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In the Wake of Tragedy

In our current state of shock at the latest tragedy, the mass shooting in Orlando, I am upset as millions of others are at these horrific events, but also at how quickly they are turned into political jargon and posturing!

I hate how quickly the talking heads on TV discover each shooter’s “alleged” ties to Islamic radicalism and how many people after each tragedy presumably knew their murderous intent!

When the terrorist attacks took place in Paris last year, I immediately went to the computer and began to write to the victims and their families, but before I could post one-word thousands of others started to publish hate-filled rhetoric and typical political jargon. These counter-productive post blamed our President and Democrats before the world even knew who was officially responsible for the attacks themselves!!!

Are we so accustomed to these tragedies that it has become all too familiar to assess blame without the complete facts? Are we so fixed on our ideology to hate Islam and our skewed view of its supporters that we are prepared to hate before we are even willing to mourn the victims in each and every tragedy?

Changing our Facebook profiles to reflect the French Flag, posting peace symbols or supporting gay rights themes for a few weeks does not absolve us from the responsibility of knowing the truth, hate is the real culprit, and ironically it does not discriminate!!!

I got so overwhelmed by the sheer idiocy of the post I was reading in the wake of the Paris attacks that I stopped writing my original, heartfelt post. It is so much easier to post hate and wrongfully assess blame than it is to be bigger than the moment and try to post hope, encouragement, love or even sorrow!

In the fever of an election year, we tend to sensationalize these tragedies at the expense of the victims and their families. No politician is beyond using these events as a platform to push their agenda and to use society’s angst and disappointment to incite hate and get their message across regardless of the long term ramifications.

As you read these words you have no doubt been listening to hundreds of talking heads, some wittingly some perhaps unwittingly spreading the notion that this latest attack in Orlando is the worst attack in U.S. history. We’ll get caught up in the technicalities of mass shootings vs. bombings, hate crimes vs. terrorist attacks, but don’t forget the fact that senselessly killing the innocent of any race, culture, gender or sexual orientation is a crime!

In our enthusiasm as average citizens, celebrities or politicians to turn this latest tragedy into a political agenda and focus on Islam or target Muslims let us remember Oklahoma city. The Oklahoma City bombing was the second most devastating attack on American sole (2nd only to 9/11) came at the hands of a White American with Christian affiliation who killed indiscriminately 168 people and wounded 600 others!
In the wake of latest tragedy, we have a tendency to get caught up in petty grievances and mismanage our anger. Some are so fixated on terrorism and radical extremism that they’re willing to phrase what can tragically be a hate crime into domestic terrorism and thus turn it into political jargon for posturing prowess in a political debate!

What we all fail epically to understand in the wake of these tragedies is that all of these tragedies are “hate crimes,” terrorism, mass shootings, bombings, whether they happen in the states or around the world, all are both acts of terror and hate crimes!

Why do we chronicle the citizenship of terror victims killed in other countries? If the bombing killed 130 people why do we focus on the 5 American lives lost? Are we so fixated on demonizing Islam or anyone with a foreign-sounding name that we disregard the fact that many of the suspects are born and raised in the U.S.?

Perhaps the most profoundly saddest thing to come out of the wake of these latest tragedies is the fact that it only incites more hate and division?!?!

I am a 45-year-old heterosexual Black man who has no issue with recognizing the Orlando attacks as potential hate crimes against gay/lesbians. Everyone is quickly condemning these attacks and speaking out in support of the gay/lesbian community, but how may people share the same outrage at unarmed minorities being killed while in police custody or questionable shootings involving minorities killed by law enforcement?

The sad thing about these cases is that we don’t even consider them a crime because of victims in the cases. I don’t have to be gay/lesbian or even agree with their lifestyle (nor do they need my approval) to know that this is a hate crime and wrong!

Hate does not discriminate, but human beings do! I shouldn’t have to be gay to understand that it is wrong to discriminate against someone for their sexual orientation, so why is it so easy for many to disregard the death of an anonymous minority simply because he may have had a record? I’m not trying to validate one tragedy over another, but we need to recognize that they are all a part of the same tragic circumstances in our society allowed to fester due to the overall issue of hate!

In the wake of the Orlando shooting, I implore all not to succumb to the hate-laced rhetoric that would seek to use this tragedy to implant the notion of returning America to a more peaceful or civilized time. When we hear that phrase “make America great again” we have to always ask ourselves a few questions, “who is making the statement?” and “who are they making it ideal for?”

I urge everyone to weigh the words of everyone speaking out so loudly after the fact; our world is filled with too many who seek to use this tragedy for their selfish gain, we need healing, not more conjecture or hate disguised as sympathy.

A tragedy occurred in Orlando; sadly it won’t be the last, but we have to hold onto the most apparent truth we know when disaster strikes, we need to mourn the dead, survivors need to heal, the community is afraid, and fear begets panic and irrational thinking!

I identify as a Democrat, but I am not foolish enough to suggest that anyone who identifies as a Republican is unsympathetic to the overall issues of the fallout of Orlando. I didn’t post my comments in the wake of the Paris attacks, but I must post this now.

While I know it will no doubt get lost in the endless barrage of political rhetoric and people choosing to incite more fear and hate, I’m going to speak out against hate as opposed to spreading it. Whether it was truly Edmund Burke who said it first, I’ll credit him and close with this essential thought, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)”

Even worse than doing nothing is to incite more fear and hatred, in the wake of any tragedy, more fear and hatred is something that we apparently do not need!

School Pictures: My Generation’s Version of Embarrassing Photos

Do you remember the time when photos were still referred to as photos and not “pics?” How many of us remember what it was like stressing over if you had the right shoes, dress or what state your hair was in for taking those all-important school pictures? How many of us remember what it was that was like to make such a big deal about having the right outfit and then the payoff of feeling that you got it right? Perhaps the best part of the issue is only realized years later when your memory of how good you thought you looked is challenged in the reality of how embarrassed you are by those same photos all these years later.
As I compare that era with our current social media, celebrity obsessed culture we live in now I’d have to say that not only have we devolved regarding what now embarrasses us, but we have different values as far as what we now consider socially acceptable. I preferred that simple time when that curl was in, and you thought you wore it oh so well, only to now be embarrassed by that mullet, big hair or that member’s only jacket!!!

 

The embarrassment some of us currently feel as we lament hairstyle or wardrobe choices from back in the day is minor in comparison to our contemporaries who now post questionable material online and share with the world. Only a handful of these individuals ever admit or realize how embarrassed they should truly be for the pictures they choose to share with the world.
Teachers sending nude photos to their students; married people sharing nude photos of themselves with strangers; and how about the national story about a Mexican female police officer who decided it was a brilliant idea to take a topless picture of herself while on duty and in uniform?!!! All inappropriate or illegal!!! The female police officer reportedly says she embarrassed her husband and children as she sits on suspension awaiting her fate, but she is reportedly receiving all kinds of offers to pose nude for major publications just in case her career in law enforcement is indeed over.
So what have we truly learned from this issue on embarrassing photos? Since we’re gathered about with so great a cloud of witnesses who have seen and learned absolutely nothing from the countless number of examples before them, can we say that people will ever learn what it means to be embarrassed by taking inappropriate photos? Whether criminally hacked or purposely self-leaked, celebrities, athletes, and ordinary everyday stupid people have fallen victim to the picture frenzy, those photos that by all accounts wouldn’t exist if you didn’t allow them to be taken.
I preferred a much simpler time when our worst fears were that someone you see today was going to see a much less “cooler” version of you from an era in which you thought you were looking good, but then realized all these years later that you were mistaken! I don’t know if it was the clothes, the hair or even just the memories that the pictures themselves evoke, I’d pay serious money for anyone who has that elementary school picture of me in the tan suit to just burn that picture for me. That was just embarrassing.

What Are We Teaching Our Kids About Race?

Perhaps no other topic is capable of causing more potential conflict and harsh feelings like religion, sports, or even politics. I’d dare say that one topic, in particular, is liable to create just as much, if not more divide between people and that is the subject of race. The issue of race is so divisive and potentially dangerous that it is the one issue that holds sway over all of the above categories mentioned! We know there are serious racial issues that continue to trouble our society, so it is not as if we have to make a case that there is a problem, the problem is evident. My reason for discussing this topic is to address how we as reasonably intelligent parents discussing the many complexities of race with our children today?

 
A few years ago I was presented with a valuable lesson about race when my wife brought to my attention a very public meltdown that one of my oldest son’s best friends had which involved his repeated use of the N-word, which he posted on social media! My son’s friend discovered that his apartment had been broken into, and his little brother’s game console, stolen. He went on a Facebook rant venting how upset he was, and it could have ended quietly with that, but it was taken to an entirely new level by recalling a Black kid in his neighborhood that day who he deduced must have been the culprit.

 
He went on to say “it was probably stolen by that fuckin nigger I saw earlier, yea, I said nigger!” (all caps, bold, to make sure we understood he meant business!) Well, I am African American, my wife is Puerto Rican, and our kids are mixed. We have an entirely diverse group of both family and friends, so at any time we may have a United Nations appearance when it comes to family gatherings and holidays!!! Our kids have never had any issues as far as making friends with literally anybody!!! If you enjoy their company and are nice with them, they’d most likely be your friend. When this happened, and my wife showed me the post I was rather disappointed because we had known him and his family for quite a while and he had stayed at our house more times than I could count.

 
This incident happened in our personal life; this was not work related, so I didn’t need to be objective and try to sound politically correct. I was rather pissed and disappointed! My wife asked me, “what do you want to do about this?” My first instinct was just to sever all ties with him and advise my kids to do the same, but I don’t know if it was Therapist training, Christian values, parenting skills or a combination of all three helped me to call a meeting with my kids about the incident. My primary goal was to process it myself and explain to my kids how I felt, but let them know it was up to them to honestly decide how they felt about it. I did not want to project any of my anger, prejudices or angst on my kids who I always remind myself of the fact that they have their cultural identity that is different than mine or my wife.

 
I must say that this was some of the best damn parenting my wife or I had ever done, and I’m not trying to sound pretentious because I wanted to vent and dictate to them how they would respond, but the moment was bigger than my little attitude, and a better choice was made. My kids all gave their take on the situation and while my daughter voiced more anger about the situation than my son did she admitted that he was welcome back at our house as long as he apologized. My son seemed to blow it off almost immediately saying that he was just upset, and he didn’t believe he felt like that or used that language or views regularly. He also required him to make an apology.

 
My wife, to her credit, addressed him directly on social media when he first made the comment asking for him to calm down and think about what he was saying. What I found more disturbing than what he said was the fact that a couple of his relatives echoed some of his sentiments and tried to rebuke my wife’s words which were only trying to get him to calm down and not react using such hate-filled language! Can you imagine the context in which an adult would support what he was saying in that moment? Even a few of the boys other White friends were trying to echo what my wife was saying and get him to quickly delete his post.

 
He reached out to me and asked to come to talk one on one and apologize formally as he had already apologized over the phone and on social media. I gained more respect for him when he did this, and he got a chance to get into the ramification of his decision to vent while in the state of anger. I am not more spiritually enlightened than any other man/woman, but I am realistic about my prejudices and how my history and experiences with racism can affect how I see the world vs. how my children see their world. Are we teaching our kids to be like us or to reach beyond our limitations and make a greater effort than what we have?

 
This example was unique indeed because not only did I get an opportunity to teach my kids about issues concerning race, but I got a chance to discuss it with a young man who had put himself in the middle of the great debate by posting hateful words on social media. In my work as a Therapist, I get the chance to show clients that many of their behaviors don’t just appear out of nowhere. They are a byproduct of learned behavior that is often so subtle that we don’t even realize we are quietly being programmed to normalize the behavior. The fact that a few of his family members were encouraging him to use the hateful language is proof that the practice exists somewhere in his family.

 
I explained to him that I too get angry at things such as people tailgating me or cutting me off in traffic, but when these things happen to me, I stressed to him the importance of remembering the fact that these people who are doing these things are just people. The man who once rode my bumper for several miles and threaten to hit me several times, all while flipping me off and cursing me was just an ass hole, not a White asshole!!! I followed this guy to Quicktrip. He had the misfortune of happening to be going the same way I was after our expressway encounter! I pulled up next to him and said out loud, “now what?!?!?!” as an entire parking lot looked on thinking that I was having an “angry Black man moment!”

 
I explained to the guy who was so scared he wouldn’t even look me directly in the eye that his reckless behavior could have caused an accident, and I had my children in the car with me, which was my real reason for being so pissed at him! I told him that he was lucky that this occurred while during the stage of my life when I was able to take responsibility for my actions and not when I didn’t think twice about knocking someone out if the opportunity presented itself. I told him to be careful and not to do crazy stuff like that in the future because the next person he does that to may not be as forgiving or enlightened as I was trying to be with him! He looked at me as if I was crazy, but he apologized, and I got in my car and went about my business. Now my wife fussed at me about the incident because she thought I was wrong for following him due to that whole me being Black and he could have had a gun thing.

 
I talked to my kids about that incident because they saw me and knew how upset I was and why I was so upset. The guy was acting as if he was going to ram my car all because he thought I wasn’t going fast enough, but instead of going around me he decided to tailgate me for miles and flip me off and shout profanity at me! Even though I felt justified to do what I did, I had to explain to them the proper way to handle those situations and also to let them know that not all people are like that. What do we teach our kids about our incidents in which racial tensions were involved in a dispute you had? I’ve explained to my kids, friends and clients that as long as we are human race is always going to be a factor.

 
We have to stop trying to disprove that racism still exists, the signs are too numerous to count, but instead we have to teach the fact that all people are racists. I tell my kids that not every White person is a racist and out to get me, just like not every Black man is my brother or has my best interests at heart! I respect the truth and what is right, and that goes across racial demographics and all cultural lines.

 
My wife recently showed our daughter a video in which a teenage girl was attacked by several classmates who set her up by inviting her to a party in which they took turns beating her all because she was “mixed race.” Perhaps the saddest part of the story was the fact that not only were no charges filed for the assault which sent the girl to the hospital but her parents only discourse was to file a suit against the parents of one of the girls where the attack took place. They were home at the time of the attack and had allowed teens to drink alcohol during the events that took place that day. How could any parent not only allow their underage kids to drink alcohol but how could they also be “clueless” to an assault like this from taking place under their watch?

 
While kids can make one wrong choice, we don’t typically see good kids go from being responsible and friendly to setting up a girl to be bullied and beaten up overnight! How can any parent not pick up on this type of behavior developing in their child? One of the benefits of raising kids with “multi-cultural” dynamics is that they’re used to having so many diverse groups of children and adults around them that they adjust and can coexist with any group. When my kids were younger I recall going to a Burger King play area and seeing my oldest son. when he was about five encountering a group of Mexican kids and getting so excited “Hi friends” he kept saying only to be disappointed when none of them would talk or play with him! I had to wrestle against my views as I momentarily thought they didn’t want to play with him due to me being Black, so they assumed he was only a Black kid and wanted nothing to do with him?

 
I quickly thought to myself “duh, maybe they don’t understand you, son, talk to them in Spanish!” My boy went back “I can speak Spanish!! I can speak Spanish!!!” When he introduced himself in Spanish and got a few of the basic communications, he knew from his Puerto Rican mother teaching him the kids were all smiles, and he made new friends just like that! Sometimes it is as simple as being able to communicate past the static and misunderstandings and hear what the other person is trying to say. Are we as parents facilitating that environment or are we contributing to the same static and noise that keep us divided?

 
What do we base our perceptions of other races on, what the media and entertainment outlets portray? Are we so limited in our perspective to sum up an entire culture based on the few people of that culture that we’ve met? Do we ever find ourselves generalizing an entire culture based on skewed representations which are often wrong? Do we challenge or even correct our kids when they generalize or use short sighted views concerning race? The truth is we teach our children more so by how they see us behave and not as much by what we believe we are teaching them with our words.

 
Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to people telling my wife and me, how sweet and well behaved they believe our kids are. I always make it a point to tell them, my kids are just as capable of being just as typical regarding being bad as any other average kid. We’ve managed to hold them purposely accountable for their behavior, which means we deal with the issues to make sure they’ve always understood the expectations in life. My oldest son at 20 years old is more level headed on issues of race than I could have ever hoped to have been when I was his age. My daughter has managed to develop a bit of my cynical perspective, but she has enough of her mother’s optimism to help her continue to develop into a well-rounded young woman. Our youngest is still developing. Judging by his ability to play with every kid on a playground or in a play area, solely based on their willingness to play with him and not by the color of their skin, I’d say he’s well on his way to following in his sibling’s footsteps regarding his attitudes concerning race. That is the only true way to once and for all kill off racism when the later generations eliminate it from society, but how can this happen if we as parents don’t instill in them the tools to do so? What are we teaching our kids about Race?

Search Engines

Have you ever wondered what exactly search engines are? Or, how do they work?

Knowledge is power, right?

All right then, here you go! Feed your mind, and enjoy the added power!

http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/net/selecting.html

Don’t Fear, Don’t Destroy

If you talk with the animals, they will talk with you, and you will know each other.

If you do not talk to them, you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear.

What one fears, one destroys.

~Chief Dan George

Shelter!

I love to see organizations that provide a real solution to a pressing need, and this is one of them. Shelterbox helps provide temporary homes, in a box, for victims of natural disaster or other emergencies. Check their website out!

http://www.ShelterBox.org

If you ever find yourself looking for an organization to donate to, and that is really making a difference in the lives of people, then count ShelterBox as one of them!

Essential Elements for Lifelong Learning

Curiosity + Empathy + Passion = Infinate Possiblities

Curiosity = demonstrates interest with humility; it cannot be prescribed; it is different in all of us, and is inherently optimistic.

Empathy = opens the mind and heart, providing to apply one’s passion with curiosity.

Passion = grows from discovering one’s own innate talent and the positive reinforcement of it.

Referenced from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDb8DJNEaHU

Daily Devotional: The Object of Humility

One of the most quoted scriptures is Peter 5:6 “Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” As a young Christian, I understood the process of humility as simply being the way we talk to others or projecting a modest disposition, but life eventually taught me a valuable lesson on this concept.

 

I’ve not only learn how to humble myself, but I’ve unfortunately been humbled by the circumstance of life, those experiences have made me who I am today.

 

Some people might think it a bit eccentric of me, but I’ve adopted a little reminder to help me keep things in perspective. While finishing college I worked for a number of years as a custodian cleaning office buildings at night, even working at the hospital. We had a work uniform which was a basic Dickie shirt and pants combo. I hated that uniform because everyone in the building knew what department I worked in and basically treated you accordingly.

 

I was able to humble myself and dare to believe that while I was cleaning toilets and floors I was earning an education that was going to provide for my family in the near future. It didn’t happen overnight, in fact, it took a bit longer than my wife and I had anticipated, but when I eventually got my foot in the proverbial door in the field of Therapy I took with me a number of lessons that the experience taught  me.

 

What was my eccentric, quirky reminder I used to motivate myself? I kept my Dickie shirt and even wore it the day I got hired in my first job in the field! (yes, it was clean! lol). I bought several different colors and I still wear them all these years later as I work as a Therapist. Call it eccentric, goofy, or perhaps tacky, but for me it is a reminder of what I went through and it helps me to stay grounded in the reality of who I am and where I came from.

 

Just the other day I ran into an old friend who I worked with a while ago and as we briefly got caught up he let me know that he had been hearing about how my career and financial circumstances had changed dramatically over the recent years. As we were departing he made a reference to my car being new and he made a comment about me making “the big leagues” and almost without hesitation I tried to shut that notion down, not out of some insincere attempt at feigning humility, but by using my all important memory and using the object lesson of what I went through to help me be where and who I am today.

 

I’m rather comfortable in being myself, when I find myself in a circumstance in which people either knowingly or unknowingly bestow too much praise or unnecessary accolades upon me I find myself mentally and figuratively withdrawing into that space in my head in which I regulate what is real vs. what is ego or imaginary and within a few seconds I am once again reminded of who I am and the image of myself I choose to project to the world.

 

I recall an argument I had with a close family member during a critical time in my life years ago. My graduation coincided with an economic recession and hiring freezes and unemployment rates escalated just as I was trying to start my professional career! No work history in my field of study and not many prospects I found myself assessing my options as I made the mistake of sharing my feelings with a family member. I was told that I might need to abandon my lofty goals of working as a Therapist and settle for working at McDonald’s for a while because as it was put to me “there were tons of people with more education/experience than me who were out of work and settling for much less!”

 

The statement was indeed true, but the sentiment behind it was misplaced because this family member was trying to suggest to me that I was reaching past my limits and I needed to learn how to humble myself because I had perhaps “dreamed too big” by wishing to become a professional in the field of Psychology. They actually told me to learn how to humble myself!

 

I felt betrayed, even as if I had been kicked in the gut with that notion. I mustered up enough resolve to say “I’ve worked myself through college by working as a custodian cleaning shit out of toilets and having people talk down to me, I can write a book on humility!” I could have died the day my mother who is one of the people I cherish most in this world spoke those harsh words to me! That painful encounter didn’t kill my dream, but it ironically strengthened my resolve and when my season finally arrived I seized  my opportunity.

 

Today I work in the very field that at one time seemed that I would never be able to break into. I’ve seen people in these situations allow the circumstances to affect how they carry themselves, especially when they feel as if people may have doubted them, but I use all the good and bad memories of that time to keep things in their proper perspective. I’m not a humble person because I am so spiritual or righteous, but because God gave me the grace to deal with each circumstance in my life. My quirky reminder is just a subtle way of keeping myself not only grounded but remembering to be that same selfless, optimistic person I’ve tried to be from the very beginning. Humility has been forever ingrained into my character thanks to that excruciating, refreshing, yet painfully enlightening experience.

When people express to me today about how effective I am at my job or how down to earth they believe me to be it is a direct result of the lessons I learned through those experiences, humility is a virtue that more people should endeavor to acquire.

A Victimless Crime

As a Therapist, I have had the opportunity to deal with both victims, as well as those who commit rape and molestation. As a professional I can tell you that I believe in the concept of rehabilitation for willing and committed offenders, and I believe in the healthy recovery of those who are unfortunately the victims of sexual assault.

One of the things I find most alarming in our current society is the different way we view these crimes when the victim is a female with a male perpetrator vs. when the victim is a male with a female perpetrator.

The number of female teachers, getting caught having sexual relationships with their teenage male students, have steadily increased over the past decade. The worst part is that not even the embarrassment or the fear of prosecution seems to be able to deter these women from continuing to abuse their authority and creating more victims.

Why is this so?

My professors taught me to think outside the box and seek for answers, and with that thought, I’d like to explain my view on why this standard is allowed to persist.

We live in a society that glamorizes sex and sexualizes young teens. While we may shy away from glamorizing a male teacher pursuing a sexual relationship with his underage female student, we have no issue with commercializing female teachers sleeping with their underage student.

How many ABC Family shows (FAMILY, I said!) past, present and/or future shows will feature this element whether it was Switched at Birth, Pretty Little Liars, or The Secret Life of an American Teenager? While most of them stick to typical sexual exploits between the teens themselves, more than a few of them have used the teacher/student story arcs and we’ve “normalized” it as a society. We rationalize that it’s just art imitating life, without understanding that we’re in fact glamorizing it, not educating about it.

When these things happen in real life, we only have to log on to these stories online and read the comments to see how we feel about these issues.

How many times have you listened to some comment about how lucky these 14-17-year-old boys are for sleeping with a female teacher? These are grown men, and some of them fathers, making these observations. They ask, “where were these teachers when we were in school?!?!” Do women sit around and consider their daughters lucky for sleeping with their male teachers?

The law states that not only is it illegal and against policy for teachers to have inappropriate contact with students, but it’s morally reprehensible and cannot be consensual.

Why do so many people view this issue differently when it happens to young boys vs. girls? Do we determine how wrong these teachers are based on how “hot” she is? If the woman is unattractive by typical standards, do we view her actions differently?

If we don’t need much convincing to prosecute men who target impressionable young girls why can’t we determine that there is absolutely no difference between a woman targeting a male student and doing the same thing? If a male teacher must register as a sex offender why isn’t a female teacher prosecuted to the same letter of the law?

If Debra Lefave’s lawyer thought she was “too attractive” to go to prison and society makes an unhealthy standard when the abuser is a female and the victim is a young male, why is there any question when we treat these cases as a “victimless crime?”

There are grown men who have yet to master the complexities of maintaining a healthy relationship with an adult female. How are we to believe that a 14-17-year-old boy is in his element handling a sexual relationship with a woman who was entrusted with the sole purpose of academic education?

In many cases these women are married, and some even have children, yet they are treated as victims themselves; either they’re bipolar, or they simply made a mistake. While people consider the boys lucky, the truth of the matter is that they have to deal with the real trauma of being exposed to certain aspects of life much before their time with someone who committed a crime regardless of how you try to rationalize it.

We have to be careful in how we try to make what is a crime sound so harmless.  A female friend of mine was once raped at a party, and I carried the memory of her telling me the details of her assault. Too many men view what historically takes place on college campuses as typical behavior, but how can we blame a female victim for going to a party to have fun?

If we afford men the opportunity to go to a party where alcohol is served, how can we vilify a female for trying to have the same good time and drinks, that the men were allowed to have? Men, in all their logic, often surmise that “if a women get’s drunk she was asking for it!” This logic is not only tragically flawed, but it blames a victim for someone else’s irrational decision!

Even if you try to give merit to the “she was drunk” excuse how does this explain situations in which women are given drinks with drugs in them? It’s one thing to willingly accept a beer or other hard liquor, it’s another to be given something purposely to sedate you!

In my Sophmore year of college, I had to do an intense genogram assignment complete with detailed history of marriages, divorces, illnesses, deaths, trauma, etc… In my assignment, which I decided to go ahead and do, I had to discuss being molested by an older teenage girl several times when I was six years old. It was hard to talk about since I had spent much of my life acting as if it was just a movie I had seen many years ago.

When I was finished the room was eerily quite. The next presenter went up, a young 20-year-old, and she began her presentation by explaining that since I was able to talk about something so hard and personal it gave her the courage to do her presentation. She then shared with the class that she had just been raped a few weeks prior! She explained about considering suicide and her emotional state, and the fact that she considered me her inspiration to speak up about her own painful circumstances. I was humbled by her courage to share something so fresh and raw with the class that day.

When I hear random people on line making comments about how “lucky” these male students are or how “hot” some of these teachers are, I am disgusted at the fact that we are victimizing these kids all over again!

What happened to me when I was a child has since been broken down, dissected and strategically adjusted into my personality to help me to be a better Therapist and advocate for victims. As odd as it may sound I even used my personal experience to help me be more objective when dealing with offenders who legitimately want to work on recovery.

I hear people trying to differentiate between sex crimes and determine which is worse? Whether its called rape or molestation, no legal classification or technicality should determine how we view these crimes as normal or acceptable, right or wrong.

It’s just as tragic when a child is raped or molested as it is when the victim is a teenager or a grown women or man! There is no such thing as a victimless crime when sexual assault is involved.

When people don’t want to address or discuss the real issues they often try to dismiss the entire thing as if its a non-issue. Despite the high number of reported cases of female teacher misconduct involving sex with male students, some will suggest that its not an epidemic.

These same thinkers will suggest that reported rapes on college campuses are relatively small nationally and shouldn’t be too concerning, but they fail to understand that these things should not be happening period!

While we all may differ in both public opinion and what the law classifies as rape we can’t deny that our society plays a big role in what we accept as normal behavior. I can’t stress enough how what we entertain ourselves with plays a pivotal part in what we view as acceptable behavior.

We can’t watch Law and Order SVU and believe we know all there is to know about offenders or victims simply because this isn’t an after-school special, it’s entertainment. The show flips back and forth between portraying perpertrators as victims while forgetting the victim that they created.

As a psychology major, I was troubled by the statistic that stated because I was a victim that I was statistically in danger of creating victims myself one day. While the stats have their merits I actually believe in choice.

It’s the choices we make that define us, not our unfortunate circumstances.

In dealing with both the victims and perpetrators of sexual offenses we have a primary objective of no more victims; we say it, we teach it and we try to encourage it daily.

For some of us this is an unfortunate way of life that we must forever be aware of, but if we are successful in teaching this way of life to others, then look at the benefits of such a lesson being actually learned!

Whether it’s little boys, little girls, the physically and mentally handicap, the elderly, teens or adults, the victims list are potentially limitless. How does a civilized culture down play any sexual crime against any population of our society?

What happened to me as a child was wrong, but it was not made acceptable because it was done by a female! Because of what happened to me, I grew up with the routine of always taking all of my clothing off when I went to the bathroom, even just to pee! I was too young to even understand why I did this all the way in to my late teens to early 20’s!

I managed to turn a potentially destructive event into a life-defining purpose! What I do now as a Therapist I once did in the church for free. Its not just a job, but a calling for me. That may sound corny to some, but there are people out there who get it.

I relentlessly rant on about issues like this because I’m trying to reach others like me who see the need for someone to speak out on how society tends to make double standards depending upon who is the perpetrator and who are the victims.

Let’s all advocate for “no more victims” and for the recovery of all those that have unfortunately been victimized.

Dried Sugar?

Have you ever had a pack of sugar that got really dry and hard because the container or bag stayed open? Well, there are many ideas out there to help fix that little problem, and I would like to share mine with you.

It’s a really easy fix that doesn’t take a whole lot of effort… all you need is an airtight bag or container, and a moist paper towel! That’s it!

I put my bag of hard sugar in a big jar, but you can use any Ziploc-type bag that you can fully close. Then, get a paper towel, wet it and wring it out as much as you can. Place the paper towel in the jar; no fancy positioning, just drop it on top of the opened sugar bag like in the picture below.

(Make sure it’s not inside the sugar bag touching the sugar, just set the moist paper towel on top of the open sugar bag not touching the sugar)

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Then, once you have the moist paper towel in place, put the lid on your jar, (like the picture below), or if you’re using a Ziploc-type bag, then close your bag tight.

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Once it’s covered, just allow it to sit on your counter top, pantry, or cabinet for a day or two. Then, take out your paper towel and discard it in the recycle bin, and that’s it! Your sugar bag will once again be scoopable!

Enjoy!

So… what’s your solution to dried sugar? Post your great ideas in the comments below so we can have a mini-resource page to fix the dried sugar problem!  🙂