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Full text of "Radical Slut Dis-Covery"






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What thOy 1& aVb ahout". 

Radical- of a root; fundamental, thorough. 
Slut- a dirty, untidy woman. 
Di$-covery- the act of uncovering. 

This is about 2 dirty and untidy womyn uncovering themselves thoroughly. We 
have a lot to get off our chests. It is strange to us how it seems like sexual assault is so 
invisible and yet it is so pervasive. It may be done behind closed doors en secreto. it 
may be something we are ashamed of and don't talk about or even admit to. But so 
rucking many of us are survivors, and it may just be this silence that helps perpetuate this 
abuse This is about empowering ourselves to stop cycles of violence^ When we 
confront this head on it's really not so scary. It's much scarier in the dark. 

The beginning of ending this silence is clarifying the language that we use to talk 
about this stuff so that we are all on the same page. Sexual abuse = violation ot a 
persyn's sexual boundaries including harassment, molestation, rape. The bottom line is 
that when a persyn feels violated, it is sexual assault. It doesn't matter if that was not the 
intent- as long as it was the effect, it is assault. There are some definitions for specific 
forms'of abuse in the book The Sexual Healing Journey. On a more general level, sexual 
assault includes, but is not limited to: 

Inappropriate or unwanted act of a sexual nature as defined by the survivor 

Violence that intrudes upon something someone feels is private 

Making someone feel uncomfortable about their sexuality 

Coercion or manipulation \ u 

Obi edification 

You can call me Midge. I like cats and the color red. I am a pack rat and have been 
known to collect stamps and keys. I'm passionate about mathematics and logic, analys.s 
and organization. 







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it vzs sone thing that affected 
us all deeply, but lt W|- 
rarely talked about, and 
seemingly even avoided at all ccst 
knowing these people and hearing 
thier stories really touched ne„ 
. it nade me realize, that l*w okay 
and It v/asnt :iy fault, and ve 
helped each ether grow and heal. 

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cf people's experiences vsltb 
sexual abuse (on all levels), 
maybe ive can help each other 
groe and heal and feel understood 
an)i accepted. 



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It was December of 1 999. The workshop schedule at the conference that weekend 
ran the standard gamut of radical workshops all the conventions do, including non- 
monogamy 101 run by the radical manarchists who are also running 1/3 of the other 
workshops. Me and Emiliah had only had one prior conversation on the subject of 
recovering from sordid herstories, but it was enough to get the idea in our scheming 
heads to sign ourselves up for running a workshop notoriously entitled the Katholick 
Way to Radical Slut Recovery. (We have since changed the title to Radical Slut Dis- 
covery in light of the fact that we see the process as one of uncovering rather than 
covering again.) We wanted to talk about polyamory in a different way We wanted to 
do a polyamory workshop for people who had marred sexual pasts. Thus, spontaneously 
emiliah and I dreamt up, organized, and delivered the first (but maybe not the last) radical 
slut recovery workshop all in the time span of a few hours. In hindsight I see the 
workshop as more revolutionary than I had realized at its inception. The overall message 
of the workshop, if it had to be reduced to one message would be 'get to know yourself 
sexually.' The outline included the following topics: 

Non-monogamy in our community is not always healthy 

There is such a thing as healthy monogamy (don't rule it out) 

Sexual pasts are influential and sometimes have to be worked through 

Many of us have fucked up pasts (we wouldn't use the term sexual abuse back then) lets 

recognize it 

Affection doesn't have to be sexual 

Resist getting in bed with people you don't want to get in bed with 

Set boundaries for yourself 

Be sexually communicative 

Female masturbation is ok 

Expect male involvement in birth control and abortion 

Respect your body and consider it when choosing birth control method 

Take care of yourself during abortion (try a letting go ritual) 

Define your sexuality yourself (you can even make up your own term like 'omnisexuality') 

Recognize that in radical activist communities, fucked up sexual tendencies are still prevalent (i e 

wimmin getting assaulted at activist gatherings) 

Who feels sexually repressed/oppressed? sexually repressive/oppressive? Assaulted or 

manipulated? Communicative? Polyamorous? 




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B) "Aggressive Patriarchy:" , . . - tt-tk**. 

(Do you often take charge? Assume that a woman can't do something right so you do il for Jte 7 Be tevt 
that only you can take care of things? Think that you always have the right answer? Treat your female 
partner like she's helpless, fragile, a baby or weak? Do you put down your partner or minimize her 
feelings? Do you belittle her opinions?) 

2. How do you react when wimmin in your life name something or someone as P^haJ or sexist? Do 
you think of her or call her a "PC Thug," Teminazi," -Thin-skinned," "Overly-Sens.t.ve, a 
"COINTELPRO-esque" or "Un-fun?" 

3. Do you see talking about patriarchy as non-heroic, a waste of lime, trouble making, or divisive? 

4. If a womyn asks your opinion, do you assume she must not know anything about the subjec*? 

5. Do you believe that wimmin have "natural characteristics" which are inherent }«^***> aS 
"passive," 'Wt," "caring," "nurturing," "considerate," "generous," weak, or emotional. 

6. Do you make fun of "typical" men or "frat boys" but not ever check yourself to see if you behave in the 
same ways? 

7 Do you take on sexism and patriarchy as a personal struggle working to fight against it in yourself, in 
your relationships, in society, work, culture, subcultures, and institutions.' 

8 Do you say anything when other men make sexist or patriarchal comments? Do £^J^£*"*!| 
anS TriendVto make change and help educate Item? Or do you continue friendships with patriarchal 

and sexist men and act like there is no problem. 

Activism 

9 As a male, is being a. feminist a pnonty to you? Do you see being a feminist as revolutionary or radical? 

,0 Do you think that you define what is radical? Do you surfer from or «"^*£^£*£^ 
"subpoena envy"? (I.e. defining a true or "cool" and respectable activist as someone who la teen an «tt* 
done^kdowYs, scaled walls, hung banners, done time for their actions, argued or fought with police, done 
property alterations, beat up tmi boneheads, etc.)? 
11, Do you lake something a womyn said, reword it and claim it as your own idea/opinion? 



provide support for the survivors (emotional, straicgic, legal etc.) 

• provide an avenue of recourse for the survivors (consequences for the perp such as the proposed 
black list web page etc.... also making sure that public functions stay accessible to the survivor and 
not to the perp....) 

• provide advocacy for those who chose to remain anonymous. 

• bottom line the creation of another committee to deal with rehabilitation for the perp if it accepted 
and possible. 

4, OUTREACH : create forums, reading groups, zines, web pages, etc around all of these items. 

Returning to the puma example, here is the list of tasks that community members 
agreed to take on. These are examples of things that a committee dealing with perps 

could do: 

I. Steps that community members will take lo prevent Puma from attacking others [specific 

people took on responsibilities during the meeting, the number of people responsible for each 
is indicated in parenthesis] 

1 . Monitoring: regularly check up on puma and ask him if he is following the steps, if he 
has assaulted other people, etc. (3) 

2. Talk to puma immediately if we hear from others that he has attacked someone else/ 
acted inappropriately. (3) 

3. Be on an emergency phone list of people puma can call if he feels he [needs to talk to 
someone]. (5) 

4. Making sure that people puma is living with/ touching with do know about his pattern of 
attacking people. (3) 

5. Reality check: being an objective, "mean" person that will very clearly slate what is ok 
and what puma's past attacks "mean." (1) 

6. Passing the torch to communities that puma becomes involved with/moves to: we will 
make sure that responsible persons there know about puma's pattern of attacking people 
and which steps we have been taking to prevent further attacks and encourage the new 
community to continue our activities. (2) 

7. Put puma in contact with community resources for sex offenders. (1) 

8. Give puma reading material on sexual violence. (1) 

9. Offer puma transportation to counseling sessions, etc. (2) 

10. Work with puma on educational projects around sexual violence. (4) 

11. Discuss ways of overcoming object ificat ion of women/people. (4) 

12. Be there as a friend lo talk about what has happened and what puma is doing, thinking 
feeling about his past attacks, his current state. (6) 

13. Sharing thoughts on journal entries. (2) 

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24. Do you slay with your partner in a relationship for comfort and security? Sex? Financial or emotional 
caretaking? If you're not completely happy or "in love" with your partner anymore? Even though you don't 
think it will ultimately work out? Because you're afraid or unable to be alone? Do you suddenly end 
relationships when a "new" or "better" womyn comes along? 

25. Do you jump from relationship to relationship? Overlap them? Or do you take space and time for 
yourself in between each relationship to reflect on the relationship and your role in it? Do you know how to 
be alone? How to be single? 

26. Do you cheat on your partners? 

27. If your girlfriend gets on your case for patriarchal behavior or wants to try to work on the issues of 
patriarchy in your relationship, do you break up with her or cheat on her and find another woman who 
will put up with your shit? 

28. Do you agree to romantic commitment and responsibility and then back out of these situations? 

29. Do you understand menstruation? 

30. Do you make fun of wimmin or write them off as "PMS-1NG?" 
Friendship 

3 1. Do you tend to set the standard and plans for fun or do you work with the others in the group, including 
wimmin to see what they want to do? 

32. Do you talk to your female friends about things you don't talk to your male friends about, especially 
emotional issues? 

33. Do you constantly fall in love with your female friends? Are you friends with women until you find out 
that they are not in love with you too and then end the friendships? Are you only friends with women who 
are in monogamous or committed relationships with other people? 

34. Do you come on to your female friends even jokingly? 

35. Do you only talk to your female friends (and not your male friends) about your romantic relationships 
or problems in those relationships? 



• Follow up with survivor and offer resources 

• Get financial reparations for survivor (by force if needed) 

• Discuss abuse proactively 

• Define forms of abuse publicly (to clarify language) 

• Help abuser heal 

• Hold speak outs (regular spaces for survivors/community to express stuff and share experiences) 

• Have sponsor(s), maybe rotating, for perps (to follow up, support, and enforce the process) 

• Believe survivors always (don't recreate court system) 

• Don't pressure survivor to do anything (including not 'outing' them) 

• Network (make a permanent WARNING list of perps names and some descriptions of behavior; if 
assault is more of a common place subject and its prevalence recognized, this will not be so 
controversial or considered a 'black list') 

The option that we have decided to follow through with is the creation of a 
structure called the violence task force. The task force is an organized way to be 
prepared to deal with assault before further incidents take place, including sexual assault 
and all forms of violence, domestic and extra-domestic in the community. The idea came 
up at the last florida radical activist network meeting (a long, long time ago) we 
addressed the powerful anonymous letter the listserve received (a personal account of 
sexual violence in the community), we discussed what we thought our scene needed in 
order to support survivors and deal with and/or rehabilitate perps. we talked about what 
tactics had been used in the past and how we could have a concrete strategy for dealing 
with all types of violence in our "community", we came up with a proposal to create a 
taskforce expressly to deal with violence in the florid a/regional "radical community" (or 
whatever), this is not something that is going to be dealt with quickly and cleanly and we 
certainly have a lot to learn. The taskforce is a tool, not a solution, the following are four 
tasks that the VTF can take on: 

L BASIS : clarify the language we use for these types of issues (these can/should always be updated) 
and realize that rarely arc these forms of abuse mutually exclusive: 

- domestic violence = violations (including coercion, domination, isolation and 

competition) which involve one person in a relationship taking power over and trying to 

control another persoi\/the relationship. 

extra-domestic violence = violations committed outside of a personal relationship 




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J: Deal with the landscaping and gardening 

K: Clean bathrooms and make sure bathroom is clean after you use it 

L: Feed, clean up after, and take care of house pets 

Children & Chi Idea re 

45 Do you spend time with kids? If you do, do you spend time with children (yours or anyone's) in a way 
that is gendered? (do certain things with boys and other things with girls? 

46. If you are a father, do you CO-parenl your children? (Spend equal time AND energy' AND effort AND 
money to raise them)? 

47. Do you make childcare a priority? (at both activist events and in daily life) 

48. Do you help make the lives of single mothers in your life and community easier by finding out if and 
how you can assist? 

49 Have you politicized your ideas about child rearing and parenthood in radical communities? Do you 
belie! e that individuals who are in the movement have children or that the movement has children ? 

Multi-Categ or y Questions : 

50. When was the last time you showed a womyn how to do a task rather than doing it for her and assuming 
she couldn't do il? 

51. When was the last time you asked a womyn to show you how to do a task? 

52 Do vou get emotional needs met by other wimmin, whether or not you are in a romantic relationship 
SttttSS ryou cultivate caring! nurturing relationships with other men in which you can discuss 
your feelings and get your needs met by them? 

the same mistakes again with her or other wtmmin? 

54 Do you look inside yourself to find out why you tucked up m these relationships and work to both 
change your behavior and be a better anti-patriarchy ally in the future? 



P ^ c and Tons of Direct C onfrontation: 

Con 



^=^^^ 



It creates a consequence/accountability 
It's direct action 
Sense of 'oppression' imposed 
Reverses role (makes perps fear) 



Can provoke further retaliation 

If by males, can create protector complex 

Only temporary consequence 

Creates a special event rather than 

commonplace occurrence _ 



- CammAAAVuty IvwoU/ewiAMt 



Tactic #3 

Addressing sexual assault is a lot to take on by yourself. I ^^'^^ 

make up a plan of action for the ~™ 1 * a ^ conflicting 

come •sjtfanssff^st * • «-*• on dea,in d 8 e ; i,h 

sexua. asruUatthe Southern Girls Convention in Mabama. They recommended 
thinking about the process as a series of phases: 

aH T 1: SSL. by talking with htfvKW wimn.in in the _nity (especia.ty those who con,c 
in to contact the most with the perp) 
. ^nT-watchdogs' to help prevent and expose further behav.or 

Phase 2: mediation 

. Mediated discussion with survivor if desired 

. ro.nmt.nitv facilitated discussion about plans for action 



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Moving on to another example (1 wish there weren't so many). ..Here is another 
list of demands that were issued to a repeat sex offender in our community years ago. 
They have not been complied with and the perp has assaulted at least one other womyn 
since these demands were issued. I have decided to take a similar approach to the one 
taken in the example above (asking a specific boy to be a mediator between perp and 
community) and this is yet to be actualized as well. Here are the original demands 
(issued at a community meeting years ago) 



Intimate Relationships: 



3. 

4 
5. 

6. 

7. 



Let others initiate touching/ "sexual" touching 

Rigorously apply the Anlioch policy (gaining verbal or some other agreed upon form of consent 

before any sexual contact |, realizing that asking can be pressure and ask in the least coercive 

manner "would you like" rather than "can 1" 

Don't sleep beside people if you haven't told them about the attacks 

Reveal your past attacks to people you are planning to move in with 

Reveal your past attacks land elude to the extent to which it has affected some of the women] to 

people you are planning to be touchy with 

pre-establish what kind of touching will be ok, but never assume [in the moment 1 that it will be ok 

Take into account any possible signals people you are touching might be sending- uncomfortable 

means no 

Be very' cautious of power dynamics in your relationships 



Personal: 



10. 

11. 

12. 

13 

14. 



Don't exclude people from activities by yourself being present at them [making them feel 

uncomfortable] (e.g. Food Not Bombs) 

Gel personal counseling . . 

Participate in group counseling for sex offenders (e.g. at SPARCC) <-lt>(M f^P LMSKu ' 1 ^" 

Keep a journal about his progress on dealing with issues of misogyny and abuse 

Develop a goals system 

Address your dependency issue 



Su pport: 

15. Talk to friends about how you think you are doing, etc. 

16. Establish a responsibility group, a group of people you will be accountable to from now on about 
any possible attacks, etc. 



2. You need to be PROMPT about telling people, no Jiickin a round even if it is bard! 

3. You need to learn bow to tell people Ibesc tilings on your own. 

4. When you tell people you are a sexual assaulter you need to not use the wimmins name unless 
she says she wants you to. 

5. You should not expect tt i nun in to help you with any of (his. 

6. You need to realize that because you are a sexual assaulter you are threatening and you need to 
respect that (by acting accordingly) and think about it before you take olTvour clothes to swim or 
do anything that you may not consider sexual but could be by others. 

7. When you tell winimin thai you are a sexual assaulter, you need to do it in the safest possible way. 
Make sure it is safe for her. Don't do it in your room. Maybe in a public place or neutral 
environment. 

8. You need lo lake all the responsibility for not being in [the survivor's] space. One way you can do 
this is by getting in touch with [a media lor J when you are traveling and going to conferences and - 
other large events. You can 'l go if [the survivor) is going to be there. 

9. STOP being sexual until you can figure your shit oul! 

10. Go through your sexual history; dissecting it piece by piece and writing down what you find. This 
is an exercise for your own self-awareness, 

1 1. Pay for [the survivor] to go to counseling. 

About six months later we started wondering what was being done, but were not 
about to call him because we have just spent too much damn time in our lives talking to 
perps. This is the proposal that Midge made: 

1 1 want specific boys lo be mediators between |lhe perp] and the resl of ihe community, which 
means that you all should periodically check up on him (including but not limited lo finding oul 
which of the goals has he followed through with and which hasn't he and why not) so that you can 
have the information readily available when a concerned persyn such as myself wants lo know 
whal is going on so that they can feel safe and comfortable. 

2. The financial retribution for counseling services should come in the form of $ 150 per month and 
can be mailed to inc. 

3. Give me a copy of the reading list on topics related to sexual abuse that [the perp] has come up 
with in the past year. 

4 Let it be known that when and i Tot her demands from other members of the community arise. 

those need lo be addressed as well. , 

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• Think about the words manipulative, coercive, deceptive, overbearing, over-sexual i/.cd, rape and 
how they have been played out by you in the past and continue to Ik played out by you.' 

• Reconsider the Antioch policy (which says that you should ask for consent for all physical contact 
in a non-coercive way, meaning you should say something like "would you like to..." rather than 
"can i..." 

The whole experience was very positive for me. I didn't have to convince him of 
anything. He didn't question my judgment of what happened. He apologized and assured 
me that he would follow through with a!l of my requests. That of course remained to be 
seen, but I felt empowered cause I was taking care of myself. 

The only other confrontation I have been involved in was my friend's mediated 
discussion with a guy who had sexually abused her for a significant time and who she 
hadn't talked to in over a year. She had written him a letter previously about it, to get 
some stuff off her chest. I had also talked to hint about it several times over the course of 
the past year and three months. He had previously made a list of goals that he wanted to 
accomplish as follows and given them to the survivor and myself: 

1. write 1 1 he survivor 1 

2. do whu lever it lakes for 1 1 ho survivor J lo forgive me 

3. learn to forgive 

4. admit lo sexual partners that I sexually assaulted and mentally abused (don't use survivor 
and give advocate option 

5. rca d transforming a rape culture a nd stopping rape by a pr i I 

6. keep journal of sexual interactions 

7. start local men's group 

8. open dialogue with pasl partners about assault and menial abuse 

9. work on listening skills N^ 

10. keep on reading on male violence and privilege *^\ 

So then it turned out we all happened to be in the same town (which is strange \J 
because we all live in different places and it wasn't the place where any of us lived) so 
the survivor decided to call for a mediated discussion. We had about 36 hours to prepare. 







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THE g£$r 
Gl^T To 

Vc^sem 1 



1 think that maybe after trauma of assault, we close off certain parts of our bodies 
and do not let adequate energy pass through them. In an effort to revitalize my organs 
that have been shut down for years I practice yoga as well as chakra meditation. They go 
hand in hand, I do about 45 minutes of yoga each day followed by maybe 15 minutes of 
chakra meditation. 1 have been doing this schedule for about 6 months, and I am just 
now beginning to reap some real benefits from the whole lifestyle. There are also 
massage techniques and other forms of energy work that focus specifically on the 
different chakras, which I have limited experience with but it is very possible to find a 
practitioner who is aware of these techniques and work with them. 

Another energetic phenomenon that seems to happen as a result of violence, is 
that a persyn's energy field is torn so that they are made more vulnerable to violations in 
the future. Time and body work can help weave this energy field back together, but in 
the meantime, there are some exercises that a person can to protect themselves. One that 
1 have done myself is invented an alternate personality which is going to protect me when 
I want it to. Her name is annicka. She doesn't take anyone's shit, and when I feel the 
slightest bit uncomfortable or vulnerable in any sort of situation, when it is not always so 
easy for me to be empowered and super-assertive, I know that 1 can call in annicka and 
she will be assertive because that is how I made her. 

Tactic #2: Corxfror^atiorv 

Confrontation can be done in many forms. It could be a letter, a phone call or a 
face to face discussion, either mediated or informal. I have only chosen the latter. 
Although I have known people who have started with a letter and worked up to a 
mediated discussion. 

The first time I confronted one of my assailants was quite recently actually, about 
a year and a half ago. He was a good friend of mine that I was smooching with. At that 
point in my life, I was aware that I was in the midst of an unhealthy sexual pattern so I 
was definitely setting boundaries. He stayed at my house one night after we had been 
drinking and I woke up in the middle of the night with him touching me. I don't 
remember what I did, I was pretty out of it and I remember thinking he was asleep. 




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Yiffd?u /-pi&yfn fs>v?cjo ^^f! y?p;&fr\ hqVO I firpimp 





K - 



A Celebration Of My Healing 
Spiritual Expression 



l oday I celebrate. 

I celebrate that I listen to others! 

I celebrate that I am heard! 

I celebrate breaking the silence! 

I celebrate speaking my truth ! 

I may dance, sing, go for a walk, buy fresh cut 
flowers, call a friend. I may paint a picture 
of myself with others. 1 may go out to 
dinner with a friend. 

f Reclaim My Hidden Dreams 

While I was being sexually abused, as a way 
to stay safe, I stopped myself from dreaming; 

As a result of the abuse' '.. 

~J thought rJrje fytu re. would always be 

as painful ai the present. 
~ 1 stopped creating a future for me. 



Today I celebrate the spirit of freedom that 
comes from: 

- speaking with others. 

-listening toothers. 

I note in my workbook how I celebrated and 
how I felt as 1 celebrated. 



As (heal .;'; 

>J realize|hat I have alway^, had •;!' ■: 
•-W -'::. breams." 1 ; ■'••--;.; ." : "' r ';■% 
\Y . y l understand my dreams do not have 
r ''/:'|rj6 stay Hidden. .<^, ;:•■''■> 

r I retneve old dreams and create new 
. '..dreams; :> ■;-*. , a '_,';. -^ ''• .- Sometimes 







:> . •• 'W>. .^rriejnbier thedn?arn5, • ■§?& . 

; 



& 



mm ..'-■]• drtairi again. 

.It welcome and embrace my dreams, my 

■^dreaming!'.-. ■■ ,.^^h :, ' : X:' : ' 

t reclaim .my rudde^idrearruih 



- I suit stop my dreams about healthy 
frierdships, njlfiljing work.Ioves, : 
home aridity Aire;* : ;: * J -'-vl 

- I stop myselffrom dreaming about 
the smalt' everyday things like 
gardening, walking, enjoying the I. 
beauty. of the lakes, a sunset or the 
quiet of the early morning. 



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1 



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•w o 



Spiritual Expression 



or 



When I connect with the world of nature 
around me, I am reminded of somediing 
greater than myself. 

I give myself the gift of beauty, wonder, awe 
and delight. 

On a walk I discover that the trees, birds or 
the sky remind me that I am not alone. 

I create an image of how die natural world 
reminds me that I am not alone. 



1 find a favorite photograph or nature 

postcard to remind myself 1 am not alone. 

I find some way to keep my image visible to 
me. 

This reminds me to 

- connect with nature each day. 

~ reach for a connection with something 
greater dian myself. 




&&a 




Out Of Isolati- 



on' 



':-. 



M^hen the abuse happened • '-&ry.>C'h 
I was alone, isolated ffom Sifet^k,..' ***>* : 

Sometimes ■'■'-■•..-V* ' ?^ '' - ;; i ' 

~ I want m.sta> alone ;' : . ■■• ■''. ''■■ : ---** :i: $l 
- 1 do not trystothenivjv / : -^!r^^:- 
•.;, - I do not want od>e& witness my 
pain. ■'•'■■ : '■ ■ "•':"■'•' fy y ' "-•'■■■' -:-4: - .: 

- I am afraid ro aikptWs into jny life. 

- I believe thatothers do not want to 
be with me. 



1 \yant people in my life who will: 
LAUGH WITH ME 
HOLD ME 

DREAM WIT Bivjfr; 

■ .'.■'■•';-' 
(^REFORME 

PLAY WITH ME 

||& ENCOURAGE ME 

m * : ■ I ' ■'■■' : :.. :; 

MSTENTOME '' 

\GIVE ME FEEDBACK . ,'. 
TALK TO ME 

v. 
SHARE WTTH ME 

CREATE WITH ME 

". BE WITH ME;' 
1 wane a support community in my life, 



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- and witness tne heaitng of qfene'TS. 

... 

■ r others wan j; td.be with me, 
^ that I have something to offer>^; 
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Taking Care Of My Needs - 1 

Healing, I discover lots of needs and wants 
for my life. 

I list my needs and wants and note how to get 
them met. 

Do I need the support of a group? 

I can visit support groups to find ones 1 
like. 

Do I need more time to myself? 
1 can find 15 minutes a day for me. 

Do 1 need more play or music in my life? 
1 can get a new tape that makes me feel 
good. 

Waysl might take cafe of my needs? ■-: 

;• ^^? te ™&%- ^"t sexual abuse } 
■ and exploitation, 

^^^■tajfc^with others, 
$MW&i ^W&i&i other survivors; 



Do I need to get connected to odier 




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m my location, who ^SW^ " : & 
■/:•) ? ; wow with survivors of jg3BtorfL T 

exploitation and abused ^JSfp|f 



survivors 



I can call a helpline and check out 
resources. 

Do I need to have more fun? 

I can call a friend and make plans to get 
together. 

In the space below I name my needs and 
write how I can get these needs met. 

Other ways I can take care of my needs are do V4 



eat well, exercise, rest and play. 



As I leam to find my ihrierliarrnony,- 
natural balance evolves in my 1 i'fei 




'^^|grjat;f^red about, feeling safe and 
";^f^otect:6cl/did not matter. 

■'" who I was, someone vulnerable, di 
not matter. 



I want to leam. ■ 

~ to knownyhat 1. want/ 

- to ask fdf #Ra£ t want. 

~ to joyfully accept: 

-. to give when! want to give/. . ° 




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Practical/ 
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Wisdom . . . 
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the Integrity, 



Boundaries - 1 

I art of trusting myself is setting limits. Part 
of setting limits is learning to say NO. 
Saying NO when it is in my best interest to 
say NO facilitates learning to trust myself. 
Learning to say NO in difficult times and 
places is part of my recovery. 

As I grow I can practice saying NO. 

To learn how to say NO I can watch a two 
year old say no. 

I can learn to say NO widiout apology. 

I can learn to say NO without guilt. 




Today I set some limits. I practice saying NO 
one to three times today. 

I pay attention to how I feel as I say NO. 

1 write or create an image of myself as I learn 
to say NO. 

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sexual -partners* of mine have been doing things to me that I didn't want done but it took 
me until 1 was 18 to use the words 'sexual abuse' to describe tee experiences It ook n e 
another year to feel secure using those words. I started trusting myluE^SSie 
tjme to go t rough my sexual history piece by piece (as much as I con. h^nto a„K to 
hmk about), writing much of it down, trough this process, I have deternnned d a TluZe 

X'Z St S t' T d ' T 1 rememb6r an inCid6lU Wh - ' believe l" P sed 
a boy (the book The Sexual Healing Journey helped me figure out what in my past 'counts' as 
sexual abuse because it defines many forms of it). 

It took me seven years just to realize it was abuse. Up until that point I just thought that 
was what sex was like; I didn't even question it at the tune. Tins perpetuated a habit of not only 
denying myself sexual pleasure, but denying myself sexual comfort. Both sexual comfort and 
sexual p easure were foreign concepts to me. Following relationships played out in a similar 
way as I overlooked my sexual discomfort for the sake of functioning sexually in the ways in 
which my partners wanted me to. I began to fulfill the role of the stereotypy lly coy female' I 
was very slow to respond to the sexual abuse. 

What I see as the turning point in tins story, and my first step in the right direction is the 
period of time where I only functioned sexually partially. While, ideally 1 would like to function 
sexually m a healthy way, this was definitely my first step towards just that by taking some 
control and setting up certain boundaries. By age 14, i had started banning certain sex acts from 
my repertoire starting with die ones that characterized the most traumatic sexual abuse in my past 
Eventually, at age 16, 1 adopted an all-out 'no kissing policy.' 

A year and a half later the story takes another turn. I decided that enough was enough 
and that I was going to function in sexual situations once again in an attempt to be 'normal ' f got 
into a relationship and had sex for the first time in over two years. Since 1 was trying to function 
sexually again, I was verbally consenting to the sex, but I was not comfortable with a lot of what 
went on and definitely experienced no pleasure. I was trying to function as a sexual robot by 
doing what I thought I should do and not what 1 felt like doing. But trying to be normally robotic 
didn t work; there was no covering up my past. This is when I started to experience what I call 
the flashes. 

The flashes aren't flashbacks so much as they are flashes of time where it almost seems 
like my real desires break into reality to remind me of themselves (by recently looking through 
the book The Courage to Heal, I learned that these are called 'body memories') So basically 
what happens is that I am in a sexual situation that I don't want to be in and I have usually 
distanced myself from my body to a certain extent. And it is like a sudden flash in my mind that 
makes me stop immediately without really thinking, remove myself from the situation and have 
some sort of supcr-cmotional response l.ke crying or intense feelings of shame. I am not thinking 
about anything clearly when this happens; it is ail very subconscious and they seem to come out 
or the blue. 













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People in sexually advantaged positions (like who've never experienced sexual abuse 
themselves) need to make an effort to understand sexual abuse and symptoms of female 
socialization and compensate for it in their relationships however they see fit. It helps to be more 
educated about what sexual abuse is in all of it's many forms (check out The Sexual Healing 
Journey) and also to be more educated about what conscntual, comfortable and pleasurable sex 
can be like. I also expect partners to practice something beyond the 'ask beforehand' policy. For 
sex to be consentual, there must be more than verbal consent. I think there needs to be a certain 
constant fine-tuned awareness of body language and other subtle extra-verbal cues in order to 
gauge comfort. ft helps to have knowledge of your partner's sexual history to some extent (of 
course this hinges on whether they have admitted the truth of their sexual history to themselves). 
And, if they do have a history of sexual abuse, knowledge of certain things (behaviors or settings) 
that may trigger body memories is important. Use more than your ears to souse if someone is 
sexually comfortable and don't assume that because someone isn't saying 'no' that it is ok 




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