Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hopping Along, With Vicariously Thrilling News

I know, I am redoing my site and have fallen off the face of this blog. But I was tagged in a blog hop by Shannon Hitchcock and I couldn't say no. Wanna know why? Because her book is coming out on February 1st! You can't say no to a writer just before she releases her book into the world, especially when the request happens to be so selfless. She's directed people over to my blog to read this and hear about my own debut novel. So kind. *waves to Shannon's friends* *hopes we can become friends*

If you're one of my amazing current blog friends *waves to friends* do me a favor and go check out Shannon's site and her debut novel, "The Ballad of Jesse Pearl", okay? 

*sneaks in a pic*

Okay. :)

Now to answer a few questions.

What's the title of your debut novel?

Rape Girl

Give a brief Synopsis

Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl.

But not the rape girl.

That’s who she is now. Rape Girl. Because everyone seems to think they know the truth about what happened with Adam that day, and they don’t think Valerie’s telling it.

Before, she had a best friend, a crush, and a close-knit family. After, she has a court case, a support group, and a house full of strangers.

The real truth is, nothing will ever be the same.

What have been the most amazing things that have happened to you since holding your debut novel in your hands?

Having other rape survivors read it and tell me it made them feel validated and less alone.  Being invited to speak to teens about a topic so important to me. Feeling like I'm  making a little bit of a difference in the world for having written it.

What do you dream of for your book?

I've always had this daydream of seeing a stranger reading a book of mine on an airplane, from takeoff to landing. If that ever happened, I would consider myself a  full-on rockstar. And if the book they were reading happened to be Rape Girl, I'd feel compelled to buy that stranger a pony for being so cool.

Tina Philips,

Now it is my pleasure to tag someone you will all want to get to know, pronto, if you don't already: my lovely critique partner and very funny lady, Dana Alison Levy! Did you see her announcement in PW this week?

I could not be happier for Dana, who kept writing a variety of amazing stories, until one of them finally ended up on the right desk--and went to auction!

Please be sure to check out Dana's blog for her post next Wednesday! Or better still, head over to Dana's and Shannon's blogs, now, hit zee follow buttons, and make some new, incredible friends!

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Framework for the Unspeakable

The quote above was taken with permission from a post on Pandora's Aquarium. It was written in reply to a survivor who spoke up about her rape to specific friends online and received very few responses. Jessica shared with that poster that the same thing had happened to her and that she eventually reached the conclusion that many of her friends probably wanted to respond but had no idea what to say or do. That rape silences everyone, not just survivors and that "we have no framework for how to talk about the things society has made unspeakable."

That comment gave me the truth-chills.

The horrifying gang-rapes in Steubenville and New Delhi India have gotten the world talking about rape again. But just like the conversations dealing with gun rights after the horrifying deaths in Newtown, CT, we can't let this issue fade when the limelight has moved on. We need to create a framework for discussing the unspeakable all the time. Because the unspeakable happens ALL THE TIME.

There is a Twitter campaign happening right now using the hashtag #2013endrape, started by @wolfe321. While that's no doubt a lofty goal, I think we can make great strides toward achieving it this year and I want to be involved. I want to help create a framework for the discussion that will make it a possibility.

To accomplish all of my diverse goals for this year, I feel I need to make a fresh start online. My blog will likely remain, for a time at least, but will return to a "blogspot" address as I start a new self-hosted website with more interactive capabilities.

For my writerly-rambles I started a Tumblr over the holidays and very soon I will be partnering with Christa Desir on another Tumblr focused on sexual assault. (If you are on Tumblr, please share a link!)

Many more plans are still in the brainstorming phase, all of which make me excited and nervous and eager to share. My brain is turning and turning over the possibilities.  I hope you will share my excitement when all is revealed.

Until then, I'm wishing all of you a wonderful year of accomplishing all that you set out to do!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Virtual Cookie Swap!

Who can resist cookies? I know I can't! So today I'm pausing the EP posts to participate in a virtual cookie swap with some friends.  Here are the rules:  

I'm sharing a family recipe for molasses cookies. My mom and my sister Heather used to make these all the time when I was little and there is no cookie more delicious or nostalgic for me in the world that this one. Except maybe for Heather's oatmeal-chocolate-chip-raisin, freezer cookies, which perhaps I'll share another time--Because, YUM.  In the meantime, you can't go wrong with these. 

Molasses Cookies, Benedict-Style

1 cup butter (room temp.)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup molasses
~4 cups flour
sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350F

Cream together the butter, sugar and then eggs. Mix in the ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and molasses until combined. Add 4 cups of flour stirring in one at a time. Stop there for thin, yet chewy and delectable cookies. For slightly thicker cookies add a bit more flour. (Bake a test cookie or two until you get the proportion just right for your taste.)

Roll cookies into balls about an inch in diameter and dip the top of each in a small bowl of sugar. Bake on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper for 10 minutes.


All these other ladies are serious foodies, sure to post amazing recipes, so be sure to check them out! 


Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Empowerment Project--An Offer of Support

with hope anything is possible
Photo credit: Mike Stenhouse

I've been thinking about how to broaden this Empowerment Project.  I love posting artistic contributions, like the glowing examples in the EP archives, but submissions aren't always brimming in my inbox. :) There has to be something else I can offer.

After being lucky enough to meet with a couple of therapy groups for survivors, I've realized that one of the best things I can provide is hope. And I'm qualified to provide that for the simple reason that I'm an example of someone living a happy life after being raped.

There are few things that can make a person feel more alone than surviving rape. Whether or not you tell people it happened, it's lonely. Whether or not they support you, it's lonely. Your relationships change--they can't help but change.  And it's hard to see that the aftermath won't always be your whole life.

When the aftermath was my life, I didn't know anyone who had gone through the same thing. Nobody who talked about it, anyway. I had nobody to ask questions. No positive examples to look to for hope that there might still be happiness for me, someday. It  all felt so impossible, sometimes.

I don't want it to feel that way for anyone else, if I can help it.

I want every survivor to know that everything is possible for you. Yes, YOU. You can have, be and accomplish anything you dream of.

I believe in being honest and open about what happened to me. I didn't always make the best choices on my road to recovery, but I'm here in one piece, with a wonderful family and friends, and I'm proud of the good choices I did make. If you have questions for me, I'd love to answer them here on my website so others might read them as well.

Just email if there's anything I can help with.**  I will keep all names anonymous, unless you request otherwise.

We'll play this by ear and see if this is a viable way to add depth and further support to the Empowerment Project. I'd love to hear what you think.

**Please note: responses will be based on personal experience. I am not a licensed therapist or anything close to one. Therapy can offer you something else entirely and I urge you to consider it if you haven't already. My job, as I see it, is simply to relate because I can. We're all different, yet so many things are universal. You aren't alone.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Empowerment Project--Original Piano Composition "Masking the Pain"

I'm thrilled to share with all of you, seventeen-year-old composer, Accalia Murray's, original song: "Masking the Pain".

Isn't she talented?  Music composition is a complete mystery to me. I'm awed by this.

Here's what Accalia had to say about her emotional composition:

"Every time you try to hide the pain, it returns in bursts and eats you alive. I would know. Facing it is the only thing you can do. Face your fears, your pain, your sorrow, and then move on. Become healthy again."

Thank you for letting me share your incredible talent and insight on my blog, Accalia!

Now, everyone, please head over to Accalia's YouTube channel to enjoy more of her original pieces! I'm sure she'd appreciate you subscribing and spreading the word if you like what you've heard. :)

Also, if you need an extra dose of kindness in your life, please head over to the new dedicated blog for  The Kindness Project. We all need more kindness in our blogrolls, don't we?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, USA!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Perks of Crying Rape

**Trigger warning**

The wrongness of using qualifiers to modify rape has been been hashed and rehashed by reporters and bloggers these past few months, as various politicians have said ludicrous things and perhaps even derailed their own campaigns. I thought this post from Jezebel explained the issues of attaching qualifiers, quite well.

Of course, qualifiers of rape are nothing new, but the political stage is a grander and more terrifying place to invent  them. Yet in the conversations surrounding the issues it's rarely pointed out that these qualifiers originate in a general concern that people, particularly girls, routinely lie about being raped because of some perceived benefit it gives them.

Even people who say they are sympathetic toward "real rape" victims have asked me: "But, what about the girls who lie because they regret having sex?" Or, as Ken Beck once called it, who suffered "a case of buyer's remorse"?


It's like people think there are actually perks associated with telling the world you were raped. Like sympathy will rain down on you, and life will be made good---so everyone wants to do it.

So, allow me to tell you some of the many "perks" I enjoyed as a result of telling the world I was raped, (keeping in mind that my experience is literally one step removed from a "best case scenario"):

  • First, I got to tell two male police officers aaaaaaall about it. 
  • I got to have a rape kit performed, where I was intimately invaded, a second time--as well as photographed without clothes on. Good times.
  • My peers called me names, both to my face and behind my back in whispers. Some were creative, others less so. My favorite was: "Dildo!" which is why it made it into RAPE GIRL. Because it's great, right?
  • I lost friends--well and truly and forever. But, then, I guess they weren't really so--woohoo?
  • Everything I'd ever worn (particularly that tan miniskirt I once borrowed from my sister) was the  obvious reason for my rape, as one grown woman helpfully pointed out. 
  • Other girls came forward to say they'd been raped by the same guy, which you think would support my case. 
  • Nope my "lies" were renamed a "conspiracy".
  • My mom received hate mail. Threatening hate mail, for believing me and the other girls and encouraging prosecution. 
  • Rumors at school made me seem a lot more exciting than I'd ever come close to being.
  • All but one of the other girls dropped their charges.
  • I got to repeat the details of the worst experience of my life ad nauseum, for hours upon hours in the prosecutors office preparing for my trial. Because there was an actual trial--a rare thing. Jealous, yet?
  • At the trial I was questioned, and accused, by grown men in front of a microphone while trying to avoid my rapist's eyes
  • The prosecutors "failed to establish my age at the time of the assault" and my case was dropped.
  • He was convicted in the other girl's case and was sentenced to less than a week in jail and some community service.
Awesome, huh? Doesn't it sound fun? I mean, why wouldn't a girl want to falsely accuse someone of rape when she might get to experience any one of these things? 

Truly, support is rare. Belief is rare and precious. Telling never makes life easy.

The only real perks are in discovering who your true friends are, preventing wounds that fester when you don't tell, and maybe making other girls think twice about dating the accused. 

Is that what you're talking about, politicians? Yes? Then I guess crying rape made me a regular lucky duck.

The fact is, rape is rape. And anything less than "yes means yes" is damaging. I'd like to see that on a campaign trail.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Empowerment Project--Thoughts for a Friend

My friend, Star, the talented artist that brought us Sweet Dreams and Butterflies in Belize was recently hit by a drunk driver. Her arm was broken in multiple places and right now she is recovering from surgery and fighting off pneumonia in the hospital.  Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers, and if you have a moment to leave a note of encouragement for her in the comments, I know it would lift her spirits!

"Candlelight" by Lobster20

Sending healing thoughts, Starry,

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