I Matter

Dear Society,

I Matter. This is not a fact that comes easy to me. This is a statement I struggle with, sometimes daily and sometimes hourly. The reason I struggle with this is because I have been raped. I know exactly how this standford lady is feeling. And I am completely disguted with our society’s double standards on how to treat women. And trust me the issue of me mattering is bigger than Brock Turner. But I will start there.

To Brock Turner,
I don’t care if you can swim. I don’t care what your GPA is. I don’t care about your hopes and dreams. You made a choice that showed your character. You came upon a helpless woman. You could have gotten help. Instead you raped her. That’s all I need to know. When you thought no one was looking and that you wouldn’t get caught you decided to shred that woman’s sense of self and self worth. You did that. You made that choice. You showed the world how you view women. You are not the victim. You are the rapist.

To the Judge,
Would you still have given that sentence if it was your daughter? That seems like a logical question to ask. It isn’t. It doesn’t matter if she is your daughter or not. She matters. She is the one you show mercy to. She is the one you protect. She is the one you are supposed to go to bat for. She is the victim. You became a judge probably to help people. Guess what, you failed. You failed her. You failed me. You just showed society how much you value a woman’s life. You are now part of the problem.

To Brock’s father,
I get that he is your son, and that you love him. But he raped a girl. Whether it went on for 20 minutes or 20 hours or 20 days. Rape is rape. You are his father, so be his father and show him how unacceptable this is. You are supposed to defend her, even against your son. She matters. Your son broke her. As his father you should be modeling for him the gravity of what he’s done. You don’t excuse it. You don’t diminish her life because it was your son who happens to be a rapist. You are part of the problem.

To the friends of Brock,
I read that you said not all men who rape are rapists. You are wrong. Every person who rapes another no matter if it was planned or improvised is by the very definition a rapist. It wasn’t just a mistake. He forever altered her life. Trust me, I know. You don’t defend him, you condemn his actions and then be there for him if you can in getting him help. But you never ever excuse what he did. She matters. I Matter. You are part of the problem.

To the media,
I am disguted. ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS… AND COUNTLESS NEWSPAPERS AND WEBSITES. You bunch of hypocrites. You claim to care about women and abuse, even going so far as putting up those “No More” adds and the like. But what do you do? You put up a pretty picture of a rapist. This is just the latest atrocity. You treat people who have been kidnapped and abused as dollar signs. You use people like me to make you money. You throw our torment and pain out there like beads at Marti grade. You rape us again and again. You use us for profit, turning our worst moment into dollars. You whore out our pain. And I never signed up to be your prostitute, and neither did she. You give dignity to the ones who take away ours. You are part of the problem.

To the “entertainment” industry,
I am appalled. From actors to professional sports to writers to artists… You all spout out how we need to stop the abuse and rape but it is just lip service. The NFL calls convicted abusers “leaders”. Funny I thought a leader showed character. But hey if you can catch a ball as well as you bruise a woman’s face, who cares? It’s money in your pocket. Guess what, my flesh, her flesh, isn’t for sale. The whole Hollywood scene has turned rape into entertainment, putting it in shows to scandalize the audience. What happened to me didn’t come with shock value. And don’t tell me you just want to bring up the hard topics, because if that were true you would actually then show how it affects those who are abused. We don’t get over it in 30 minutes. It doesn’t go away in a week. You want to honor what happened to me, then show what my life is like after the rape. Don’t just plaster nudity and rough sex up in some half assed attempt to say you want to be real. The truth is you want ratings. And my suffering gives you that in droves while also giving you a chance to show off some breasts and butts.

Then there is the video games. When did my nightmare become worth 1000 points or more? How can you say you respect women when you digitally have little kids rape us for a better car? How can you stand there and say what Brock Turner did is wrong and then go write code so millions of people can go do the same thing?

You see, I don’t matter to you. Neither does she. But we should. You are a major part of the problem.

To the consumers,
How many of you people that are freaking out over Brock Turner gossiped about Sansa Stark getting raped? How many of you call that show entertaining? Do you go play grand theft auto right after, or maybe before, you sign the petition to get the judge fired? How many of you men out there watch rape fantasy porn or read rape fantasy magazines and comics? How many of you mothers bought those games for your kids?

So how can you stand there and cry foul against his father and friends in one breath and then go buy the jersey of a convicted abuser on the next website? You call down for hellfire on their heads, what about yours? What about mine?

The problem isn’t just Brock or his father or the judge. It is all of us. Either rape is appalling or it is entertaining. We all are to blame. It has to stop. But I know it won’t. I know that more video games will be made with a point system to how much you can abuse a woman. I know that more shows will depict women being raped so more people tune in to be horrified as they stuff their faces with popcorn. It’s disgusting.

Look in the mirror. Look at what you watch or play or read or say. No wonder I struggle with the idea that I Matter. Our society tells me that I come with a cost. But I matter. She matters. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say rape is unacceptable and then pay to watch it or virtually do it.

This is not okay. And the truth is this whole Brock thing will be all the talk for another week at most before a new scandal tantalizes you. But she is still hurting. I am still struggling. You get to move on and forget. We don’t. You get to go viral over game of thrones and I get to have nightmares because I didn’t expect that scene. So if you want to make a difference then change, but don’t give us lip service like you’ve got my back before you flip the page in your romance novel to read how a man forces himself on a woman.

I am a Christian and I have PTSD

I am a Christian. Jesus became my Lord and Savior back in 2008. I love the LORD. He has blessed my life in more ways than I can count. I have a deeply personal, and ever growing relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. My faith is far stronger and more complete than it has ever been. I know that it will grow stronger and fuller still every day. I trust the LORD with my life, my heart, and all the darkest parts of me. I do not doubt His love for me. I find peace and security in the knowledge that I am His beloved daughter. I know with all my soul that Jesus died for all my sins, and when I die I get to spend eternity with my triune God.

 And I have PTSD.

What that means is that I cannot go anywhere by myself currently. I have to have someone go with me to the store, to the doctor, and even to Church. I have to take medication to control my night terrors. I am unable to travel with my husband to visit his family because I cannot handle an airport much less a plane. When I meet you for the first time, no matter the amount of time I spend with you, when you walk away I will not remember what you look like. It takes me a long time to remember people’s faces, and sometimes I never do. I will recognize you when I see you, but if you are not in my sight I couldn’t describe you. Sometimes a smell, a sound, a person can trigger me into hallucinating my abuse right then and there. I can’t look at tightie whities, not even on the TV. There are many other ways I can tell you how this affects my life, but I think you get the idea.

So why am I telling you this? Jesus says that His strength is shown through my weakness. This is part of my testimony. As I have been walking through this disorder with the Lord I have come to a very frustrating, and ultimately painful, realization …many well meaning Christians believe these two facts cannot coexist in my life. I have been told if only I had more faith, or if my relationship with Jesus were stronger, or that if I work hard enough I can overcome/defeat/move past/beat my PTSD. Essentially that somehow my PTSD is a sign that my relationship with the LORD is somehow deficient. Or worse yet some are convinced that the LORD has promised to ‘fix’ my PTSD while I am alive here on earth. And since I am not ‘fixed’ I am somehow not enough of ‘fill in the blank’ (trusting, loving, faithful, believing, devoted, etc.).

I have no doubt that other Christians who suffer from depression, bipolar-ism, or even some physical ailment are treated the same way. I know that when I talk about my PTSD some people are uncomfortable. I am told I shouldn’t talk about it, or that I just need to forget it. Like somehow my suffering should be kept a secret, or very private at the very least. Some people actually believe that if you become a Christian your life will be perfectly fixed and blessed and filled with rainbows. They completely over look the fact that they worship a man who was brutally flogged and publicly murdered.

These last two years have been incredibly hard for me. For a while I bought into the belief that if I were somehow just more that the LORD would take away my PTSD. That my PTSD was a testament of how I was failing at being a good, strong Christian woman. I should be ashamed of having this disorder. I should I hide it away, not talk about, and generally act as if it weren’t there. Who is that helping though? It certainly wasn’t helping me.

I get that it can make people uncomfortable, and what God has been showing me is that this is really how the Church is failing those who are suffering. God calls us to weep with those who weep, mourn with those who mourn. As Christians we shouldn’t shy away from those who are suffering, but we should get down into the pit with those people and help carry them through it. The Bible repeatedly tells us to gather together, to live life, and help those around us. But how many people are suffering alone, in silence, because their suffering makes us uncomfortable?

And I am done. I am done feeling embarrassed. I am done feeling ashamed. I am done keeping silent. My silence won’t reach into the lives of other people who are suffering from PTSD to help them. My silence will not lead other people to Jesus.

My faith isn’t a cure for PTSD. A relationship with Jesus is not some magical genie wishing star of goodness that will make life painless. What my faith does give me is comfort. I do not have to go through this alone. My faith gives me peace in knowing that my mess cannot affect my position in God’s family. My faith frees me of being responsible for my salvation. My redemption does not hinge on my abilities or my deficiencies. My faith means that I can curl up into a ball and cry, knowing that Lord catches each tear and holds me until I am done. My faith gives me a deeper and untouchable joy …even in my darkest moments …because I know I am loved. I know that one day it will be made perfect when I see my Savior face to face.

And I am finally becoming okay with that. So, yes, I am a Christian and I have PTSD. I struggle with simple day to day tasks, but God still loves me. I am no longer looking and praying for a way to fix this or make it go away. Instead I am praying for the strength to talk about the struggle, to reach the lives of those who do not yet believe. My PTSD does make me weak, it makes me fragile. But God is strong. When I am falling apart His light and love shines through all the cracked places. And if non-believers never see the cracks or the rubble of my life, they will also never see the love and light of Christ shining through.