Posts Tagged Survivors

Sexual Violence Stupid Top-ten List

Sexual Violence Stupid Top-ten List

I compiled a top-ten list of myths, stupid things and stupid questions people said to me after my disclosure. This will give you an example of why the public needs to be educated and why awareness urgently still needs to happen.

1. Were they native? Uh, no—they were not even human and what difference would that make.

2. At least they did not take anything. That is right, I lost my dignity, my spirit and my sense of the future but at least they did not take anything “valuable”.

3. Did it hurt? Why don’t you try having sex with sandpaper between your legs and then ask me that question.

4. You do not look any different… Um, am I supposed to get a tattoo proclaiming me a victim? There are scars on my soul that are indelible.

5. Why would you believe them when they threatened you if you contacted police? Yeah, these were “people” I should trust. They knew where I worked and had only forced horrible depravities upon me…no reason I would think they were capable of anything bad. Nonetheless, I did eventually report to the police. My police file remains open. Never apprehended my assailants are still unknown and unpunished.

6. What were you wearing; don’t you think that contributed to your attack? Certainly. It was after all almost dusk and the drab trench coat that I was wearing did show off my cast— sexy.

7. What did you do to provoke the attack? Excuse me? I was leaving work, had a cast on my leg and was an easy target that is it. I was not special; I was simply there and was vulnerable.

8. Well at least “that” will never happen to you again. Being assaulted once in no way protects me going into the future. Indeed 60% of survivors are victimized again and yet another statistic I lay claim to.

9. Am I sure I did not consent. Good one, after almost 16 (at that time *now 26+) years of monogamous marriage one night as I was leaving work I saw some rough looking men and thought—nope— that one does not even warrant a response.

10. You have to take responsibility. For what??? Being female—sexual assault happens to men as well. My age? Babies and senior citizens are targets too. My appearance. Yeah, my drab trench coat and that grey cast was sooo much of a turn on and nuns who are assaulted—damn their sexy habits.

Perpetrators are the only ones who must take responsibility. They choose to assault. It was late at night and you were alone. It was just turning dark on an early fall evening and I was simply leaving work. I did not deserve what happened to me—no survivors do.

Why do people still ask (accuse) a survivor of sexual violence what they did to deserve the crime but not a victim of a mugging?

End the silence on sexual violence — end sexual violence.

By Debra Ward

Professional Writer and Proud Survivor


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I am awestruck

I am awestruck

Every day I am awestruck by people!

Not by celebrities though. Because while I do think many “stars” are worthy of praise or awe and I acknowledge them for that I am not in wonder of their status or recognition. The people who strike me with awe are the so-called ordinary people who do extra-ordinary things, who battle battles no one should have to. Yet daily they fight with courage and conviction.

The other day I saw a former colleague and I couldn’t wait to hurry over to get a hug and catch up with her. She doesn’t have a high profile job but what she has overcome makes me so proud to call her a friend and a colleague.  She is one of those people who lost everything including her homeland and family connections to come to Canada for better opportunities, wow. I remember how proud I felt when she invited me to her Canadian Citizenship ceremony. That there are people who risk everything to come to Canada makes me love and appreciate my country of birth even more. This friend also kicked breast cancer and yet is this cheery always positive person.

And then I have a long-time friend (I hate the term old!), a former colleague who never fails to impress me with how she battles on despite circumstances that have too often been stacked against her. The loss of both parents, a sibling and yet she has always been there for me and her friends whenever needed. This friend has never been a bystander, not in life and never with me. When things are wrong she calls it and does everything she can possibly do to right the wrong. She is not the type to blow smoke as she tells it like it is and I love her forthrightness and absolute honesty. She is someone I am awestruck and grateful to have in my life.

I have another long time friend who is single, in her late forties, yet she bought a condo on her own last year. She does not have a well paying job so buying the condo was a huge stretch and took a lot of sacrifices for her. So proud she took that enormous step to home ownership and I told her so.

I have a friend who recently returned to work after a long absence. He has conquered so much, while always being a willing ear and quick to pitch in to help. Proud of him as I know a bit of what he has fought and I never doubted that he ultimately would be a victor!

I have a newish friend, someone I met “online” and then went on to meet in person. She is pure class. She makes me laugh, has listened to me while I have ranted and cried with me as I have grieved. That she has bothered to care to get to know the real me, foibles and all astonishes me. She is a survivor in all connotations of the term. It is an honour to know this very wonderful and special lady.

I have friends who as parents protect their children with such fierce ferocity that impresses me always. And the parents who do all they can to ensure their children are loved and grow up to be great people; leading by their great example. Wow doesn’t cover it.

Couples who remember that they were couples first and work at maintaining that relationship leave me in awe as well. It is hard to do but so worth it!

I am also struck by couples who realize they are still individuals and have interests and appropriate relationships outside of the “couple-dome”. This allows them to grow as people!

People who know how to set boundaries but are still fun and spirited I love and I am fortunate to have many friends and my husband in this category.

I am constantly awed by the wonderful man I married. Loyal and honest he has been there always, through the good and through the worst of times. Not because he has to because of our marriage vows but because that is who he is, that is the kind of man he is. With him I learned true commitment, trust and love. No words are adequate.

Then there are the men and women who have been betrayed by their partners and yet find ways to learn to trust and love again. Battered and with scars but with conviction that if there is still love there is still hope. Not easy and not possible all the time but to those who have done the hard work to try I am in awe of you. You are so strong and that you refuse to give up on yourself first and foremost is an awesome feat. That you put the hurt and distrust aside to try to rebuild your relationships takes indescribable bravery.

The partners who betray those they love I do applaud your courage to come clean and make amends. It cannot be easy to know you are going to hurt someone with the truth but that you finally tell the truth so that the duplicity of lies does not compound the unfaithfulness is something to be proud of and is the only way to slowly earn trust back.

(My thoughts of those women who blatantly flirt or speak inappropriately with or tempt men who are taken and the men who are “too friendly and handsy” with married women is striking too but it is not in awe. Yuck, sleazy. But this is another post)

Survivors leave me awestruck. Survivors of many abuses, betrayals, disabilities or illness that could have made them quit trying or become bitter, permanently angry or become “victims” and yet did not. These friends and people I am most proud of!

My dear friends if you see yourselves in here it is because you are. Thank you to the awesome stars in my life for making me laugh, hope and love. I adore and appreciate you all more than I could ever express.

I hope you always dance!

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