Blaming the Wrong People

TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT

Think about puppies and kittens. Don’t read past this point if you might be triggered by the topic.

This is a bunch of random words I’m putting here so this will be what shows up in the previews of the post, rather than the previews showing the stuff some people might not want to read.

I think this should be enough randomness for the previews. On with the actual post…

I saw something on Facebook recently about an item of clothing for women. An item designed specifically so it would be more difficult for a rapist to remove.

This is something that’s bugged me for a long time. When someone is sexually assaulted, it is not their fault in any way, and yet our society teaches that it is. That it’s especially the fault of any woman who experiences an assault—and a frighteningly high percentage of women do.

We aren’t taught “don’t commit sexual assault.” We, women particularly, are taught “don’t get assaulted. Don’t go out alone after dark. Don’t wear shoes you can’t run in. Don’t wear skirts that are too short or shirts that are too low-cut. Don’t drink. Don’t go anywhere with someone you’ve just met, even if they seem like a nice person.”

Victim-blaming, to put it bluntly, sucks. Telling someone how to prevent being a victim, instead of teaching people not to victimize, is useless. We can’t control other people’s actions, and if someone is determined to commit a crime, or doesn’t even realize what they’re doing *is* a crime, no amount of modest clothing or only going out in daylight is going to change things.

“Here. Here’s a pair of pants you can wear that will make it harder for someone to rape you” is complete crap. It’s an unfortunately necessary bit of complete crap, but that doesn’t make it any less crap. It’s still putting the burden on the potential victim to prevent the potential criminal from being a criminal.

This is a rant, because the solution is so global there’s no way to implement it unless everyone is on board. And that solution is to recognize that someone who is sexually assaulted is NEVER complicit in their assault. Is NEVER to blame. That solution is to offer the same legal recourse and the same support to assault survivors that we offer to someone whose home was robbed, or someone whose car was stolen, or someone who got beaten up outside a bar because they looked at someone else wrong.

But some people will never be on board with that, because for whatever reason, some people will always blame the victim for being victimized, rather than the criminal for committing a crime.

And that sucks. That’s all I can say. It’s wrong, and it sucks.

 

 

Agree to Disagree

On social media, people post a lot of different things. Sometimes things we agree with; sometimes things we don’t.

When it’s a site like Facebook, where in theory we’re “friends” with the people whose posts we see, reading something we strongly disagree with can lead to the desire to correct their misperception. After all, they’re our friend, right? We want them to know right from wrong.

But to them, maybe what they’ve posted isn’t wrong. We don’t all agree on everything. If everybody thought the same way, the world would be a rather boring place.

It’s unlikely that you’re going to change someone’s mind by telling them they’re wrong. Unless it’s something factual, and you have the information to prove they’re incorrect, you’re dealing with a difference in opinions and beliefs. Those are neither right nor wrong in a general sense, only right or wrong for each individual. Telling a friend their opinion or belief system is wrong is more likely to change their mind about being friends with you than about the topic.

If it’s a case where there’s a huge discrepancy between your opinion and theirs, it might be a sign that the friendship really isn’t viable. Back in 2015, when the US legalized same-sex marriage, I posted things on Facebook cheering for the change in law. A friend of mine private messaged me to berate me for posting pro-LGBT+ things on my own Facebook wall, and made it clear that they strongly disapproved of any such thing and would “have a problem” with me if I shared anything like that with them in the future. I ended what was, at the time, a 29-year friendship because I refuse to have intolerance and hatred in my life, particularly in a venue where my offspring might see it.

But if it’s a milder thing, is it worth risking the friendship just to try to convince them you’re right? Of course it’s okay to express your opinion even if it disagrees with theirs, but unless you feel so strongly about the issue that you’d rather lose the friend than the argument, it might be best to agree to disagree.

Time Management

Time management is not the easiest thing in the world. At least not for me. One of my most commonly spoken phrases is “I don’t have time for that.”

It isn’t that the time doesn’t exist. It’s more that time is a finite thing, and I have a lot to do in the course of a day. Some tasks take me longer than I think they will. Others are things like Facebook, where I figure I’ll spend ten or fifteen minutes and then get sidetracked, and next thing I know it’s been half an hour.

Although to be honest, Facebook is one of the things I often say I don’t have time for. It isn’t easy for me to think of things to say on social media, but being visible on social media and interacting is part of being an author. Except I don’t interact much, because I either can’t think of anything to say or I think I don’t have time. See how that turns into a cycle?

Lately I’ve been working really hard on changing some of that. I’m still not great about social media, but I am trying to be more mindful of how much time I spend on tasks. It’s more important than ever, since I now have a part-time job in addition to writing, plus I’m doing some studies and trying to keep myself occupied. I’m also trying to make sure I spend time in the evenings relaxing with a book and/or TV show instead of being on the computer until bedtime. (It’s probably a good thing I don’t have my laptop computer with me most of the time, or I would be relaxing on the couch with the computer…)

I have improved a little. I’m actually getting most things done during the day at this point. Still working on the social media, but hopefully I’ll get there.

Meanwhile, I have to end this post to make sure I have time to write other things…

Cleaning…

For the past month, I’ve been doing a LOT of cleaning around my house. We’ve lived here for four and a half years, and in that time, we’ve accumulated way too many things. Now that both of my offspring are no longer living here, it was time to get rid of some things and rearrange some others.

It’s been a process. I’ve found trash, which I threw away… over a dozen bags of it. I’ve found books, clothes, toys, and, once I’ve moved all of those things, I’ve found floors! Who knew?

It isn’t that I’m happy to have my offspring out of the house. I’m not. I miss them, and as I posted before, sometimes it’s far too quiet around here. On the other hand, it’s nice to be able to walk through the living room without walking into something or tripping over something, and I’ve turned one of the now-vacant bedrooms into a retreat room for myself, or at least I’m in the process of doing so.

We also had some broken or damaged furniture hauled away, which gives us more space here. And I donated all of my husband’s and my hardcover and paperback books, because at this point he only reads online or on Kindle, and I have a Kindle so can easily read on that when I make time to read. Or I borrow one of my kid’s books, since her books are still living here for a while.

So it’s still kind of weird looking around and not seeing the offspring or some of their stuff, but at the same time, it’s nice to have a cleaner house.

It’s Quiet… Too Quiet

It’s been a bit over a month since my younger daughter left for college. It’s been two weeks since the older offspring moved out of the house.

It’s quiet around here…

With both of them gone, the only humans here are my husband and me, and he works 50-60 hours a week. Sometimes he and I don’t actually see each other awake for two or three days at a stretch. I have cats, and some days they’re the only living creatures I interact with at all.

One would think that having quiet here would give me a chance to get more work done, but it hasn’t so far. I’m not used to quiet. I’m used to having to work around people saying “Mom, Mom, Mom,” or loud TV shows, or music blaring from two or three different sources. Sometimes those things are distracting, but to some extent I can usually tune them out because I’ve had over twenty years of getting used to working with those distractions.

Silence, though… silence is sometimes a lot more distracting. The bracing myself at 3:30pm for younger child to come home from school, and then remembering she isn’t going to, is distracting. The trying to figure out if older offspring is in their room or out with friends, and then remembering they’re in another state living someplace else, is distracting.

Probably over time I’ll get used to this. Maybe.

Standing Up

I don’t mean physically standing. I’m just not very good at coming up with blog post titles that make sense. Especially when I’m still on my first cup of coffee.

I’m talking about standing up for yourself. For others. For what you believe in.

That isn’t always easy to do. You might be surrounded by people who believe differently from you, and it’s hard to be the only voice on your side of the issue. There might be that one person in your school or workplace or social group that no one else seems to like, and even though you’d like to get to know them, you’re afraid you’d lose your other friends if you tried.

Some reading this might now be thinking “Workplace?” Yeah. Workplace. Aside from the fact that a lot of teens have jobs where the social atmosphere might not be a whole lot different from school, bullying, shunning, excluding, etc. doesn’t end when someone reaches adulthood. It happens at work; it seems to happen a lot in social groups. Some of the worst bullies I’ve known in my life are a group of women in their 40s-60s.

When you’re faced with things like “Don’t talk to them or no one else will like you,” or you know that everyone around you has the same beliefs about an issue and you disagree with them, or you’re the “them” other people are being told not to talk to… It isn’t easy. You feel like you’re alone, or you’re afraid you will be alone if you don’t go along with the crowd.

Here’s the thing. Even if it’s kind of scary, sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe, or for yourself, or for someone else who might not be able to stand up for themselves. One voice might seem like a whisper in the middle of a concert crowd, but it can still make a difference to those who hear it. And it might have an ongoing effect.

Try. If you can’t stand up, that’s okay… but try.

Back to School

In a lot of places, at least in the US, school has already started for the fall. Those who haven’t started yet will within the next week or two.

School Desks

For me, this year is kind of odd. My older offspring started kindergarten in fall 2000. Since then, every year in late August or early September, I’ve seen one or both of my kids off to their first day of school. And I’ve waited at home for them to come back and tell me how that first day went–or not, since when they were teens they didn’t always tell me anything.

But my younger offspring graduated in June and is leaving for college this week. The older one graduated in 2013, and is moving out of my home sometime in September.

I have no one going off to their first day of school, at least not the way it’s been for the past 16 years. No bus stop to walk to or bus stopping in front of my house. No one walking out the door with backpack and books, and coming home to tell me about their first day and all the things on the supply lists their teachers handed out.

I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. It’s a huge change for my offspring, but for me as well.

We’ll see how it goes.

Paperwork…

Sometimes it really worries me how many forms for how many different things need to be filled out. I feel like I’m buried under stacks and stacks of paperwork…

Piles of Paper 3

In the past few months, between changes in health insurance, my younger offspring heading to college, and me adding a job to the already-too-long list of things I do in a day, I’ve done enough paperwork to wallpaper an entire house, I think. And naturally it’s all papers. Not online. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done any online forms in addition to the paper ones; I’m just not counting the online ones because my head might explode.

This is mostly just a grumbly vent about the sheer amount of information one has to write and provide in order to do much of anything in our society nowadays. To me, it’s a wee bit excessive and ridiculous. Necessary, yes, but still.

And now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I have more forms to fill out…

Forgetting Things

One of the most unfortunate side effects of my health issues is that sometimes I just plain forget things. I forget something I need to do, or something someone else said to me, or sometimes what day of the week it is.

It isn’t exactly humorous, though I try to make jokes about it. Sometimes, to be honest, it’s outright scary. Especially if someone insists they told me something and not only do I not remember them telling me that specific thing, I don’t remember anything about the alleged conversation whatsoever. Not even that it occurred.

I’ve even had the experience more than once of someone greeting me and telling me they’re a former classmate, coworker, or neighbor of mine…and I recognize neither their face nor their name. They’re completely nonexistent in my memory banks.

There are a few components to the problem, so it isn’t easily remedied. Because of trauma in my past, I’ve blocked out large chunks of my life between birth (or at least as far back as most people would reasonably be expected to recall) and age 36. Some of the missing classmates, etc., are probably somewhere in those chunks, but I no longer have–or want–access to those memories. There’s a reason I blocked them.

The things like forgetting something someone has told me recently, or not remembering to do tasks I’m supposed to do, has a more benign cause, though it’s still a problem. I have migraines and fibromyalgia, both of which are neurological issues that can affect memory. Unfortunately, that means that if I don’t write things down, it’s a crapshoot as to whether I’ll actually remember them. And even if I do write something down, I sometimes still forget; I just realized, for example, that I have a meeting to go to this coming week on the same evening I’d made plans with a friend. I had the meeting time written on my calendar for that date. I was looking at the calendar while discussing the plans with my friend. And yet it still somehow didn’t get through until just now that I was scheduling two things for the same time and date.

It can be frustrating for my family as well. My kids sometimes get irritated if they’ve told me something they needed me to do and I don’t remember being told, or if I think I’ve told them something but didn’t actually remember to tell them. Fortunately, they usually understand that it isn’t something I can help, and I have learned to be even more careful about writing things down.

There are ways to work around memory issues, but people who have trouble remembering things can also use patience from those around them. Not being blamed for something beyond one’s control makes it a lot easier to deal with.