Reflections–teaching kids about rape

I’ve been amazed and impressed this week with the discussion about the Steubenville rape case.

Yes, there is all the judgment of how the media has handled this story. I’m not talking about that.

I read 2 articles this week that spoke about going “all the way back” to the source. How do we stop this kind of event, how do we teach kids to stick up for another person, how should we function as members in society.

The first I read was Henry Rollins post. I like, and appreciate, how he calls attention to the two convicted boys being Offenders. That is what they are, they aren’t victims, they are Offenders that are being tried and prosecuted as our society sees fit. Sure, some wanted more time, some wanted a hand slap. Me? I’m super glad they have to register as sex offenders. Still – those boys, ALL of them, need to come to grips with the reality behind them and what to do next. I can only hope (and pray) that they learned why what they did was so wrong. On EVERY level. Every action they took – the rape, the pictures, the social, the joking and condemnation of the girl – was a horrible, reprehensible, sad display of common sense and humanity.

The second was a post by a mom of boys. The post is named – I am so fucking sick of teaching our daughters not to get raped. I think it’s right on. As a mother of a girl, I will have to tell her all those warning signs and tips to keep herself safe. It’s a necessity. I honestly don’t remember my mom ever having that conversation with me. I do remember watching people in high school and learning a lot on my own. I like that this mom talks about how respect and No Means No needs to be ingrained in every person. And another person calling out that those boys are responsible and accountable for their actions. They don’t deserve our pity. They deserve our sense of injustice and anger that it happened. They need to learn why what this did was so wrong. So horribly and disgustingly wrong. So sad….

I’ve seen a handful of others posted by friends on Facebook. There is so much discussion. I’m glad there is so much discussion.

Then yesterday, one that’s so close to home….

I’m on an alert list for any sex offenders moving into a certain radius of our neighborhood. It’s a frightening aspect of parenthood that I would rather plug my ears and scream LaLalaLaLA!!!!!

But that isn’t reality.

The reality is there are NINE registered sex offenders within a TWO MILE radius of my house. NINE!!!!! Within a TWO MILE radius!!!

On a normal day, that makes me incredibly sick to my stomach.

Yesterday, I received an alert of a newly registered sex offender. I hate that I get new alerts. I hate clicking on these links to see a picture of their face. I hate reading what they were committed of, thinking about what did they actually DO in the first place?! (think about that one, does it occur to you that maybe the actual act was worse than the conviction? I do….and some law enforcement officials will tell you to think about that too)

I was shocked. So shocked. So sickened, to click the link and see a young boy’s face staring back at me. Seriously – a boy. A now 13 year old boy. Convicted of “Rape of a child in the first degree”. Do you know what that means exactly? I do now:

RCW 9A.44.073

Rape of a child in the first degree.

(1) A person is guilty of rape of a child in the first degree when the person has sexual intercourse with another who is less than twelve years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least twenty-four months older than the victim.
(2) Rape of a child in the first degree is a class A felony.

Oh my fucking GOD! This (now) 13 year old had sex with another child who at the time was LESS THAN 12!!  And 24 months younger than this boy!! (those are all ANDs, not ORs) So let’s say he was 12 when the rape happened. This other child was 10. TEN!!!!  Even if he was 13 at the time, this other child is still ONLY 11.

Now – granted – it is not lost on me that this boy and the other child may have had what they considered consensual sex. They might have. It is just as likely that it wasn’t consensual.

I applaud the parents of the other child. To go through and press charges against this (now) 13 year old. I can only imagine how hard it would be for them – how that might impact their own child, admitting it happened in their family, backlash from the community, etc. etc. etc.

I think it is a timely and perfect example of telling society, this is NOT ok! I will NOT stand for this!

Now this 13 year old boy has to live with the consequences. Forever.

We should stand up and demand the change to make it better, change to stop us from having the conversation and debate in the first place…. It’s not extreme, it is what is required!

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September & October 2012 Monthly Quote

So, where did September go? And how can it be October 12th already?! The start of this school year has been busier than normal. Plus all the PTA stuff (we are loaded heavy this fall, for fundraising) and kidlet trying out for the play. Plus ramping up to my project launch, Norman having travel and his own client launches. It’s been busy to say the least!

September 2012

Every

Thing

Happens

for a Reason

— American Proverb

I suppose I didn’t write a September post because I was angry at the quote. We had to put our dear Katie Cat to sleep last month. It was somewhat unexpected. She had been sick for awhile, was doing better, and then just took a bad turn. None of us were ready for it, it rocked the family. I still expect to hear and see her when I open the door after a shower (one of her favorite things *ever* was to go drink the shower water, which I think is disgusting beyond belief, but I’m not a cat) It gets easier of course, the grief fades, her spirit is still strong in the house.

I was also floating in and out of being sick – achy, tiredness, slight fever, congestion and blah-de-blah. I’m still a little off, but definitely better than the last few weeks!

October 2012

Insist on

Yourself.

Never

Imitate.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not resonating with the October quote either. I think I insist on myself all the time. Realistically, I know I lapse at times.

I’m working on reconnecting to my health. Illness aside, I let myself go a bit this summer. Not drastically, most people around me did not recognize any shift in my appearance. I could feel it though, my clothes were getting just a hair too tight. I was also drinking and indulging a lot more than I usually do. Enough that I recognized the difference, yet I didn’t care. What snapped me awake? Every October I do my measurements with my trainer to see what kind of progress I make over the year. Last October I had a great showing, had gained muscle and lost body fat. Probably the most fit I have ever been in my life. The thought of facing a slide backwards was not pleasant. I figured, I have 6 weeks to turn it around and get back to the healthy living I’ve grown accustomed. (funny enough, Norman went through a similar realization himself, we both made changes at the same time) My measurements are in two weeks and we’ll see where I end up. I must also remind myself to feel grace and acceptance of wherever I land. So much more important than the numbers on a piece of paper.

The deepest roots of the eating disorder never go away. I would describe it as fading away, losing grip, until a moment of weakness arrives and those roots grow a bit stronger.

Next up – reflecting on my Singapore trip, one year later.

June 2012 Monthly Quote

Don’t be

pushed

by your

problems,

be led

by your

dreams

— Proverb

I have been looking at that every day for nearly a month now. Today, this morning, my brain flipped it over to not be pushed by my dreams but led by my problems. What sort of mental challenge is that? I could rattle off all sorts of things to deal with, my brain feels full. Yet when I actually sit down to write down the things I perceive to be in my way (let’s be clear here, my To-Do list) I’m drawing a blank.

I have said to Norman a few times that we need a wife. Someone to do those errands and extra chores that make me nutty and feel like a drag. I already pay to get my house cleaned and my lawn mowed. My therapist is encouraging me to expand my list to things like the dry cleaners, fixing burnt out lights, and uh…um…see, this is where I get stuck.

Although, quite honestly, some of it is control. Like the laundry – that has to be done a certain way. And truth be told, I like doing the laundry. Folding in relaxing, particularly while watching Cupcake Wars on Sunday night. So laundry, outside of towels and sheets, won’t likely make the list.  So if I spend a few minutes brainstorming…grocery shopping (maybe, Norman really enjoys this), post office, dry cleaner, “essentials” list, replace light bulbs, paint the walls, organize the cupboards (including getting rid of crap), … then there are the items that may be a bit more difficult, wash the dishes (requires daily visit), make doctor appointments (privacy concerns) – gah! I need some clean space to work on this, visualization or something.

Do you pay anyone to do stuff for you? Is there something you would love to pay someone to do, but don’t, to suggest and get me going?

I’m signing off now, and going to the gym. That is one thing I don’t want to outsource, the gym.

Most days anyway

Mama Bear educates on“true” friends

I live on a small street, only 4 houses.  Only one other family has kids, younger than A.  Another is a single family, seems-to-be-renting-rooms-and-is-that-in-our-bylaws?  The last is an older couple, kids grown, grandkids come to visit.  And of course us!

One of the mentioned grandkids is a few years older than A.  I think she is 9?  Old enough that A is taken by her age and will do almost anything the girl asks.  When they were both younger, it was innocent.  Riding bikes, playing hopscotch, tag…all seemed OK. 

Now it’s a different game. 

Last weekend, A was in quiet time and talking out her window to this girl.  Who, in our parental opinion, was not respecting the request that A was in quiet time and to come back later.  She stayed on the side walk, responding to A (not initiating questions mind you), and blatantly ignoring Norman.  Who was in the driveway.  And telling A to go back to quiet time and not respond to this girl.  One would think this girl would get the picture and come back later.  How would you respond if you heard a friend’s Dad say, “A, you are in quiet time and should not be talking to your friend.  If you continue talking with her, you will lose privileges!”  If I overheard that, I would be outta there at lightening speed.  But maybe that’s just me and time spent in South Jersey. 

Later that afternoon, A asked if she could go outside and play with this girl.  I told her yes, and was explicit that when mom or dad call her in, she comes right away.  None of that lolly-gagging she usually engages in.  She agreed.

Norman and I were talking in the living room about a variety of household items.  He went to start dinner.  I stood up, look out my front window, and what do I see?  This girl, standing in the street with A.  Like any sane adult, we don’t let A play in the street.  She won’t even chase a ball into the street.  Come on! 

Anger flames after the earlier incident at the window.  So I start towards the door ready to sternly tell A to get her butt inside.  I get to the front door and what do I see then?  Appears A is crying, looking at her legs.  This other little girl is lifting up her dress looking at her legs.  WTF?!?!  I open the door.  Now it’s very apparent that A is crying, screaming and in pain.  I go over to them and ask what happened.

“My friend wanted us to run down the hill.  When I started down the hill I ran through pricklies. I have thorns all over and in me Mommy!”  I look at her legs and see long scratches, blood, multiple tiny thorns sticking out.  OMG – I tell A we are going inside so we can get them out.  I don’t even acknowledge this other kid.

In the kitchen, Norman has to hold A in his lap to get her to sit still and calm down.  I’m inspecting her legs with a tweezers and pulling out all the thorns.  I pulled out at least 10, likely there were more.  A is screaming, more from the fear of pain than actually experiencing it.  While I’m taking them out, we ask her the story.

Come to find out that after A ran through the thorny bush, this little girl didn’t want to stop playing.  Or tell an adult.  She told A that they could keep going and not to worry about what happened.  That she wasn’t really hurt.  That her mom and dad didn’t need to come outside.  I can totally see the calm face, not fear of getting in trouble, but crazy control freak bending A to her will.

Again – I say – WTF????

We got A all cleaned up, bactine wash, ice.  Made her dinner.  All sat down to watch a show.  Getting her off to bed early for more sleep.  Thankfully she crashed, rather busy day for A.

Once back downstairs, the fire inside roared.  I was so angry at this kid.  So irritated at her mother and grandparents.  Where is this kid’s common sense?  Forget that – decency!  Where is the decency?!  Norman just let me go off.  He’s never liked this kid. I didn’t even get an I Told You So.

The next day we talked to A about good friends who care for you, like to play, and know when to stop.  We gave examples (more than prickly bushes) when this other girl didn’t have A’s safety or best interests in mind.  We gave even more examples of the friends that are really true friends.  A said she is unlikely going to play with this girl anymore. (yay!)

This past Saturday I saw this girl on her bike circling in front of the house.  A didn’t know she was there.  I gave that Parental Look.  The one that says – Stay the hell away from my kid!  You are no longer welcome!

Sanity Hacks of (fill in the blank) Mom

First and foremost – my friend Jen did a presentation at Ignite Seattle!  She deserves credit for the inspiration of this post.  Particularly since she did all the work anyway!

The last time Jen and I got together we had a chat about the Stay At Home Mom versus Employed Career Mom… 

sidebar – what the hell do you call mom’s that work at companies that pay them salaries and give benefits and such for their work?  because SAHMs – they *are* working moms too, so it doesn’t quite feel right to label myself that. and by no means do I imply a SAHM isn’t employed or have a career.  let’s not rat hole here shall we?

Our discussion was around this unspoken/spoken/ignored/acknowledged divide between the two types of moms.  Particularly seen in the Mommy Blog space.  Seems each camp has some beef with the other.  Making judgments about not being a good mom, setting the wrong example for the children, blah blah blah.  Gawd almighty!!  Do women need yet another category to create a chasm between us?  Can’t we support each other in choice?  Believe you and me – I could not do what SAHMs do. I totally respect women that raise their families in that fashion. 

So I watched the video the day it was published.  I really enjoyed Jen’s approach and her thoughts on sanity hacks.  I thought about it through the day, how particular passages were not only funny, but SO freaking true!  Example – I have seen Finding Nemo so many times, there have been entire screenings that I only watched one character the entire time.  Boy those Pixar people are masters at their craft!

The next day I had a different thought.

I could take that same deck, change up the pictures, replace one or two words – and do the presentation from the Employed Career Mom point-of-view. Really, each thing Jen focuses on to stay sane, I do the same thing to some degree.  The story would just be a bit modified.

Can we stop fighting against each other and start fighting together?

Maybe then – we can unite and get some REAL food in the school lunches.  Not the pre-packaged crap they serve now.  Maybe we could pool resources and networks and make the PTA unstoppable.  We should all show up at Olympia (or your respective capitals) and demand the kinds of laws, programs and initiatives that will protect our families, enrich our lives – and not have to battle for every 4 years or every budget shortfall.  (don’t get me started – school budget is another post all together!)

So really girls – we aren’t all that different are we?  Just stop and think about it ok?

What I Do?

It’s inevitable when my family visits, or when we talk on the phone, or an email comes in…they want to know about my job.  They want to talk about my projects and programs and area of the business.

OK – first of all – Microsoft is really big (duh!)  And they ask me about other orgs that I don’t know a whole lot about.  No – not sure what Office is going to do about feature Y in Excel and blah blah blah.  Or they pick up on the latest news story and expect me to be fully versed.  Like I’m getting any more data than they are?  And when is Microsoft *finally* going to This-That-or-the-Other-Thing?!?!

Secondly – Isn’t it enough to know I’m a project manager?  That I’m working on Project M and it’s stressful right now since we don’t have all the details in place.  Or that we launched on time and now we get a breath before round 312 starts up?

Done. Stop. End. Fini.

That should be enough.

I don’t want to explain to them what Project M is or new aspects of version 312.  It’s not easy stuff.  If I even try to make an effort to share, their eyes glaze over.  I talk about work details enough at work.  Can’t I leave the specifics back in my office or laptop and not in my personal life? 

Why don’t we talk about that joint-owned condo downtown with the other ‘rents so visits last longer?  (bonus – Norman OR I can have a quiet place to escape for an evening and play “being single”)

A’s meme

My friend sn0tty sent me a link to an interview of her little man. And asked if I would interview my little girl.  This is funny in places, it probably didn’t help that I was doing this 10 minutes before bedtime when she is all riled up and ready for the negotiations to begin…

What’s something Mommy always says?
A – Dang it!
Me – (oh great!) Anything else?
A – Please.  and Help Me.

What makes Daddy happy?
Buster (the cat).  And his girls

What is something Mommy does that makes you laugh?
When you ask me about laughing (bursts into hysterics)

How old is Daddy?
(answers question, I’ll spare the public answer)

How old is Mommy?
um…um…36?
(wrong, but I’ll take it!)

And how much does Mommy weigh?
A – I don’t know!
Me – if you weigh 44 pounds, how much do you think I weigh?
A – 100 pounds
Me – Really?!

If Mommy became famous, what will it be for?
Washing the dishes
?!?!?!

If Daddy became famous, what will it be for?
Dressing up so nice
(she’s got a point there)

What is Daddy really good at?
Cooking

What is Mommy’s favorite food?
Chocolate!

How are you and Daddy the same?
We pet Buster the most

What is Mommy not very good at?
A – (without hesitation, almost before I finish the question) Cooking.
Me – anything else?
A – Cleaning Buster’s litter box

What do you think Daddy was like at your age?
A – Um, I have to go think in my room. 
(she runs down the stairs, hushed whispers with Daddy, running back up the stairs)
A – Pretty much like me now, but read books all the time.

What was Mommy like at your age?
I think you liked to sing like me

What cities were we born in?
A – I don’t know, I was born here
Me – Where’s here?
A – Where’s that place? It starts with a vowel, I think Oregon?  I can’t remember what it’s called.
Me – Kirkland, you were born in Kirkland.
A – huh.
Me – At Evergreen Hospital
A – Oh yeah!  That place.

What is Mommy’s favorite thing to do?
A – Bake
Me – Anything else?
A – Talk to me

What does Mommy do for her job?
A – I need to think in my room again
(pitter patter down the stairs, laughter, returning…I hear her chanting as if repeating…bursts into room)
A – Project Management!

What kind of job does Daddy do?
Marketing
(she asked him directly what he did, since he’s now in the room with us)

How do you know your Mommy loves you?
Cause I always give you kisses! (MWAH!) Because I gave you a kiss right now.

Where is Mommy’s favorite place to go?
A – Sears
(I only go to Sears for major appliances or vaccum cleaners)
A – you know, that chocolate place, you know, Sears
Me – oh, you mean See’s? 
A – Yes, and Starbucks
(another funny since I don’t like Starbucks coffee and make my own cappuccinos at home)

How tall is Daddy?
A – I don’t know!
Me – If you are 3 1/2 feet, how much would you guess Daddy is?
A – 100
Me – Feet? 
A – no, just 100

What is Daddy not good at?
Baking.  And cleaning Buster’s litter box
(poor cat)

What kind of cartoon characters would we be?
Daddy is the Prince, you are the Queen and I’m the Princess
(yet another little girl that wants to marry her daddy..awwww)

Do you know how much I love you?
100 million zillion million 100 zillion!
…yep…she’s got that right!