My Sexual Assault Survivor Spidey Senses Are Tingling Like Crazy: What The GOP Is Doing To America Is Exactly Like A Sexual Assault

No one really “recovers” from being sexually assaulted. You can live with it, of course. You can make a kind of uneasy peace with it. But you can never accept that it happened to you.

The disease that comes with being sexually assaulted is believing that you deserved it. That’s what keeps you silent. In my case, I kept it so silent that I almost forgot WHY I had come to believe later in life that every bad thing that happened to me was my fault. I still believed then that being sexually assaulted was my fault.

It wasn’t of course. I was 14. The man who assaulted me — twice — was the religious director at the synagogue where my family belonged. The only thing I did “wrong” was not report him after he assaulted me that first time. But, like lots of victims, I began to question myself. I even questioned whether the assault had actually happened. It was surreal — a grown man rubbing his erect penis between my ass cheeks — through our clothes (he kept his underpants on, ya could say!) while supposedly coaching me on how to perform a haftorah at a Saturday morning Shabbat service. How could those two things go together?

I said nothing after it. That meant that when it happened again to me — when I again allowed myself to be in the same place at the same time as my sexual assaulter — all alone with him — it must have been my fault. Yehuda (that was his first name — he’s died since) knew that I hadn’t told anyone. He wasn’t in jail.

And since I was back — it obviously meant I’d say nothing this time too. I’d keep our secret. The moment that second sexual assault began, I was done. I was deep in both a hurt locker & a self-blame locker. Self-loathing was a natural outgrowth. Mine came within literal inches of killing me.

In getting better — and I am getting better — I have learned that it’s important to see things for what they REALLY are. Yehuda was a criminal perpetrating a crime upon 14 year old me. I was both a victim of sexual assault and a survivor. I have carried the scars with me since it happened. That’s over 45 years. I think we can safely say now that my sexual assault is part of my architecture.

I know with terrible certainty what those feelings are — when that pricking starts on the back of your neck. What I wake up feeling every day — even more so while the Senate Republicans sexually assault the Truth with abandon — is exactly what I felt the second time Yehuda stood behind me and rubbed his erect adult penis between my 14 year old ass cheeks. We are being assaulted.

Sexual assault isn’t “sex” the same way rape isn’t “sex”. It’s a crime of violence committed using sexual means. It’s a man using his penis as a weapon. It’s about power — his over you.

That is exactly what the whole Republican Party is doing to America, to The Rule Of Law, to the Constitution and to every single American who voted against this — in other words THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS.

Don’t give that Electoral College nonsense. Yeah, yeah — Trump, the GOP & Russia gamed our system perfectly. They even told us (focus on PA/WI/MI) to win. Not because they intended to win more votes there but because they knew Russia was going to cheat in every way it possibly could for their benefit.

Why don’t Republicans want the truth to be told? Puh-lease! Because the Truth is, the Republican Party has its pants down around its ankles. It’s got its dick in its hands and is actively trying to force it on us. We keep saying “NO!” and they keep ignoring that fact.

They keep forcing Republican policies they KNOW the majority doesn’t want just like a rapist forcing his flesh into an unwilling victim’s. No means no means NO.

Rapists and sexual assaulters don’t stop being rapists and sexual assaulters just because they can’t rape and sexually assault people 24/7. They have to eat & sleep. They have to pay the rent. But a rapist eating and sleeping — going to his job — is still a rapist. He dreams of rape. He craves rape. Rape is how he solves all his problems.

A rapist feels entitled to rape people.

Just like Republicans feel entitled to cheat Americans from what THEY voted for — and force THEIR awfulness where it ain’t wanted.

What Being Deeply Depressed Taught Me About Life — And Being Happy

Three days before Christmas 2016, I came within literal inches of harming myself, perhaps fatally. It was pure impulse — a flash of self-directed anger that I’d been building toward for a decade. Oh, the irony… even as I plotted to off myself, I didn’t know (or admit to myself) WHY I felt this terrible compulsion.

In my case, I’d been keeping a secret from myself: I was sexually molested — twice — when I was 14 by the religious director at the northwest Baltimore synagogue where my family belonged while I was growing up. For 45 years, I kept that bit of personal history boxed up deep in my psyche. I always knew this “thing” was there. I simply refused to acknowledge it.

More irony — it wasn’t until after I tried to kill myself — and sought treatment — that I had the emotional strength to face the fact of what happened to me. The night I came clean with myself — to myself — was the longest, loneliest night of my life. I understood myself in a way I never had before. I understood my inability to bond with other people the way everyone else seemed to bond with each other.

I understood why I felt so much emotional distance from the world. Why I felt like I lived, by myself, on an island from which I could never escape: if you didn’t know this terrible secret about me, you couldn’t possibly “know” me. Only two people knew the secret: me and Yehuda Dickstein, the man who molested me. Perversely, I kept our secret — kinda like Yehuda knew I would. He molested me twice — so, he knew for a fact that I never told anyone about the first time.

That’s the hook on which I hung myself for 45 years — the fact that I never told anyone — and then it happened again.

Like lots of victims, I blamed myself. I couldn’t rationalize the first time. That made absolutely no sense to me. It was too surreal. But the second time — I helped manufacture it by not saying anything — convincing myself even that it couldn’t possibly have happened. Then I walked in the door to the place where Yehuda awaited me — and I instantly knew: yes, it HAD happened and it was about to happen again.

We all have varying degrees of darkness inside of us. Comes with being a sentient being with intrinsic knowledge of our vulnerabilities. When healthy, we see the world with a high degree of perspective. We understand when we’re at fault and when we’re not. But depression allows our darkness to take the wheel. The more control our darkness has, the more perspective we lose until, finally, we see everything though a vary narrow, very dark lens.

Though I had lived a very good, successful life, something inside was holding me back. My inability to bond — like a time bomb — ticked away steadily. Worse, my secret was the silent foundation for feelings of incredibly low self esteem. I believed my work was good — but I had no belief in myself whatsoever. And when things started to turn — because life has its ups and downs — I took those reversals of fortune as my due.

My secret had convinced me that I absolutely deserved everything bad that happened to me. In fact, I deserved worse. My darkness’s naked cynicism became a kind of mantra.

I knew I was in trouble. I was in therapy — and that was working up to a point.

But there was great white shark swimming just below the surface. I was afraid of medication, having read and heard more horror stories than success stories. Having grown up in the medical culture (my dad was a surgeon), I understood that the most my GP probably knew about the mood stabilizers I was asking about was whatever the last pharmaceutical rep told her as he slipped a package of samples from her briefcase.

And even if the mood stabilizer might work for me, it would be six to eight weeks before we’d have an inkling of whether it would or not — and there was the distinct possibility that this mood stabilizer would make my depression worse. Add to the mix — I wanted the medication to deal with the darkness while leaving my hypomania alone (I’m bi-polar, you see). My creativity resides in my hypomania — and the thought of losing my mojo — that sounded like a shortcut right back to suicide.

I had done research and identified a drug — lamotrigine (lamictil) that could work for me. After my near run-in with mortality, I drove straight to my doctor’s office and told them what happened. Great life hack? If you want really quick medical service, tell your health care professionals you just tried to hurt yourself.

I got not only my GP (a terrific doctor) but one of the two HEAD doctors. They got from the look in my eyes that I was deadly serious. They asked me three times if perhaps to consider hospitalization. In said no — I was there to try and help myself; but, first, they needed to write me this prescription. My two GP’s whipped out their smart phones and looked up the drug. They agreed to write the script.

Then I got really lucky — even luckier than I realized in fact.

Whereas one normally has to wait six to eight weeks to see if a mood stabilizer works or not, I leveled within 36 hours. I felt the lamotrigine’s impact: I triggered.

I can’t remember why anymore but something caused the rage that had been living rent free in my gut to ignite. I felt it rising like a lava plume rushing upward toward my head and my mouth — and just as it got there — just as I would normally speed up, lose my cool and become utterly irrational — the rage vanished — poof! — like a soap bubble popping. I knew I had felt all that rage and yet… now I felt nothing. The rage was gone before it could take flight and overwhelm me.

I’ve never taken more than the 25 milligram minimum dose since. And my depression has been kept completely at arm’s length. Here’s where the extra bit of luck kicked in. My research? It wasn’t complete. Yes, there was anecdotal data that lamotrigine wouldn’t impact my hypomania. There’s way more anecdotal data (no one’s ever tested lamotrigine as a mood stabilizer; it’s used mostly as an anti-seizure medication) that says it absolutely would impact my hypomania — at higher doses.

That bit of luck aside, the first lesson my depression taught me was that until you finally stand up to your darkness, it will own you. And it knows it.

Look — standing up to your darkness is hard. There are no easy answers here. Terrible things put you where you are emotionally. The thing about standing up to your darkness though is it requires help. To beat your darkness you must reach outside yourself. Seeking therapy is essential of course. But it’s important that you actively engage with your therapy — that you see therapy (the act of seeking help) as you being pro-active. It’s not just a good thing, it’s a great thing. But the real work of getting healthy remains ahead of you.

There’s no certainty in this. We’re not talking about concrete, we’re talking about the human mind — and we don’t really understand how we even “have” thoughts. And everyone’s darkness is a little bit different — because we are all a little bit different.

The goal always is happiness. The absence of suffering and emotional pain. The goal is to be the master of your darkness and not the other way around.

I’m a “devout atheist” to my core but I know exactly what born again Christians are talking about. Being able to see my darkness in its proper perspective — understanding WHY there was that darkness to begin with and WHY it had held so much power over me — liberated me. It can’t make the memory of that event go away. It can’t undo the broken relationships and poor choices. It can’t bring back all the time I lost to being depressed and having zero faith in myself.

But I can see that period of my life for what it was. And I can see my present for what it is and, more importantly, my future for what it could be — if only I pursue it. That’s the nature of hope — of believing in a future where happiness can blossom in its fullness.

That’s the biggest lesson my depression taught me. Happiness is absolutely possible.

Pervs Of A Feather Perv Together: The Goal Of A Sexual Predator Is Destruction Of His Prey — As A Person

I feel like we’re living the opening moments of David Lynch’s movie “Blue Velvet”. We open on a vision of American bliss circa 1955 (or so) — A dad out watering the grass outside his slice of suburbia. The dad clutches his chest suddenly and collapses. As he lies on the ground, helpless, we push in on the grass beneath him. And it’s there where we find what’s really going on in this scene — it’s busy. It’s violent. And there’s rot all around. A terrific metaphor.

As a culture, we’ve been dominated by dicks from the start. That’s dicks, Dicks and “dicks”.

We’ve also been dominated by those dicks’ dicks. And therein lies our problem — a problem on its way to being mitigated by the flood of women seeking and acquiring political power. Their emergence as a viable, independent (multi-faceted) voting block has already changed America’s political landscape profoundly. While no one was looking, the emergence of America’s women as a force has already been acknowledged by America’s smarter boardrooms.

For all their right wing nuttery, The 21st Century Fox board of directors made it clear how clear they were that the 21st century world was different than the 20th century one when they fired Bill O’Reilly — their cash cow. Women had turned on O’Reilly. They were turning away from the brands that advertised on O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor”. Women had already become the chief decision-makers in most American households. Lose America’s women, you’re as good as done.

Most of the companies that advertised on O’Reilly’s show saw the handwriting. It was female — and it wasn’t coming back ever. Fox’s problem — women were on the verge of abandoning them completely. They tossed Bill O’Reilly overboard. O’Reilly, don’t forget, was/is a sexual predator who thought the workplace was a snack bar for his sexual peccadilloes.

If sexual predation was a mostly “black problem” — from the white point of view — we’d have fixed this already (racism would trump everything else). But, in our culture, sexual predation is a kind of male privilege. The more money a male has, the more predation he’s entitled to (apparently). The really, really rich predators? They can, per Donald Trump, pussy-grab at will.

Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein are “pervs of a feather”. That similar taste for “women on the younger side” (actually, we call them GIRLS because they are NOT YET women) should not be news to anyone — especially if they work in our less-than-observant main stream news media. A simple Google of Trump & “perversion” will score you millions of results and shitloads of irony.

While none of the women who’ve already come forward to tell their stories of being raped or assaulted or abused by Jeffrey Epstein and his friends have said “He took my humanity”, that is what each of their stories shouts. E. Jean Carroll’s brave confession in New York Magazine articulated that experience in detail, bringing us into the Bergdorf-Goodman dressing room right alongside her as Donald Trump literally raped her. To deny someone’s request to stop is to deny them. If the “no” in question is their personal space — or the plane of their body being violated — that is a denial of their personhood. The rapist — in this case Donald Trump — has placed his desire to put his penis where he wants — over the desires of his penis’ target. Donald Trump’s penis was more important to Donald Trump in that moment. Like every rapist’s penis, Trump’s mushroom dick had been weaponized.

Rape — like all sexual assault — is not sex. It’s violence. It’s assault and battery of both body and (here’s the important part) “soul”. As a survivor of a sexual assault when I was 14 (a thing I kept “secret” from myself for 45 years — it was a secret only in that I had failed to acknowledge what I k new for a fact had happened), I’ve got skin in this game. The man who sexually assaulted me did not see me as a “fellow human”. Though he never penetrated me, he saw me as nothing but a sperm receptacle. Under better circumstances (from his point of view), that is exactly what I would have become.

I guess I got lucky on that one.

But the man who assaulted me did leave a mark — a permanent one — on my psyche. He put me on an island alongside him — just me, him & our secret. If you didn’t know my secret, you didn’t really know me. And no one (not even me) was getting in on that secret. Nothing good can come of that. My secret nearly killed me. For real.

That — destruction — is the ultimate goal of a sexual predator. The moment I became healthy enough to confront what happened to me, I became a threat to mine. 45 years unfortunately was too long to do anything about it; my predator was already dead. But, had I found the strength to confront my truth and tell my story sooner — you see where I’m going. It’s better for the rapist that the evidence of his rape vanish. As rapists know though — a person doesn’t have to physically “vanish”. If you can vanish their personhood — it’s just as good.

We’ve got a front row seat now to how it all works. Trump has continued to deny that his rape victims were even good enough for him to stick his dick into. I don’t know about you, but saying “I save my rape for attractive women” makes it a thousand times worse. Never mind the fact that it’s bullshit. A college roommate’s dad once said of his son — a good friend of mine — that he’d “stick his dick in a snake”. Yeah — 99% of men at some point in their sexual life would have done that because our penises hold that much sway over us.

Every man has at least thought (even if still clothed) “Please — touch it” while sitting with or standing with an object of their desire. What they did or didn’t do to get their junk touched — that’s what separates the men from the boys from the pervs. A man looking for a sexual partner — as in someone with whom to experience sex WITH (as opposed to imposing sex upon) will always be adrift on a sea of doubt and uncertainty. Sometimes it’s hard to read another person’s messaging — especially when its ambivalent. The strict Rule Of Thumb has to be in the absence of a full-on, unequivocal “yes, I want to do this with you”, the answer is “no”.

Our peckers need to hear that “no” loud and clear.

Want To Know How & What A Rapist Thinks? Just Ask President Donald J Trump

I’m biased as hell here — I’ll own it. Being a sexual assault survivor, I have a particular loathing for rapists that I don’t think I’ll ever “get over”. I know rapist code. I know how they use implied power to coerce or force you into submission and then silence. I know how a victim thinks, too (unfortunately). Wish I didn’t. Victims think: “How can I say anything? Who would believe ME over THEM? The Truth doesn’t matter…”.

It’s not unusual for the assault victim to then flip it — and the whole terrible episode becomes their fault — like they concocted this, wanting this thing to happen to them. It’s utterly irrational. But it becomes the accepted explanation — so that, in a very real way, the sexual assault or the rape continues. The victim feels the rapist’s brutal touch every minute of every day (even if only subliminally).

Yeah — I loathe rapists. I loathe people who enable rapists — though I will cut them a teeny bit of slack. Not everyone knows they’re enabling a rapist. I don’t think the conservative Jewish congregation my family belonged to when I was growing up outside of Baltimore in the 1960’s knew that the “ritual director” working for them was a pederast. If anyone in the small hierarchy knew or suspected what my attacker was up to — I have giant issues. But, in the absence of any such knowledge, there’s your slack. They didn’t know.

I especially loathe people who stand by rapists — who stand with them and refuse to either acknowledge that a rapist is a rapist or — far worse — see no problem with rapists raping. They seem to have a law of the jungle dynamic in their mind — a bully’s Garden of Eden. Put enough of these rape-loving thugs together and voila! Rape Culture is born.

Donald Trump is The Poster Boy for Rape Culture. He’s the Poster Boy for Toxic Male Culture & Entitlement. Donald Trump earnestly believes he should be allowed to stick his wretched pecker anywhere he wants to with absolute impunity. There’s no such thing as “rape” in Trump’s mind — unless someone of color is doing it. Then all bets are off & all charges are filed.

In response to E. Jean Carroll’s credible, richly detailed (and contemporaneously reported — to friends) account of Donald Trump RAPING her in a Bergdorf-Goodman changing room 28 years ago, Trump never says “I find rape abhorrent! I am mortified that Ms. Carroll feels that way about our encounter and I want to do everything in my power to make it up to her”, no, he says “She’s not my type”.

In other words — If she WERE my type — hell, yeah, I raped her!

A RAPIST occupies the White House. So does a TRAITOR. So does a CAREER CRIMINAL.

How the hell did we let this happen to us? If you really want to know? We let Rape Culture live. We let Rape Culture dictate to us. What was the Brett Kavanaugh hearing BUT a painful example of Rape Culture having its way with us — again. We had a RAPIST crying crocodile tears because HE felt victimized for being called out AS A RAPIST.

It was impossible not to feel raped (or at least assaulted) that day.

It is impossible not to feel assaulted when a rapist replies to accusations of rape with “You’re not my type”.

If you don’t feel assaulted by that? The rapists are winning.

There’s A Reason We All Feel “Under Assault” In Trump World — It’s Cos We Are

I was in therapy a bit before Donald Trump stole the presidency. I was deep in my own depression then — headed toward self-destruction. My emotional radar was tweaked especially high. So many things triggered me.

Election Night 2016 is its own “Day that will live in infamy”. I suspect I’m not alone in feeling that way — that this wasn’t just an electoral loss, it was an invasion. It was an unwelcome imposition of something We The People did not, in fact want — or vote for. We didn’t vote for this. Not the majority of us.

We’ve got some big reveals coming. The biggest (Don Trump Jr was subpoena’d by the SENATE Intel Committee — run by REPUBLICAN Richard Burr — which smart, always-spot-on reporters like Seth Abramson point to as key) will probably take us right back around to the counter-intelligence part of the program — the part where hard proof exists that 1) Donald Trump conspired with Russia to win the presidency, 2) the entire Republican Party hierarchy knew it — in one way or another (including merely suspecting it was true), and 3) that includes the part where even Trump’s Electoral College win is as much a fraud as his finances are.

This morning, Mitch McConnell shoved another extreme RW judge down the throat of a state that did not want that judge. The normal protocol says those states are entitled to “blue slip” — refuse — those judges. But the point of the exercise IS judges and has always BEEN judges.

The GOP realized at the end of the Reagan years that the demographics were going against them forever more. Republicans historically do worse when more people vote — which strongly suggests that if the entire American electorate voted, the country would lean far more to the left than we think it does.

The reason we feel like America is more progressive than we act is because the PEOPLE are, by and large, more progressive. But, because so many progressive-leaning people don’t vote regularly, the image we have reflects a less progressive population — a false image. The 2018 mid-term was a strong repudiation of Trump and republicanism. It wasn’t the same-old, same-old voter blocs doing the repudiating. It was the youth vote. And Latinos. And, especially, a strong, dedicated African-American vote — especially, especially African American woman.

If not for African American women, this republic would be toast already. We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

If there’s a group of people who know what it’s like to be under assault — almost constantly — it’s African American women. Their demand for Justice in the face of relentless injustice is the pilot light inside our collective rage.

I am a sexual assault survivor. I denied that fact — that I had been sexually assaulted — for 45 years. To myself. But I always knew it was a fact. I’m hypomanic. The inside of my head (controlled by a mood stabilizer and lots of THC) is like a black box theater (think a shoebox — black inside — turned upside down). At all times a dozen or so things are being projected on the walls, the ceiling the floor… black & white, saturated color, sepia — old movies — ideas for stories — thoughts and notions. There are laser lights to and audio and holographic pop-ups. The THC acts like a scrim — dropping down over most of it, allowing me to focus on a few of the entertainments.

This secret I was keeping was like a light shining inside a file inside a drawer inside a closet at the back of an office situated up a long, high set of stairs at the far, far back corner of the black box theater. It was always there. Always on. Always a fact of my life.

I know what it feels like to be assaulted. I know what the aftermath is like. I know what assault can do to you over time — even if you deny it ever happened. I know what calling out that assault can do for you — it can save you. I know what recovering feels like too — and it’s wonderful.

And it’s do-able.

WE can do this. We The People. WE’VE been assaulted. That’s what we felt election night. It’s what we’ve felt every single day as Donald Trump & the republican party — unelected as they were (you cannot cheat your way to a free & fair election; you may hold office that way but it ain’t winning) — continue to shove their RW Christo-Fascist ideology down the country’s unwilling throat.

It’s rape. It’s assault. It’s brutality.

It’s happening now. It’s why we feel the way we do. For a lot of us, it’s terribly familiar. We need the assault to stop right this second.