Posts Tagged ‘Npr’
I was driving my 6th grade daughter to her last day of school this morning. It was 7:29.
She immediately turned the radio from NPR to the mainstream station she and all her friends listen to.
I love music and am one of those moms who sings along and car dances whether I’m alone or with a gaggle of girls. My daughter loves music too, plays the viola and has a fine reverence for The Beatles. However, I have to say most of the playlist on this small Connecticut station is to me simply mind numbing. I tease my daughter with my critiques of these singers, telling her I would like so and so, if they had any, you know, talent. I complain that they’re overproduced, and when their lyrics are too big girl, off goes the station.
Anyway, a dreadful song had just wrapped up and a new one began. But lo and behold this one had an interesting beat, and I said, “Ah! Thank God. Finally a fresh sound!” The words were still leaving my lips as the artist produced this lyric: “She goes down like she never wanna breathe.”
Rise and shine.
I paused, cocked my head the way a dog does when it appears confused, and quick, clicked us back to Morning Edition. My daughter, because turn about is fair play, proceeded to tease me by singing her interpretation of the intro music to NPR shows, little ditties she makes up that are a cross between those plucked Law and Order punctuations and the Mission Impossible theme.
I realize that in my last post I went on a tear on this very same topic over a beer ad, and yet here I find myself again, which is the whole point of going on this second tear.
My ire doesn’t come from prudishness. It’s that I’m disheartened by the ridiculous quality of it all and the dulling influence it has on us, especially our kids. These visual and auditory messages don’t even convey what they intend, they’re not sexy or sexual, erotic or arousing; they’re laughable and they provide us with nothing. They’re so removed from the real thing they lead us to believe sexuality comes from a can.
I contrast this with the shopping expedition my daughter and I went on yesterday, which involved buying her some special pieces to accommodate the ways she’s getting older. As I watched her trying things on, she looked so quietly proud, and I felt celebratory for this emerging sense of her dignity.
You know when NPR does its pledge drives and they entice you to give based on those NPR “driveway moments” when the story is so riveting you sit in your car until it’s over? I was just sitting in my car, tearing up in hearing the generous bravery of Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Joanna Connors as she talked about living with having been raped over 20 years ago. Listening to her, in addition to feeling jarred into factual sorrow, I felt relief because she will set profound healing in motion for millions of women.
At one point Connors said that prior to her attack she and other women had talked about rape as an issue, but never rape as an experience. As a therapist, I believe that women sharing their experiences with each other – not just the fact it happened, but in giving voice to how it feels to live with having been so terrorized – is one of the most important pieces in feeling better. Connors described how it feels in her day to day life, and it’s in including those qualities that we understand the realities of rape beyond being a noun or a verb we refer to in discussions from time to time.
I encourage you to listen to her interview, which includes callers’ stories, on NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook. You can also read her Cleveland Plain Dealer five part series An Epilogue to Beyond Rape: A Survivor’s Journey. Her words will blow open a new dialogue on this all too common situation, one that used to be kept in the petrification of silence.
The U.S. Department of Justice statistics say that between 1 in 6 to 1 in 4 women will be raped in her lifetime. Those statistics are based on rapes that are reported. Estimates are, the real incidence of rape might be 10 times this.
Three of my closest friends have been raped. Three that I know of.
Each of them had a different experience. One was raped by a school employee when she was a girl; one gang raped by strangers as a teenager; and one date raped in her 30s. We all know women who’ve been raped. They may not have confided in us, but they’re there in our families, friendships and communities.
I’ve also heard wrenching stories of sexual assault from my clients. This is how one of them, a woman I greatly admire, wrote about her rape in my study. She was in therapy with me for two years before she even brought it up and felt ready to talk about it, and I hope her eloquence moves you. If any of you feel it might help to write anonymously about your story, please feel welcome to complete my Women’s Realities Study rape questionnaire.
I was a virgin and was raped by a boyfriend I had been dating briefly…My sister saved me during the rape. We talked about it immediately following, but not since then. I have confided in boyfriends, but more for their benefit rather than my own – I told them in an effort to defend my inconsistent desire for a sexual relationship… I think I mostly kept it a secret because I still feel guilty that it happened to me and that it affected me – I don’t want to complicate the lives of my family or friends with yet another problem after having them deal with my anxiety disorder and depressions. * During the rape I felt suffocating terror. Abandonment from God. The deepest alone I have ever felt. I sometimes near this feeling during panic attacks…With some distance from the event, I came into a depression that led to a feeling of being disconnected from God and even from the human race…I felt abandoned and alone. I felt uncomfortable in my body and disconnected from myself. I know that might not make sense to everyone, but in a sense I became a stranger to myself. I want people to understand that rape causes the most potent loss there is. Not only did I lose my faith in God, but I lost my ability to trust my instincts and to follow my heart. That is a loss I deal with every day.
*My note: her anxiety, panic attacks and depression were all in response to the rape.