The TRUTH About Motherhood http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com through mom goggles Fri, 24 Jun 2016 15:26:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.12 Tips to Save You Time and Money in the Kitchen that Let You Enjoy Your Summer http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/tips-save-money-in-kitchen/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/tips-save-money-in-kitchen/#comments Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:47:34 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=25215 My house has been a mess all summer. My kitchen has been the worst. It’s been difficult changing my routine and getting used to the girls being home. Don’t even get me started on the dish situation in this house this summer. Between the traveling, the summer entertaining, sleep overs and flow of other people’s […]

The post Tips to Save You Time and Money in the Kitchen that Let You Enjoy Your Summer appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>

My house has been a mess all summer. My kitchen has been the worst. It’s been difficult changing my routine and getting used to the girls being home. Don’t even get me started on the dish situation in this house this summer. Between the traveling, the summer entertaining, sleep overs and flow of other people’s children in and out of my house, we have more dirty dishes than a school cafeteria and I thought the never ending laundry was out of control. I do dishes at least 3 times a day and I am never caught up.

I don’t know about you but my girls tend to dirty dishes like they are in some sort of dirtying dishes and destroying my kitchen contest. Speaking of which, is there some symbiotic way for dishes and trash to breed? Because if there is, I’m quite sure the trash and dishes in my kitchen have figured it out. It’s a full time job keeping up with it and it doesn’t even pay.

What are my choices? It’ not like I’m going to stop letting my daughters have their friends over, isn’t that what summer’s all about. I’m also not going to stop entertaining because aren’t friends, family and having fun together making memories the good things life is filled with? So what if people dirty dishes and make messes, I like my life messy. It makes it feel lived in and loved on.

What I don’t want to do in the middle of all of this wonderful living, most of which happens in the heart of my house, the kitchen, is to go broke, be wasteful or have a disgusting house that people are afraid to visit. My kitchen is the natural gathering space in my house and I’ve just learned to embrace that fact.

When all the kids are over and I’m feeding more than just my two or I’m going for the little splurges in life like a hot fudge sundae bar party for a group of energetic 9 to 11-year-olds, I need to stay on top of the state of my house without turning into the crazy lady who made it not fun because she was so worried about the mess. I know you know what I mean. We’ve all been there; that moment when we need to let it go but we can’t.

I want to do all these things but I need to find ways to do it on a budget and while not letting my kitchen spin out of control into a heaping pile of strewn garbage on counters and dirty dishes (and we all know how fast a sundae bar can go south with a group of excited little girls.)

Below are a few tips to save money in the kitchen so that you have it extra for life’s sweet splurges and also how to keep yourself from spending all of your free time washing dishes.

Well, unless you want to put all those extra kids to work in your kitchen. No, probably not the best idea.

save money in the kitchen,hefty, money saving tips, budget friendly tips for the kitchen, budget friendly tips, Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean, How to enjoy your summer

Tip #1 You need durable garbage bags.

Hefty Ultra Strong bags are an outstanding quality for cleaning up all the mess your creating while having all that fun this summer. At a new, lower price it’s a value especially when you consider the durability, Arm & Hammer odor neutralizers and new, invigorating scents that help to keep odors at bay so even when your kitchen is full of people, the smell of garbage won’t be overwhelming your guests. Plus, a scent-free option for those who prefer it that way! Add to all of this a top-quality performance with active tear resistant technology that provides better puncture resistance and you can feel secure knowing there is less likelihood you’re going to leave a streak of shame while transporting garbage from inside the house to the outside. We’ve all done it and it’s bad enough alone, no one wants to do this in front of a house full of party goers?

save money in the kitchen, hefty, money saving tips, budget friendly tips for the kitchen, budget friendly tips, Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean, How to enjoy your summer

The best part is that you can easily pick these bags up at your local Walmart or Target to try them. Plus  you can go on Ibotta and earn $1.00 cash back via Ibotta after purchasing one box of Hefty trash bags. Or you can go on Coupons.com and save $1.00 off one box of Hefty trash bags.

Tip #2 Paper products are your friend

There was a time when I would have scoffed at the idea but now that I have two growing children and lots of extra people coming and going, eating and drinking (and can someone tell me why little girls need a new glass every single time they drink anything?) in my house, I know the value of disposable paper products. Plastic cups and sturdy paper plates can save you a lot of time in the kitchen and a lot of aggravation. Just enjoy your people and forget about who’s going to do the dishes and when it’s going to get done. At the end of the party, just put it all in the garbage back and forget about it.

Tip #3 Use a Canning Jar to Keep Leftover Wine Fresh for Up to a Week

I learned this one from Food52 and I love it. I love good wine but my husband is allergic to sulfites so I don’t normally buy the wine I like because I can’t drink and entire bottle by myself and I didn’t want to waste it. Anyways, by limiting the wine’s contact with air, which contains the oxygen that causes wine to oxidize this trick accomplishes the same goal by using a jar that is slightly smaller than the amount of wine to be stored. Place the jar on a kitchen towel and fill to the very top. When the lid is screwed on, the jar should overflow a little, which lets you know there is no air between the lid and the wine. According to the wine experts who gave Food52 this tip, wine stored this way will last up to a week. It’s a total win. I save my wine. I save my money and then I saved money again because, just so happens my dad worked at Ball glass my entire life and we have loads of mason jars, so no need to buy a fancy wine saving gadget or even new mason jars!

Tip #4 Keep Berries Fresh Longer

Who doesn’t love berries in the summer? We buy in bulk. The only problem is that berries ripen quickly in the warm weather and sometimes you end up throwing out an entire container. That not only hurts my heart it hurts my pocketbook. Wash your berries before storage in a diluted vinegar bath (1 cup of vinegar and 3 cups of water). Then place in a salad spinner lined with paper towel and spin them until they are completely dry (if you don’t do this, it will actually accelerate the rotting process). Store your cleaned berries in a sealable container lined with paper towels. I actually put a piece of paper towels between each level of berries to help soak up any excess water. Leave the lid open so that moisture can escape. Moisture is the enemy. According to Lifehacker, this method extends the shelf life of berries by days and the vinegar destroys bacteria and mold spores on the berries, helping them stay fresh longer.

What’s your best tip to save money in the kitchen?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed  about how to save money in the kitchen are all my own.

The post Tips to Save You Time and Money in the Kitchen that Let You Enjoy Your Summer appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>
http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/tips-save-money-in-kitchen/feed/ 0
Screw the GOP, Screw the NRA and Screw the Right to Bear Arms http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/gun-control-senate/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/gun-control-senate/#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 03:05:32 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=25192 I’ve been mulling over my thoughts on gun control, the Nay voters in the Senate that essentially voted for the rights of terrorists to have guns, the NRA and today’s Senate sit-in. There is so many terrible things happening in the world lately and with the mass shootings especially, to me, it feels like voting […]

The post Screw the GOP, Screw the NRA and Screw the Right to Bear Arms appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>

I’ve been mulling over my thoughts on gun control, the Nay voters in the Senate that essentially voted for the rights of terrorists to have guns, the NRA and today’s Senate sit-in. There is so many terrible things happening in the world lately and with the mass shootings especially, to me, it feels like voting against people on terrorist watch lists having the right to purchase assault weapons would be a no-brainer. We don’t allow them to fly because they used planes against us on 9/11 but domestic terrorists use guns against us so often that it’s becoming common place and yet, we still allow them access to assault weapons. Let me tell you, it’s a hell of a lot harder to hijack a plane than it is to shoot someone with an assault weapon that it took 7 minutes to buy at the gun show. I honestly think the real problem is that most people don’t truly understand the 2nd Amendment so here is a better explanation of the right to bear arms. I have degrees that focused on Political Science, History, Government, law, criminology and sociology and sometimes, I forget that not everyone has the comprehensive understanding that I do.

semi automatic weapon, gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster

Just one week after a Senate filibuster forced a vote on gun control measures and a few days after the Republicans stymied that vote (and we all became aware of what each senator was paid in exchange for his/her part in supporting the NRA) the Democrats in the House of Representatives are done with this political bullshit! Enough is enough. Hell no! We won’t go! They are holding a good old-fashioned sit-in on the floor to try to get the Republicans to relent and I’ve never been prouder to be a democrat than I am today. This day in Congress brought to you by the Democrats!

I have been pissed off since June 20th when I found out that most of the Republican party voted Nay to the gun control measures and instead voted for the right of suspected terrorists and their right to bear arms. Yes, our Republican party is so hell bent on not crossing party lines that they would rather sell assault weapons to people on the Terrorist Watch List than protect our children from being shot while sitting in a classroom, dancing in a club in Orlando or just living in general. There are a lot of shitty, hateful people in the world with access to guns.

gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster

What’s worse still, we found out that almost everyone on the Nay list has taken funds from the NRA. Some of the Senators on the list sold their soul for free while others voted for your children to have the right to be shot for as little as $2000. Think about that? That means these people think your child’s life is disposable.

gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster

Thankfully, there are people in the Senate who care about our children’s lives than some macho misconception that in order to be free you must be able to own an assault weapon. Unfortunately, most of our Republican senators think the right to bear arms is more important than your right to hold your children in your arms. I’ve never made a secret about the fact that I’m anti-gun and my feeling that the right to bear arms is an antiquated one. Yes, I’ve been called all the names by all the right wing NRA, gun waving “true” Americans; liberal left wing C*NT seems to be the most popular. Anyways, f*ck your right to bear arms. What about my right to see my children grow to adulthood? What about my right to not worry every single time that I leave them that it’s the last because some psycho with an assault weapon might decide he’s having a bad day and needs to kill some people to feel better about himself?

The second amendment was added to our constitution at a time when we needed a militia. PERIOD. We don’t need general population Americans to be able to assemble and fight for their freedom. We have troops for that now; men and women who have been trained in combat. I don’t need John P. Anybody who lives next door having ready access to assault weapons to shoot kids walking through his yard for trespassing. No one hunts with a semi-automatic or automatic assault weapon, unless the point of the hunt is to obliterate the animal for sport.

I know that many people hold on to their right to bear arms like their right to breathe but I assure you that the second amendment has outlived its usefulness.

Gun control reform is needed in order to protect our citizens from real people with guns more than gun owners need to protect themselves from imagined threats.

 

gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It is a dinosaur and it needs to be changed. It is not your right to own a gun so you can wave it around whenever you feel like someone has wronged you. It’s not your right to shoot people you don’t like because they looked at you wrong. It’s not your right to shoot someone you hate because you don’t agree with the color of their skin, their religion, their culture, their race or their life choices. You are not God just because you own a gun.

But today, I feel hopeful because people are standing up (well, sitting in) for what’s right. What I can’t understand is how the same people who are adamantly Pro-Life for unborn children, don’t give a f*ck about my living child’s safety. My living children’s lives are worth less to them than their personal right to bear arms. Are children like cars do they start losing their value the moment they leave the womb?

Finally, some politicians are getting it right.

gun control, NRA, Right to bear arms, John Lewis, Filibuster

The time for silence and patience is long gone,” Representative John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat and hero of the civil rights movement who is leading the sit-in, said in a stirring speech Wednesday morning.

“The American people are demanding action. Do we have the courage; do we have the raw courage to make at least a down payment on ending gun violence in America?”

“Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary.”

“Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way!”

Then Representative Lewis and his fellow Democrats sat down on the floor and began chanting,

“No bill, No break!”

It’s time we all do our part. We’ve been backing down in the face of the right to bear arms for far too long. The NRA would have you believe that to revoke the second amendment would be to infringe on the human rights of our fellow Americans. The NRA is full of bullies. It’s like a gang of big, dumb kids who don’t know how to use their words and resort to violence in the face of controversy. We Democrats, we are like the smart kids at school. But we can’t be scared of these small minded bullies anymore, our children’s lives might depend on it. We can’t back down this time.

Gun control can’t be more important to us than children’s lives.

 

 

 

The post Screw the GOP, Screw the NRA and Screw the Right to Bear Arms appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>
http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/gun-control-senate/feed/ 1
Sneaking Away for Me Time is Every Parent’s Right http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/netflix-me-time/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/netflix-me-time/#comments Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:48:56 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=25177 Being a parent is a 24 hour a day, 7-day a week, 365 days a week “job” and if it weren’t for being able to sneak away to Netflix for some “me” time, I’m not sure how I’d survive it. Believe me when I tell you that I am very happy to be a part […]

The post Sneaking Away for Me Time is Every Parent’s Right appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>

Being a parent is a 24 hour a day, 7-day a week, 365 days a week “job” and if it weren’t for being able to sneak away to Netflix for some “me” time, I’m not sure how I’d survive it. Believe me when I tell you that I am very happy to be a part of Netflix’s stream team. Some people have hobbies or second jobs, I have Netflix to escape reality. As a parent, you are never truly off duty. Never. I feel like my life is a constant game of memory (because I’m always putting things up away from the children then trying to find it when I need it again) and hide-and-go-seek on the world’s longest loop. It is exhausting trying to not mess your kids up, filling childhood with memories and happiness while not being allowed to lose your sh*t (be human).

My girls are 9 and 11-years-old and I feel like the pregnancy brain, morphed into mommy brain and now, I have the worst case of “My kids have got to be at 27 different places at the same time, I can’t even remember where my keys are or why I walked into this room” brain ever. I think I’ll bide my time here until senility sets in.

A couple weeks ago we took our summer vacation to the East Coast and there were two consecutive days when I was confined to a hotel room with my girls. They were bored. I was trying to work and basically, it all ended in a case of too much of a good thing. I really needed a day off when we got back. Honestly, there is nothing quite like being locked in a room with kids to make you painfully aware of how precious “me” time is because when limited to one singular room, any parent will tell you…there is no escape. It’s like prison, only the bars are parenthood and social etiquette.

binge watch, Bloodline, Family Travel, Netflix, orange is the new black, travel, stream team

To get some time alone, I stayed up later than the entire family and binge watched Season 2 of Bloodline on Netflix.

By the way, this season of Bloodline was awesome. I swear, I think Danny was in this episode even more than last season which was ironic since… well,  I don’t want to spoil anything but if you watch, you know what I’m talking about!

At home, I can simply saunter off to my office or hide out in my bedroom, closet, back deck, bathroom…you get the point? But when you are trapped in a one room abode, there is no escaping. Heck, the bathroom at our hotel was one of those cool, sliding barn doors made out of green glass. It looked amazing but it had one fatal flaw; no lock.

binge watch, Bloodline, Family Travel, Netflix, orange is the new black, travel, stream team

In case you were wondering, and if you are a parent yourself you aren’t, staying up alone late at night did give me some “me” time but it was a temporary fix because eventually, I needed to sleep later than they did and so by the end of the week, I was exhausted and they were ready to go early in the morning which resulted in the inevitable, “What are we going to do today? I’m bored!” chorus that they chanted incessantly, in their little kitty voices in that ONE room. I don’t know how the pioneers did it with their one room houses.

After our 15-hour drive home from Boston, I was feeling kind of burnt out. Like our 9-day vacation was too much. Moms you know what I mean. I was on constantly. Suddenly, I felt like I had newborns again because of all the time and attention they were requiring, only they are 9 and 11 and almost as tall as me and I haven’t been in newborn/toddler mode in years. It was hard. It was like I was looking at young adults but they were usurping every ounce of energy out of me because I was their entertainment, all the time.

We got home and the exhaustion was compounding with no end in sight. Then my Mother-in-Law (God bless her) called and offered to take the girls for not one but two days. (Is it just me or did you just hear choirs of angels singing too when you read that last sentence?) I gladly obliged, I mean who am I to keep a Grandma from her granddaughters?

The first night they left just happened to coincide with the release of the new season of Orange is the New Black (OITNB) on Netflix. I am a super fan so I was super excited. I was able to indulge in an interrupted binge watch of the first few episodes. Good thing because this season is really engaging. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone but expect the unexpected and there will be tears of laughter and sadness.

binge watch, Bloodline, Family Travel, Netflix, orange is the new black, travel, stream team

The first day, the Big Guy took a vacation day so we slept in and had a day date. We went out for lunch to Cheddars, then we went to see The Conjuring (which is creepy and fantastically scary in the best possible way) followed by getting ourselves one of those new Caramel Espresso Granitas from Starbucks because we never get to just walk around the mall like teenagers or cool couples without children sipping on the latest Starbucks concoctions ( I really wanted to order the Pink Drink off the secret menu but I was afraid the pimply faced barista behind the counter would give me the stink eye because I’m over 22) and then, shopped in peace and silence at Von Maur

After spending a sufficient amount of time and money on ourselves, we headed home, picked up take away for dinner and just were. Remember what it feels like to just exist without it being for the soul purpose of serving little people? It was absolutely amazing.

The second day, we slept in again and after slowly sipping hot coffee got dressed and ran a few errands. Thought we were cool because we even managed to fit in grocery shopping for the week and then we got into a fender bender in the parking lot. That kind of ruined the mojo of the day but we were so well rested and happy, we just smiled like fools and handed the kid we crashed with our insurance card. It’s amazing how your perspective changes when you get to sleep.

That evening, before the girls came home, the Big Guy played Call of Duty and I watched a few more episodes of OITNB. Turns out, we both needed “me” time, “us” time and lots of sleep. By the end of the 48 hours, we both actually really missed our girls and I think they missed us too. It was good for everyone.

The thing is when you go on vacation, you usually come home needing a break from your life because vacation usually means running all over like a chicken with your head cut off, just in a different location. We all needed some time apart, we all needed sleep and now we are all much happier especially since last night, I finished the last episode of season 4 of OITNB but of course, that makes me sad too because no I have to wait a year for the next season. I have no self-control. I’m like a kid left alone in a room full of candy. Don’t ever ask the kid why he ate all the candy, ask yourself, why did you leave a kid alone in a room full of candy. OITNB is my candy.

What do you do during your “me” time to relax? Let me know in the comments below. Do you shop until you drop? Do you sleep in until you wake up on your own? Do you have a hobby?

Do you have a favorite show on Netflix to binge watch?

The post Sneaking Away for Me Time is Every Parent’s Right appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>
http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/netflix-me-time/feed/ 0
Toddler Snatched by Alligator at Disney World Didn’t have to Die http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/lane-graves-alligator-disney-world/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/lane-graves-alligator-disney-world/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2016 15:44:50 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=25161 Tuesday night, 2-year-old Lane Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska, was wading in the 7 Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando as the family attended one of the outdoor movie nights when he was snatched from his parents by an alligator. The lagoon is right next to the kiddie pool. […]

The post Toddler Snatched by Alligator at Disney World Didn’t have to Die appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>

Tuesday night, 2-year-old Lane Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska, was wading in the 7 Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando as the family attended one of the outdoor movie nights when he was snatched from his parents by an alligator. The lagoon is right next to the kiddie pool. His parents nearby were watching the toddler frolic at dusk, around 9:15 p.m., like many families do every year on the sandy shores of the lagoon when the unthinkable happened; an .

Just as quickly as little Lane Graves was there playing with his family, he was gone. Snatched into the jaws of his attacker and pulled into the lagoon. Witnesses, including the toddler’s horrified parents, Matt and Melissa Graves, jumped in after him but could not wrestle the boy free from the alligator’s clutches. His father tried to pry the alligator’s mouth open. But it was too late. The child was dragged under the water of the lagoon connected to a series of canals that feed into large bodies of water.

Walt Disney World, Lane Graves, Matt Graves, Melissa Graves, Orlando, Florida, Grand Floridian, kiddie pool, 7 Seas Lagoon, alligator, attack, accident, drowned, death

Authorities searched all through the night and into Wednesday searching relentlessly for the toddler. At 1:45p.m. not far from where he was grabbed in 6 feet of murky water about 10 to 15 yards from where he was attacked, the little boys lifeless body was found completely intact. It is assumed he was drowned by the alligator, as he only had a few puncture wounds.

Forensics teams will try to determine whether one of the 5 alligators already taken from the lagoon is the one that dragged off the boy. If not, the search for alligators in the lagoon will continue. As a precaution, Disney closed all of its lakes until further notice.

Meanwhile, the Graves family lost a son, little Lane Graves, simply because no one warns us about alligators at Walt Disney World.

When I first heard about this story, I was horrified. I’ve been to Disney World with my children many times, we were just there for Spring break, and I have always felt safe, almost too safe. After all, it is the happiest place on earth. Why wouldn’t I? When you pay $6000 + for a vacation, there is an implied feeling of safety. My husband says that I am naïve and that anyone who goes to Florida should expect alligators. It still didn’t sit right with me. I feel like this tragedy could have been avoided with a a little due diligence and if the alligator situation was taken a little more seriously. Maybe I’m overreacting because I don’t live amongst alligators day to day.

All I could think about was all the times we’ve been there with our children and how that could have been us on the lagoon that night; how it could have been any of us. Sure, there are no swimming signs. To me, that means no swimming because it’s not regulated for swimming. It means, there is a pool at your resort, just use that. It doesn’t mean don’t walk on the shores during movie night because there might be alligators lurking and preying on your toddler. Why would it? There are no signs warning of alligators on the property. I’ve never seen that in the brochures. Sure, maybe if you’re a Florida resident or an alligator specialist, you know better but average people, especially those of us from the Midwest where we are mostly landlocked, we don’t know shit about gator behavior.

People are blaming the parents like we tend to do to make sense of the senseless and tragic when children are involved. But that’s ridiculous. That’s like blaming a parent because a piece of shrapnel falls from a passing plane and kills your kid when you’re walking in a park. Who the hell expects that to happen? The truth of the matter is that it could have happened to any one of us and that is the most terrifying part of all.

If you are too helicoptery of a parent, people make fun of you. We’re supposed to be able to let our kids be kids in safe spaces and, of all the places that come to mind for me, Disney World is at the top of that list. Sure, we know to be cautious about predators like pedophiles and kidnappers and we know that the kids shouldn’t run because there are risks of falling or injuring themselves but never in a million years would I expect to be sitting on the shore of the 7 seas lagoon and need to worry about an alligator snatching my baby out of my life. My heart is broken for these parents. Stop judging them, this could have been any one of us.

I thought it was a freak accident. How could the alligator get inside the park? Surely, there are measures in place to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Surely, the same place who nearly does a full body cavity search before you enter any of the parks, has some sort of contingency plan in place to keep alligators out or at the very least make it known that it is a possibility so that visitors can exercise caution but there was not. Hey, and I’m not complaining, I’d willingly submit to the full cavity search if it means keeping my kids safe.

Not one but 5 alligators were pulled from the lagoon.Also, a no swimming sign is far from a warning alligators in water sign, at last to me and anyone else who is not familiar with alligator protocol in Florida. I can definitely tell you that my kids would be no where near water, if I knew alligators could be in it. And now, it’s coming to light that there have been other near misses on the property. Walt Disney World was aware of the potential threat and did not warn its patrons. For me, that is a problem. I love you Disney but you made a gross oversight.

Last year, the Hiden family from San Diego, was visiting when the father, David, spotted an alligator approaching his son in calf-deep water. He snatched his kid up at Coronado Springs. He saw another alligator nearby. When he told the manager, the manager was unconcerned and called it “the resident pet.”

Most disturbing, Alfred Smith of Charleston, S.C., said he alerted a Grand Floridian employee Tuesday night after seeing a gator in the lagoon. He thinks it’s the same one that attacked the boy less an hour later.

“I did warn another family of three that had small kids too close to the water and they along with another family took their children and left,” Smith said.

A British couple told the Mirror newspaper that in April, a gator “lurched” out of the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of them at Polynesian Village Resort.

Disney employees say that the resort does its best to manage the alligator population, but that’s not always easy when so much wilderness lies nearby. After all, Disney World consists of more than 40 square miles, most of it is undeveloped land. Walt Disney World is surrounded by an alligator habitat. I guess to Floridians that is common knowledge, but to the rest of us, it is most definitely not.

“The entire property is interconnected via canals so it is difficult to keep them out of the lakes,” former Disney executive Duncan Dickson said in an email. “Gators are on all of the golf courses. The team attempts to relocate the gators to the uninhabited natural areas as best they can, but the gators don’t understand the boundaries.”

I hate to be the one to say it because my family is long time Walt Disney World lovers; it truly is our happy place. But there should have been clearly posted signs warning of alligators if the resort knew that there was an issue with alligators being on the property. At the very least, the alligator issue should be taken more seriously. Managers should not refer to these potential threats as “resident pets” they can easily kill small children and now, one has.

Nothing Disney can do will ever bring back little Lane Graves. His parents will have to live with that hole in their hearts for the rest of their lives and their last moments of their precious little boy will be watching him be snatched away into the night by this predator. Something needs to change immediately to make Disney safer for its visitors.

Walt Disney World, Lane Graves, Matt Graves, Melissa Graves, Orlando, Florida, Grand Floridian, kiddie pool, 7 Seas Lagoon, alligator, attack, accident, drowned, death

My thoughts and prayers are with the Graves family as they grieve the loss of little Lane Graves and I pray Disney does something to make the property safer for all the visiting families from around the world.

The post Toddler Snatched by Alligator at Disney World Didn’t have to Die appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>
http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/lane-graves-alligator-disney-world/feed/ 0
Running Away with Cirque du Soleil Kurios http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/running-away-with-cirque-du-soleil-kurios/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/running-away-with-cirque-du-soleil-kurios/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2016 03:48:14 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=25144 I’ve taken my family to the Cirque du Soleil live on three different occasions and we’ve seen every DVD available. The first time I saw a live Cirque du Soleil was on my honeymoon in 1999.Since then, Cirque du Soleil has held a special place in my heart and in our family so when I […]

The post Running Away with Cirque du Soleil Kurios appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>

I’ve taken my family to the Cirque du Soleil live on three different occasions and we’ve seen every DVD available. The first time I saw a live Cirque du Soleil was on my honeymoon in 1999.Since then, Cirque du Soleil has held a special place in my heart and in our family so when I heard Cirque du Soleil Kurios was touring in Boston at the same time we would be there, I knew we had to see the show.

Cirque du Soleil Kurios-Cabinet of Curiosities is live under the Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) at Suffolk Downs from May 26th –July 10, 2016.

You can either get your tickets online or you can stop by South Market and pick up your tickets while spending the day at Faneuil Hall. Whatever you do, you don’t want to miss this show.

Cirque du Soleil “Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities” is about as close to a transporter device as you can get. Step into the Grand Chapiteau and you immediately enter a magical world. There are 426 props in the show, the most of any production in Cirque du Soleil’s history. Some 65 trucks transport close to 2,000 tons of equipment for KURIOS™ – Cabinet of Curiosities.

This world is simultaneously a retro and futuristic version of a mad scientist’s lab all at once. It’s a mechanized world of the future with people of the 1920’s, at once wondrous and nostalgic. The steampunk ambiance only serves to make this Cirque du Soleil even more astonishing.

From the moment we pulled back the tent flaps, we were transported to another dimension. The energy at a Cirque du Soleil show is palpable. I’ve had the luxury of going behind the scenes on occasion and I am even more mystified of the magic that happens on stage after knowing all the hard work and determination that goes into a show. The 116 tour members come from 22 different countries. Some have been touring with Cirque du Soleil for more than 20 years. All performers are responsible for applying their own make-up every show, which can take them between 40 minutes to two hours. These performers make the near impossible and gravity defying look easy.

When you walk in, the dull gleam of metal is everywhere, from the portal through which the performers materialize to the masses of industrial-duty gears ready to clank into motion in every direction. Towering automated music-making machines cobbled together from giant glass globes, metal bracing and junkyard’s worth of unusual finds adorn the stage defying reason and logic.

The Cirque du Soleil Kurios show, in the Suffolk Downs parking lot, reinvents the wheel.

Anyone who has seen more than one Cirque du Soleil knows that there are certain expectations that will always be met. For example, there will always be a clown who makes you simultaneously think and belly laugh on their witty commentary of society. There will always be amazing aerial ballet (one of my favorite acts) and there will always be incredible acrobats and a trapeze or trampoline act that will blow your freaking mind. This time, even the most familiar acts (13 in total) had new twists and left me gasping and clapping so hard in my seat that by the end of the show, my voice was gone from woo-hooing and my hands were exhausted and sore from extreme clapping. (It’s a thing, look it up.)

cirque du soleil, Kurios, Boston, travel

The show starts with the band parading through the audience. My daughters are obsessed with the live music (both being violinists) and fell fast and hard for the singer, Eirini Tornesaki. I know because I had the privilege of listening to the soundtrack for Kurios for our 15-hour drive home from Boston.

cirque du soleil, Kurios, Boston, travel

A solo trapeze act is performed not from a bar but from a suspended bicycle (Anne Weissbecker).

cirque du soleil, Kurios, Boston, travel

 

Meanwhile, the Russian cradle duo perform 13 feet above the ground as the strongman turns into a human trapeze.

cirque du soleil, Kurios, Boston, travel

The rola bola, balancing atop stacked cylinders, is taken aloft on a levitating platform (James Eulises Gonzalez Correa).

cirque du soleil, Kurios, Boston, travel

The aerial straps are commanded by muscular Siamese twins who magically detach when airborne yet perform in perfect tandem while synchronized with perfect timing (Roman and Vitali Tomanov). Every act more exciting than the last.

One of my husband’s favorite acts was the clown (Facundo Gimenez.) He is a miracle of transformation as he changes from a Lothario trying to seduce an audience member to a parrot, a Tyrannosaurus Rex ( our favorite) and ultimately into a feline which is given to hairball hacks and cat-box indiscretions.

cirque du soleil, Kurios, Boston, travel

“Kurios,” like all Cirque du Soleil shows, inspires wonder, awe, excitement and suspense and will leave you feeling like the impossible is possible. My daughters have both decided that they want to run away with the circus…well, the Cirque du Soleil, anyways. I can’t blame them; I want to too. We are completely enamored with all things Kurios. I’m using it as an excuse to encourage them to practice their violin, ballet and gymnastics more.

“Kurios,” times vary, but generally 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 4:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1:30 and 5:00 p.m. Sundays. Ends July 10. Prices vary but currently are about $40-$165, not including VIP packages. (877) 924-7783 or www.cirquedusoleil.com/kurios. Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes with a brief intermission between halves.

If you can’t catch this amazing show in Boston, fret not. Kurios is touring and I’m sure it will coming to a city near you soon. Next up, Washington D.C. opening July 21, New York City opening September 29 and then on to Miami!

Disclosure: I was provided media passes to see Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities but all opinions and love for all things Cirque du Soleil are my own.

The post Running Away with Cirque du Soleil Kurios appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>
http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/running-away-with-cirque-du-soleil-kurios/feed/ 0
The Collateral Damage of Hate and Lax Gun Control http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/orlando-mass-shooting-gun-control/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/orlando-mass-shooting-gun-control/#comments Mon, 13 Jun 2016 12:15:24 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=25131 My heart has been breaking since learning about the mass shooting that took place at “Orlando’s Premier Gay club”, Pulse, early Sunday morning leaving 49 victims dead and 53 wounded. I’m saddened and sickened for so many reasons. I could write about ISIS, terrorism, bigotry, racism and hate but what saddens me the most is that […]

The post The Collateral Damage of Hate and Lax Gun Control appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>

My heart has been breaking since learning about the mass shooting that took place at “Orlando’s Premier Gay club”, Pulse, early Sunday morning leaving 49 victims dead and 53 wounded. I’m saddened and sickened for so many reasons. I could write about ISIS, terrorism, bigotry, racism and hate but what saddens me the most is that 49 mothers and fathers lost their child last night because a lunatic with a gun decided he wanted it to be so.

49 unsuspecting people thought it was just another Saturday night. Actually, it was a pretty special night, it was the eve of Pride Day. If ever there was a night to celebrate as a LGBTQ person (or a human being for that matter) it is the night when we all feel like there is a little less hate and lot more love and acceptance in the world. A day when we feel closer to a world of human equality and further from separation.Today the entire world feels vulnerable and helpless; victimized and terrified. We are angry that this was allowed to happen again but don’t let the anger turn to hate. Hate is what got us here to this moment of childless mothers and fathers, in the first place.

That’s what I was feeling yesterday, as I rode the 15-hour drive home from Boston and saw all the smiling, celebratory faces of my friends, celebrating at Pride Parades and block parties. I felt the pride all last week while I was in Boston and glorious rainbows adorned all of the buildings and landmarks around the city. I could feel the acceptance in the air, it was palpable.

But last night, the ugliness of hatred and stupidity reared up its head and stole the lives of 49 children from their parents. No, they were not small children like the victims of Sandy Hook but anyone who has a child knows that our children are always “our children” no matter how old or how big they get. It is our most primal instinct to protect them and love them as fiercely as our hearts will allow; to give our lives in place of theirs without hesitation or thought.

When I read the story of Mina Justice and the texts that she received from her terrified son, Eddie Justice, while he hid in the bathroom from a gun wielding bigot, afraid for his life, my heart shattered into a million pieces. It’s horrid that any one person had to die so senselessly in such a brutal way for no reason at all other than for being who they were meant to be and loving who they were born to love. But to see his own words in the texts to his mother; to know his fear was almost too much to bare. I can only imagine what his mother must have been feeling.

As a mother, I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and die. I wanted to run to this mother and hold her and tell her that it was all going to be alright. That her son was fine. Like this was some primetime drama and at the end, everybody would walk away just fine and the bad man would be apprehended but that’s not how it happens in real life.

In real life, bad things happen to good people. Terrible unthinkable things happen to unsuspecting people who’ve done nothing more than live their lives, openly and freely. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, lose their loved ones because bad people with no scruples are allowed to obtain guns because, apparently, the right to bear arms trumps the right to live in our United States.

We are becoming desensitized to the point where when we see shootings on the news, it’s no longer shocking unless it’s a mass shooting.

People are outraged, screaming that terrorists are targeting and murdering the LGBTQ community and I agree with their outrage but for me, it’s much simpler. Someone murdered 49 children, his name was Omar Mateen.  He was an American-born man, a domestic terrorist, who called 911 before carrying out this ghastly task and pledged his allegiance to ISIS, while referencing the Boston Marathon bombers. He then chose to gun down 50 innocent people. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11.

Mateen somehow managed to carry an assault rifle and a pistol into a packed club around 2 a.m. Sunday morning and started shooting, he murdered 49 people and wounded at least 53. After a three-hour standoff, while 350 people were trapped inside the club desperately calling and messaging friends and relatives, police crashed into the building with an armored vehicle and stun grenades and killed Mateen.

Omar Mateen was 29-years-old, lived in Fort Pierce, Florida and had been interviewed not once but twice, in 2013 and again in 2014, by the FBI but was found both times to not be a threat. They were wrong. In the past two weeks Mateen legally purchased a Glock pistol and a long gun, ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Trevor Velinor told reporters.

Authorities spoke with Mateen’s father and ex-wife and both said that Omar Mateen was not particularly religious but his father said that recently, Omar saw two men kissing in Miami and it offended him. His ex-wife says that she thinks he was bipolar but was never formally diagnosed. Sounds to me like he was a bigot with a gun; a bully.

49 moms and dads are beside themselves trying to figure out how to live without their children alive to love. 49 childless mothers are sobbing primally because their world has been destroyed. 49 childless fathers are looking at the door expecting their child to return, knowing they never will; feeling a void that is so massive that it feels as if their heart will crush beneath the weight of it.

Today the entire world feels vulnerable and helpless; victimized and terrified. We are angry that this was allowed to happen again but don’t let the anger turn to hate. Hate is what got us here to this moment of childless mothers and fathers, in the first place.

Channel your hatred, anger, helplessness and vulnerability into change. Donate blood. Be kind to strangers. Treat people as humans. Don’t judge people for who they love, the color of their skin or the God they worship. Be a voice for the mothers and fathers who cannot speak or barely breathe, those who lost everything because one evil man was able to possess a gun and with that gun he chose to murder people just because he could.

We have to say no more, stand up for those who need protection and be the change we want to see in the world. The time for  expecting others to make things happen has passed. We have to vote, risk and force the change. Next time, it could be one of our children.

What would you be willing to risk in order to prevent another mass shooting?

The post The Collateral Damage of Hate and Lax Gun Control appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>
http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/orlando-mass-shooting-gun-control/feed/ 0
Lady Quits Job to Stay Home Breastfeeding Grown Man Every 2 Hours http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/lady-breastfeeding-grown-man/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/lady-breastfeeding-grown-man/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2016 20:19:26 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=25125 Jennifer Mulford hasn’t been pregnant or needed to nurse a baby in 20 years but she’s completely determined to experience breastfeeding again. This time it will be a man who she’s trying to get to latch. You heard me right, this broad wants that “special bond” you can only get from skin-to-skin, breastfeeding. **Excuse me […]

The post Lady Quits Job to Stay Home Breastfeeding Grown Man Every 2 Hours appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>

Jennifer Mulford hasn’t been pregnant or needed to nurse a baby in 20 years but she’s completely determined to experience breastfeeding again. This time it will be a man who she’s trying to get to latch. You heard me right, this broad wants that “special bond” you can only get from skin-to-skin, breastfeeding.

**Excuse me while I vomit in my mouth a little bit.

Hey, people have fetishes. I’m not a prude. People like to have sex outside, in front of people, with multiple people, on their knees, in the trees, in water, in dirt, in jello, wearing latex, wearing ball gags, butt plugs and beads. Some people like to wear diapers when they do it and others like to wear big, furry costumes. Some people like to be beaten and peed on. But of all those things, I think, personally, I find breastfeeding a grown man to be one of the grossest fetishes.

After reading online about adult breastfeeding relationships, Jennifer became intrigued by the idea of nursing an adult. She was so determined to get that “bond” that moms have with their nursing child that the bartender went in search for a man child of her own to breastfeed. No, she didn’t have a partner when she got the idea. That came later.

When she first discovered ABR, the single Atlanta mom, started searching online in hopes of finding a man who would be interested in being her partner in this freaky endeavor. Talk about go big or go home. It’s hard enough to ask your committed partner to do this crazy shit but she went in search of a complete stranger to do this with.

After trying countless dating sites, posting messages on Adult Breastfeeding Relationship forums and even placing an ad on Craigslist, she thought her dream of breastfeeding a man just wasn’t going to happen. But before completely giving up on her dream of bonding with a man while he suckled at her bosom, Jennifer brought the idea up to Brad Leeson, an old boyfriend, and he was immediately excited and curious about the idea. Freaks of a feather and all that, I suppose.

“At that moment I knew that I had a partner for life,” she said. “We both wanted the same thing out of the relationship — a magical bond that only breastfeeding can achieve.”

I’m not sure that she realizes this bond she is referring to is usually between a mom and baby because, you know, the baby is depending on the mom for nourishment and the mom is keeping her child alive. Brad, on the other hand, can just go get a burger.

Once she knew Brad was in, Jennifer took a leave of absence from her job so that she could focus all of her time and attention on breastfeeding her man child.

Jennifer said, “When I read about the bond breastfeeding could create between two people I was envious.”

“I have always enjoyed my breasts being touched during sex more than anything else so I knew I would enjoy it.”

**Excuse me while I vomit again. She just went there. She just made the most unsexual thing, feeding your baby, sexual.

In order for all of this to happen, since Jennifer is not lactating, the two have consistently been dry feeding and pumping every two hours in an attempt to induce lactation. I remember breastfeeding and it is a round the clock day, especially when you are waiting for your milk to come in. There is no time for anything else.

In addition to their strict feeding schedule, Jennifer is drinking Mother’s Milk tea three times a day; taking an herbal pill, and doing everything possible to increase her milk supply. Brad is hopeful that her milk will help with his workouts at the gym.

Apparently, neither of them must be working if they are dry breastfeeding every two hours? How do they pay their bills? Maybe they are independently wealthy. Maybe this could be a new trend for the rich and famous or trust fund babies; got nothing but time and money, why not spend your days breastfeeding adult men?

What do you think about breastfeeding a grown man to for bonding purposes?

The post Lady Quits Job to Stay Home Breastfeeding Grown Man Every 2 Hours appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>
http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/lady-breastfeeding-grown-man/feed/ 0
Stanford Rapist Brock Turner Sentence Reduced for Good Behavior http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/stanford-rapist-brock-turner-sentence-reduced-for-good-behavior/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/stanford-rapist-brock-turner-sentence-reduced-for-good-behavior/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2016 19:05:54 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=25117 Brock Turner, the Stanford University swimmer, convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman and leaving her next to a dumpster has already had his controversial, barely-there six-month jail sentence reduced by 2 months according to court documents obtained by The Daily Mail. Brock Turner, 20, has already had two months knocked off his sentence for “expected good behavior […]

The post Stanford Rapist Brock Turner Sentence Reduced for Good Behavior appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>

Brock Turner, the Stanford University swimmer, convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman and leaving her next to a dumpster has already had his controversial, barely-there six-month jail sentence reduced by 2 months according to court documents obtained by The Daily Mail.

Brock Turner, 20, has already had two months knocked off his sentence for “expected good behavior behind bars”, which means he’ll be a free man as early as Sept. 2.

Yes, people, lock up your daughters because coming soon to a city near you, this piece of shit rapist will be walking the streets free and clear.

As soon as this fall, Brock Turner will be free on the streets, able to find another victim, force himself on her, claim it was just another misunderstanding and get just another slap on the wrist.

Mr. Turner is also in the process of appealing his conviction and moving his three-year probation to his home state of Ohio. All while his dad is fund raising for his son’s legal fees. A customer service representative for the Wright-Patt Credit Union confirmed that Dan Turner, the father of Brock Turner, established the account into which funds solicited through the Facebook fundraising page would be deposited.  The credit union account is still active as of this update.  It is unclear whether Dan Turner also established the page soliciting the funds, which purported to be authored by a friend of the Turner family. Because you know, this has all been so hard on the Turner family. I bet it is hard knowing you raised a rapist.

The page has since been taken down.

Which makes me wonder, what the hell is going on in high schools in Ohio. Wasn’t it just a few years ago that a group of high school boys gang raped an intoxicated, unconscious girl in Steubenville, Ohio? Why do we keep blaming the victims for ruining the rapists lives? How is society getting this so ass backwards?

What are your thoughts on the Brock Turner case and the reduction of his sentence?

The post Stanford Rapist Brock Turner Sentence Reduced for Good Behavior appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>
http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/stanford-rapist-brock-turner-sentence-reduced-for-good-behavior/feed/ 0
We are All Emily Doe http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/brock-turner-rapist-swimmer/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/brock-turner-rapist-swimmer/#comments Wed, 08 Jun 2016 05:10:45 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=25104 On January 17, 2015, former Stanford University student, Brock Turner, raped an inebriated 22-year-old woman, Emily Doe, behind a garbage dumpster after a frat party. There was no remorse on the part of Mr. Turner for raping someone, only the remorse of being caught. We are all Emily Doe. This could have happened to any of us. […]

The post We are All Emily Doe appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>

On January 17, 2015, former Stanford University student, Brock Turner, raped an inebriated 22-year-old woman, Emily Doe, behind a garbage dumpster after a frat party. There was no remorse on the part of Mr. Turner for raping someone, only the remorse of being caught. We are all Emily Doe. This could have happened to any of us. It has happened to many of us (to one degree or another) and it will happen to many more of us, if we don’t fight to change it.

The attack was only stopped when two Swedish PhD students, Carl Fredrik-Arndt and Peter Jonsson, were cycling past on their way to a party. When the two heroes saw that Turner was on top of an unconscious woman, they stopped, tackled Turner and pinned him down until police could arrive and arrest him. They didn’t have to stop, in fact, most people wouldn’t have stopped they  would have gone on about their business.

This March. Turner was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault and last Thursday Turner faced a maximum of 14 years in state prison but instead was only sentenced to six months in a county jail and probation. He must also complete a sex offender management program and register as a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life. This is a slap on the wrist and an insult to his victim. Apparently, membership in the club of penis has it’s privileges.

I’ve been avoiding the news the last few days because I wanted to enjoy my time with my family. After last week’s fiasco, I know to truly enjoy my life and time with my family I have to unplug. Then I stumbled across Facebook and I saw the photo of Brock Turner as the clean cut good kid. Then I saw the actual mug shot and honestly, what does it matter what a rapist looks like? If you rape a woman you are a rapist. How well you dress or clean shaven you are doesn’t make it okay or make you less of a rapist.

Brock Turner, Stanford University, rape culture, misogyny, campus rape

I’m sitting on vacation, reading the transcript of Emily Doe’s impact statement. As I listen to my little girl’s playing and giggling in the background, I am pushing down the lump in my throat and it is taking everything in my body not to start sobbing right here in the pool room at the Hyatt Regency. I didn’t realize that I’d be triggered but I was.

I want to cry for the victim; for what she has had to endure and her revictimization by a system that has failed her. I want to cry for my daughters who will one day soon be at college, alone without me to protect them from the evils of the world. I want to cry for every young woman who has ever gone doe eyed and naively into the world and not expected to be victimized; myself included.

The judge was lenient on Brock Turner because he was an athlete, had a promising future and could possibly have even went to the Olympics; made all of us Americans proud in the fucking 100-meter dash or some fucking shit like that. He got six months for ruining this woman’s life because in the world we live in, women’s lives don’t matter. We might have “equal rights” but really we will never be considered as valuable as men. He could be an Olympian, what is she? Just another drunk girl at a party; or so Brock Turner, his father and the judge would have you believe. Just a poor dumb girl, who drank too much and had some drinker’s remorse the next day.

I used to be that girl. No, actually I was what Brock Turner and his attorneys would have you believe his victim was so I was actually much worse. I used to drink a lot in college. I would black out on occasion. I went to frat parties and I loved to flirt. I was the touchy feely girl who loved attention and liked to have fun but I was a virgin until I was in college. Sure, I had boyfriends and there was dry humping, marathon make-out sessions and all that other shit you do when you just haven’t done the deed yet but I never consented to more. I wouldn’t because I hadn’t and I didn’t want to yet.

But there were times when I was drinking and guys got a little too aggressive in their advances. I remember once I was visiting a friend and I’d met a guy who was visiting her boyfriend, after a night of drinking and hanging out, I woke up to feel him pressed up against me and kissing me. I pushed him off but by the time I had woken up, he’d already been touching my body. I don’t know for how long, I was passed out. But I didn’t do anything about it because I felt partially responsible. Even though there was no consent and no making out before I passed out, I felt responsible for letting myself get into this vulnerable position because that is how this society has conditioned women to believe. If we are assaulted, we must have done something to encourage it.

Then there was the time I was at a frat party and a group of brothers from another university came to the party. I was a little sister at the fraternity, so I was comfortable and even felt safe at the house. A cute walk out started talking to me and one thing led to another, the flirting was in high gear and then in the middle of a room full of people, he pushed my head into his lap. I was drinking but that sobered me up immediately. I felt vulnerable, threatened (in a room full of guys) and angry. Luckily, the president of the frat (a friend of mine) saw the whole thing happen and literally, kicked the guy out of the house. Of course, then he spent the night “comforting” me. I let him because I felt like I owed him. I didn’t want his advances but it felt safer than some stranger shoving my face in his crotch and becoming an unwilling participant in a gang rape.

Then there was the time I was at a college bar with my friends and the star basketball player came up behind me and started grinding on me. I gently moved away. He followed in pursuit. Then he came in front of me, grabbed me by my ass and lifted me up around his waist and started trying to kiss me. No one did anything. I was terrified. I didn’t want his advances. I did not invite him to do any of this. I was minding my own business. No one helped me. I wiggled myself out of his grip and ran out of the bar. When a friend found me outside, she did not care if I was alright or if I was shaken. Her question was, “Don’t you know who that was?”

Or the time I was working at a retail chain as a teenager and the security guys called me back into the security room. I thought they needed a female employee as a witness as they questioned a suspected female shoplifter because that was protocol. Instead, when I got back there at 9 at night, when we were working on a skeleton crew, the two grown men, locked the door and started making comments on how I looked in my uniform. They told me that they liked watching me on the cameras and told me to my face, as they laughed, “You know we could do anything we wanted to you in here and no one would even here us.” I was trembling I was so terrified.

How about the time I was at a cop party with my friend and a married cop tried to make advances towards me and when I said no because he was married (plus I wasn’t interested) he told me that I should think twice before driving alone in his city ever again because he could pull me over late at night on a dark road and it wouldn’t matter if I was interested or not.

The thing is as I read the victim’s account of what had happened to her, I was saddened and more than anything I was fuming mad. I’m trying to use my words but the problem is that I’m angry and I’m sick of the world giving men a hall pass for rape and attempted rape and acting like it’s a victimless crime. I could go on for pages listing all the different times I’ve been accosted to one degree or another.

Sometimes were worse than others. Sometimes things went further than I wanted them to go but I never felt like I could do anything about it because the truth is that no matter how good, bad, drunk, sober, promiscuous or frigid you are, if you are a woman, you have been made to feel vulnerable and unsafe in your lifetime; it is the curse of being born with a vagina.

We don’t have to do anything to precipitate an attack, they just happen and we just have to learn to live with it, apparently even in 2016. But this is bullshit. I don’t want my girls to ever feel this kind of vulnerability or fear of living. Why do we have to be cautious and careful before doing everything. Even a girl in a beige cardigan who did nothing to encourage her attacker’s advances still got raped, left like garbage on the side of a dumpster and her attacker only received six months jail time. Apparently that is all a woman’s life is worth. Her life is ruined; she will never be the same but it doesn’t really matter because a penis holds more value in this world than a vagina ever could. After all, we only propagate the species. He could have been an Olympian; she was always just a woman.

Emily Doe, Victim statement, swimmer,Brock Turner, Stanford University, rape culture, misogyny, campus rape

The scary thing is Brock Turner is not an anomaly. And it doesn’t matter what we do, how we dress, how much we do or don’t drink, we can all be the victim and this is what scares me the most. When are we going to teach our sons that it’s not okay to put their hands, fingers, mouths and dicks on women’s bodies without permission? When will our girls ever be able to feel safe to walk alone at night or have a vagina?

In case you don’t think rape is a serious crime that warrants more than a six-month inconvenience for the attacker, read the statement below from Brock Turner’s victim.

Your Honor, if it is all right, for the majority of this statement I would like to address the defendant directly.

You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.

On January 17th, 2015, it was a quiet Saturday night at home. My dad made some dinner and I sat at the table with my younger sister who was visiting for the weekend. I was working full time and it was approaching my bed time. I planned to stay at home by myself, watch some TV and read, while she went to a party with her friends. Then, I decided it was my only night with her, I had nothing better to do, so why not, there’s a dumb party ten minutes from my house, I would go, dance like a fool, and embarrass my younger sister. On the way there, I joked that undergrad guys would have braces. My sister teased me for wearing a beige cardigan to a frat party like a librarian. I called myself “big mama”, because I knew I’d be the oldest one there. I made silly faces, let my guard down, and drank liquor too fast not factoring in that my tolerance had significantly lowered since college.

The next thing I remember I was in a gurney in a hallway. I had dried blood and bandages on the backs of my hands and elbow. I thought maybe I had fallen and was in an admin office on campus. I was very calm and wondering where my sister was. A deputy explained I had been assaulted. I still remained calm, assured he was speaking to the wrong person. I knew no one at this party. When I was finally allowed to use the restroom, I pulled down the hospital pants they had given me, went to pull down my underwear, and felt nothing. I still remember the feeling of my hands touching my skin and grabbing nothing. I looked down and there was nothing. The thin piece of fabric, the only thing between my vagina and anything else, was missing and everything inside me was silenced. I still don’t have words for that feeling. In order to keep breathing, I thought maybe the policemen used scissors to cut them off for evidence.

“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.”

Then, I felt pine needles scratching the back of my neck and started pulling them out my hair. I thought maybe, the pine needles had fallen from a tree onto my head. My brain was talking my gut into not collapsing. Because my gut was saying, help me, help me.

I shuffled from room to room with a blanket wrapped around me, pine needles trailing behind me, I left a little pile in every room I sat in. I was asked to sign papers that said “Rape Victim” and I thought something has really happened. My clothes were confiscated and I stood naked while the nurses held a ruler to various abrasions on my body and photographed them. The three of us worked to comb the pine needles out of my hair, six hands to fill one paper bag. To calm me down, they said it’s just the flora and fauna, flora and fauna. I had multiple swabs inserted into my vagina and anus, needles for shots, pills, had a Nikon pointed right into my spread legs. I had long, pointed beaks inside me and had my vagina smeared with cold, blue paint to check for abrasions.

After a few hours of this, they let me shower. I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it, I didn’t know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.

On that morning, all that I was told was that I had been found behind a dumpster, potentially penetrated by a stranger, and that I should get retested for HIV because results don’t always show up immediately. But for now, I should go home and get back to my normal life. Imagine stepping back into the world with only that information. They gave me huge hugs and I walked out of the hospital into the parking lot wearing the new sweatshirt and sweatpants they provided me, as they had only allowed me to keep my necklace and shoes.

My sister picked me up, face wet from tears and contorted in anguish. Instinctively and immediately, I wanted to take away her pain. I smiled at her, I told her to look at me, I’m right here, I’m okay, everything’s okay, I’m right here. My hair is washed and clean, they gave me the strangest shampoo, calm down, and look at me. Look at these funny new sweatpants and sweatshirt, I look like a P.E. teacher, let’s go home, let’s eat something. She did not know that beneath my sweatsuit, I had scratches and bandages on my skin, my vagina was sore and had become a strange, dark color from all the prodding, my underwear was missing, and I felt too empty to continue to speak. That I was also afraid, that I was also devastated. That day we drove home and for hours in silence my younger sister held me.

My boyfriend did not know what happened, but called that day and said, “I was really worried about you last night, you scared me, did you make it home okay?” I was horrified. That’s when I learned I had called him that night in my blackout, left an incomprehensible voicemail, that we had also spoken on the phone, but I was slurring so heavily he was scared for me, that he repeatedly told me to go find [my sister]. Again, he asked me, “What happened last night? Did you make it home okay?” I said yes, and hung up to cry.

I was not ready to tell my boyfriend or parents that actually, I may have been raped behind a dumpster, but I don’t know by who or when or how. If I told them, I would see the fear on their faces, and mine would multiply by tenfold, so instead I pretended the whole thing wasn’t real.

I tried to push it out of my mind, but it was so heavy I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone. After work, I would drive to a secluded place to scream. I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone, and I became isolated from the ones I loved most. For over a week after the incident, I didn’t get any calls or updates about that night or what happened to me. The only symbol that proved that it hadn’t just been a bad dream, was the sweatshirt from the hospital in my drawer.

One day, I was at work, scrolling through the news on my phone, and came across an article. In it, I read and learned for the first time about how I was found unconscious, with my hair disheveled, long necklace wrapped around my neck, bra pulled out of my dress, dress pulled off over my shoulders and pulled up above my waist, that I was butt naked all the way down to my boots, legs spread apart, and had been penetrated by a foreign object by someone I did not recognize. This was how I learned what happened to me, sitting at my desk reading the news at work. I learned what happened to me the same time everyone else in the world learned what happened to me. That’s when the pine needles in my hair made sense, they didn’t fall from a tree. He had taken off my underwear, his fingers had been inside of me. I don’t even know this person. I still don’t know this person. When I read about me like this, I said, this can’t be me, this can’t be me. I could not digest or accept any of this information. I could not imagine my family having to read about this online. I kept reading. In the next paragraph, I read something that I will never forgive; I read that according to him, I liked it. I liked it. Again, I do not have words for these feelings.

“And then, at the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times.”

It’s like if you were to read an article where a car was hit, and found dented, in a ditch. But maybe the car enjoyed being hit. Maybe the other car didn’t mean to hit it, just bump it up a little bit. Cars get in accidents all the time, people aren’t always paying attention, can we really say who’s at fault.

And then, at the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position. By the way, he’s really good at swimming. Throw in my mile time if that’s what we’re doing. I’m good at cooking, put that in there, I think the end is where you list your extracurriculars to cancel out all the sickening things that’ve happened.

The night the news came out I sat my parents down and told them that I had been assaulted, to not look at the news because it’s upsetting, just know that I’m okay, I’m right here, and I’m okay. But halfway through telling them, my mom had to hold me because I could no longer stand up.

The night after it happened, he said he didn’t know my name, said he wouldn’t be able to identify my face in a lineup, didn’t mention any dialogue between us, no words, only dancing and kissing. Dancing is a cute term; was it snapping fingers and twirling dancing, or just bodies grinding up against each other in a crowded room? I wonder if kissing was just faces sloppily pressed up against each other? When the detective asked if he had planned on taking me back to his dorm, he said no. When the detective asked how we ended up behind the dumpster, he said he didn’t know. He admitted to kissing other girls at that party, one of whom was my own sister who pushed him away. He admitted to wanting to hook up with someone. I was the wounded antelope of the herd, completely alone and vulnerable, physically unable to fend for myself, and he chose me. Sometimes I think, if I hadn’t gone, then this never would’ve happened. But then I realized, it would have happened, just to somebody else. You were about to enter four years of access to drunk girls and parties, and if this is the foot you started off on, then it is right you did not continue. The night after it happened, he said he thought I liked it because I rubbed his back. A back rub.

Never mentioned me voicing consent, never mentioned us even speaking, a back rub. One more time, in public news, I learned that my ass and vagina were completely exposed outside, my breasts had been groped, fingers had been jabbed inside me along with pine needles and debris, my bare skin and head had been rubbing against the ground behind a dumpster, while an erect freshman was humping my half naked, unconscious body. But I don’t remember, so how do I prove I didn’t like it.

I thought there’s no way this is going to trial; there were witnesses, there was dirt in my body, he ran but was caught. He’s going to settle, formally apologize, and we will both move on. Instead, I was told he hired a powerful attorney, expert witnesses, private investigators who were going to try and find details about my personal life to use against me, find loopholes in my story to invalidate me and my sister, in order to show that this sexual assault was in fact a misunderstanding. That he was going to go to any length to convince the world he had simply been confused.

I was not only told that I was assaulted, I was told that because I couldn’t remember, I technically could not prove it was unwanted. And that distorted me, damaged me, almost broke me. It is the saddest type of confusion to be told I was assaulted and nearly raped, blatantly out in the open, but we don’t know if it counts as assault yet. I had to fight for an entire year to make it clear that there was something wrong with this situation.

“I was pummeled with narrowed, pointed questions that dissected my personal life, love life, past life, family life, inane questions, accumulating trivial details to try and find an excuse for this guy who had me half naked before even bothering to ask for my name. “

When I was told to be prepared in case we didn’t win, I said, I can’t prepare for that. He was guilty the minute I woke up. No one can talk me out of the hurt he caused me. Worst of all, I was warned, because he now knows you don’t remember, he is going to get to write the script. He can say whatever he wants and no one can contest it. I had no power, I had no voice, I was defenseless. My memory loss would be used against me. My testimony was weak, was incomplete, and I was made to believe that perhaps, I am not enough to win this. His attorney constantly reminded the jury, the only one we can believe is Brock, because she doesn’t remember. That helplessness was traumatizing.

Instead of taking time to heal, I was taking time to recall the night in excruciating detail, in order to prepare for the attorney’s questions that would be invasive, aggressive, and designed to steer me off course, to contradict myself, my sister, phrased in ways to manipulate my answers. Instead of his attorney saying, Did you notice any abrasions? He said, You didn’t notice any abrasions, right? This was a game of strategy, as if I could be tricked out of my own worth. The sexual assault had been so clear, but instead, here I was at the trial, answering questions like:

How old are you? How much do you weigh? What did you eat that day? Well what did you have for dinner? Who made dinner? Did you drink with dinner? No, not even water? When did you drink? How much did you drink? What container did you drink out of? Who gave you the drink? How much do you usually drink? Who dropped you off at this party? At what time? But where exactly? What were you wearing? Why were you going to this party? What’ d you do when you got there? Are you sure you did that? But what time did you do that? What does this text mean? Who were you texting? When did you urinate? Where did you urinate? With whom did you urinate outside? Was your phone on silent when your sister called? Do you remember silencing it? Really because on page 53 I’d like to point out that you said it was set to ring. Did you drink in college? You said you were a party animal? How many times did you black out? Did you party at frats? Are you serious with your boyfriend? Are you sexually active with him? When did you start dating? Would you ever cheat? Do you have a history of cheating? What do you mean when you said you wanted to reward him? Do you remember what time you woke up? Were you wearing your cardigan? What color was your cardigan? Do you remember any more from that night? No? Okay, well, we’ll let Brock fill it in.

I was pummeled with narrowed, pointed questions that dissected my personal life, love life, past life, family life, inane questions, accumulating trivial details to try and find an excuse for this guy who had me half naked before even bothering to ask for my name. After a physical assault, I was assaulted with questions designed to attack me, to say see, her facts don’t line up, she’s out of her mind, she’s practically an alcoholic, she probably wanted to hook up, he’s like an athlete right, they were both drunk, whatever, the hospital stuff she remembers is after the fact, why take it into account, Brock has a lot at stake so he’s having a really hard time right now.

And then it came time for him to testify and I learned what it meant to be revictimized. I want to remind you, the night after it happened he said he never planned to take me back to his dorm. He said he didn’t know why we were behind a dumpster. He got up to leave because he wasn’t feeling well when he was suddenly chased and attacked. Then he learned I could not remember.

So one year later, as predicted, a new dialogue emerged. Brock had a strange new story, almost sounded like a poorly written young adult novel with kissing and dancing and hand holding and lovingly tumbling onto the ground, and most importantly in this new story, there was suddenly consent. One year after the incident, he remembered, oh yeah, by the way she actually said yes, to everything, so.

He said he had asked if I wanted to dance. Apparently I said yes. He’d asked if I wanted to go to his dorm, I said yes. Then he asked if he could finger me and I said yes. Most guys don’t ask, can I finger you? Usually there’s a natural progression of things, unfolding consensually, not a Q and A. But apparently I granted full permission. He’s in the clear. Even in his story, I only said a total of three words, yes yes yes, before he had me half naked on the ground. Future reference, if you are confused about whether a girl can consent, see if she can speak an entire sentence. You couldn’t even do that. Just one coherent string of words. Where was the confusion? This is common sense, human decency.

According to him, the only reason we were on the ground was because I fell down. Note; if a girl falls down help her get back up. If she is too drunk to even walk and falls down, do not mount her, hump her, take off her underwear, and insert your hand inside her vagina. If a girl falls down help her up. If she is wearing a cardigan over her dress don’t take it off so that you can touch her breasts. Maybe she is cold, maybe that’s why she wore the cardigan.

Next in the story, two Swedes on bicycles approached you and you ran. When they tackled you why didn’t say, “Stop! Everything’s okay, go ask her, she’s right over there, she’ll tell you.” I mean you had just asked for my consent, right? I was awake, right? When the policeman arrived and interviewed the evil Swede who tackled you, he was crying so hard he couldn’t speak because of what he’d seen.

Your attorney has repeatedly pointed out, well we don’t know exactly when she became unconscious. And you’re right, maybe I was still fluttering my eyes and wasn’t completely limp yet. That was never the point. I was too drunk to speak English, too drunk to consent way before I was on the ground. I should have never been touched in the first place. Brock stated, “At no time did I see that she was not responding. If at any time I thought she was not responding, I would have stopped immediately.” Here’s the thing; if your plan was to stop only when I became unresponsive, then you still do not understand. You didn’t even stop when I was unconscious anyway! Someone else stopped you. Two guys on bikes noticed I wasn’t moving in the dark and had to tackle you. How did you not notice while on top of me?

You said, you would have stopped and gotten help. You say that, but I want you to explain how you would’ve helped me, step by step, walk me through this. I want to know, if those evil Swedes had not found me, how the night would have played out. I am asking you; Would you have pulled my underwear back on over my boots? Untangled the necklace wrapped around my neck? Closed my legs, covered me? Pick the pine needles from my hair? Asked if the abrasions on my neck and bottom hurt? Would you then go find a friend and say, Will you help me get her somewhere warm and soft? I don’t sleep when I think about the way it could have gone if the two guys had never come. What would have happened to me? That’s what you’ll never have a good answer for, that’s what you can’t explain even after a year.

On top of all this, he claimed that I orgasmed after one minute of digital penetration. The nurse said there had been abrasions, lacerations, and dirt in my genitalia. Was that before or after I came?

To sit under oath and inform all of us, that yes I wanted it, yes I permitted it, and that you are the true victim attacked by Swedes for reasons unknown to you is appalling, is demented, is selfish, is damaging. It is enough to be suffering. It is another thing to have someone ruthlessly working to diminish the gravity of validity of this suffering.

My family had to see pictures of my head strapped to a gurney full of pine needles, of my body in the dirt with my eyes closed, hair messed up, limbs bent, and dress hiked up. And even after that, my family had to listen to your attorney say the pictures were after the fact, we can dismiss them. To say, yes her nurse confirmed there was redness and abrasions inside her, significant trauma to her genitalia, but that’s what happens when you finger someone, and he’s already admitted to that. To listen to your attorney attempt to paint a picture of me, the face of girls gone wild, as if somehow that would make it so that I had this coming for me. To listen to him say I sounded drunk on the phone because I’m silly and that’s my goofy way of speaking. To point out that in the voicemail, I said I would reward my boyfriend and we all know what I was thinking. I assure you my rewards program is non transferable, especially to any nameless man that approaches me.

“This is not a story of another drunk college hook­up with poor decision making. Assault is not an accident.”

He has done irreversible damage to me and my family during the trial and we have sat silently, listening to him shape the evening. But in the end, his unsupported statements and his attorney’s twisted logic fooled no one. The truth won, the truth spoke for itself.

You are guilty. Twelve jurors convicted you guilty of three felony counts beyond reasonable doubt, that’s twelve votes per count, thirty ­six yeses confirming guilt, that’s one hundred percent, unanimous guilt. And I thought finally it is over, finally he will own up to what he did, truly apologize, we will both move on and get better. ​Then I read your statement.

If you are hoping that one of my organs will implode from anger and I will die, I’m almost there. You are very close. This is not a story of another drunk college hook­up with poor decision making. Assault is not an accident. Somehow, you still don’t get it. Somehow, you still sound confused. I will now read portions of the defendant’s statement and respond to them.

You said, Being drunk I just couldn’t make the best decisions and neither could she.

Alcohol is not an excuse. Is it a factor? Yes. But alcohol was not the one who stripped me, fingered me, had my head dragging against the ground, with me almost fully naked. Having too much to drink was an amateur mistake that I admit to, but it is not criminal. Everyone in this room has had a night where they have regretted drinking too much, or knows someone close to them who has had a night where they have regretted drinking too much. Regretting drinking is not the same as regretting sexual assault. We were both drunk, the difference is I did not take off your pants and underwear, touch you inappropriately, and run away. That’s the difference.

You said, If I wanted to get to know her, I should have asked for her number, rather than asking her to go back to my room.

I’m not mad because you didn’t ask for my number. Even if you did know me, I would not want to be in this situation. My own boyfriend knows me, but if he asked to finger me behind a dumpster, I would slap him. No girl wants to be in this situation. Nobody. I don’t care if you know their phone number or not.

You said, I stupidly thought it was okay for me to do what everyone around me was doing, which was drinking. I was wrong.

Again, you were not wrong for drinking. Everyone around you was not sexually assaulting me. You were wrong for doing what nobody else was doing, which was pushing your erect dick in your pants against my naked, defenseless body concealed in a dark area, where partygoers could no longer see or protect me, and my own sister could not find me. Sipping fireball is not your crime. Peeling off and discarding my underwear like a candy wrapper to insert your finger into my body, is where you went wrong. Why am I still explaining this.

You said, During the trial I didn’t want to victimize her at all. That was just my attorney and his way of approaching the case.

Your attorney is not your scapegoat, he represents you. Did your attorney say some incredulously infuriating, degrading things? Absolutely. He said you had an erection, because it was cold.

You said, you are in the process of establishing a program for high school and college students in which you speak about your experience to “speak out against the college campus drinking culture and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that.”

Campus drinking culture. That’s what we’re speaking out against? You think that’s what I’ve spent the past year fighting for? Not awareness about campus sexual assault, or rape, or learning to recognize consent. Campus drinking culture. Down with Jack Daniels. Down with Skyy Vodka. If you want talk to people about drinking go to an AA meeting. You realize, having a drinking problem is different than drinking and then forcefully trying to have sex with someone? Show men how to respect women, not how to drink less.

Drinking culture and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that. Goes along with that, like a side effect, like fries on the side of your order. Where does promiscuity even come into play? I don’t see headlines that read, Brock Turner, Guilty of drinking too much and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that. Campus Sexual Assault. There’s your first powerpoint slide. Rest assured, if you fail to fix the topic of your talk, I will follow you to every school you go to and give a follow up presentation.

Lastly you said, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin a life.

A life, one life, yours, you forgot about mine. Let me rephrase for you, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin two lives. You and me. You are the cause, I am the effect. You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into that night again and again. You knocked down both our towers, I collapsed at the same time you did. If you think I was spared, came out unscathed, that today I ride off into sunset, while you suffer the greatest blow, you are mistaken. Nobody wins. We have all been devastated, we have all been trying to find some meaning in all of this suffering. Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.

See one thing we have in common is that we were both unable to get up in the morning. I am no stranger to suffering. You made me a victim. In newspapers my name was “unconscious intoxicated woman”, ten syllables, and nothing more than that. For a while, I believed that that was all I was. I had to force myself to relearn my real name, my identity. To relearn that this is not all that I am. That I am not just a drunk victim at a frat party found behind a dumpster, while you are the All­ American swimmer at a top university, innocent until proven guilty, with so much at stake. I am a human being who has been irreversibly hurt, my life was put on hold for over a year, waiting to figure out if I was worth something.

My independence, natural joy, gentleness, and steady lifestyle I had been enjoying became distorted beyond recognition. I became closed off, angry, self deprecating, tired, irritable, empty. The isolation at times was unbearable. You cannot give me back the life I had before that night either. While you worry about your shattered reputation, I refrigerated spoons every night so when I woke up, and my eyes were puffy from crying, I would hold the spoons to my eyes to lessen the swelling so that I could see. I showed up an hour late to work every morning, excused myself to cry in the stairwells, I can tell you all the best places in that building to cry where no one can hear you. The pain became so bad that I had to explain the private details to my boss to let her know why I was leaving. I needed time because continuing day to day was not possible. I used my savings to go as far away as I could possibly be. I did not return to work full time as I knew I’d have to take weeks off in the future for the hearing and trial, that were constantly being rescheduled. My life was put on hold for over a year, my structure had collapsed.

I can’t sleep alone at night without having a light on, like a five year old, because I have nightmares of being touched where I cannot wake up, I did this thing where I waited until the sun came up and I felt safe enough to sleep. For three months, I went to bed at six o’clock in the morning.

I used to pride myself on my independence, now I am afraid to go on walks in the evening, to attend social events with drinking among friends where I should be comfortable being. I have become a little barnacle always needing to be at someone’s side, to have my boyfriend standing next to me, sleeping beside me, protecting me. It is embarrassing how feeble I feel, how timidly I move through life, always guarded, ready to defend myself, ready to be angry.

You have no idea how hard I have worked to rebuild parts of me that are still weak. It took me eight months to even talk about what happened. I could no longer connect with friends, with everyone around me. I would scream at my boyfriend, my own family whenever they brought this up. You never let me forget what happened to me. At the of end of the hearing, the trial, I was too tired to speak. I would leave drained, silent. I would go home turn off my phone and for days I would not speak. You bought me a ticket to a planet where I lived by myself. Every time a new article come out, I lived with the paranoia that my entire hometown would find out and know me as the girl who got assaulted. I didn’t want anyone’s pity and am still learning to accept victim as part of my identity. You made my own hometown an uncomfortable place to be.

You cannot give me back my sleepless nights. The way I have broken down sobbing uncontrollably if I’m watching a movie and a woman is harmed, to say it lightly, this experience has expanded my empathy for other victims. I have lost weight from stress, when people would comment I told them I’ve been running a lot lately. There are times I did not want to be touched. I have to relearn that I am not fragile, I am capable, I am wholesome, not just livid and weak.

When I see my younger sister hurting, when she is unable to keep up in school, when she is deprived of joy, when she is not sleeping, when she is crying so hard on the phone she is barely breathing, telling me over and over again she is sorry for leaving me alone that night, sorry sorry sorry, when she feels more guilt than you, then I do not forgive you. That night I had called her to try and find her, but you found me first. Your attorney’s closing statement began, “[Her sister] said she was fine and who knows her better than her sister.” You tried to use my own sister against me? Your points of attack were so weak, so low, it was almost embarrassing. You do not touch her.

You should have never done this to me. Secondly, you should have never made me fight so long to tell you, you should have never done this to me. But here we are. The damage is done, no one can undo it. And now we both have a choice. We can let this destroy us, I can remain angry and hurt and you can be in denial, or we can face it head on, I accept the pain, you accept the punishment, and we move on.

Your life is not over, you have decades of years ahead to rewrite your story. The world is huge, it is so much bigger than Palo Alto and Stanford, and you will make a space for yourself in it where you can be useful and happy. But right now, you do not get to shrug your shoulders and be confused anymore. You do not get to pretend that there were no red flags. You have been convicted of violating me, intentionally, forcibly, sexually, with malicious intent, and all you can admit to is consuming alcohol. Do not talk about the sad way your life was upturned because alcohol made you do bad things. Figure out how to take responsibility for your own conduct.

Now to address the sentencing. When I read the probation officer’s report, I was in disbelief, consumed by anger which eventually quieted down to profound sadness. My statements have been slimmed down to distortion and taken out of context. I fought hard during this trial and will not have the outcome minimized by a probation officer who attempted to evaluate my current state and my wishes in a fifteen minute conversation, the majority of which was spent answering questions I had about the legal system. The context is also important. Brock had yet to issue a statement, and I had not read his remarks.

My life has been on hold for over a year, a year of anger, anguish and uncertainty, until a jury of my peers rendered a judgment that validated the injustices I had endured. Had Brock admitted guilt and remorse and offered to settle early on, I would have considered a lighter sentence, respecting his honesty, grateful to be able to move our lives forward. Instead he took the risk of going to trial, added insult to injury and forced me to relive the hurt as details about my personal life and sexual assault were brutally dissected before the public. He pushed me and my family through a year of inexplicable, unnecessary suffering, and should face the consequences of challenging his crime, of putting my pain into question, of making us wait so long for justice.

I told the probation officer I do not want Brock to rot away in prison. I did not say he does not deserve to be behind bars. The probation officer’s recommendation of a year or less in county jail is a soft time­out, a mockery of the seriousness of his assaults, an insult to me and all women. It gives the message that a stranger can be inside you without proper consent and he will receive less than what has been defined as the minimum sentence. Probation should be denied. I also told the probation officer that what I truly wanted was for Brock to get it, to understand and admit to his wrongdoing.

Unfortunately, after reading the defendant’s report, I am severely disappointed and feel that he has failed to exhibit sincere remorse or responsibility for his conduct. I fully respected his right to a trial, but even after twelve jurors unanimously convicted him guilty of three felonies, all he has admitted to doing is ingesting alcohol. Someone who cannot take full accountability for his actions does not deserve a mitigating sentence. It is deeply offensive that he would try and dilute rape with a suggestion of “promiscuity”. By definition rape is not the absence of promiscuity, rape is the absence of consent, and it perturbs me deeply that he can’t even see that distinction.

The probation officer factored in that the defendant is youthful and has no prior convictions. In my opinion, he is old enough to know what he did was wrong. When you are eighteen in this country you can go to war. When you are nineteen, you are old enough to pay the consequences for attempting to rape someone. He is young, but he is old enough to know better.

As this is a first offence I can see where leniency would beckon. On the other hand, as a society, we cannot forgive everyone’s first sexual assault or digital rape. It doesn’t make sense. The seriousness of rape has to be communicated clearly, we should not create a culture that suggests we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error. The consequences of sexual assault needs to be severe enough that people feel enough fear to exercise good judgment even if they are drunk, severe enough to be preventative.

The probation officer weighed the fact that he has surrendered a hard earned swimming scholarship. How fast Brock swims does not lessen the severity of what happened to me, and should not lessen the severity of his punishment. If a first time offender from an underprivileged background was accused of three felonies and displayed no accountability for his actions other than drinking, what would his sentence be? The fact that Brock was an athlete at a private university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency, but as an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class.

The Probation Officer has stated that this case, when compared to other crimes of similar nature, may be considered less serious due to the defendant’s level of intoxication. It felt serious. That’s all I’m going to say.

What has he done to demonstrate that he deserves a break? He has only apologized for drinking and has yet to define what he did to me as sexual assault, he has revictimized me continually, relentlessly. He has been found guilty of three serious felonies and it is time for him to accept the consequences of his actions. He will not be quietly excused.

He is a lifetime sex registrant. That doesn’t expire. Just like what he did to me doesn’t expire, doesn’t just go away after a set number of years. It stays with me, it’s part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life.

To conclude, I want to say thank you. To everyone from the intern who made me oatmeal when I woke up at the hospital that morning, to the deputy who waited beside me, to the nurses who calmed me, to the detective who listened to me and never judged me, to my advocates who stood unwaveringly beside me, to my therapist who taught me to find courage in vulnerability, to my boss for being kind and understanding, to my incredible parents who teach me how to turn pain into strength, to my grandma who snuck chocolate into the courtroom throughout this to give to me, my friends who remind me how to be happy, to my boyfriend who is patient and loving, to my unconquerable sister who is the other half of my heart, to Alaleh, my idol, who fought tirelessly and never doubted me. Thank you to everyone involved in the trial for their time and attention. Thank you to girls across the nation that wrote cards to my DA to give to me, so many strangers who cared for me.

Most importantly, thank you to the two men who saved me, who I have yet to meet. I sleep with two bicycles that I drew taped above my bed to remind myself there are heroes in this story. That we are looking out for one another. To have known all of these people, to have felt their protection and love, is something I will never forget.

And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.

After the victim’s statement went viral, Turner’s dad, Dan Turner, issued a statement defending his son, arguing his life will be “deeply altered” by the court’s verdict. I know this man is speaking out as a father but really, the callousness with which he disregards the consequences his son’s actions have had on his victim sickens me. He pretends that his son has done nothing wrong worth jail time and has no regard whatsoever for how his child has ruined this woman’s life.

“He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile,” he wrote.

“His every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear and depression. Now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist. These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one that he dreamt about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”

Mr. Turner says his son, Brock Turner, should not be sent to jail.

“The fact that he now has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact people and organizations,” he wrote.

“What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock. He has no prior criminal history and has never been violence to anyone, including his actions on the night of January 17, 2015.”

Mr. Turner then suggested his son could become a role model for young people. I get that he is the kid’s dad but there comes a time when you need to support your child by loving them while at the same time making them understand that there are consequences to bad behavior and raping a woman is bad behavior. It is unforgivable behavior.

“Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society and is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.”

“By having people like Brock educate others on college campuses is how society can begin to break the cycle of binge drinking and its unfortunate results. Probation is the best answer for Brock in this situation and allows him to give back to society in a net positive way.”

It’s like this man doesn’t think his son has done anything really wrong. I know he’s a father who loves his son and love is blind, especially where our children are concerned but this man is in absolute denial.

What do you think is a fitting punishment for Brock Turner’s choice to rape a woman?

 

 

 

 

 

The post We are All Emily Doe appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>
http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/brock-turner-rapist-swimmer/feed/ 0
Cochlear Helps Make the Impossible Possible http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/cochlear-living-with-hearing-loss/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/cochlear-living-with-hearing-loss/#comments Tue, 07 Jun 2016 15:28:27 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=25100 Disclosure: This post made possible through the support of Cochlear. All opinions are my own. Can you imagine a world with no sound? Never hearing your husband say, “I love you” or your baby’s  first giggle? Can you imagine never hearing birds singing, wind blowing or waves crashing into the shore? Imagine never being able to […]

The post Cochlear Helps Make the Impossible Possible appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>

Disclosure: This post made possible through the support of Cochlear. All opinions are my own.

Can you imagine a world with no sound? Never hearing your husband say, “I love you” or your baby’s  first giggle? Can you imagine never hearing birds singing, wind blowing or waves crashing into the shore? Imagine never being able to hear the voice of your mother or your toddler whisper, “I love you, Mommy.” I can and the thought terrifies me.

You see, for years when I was a little girl, I suffered from chronic ear infections which led to permanent hearing loss in my right ear. It’s only considered mild hearing loss but it made things challenging for me, as a small child and, to some degree, even now.

For instance, it’s hard for me to hear people when they are not looking directly at me when they’re speaking. It sounds like mumbling to me. It’s a little like hearing through a window or listening under water. Of course, as time has gone on, I’ve acclimated to my deficit. Most of the time I don’t even think about the fact that I’ve lost some of my hearing.

But I notice that I feel the need to concentrate when I listen, so sometimes when people are talking to me it seems like I’m staring at them when all I’m really doing is listening. If you’ve met me in person, you’ve probably noticed this. My hearing loss happened over time but we found out the loss was permanent when I was 6-years- old. This led to 5 years of speech therapy in which I was taught to slow down, enunciate and listen.

I hated having to go to speech therapy when I was in elementary school because it made me feel like an outsider but honestly, it taught me valuable lessons about communication that I’ve carried with me for my whole life; valuable lessons that I’ve used in parenting my own daughters; the true value of not only listening but hearing what others are saying.

I learned the importance of slowing down to tune in to my children, talking more with my daughters and taking turns to make sure that not only are my children heard but understood. I make it a point not to speak at my children but with them.

My experience also made me sensitive to my children’s speech when they were young. As a result of my hearing loss and years in speech therapy, I made it a point to be aware of my children’s social cues while communicating because some things were beyond their vocabulary. If I ever felt the need for concern, I would simply bring it up to their pediatrician in private.

All of this has built a foundation for trust and open dialogue with my daughters that I hope continues to grow throughout their lives. I don’t think I would be as attentive of a mother or informed about hearing and speech issues had I not experienced them myself and, for that, I’m grateful.

In the end, I may have some mild hearing loss but I didn’t have any learning disabilities or speech delays because of it but some children are not so lucky. Thankfully, technology has made it possible to help some children and adults.

Cochlear, in operation for over 30 years, is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, providing products (cochlear implants, bone conduction, and acoustic implants) that are designed to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss. They’ve helped over 450,000 people worldwide have access to sound.

The amazing thing about Cochlear is their passion to connect with parents who want their kids to have access to hearing to help with language and development so they can live their lives without limits.

Cochlear knows communication is the crux of everything in parenting and an essential step in every parent’s journey is working on speech, language, and developmental milestones and they want to make that journey as successful as possible.

What would you do if the impossible were possible?

The post Cochlear Helps Make the Impossible Possible appeared first on The TRUTH About Motherhood.

]]>
http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/cochlear-living-with-hearing-loss/feed/ 0