Dad in a Box

Have a dad? Don’t know your dad? Hate your dad? Unsure of your dad? Lost your dad? Dad left? Stepfather? Abusive, alcoholic, addiction, dead beat, absent… you get my drift. The scenarios tragically can go on and on.

So if you’re like me and today is complicated: this is for you.. Maybe you had to stay away from Social Media and friends on Sunday because it’s a little too much. I get that; we are in the boat with chocolate in one hand and tissues in the other.

I genuinely at times try so hard to put my relationship with my father in a box tucked far away not to be touched. Life is complicated and boundaries are often broken I find my self having to recollect all the muck trying to put it back in the box.

  • Post on Instagram about your amazing dad … – you’ll find me picking up pieces trying to put them in the box while wiping tears.
  • Touching moment between father and daughter on TV, Movie, Commercial – you’ll find me picking up pieces stuffing them in the box and trying to put bricks on top.
  • A friend describing her father walking her down the aisle- looks like my whole box is dumped out.. got to get a bigger box.. I’ll most likely need

The reality of my father’s actions and absence doesn’t get boxed up and put in a corner. The reality and hurt that comes from abuse, conditional love and anger rears its ugly head in moments meant for celebrations and beauty it triggers anxiety, jealously and hurt that years after I was allowed to leave that relationship I am still heavily affected by our relationship.

Fathers that show up and play the part are worthy of being celebrated but gosh does it hurt and remind us of our broken fathers that didn’t show up or who did and decimated it. It brings back the scars you tried to cover with clothes and the bruises you hid with cover girl. It brings you back to the tears silently running down your face after water thrown at you at dinner. It brings back the screaming until 4 am, it brings you back to being told you weren’t what He wanted, you were to blame for finances. Whatever he did or didn’t do Father’s Day tends to bring it all back up in a messy manner.

So to you my fellow fatherless children….

I am so sorry that collective women and girls and boys and men around the world endure father’s day with no one to celebrate or with someone to avoid thinking about. I am so sorry we have to avoid smells, meals, places etc in order to live mentally healthy because those things have become triggers of the most painful vulnerable moments in our lives created by a person who was supposed to protect, care and honor our lives but chose or didn’t choose too.

If you lost an amazing father earlier than expected I am so sorry this year among other years you will feel the loss that cannot be replaced.

Today we hold hands and cry on shoulders and give ourselves the grace to mourn the relationship we desire or wish we had with our fathers. May we take our time in figuring and processing our feelings of anger, bitterness, jealousy, and even forgiveness.

17 years of abuse when it comes to forgivness its like a 1 million piece puzzle. Each memory of hurt, abandonment and abuse takes forgiveness and slowly I can put together a finshed section of a puzzle of hurt that has been forgiven. A process filled with time and patience. Forgiveness a lot like Rome was not built in a day.

So today in a sea of reminders of what we lost or never had may God be close and comforting and healing our hearts. May friends and family be gentle and words filled with thought and grace before spoken over you. May you find a space to grieve and know despite what journey you are on that you are loved, wanted and beautiful just the way you are by our Heavenly Father. May you find peace and boundaries for health and above all else may you know you are not alone.

180 Days

If you go on social media, I am sure you have seen the outcome of the Rape by a Stanford Swimmer.

“6 months” is what it read and then a few days later something else  read ” He shouldn’t go to jail, it will affect him too much for 20 mins of action”

and that my friends is exactly why my instinct says to run and hide but my reality check says thats the last thing we should do.

If you didn’t know you can find the information here.

Here’s the reality.. A few of ” 50 Facts about Rape” ( link Below

  1. Low estimate of the number of women , according to the Department of Justice, raped every year: 300,000
  2. High estimate of the number of women raped, according to the CDC: 1.3 million
  3. Percentage of rapes not reported: 54 percent
  4. A woman’s chance of being raped in the U.S.: 1 in 5
  5. Chances that a raped woman conceives compared to one engaging in consensual sex: at least two times as likely
  6. Number of women in the US impregnated against their will each year in the U.S. as a result of rape: 32,000
  7. Number of states in which rapists can sue for custody and visitation: 31
  8. Chances that a woman’s body “shuts that whole thing down“: 0 in 3.2 billion
  9. Rank of U.S. in the world for rape: 13th
  10. A woman’s chance of being raped in college: 1 in 4 or 5
  11. Chances that a Native American woman in the U.S. will be raped: 1 in 3
  12. Percentage of women in Alaska who have suffered sexual assault: 37 percent
  13. Number of rape kits untested by the Houston police force: 6,000-7,000 (Texas ranked second in nation for “forcible rape”)
  14. Quote in the New York Times regarding the rape: “They said she dressed older than her age.”
  15. Age of woman raped in Central Park in September, 2012: 73
  16. Number of rape kits left untested in Detroit, listed by Forbes as one of two the most dangerous places for woman to live in the US: 11,303
  17. U.S. state in which, in September 2012, mentally disabled rape victim was required to provide evidence of her “kicking, biting, scratching” in objection to her rape: Connecticut
  18. Percentage of sexual assault and rape victims under the age of 12: 15 percen
  19. Percentage of rapists who are never incarcerated: 97 perent
  20. Percentage of rapes that college students think are false claims: 50 percent
  21. Percentage of rapes that studies find are false claims: 2-8 percent
  22. Number of rapes reported in the military last year: 16,500
  23. Pentagon’s estimated percentage of military assuaults not reported: 80-90 percent
  24. Percentage of military rape victims who were gang raped/raped more than once: 14%/20%
  25. Percentage of military victims who get an “involuntarily” discharge comparedto percentage of charged and accused who are discharged with honor: 90 percent involuntary to 80 percent with honor
  26. Chances an incarcerated person is raped in the U.S.: 1 in 10
  27. Increase in chance that LGTB prisoner is raped: 15x greater chance
  28. Number of men raped that could be counted as legally raped before the FBI changed its definition in December of 2011: 0
  29. Number of rapes noted in commonly used World War II statistics: 0
  30. Number of rapes of WWII concentration camp inmates: Untallied millions
  31. Number of women raped in 1990s Bosnian conflict: 60,000+
  32. Number of women raped per hour in Congo during war: 48
  33. Country where 12 year old was forced to participate in the rape of his mother:U.S.
  34. Country where women are imprisoned for being raped: Afghanistan
  35. Worldwide number of “child brides” under the age of 18 forced to marry every day: 25,000
  36. Ages of girls forced to marry a 59-year-old at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministry in Arkansas: 8, 14, 15
  37. Estimated number of people, primarily children, sexually abused by priests in the U.S. versus the number of senior Catholic officials found guilty of sexual abuse related crimes in the U.S.: 10,667 to 1
  38. Chances that a woman in the U.S. is raped versus gets breast cancer: 2 to 1
  39. Percentage of victims of rape who report the use of a weapon: 11 percent

Prison sentences for four men found guilty of participating in gang rapes of two teenage girls in France over two years: one year, six months, suspended sentence
( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/50-facts-rape_b_2019338.html)

This is the world we live in. This is the world my daughters will grow up in, the world that  countless amount of times told women who have been sexually assaulted it’s your fault, you could have prevented it, you deserve it , it’s just sex.  This is the world that lets drug possession charges receive 20 years while a rape gets 6 months. ( I won’t even begin to break down the White Male Privilege)

The numbers are scary but the fact that behind the numbers are people who serve “6 months for convicted rape” is twice as scary.. because in 180 days that rapist will be walking free.

While I live 5,000 miles away now.. the problem doesn’t change.  Rape in Ghana is laughed at even in higher up admin meetings at hospitals. Rape isn’t considered a criminal act if done with a person who you had a relationship.

Rape Culture is not something Women have the luxury of running away from because it creeps in your head every time a man is overly nice and asks to many questions, or every time you drink a little too much and someone is trying to chat you up, or everyday you walk down the street at night alone, or when your car breaks down on the end of the road, or when your not in the mood but you are in a relationship with someone whose forceful and angry. It’s everytime someone steps over personal boundaries, touching you in a way you’ve explicitly told not to. I don’t get to hide, my daughters don’t get hide and I am asking you not to too. 

Here’s the thing.. sexual assault victims are more likely to be blamed than believed. More likely to be punished ( emotionally, physically, socially) than the criminal who assaulted  them . What a backwards result that is.. because if a man penetrated a woman with a knife he would be punished,  but with a penis… we stare in disbelief as  if we can’t imagine it being a possibility. We victim blame and shame and wash our hands clean moving on to the next stupid thing American Media has for us on the news.

I won’t pretend I am not a fault, I’ve perpetuated the cycle before. While maybe not verbally acknowledging my victim blaming but in my head i’ve heard my word.  As of a few years ago I have deep regret for not doing more for the  woman around me for standing alongside in belief and signing petitions, praying, and standing in solidarity.

While I read The Rapist’s fathers words I can relate to wanting whats easier or more comfortable for your child. To have a love that is unconditional even when they have committed a horrible traumatizing crime. I get it.. my love of my children can’t be changed by their behavior. What I also know without a doubt  is that when your child chooses those horrible decisions you can love them and while also accepting choices have consequences and horrible decisions get ( in this case should ) get “horrible consequences”.  You can love your child while they sit in jail, No one said you can’t. When your child decides to violate another human being, chopping it up to “20 mins of action” is deplorable and it doesn’t make the parent you should be for your child. In fact it perpetuates rape culture, and privilege and victim blaming all in a very short statement.

So church lets stand with our woman and fight for their voices to be heard, lets sign petition that reject privilege. Let us offer love, support and belief to those fighting for their lives post assault. Let us prevent through education, mental health, future assaults and let us hold accountable those who commit the crime rather than those who have fallen victim.

So woman let us teach our daughters that no matter what you do, say, dress, act, etc. Rape is not your fault. We didn’t ask for it and no matter the amount of alcohol unwanted touchy is not permitted. Alcohol is not consent. Let us teach our daughters that when assault happens we will listen and fight with them.

Men please stop making jokes about rape. It’s not funny. If you hear and see assault report it.. stand with the victims, fight with the victims and let us find a safe place within our brotherhood to talk about consent and sexual assault. Fathers teach your sons to respect and honor women let them learn from the way you treat your wives and daughters. Speak truth and respect when talking about sex.

If you would like more information on sexual assault here are a few resources below:

Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network

Bureau Of Justice 

Department of Justice – Rape + Women of Color 

Who Are The Victims 

Sexual Assault Response Service

Let us do better and fight for Justice to be served.