FACES




The FACES Project is a collection of black and white photographs of survivors of Sexual Assault and/or Domestic Violence on display in downtown Fort Collins every April. They asked if I would be willing to participate and I initially said no because I have never been comfortable being in front of a camera much less have my deepest darkest secret on display for the world to see. I finally agreed at the last minute realizing how instrumental SAVA is in what they do to promote the strength of survivors of a silent crime. Words will never be enough......thank you to my precious family, my loving friends, and the unconditional support from my bishop and the people in my church......and thank you  to my sweet, caring 16 year old son, Jordan for going with me to the event tonight!! He's 6'4" 270 lbs and is built like a herd of buffalo, I can't help but feel safe and protected with him by my side! :)  I'm incredibly blessed and am so unfathomably lucky to have so much happiness, so many adventures, so much fun, silliness, and really good bbq's in my life......what else is there!! :)~

Assault has no biases, it's not limited to social class, occupation, sex, race, religion and it crosses all boundaries. Rape is a violent crime and changes the path of the victim forever. I pursued law enforcement because of what I had experienced. I took a moral oath to protect women and children and others who could not protect themselves. To be a voice, when they had none. But even with all the training under my belt, what happened three years ago on the night of February 26th in Pagosa Springs, spiraled my life into a place that I was blind in seeing the obvious. I understand now how it affected every choice I've made since that moment.

It's only when we open up and recognize that even when we want to be strong, refusing to be a "victim", and to seek the help that is out there, that is when the true healing begins. When we decide to trust and be vulnerable again, is when our inner light is restored. It's a challenging road, yet the enlightenment and freedom felt is worth it. You can force your mind to forget or overlook what happened, and you can force yourself to think that you are not affected, but ultimately you are only fooling yourself. Your body and psyche never forgets.

I refuse to be defined by the selfish, hurtful acts of others. I am a survivor of a horrific crime and it has taught me so much. For that I am fortunate. I believe that every experience in our life, negative and positive, is for the needs of our soul to grow and become more humane. I had compassion and empathy before, but now my supply and understanding is limitless. Abuse in any form is a crime against the soul. Say NOMORE. Stand up. Be heard for the people who no longer can be, for even as we "walk through the valley of the shadow of death, fear no evil, for You are with us; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort us", forever and ever, Amen!



Out of the night that covers me,

Black as a Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul



In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced or cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.



Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


Invictus
~William Ernest Henley

Washing my hands of the cruelty I was trained to recognize and became a survivor of.














**More photos from the gallery to come....so check in! :)

Glass Houses



People really shouldn't throw stones when they live in glass houses. As I used to tell my children and my employees, friends, co-workers, "If you don't know your rights, you don't have any rights." Well, I know my rights and I'm not intimidated. I have facts and they will prove the truth. It's so sad that one lie has to snowball into an avalanche because of an inability to be sincere and honest. How selfish. I have a constitutional privilege to post the truth. I have a moral obligation to protect others from potential emotional abuse that not only I, but others endured as patterned by years of repetitive behavior. What wasn't public will inevitably all become public because of one person's intentional and conscious lying and manipulative actions.

Predators

Emotional & Sexual Predators

I came across this blog while searching the definition of "Predator" and was immediately drawn to it as there is not a lot of information available on adults who prey on other adults and the fine socially acceptable line they walk and manipulate. This is a growing issue and ladies, if he pursues you relentlessly.....Run!!!
The term “Sexual Predator” covers a wide gamut of predatory behavior. Most research on the subject has to do with the pedophiliac sexual predator, one who preys on children. The level of ew that comes with that is bottomless. These are very sick people who need serious help, and although I can empathize with damaged people overall, being emotionally damaged myself, when those issues hurt other people, especially but not limited to children and animals (the innocent), my empathy falls short. Bottom line, they are dangerous. Get away. You cannot help them. Save yourself. Save your children.
Today I’m going to focus on the largely ignored sexual predator, those that prey on adults either in person or via the internet. Let’s start with this list on Sexual Predator Warning Signs from Dr. Phil’s website, although he is talking about those who prey on children, many of the warning signs are the same.
  • Refusal to take responsibility for actions and blames others or circumstances for failures
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Low self-esteem
  • Need for power and control
  • Lack of empathy
  • Inability to form intimate relationships with adults (inability to commit)
  • History of abuse
  • Troubled childhood
  • Deviant sexual behavior and attitudes
  • Often offend where they won’t get caught — when they have misdirected people’s attention
  • Often married or in relationships
  • Offend when the victim is handy
  • Not always strangers, often family members, family friends and neighbors
  • Most attracted to adults
  • Good manipulators (seduction is an integral part)
  • Overly self-indulgent
  • Arrogant
  • Sexualize, objectify women
  • Users of various kinds of pornography
  • Typically known as rationalizers, intellectualizers, justifiers
  • Great helpers — are there to lend a helping hand — prey on people in need, when they can insinuate themselves in your life
  • Use stressful and vulnerable situations to get in — they find a need they can fill and they use that to get next to the victim
I’ve bolded the signs that I’ve personally experienced with more than one predator. They will undoubtably be extremely charming and seem very sweet and gentle at the start, perhaps even throughout the relationship. With their words at least, but you must look very closely at their actions. Do their actions match their words? Remember, that is how one builds trust: Words + Supporting Action + Reliability over Time = TRUST.
Narcissists may be the most dangerous type of sexual predator, but not all predators are narcissists. Please watch out for the signs, trust your instincts, and protect yourself.
Let’s take a look at this list more closely. Many people have low self-esteem. Many people have had a troubled childhood or been victims of abuse in its varying forms, from neglect and verbal to emotional and physical. These alone do not a predator make, but they are symptoms.
One of the biggest indicators of sexual predators is a sense of entitlement or grandiose sense of self. One person described himself as having a “typical performer’s ego,” and he wasn’t kidding. However, I’ve known many performers throughout my life, actors, musicians, etc., and most of them are not sexual predators. Dear friends of mine told me that as a performer, you must think you are the most amazing thing in the world when you are on stage. For your audience to believe it, so must you. But they also stressed the importance of shutting that off the moment you walk off stage. In other words, it’s part of the act, not part of who you are. So if the person who has caught your eye has an inflated ego or an inflated sense of entitlement, beware. These people can never accept blame. They believe they are beyond the rules. They take criticism as baseless attacks and turn quickly to rage or giving the cold shoulder. These and other signs can be found on Think Like A Black Belt. Well worth a read, as they go into more ways to spot a predator before they prey on your emotions, your trust, and your heart.
True narcissists, or even those with severe narcissistic tendencies, will make you feel as if you are the most important and special person in the world, “then emotionally distance themselves in ways that keep you unsure of yourself.” A very dangerous thing about people like this is that they are incapable of empathy, but they fake it very, very well. And therein is where the difficulties lies. They are so very believable. They are so very charming. They seem so loving and caring and seem to be opening up, but it’s all a facade. A very convincing facade.
If they are married or in a committed relationship and are telling you that their SO doesn’t understand them or doesn’t make them feel loved or some variation of that, they are quite possibly a predator. They are putting their needs and selfish pleasure above integrity, above giving their SO the respect of a choice. Not all cheaters are predators, by no means. Sometimes they really just don’t know what else to do and fear is crippling them. Sometimes it’s their only way out, but most of the time, they are predators.
Still. Married/committed people stepping out (or trying to step out) is a HUGE RED FLAG. They will justify their actions indefinitely. They will not take responsibility. It’s their spouse’s/SO’s fault for not understanding them or not being the person they want them to be. They’ll believe things like online sexual activity or even in-person sexual activity is not cheating. A blow job isn’t cheating. Unless penis enters vagina, it’s not cheating. Balderdash. If you are watching porn behind your spouse’s back, it’s cheating. If you are chatting with another wo/man via text or online behind your spouse’s back, it’s cheating. If you can’t tell your spouse about it or, better yet, do it with them right there, it’s cheating. It’s a betrayal of trust.
Women as well as men can be sexual predators, so look for the signs. If you see these signs, be careful and look more closely for more signs. Have them earn your trust and the privilege of holding your heart over time. And you, in turn, show them that you can be trusted by meaning what you say and doing what you say. By opening up and sharing your fears. By respecting yourself and your boundaries first, then respecting them and their boundaries as well.
A very prevalent form of sexual predators are those online. They troll Craigslist and Twitter, and they are sometimes very creepy and can be spotted a mile away, but all too often they are charming and sweet. They play the sympathy card. They’re not understood. They “could really fall for you.” They usually won’t meet you in person, but sometimes they do. They toy with your emotions, perhaps filling a void and making you feel special and cherished. They excel at that. But, as I’ve learned from several victimized women, these predators are doing this exact same thing with multiple victims, men or women. So be very careful with online interactions. Please don’t get attached or give your heart before you at least meet them in person. Remember, behind the protection of the internet wall, one can pretend to be anything. Talk to others. If on Twitter, DM other wo/men to whom the person in question often interacts, and just see if they’re experiencing the same type of communication. There are *so many* predators on Twitter, and they prey on lonely people. It’s uncanny, really.
What is the internet, if not a narcissist’s dream come true?
~Tony Long WIRED magazine
I really can’t emphasize enough how very charming and sweet they seem, both online and in person. They can turn on the tears to gain your empathy. They are masters. Be careful. Please. Be careful.
Take your time. Watch for the signs. Protect your heart without locking it away. It’s a fine line. Build trust between you over time.
Undeniable signs that you’ve encountered a sexual predator:
  • they do not respect your boundaries
  • they do not wait for a “yes” (enthusiastic consent) before sexually moving forward
  • worse, they don’t accept “no” for an answer.
  • they sexually or emotionally seduce and coerce, masterfully. The real experts can even wind words to make it seem like it’s your idea.
  • they use their position or social status to pressure you
  • you feel nauseous or anxious – your body’s warning system
Please read more over on the Think Like a Black Belt blog, where they teach ” physical, mental and emotional self defense against unsafe people.” I’m sure going to be spending some time there as well as on the Yes Means Yes blog. Next week, I’ll be talking about Enthusiastic Consent. Please join me then.
Also look at these articles on the subject:
If you think you may have encountered a Narcissist, do your due diligence for your own protection. No one can suck your soul or shatter your self-esteem like a narcissist can. Months, if not years, of recovery.
As for NarcSpeak, this is my current favorite:
I don’t think you and I talking would do either of us any good.
Since you have me figured out and won’t buy any more of my b.s. I can’t face you. You scare me and you might just reveal more of the sick predator I am.
Please remember, although I’ve posted many links and information about Narcissists, as they are severely dangerous, they are not the only kids of predators. Look for the signs, and if you see more that two or three, take a step back and give them time to earn your trust over time. Ensure that their actions match their words. And ensure your actions match your words, too.
You are worthy of love, honesty, integrity, respect, time, and reciprocity. If someone isn’t willing to meet you on your level and respect you and your boundaries, they are not worthy of you, not the other way around.
Peace.
~ by omgrey on October 12, 2011.