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How do I approach #Consent with a new partner?

As I have moved into a relationship with my lovely girlfriend, I have no idea how to bring up what happened to me, or how to discuss my boundaries. I was never given a choice before, but I want to make sure I do it right so that I don't scare her off, or feel like a burden.

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Why it is critical to teach children about consent and body autonomy?

According to the Gottman Institute, approximately 63,000 people under the age of 12 are victims of sexual abuse annually. 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before they turn 18. One of the most effective ways of preventing abuse from occurring is to educate children in age appropriate ways about consent and body autonomy.

This article details the most effective ways to implement these teachings: Beyond the Talk: Teaching Your Kids About Consent

This subject is a personal mission for me as consent and personal boundaries were not something that existed within my home and I believe this made me a target for sexual abuse. I have spent a lot of time with friends and family encouraging them to educate their own children on these topics and have worked with several local organizations on educational campaigns regarding this subject.

Have you had these conversations with your own children? What challenges have you experienced with discussing this subject? What was useful? Let’s talk about how we can make this a normal part of our daily discourse.

#PTSD #CPTSD #Trauma #SexualAbuse #Consent #bodyautonomy #Education #Parenting

Beyond the Talk: Teaching Your Kids About Consent

Rather than having “the talk” with your kids, think of teaching consent as an ongoing dialogue.
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Feeling sad comes and goes in waves…

Feeling sad comes and goes in waves. Today, like most days it’s about the abandonment from my parents. Its sadness of feeling unloved, unworthy, and brokenness inside of me. It’s about being stuck replaying your trauma in your head over and over again. It’s utter grief showing it’s ugly face again. Grief of the childhood you didn’t get. Grief of the relationship you still don’t have with your parents (and never will). Grief on the loss your children will feel on not having a relationship with your parents because you have to protect them. Grief on your innocence that you lost when you were sexually abused by a family member and raped by the person who “took your virginity” when you were only 14, (which took your 30s to finally realize that’s why you were always so uncomfortable with yourself because you never did give consent). Grief on the loss of your miscarriage baby that you never got to meet and still don’t have the courage to name. It’s like a broken record of trauma and grief on repeat that makes today especially hard and the sad days really, really sad. #Rape #Consent #Suicide #SexualTrauma #Anxiety #Depression #MentalHealth #ChildLoss #Grief

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A Letter to a Pelvic Pain "Specialist"

Dear Pelvic Pain "Specialist" ,

I am writing to let you know that while I may be just another face in a sea of patients to you; you are not just some doctor in a sea of them to me. While a world of doctors there may be, given all my "issues", you're special. So special you thought your MD gave you the right to violate me, take all my control, ignore my consent and assault me and then go on about your life as if nothing happened. Something did happen. Something that I want to scream from the rooftops until you stop seeing a sea of patients and see me and remember. It was not just another day just another procedure. It wasn't a mistake. It isn't "sorry you feel that way" And it sure as hell wasn't "do no harm". Harm was done and has remained marked down in my chart as routine. How long can you routinely do harm before someone steps up and stops you? How long before I get to quit hearing what an amazing doctor you are and hear the voices of those like me that have you seared in their brain not for your amazing help, but tremendous harm. How long until I get a letter "to the patient I assaulted" . Yea I bet I'll be waiting a long ass time.

Sincerely,
PTSD "Specialist" (thanks to you!)

#PTSD #Trauma #pudendalnerveblocks #Pelvicpain #assault #SexualAssault #ChronicPain #Pelvicpain #MedicalTrauma #Endometriosis #Consent #emdr

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Bad sex or was I taken advantage of? #Anxiety #Dating #Consent

This is lengthy but I have quite the story. Minor trigger warning as this mentions sex. I won’t go too far into detail but I met a guy on social media. Covid-19 had struck and I was going out of my mind in quarantine. We talked often and I learned he was in the marines. I was interested, as I myself am leaving for the Navy this coming fall. He invited me to dinner to discuss military and he was polite about it. The first couple times we hung out were innocent enough and I really thought I could like him. Things began to go further and one night about two months later I gave him my virginity. Leading up to that point he mentioned sex on numerous occasions, even going as far to jest about how I was going to be a virgin forever if I remained so stuck-up. It was in the heat of the moment and I let him. Needless to say it wasn’t enjoyable. He was rough, it hurt like hell (probably one of the most painful experiences of my life), I derived no pleasure and it was over in a matter of minutes. I bled for days after that and he’s ghosted me ever since, not that I’m complaining. The weeks following that day I experienced mind-spiraling anxiety—I think it was just first time anxiety. But the idea of sex terrified me. I confided in my friend that if that was sex I never wanted it again, but coming from her, someone who had a healthy relationship with her boyfriend, that shouldn’t be the case at all. I deleted all of my dating apps and cut off from social media. I couldn’t even remotely see/hear anything about sex without giving me chills. I still can’t. I sometimes get phantom pains from that night. I won’t go as far to say it was rape, as I gave him my consent. I just really need to vent my feelings before I explode. Maybe some advice to help me cope. Anything is appreciated.

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A Monster in a Lover's Suit

The luring smile of your luscious lips
deceived me into loving you.
"You were the answer to my prayer."
-- The words from my mouth,
As I gazed and whispered to the stars.

My dystopian world turned to euphoria,
"You were my knight in shining armor."
You saved me from my trembling kingdom.
At least, that's what I thought.

Your kisses were soft as pillows
Until they bruised my innocence.
The tip of your lips scarred my skin,
As your touch was non-consensual
-- I DIED GETTING USED TO IT.

I couldn't break the knotted oath
-- an abusive relationship
Which I thought was love all along.
I was naive,
And you took advantage.

Teeth as sharp as knives,
Eyes as red as blood,
Skin as thick as a bark,
-- The monster I thought.
But the monster I knew,
He had luscious lips,
alluring smile,
a knight in disguise.

-- A monster in a lover's suit.

#SexualAbuse #SexualTrauma #Survivor #AbusiveRelationship #Consent #Trauma #MightyPoets

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Coercion vs. Consensual #Sex #Coercion #Consent #AbusiveRelationship #EmotionalAbuse #RedFlags #CheckInWithMe

It’s hard to explain the circumstances under which I lost my virginity.

It happened when I was 24 when I was in an abusive relationship. My boyfriend was quite a bit older than me. He knew I was a virgin and wanted to wait. I knew he wanted sex though. He made that perfectly clear. We had already fooled around a bit. He pushed the boundaries as far as I let him, but he was always pressuring me for more and he’d get mad every time I made him stop. It’s not that I didn’t want to fool around at all. I was just scared because I had never done anything before. I didn’t know yet how much I was comfortable with or how far was too far. I definitely wanted him to slow down and not push it so much, and I told him that, but he still kept pushing it. I was worried about doing anything sexual because I knew that once we started messing around, he’d want to keep going, but I wasn’t ready to go all the way. I just wanted to take it slow.

It finally happened when we’d been together about two months. As usual, everything happened so fast. Once it started, I couldn’t get him to slow down. I was nervous and I definitely said wait, but he kept telling me to relax. I didn’t want to make him mad by refusing to go further again. I knew it was coming, and I just decided to get it over with. I let him do what he wanted. When it was happening, I remember feeling numb emotionally. I wasn’t comfortable with it, but I let it happen. I remember it hurt, but I didn’t tell him to stop. I just sort of held my breath and knew it would be over soon. When he was finished, I didn’t say anything. I just laid there next to him feeling dirty and numb.

It wasn’t sexual assault. I don’t even think it could be considered non-consensual because I never said no when it happened. I don’t know. At the very least, it crossed over a boundary I wasn’t ready to cross yet. We had sex many times after that, and it still took a while before I was comfortable with it. I knew to expect it and I allowed him to do what he wanted, but it was another couple of months before I wanted it. At some point, he could tell I was finally into it too. He actually said he was glad I didn’t seem scared anymore when we had sex. Looking back, the fact that he said that really bothers me. I wish I would have asked him why he continued to have sex with me if he knew I was scared.

Our relationship only lasted six months. He was abusive in so many ways. When it ended, I actually had to petition for a restraining order against him so it would finally be over. Now that I’ve had a couple of months to gain perspective on everything that happened between us, I still don’t know how to wrap my head around our sexual relationship. I honestly try not to think about how it started because it makes me feel very uneasy. It’s just complicated and I don’t know how to feel about it or process the way it happened. It feels more like coercion rather than consensual. #Sex #Coercion #Consent #AbusiveRelationship #EmotionalAbuse #RedFlags #CheckInWithMe

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What constitutes consent? #Consent #AbusiveRelationship #EmotionalAbuse #Sex

My first time having sex is difficult to explain.

It happened when I was 24 when I was in an abusive relationship. My boyfriend was quite a bit older than me. He knew I was a virgin and wanted to wait. I knew he wanted sex though. He made that perfectly clear. We had already fooled around a bit. He pushed the boundaries as far as I let him, but he was always pressuring me for more and he’d get mad every time I made him stop. It’s not that I didn’t want to fool around at all. I was just scared because I had never done anything before. I didn’t know yet how much I was comfortable with or how far was too far. I definitely wanted him to slow down and not push it so much, and I told him that, but he still kept pushing it. I was worried about doing anything sexual because I knew that once we started messing around, he’d want to keep going, but I wasn’t ready to go all the way. I just wanted to take it slow.

It finally happened when we’d been together about two months. As usual, everything happened so fast. Once it started, I couldn’t get him to slow down. I was nervous and I definitely said wait, but he kept telling me to relax. I didn’t want to make him mad by refusing to go further again. I knew it was coming, and I just decided to get it over with. I let him do what he wanted. When it was happening, I remember feeling numb emotionally. I wasn’t comfortable with it, but I let it happen. I remember it hurt, but I didn’t tell him to stop. I just sort of held my breath and knew it would be over soon. When he was finished, I didn’t say anything. I just laid there next to him feeling dirty and numb.

It wasn’t sexual assault. I don’t even think it could be considered non-consensual because I never said no when it happened. I don’t know. At the very least, it crossed over a boundary I wasn’t ready to cross yet. We had sex many times after that, and it still took a while before I was comfortable with it. I knew to expect it and I allowed him to do what he wanted, but it was another couple of months before I wanted it. At some point, he could tell I was finally into it too. He actually said he was glad I didn’t seem scared anymore when we had sex. Looking back, the fact that he said that really bothers me. I wish I would have asked him why he continued to have sex with me if he knew I was scared.

Our relationship only lasted six months. He was abusive in so many ways. When it ended, I actually had to get a restraining order against him so it would finally be over. Now that I’ve had a couple of months to gain perspective on everything that happened between us, I still don’t know how to wrap my head around our sexual relationship. I honestly try not to think about how it started because it makes me feel very uneasy. It’s just complicated and I don’t know how to feel about it or process the way it happened. I don’t really know if my actions constituted consent.

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Perpetuating

The first time, I was 6. The next time I was 10. After that it just kept happening. Even after I was married the first time, he would arrange things and do as he pleased. Now, 38 years of life after that little girl didn't consent I'm teaching my daughters and son about consent. I'm a grown woman and I will forever see my 6 year old self in a before and after photo. #Consent #repeated #teachthechildrenwell #consentisnogame #letitend