Are You Aware?

It's a month when military suicides are at an all time high, partly because our revolving door Stop-Loss policy doesn't give our soldiers a break, so if they don't kill themselves, they come back with the thousand yard stare, maybe PTSD, also called battle fatigue.

Repeated tours of duty where they endure violence and the threat of violence, see friends killed, injured and traumatized, must be constantly vigilant, never able to relax; can be an psychologically unbearable .

It's not just combat veterans, the Continuous Terror Paradigm affects anyone subjected to continuous anxiety and/or trauma, which brings me to the discussion stirred up by this post. I think the comments speak for themselves

think of how much it sucks to know all the time that if you aren't armed, you are in danger.
Think about never feeling like you can relax if you are alone, never feeling comfortable, knowing you must maintain Constant Vigilance. Then think about the further implications - if you let your guard down, if you leave without your pepper spray, if you deign to wear something other than a buffalo robe, suddenly you are to blame if something happens. Tammy

I couldn't sleep until I went downstairs and closed and locked every window through which someone could break into my home. And I live in a very safe town. tamatha

I'd give anything to be able to walk or run in the evenings. Or not be terrified to walk to my car at night. Every single day. sarahk

I love hiking. I'd love to do a solo hike but I don't dare. I've tried it with two large dogs and even then had a half naked guy sneak up on us on a ridge top. Thank god for those dogs. I've talked to outdoorsy men who look down their noses at women who don't 'go for it' in activities like that. They just don't get it because they don't experience the threat. They don't have to worry about it at all so it isn't even a consideration for them. They seem to interpret a woman wanting companionship on a hike or a bike ride in a park as a weakness, or an inability to be alone with her thoughts. I would so dearly love to be able to do that without fear, but I can't. You really do have to consider safety in numbers, and be careful even then. Viking

My friends and I tried to combat this by always being in a group even to go the bathroom and never walking alone anywhere. We had fun but in the back of our minds was always safety, safety, safety. It's a sad world. wildflower

I generally feel comfortable walking alone at night in all of the cities I've lived in, but not always and never without my heart racing if I see someone coming towards me. Artemis

When I take too long at night to find my keys in my purse...that's when I get afraid. Julie

whenever I walk by a group of men, I can consciously feel myself tense up. I wonder if they will catcall me or ogle at me, and when they don't, I breathe a sigh of relief after I've passed. T...I still feel uncomfortable as hell when it happens, and that I don't appreciate that feeling of discomfort. Add to the fact that this happens every single day. every single fucking day.

Every time I go out I look over what I'm wearing to make sure it's not too revealing. If I catch a guy staring at me I'll whip out my phone in hopes that he'll think I'm busy and won't approach me. If he does approach me I try to not be too friendly so he doesn't get the wrong idea. I've had men follow me, cat call me, approach me in public and demand to know my name, where I'm from, my phone number, etc. since I was 13. If I'm someplace unfamiliar I always know where the exits are, I always know where my friends are, and I always have one hand on my phone. Intern Rusty

So it can happen anywhere. The real pain in the ass is that one second you'll feel safe in a place, then one look or one catcall will ruin it for you. And it's fucking ENRAGING. figgy

many women bristle at the casual depiction of rape/sexual violence in the media. It's not because we think it causes rape - it's because our lives are fucking filled with lingering threat, and these kinds of materials are a constant reminder of "Hey, better walk safe! Skip that block! Don't wear that! Don't go there! Don't talk to that guy! Don't accept that drink! Etc. Etc. Etc." Tammy

the dilemma.
Do I assume this guy is just being friendly and be friendly back? Or is that going to become license for licentiousness? It's sometimes easy to go overboard in that respect because we have to think about it very carefully and from that simple "hello," make a world of decisions. And then, once again, *I* am the asshole if the dude is really just saying hi like a human being. Anna

And it is nervewracking every time some unknown man on the street or in a public place speaks to me. If you try to smile and seem amiable, you run the risk of "encouraging" and suddenly he's following you down the street. If you scowl and walk faster, you get the "whassamatter you stuck up bitch" and who knows where that leads?

If I smile, I'm obviously asking for it and if I reject your advances, well then I'm a stuck-up bitch that needs to be taught a lesson. Helena

Just know this, boys: it's real. It's happening. To all of us. Young, old, skinny, fat, pretty, ugly, barely dressed, burka'd, living in a safe neighborhood, living in a shitty neighborhood... So cut us some fucking slack when we get "upset" about it, OK? MM

this is everyone's problem
Men, understand that the guys who do these things make the lives of you who don't harder. I'm less likely to talk to a guy who starts a conversation with me in a bar because I don't know if he's a stalker. I'm less likely to let someone buy me a drink because some asshole thinks that means I owe them something. I'm less likely to take a chance on you because taking that chance got someone else hurt or killed. Intern Rusty

We're sitting here discussing the gross leering men but there are people who end up missing out on who knows what kind of chance with the perfect someone because that someone is so burned out already on all the gross leering men that they just want to go home or assume every dude has the sole intention of fucking them as soon as possible. Nadine

Do I modify my behaviour to cut the risks? Of course, even when I'm not totally aware I'm doing it. It's not taking that short cut after dark, it's not walking with my headphones on so I can hear who's around me, it's letting people know that I got home ok.. A lot of people might say it's just common sense, and it is, of course it is, but should I have to? Carrie

I don't think my life is smaller because I'm a woman but I do think I'm more scared and anxious than I'd be if I didn't have this constant threat of not just sexual assault but being blamed for the sexual assault hanging around in the back of my head. It's a fine line. Intern Rusty

I consider the biggest offense accompanying harassment/assault/rape its centrality to female's lives to be the fucking time and energy it consumes. I want my daughter to devote her time and energy to self-cultivation, not self-preservation. I want her to be able to walk around without having her mind cluttered with a bunch of bullshit calculus about where to walk, when to walk there, whether or not to wear her walkman, what to wear, who to avoid making eye contact with, who to speak to and who to ignore, etc. You know, just as my son would. This shit is a waste of precious fucking time. Samantha T

from men
As a male survivor of sexual abuse, I know something of the symptoms of this. I know the shame, dissociation, fear, paranoia it engenders. And all my life, I have felt, in "intimate" situations that I was doing to the other person what was done to me, and that they could not possibly be enjoying this. It has taken me many many years, and a lot of therapy to try and get out of this hall of mirrors. Odnon.

I used to have a large park between where I lived and where I went to school that was a notorious spot for gay men to hook up. As a guy who was originally from the suburbs I had never had the experience of being hit on by another man. But after a few weeks of living there I was very uncomfortable going through the park at any time of day and would always avoid it as much as possible at night. It was very eye-opening. Here was just one tiny piece of land that I spent a few minutes a day traversing where I was followed by creepy dudes and was the recipient of a lot inappropriate language. To think that the whole entire world is like this for women is depressing. While most men are not like this, it only takes a few to turn an otherwise normal environment into something frightening. To experience this as a guy gives me a whole new respect and understanding for what women go through on a daily basis. Ross Sea Party

Dr. Trappler's advice, from the article:
“It behooves us, during these dire times, to protect and support those among us who have been repeatedly exposed to stress, by giving them as much personal support as we can.”

cause, after all, it's Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

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