Month

October 2015

Let’s Take a Look at Sexual Assault

Recently, I started training on advocating for sexual assault victims. This course was probably one of the most difficult things to do. Not that it was difficult to go to the class and listen and pay attention or whatever. But it was difficult because the stories of people affect you, because you get a different look on this “thing”. I’ve learned so much and been able to retain a ton of information. I realized that being a victim isn’t easy. That is one of the toughest things out there. These men and women that go through these things are going through a very difficult and emotional time. So, I am going to give you a few facts on sexual assault and victims. Whether you are a victim, or know one, or just want to watch out for yourself, these are for all of you.

1.) Sexual assault happens to anyone and everyone. It doesn’t matter your age, your race, your color, your sex, your family, your life, your paycheck, or your job. This can happen to good or bad people, men or woman.

2.) Just because it happens to a bad person (in your definition or anyone else’s either), it does not mean they deserve it. So if you think that they are a “whore” for sleeping around and that they deserved what they got… They definitely do NOT.

3.) According to statistics, 98% of rapist do not pay for what they did. They don’t go to jail. Nothing happens to them.

4.) All states are different, sex offenders do not have to register in every state. So take care of your kids.

5.) In a majority of sexual assault cases, the victim knows their assailant.

6.) When a victim experiences the trauma of sexual assault, or any trauma even, there’s a part of their brain called the hippocampus that shrinks, affecting memory and a lot of other things. Which is why a lot of the time they don’t remember what happened to them and pieces only start to come back slowly. They are not stupid, or crazy. It’s just the normal human body reaction.

7.) YOU do not get to decide whether you freeze/fight/flight in any situation. Your BRAIN decides for you. So just because a victim FREEZES when getting assaulted, it does not mean they wanted to have sex.

8.) It is not the victim’s fault. It doesn’t matter what they were wearing, where they were at, whether they were walking home late at night, or invited a friend over, or they were flirting with the person that did it, once a person says NO I don’t want this, that means NO. So when someone tells you that they believe they were sexually assaulted, don’t dare ask them “are you sure?” or “well where were  you that such a terrible thing happened”. No one places themselves out there to GET raped. It is NOT the victim’s fault at all. They weren’t asking for it.

9.) During a SANE or SAFE exam, (sexual assault forensic exam) the victim has every single right to say that they do not want a certain part of the exam done. You do NOT have to do anything you don’t want to do. And remember that everything you tell the nurse or doctor can be used in court of law because it is written in a chart verbatim and given to a forensic team if you should choose to go down that route.

10.) Never, ever, EVER lie about what happened to you. If you are in your interview with the police, or whoever, if there’s something you do not WANT to say, then don’t say “I don’t remember”, simply say “I’m not ready to talk about it yet”.

11.) Your spouse should never be interrogated or asked questions, (obviously unless they were the assailant). Anything you tell your spouse is between you and your spouse. Others, like friends, family, and parents are required to testify by law, if they refuse, they can and will most likely, get arrested. So be careful who you tell what to and how you say it.

12.) If you were assaulted by or at your home, you can give your landlord the report number and (at least in the state of Washington, look up your state and make sure this applies to you) break your lease if you are renting.

13.) At any moment during an interview with the police, or SVU, or whoever, you have the right to leave. You do NOT have to stay there. If they make you feel stressed out, or act like you can’t leave, then ask them why you are being detained, but you did not commit a crime, so you are in your right to leave.

14.) Never ask a victim why they didn’t fight back, or why they didn’t try harder. I knew about a cop that got raped by two people while he had a gun pointed at his head and had his gun taken from, he told his friend about it and his friend said, “why didn’t you fight, why didn’t you take out your gun, are you serious?” If someone got raped, they were obviously vulnerable in that situation. No one wants to sit there and let that happen to them. If this cop would have pulled his gun out, he would have been killed in an instance.

15.) I heard a guy say once that “it was her fault for not telling anyone what happened to her in the first place and that’s why it kept happening to her”. No, a 6 year old is not blame, no one is to blame, for getting raped and no telling anyone. The victim is TERRIFIED about what my happen to them. “What will the people at work say about me if that’s what you are saying about it?” “Would the police even believe me if my friends don’t?” “What if the guys says that I gave him consent when I really didn’t?”

16.) A lot of the time, victims don’t have injury. So it can be difficult to prove even if there was evidence of fluids on the or in the victim. The assailant could have said that he/she gave consent prior to. There is no injury on the victim, so guess what, now it’s by word of mouth.

17.) 68% of sexual assaults are NEVER reported!

18.) 47% are friends of the victim.

 

I can go on and on with facts about these things. Sexual assault is not an easy thing to deal with, it’s tough, and there are so many emotions that come with it. A support system in place is very helpful. Get the help you need, talk to a counselor, deal with what’s happened to you, don’t hide it, talk to someone. What happened to you was NOT something you deserved!!!!!

 

*If you are in the military you can contact me for more information, there are a few differences with civilians and the military and there’s a lot that goes with it. But I am more than happy to answer any of your questions and assist you.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, reach out! Here is a helpline for you:

800.656.HOPE (4673)

or you can go to rainn.org

 

The Time We Got My Dog A Cat

DSCN0035
Migo

Every time I looked at Migo, my dog, I couldn’t help but feel sorry. For a while, he had been walking around looking so lonely and sad all the time. He would slump his head on the floor and sigh this really loud, cute dog sigh that really gnawed at the guilt  I felt inside. Feeling more optimistic about the situation one day, I ended up telling Eric, my husband, to go out and get a cat for Migo. I wasn’t trying to get my dog a cat that he would eat if that’s what you are thinking. I was trying to get him something more like a friend, that he can hang out with… I guess?

See, the weird thing about my dog is that he isn’t really a dog. He is like a cat trapped in a dog’s body. While I spend a lot of time laughing about this, most people think it to be rather odd. It’s why we love him though. So we got the cat.

Not even a week had passed when we gave the cat away. Leo. That was his name. So that night, we were laying in bed and I turned to look at Eric. His eyes were closed and they seemed to be shut unnaturally tight. I knew he was only pretending to sleep. “Do you think we made a mistake by giving Leo away?” I whispered over the whimpering cries of Migo, who hid under the bed.

Leo was given to us by a friend of a friend. He was white with black spots all over his back and had fur that was so soft it made silk feel like sand paper. He was only a baby, 6 weeks at most, and Eric and I argued a lot about his gender. I complained that Leo was a girl while he and his friend of a friend argued that Leo was a boy. I gave him the name Lea but that was cut short once I realized it was an argument I could not win against two men. So Leo it was instead. When it was just us though I secretly called him Lea. He was a crazy cat though. So crazy my dog could not handle it.

So one night, Eric was away from home and I was alone with both pets. In a total of 5 minutes, Leo had taken down the whole apartment it seemed like. He climbed up the curtains and brought them crashing down, scratched at the carpet and tore it apart, bit into the couch and made the fluff pop out, scratched at the brown dining room table and left it with scars, ate the dog’s food, climbed on the brand new Playstation we had bought and broke the eject button and scratched the sides of my favorite Ibanez guitar. Migo sat next to me on the couch and sighed once again. Our heads moved in sync as we watched Leo destroy the apartment.

Later that night, laying in bed I felt something yanking at my hair. No. Way.  I feel that crazy cat crawl onto my face and dig his claws deep into my cheek before he jumped off to grab Migo’s tail on the floor. I hear Migo screech like a girl (literally) and feel him jump on the bed to hide his face under my leg. Leo climbs his way onto the bed and begins clawing at my face. I screamed. “I JUST CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE. You destroy my house, you destroy my dog’s life, and you destroy my face,” I said to the cat. “Meow,” he blinks at me and tilts his head to the side. Ugh. I lay my head back and then I hear Leo playing with my charger under the bed. My phone suddenly vibrated, and guess what broke now? My charger. Great. At around 2 in the morning, I decided to take Leo out of my room and leave him in the living room. So, I slowly lay him on the couch, scratched his head until he purred himself to sleep, and slowly backed away without making any noise into the room. Shutting the door behind me, I throw myself in bed and feel a rush of happiness as it’s finally quiet. Crrrrrkkkk. crrrrrrrrrrrrkkkkkk. My eyes shoot open and a tear falls from one of my eyes. The cat is clawing at the door.
The next day, I hear Eric opening the door to come in and I rush over to where he is. The cat is running around the apartment and everything is either scratched at or broken. He takes a look around and then laughs when he looks at my red, angry face. “I can’t do this anymore. I won’t. I don’t want the cat. GIVE HIM AWAY NOOOOOW,” I yell at Eric. I turn around because I hear something fall on the floor and shatter. Migo is racing away from the kitchen with the cat right behind him. I see him making a leap for the couch but his calculations on the distance from the couch and his speed are way off and he hits the wall behind the couch falling to the floor. Eric bursts into a fit of laughs and giggles. This was when I realized that I made a mistake in getting a friend for my dog. I was over it and it was time to give him away. I realized I made the wrong decision in getting a cat. I am not a cat person. My hopes in dreams in having a nice, fat, friendly cat who sits at the window every now and then were gone.
A few days went by, I had called a friend that I carpool to work with and asked her if she wanted a cat. Her kids were thrilled to get a new family friend. She would be picking him up that weekend. After I hung up the phone I walked over to the living room where I saw Migo playing with Leo. They were jumping around and chasing each other around the room. I think I saw him smile. I know you don’t believe me, but it was this adorable, toothy grin that I couldn’t help but smile back at. Migo was so happy. He had stopped sighing and was actively running around and barking again. My heart sank a little and every day after that it sank a little more.

That weekend my friend showed up with her kids to pick up the cat. They stood by the front door as I got them the litter box and Leo’s toys. “He’s a crazy cat, but he cuddles with you and he will definitely make you laugh. He’s litter box trained and by the end of the week he’ll destroy everything in his path,” I said to them. Her kids laughed and rubbed at his head. As I told them everything about Migo and Leo their eyes got wide and they laughed loudly. They thought the pet’s relationship was amazing. I closed the door after saying good bye and my heart broke. What had I just done?

Migo cried loudly every day. The sighing got louder and he never wanted to do anything. He just slept or cried. He refused to eat anything and he wouldn’t even go out to use the bathroom. He just blinked when you said his name and sighed his loud dog sigh. When it was especially late into the night, his whimpers would get so loud and he would hide under the bed where you couldn’t reach him. I knew he was mad at us. He wouldn’t even eat his treats. I realized that day that I made a mistake yet again. I did not think about the way Migo was feeling before I made decisions that would affect him. Why do owners do that? We make decisions for our pets never really stopping to think of how happy they are or how unhappy they are. We move their beds, we let them stay at flea infested friend’s houses and we change their dog food when something is on sale. Have we ever stopped to think how we would feel if someone moved our home around for us and we couldn’t find it? Or if someone changed the way our vegetables tasted every month? We now have a pretty grumpy dog in our house. He plays, he’s a bit happier, but he is sad sometimes. On the way to work that Monday, my friend turned around in the car and said, “By the way, Leo is actually a girl. We named her Zoe.”

 

IMG_2291

Arroz Con Gandules! Puerto Rican Rice With Pigeon Peas!

Food is my weakness. But growing up in a Puerto Rican household, my mom always cooked traditional spanish food. One of the most important parts of most of our meals consisted of Arroz con Gandules! This is also a very traditional meal during the holidays. It’s so DELICIOUS and it goes with a lot of things. Chicken, steak, asparagus, pork. Mmmm! And the leftovers, sometimes end up better than the day you cooked it! (Don’t you just love that!?)

To make Puerto Rican Rice with Pigeon Peas/Arroz con gandules you need the following ingredients:

Continue Reading…

The Secret To An Amazing Relationship

My husband and I have had our fair share of issues. We married at a young age, and everyone told us we would never make it. Until this day, we continue to prove them wrong. They said, “You guys are so young, you’re in the military, and you don’t know anything about life. Might as well just give up now.” The world might as well have been against us. I was 19 and he was 22. They gave us one year of survival. And we fought through that one year, and I mean FOUGHT. We had a tough time of tears, anger, resentment, betrayal, secrets and so many things that I thought would tear us apart. And I thought we weren’t going to make it. At some points, my heart just wasn’t in it. We saw a counselor even, we tried to work it out. And everywhere we went to fix “the problems” we always got the same responses.

“Well are you communicating?”

Continue Reading…

Guide to Longer, Stronger, Healthier Hair!

Have you always wanted long, beautiful, healthy hair? But it’s still short, brittle, and unmanageable? Been there, done that! After joining the military and getting to bootcamp, they did “the chop”. The man who cut my hair did a terrible job. He just chopped it off and didn’t do it in any style or way. Towards the end of my time in bootcamp, my friends grabbed sewing scissors (it was all we had!) and did the best they could to make my hair even and semi-decent again so that when my parents saw me they wouldn’t see the disaster of my haircut. After this all happened, I would look at all these pictures of beautiful girls with beautiful long hair, and I envied them. Why doesn’t my hair get that long? Why doesn’t my hair look that good? I’d wish it would grow faster!  So I started trying different thing that were recommended to me by my wonderful hair stylist, and a few friends with long hair. Try these few things, and you will be on your way to long hair in no time! Oh, the glorious feeling of hope, right?!

1.) Coconut Oil is your friend!

Continue Reading…