On Women Speaking Up

I recently read this article on Taylor Hirth. http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a8557036/taylor-hirth-gang-rape-independence-missouri/

It appears her case wasn’t investigated as thoroughly as it could have been. She also felt that she was the one under investigation.  How rapes are handled, viewed and dismissed is largely the reason women do not speak up.

Look at other allegations such as those against Bill Cosby.  Once someone spoke up, others gained the courage to do so as well.

In the article, Taylor, who is a victim’s advocate, asks, “How, having gone through what I went through and am still going through, can I still encourage women to report?”

I would reply, especially since she has gone through the same thing, she can encourage the women AND let them know it is a difficult journey.  If Taylor hadn’t reported, the evidence would not have been in the system and her child’s endangerment would not be one of the charges against these men.

Who am I to say to speak up?

I was sexually assaulted at a public swimming pool.  A neighbor boy grabbed me from behind in the pool and twisted my nipple.  Of course I screamed and fought to be let go.

The life guard and the boy had and verbal exchange, all the while the boy continued to hurt me. He told the guard I wanted it.  He only let go when he was ready. I didn’t want it. I didn’t even know he was at the pool.

I already knew to stay away from him and his younger brother. When they first moved in, the younger boy and another neighbor girl exchanged words.  He knocked her down and kicked her in the chest.

When the girl went to tell his mother, I among a few other neighbor girls who had witnessed the exchange, went with her. The mother’s reply to the report was, “boys will be boys.”

We girls had grown up that boys don’t hit girls.  These boys lived by a different set of rules.

So nothing happened of consequence afterwards.

Except I didn’t go to the pool any longer. And until today, I’ve never spoken of what happened.

If we, who have been attacked do not speak up, the perpetrators will continue to go free without consequence to treat others in the same way. It is a long and hard journey but what type of world do we want for ourselves, for others and our children?

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An Example of Grace

Recently Grace Parker, reported missing, was found dismembered. A horrific story unfolds as days go by. Her adopted mother and boyfriend accused of what has happened to Grace.

And then I read some details of who Grace was. People have stepped forward and shared that Grace made friends at school with others who didn’t have many friends.  She told those friends the people at home are mean.

Lately, I’ve been chewing on what does one do in the face of bullies. There are those type of bullies that will back down when confronted, but  there are those bullies that will do what they do and more damage is done.

Grace dealt with her situation as best she could. She didn’t let the mean people dampen who she was.  She choose to be kind and reach out to others.

I will do that as well.  I will stand up to the bullies by living my life well.  I will reach out to those around me and seek to make a difference where I can. I choose to be kind, regardless of what others are choosing to do. And I thank Grace for being an example of a way to stay strong and true to oneself in the face of adversity.

Grace, may you rest in peace.

A Litany of sorts

It’s been 22 years since my mother died.  And this year has been particularly rocky.  This has puzzled me as I have a good job, a great boss and have been building my life up again after losing Grandpa.

An incident of no matter really happened the weekend before Thanksgiving that threw me for a loop.  A choice of my sibling felt punitive and I was devastated. So I looked at why I was reacting so.

I am now the age Mom was when her kidneys failed.  She struggled with this health issue for three years.  So I called the company EAP and had my first appointment with a grief counselor.  (I find it interesting that they’ve been able to determine that 4 sessions is all I will need, or maybe it is that they’ll only pay for 4.)

I’ve been to counselors before and had forgotten that the first appointment is a telling / re-telling of life history.  For how can we go anywhere if we don’t know where we have been.

I don’t particularly like my litany.  It goes something like this:

Dad was an alcoholic.  Mother had migraines.
Got married to an alcoholic and had 3 children.
When the relationship started to get violent, (no he never hit me but did kick the bed) I left and got a divorce. Moved in with mom.
Mom’s kidneys failed. Grandmother got cancer.
Three years later they died within months of each other.
Re-married.  That didn’t work out.  Got divorced.
Grandpa got dementia and after a couple of years overseeing his care, quit my job to take care of him full-time.
Grandpa passes away and it’s harder to get back into the work force than I expected.
And now, I’m hitting the grieving process again.

The thing about the above list is that  it only paints one or two colors of my life. Looks like I’ve done so much sacrificing or struggled to survive.  Well, that’s so untrue!  That’s just the list of why I’m at the counselor’s office.

But another list of my life looks like this:

Met my best friend when I was 10.
Started college
Had 3 children
Got a job that had college tuition reimbursement
Finished BA degree
Made quilts
Learned to play guitar
Took kids  to Disneyland
Watercolor painting
Read great books
Saw Movies, embarrass kids when I am the only one in the theater
Kids and I went to Disney World, Epcot Center and the lot
Lillie and I went to London
Gena and I went to the Dominic Republic
Bought some property, because there was a field of buffalo across the street.
Met Daughter in law and grand-daughter
Gardened
Bought a violin and learned to play
Have a whole line up of pets throughout the years
Juggled all over and now teach it to other

Both lists are true. Both are incomplete by themselves.  What my life is, is a combination of the two.  I’ve had sunshine and sorrow each step of the way.  And as I work with the counselor, I want to become more purposeful in where this life of mine is headed, be more thoughtful in my choices and leave a great legacy.

 

They Said the Titanic was Unsinkable, and the Pipeline Unbreakable

The company building the Dakota Access PipeLine(DAPL) has repetitively made assurances that there will be no spill from their efforts.  They dismiss the protesters concerns and have called for local and federal law enforcement in assistance to remove the obstruction to their plans to move forward no matter what.

However, in 1988 near Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania Ashland spill occurred, in 2010 BP spilled oil in the Gulf Coast, in 2013 there were spills in Arkansas(Mayflower) and in a field near Bismark North Dakota. This oil spill in the land covered the equivalent of 7 football fields.

In October of this year, 2016, spills occurred in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

And still this company stands with the comments that their pipeline won’t spill.  If that is true, wouldn’t it behoove them to sell their special pipes to these other oil companies that do no seem able to keep oil from contaminating the land and waterways of America?

Is the Federal government tracking the viability of these areas that have been compromised?  How is the water for Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia since the spill in 1988?  These are the states that reports show were impacted by the spill.

How is the water in the Gulf? When was the last time the water and wildlife tested?

Today, I am calling my Federal representatives both in Congress and Senate to ask HR5979 at their local office. This is the Energy and Water Research integration Act.  The one created in 2007 HR5189 requires a plan.  I’m going to ask where to get a copy.

Find out who your representatives are http://whoismyrepresentative.com.

I’m also going to contact EPA Donna Downing at 202-566-2428 and Army Corps of Engineers Stacey Jensen at 202-761-5856 both are listed in the EPA waters of the US Rule documentation.  I will update this page if these contacts have changed.

Instead of repeating that their pipeline won’t break which is unrealistic bearing that other pipelines have failed, offer a plan for containment and clean up would be more reassuring as well as more believable.

Why is George Zimmerman Still at Large?

We need to change the law.

In 2005, George Zimmerman assaulted an undercover police officer.  Charges were dropped when he entered an anger management program.

In 2012, George Zimmerman shot an killed an unarmed minor, Trayvon Martin . He was acquitted of second degree murder. We take his word that he feared for his life.

In 2013, 2015 and 2016 police were called out for domestic and public disturbances involving Mr. Zimmerman.

In 2014 Mr. Zimmerman was in an altercation with Matthew Apperson who has received a sentence of 20 years in prison for attempted second-degree murder. We take Mr. Zimmerman’s word over Mr. Apperson’s word.

Has Mr. Zimmerman completed the 2005 anger management program? Why were the charges of this early if not first encounter dropped?  Wouldn’t it have been better to tie the completion of the program to probation? At the least, can’t we have Mr. Zimmerman attend anger management classes again?

As long as George Zimmerman is out walking the streets, there will be reports of some kind of violence. When will he be held accountable for his actions? And others like him?

 

A Letter to All Faith-based Peoples

Dearest Beloved,

Is not your deity(s) greater than anything in this world? Does this not include leaders?

Have you been praying? How is your faith? I encourage you to keep praying. For yourselves, your loved ones, the Earth and those that have leadership responsibilities.

Encourage others to have hope, show them the way to peace and love and a better way.

It will be OK.  Not because I say so, but because there is something greater to turn to. We are not alone.

butterflies

Love always and forever,

Laura

 

The Hope of a Baby and a Bud

If I am not careful, my thoughts will turn to all the ways the world will end, zombies, aliens, terrorists, elections and epidemics both health and monetary vie for the top spot.  It is a bad day when they all happen simultaneously. I think why even try? What’s the point?

And then, I will get distracted by a video interview of the mother who just had a baby at the Dakota pipeline protest encampment.  Baby girl slept peacefully throughout the interview.

Or, I will check on my plants and see that the stick of hydrangea I have on my kitchen counter has sprouted leaf buds.

Babies and plants are not too worried about all the disaster I play in out in my head.  They are doing what they do best. And that they are, gives me hope.

They are the reason to try.  They are the point. I won’t just hold on to the hope, I’ll pass it around. Won’t you do likewise?

I Will Stand for Victim of Incest

It is reported that a judge up north has given a father who committed incest a lighter sentence because the mother and grandmother asked for leniency because he has two sons. These two women made written statements that the sons would be devastated if they did not have their father in their lives.

And because no one stood for the daughter the judge complied.

I will stand for the daughter. I will say that I will not lightly look at what has been done to her by her father and say it is less devastating than the boys loosing their father.

I will say she deserves to have justice.  To be told what was done to her was wrong. No man should be allowed to touch her in the way her father did. She should have resources available to her to heal from this as well as not to have to live in the same household and risk further harm.

She has a right to live fully and reach her full potential as a human being.

And I see in other reports that there are many others who think and feel as I do.  I hope she gets the message that there are those who care and care deeply.

Mercy for a Judge Who Showed None

http://www.africanamerica.org/topic/pa-judge-sentenced-to-28-years-for-selling-black-teens-to-prison

This article states the defense attorneys asked for mercy for ‘he will forever be unjustly branded as the ‘Kids for Cash’ judge’

Unjustly branded? The man was convicted.  He did take money and send kids to prison. He paying for his actions by going to prison himself.

Which he didn’t show to the youth of his community when he passed judgement on them.

If this leader of the community wanted to be remembered for something other than profiting from his position, he should have made other choices.

People, when and if you are ever tempted to do something in secret, behind closed doors, think about what will happen if this action comes to light and the doors are opened wide for all to see.

Or you too will be asking your defense attorneys to request mercy on crimes you have committed.

 

 

If I were the President…

The other day at an event, we had an ice breaker where each person was given a card with a question.  We were to go around the room and ask each other the question on the card.  After answering questions about my favorite shoes, and best memory, I was asked what I would do if I were the president.

UGH! I don’t want to be the president. The responsibility is too great, the country too divided, and my to-do list is overloaded to add this job to it. But I didn’t want to be a buzz kill so I thought seriously what I would do if I were in the oval office.

We only had time for me to share the first thing I would do if I were president.  Which is good because I’m not sure what the second thing I would do.

The first thing I would do if I were president would be to get the country on a balanced budget.  I have lived on a balanced budget and I have gotten over whelmed with personal debt.  I like living on a budget better and am successfully getting back on track.  I have paid down a lot of my debt and am working a plan to pay off the rest.  In a timely manner. I’m putting money into savings. Creating a plan and living by it may not be fun however, it is calming, creating a purpose and focus to my life.

I would call the country to tighten it’s belt and be the example for the people who live within the borders. I would encourage communities to work together to create solutions that didn’t throw money at the problem. And we would celebrate successes.

I didn’t say all of the above to the person who asked me the question.  He only heard that I would balance the budget.  His reply is that he would vote for me.

If I am not careful, I may find myself sitting behind a particular desk applying what I have done as an individual to the good of many.