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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why I chose the Boston Area Rape Crisis as my Blogathon charity

And here's the post that answers the question which may be on people's minds: why did I choose the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center for my charity of choice for the Blogathon? This is where I have chosen to blog about an uncomfortable topic in the hopes of raising awareness and keeping people informed.

The statistic of women who have been sexually assaulted in some form or another has been quoted to me as one in four. From talking with others, I'm very sad to say that this statistic is alarmingly and inaccurately low; I would place it as more like three out of four women.

Unfortunately I am one of them. I have been date raped in the past, and last summer I was sexually assaulted by someone whom I had considered one of my best friends for a number of years. I have personally gone through the stages of denial, grief, rage, and other feelings I can't even begin to describe. People think it happens to others, anyone but them, and they don't realize how easily it can happen to you and by those whom you thought you could trust. People often envision it as an act of extreme violence where your life is threatened, and picture thugs in dark parking lots and alleyways as the instigators. While such incidences are also a part of the reality behind sexual assault, they are not the entire picture. Significant others, acquaintances, former lovers, spouses, close friends--it can happen to you from anyone. There is no "template", no universal trigger, just the idea that someone can violate you, your body, and your personal boundaries on a large enough scale that there is no doubt that someone tried and succeeded to exert a power over you which you did not give them permission to have.

There are people who often quote the saying, "No one can harm you without your permission." Blame in this culture is frequently placed on the victim: what they were wearing, did they have anything to drink, was there suggestive body language, why didn't they go to the police? They will be accused of lying and if they speak up, they are told that they are making "matters which should be kept private public" and essentially told to shut up.

I know this not just due to talking with others, but because it has happened to me. No one wants to hear it, people want to sweep it under the rug, pretend it didn't happen, and can we talk about the sports scores instead now? All that I know is this: NONE of this should be as common as it is. I shouldn't have to tell people it's okay to speak up, that I was told to shut up and keep it private, or in one case be told "tl;dr" (Net speak for "Too long; didn't read") and refer to it as "TMI" when I came out to speak of it.

I want to help to change the culture I live in to stop accepting this as normal events to be swept under the rug, to stop victim blaming, to prevent people like me from thinking that they should keep quiet and not "burden" people with this information. This is why I'm blogging today and raising funds towards a local organization that fights against rape and sexual assault, and supports survivors of such. This shouldn't be normal. It shouldn't be accepted. I shouldn't be hearing from so many people that this, too, has happened to them. It's not right.

So to those of you who have endured, struggled, had your good days and bad, and gone through anything like what I have: you are not alone. And I'm blogging for you, me, and all of us today.

I thank you all in advance for your support, for reading my blog posts--especially this one. *hugs*



Love & Magic,
Adrianne
www.adriannebrennan.com


Please Note: I am blogging on behalf of the Boston Rape Crisis Center, and if you wish to sponsor me in any dollar amount--none is too small, every bit counts!--please go here: http://tinyurl.com/AdrianneBlogsforBARCC then email me your receipt at adrianne@adriannebrennan.com so I can keep a running total. If you don't know what to put down for the donation, just put "Adrianne Brennan - Blogathon".

Also, one person has reported that they had to provide an additional small percentage as a "tip" to the Network Good that gives the donation in the link above. I've only seen this reported when Paypal is the payment of choice and not sure if this is universal. Just letting people know in case they need to adjust their donations accordingly.

10 comments:

Jess said...

This is more than just a "Hello, how are you doing?" comment. I think it is awesome that you are not only blogging for the Boston Rape Crisis Center, but that you wrote about your personal experience. In my past, as a female, I had similar experiences. Now that I am transitioning to a male, I will admit, I have not thought about what it means to become the gender that hurt me too.

RowenaBCherry said...

Well done, Adrianne. Well said.

I say, do you think sexual violence has always existed at current levels, or do you suspect that it is worse?

If it is worse, do you think that the TV we watch (some of which is brutal) has brutalized us as a society?

Do you think that writers unintentionally contribute to the problem by writing "bodice rippers" (for want of another succinct term for sexually violent romances) ?

Adrianne Brennan said...

Hi Jess! *hugs* Thank you for your support and for sharing your own experience. I know of others like you, and their struggles to fit their experiences with their own concepts of gender and how it relates to them. I can't imagine it would be easy. As much as it slants towards men against women, I know of women who have been raped by other women and men who have been raped by other women or men. It's sad, unfortunate...and it's the product of a society that allows victim-blaming to continue and produce people who think their behavior is okay and socially acceptable. :(

Rowena, you've just plucked one of my chosen blog topics out of my brain! You'll see my take on that so I won't write a whole book on it in this entry. But basically people need to draw the line between needing to feel that they can experience and feel passion without guilt and people using sex as a weapon or a means of having power over them. There's a world of difference between that and trivializing rape, sexual assault, and violence against women and in general. Language abuse needs to end; I should not have to hear from people things like "That test raped me." First it was shock value, now we've become desensitized because the shock value has worn off. It needs to stop.

I honestly can't say for certain if it's always been this way or has gotten worse. People are now *talking* about it. They didn't used to. Sex wasn't even a topic they even had on television decades ago, and I think people are merely owning up to what's already been--and now's the chance to do something about it.

Adrianne Brennan said...

And once again, thank you both for showing your support and posting on this topic. It means a great deal to me, more than I could ever say.

RowenaBCherry said...

Adrianne,

As with any blog, a lot more people read and don't comment than read and do comment.

Do you have a view counter?

Adrianne Brennan said...

Good question, Rowena! I know I have one that's hosted on my website, but not sure if I have one for this blog. I'll have to take a peek....

mkoning said...

Adrianne, I have said before that I think it's great you are supporting a great charity like this, but good for you for being able to stand up and share you unfortunate and sad story, I am very sorry.
I have dealt with my own tragedies in life, nothing like like yours, but I have found an outlet, even if just for my own sanity, through writing. It is a personal choice to do so, but I found that writing about my experience (short story) helped me deal a little. Any outlet someone can find that can help not only them but possibly others is wonderful. I think it is great what you are doing.

Mark

Adrianne Brennan said...

Hi Mike! Thanks for your support; I appreciate it. And I know what you mean--writing is amazingly cathartic, isn't it? At least, it can be for me. :)

Cyndy said...

*hugs* This is such a hard topic to talk about. Kudos to you for talking about it!

Adrianne Brennan said...

Thank you Cyndy! *hugs back*



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