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Tag: sexual assault

Giving Senior Citizens Space to Feel

We’re in a time when a woman will be partaking in a conversation and the next thing you know what will come spilling out in an almost even tone is that time when her doctor raped her. It happened to me this morning. “Nancy, it was five years before I realized what he did to me was wrong.” **** On the evenings when I prepare a topic, or prompt, for my senior citizens’ writing group the next morning, my greatest challenge is to try to gauge the mood or mindset of my students. By this I mean that there...

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A Tainted Pick, No Matter What

Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court tomorrow. Call me jaded, prescient, resigned, pessimistic, whatever. My prediction is based solely on history and my complete lack of faith in our Senate Judiciary Committee (and by extension, our Senate) as a body when it comes to issues of this nature. Maybe it’s because I’m 56 and I have seen the majority in that group show their disconnectedness to real America to the point of ad nauseum. But if it’s a glimmer of hope you want, here goes. They are going to pay a massive price for this. The...

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The Fallout of Party Hardy

A few years ago when a dear high school friend died, I took out my yearbook to reminisce a bit. One of the things that surprised me was how many times I saw a variation on this theme in what my classmates wrote: “To a girl who was at all the parties … ” It made me laugh. Like most, I did a lot of experimenting with alcohol in those days and it was easy to get into clubs because the legal drinking age was 18. So not only did we have house parties, we were sneaking into bars. In the context of the current national conversation around the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, those days keep coming back to me in a variety of ways and have me thinking: If I had been sexually assaulted back then (I wasn’t), would it now be assumed that I had been asking for it because I’d been drinking? I didn’t gather friends and gang up on anyone unsuspecting and violate their bodies or their dignity using my tipsy state as an excuse for bad behavior. And I certainly wasn’t a member of any club that encouraged the denigration of others as part of its code and/or admittance. While I certainly couldn’t recall dates and locations for every party I went to, I can tell you exactly where...

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Doubting Other People’s Princesses

Growing up as a teen in Central Jersey and then on into early adulthood, I had a curfew while I lived at home. My brother did not. The reason, as stated by my father, was because I was a girl. I am relating this in an emotionless way. No judgment here. But I want to look at it factually to make a point. Who was my father ostensibly protecting me from? I think I can safely say it wasn’t from women. Fast forward 35 years. Last month I offered to drive my mother to a wake an hour-plus from their home. My father, age 86, objected with this, “What happens if you break down?” My mother told him we’d call Triple A. I am well past the point where I want to change my father. He’s old school and set in his ways. But I wanted to help my mother here, so I calmly said, “I went to Paris, Italy and Germany by myself. I think I can navigate New Jersey.” He was a bit flustered, but he got my point. Again, who did he want to protect two women on the Jersey Turnpike from? Probably not predatory women. There are plenty of protective husbands, fathers, and brothers out there who think like my father. It’s their natural instinct to want to shield women they love from potential harm....

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From Pink Hats to Purging Our Pain

Who knew that when Donald Trump promised to create jobs he meant for the mental health industry? Shrinks are on speed dial. From casting couch to therapy couch. We’ll take it, though. In some warped way, it’s a silver lining. As we crossed over the year mark that this country inexplicably put this president into office, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations that are bubbling up on a daily basis. So much buried anguish surfacing and bringing fresh pain. Ripple effects keep coming in seemingly never-ending waves. Another victim. Another accused. Men who expose themselves. Men who exploit powerful positions. Men who rape. Men who cajole via word and deed. On some level I want to issue a big thank you to our esteemed president, for he has unwittingly set the tone for this uprising. A Hillary Clinton presidency would have us in a very different place, of course. Certain legislative progress that would benefit a wide range of Americans. Definitely less embarrassment of how we’re being represented both here and abroad. More and better sleep for a lot of us. But would we have had the mostly gender-based upheaval we’re experiencing now? I don’t think so. Let’s assume Harvey Weinstein would have still been exposed by The New York Times and The New Yorker. We would have likely attributed it...

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