Thursday, 30 October 2014

The 30/30 Challenge

Since August when I announced my intention to do 30 charity challenges in 30 days, I've been picking my brains over what challenges I'm going to do and when I was going to do it.

A pretty good representation of what I looked like most of the time

After going back & forth, asking for suggestions and surfing feverishly through the internet I have finally come up with all of the challenges I will embark on during the 30/30 challenge. Here they are:

1. Busking in Cardiff in Doctor Who cosplay
2. Cinnamon challenge
3. The Weetabix challenge
4. Nerd quiz night
5. Swimming laps challenge - swim as many laps as I can in the space of 1 hour
6. The doughnut licking challenge
7. Bike Machine challenge - cycle as far as I can on a bike machine in the space of 1 hour
8. Eating contest - eat soup, main meal and pudding as quick as I can against competitors
9. Wear nothing but Purple day challenge
10. Twilight 'Take Back The Night' challenge
11. A night of Monopoly challenge
12. Paint eggs challenge - paint as many eggs as I can in the space of 1 hour
13. Chunky Monkey challenge
14. Sourz Shots challenge
15. Nude calender challenge
16. Cross-dressing fundraising party
17. Fasting challenge - eat nothing & only drink water for 1 day
18. Spelling bee event
19. No swearing day
20. Chicken nugget challenge
21. Cocktail challenge - make as many cocktails as I can in the space of 1 hour
22. Ice bucket challenge
23. No talking day
24. Blindfold make-up challenge
25. Happy Meal challenge
26. Book challenge - read as many books as as I can in the space of 8 hours
27. Teddy bear picnic challenge
28. Bathe in a bath of soup for at least 1 hour
29. Coffee Morning hosted by cosplayers
30. Busking in High Wycombe in Disney cosplay

I will begin the 30 day challenge on Saturday 4th April 2015 and will conclude on Sunday 3rd May 2015. I have to be filmed doing every challenge and there'll be a video on my personal YouTube channel which I will link to this blog as proof that I have completed each challenge. I will try and have information available about Rape Crisis (who I am raising the money for) ready to give out to spread the word about the charity and information about this blog, my story and a link to donate.

It's going to be a massive challenge for me to embark on and a massive demand but I am willing to do whatever it takes to raise money for this wonderful charity. I am as determined as ever to raise awareness of the growing problem of sexual assault and rape. Cutting and shaving off all of my hair was just the beginning.

Post hair shaving

Lots of love and solidarity as always <3 XXX

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Ched Evans Hasn't And Will Not Learn

The story of Ched Evans has appeared in the media since he was released from prison on 17th October 2014 after only serving 2 1/2 years of a 5 year prison sentence for rape. As much as I think commenting on issues relating to sexual assault and rape and stories in the media are important to cover on this blog, I didn't want to weigh in immediately on this story. Partially because I was away when it all kicked off, partly because I wasn't in the right frame of mind to comment but mostly because I wanted to see what happened. I wanted to see whether he made any apologies to the woman who survived what he did to her, whether he made any definitive statements about being in prison or said anything at all.

What did we get? An unremorseful man who is only interested in self-preservation and pity play who has learnt absolutely nothing. He is an unrepentant rapist. Evidence? A disgusting website he runs in his name proclaiming his innocence and has done from the beginning. What's worse than that is his pityful video statement he released 5 days after his release (interestingly, the comments section was disabled on the video. I wonder why?) I've decided to break down his statement and counter-argue some of his points.

'In May 2011, at a hotel in Wales, by cheating on my partner Natasha I hurt the woman I love with all my heart. Since that night I have constantly regretted my act of infidelity and the damage that has been done on so many fronts because of it.'
So the major thing he did wrong was cheat on his girlfriend? Not the fact that he took an extremely drunk woman away into a hotel room and did what he did to her whilst his mates were filming from outside.

'The application [referencing his appeal application] seeks to demonstrate that the act I engaged in on that night was consensual in nature and not rape.'
Well good luck arguing against the witness statement, the CCTV that demonstrated how horrendously drunk she was, the witnesses who testified to seeing her so drunk she couldn't maintain any reasonable balance or ability to walk properly, the DNA evidence.... I'm sure that'll work out! What does he propose as evidence - the sickening film footage his mates filmed of him?

'Now that I have served the custodial part of my sentence of two-and-a-half years it is my hope that I will be able to return to football. If that is possible then I will do so with humility, having learned a very painful lesson'
Your sentence was 5 years, not 2 1/2. Quite why he was released half-way through is beyond me considering that he is demonstrating absolutely no sense of remorse for what he did or any kind of empathy towards the survivor who he fails to acknowledge throughout his statement. He has learnt absolutely no lessons.

'I would like a second chance but I know that not everyone will agree. I don't believe I have a given right to play again but for any club to take me on, I have learned a valuable lesson and know that all the time I can prove myself to be a positive influence - not just on the pitch, but also in the community.'
A positive influence for what - self-pitying rapist scumbags and their wannabes? Seriously, what good has this man ever done that can bring about anything positive? I fail to see anything from the public record that would suggest he would be positive for anybody. I repeat: he has learnt absolutely no lessons.

The public reaction has been mixed. On the one hand, you have people supporting Ched Evans some of which who harassed the survivor who had to move away from her family and change her identity just to escape. On the other, over 150,000 people signed a petition to his former club Sheffield United asking them not to re-hire him. A patron of the club whose a survivor herself has threatened to quit the club if Evans returns. Rape Crisis, the charity I fundraise for, spoke out on the case before his statement was released. I would also like to quote a part of their statement as my final remark: there is only one victim in this case. It is not Ched Evans. It is the woman he raped.

Lots of love and solidarity <3 XXX

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Comfort Box

Three weeks ago I begun psychotherapy. I waited on the NHS waiting list for 7 months which is a pretty standard waiting time thanks in part to the very limited resources and continuous cuts by the Con-Dem government in the United Kingdom right now. I couldn't afford to pay for a private therapist on the very little I earn so I waited.

The wait is done. I've had three weekly sessions out of the twenty I have been given. It's been supremely scary in some respects because I know I really have to put the work in to deal with the issues I have. I am also hopeful because this is my chance to properly heal and make emotional and intellectual understandings of what I've dealt with and find a way to move forward so I can have good and bad days and stay afloat.

I can't comment on how well it's going because I've only really just started. One thing that has come up is my coping mechanisms, the way I deal with myself when I feel low and feel particularly bad. My current toolbox consists of self-punishment and harm. Whilst sometimes it can give minimal relief, it ultimately doesn't help me as a person. I know that in my head. It was suggested to me that I should get a box and make it a comfort box.

Phil the Autistm Awareness Bear pictured was too big for the box but he's included!

Fill it with things that make me feel good whether it's nice smells, things I like touching and whatever makes me feel nice. So far, my box looks like this:

I do need to fill it with a few more things but I think it's a good start. It'll be interesting to see whether this works or not but I felt it was such a good idea either way that I wanted to share this suggestion to the readers. If you're feeling bad and in need of comfort then surround yourself with things that feel good in every sense whether it's looking at something, listening to something, touching something, smelling something or tasting something. Have a Comfort Box full of these easy-to-access things and make sure you keep stocked up.

Lots of love and solidarity <3 XXX

Monday, 13 October 2014

Patriarchy in a Proverb

I came across a patriarchy proverb on Tumblr today and it summarises the insanity that is the patriarchal attitudes towards rape and women in general. It perfectly sums up the attitude I'm trying to fight against.

Don’t be slutty, don’t have sex. But be sexy. If you’re too sexy though and you get raped, then that’s you’re own fault because you’re not actually supposed to listen to us about being sexy, even though we tell you your value is derived from how sexy you are. If you get into a position of power, we will assume that you used your sex appeal to get there and not your brains and we will mock you even though we told you the only thing that mattered was your sex appeal. Make yourself accessible to me, but holy shit stop being so desperate and needy. Don’t be a tease. If we want to have sex with you, don’t friendzone us, even though we just fucking told you not to have sex.

See what I mean about lack of logic? According to them, women are supposed to be there to please guys whenever they want at the click of a finger. They have to be sexy yet not sexy, want only them but not be 'needy', have sex with them if they want it but not have sex. It boggles my mind that anyone can support the patriarchal position especially when they blame rape survivors for what happened to them because "they deserve it". According to them, I deserved what happened to me. I'm betting they wouldn't have the guts to say that to my face because they're such "brave men" that they have to hide behind a keyboard, computer monitor, computer screen and mouse.

For as long as there are people who believe in the proverb, I will continue to talk about my experiences. I will continue to raise awareness, talk about my own journey and fight to make sure that people who go through what I've gone through get justice and the disgusting monsters who do it get their just desserts under the rule of the Law.

Lots of love and solidarity <3 XXX

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Fabulous Magazine

Sunday 12th October 2014, I will be appearing in a feature article in Fabulous magazine. The article has been written by freelance journalist Kate Graham whose previous work has included interviewing Michelle Knight who was one of the women held hostage by Ariel Castro, Kaitlin Roig whose a Sandy Hook survivor and a survivor of the Children Of God cult. The article is about the factors that go into reporting rape and the criminal justice system in the United Kingdom.

Kate's website homepage. Seriously, check her stuff out. She's awesome!

So how did I get into it? I was approached personally after this blog had been found via a Google search. My Twitter handle was found, I was contacted and a Skype meeting was set up. Another Skype meeting and some emails later, I was notified that the article was going to print and should appear in the magazine on 12th October.

How do I feel about it? Scared but really enthusiastic. As much as I was very nervous, I knew this was something I wanted to do in whatever publication I could get my hands on (even if they didn't have the greatest record on womens issues.) Since I started this blog, I've always wanted to get the word out. I want people to read it and know my story. I want fellow survivors a resource that can give them a sense of understanding for what they may feel after their own ordeal. I want people who have never come across a survivor come across a blunt account of the difficult journey we face. I want people to become aware that rape and sexual assault are genuine issues with very damaging consequences that last a lifetime. Awareness and change are the two key goals in what I do. Sure, it's currently just a very small, far-out ripple in an ocean of content on the internet but that doesn't mean I'm just sat talking to a brick wall. Someone somewhere is reading and taking note.

I never thought I'd say these words but here they are; Sunday 12th October, go buy a copy of The Sun and read Fabulous magazine (you can't just buy the magazine on its own). Maybe this'll lead to something amazing. Maybe this will lead to nothing at all. I won't get anywhere by not trying my hardest.

If any other journalists/writers/supporters/readers etc. who wish to speak to me more about my journey or related issues, feel free to get in contact. I appear to be pretty easy. I'm open to contact from just about anyone. Disclaimer: abuse/trolling/harassment etc. will not be tolerated and if appropriate, will be reported.

Lots of love and solidarity <3 XXX