Thursday, April 30, 2015

XXVII

Yesterday I pulled up my Facebook page to see something unexpected: a friend request from one of Theo's friends, Brian Thomas. I was startled at first, but I knew it couldn't be a coincidence. I'd given Brian's name to the police and provided them with his profile, which I'd blocked some years ago, on Facebook. Brian's new profile had no pictures whatsoever, so I couldn't necessarily confirm that it was Brian himself and not potentially Theo trying to get in touch with me, even after all these years.

Brian Thomas has tried to contact me in the past: to relay Theo's messages to me, and after I told him that Theo had raped and abused me. He found me on Twitter, months later, and reached out to see if I wanted to talk, assuring me that he wasn't friends with Theo, but I've grown up: I know better than to trust anyone connected with Theo. I blocked him on Twitter, and then ultimately ended up closing my account all together. I don't know what he wanted, and I don't really care.

The profile picture that's displayed on my profile includes me, my son Matthew, and my boyfriend of three years, Tanner Harris. It reflects how I'm currently living my life. I am happier than I've been in a while, and I've successfully completed not one, but two Associate's degrees. I graduate May 7th with a degree in Paralegal Studies and I'm just that much closer to pursuing my dream career as a paralegal in the District Attorney's office: or any criminal prosecutor's office, for that matter. Tanner is close to completing his degree in General Studies and we're discussing the near possibility of getting married. Matthew is almost two-and-a-half years old. I may not ever fully heal from what Theo did to me, but I intend on using my experiences to positively impact other people's lives. I think the biggest change that's happened this year is that I'm no longer afraid of the "what-if's". Theo is, and always will be a colossal loser, a scumbag and criminal, and if I've learned anything this past month, the law will catch up with him. And while he runs from the inevitable, I'm moving on from my past. I'm not afraid of him, and on a daily basis, the thought of Theo doesn't cross my mind. I'm focusing on better things, and even if I do cross reminders of what happened, I know that not only my family is ready to hear what's going on, this blog is always open, always ready to hear the next installment in the journey I've made so far.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

XXVI

On a beach in Florida during spring break, a 19-year-old girl was not only attacked and assaulted, she was gang-raped in public. The worst thing to me is that no one did anything: that they were totally indifferent and wrapped up in their own selves that they did not even think to help this girl who was being brutally victimized. It physically hurt and made me sick to think about what she went through and how someone could have helped but didn't. This isn't even half of the worst part, however: the attack was filmed. "Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen called the video "probably one of the most disgusting, repulsive, sickening things that I have seen this year on Panama City Beach, and I have seen a lot of them,"" says the article, which you can read in full here.

The video that was found was not even one of the first of its kind. It was found during an unrelated investigation, miles away, in Alabama and had to be sent to Florida from there. I can't imagine being the victim of such a brutal assault in such a public place and feeling the crushing desolation and abandonment, that no one came to her aid in a time she needed it. It disgusts me that it was filmed, and that no one even thought to call the police or jump in and help. It goes against basic human decency, that we would abandon someone who is clearly in trouble and need of aid. You wouldn't ignore someone who is drowning or having a heart attack, so why did no one come to the aid of this girl? The assault happened over a month ago, and while the disgusting human beings that did this were charged, the deep psychological and physical injuries inflicted upon the victim will probably affect her for the rest of her life. 

In one of my favorite movies, there is a scene in which a priest is giving a homily at a Catholic Sunday Mass. He relayed a story, similar to this one, about a girl that was attacked in broad daylight, while people looked on, heard and saw the attack, and still did nothing. The priest went onto say that while there are several evils in the world, the one that we should fear most is the indifference of good men. This is a statement with which I strongly agree: one that was echoed in the article I read today online.

I couldn't believe this story when I first read through it. I've often been told by quite a few people that I am sensitive and wear my emotions clearly for all to see. For a long time I've felt that sensitivity was a bad thing, that it made me weak and vulnerable. But reading about this unspeakable attack on a young girl, who was about the same age I was when Theo abused me really got to me. When I read the comment feed below the article I was shocked to see so many people validating the indifference of the people on the beach, watching this girl be victimized, standing by because they were afraid of being arrested. Several comments echoed the fear of being arrested: like it was not worth it to help someone so clearly defenseless, so clearly abused. I hate hearing about the level of sexual violence that runs rampant in our society, the number of men that think it's okay to take advantage of women, but it's these articles that only make me more passionate about fighting for the voiceless, the victims of sexual abuse and violence.