15 July 2011

F*ck Apathy

I don't really use this as a forum to plug campaigns or causes...except my own, I suppose. My house, my rules, so to speak...this is my little play land, a place to be as frivolous and flippant as I like, but my last post and the responses to it, have left me feeling just a little less glib.
I'm better with words than I am with numbers, so when I see statistics they don't really mean much to me. I've also worked in market research, and I know how questions, the answers gathered, and the resulting numbers can be skewed to support whichever point one is trying to make.

Many of us have heard the "1 in 4 American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime" statistic. The Bureau of Justice Statistics claims .8 of every 1000 females over the age of 12. Another site (I can't even remember which one, I looked through so many) claims that every minute, 2 women are sexually assaulted in the U.S.
(Incidentally, I was unable to find any current information--- the most recent statistics I was able to find for the U.S. are from 2009.)

What we have to remember about these statistics is that they only represent women over the age of 12 who reported one incident of sexual assault.

In the few days since my last post, I have received private messages from people telling me their own stories. Over half of the women (and a couple of men) with whom I've had any significant interaction over the last 2 months are survivors of sexual assault. Most of those went unreported.
Besides being heart-wrenching, it also tells me that the aforementioned statistics don't even begin to reflect the real numbers.

So, when my friend, local film director Andrew Warnecke approached me for help in spreading the word about his latest project, I had to help. I know that the new statistics coming out of the Congo, alarming though they are, probably only hint at what's really happening there.

Please check out this campaign, spread the word, and donate to the project if you can!


From the producers of the F*ck Apathy PSA and campaign:

New statistics show that over 400,000 women per year are raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where armed militias are using rape as a weapon of war to terrorize communities.

Since this statistic does not include men and children, the actual number is much higher.

By comparison, as of the last census, the population of Portland, Oregon was about 584,000.

Think about that: Almost the equivalent of the entire population of Portland, violently raped. Per year.

Seventy-seven aid organizations agree that the number one thing we can do to help stop this violence and put an end to the use of rape as a weapon of war is to convince President Obama to send a special envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo, often referred to as "the worst place on Earth to be a woman."






All Content Copyright 2011, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

09 July 2011

What, if any, was the most traumatizing sexual experience you have had? And how did you heal? (advice for the rest of us)

It was my 20th birthday. I had spent an idyllic summer with some of my neighbours: Maverick and Blondie, a couple who had only recently moved here from Florida under suspicious circumstances---less than a month later he was arrested in an FBI raid, on computer hacking charges--- and The Hippie, the stereotypical aging hippie-stoner type complete with patchouli, Birkenstocks and an old VW van.
It sounds like the start of a bad joke or a movie...welcome to my life.
They were my closest friends at the time and we were absolutely inseparable that summer. Every night we’d hang out, drink beer, and chat while Maverick sat at his computer or while The Hippie worked on his van (he was ALWAYS working on his van). We’d take little day trips to Sauvie Island or to different parks to watch the moon rise. We went berry picking and made pies from scratch. We basically lived in our very own buddy comedy for 3 months.
So on my birthday, I decided on a quite night at home with my three buddies. By quiet, I mean we got completely drunk and stoned in my apartment and listened to music. At some point during the festivities there was a knock at the door.

I hadn’t seen this guy in over a month.
“I remembered it was your birthday today!” he said.

***
We met at one of those telephone survey places where we were both working at the time, and “hung out” for about a couple of weeks.
Some of you may recall me mentioning before how I was a rather late bloomer. I’d only lost my virginity a few months before that and, although I was certainly “making up for lost time”, I was just as clear then as I am now about my desires or lack thereof. We’d make out for hours and that was as far as I was willing to go with him at that time. He would beg and pout and plead and be generally obnoxious about it, but I would point out to him “It’s been a week and a half! Give it a couple of days, will you?!”
The final straw came one morning (at that point we’d been “hanging out” for a whole two weeks), when he pushed things too far. I am a lady and expect to be treated with respect. None of the verbal coaxing had worked so he made a physical advance and was rewarded with a slap across the face. He stormed out.
Later, when I saw him at work, he approached me during a break and said it was over, that he would not let a woman “disrespect him like that”.
“Ok!” I happily chirped.
“No woman slaps me!”
“Ok!”
“I’m going to go upstairs and quit, right now!”
“Ok!” I repeated, a smile on my face the entire time. Good riddance!

***

He had, indeed, quit that afternoon, so I hadn’t seen him...until he showed up at my door, wishing me a happy birthday. I was already pretty drunk and having such a great time with my friends that I allowed him in. I was in my own home, with trusted friends and felt perfectly safe.

I’m a bit of a light-weight so it was an early night. Blondie got me to my bed, tucked me in, then ushered the boys out of the apartment.

I hurt. Pain woke me from my alcohol haze. I could barely open my eyes and I couldn’t move. All I could feel was pain and his weight on me before I passed out again.

He was still there in the morning. I couldn’t talk. I didn’t know what to say. I had a hellish hangover, naturally, but I was also struggling with flashes of images from the night before and a flood of conflicting emotions. I was angry but also inundated with all of the stereotypical guilt and self-blaming bullshit that you read about and think “that’s so stupid, I would never do that!”.

I blamed myself: I shouldn’t have let him into my apartment in the first place, I shouldn’t have got so drunk, I should have seen it coming...

I told him to just go. I talked to Blondie about it that afternoon. She was wracked with guilt for letting him back into my place “He said he was just gonna run in for a sec and say goodnight!”

For about a year and a half after that I was utterly depressed. I have come to call it my “dyke phase”. I cut off all my hair, stopped wearing make-up, wore big t-shirts and baggy pants (think raver or skater pants....hey it was the early 90s!) and generally did everything I could to minimize any traces of femininity in my appearance. I would find myself crying for no reason. Male attention made me fearful and paranoid.
It was the time of The Great Penis Ban.
My libido eventually won out and I did seek male company but it always had to be on my terms. Making out was fine, but I couldn’t bear to see, let alone touch, a penis.

I am a lusty Leo, and stubborn to boot, so I persisted.

I. Wanted. Cock.

After a few months of frustrated and frustrating attempts that ended with bouts of crying (‘cause that’s so attractive, right guys?), I decided desperate measures were in order.
I devised a plan of action. I contacted The-Love-Of-My-Life (yes that’s how I have actually referred to him since I was 17). He still sets my heart a-flutter, and I his. We had a two-month “relationship” our junior year of high school during which we did nothing but hold hands and exchange the most chaste of kisses. Though we have never really dated since, we’ve been doing this little dance since we were 15.
I still trust him implicitly and love him utterly.

In my usual forthright manner, I laid out my plan: I would play with his penis.

“Uhm, what?”

The best way to overcome a fear is to face it, head-on...so to speak.

I proposed that we just play. Because of the comfort level and trust between us, I felt safe and also knew that he would gently push my boundaries...just enough. I also knew that he would not judge me or take advantage of the situation so I threw in an extra request.

“I want you to teach me how to give great head!”

Remember, I had only been sexually active for a couple of months before the year and a half-long penis embargo. The first guy I’d asked to teach me how to give him head said “just put your mouth on it and bob up and down, I guess” (thanks asshole, you saved yourself a few months of blowjobs!).
Not so with The-Love-Of-My-Life--- he was a wonderful and patient teacher. Of course it was pleasurable work, but he actually understood and respected the situation for what it was, as I had known he would. In between moans, he would remember himself and give me actual useful feedback and instruction. It was fun and educational, but more importantly it was exactly what I needed to heal from my traumatic experience.

I needed to experience sex again in a context where I felt completely safe, comfortable and loved.


This approach is not for everyone.
I happen to have a very straight-forward, stubborn DIY style of dealing with things. I never went to counseling or support groups--- I’m pretty self-aware, knew what it would take to get me over it, and sought it out.
Sexual trauma takes so many different forms and everyone deals with things so differently that I can’t really give one-size-fits-all advice on the subject. I can, however tell you a few things that are pretty universal:

-IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!
-You didn’t “ask for it” in any way.
-Share your story. Whether it’s with trusted friends/family, in a support group, counseling, or an anonymous hot-line/forum, write about it/talk about it--- even if it’s been years since it happened and you think you’ve completely dealt with it. If nothing else, sharing your story could help somebody else cope with their own.

A touchy subject within a touchy subject: legal ramifications. I didn’t pursue any legal action against my rapist. For a long time I was convinced it was my fault. I regret that now. As recently as a year or two ago I had a panic attack when I saw a guy on the street who merely resembled him.
One of my few regrets in life is that I didn’t send that son of a bitch to jail.

I hope that this helps you (the original inquirer as well as any others who may relate to this post) on your journey toward healing from your own traumatic experience. I hadn’t know how much I needed to write this, until I realized I was shaking while typing.

For those who would like to share your stories with me privately, I can be reached at infamouscoatcheckgirl@gmail.com

xo,

Infamous CoatCheck Girl



Rape Abuse and Incest National Network: http://www.rainn.org/

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE

Have any burning questions for the Infamous CoatCheck Girl? Ask me anything!

08 July 2011

you seem to be very knowledgeable about sex so could you recommend a good lube for rough vaginal sex please?

Ooh, Sliquid Sassy! I love the Sliquid line in general: it's free of gluten, propylene glycol (found in many lubes...and anti-freeze), parabens (preservatives shown to contribute to different cancers) and glycerine. Do you know what I see when I look at lube that includes glycerine? I see: YEAST INFECTION IN A BOTTLE.
The Sliquid line has extra good stuff in it, like citric acid and other extracts (depending on the formula) that help keep girl parts healthy and happy.
The Sassy is great for your purposes, I'd say. It's water-based, so you'll also be able to use it with silicone toys, it's not gloopy or sticky but thick enough to stay put (good for anal play as well), and it lasts a good while.
I don’t have as much experience with their products, but Blossom Organics makes a really good lube as well.

Of course, this is all taking into account that your partner is primed and ready and just as excited about the rough stuff as you are...

Have fun!

xo,

Infamous CoatCheck Girl

Have any burning questions for the Infamous CoatCheck Girl? Ask me anything!