to critique Duke's overall response to the controversy.

Sure, I'm all for investigating why the administration fucked up but hello? I mean seriously, hello?! What about the fact that a WOMAN (I don't care what race or profession) was RAPED. Did they forget that part? It seems they have. And I'm pissed about it.

A Day to End Sexual Violence - Survey Results

About a month ago I posted a link to a web survey asking for people’s experience with sexual abuse. I promised I’d post the results on April 6th in honor of A Day to End Sexual Violence and April being Sexual Assault Awareness month. I’d like to thank the respondents for their honesty and bravery in telling their stories. I’m a big proponent of sharing as a way of healing. And a way of fighting.

I was going to go through the answers and pick out the most poignant or moving experiences but I think every woman’s story fits the bill so I have included all the responses I received.

First, some stats (please pardon the formatting. I wanted to get the information out there more than I wanted to struggle with html issues):

110 people filled out the survey, 103 Women, 7 Men

The vast majority (87) were between 21 and 40.

101 identified as Caucasian, 7 as “other” and 1 each as Latina and African American

68 identified as heterosexual, 31 as bisexual, 5 as homosexual and 4 as Other


I have been
Sexually harassed 86
Molested 43
Sexually assaulted 54
Physically abused 44
Verbally abused 78
Raped 37


I know someone who has been
Sexually harassed 89
Molested 80
Sexually assaulted 78
Physically abused 78
Verbally abused 85
Raped 85


The age at which these events took place ranged from 4 to their present age.

The perpetrators were everyone – strangers, friends, dates, family members, teachers, husbands, babysitters, co-workers
---------------------------------------------------------------------


I can’t choose which stories to share so I’ll share all of them.

I asked, "If you are willing to share, please write your story/stories here":

Maybe some other time. Not up to it right now, but also, I find I don't like to "live in it". Telling isn't always healing. After you've told once or eight times, you learn it's not serving anything anymore. You move on. Just like any trauma, you keep living in it and sharing and you defeat your own purpose. Not to say hide it, but perspective; who to tell, when to tell, and when to stop telling because it's enough.

Ex-boyfriend tried to rape me a few weeks after we split up, but I got away. I ran out of his house and took a taxi to a friend's place and never saw him again. So much for staying friends. I was 21. I've also been sexually harassed by a colleague, again when I was 21. I complained to my supervisor but she did nothing. In the end I left the company. He is now harassing other women.

God. I'm sorry; I can't do it. I would be writing for hours, literally, and I feel too emotional and vulnerable to do that right now, especially to a faceless stranger via the internet. What I will say is that I grew up in a very small, virulently conservative and religious, southern town, and one thing that both gives me hope (because I know I am not alone) and makes me feel shattered (because how can we as individuals and as a society continue to tolerate such abuse?) is knowing that my story is not all that unusual.

Father was abusive in every way but sexually, left me with no boundaries or sense of self worth, therefore I was open to a steady barrage of harrassment and molestation from "peers" at school. Same pattern of "peers" taking advantage of me and assaulting me everywhere I went, they were attracted to me probably because I was a trained victim. Eventually I was staying with friends of my grandparents, effectively in the power of their older son (I was 12), he tried to strangle me and force me. I got away. Started to stand up for myself, but "relapsed" into victim status in college getting involved in a christian cult, which messed with me in a mental way that was decidedly sexually violent, but one that doesn't fit into any of these categories. Blah, I later learned it was what they call mind control when it comes to a cult, I was being programmed to be entirely nonsexual, but in a sort of sexually submissive way. It's hard to describe. Since getting out, I've stopped taking shit from anyone and I think I'm recovering.

alcoholic parents = verbal and physical abuse. 1st time I got drunk ever, as a freshman in college, got really sick and went back to my dorm room. passed out in my bed, apparently was followed by a guy at the party. Either I forgot to lock my door or he jimmied the lock (ridiculously easy to do, everyone learned how the 1st week there) and raped me 3 times while I was unconscious/half aware. I have blurred memories of him on me, of pain, of saying no. I woke later with a tennis ball size hickey on my neck, 3 used condoms on the floor and blood on the quilt my mom had made for me. I went back to party to find this guy. And the people there laughed at me. I told women in my dorm to stay away from him, told them what he did to me. He threatened to rape me again. I went to the counselor. She had to tell the dean because I was 17. The dean, did not want a police report because I was under age and drinking on campus. The guy got 1 semester of academic probation.

Too much to tell. Life is multi-dimensional. This sort of thing infects all areas of life like a virus. There is no real end to the story.

I'm not entirely sure which one this is, but I was 13 when I was first sexually harassed/ assaulted. I was in school, and one day I choose to wear a dress when I normally wore skirts. One of the guys, a person that I normally played basketball with and stuff, pushed me into the auditorium coat locker and put his hand up my skirt. When I told the principal, he said that it wasn't "That big of deal" and that I shouldn't be so sensitive.

I was molested by a family member when I was very young. I didn't remember it until many years later, when a bad drug experience caused me to have flashbacks of some events.

younger brother died, entire family was nuts for awhile, older brother touched me inappropriately one night after he'd been drinking. But there'd been years of him hitting me and making fun of me before that.

I dated someone at work, and later broke up with him after going out to dinner with him and not even (!) putting out. This enraged a fellow coworker of ours, who started verbally harassing and abusing me at work, and threatening me. When I went to the owner, he said that maybe this was just part of this man's culture (he was from Hungary) and that there wasn't much he could do. Once, I witnessed a women behind the counter at my favorite Thai place get physically attacked by a coworker (husband? brother?) in full view of a packed restaurant. People in the restaurant stopped him and called the police, and I gave him a piece of my mind. Later, when I told my supervisor at work about it, she said, "well, maybe that's just his culture." What is it with excusing the abuse of women -- in the United States -- because of cultural factors?

The only vaguely sexual molestation I've had was having a man run his hand up the inside of my thigh on a bus. I was too stunned to do anything.

Like, I expect, many girls in junior and senior high school, I suffered years of sexual comments, inappropriate touches, and ridiculous behavior from my male classmates and teachers. In my eighth grade English class, after a seating chart change, I was surrounded by boys. For weeks, the harassment escalated from bra-snapping and playing keep-away with my books to pulling my hair, pinching my butt, and grabbing my breasts. One day, the "attention" got a little loud and the teacher - who had been thus far oblivious to the 4 guys' behavior - turned on me and said "You are always in the middle of this trouble. Get out of my classroom. Go to the office." While I hated the abuse from the boys, this betrayal by the teacher shocked me to the core. I made it to the office before bursting into tears, and spent the rest of the day crying in the guidance counselor's room. I discovered later that one of my girl friends in the class protested my dismissal right after I left and she and one of the other girls explained what had really been going on. Two of the boys ended up with one day detention as a result, and I am glad to say that it never happened in that class again. The worst? The teacher was also my homeroom teacher, and she never, not once, apologized to me. In 11th grade, I was the only girl in my physics lab group with three guys. One of them took to speculating loudly and graphically about my preferred masturbation techniques. After a week of crying in the hall after class, I decided that I wasn't going to take any more of that shit. I came in early, tracked the stupid jackass down and told him in no uncertain terms that if he ever spoke to me or anyone else that way again that I would sue his ass for sexual harassment. His response? Red-faced, he stammered something about not realizing that I didn't like that sort of attention and he was just trying to be funny.

I was walking home from work when I was attacked on the street by a man, put into a car, threatened with a weapon I never saw and anally raped in the car.
Sexually harrassed: age 19, worked as in-home assistant to disabled person, trapped in corner and fondled by employer's friend Sexually assaulted: age mid-20s, boyfriend wanted to have sex without condom, I wanted sex but with condom, he pinned me down. Verbally abused: ages 27-33 by husband (now ex-husband).

At age 8, my family was driving down to Florida for a vacation. We stopped at a hotel in South Caroline for the night, and I wanted to go swimming in the hotel's pool. There were several other children in the pool, most of them older than I was. They were probably about 13 or 14 years old. Two of the boys thought it would be fun to grab me between the legs, I suppose just to see how I would react. I tried to get away and stay away, but they followed me, and even some of the girls in the pool joined in. Eventually, I asked my dad to stop them, and he told me to get out of the pool and we went back to the hotel room.

The first time I was working at a theme park on one of their stunt shows ... only girl on the set at the time. One of my coworkers decided to share with me, in front of everyone, that he was pretty sure if I let them, every one of my male coworkers would fuck me (his term). And then, when I was not flattered, told me I was being oversensitive. Some of my other coworkers looked horrified that this happened, and a few even said, "Dude. Dude!" (What can I say, we were all 18-20. :P) This does have a happy side-note, though. I was still debating going to my supervisor when he ended up approaching me about the matter. Why? Because some of my other coworkers (bless them) had complained that I was being harassed, and that wasn't cool. So it was nice to see that some men are willing to call out other men on their bullshit. I've been harassed other times at work too, but as that was the first time, it stands out a lot more.

Simple story. Boyfriend wanted sex, I didn't (was a virgin at the time of the first one), he won. Thru force. The other ones were, respectively, fear of violence, drunkeness, woke up to find him fucking without my permission.

My immediate reaction to every instance of violence and sexual misconduct that I've experienced has been to blame myself. That has never changed. Everything else - the people, my relationships with them, the circumstances - changed as I grew older but my guilt has remained the same. My husband, when I met him, was the most beautiful, gentle, intelligent and caring man I'd ever met. I loved him deeply and I still do. But he has continued the cycle of violence that he experienced between his parents as a young child, and I cannot in good conscience have children with him and let it go a generation further. I recently realised something, though: if I wouldn't bring a child into our situation, why would I remain there myself? So I left three weeks ago.

My stuff is really quite minimal, mostly schoolyard taunting and garden variety street harassment. The school stuff hurt the worst, because it occurred during formative years: I was more or less constantly mocked for my appearance ("ugly", skinny, small-breasted, etc.) from first grade through junior high school by both boys and girls, and sexually harassed by one boy in particular in junior high.

Stranger with a gun broke into my dorm, came into the bathroom where I was taking a shower, put a gun to my head, threatened to blow my head off and rubbed himself against my backside. I never saw the assailant's face, and the assailant never found. Was unable to find an affordable and competent therapist at the time - was given not very useful anti-depressant medication with terrifying side effects instead (got tachycardia, thought I was about to die). Got therapy from a clinical social worker about 6 years later after a breakup, which helped to me resolve this issue and deal with my depression. Am still of the conviction the average psychiatrist is a batshit moral cripple who should be kept away from anyone in psychic pain though.

Went on a date and was, unfortunately, drugged and raped
My father sexually abused me for several years. While there was no intercourse, other things were done. My family is still in denial about him, although they pretend to care enough to keep not let him be around his granddaughters alone.
I know plenty of women who have been subject to varying levels of abuse. My mother was harassed and touched by the priest who presided over her husband's funeral. For some indeterminate time my brother molested me. I would normally call it rape, but I wasn't sure what definitions you were working with. I know it went on for some time, but can absolutely not remember all of it. When I was 8 my mother caught him. My father ordered him to apologize, which he did. It was never mentioned again.

My mother's car broke down. She accepted a ride from a stranger who drove to the woods where he raped her. She put him away for ten years.

My ex-boyfriend was very abusive, verbally, mentally, and sometimes physically. He once held a semi-automatic assault rifle on me for a few hours after punching me.

no I am not willing to share

In retrospect, I realize it was a form of bullying. I wore second hand clothing and was obviously not one of the rich kids, but I was in gifted classes, pretty, and socially awkward. Some of the boys apparently thought that they could intimidate me into "knowing my place" as a sex object. They would surround me, try to grab at my ass and breasts, shove pornography in my face, and ask me vulgar questions. Going from one place to another around the schoolyard was a frightening ordeal. Their hounding of me also made it hard for me to have friends-- girls I'd known for years didn't really like to hang out with me at the school because they would get hassled, too. I didn't have words to make the adults understand. Clear cut terms like sexual harassment weren't in common use at the time, and when I said a boy grabbed my bottom, the adults tended to go into a sort of denial mode. I'd get told that boys that age don't know how to act around pretty girls, they have no self control, and that they probably just liked me and didn't know how to tell me. I had no help from adults in dealing with the situation, and it didn't stop until a couple years later when a swipe I made at a harasser with a pencil ended up coming just short of poking him in the eye. It was semi-accidental (I was on the bus and it started up)-- but I let them think I was dangerous.

Throughout high school I was called a dyke and touched inappropriately (e.g., grabbing my breasts and crotch) because I spoke my mind and had short hair. In college, raped by a friend of a friend. He came into my bedroom after I had gone to sleep, drunk; he told my friends he would "check on" me. I woke up to him having sex with me, and when I yelled for him to stop, he didn't, and held me down until he finished. Also in college, I was molested by a professor in his car, after a meeting. I jumped out of the car and never went to his class again.

Fortunately, I've led a pretty uneventful life. I do seem to be a real verbal-abuse magnet. My ex-fiancé was relentlessly emotionally and verbally abusive, while firmly convinced that he was a victim of "feminism" because he couldn't get all the hot women he felt entitled to. Quite a bit of the abuse was gender-specific. When he found out I had scored higher than he did on the Analytical section of the GRE, he acted very confused and said, "But men are more logical than women!" It took me far too long to extricate myself from this relationship, even though it was only 3 1/2 years.

In junior high school, a boy in my choir class came up behind me in the hall when no one was around, reached between my legs and wiggled his fingers against my vagina. At church on Easter Sunday when I was 13, I was an alter girl (Episcopalians have women in those roles). After the service one of the men from church, whom I didn't know well, found me alone and yelled at me about how it wasn't a fashion show up there. There are many other incidents of sexism, these were part of my first awareness of it and stayed with me because they shocked me so much, and there was no one to go to about them. I told my mother about the guy at church but she didn't do anything.

Standard stories - raped by babysitter as a toddler, molested by grandpa as a little kid, abused - physically and verbally - by partner as a young woman. How sad that these are standard. No one has ever been punished for their acts.
We had been having marital problems, because he is a domineering control freak. He was mad one morning because I didn't want to have sex with him. So he held me down and forced me. He is a foot taller than me and outweighs me by 60 lbs. Not much I could do.

Verbally abused by my mother. Date rape at 15 [fought him off, eventually]; lived with a verbally/financially abusive partner for six years.

Dunno if this even counts as harassment, but I've had my bra strap snapped, nasty graffiti written about me, the typical high school stuff. Only one incident of each, really.

When I started sixth grade, I was ten years old (an autumn baby.) Boys and girls on the bus asked if I was a virgin and offered to set me up with someone.
I was raped and beaten weekly for several years in my early 20s by my live in boyfriend. He was an alcoholic and an artist, from one of this country's wealthiest families. I have not seen him for 12 years. He broke my jaw, made it impossible for me to wear shorts/short sleeved shirts (bruises) and choked me to unconsciousness twice. It is only pure luck (and an irregular cycle) that allowed me to escape getting pregnant by him.

Many instances, but the one I have never, ever talked about was being molested by the town's retarded man. I would have died rather than report it.

1) Sexually harassed - for a period of time between about 12 - 15. I developed large breasts very early. My classmates - girls - several times pressured me to lift my shirt and bra and show them off. We were in a hidden area. I didn't really want to, but I was surrounded (literally), and felt considerable pressure. Later, in another school, three or four of the older boys made me a target, making loud, suggestive comments whenever they saw me. I never reported it; the other girls told me "if you'll just ignore it, they'll stop". But how to ignore it? I felt mocked and humiliated for something I had no control over - big boobs. Even as late as college, I planned to get breast reduction surgery when I could afford it. That idea has faded over the years, as middle-age spread has made my breasts more proportioned to the rest of me. But I still wear fairly loose, shape-hiding clothes. 2) Molested - 12 and 13 or so. I was taking accordion lessons. The teacher came to our house and we practiced in my bedroom with the door shut so the noise wouldn't disturb the rest of the household. I resisted, but only passively - tried to keep the door open, but he insisted. Tried to have my sister in the room, too, but he said no distractions. I was actually kind of interested - just discovering my own sexuality - so didn't tell my parents for fear I'd be punished. Fortunately - my mom was in the house, after all- it didn't progress beyond his finger in my vagina, and me touching his penis. 3) Raped - I almost hesitate to classify it as such. I didn't until the past year, when I started reading feminist blogs, but the memory has bothered me for years and years; it left a much greater effect than I realized at the time. I was in bed, asleep. My non-live-in boyfriend had been out drinking. He jimmied the lock and broke in and woke me up, drunk, wanting sex. I said 'No' several times, but he kept pressing it. I was so groggy (it was the deepest part of my sleep cycle) that I finally gave in. It wasn't rough; in fact, I slept through about half of it I think. But now I think, "What the hell made his right to sex more important than my right to sleep?" If he was still around, I'd be chewing his ass about it. Not rape, but revealing of the male feeling of entitlement to sex - the same boyfriend and I were having sex during my period. He was well-endowed; because of my swollen tissues, a certain position and depth of penetration that he wanted, HURT. I said so. He made accommodations, but not before exclaiming, "Damn you and your period!" Instantly, I went from enjoying the sex act to feeling like a slab of meat. It didn't matter that I hurt; what mattered was that he had to do something different to get himself off. It seems little. I certainly don't compare it to the forcible rape experienced by so many women. And yet, as I type this up, there is a roiling in the pit of my stomach, and my eyes are prickling. With those five words, what I thought was a nice guy demonstrated that I was just a convenient fuck for him. It shattered something inside me, I think.

Out of work and driving for a car service to make ends meet. A drunk female passenger was flirtatious, to the point of putting her hand down my pants while I was driving on the interstate in moderate traffic and heavy snow. I was too stunned to protest effectively, and trying to not wreck the car, so I just ignored the fact it was going on. Got her to destination, got her out of car, and went back to work with an 'icky' feeling that lasted about two weeks. At the same job, I also had a very, very, very drunk male passenger try to kiss me - hardly abusive but definitely an unwanted intrusion into my personal space. The first two (of three) women I have dated were molested. One by a cousin, the other by a foster child her grandmother was caring for. Both of the perps were female children about age 10 to 12. Someone else I know was held captive and brutally raped for a day or two by her boyfriend and a friend of his. To this day, about 15 years later, she still has 'damage' that prevents her from having children.

I'm not quite sure if this qualifies for the survey 100%, but I was subject to what I call 'sarcastic sexual harassment' at high school for many years. I was sarcastically catcalled, called 'sexy' whistled at, given verbal abuse about my apparently unacceptable appearance, and occasionally groped and hugged and otherwise touched by people as a joke. The joke was that I was apparently so physically repulsive that it was humorous to even think about some man being attracted to me enough to grace me with molestation.

I was fifteen, and at a swim meet. In my area, three schools practiced together, and one of the senior boys offered me a ride home. We made out for a little, and I was ok by that. Surprised, but it wasn’t a bad thing. Then he tried to put his hand down my pants. I said no so he choked me, slapped me in the face and pulled down my pants. He ripped the tampon I had in out of me, threw it at me, hit me in the face again, forced me to give him a hand job while choking and biting my neck. My wrist was sprained in the course of the event. Don't ask me to call that fucker a friend. This was not a friendly event. But we had been. My mother called me a slut when I got home. Then she slapped me and went to bed.
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How has it affected your relationships?


Badly.

My sister and I were both abused by the same family member. We both grew up with depression, which followed us into our adult years. We both sought treatment at the same time and have made it out ok, but we're both troubled by this aspect of our lives and live with regret and shame. It has made me, especially, prone to crippling sadness and outbursts of anger. She had an obesity problem most of her life.

Affected my ability to trust, and years of physical/verbal abuse has left me with IBS like symptoms and panic attacks.

It's made me more cautious, more choosy, more pushy about getting exactly what I want from a relationship and not putting up with any crap. I am now in a very happy relationship with a feminist guy, and we're getting married in a few months. But I don't have many male friends. I don't trust men very much.
I'm 35 and have been in a loving, abuse-free relationship for 8 years, and I'm just now beginning to come to terms with the impact of the sexual/physical/emotional abuse on my life. I feel afraid much more than I would like to. I have social anxiety, caused in large part by emotional abuse.

Apart from the loving, long-term relationship I'm in now, I've failed miserably at maintaining other relationships, including friendships with both men and women. Much of the time I feel like a failure and wish I hadn't been impacted as much as I obviously have by all of the abuse. I was very suicidal when I was younger but, thankfully, failed on the one attempt I made. I am clinically depressed, and much of the time sadness weighs on me. I have a lot of rage inside of me, and I'm trying to learn to turn it outward, where it belongs, instead of using it against myself. I have a long history of eating disorders, but fortunately am finding the strength to develop other coping mechanisms. My refuge for the past 5 years has been therapy and my lover. I often feel that I don't deserve to be with him. One thing I still struggle with is knowing that a lot of the abuse came at the hands of family members -- people who were supposed to protect me, people who, I'm certain, loved me, but who also were human and fallible and committed crimes against me. I don't know what to do with that knowledge sometimes; it hurts so much. I think a lot about what the philosopher Gabriel Marcel said about living without hope: hopelessness is the belief that time is plugged up. In other words, if you have no hope, then time has stopped, and nothing will change. Things will always be as they are right now. When I was younger, I couldn't imagine my life changing; I couldn't imagine living free of the abuse; I couldn't imagine loving or respecting or honoring myself or finding someone else who would. To some degree, I'm still not free, even though I no longer allow those people to abuse me. I'm still not free because the structures that developed in my mind during those years and decades of abuse are still there, and they are still helping to determine who I am and the choices I make. I'm trying to rid myself of them, though. It's just a very long, hard struggle.

The obvious, it's hard to trust. I've had a hard time figuring out who I am, and I'm afraid I focus on the surface things too much. Like how would *I* dress? Lately my partner (legal husband to be and father of our approaching child) and I have really been discussing sexual politics as I've had a "jump" in putting my head together. I've been trying to figure out my sexuality, and it's been hard because I've been trained to be so penetration centric when my innate sexuality is vague and more about touching, closeness, and that's erotic and good in its own right, not to mention romantic. Lo and behold, he likes that himself and now we're moving beyond our old penetration-as-sex definition together.

loss of self esteem and boundaries, inability to have emotions, never feeling safe anywhere, unable to maintain friendships or romantic relationships, many years of working to heal.

It took me an extremely long time to be okay with being close to/trusting/comfortable around others (new friends, acquaintances, dates) after my experience. After I broke up with the perpetrator I was stalked for almost 4 years, about which the authorities in my town and my school did nothing and belittled me for getting "worked up" over it. This has not only made me distrust authority figures and feel they work against me rather than for or with me, but also made me extremely sensitive to people who want to get too close to me.

I'm not even sure yet. I don't know if it's possible to know.

Married the wrong guy because he seemed strong enough to protect me, instead was emotionally distant and somewhat abusive.

At first I was afraid of men who I saw as sexual (i.e. not close friends, or family). If I was looked at too long I would withdraw behind the male friend I was with. If I was touched, even on the shoulder, by a man who was hitting on me I reacted violently. I am better now, I still hate being hit on by men to whom I do not give any indication that I want to be picked up. I flinch when men I know shout near me, become angry when I don't know them, and still jump when /anyone/ raises their hand quickly. I am one of the least affected women I know. The molestation was never reported, and my parents, one of whom was a police officer at the time, still do not know about it. The verbal abuse ended when I broke my engagement, and the harassment goes on. As a woman with a relatively small frame and ddd breasts, I seem to be "asking for it" obviously the facts that I am not christian, and still have premarital relations justifies it.
It has affected my self-esteem.

I am more wary of how I flirt, with more concern to how I am presenting myself at all times. Many men see what they want to see, so I have to be more careful what messages I send through my words and actions.

I lost trust in my teachers for a long time. Not until my senior year of college did I meet a teacher who made me realize that I was pushing all my possible mentors based on the failings of that 8th grade English teacher. A few years ago, in a "legal issues in education" class for my MAEd (Masters of Education), I tried to relate these jr/sr high experiences to the class and shocked myself by bursting into tears all over again. I still feel so angry with those boys for thinking that their behavior was okay, and I feel furious and betrayed by my teacher's failure to protect me, and worse, her immediate assumption that the girl in the middle had to be the problem. I am now a teacher of teenage students. And though I hadn't really thought about it before, when making up seating charts, I never isolate the girls from other girls.

It was one of several events that gave me a tendency to see things from a woman's viewpoint. I am not homosexual, so thankfully, the rape didn't really affect my sex or love life, except I hate coercion in any form.

Two unpleasant marriages and two attempts at living with men, at 45 I finally stopped trying to have any romantic or physical relationship.

I don't trust anyone. I won't let anyone in.

I don't know if it's really affected my relationships. But I am generally afraid of black males as a result of the incident.

It really brought home to me that sexual harassment does happen in the workplace, and it really, really sucks. It made me incredibly angry, and I get reeeeally angry at people who think it's just a lot of uppity women being "oversensitive." It didn't really affect any of my relationships; anyone I've told this story to seems to think I was right to be angry, and that my coworkers that reported it were right to do so. Some of them seem surprised something like that can happen "in this day and age," but don't doubt it happened.
I'm cold all the time. I surround myself with sarcasm, but that's only to hide the insecurity. In a way, it was good, because it steeled me, and helped me to embrace rad fem...I hope I can help other women to grow out of this stinking manure.

When I was 17 I reported some severe sexual harassment and assault that had been going on for years at my high school. I won't go into detail (the last court case to do with it just ended a couple of months ago; eight years after I put in the initial complaint). It just really struck me that it was okay and everyone 'got on and had a great time' until all the stuff was talked about. At that point, those of us who talked were evil vindictive sluts out to ruin other peoples' lives and the boys who had victimized dozens of people over years were victims. Forevermore I'll be associated with that dark chapter among some people and there's so much more to me than what those assholes did to me and how they almost got away with it. Really drove home for me exactly why most people stay quiet, especially the worse that the actions are.

I've got a low opinion of my physical appearance, which manifests itself in certain insecurities. I have also, in the past, used sex as a way of bolstering my self-esteem; I'm not certain this is entirely a bad thing, although there were times when I had sex that, after the fact, I wasn't sure I'd wanted physically so much as emotionally.

I have issues. I

I feel powerless in relationships frequently and have a hard time remembering that I get to decide who I want to be friends with, date, marry, etc.

Fear of intimacy and commitment. Paranoia--are they being nice to be nice or do they want something. Timidity/passivity.

Honestly...I'm not sure it has had any effect although I'm sure many others would disagree.

lots of therapy. married again 8 years later to a wonderful man. no issues.

hate any presumption from anyone that if something goes wrong you must have done something, sometime to deserve it.

Oh, I'm completely fucked up when it comes to romantic relationships. I'm now too old to have children and have yet to find a man to have an emotionally healthy relationship with. I will more than likely be the "spinster" aunt until I die.

I've never had an intimate relationship.

I was brought up in a climate of fear.

I am afraid of men. I cannot have a relationship with a man. I am too afraid and I can't trust them. I am a radical feminist and almost hate men. All the male figures in my life have abused me in some way. This has led me to my current opinions.

I still have nightmares that he's coming to kill me. My other relationships are fine, I met a nice man who is now my husband who helped me to get rid of any demons from past relationships.

I've become angrily feminist.

I am completely heterosexual, but I have little trust of men. I'd like to find true love and be married some day, but I have yet to put myself in a position to meet a genuine candidate. Instead, I entertain myself with the occasional "Boy Toy" (much younger man), or relationships that I go into knowing they will never be more than "casual".

Every little bit of my life has been determined by a thousand abuses. I can’t imagine how I could have been without them.

I have problems confronting issues, and facing hostile opinions. I am afraid of being who I am.

I kept my self respect but shut off any acknowledgement of the sexual side of myself for ages. Only after I'd met a man who loved me as I was and made me feel safe could I start enjoying being a woman.

It's made me sometimes hate sex. I cry about 20% of the time I have sex with my husband. It's made me nervous around people I don't know very well, and even men I do know. I ended several relationships because I couldn't bear having sex.

I didn't feel trusting enough to enter into an intimate relationship with a man for a full ten years after the assault.

I don't trust my own judgment the way I used to. I was with him during a very difficult time of my life, and he undermined me every chance he got. It took me 5 years before I could even think about pursuing a new relationship.
I am distrustful of men. I pretty much expect the worst of them, and am constantly shocked when individual men treat me respectfully. I did not feel comfortable being alone with a man who was not my father until I was eighteen years old, as I fully expected (and rightfully so) that these men would try to have sex with me. I feel as though I have to overcompensate in every way now because I guess you could say I carry a pretty big inferiority complex around on my back.

I do not trust anyone. For years, my pattern of relationship was the abusive one, until I learned better. I still have problems trusting people.

Oddly, I don't think the rape had much effect. The successful self-defense helped a lot, probably. The verbal abuse has made dealing with relationships harder. I tend to freak out a lot and I think I have PTSD to some extent.

Actually, I really feel like I escaped unscathed, especially compared to friends of mine who were coerced into sex in one way or another. Overall, I've been pretty confident in my relationships as an adult. I know what I want and what I do not want, and am not afraid to say so. At the time of the incidents however, I felt sick. I had no good way of reacting, no way I could prove I wasn't the lesser being that sexual harassment tries to make you into. I think the worst was seeing that guys I was around daily and felt to be on equal terms with did not feel the same way about me. There's a definite sense of betrayal. However, the nasty graffiti was mitigated by one of my friends getting to it and writing a scathing reply before I saw it. Having a support network to reinforce the knowledge that I had self-worth and agency definitely helps.

Not really, though I ended up staying a virgin (technically) until I was 20.

I have not seen him for 13 years. I have been married for 10 years (to a different person obviously) and have 3 children. I have been profoundly affected by this and fear that I will pass my fuckedup-ness on to my 8 year old daughter. I don't have any ability to deal with anger. Any expression of anger scares me. I don't know what healthy anger is.

I carry around the "secret", I am depressed.

I hate men. Not just because of him, because of all of the ones I've ever met.

unable to trust anyone!

I am wary about opening up to people that I don't know very well. I also no longer associate with some of my family.

That's hard to pinpoint. I've only had three lovers, and have been celibate for the past 25 years. I don't date, and did very little even before I quit. But I think it's made me very suspicious of men's motives. (To clarify, I think "it" is unspoken societal expectations as much as my direct experiences.) In a dating situation, I was always worried about what he would "expect" from me, no matter how nice he seemed. I remember one date who casually slipped his hand inside my bra to cup my breast, right in the middle of a conversation. He pulled it out like he had been burned when I vehemently protested - but this was our first (and last) date! I had done *nothing* to make him think I would welcome sexual advances. I couldn't really relax in a dating situation; I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. But even in non-dating situations, I feel that, from the male viewpoint, I am judged "less". I am a female, and short. I have seen blatant disbelief in men's eyes when I spoke of helping Dad roof the new house, or fixing a waterline. I am female, therefore I am incapable. Not all men - not even most men (I don't think). But because I have seen it in a fairly large percentage of men, I know I constantly wonder if the man I'm talking to sees me as a competent person in my own right, or someone to be indulged while she plays at being grown up. It's very frustrating.

what relationships? I live in isolation

I am sickened, appalled, and angry that these things happen. Regarding people in general I won't let them into my life if I get the feeling they've got a dangerous streak or a general lack of respect for other people. With the women I date, I strive to be honorable, compassionate, and respectful.

It destroyed my self confidence and made it so that I feel a lot of anger and anxiety around young males of the same type who tend to harass me. In fact, I feel a lot of anxiety around my peers in general, I have social anxiety disorder which means I fear social situations a lot.

I turned into someone who used sex as a weapon. I figured if it could be stolen from me then I should get something out of it. Even if I had had support, my entire school turned on me. I showed up Monday bruised in the face with teeth marks visible down my neck and a sprained wrist. I went to the nurse, she wrapped my wrist. I’m pasty assed white, and as a medical professional, wasn't she supposed to ask? I mean really, black and blue on the face seems like a problem to me. She glared at me the whole time... I'd gone there to try to tell. Try for justice, vengeance, something... but it was obviously my "fault." I ended up suppressing the memory for half a decade. In that time I'd been sexually assaulted by another former friend, and I'd managed to rape myself many many times in the process. What else would you call it when you fuck someone so they don't have to take it?

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What can I say after that? Only that if anything like any of these things above happens to you, no matter how "insignificant" you think they are, tell someone. Because it is not insignificant. A bra snap or a snide comment can live on in your psyche for a long time, and can escalate as the perpetrator gets more permission to continue because of our silence. And if that person you tell scoffs or is mean or makes it seem like it's your fault, find someone else. And keep trying to find another person until someone believes you and is on your side. Unfortunately you are not alone and it shouldn't be hard to find someone to be your champion. Perpetrators won't be stopped and men won't be taught that it is NOT ok to touch a woman or say things to a woman or do all the things listed above until we start telling and start protesting at the top of our lungs that IT IS NOT OK! My one regret is not telling someone about what happened to me and therefore catching the bastards.

Live strong ladies (and gentlemen). It is not OK.