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Sexual Harassment/Assault

When I was in about 4th grade my friend would tell me all these sexual things. One night this person was over my house and they fingered me. I didn’t know what it was. This person manipulated me into thinking it was okay. I touched this person back. And it went on and on. This person would touch me a lot. And I would do it back.

I didn’t know any better. All I knew was it felt good. This person told me to never tell my parents or anyone else.

I’m still scarred by it. It distorted my childhood. It changed me. It made me do things I didn’t want to do. I can’t help but feel guilty. I mean 4th grade? It makes me feel so gross. I’ve never even kissed anyone.

In middle school, since I felt ugly, I jumped at any chance to show off my boobs to get some sort of positive attention from boys, and of course, I did. Sometimes it went too far. It made me cry, but it was better than being called ugly.

One time a boy touched my front-side in the hallway. He said if I told anyone he would get his sister to beat me up, so I kept quiet. Another time a boy shoved me against a locker and had his hands around my neck. He threatened me, but I don’t remember why.

Riding the bus was the worst because while they were calling me ugly, they were touching me or pushing me on the floor of the bus.

One time I was the park with my best friend and a few boys who bullied me. (Why did they bully me? I don’t know.) We were playing soccer. My old friend Melinda was there. They respected her, so they left her alone. But they would circle me and smack my butt, poke me with sticks in the front area, my boobs, and my butt. I liked the attention, but I also hated it. I told them to stop, but they wouldn’t. Two of the boys walked me home (not sure why) and one of them smacked my butt. A 30 or 40 year old man saw him do it. He yelled, “Oh yeah, smack that!” It scared me so much! I was furious! I yelled, “Fuck you!”

They told me if he came back to rape me they would leave.

I’ve had multiple experiences with grown men making me very uncomfortable. I get looked up and down. I see the lust in their eyes, and it really frightens me.

I have a friend who I love very dearly. But he can be very abusive. He’s very “hands on.” He touches my butt and my boobs every so often. But when he’s mad, he literally hurts me. He pulls wresting moves on me or chokes me for a few seconds. To him it’s a joke. To me, it’s scary, and it hurts.

One time I was locked in a room with him and he pushed me down, and he was standing over me. It sounds ridiculous but I was still scared. We are best friends, I just wish he wouldn’t take things so far sometimes.

All these events make me fear men a lot. I have a lot of anxiety and guilt from these events and I’m still not over them. I honesty think I have depression from all the bullying and harassment.

It’s So Cold…A Path Toward Abortion

Upstate NY, 1985

It was taken away from them. Just a seed in the beginning of a life forming to join this world.

A decision. She wasn’t ready. Not in her plan. So scared, but no decision to be made. Outcome predetermined; not to start.

So it was ended. They had no chance to join this world. Left to find another possibility for the loss was cold.

She could feel it in her hips. The pain was held and rocked till the grief was pushed thru every pore, wrung out thru sorrow ’till she could find space to breathe.

Why is it so hard to let go?

Why does it wash over you decades in time?

They were crying out to be saved, but she didn’t hear.

I am so sorry to have left you. I wasn’t ready to carry a soul.

It’s all consuming, the process of growing up. Staying aware, but willing to feel the piercing joys and sorrows that you have endured. Sometimes it’s so cold. She was just learning how to share gold, black & pink.

Still stiff, I’ll learn how to relax and breathe.

and I forgive you sweet melissa. U meant no harm

then why does it hurt?

– because you feel deeply and that is a gift to cherish

I feel the blood in my body and hear the ink on the page. I’m still learning to see clearly and that is okay.

thank you. I am grateful

– U are always welcome. my gifts are bountiful


– I forgive you. come fly with me

A Total Letdown

I love my mum. But sometimes and somehow, she just makes my day even worse by neglecting me, a teenage daughter who’s going though puberty and not being understood enough. Instead of asking me what happened if I was in a bad mood, my mum would just say, “Stop making that face.”

How the hell would you feel if that was said to you?

When I was being bullied, my mum told me to be strong and fight back. But how the hell do I fight back when it’s twelve or more people? I tried, and ended up hurting myself even more. She said that I was not strong enough. I cried secretly every night.

I got my braces a few days ago. It was painful, but I didn’t rant and scowl about the pain. I withstand the pain and try to chew, although it hurts like hell. She just scoffs and tells me to suck it up. She said my sister suffers greater pain. Did she use a pain thermometer to measure the pain?

All she cares about are my grades, so I can get a scholarship that I would make her life easier. I am so stressed. I improved so much this examination, but she just said I can do better than that. Is an 8 grade not good enough? What the hell does she want from me?

She’s been calling me spoiled to my father and my sister. She even said bad things about me in front of her friends. It was so hurtful. She doesn’t know the pain of being bullied, didn’t want to understand what exactly I experienced. She just took it lightly.

Sometimes, I want to jump off the roof, making the world a better place without me. Maybe she’ll be happier that way. I always keep my own emotions locked up, because of her. I’m far more independent  then my peers and yet she said I’m a spoiled brat and can’t control my moods. Does she even know I blamed myself every night for being bullied? That I was traumatized by it? No. I don’t expect her to know what was going on my mind.

Maybe I need to stand up for myself from all this pain, without her. Maybe I’m too fragile. I know I need help, but I really thought that she would be the one to lend me a hand. Sadly, she wasn’t.

I Was Raped

I think I’m depressed. That’s the thing that worries me the most. I had this kind of shitty thing happen to me about a year ago, and I fear it has changed me. I used to be really happy, and could see beauty basically everywhere. I was outgoing, loved hanging out with my friends, and generally just doing stuff. But now I have absolutely no motivation to do anything. I sit at home watching tv, or playing games; anything to keep me from having to go outside and face life.

It’s sad, because I just moved to this new town, for school. An education I should be really excited about, but I’m not. I should try and make some friends here. I have one good friend left. The rest I have neglected to the point where we don’t speak anymore. Several have tried numerous times to call me, but I just don’t pick up. Before I moved, I would make plans to meet them, but then make up some lame excuse and not show up. They must think I don’t like them anymore. I’m so sad. I don’t want to cause other people pain just because I’m not feeling well, but I just can’t get myself to contact them.

My self-esteem is so unbearably low, it’s a pain to even go shopping for groceries. I only do when I absolutely have to. Unless I’m having a really good day, I can only buy certain items, so I’m not embarrassed. I over-eat, drink alone and don’t exercise. And as my weight goes up, my self-esteem drops even more. I’m a bit of a mess.

While I was volunteering in Africa, I was raped by a guy I worked with. I’ve had some trouble with guys in the past, so I went to Africa because I wanted a change and to clear my head for a while. He was so sweet and funny, everybody loved him. We started flirting a bit, and then it evolved into something more. He acted like he was really falling for me, and to this day I still think he was. (Unless he was just an extremely good actor, and I have no idea how to read people.)

There was a party.  It was a great evening, and there was a lot to drink. I really liked him, and was going to have sex with him. My friends left for bed, but I stayed behind with him, with his friends close by, thinking I was totally safe. Like an idiot.

As soon as my friends had turned their back, he started kissing me and trying to undress me. I laughed and told him to wait, but he continued. That’s when I got scared, and told him to stop. So he raped me.

He was so much stronger than me, there was no way I could fight back, so I just shut down. I was in complete shock. Never once did it occur to me to scream for help. I’m ashamed of that now, and the fact that I was really into him. At the time, all I could think was “What? Is this really happening?”

After he was finished, I was lying on the grass, half naked, with him and his friends looking down at me. I will never forget that image. It was the most humiliating experience of my life. He started pulling me up by the arm, saying we would go to his cabin. I said no, and got away from his grip, but then he grabbed me by the hair.

That is when it finally occurred to me to scream.

There was a bit of mayhem in camp after that, and I had to report the incident. If the people I worked for hadn’t made me, I probably wouldn’t have. For that I am grateful, I suppose. It became quite clear who believed me and who didn’t. The guy who found me that night did. The rest of them, not so much. I had been working closely with these people for months, and I truly believed they were my friends. But they still thought it was my fault. He was such a sweet, likable guy, and if anything happened, it must have been my fault.

He told people that we were already in a sexual relationship, and he didn’t know he was forcing me into anything. His friends backed him up, of course, but he still went to jail for a while …about 4 months, if I’m not mistaken.

I stayed over there for a while after that, confused, broken and alone, not wanting to go home and deal with reality here. Obviously it didn’t work out in the long run, and I left a few months after the incident. About two days before going home I saw him again in the city. I completely panicked and ended up hiding behind a car.

So now I am left with the painful memories that pop up every now and then, a general distrust in all people, and absolutely no motivation to do anything. I am ashamed, sad, constantly tired, and I feel so incredibly lonely. I went to talk to a therapist a few times, but she went on vacation for a few weeks, and I never tried to schedule a new appointment.

She did tell me however, that I can get some kind of compensation for this. I just need documentation stating that the rape happened, documents from the police, or basically anything. But the people I worked for refuse to help me. I know the documents are (or were) in their office, I saw them, I touched them, but now, all of a sudden, they don’t exist.

This was extremely painful to write, but it turned out really long! Thanks to anyone who bothered to read through it, and thank you to whomever started this incredible Band. It is very nice to be able to vent like this. I normally have serious problems talking about my own emotions and problems.

Lots of love to everyone here!

Goodbye, My Little Boy

Losing an adult child to Dextromethorphan addiction is a nightmare no parent should ever have to experience.

This is Ethan’s story:

Yesterday, the phone rang with the call some part of me has been expecting for a year or two now. It was the Galax Police Department calling to notify me they had found my 23-year-old son dead in his apartment after they were asked to do a welfare check.

It’s the call no mother wants to get, but after living with his addiction for so long, it was one I expected at the back of my mind. I thought I was prepared, but really, until the phone rang I clung to hope that he would turn his life around. I’m still struggling to wrap my head and heart around the idea that he really is gone. Our communication has been spotty for years, so full of anger at times, I’m used to not hearing from him for days or weeks. Just a week ago, he called wanting a PlayStation 4 for Christmas.

I told him no.

He’d skipped Thanksgiving, I think at least partly because he was angry with me over a Facebook post in which I was thankful for him, despite the fact that he hadn’t always been the son I imagined. I was uncertain over what Christmas would bring. Maybe that was the cloud that’s been hanging over my holiday. I hadn’t even bought him any gifts.

Now I won’t have the chance. Ever again.

There’s a picture of him on the living room wall, holding my dog last Christmas, sporting a goofy toboggan and a grin. When he was straight, he had a lethal sense of humor and was always worried about me.

In my memories, he is the golden haired little boy who trooped behind his older sister and worried her to death as she played; the elementary schooler who liked being smart and didn’t care for basketball or karate; the middle schooler who put on weight and had braces and didn’t like himself as much as he should have. I still loved his smile. He’s also the sullen teen who stretched out, became tall and lean, who gave up band and skateboarding, who put his fist through the wall and refused chores. Yet on good days, he still gave awesome hugs and when he managed a smile, the room lit up.

The good days, however, seemed fewer and farther between the older he got. Instead of correcting his path, he intentionally chose it, repeatedly. We argued, by text, at great length last month about all the wonderful things he thought his drug of choice did for him and whether or not he was happy. When he was high, he thought he was Death incarnate, or maybe god. He was immortal, capable of anything he set his mind to. He hated everything around him except the video games in which he could further escape from reality.

I know he had dreams – of being a video game designer, of having a family, of being a dad. He told me he wanted to be a good dad, which was so sad because his dad was such a deadbeat. My son was great with children. His nieces adored him. But he poisoned his chances at that when he started using drugs, when he chose to keep using them. In many ways, I lost my son when he and his best friend started getting high. He was never the same after that; moody, angry, scary and demanding.

He always thought that since it wasn’t an illegal drug, or even one he had to obtain illegally, that it was safe. Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant and central nervous system depressant. It’s sold over-the-counter and safe in recommended dosages. Taken a whole pack or more at a time, however, it mimics the effects of PCP. It causes psychosis, seizures, organ damage, and potentially death.

He left home for nearly a year when he was 16, loading his belongings in a rage on the day my grandfather died. Even when he didn’t live with me, I gave him a phone to keep in touch, came to his rescue when he needed me, took afternoons off work to deal with a broken heart. He came home the next summer because they didn’t have room for him any more and I wanted him to finish school, which he did. But frankly, I was afraid of him and his angry outbursts. He turned 18 and graduated, still with no purpose or desire to have one, and I made him move out.

He had a few jobs, wrecked a few cars, and was living in his car when one last accident ended its usefulness. By then he was having seizures. He was unable to work, so I rented him an apartment and took him regularly to Winston-Salem to see a doctor and psychologist. We didn’t know that, even then, he continued to use. Then he found a roommate and they got high together, he went into a psychosis and pulled a Japanese sword on the roommate, and we found out the truth. He was in jail when we cleaned out his apartment and found bag after bag of empty blister packs of drugs he stole, by the way.

I should have known by the illogical rages, I guess. But even though I knew the drugs had caused the neurological damage that brought on the seizures, I didn’t know their effects as well as I would have some widely-discussed street drug.

(ed note: Will be creating a dextromethorphan abuse resource page in memory of Ethan. Love, love, love to you – Aunt Becky)

When he got out of jail, I refused to enable him any more. He moved to Virginia with my parents. He never worked again, except odd jobs at the church and for my family. When my dad’s illness meant mom couldn’t take care of him too, he first rented a house, then lost his job at the church, and wound up in the homeless shelter. During that time he been in a horrific wreck in which he should have been killed. He was high, in a blackout, hit a parked car and went over an embankment. He was ejected and broke multiple bones, including his back, but was not paralyzed.

We were all convinced he’d hit bottom.

For months, back at the shelter, he stayed on the straight and narrow due to random drug testing. He was a house monitor, had friends and was fun to be around again. When he moved into an apartment, the first thing he did was get high. This summer police called me and asked if I was his mom. I expected the next words to be a death notification. No, he was on the streets acting strange.

He spent two nights in jail for public intoxication.

I hate to admit how seldom I’ve seen him since his birthday in April. He was in a downward spiral that I knew I was powerless to stop. I talked to him on the phone fairly regularly and tried to make sure he knew I loved him. Often, his voice was unintelligible and I would strain to have a conversation, never knowing if he was high or if was an aftereffect of the drugs. Sometimes he called in tears from emotional pain. Lately there had been physical pain as well, but he would not see a doctor.

For years I’ve prayed for God to heal him, to help him choose sobriety, and more recently to take away the pain that seemed to drive him.

At last, Ethan hurts no more.

At one level, my prayers have been answered.

There’s a hole in my heart and an ache in my stomach. I’m not sure if writing about it makes it more real, or less. I know now I’ve had almost a day to process and I’m still not sure I’m ready to do anything else. I hate that, right now, so many of my memories are not good, but maybe that’s what I need to get through the next few days. I refuse to take a photo album down and bring happier ones to the surface.

I’ve been touched by how many people have reached out to me; wept again when I realized how many of my friends have already, in some form, walked this path. I don’t know what to tell people I need beyond time. I’m trying to go on with life, to do the things I enjoy instead of trembling in a corner in sackcloth and ashes. I know that may raise a few eyebrows, but my grief won’t change his death, just as it never changed the way he chose to live.

I know I’m fragile right now and I’m trying to take care of myself. I wish I could hug him one more time and remind him again that I love him – no matter what. That not being possible, I want to hold my daughter and granddaughters and feel the breath in their lungs and the beat of their hearts.

I want to somehow know that he’s finally at peace and that I won’t ever have to feel this way again.