Sunday, March 1, 2009

Can you handle the truth?

First I would like to say that I had a bit too much to drink last night. No hangover thank goodness, though we all slept til 9:30 or so this morning. We were at some friends' house for supper and fun and both were accomplished.

Somehow,though, towards the end of the evening our host put in a "Girls Gone Wild" video. I am not sure why he did this, why he thought it would be okay. I found myself watching bits and pieces of this, a little amused, but mostly appalled. These young women in the flush of their youth, many obviously under the influence of alcohol, selling themselves for a t-shirt. We left pretty quickly by the way. I am not a prude, far from it as you have probably figured out by now. But something about this video series disturbs me. On a deep level. My visceral reaction is one of sadness and anger, and I know why.

Why do some men, some people, prey on the naivete of youth?

Time to cover your eyes. Or read on, if you can handle the truth.

As a young woman, 13, 14, 15, I was sexually abused by a trusted pseudo-family member. It was not date rape. He did not beat me or threaten me or my family in any way. I was emotionally vulnerable, completely naive and yes, a horny pubescent teenager. He took complete of advantage of me as only an older more experienced person could. This man did not over power me physically but he surely did in every other way possible. His seduction of me is a blurred thing-I can't in memory put my finger on the first inappropriate look, suggestion, or touch . What I do know is that my virginity was gone in a short time and due to the ever prevalent mindsets of purity, I felt that I no longer had worth as an individual outside of my breasts and vagina. I can't accurately describe my feelings but those of you who have experienced even a moment of abuse will understand. I think one of the worst things, and it will sound weird I know, is that during the period of abuse I never had an orgasm. I somehow thought if I didn't have one that I wasn't all the way a bad girl, that I was not completely under this person's control. This holding back lasted in future relationships-and I have had my share plus one-as a way to maintain distance and control and it took several years for me to realize that in holding back this physical response, I was perpetuating this man's abuse and control over me long after he was in prison doing hard time for his crimes.

Yes he did end up in prison for his crimes. When I became pregnant I finally told the truth about what was happening to me. He was arrested. I did testify. He was convicted, and served hard time in prison.

I served time too, in high school. Being unmarried and staying in school while pregnant in the Deep South was a prison for me. I am no quitter though and persevered despite the pressure to keep my shameful state at home. I suffered through losing most of my friends who could not be associated with the whore that I obviously was. I was too much of a nerd and a straight A student to be ostracized by the faculty, most of whom, I am sure, knew my story. Don't get me wrong, I made new friends and eventually was accepted back into high school society, mostly because I refused to be ashamed and only the weak are prey in that cut throat world.

Eventually, after much soul searching and admittedly cold logical thought, I decided to place my unborn baby for adoption. I realized that barely 15 was no age become a mother and no matter how much I loved my unborn daughter she could have a better life than the one I could provide. She was born January 7, 1987, three weeks overdue(I kept her as long as I could) and I saw her just once, in a drug induced haze as the cord was cut, separating us forever. I found out later that I very nearly died, hemorrhaging because I was over medicated and my uterus could not contract as nature designed it to. By the time I regained consciousness, her parents had whisked her away.

Ah, don't cry.
I have more than survived.
I live, I love, I laugh.
I wonder.
I don't regret.

So, back to "Girls Gone Wild". I saw parts of this video and heard in the voices the cajoling, the pressure, the manipulation that I experienced so many years ago. Those girls were for the most part unsure, uncomfortable at least at first. Sure, most of these girls are of age and some may have set out to flash their tits and asses, but that is not what I was hearing and seeing. I see young women being valued for their body parts and not the wholeness of themselves, not only by the videographers but by themselves and the people around them, not to mention the viewing public. And that public is large. This series of videos has become a multi million dollar business and I tell you I have a problem with it. The lessons taught seem to me to be ones that perpetuate a mindset that fosters abuse.

I have lived it and truly wish others would not.

Only when we value and honor ourselves will others follow suit.


WanderingGirl said...

I can't believe someone put that on during a "party"!

I'm proud of your bravery, both in sharing your story and your daughter.

Brook said...

WG-We have been friends with this couple for years and this was the first time for that. We joke around with these people and can get pretty raunchy. That line between raunchy fun and inappropriate behavior got crossed but hey-now he knows, and we do to, just how far too far is. As adults we(most of us anyway) are capable of seeing that line and respecting it.

The CEO said...

I am so glad you wrote this story. More people need to speak up so that others can see the effects they have by disrespecting others. I haven't changed my opinion of you unless it's to respect you more. Thank you.

Huff Daddy said...

I could write pages and pages here on this subject. I used to chair the domestic violence task force in Bainbridge. I'll keep it short though and just say, good on you.

Nej said...

It's horrible to hear about these things happening, but I know they do. I also commend the bravery of people who speak up.

It shows those who commit the acts that it's wrong...and it shows other victims who may be afraid to speak up, that it's ok.

Has the video being played affected your friendship with this couple?

Brook said...

CEO-there comes a time when we all should take responsibility for ourselves-some people live their whole lives as victims of one sort or another. I chose a long time that that just wasn't me.
HD-glad you were there to stand up for victims-they need it.
Nej- Like I said we joke around, talk about sex, and it can get pretty raunchy. This time the line was crossed. It won't affect out friendship, not unless he insists on doing it again. I will be keeping my eye on him though cause that is what I do, and I don't have a problem with that either. It's my job to protect myself and my kids and find a balance between keeping them safe and letting them learn how to take care of themselves.

Huff Daddy said...

I tried my best. Mostly it was a depressing and rage inducing role. Not because of the stories I heard or the victims I met but because of the complete apathy of the general public, city government and area churches. It is such an uphill battle.

On the plus side, you will be/are a great guiding light for your own daughters to be string themselves.

Dark Cloud Nine said...

Your story made me ache. Is this what you meant by "losing a daughter?". I am so sorry.

It is so weirdly interesting that you mention that 'no orgasm rule'. I used to think the exact same thing. As long as I didn't enjoy it, it was ok.

How sad.

I am happy you made it through and are the beautiful, strong and happy woman you are now.

Brook said...

Ah, Spellbound, if she were the only loss. No, Big Daddy D and I lost our just 3 yr old Maggie to croup 3 days after her birthday(she was another January baby,born the 8th). And I am glad you get the orgasm thing. Not many people do it seems. And thank you. I am glad to be where I am today and happy to boot.

Mel said...

I hope you don't mind that I was invited here for the share.

And I hope you don't mind that I applaud your honesty and the integrity that you've built for yourself.

Bravo, ma'am. Well done for you and BY you.

As one survivor to another--I'm proud FOR you to have claimed your life back.
I'm proud for you for telling the truth--then and now.
And for setting limits and boundaries and letting it be known that you mean it.....

Well done, you!

With respect and admiration,

Brook said...

Mel-aw shucks, scrub my toe in the dirt, I just keep breathing and looking ahead. No point in getting trapped in the past you know? you are welcome here anyday, everyday as a matter of fact.

Brook said...

Crap-I was talking to you Life on Edge, sorry and whoops!

Dark Cloud Nine said...

I got it Brook no worries :)

but gosh, what a story you have...

katherine. said...

I too am stopping by after the morning meeting.

As a parent whose kids have gone on spring break to some of the places featured on the gone wild series...I have often objected to their videos. I probably was not as tactful as you. It is unfair influence taking advantage of youth and naive experiences.

You have a great inner strength in sharing your experiences and insight into how you have come through to this point.

I'll be back...

Spellbound said...
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Spellbound said...
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Spellbound said...

I have been too involved in a recent illness of my daughter to be on line. I note my name anyway and feel I was somehow here in spirit. What happened to me was not near what you experienced but like a lot of girls I was molested too as a 13 year old. What almost sent me over the edge however is that my own precious girl, my heart, my soul...I will write you privately as this is too hard.

Spellbound said...
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Brook said...

Spellbound-thank you.

sue said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate.

Brook said...

Sue-thank you for stopping by. Sadly one in three people-not just women- can relate. Dealing and moving on are hard and it is surprising to me, the things that crop up and the whens.

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