“What do you feel about going topless?” he asked me over the phone. I hesitantly replied, “Well, I guess I’m okay with it. But will they be able to touch my boobs?” There was an awkward pause on the other end of the line. “Yes, but you’ll never have to do anything more. I promise.”
A few days earlier, I’d been scanning Craigslist for part-time gigs and came across an ad that seemed too good to be true: “Beautiful college girls sought for nightclub modeling. Receive up to $1000/night. Email pics.” I answered and said that I was a 21-year-old student and attached some cheesy iPhoto shots.
It was January of my senior year of college in New York, and I was completely and utterly broke. I had been doing freelance work to keep me afloat, but things started to go downhill in December, when I only made $600 for the entire month — not even enough to cover my rent. On a cold night I huddled in the school’s library, answered every student job posting I could find and scanned Craigslist. Five minutes after answering the nightclub post, I received a response from a guy named Bob. He wanted me to call him. I ducked outside and dialed the number he sent me. Keep reading »
Nearly four years ago, while I was on a third date with a man, I was raped. For a long time, I wouldn’t have been able to write that sentence. I would have equivocated. I would have quickly followed it up with minimizers like, “I was drunk.” Or, “I’m OK. It wasn’t violent.”
These statements are all true. I was drunk. The rape was not violent in that I wasn’t physically injured. I am OK. At this moment in time, I am comfortable saying that these factors still don’t make what happened my fault. I said no to him repeatedly. That, I am sure of.
In light of the Steubenville rape case, I feel the need bubbling up to reflect upon my rape again, as it often does when there is a prominent rape case in the news. While CNN is busy mourning the lives of the young, convicted rapists, I’m thinking about 16-year-old Jane Doe, and how this will change the course of her life. I refuse to mourn her life, because that implies that she will let being raped define her for the rest of her life. I pray that’s not the case. But I know that being raped will affect her in so many unexpected ways, as it has me. Keep reading »
At the tender age of 19, I had only seen a total of four penises: the guy who got into my bed naked after a rave in high school; my boyfriend who I lost my virginity to senior year; the balding dorm mate who I gave an unfortunate blow job to while a James Bond movie played in the background; the older dude I had casual sex with my entire freshman year and most of my sophomore year of college. I had only slept with two of these penises, but this I assure you, all four were of modest size. (I can say this with confidence now that I’m older and have seen many a dick.)
This is where I was at in my sexual evolution when I started dating William*. He lived in my dorm sophomore year and came over sometimes to hang out and wanted to listen to, of all things, Tori Amos. I know! A 19-year-old boy who likes Tori Amos? William’s admission of Tori Amos fandom made him instantaneously more attractive to me. Not that he wasn’t already attractive. With his bleached-blond hair, piercings and post-punk style, when he leaned over and kissed me as “Pretty Good Year” played on my stereo then leaned over and whispered, “I want to fuck you on my balcony,” I felt something I had never experienced before: raging desire. Keep reading »
The flash went off with a “pop” and the photographer patiently told me to loosen up. My hands were sweaty and my heart was beating a mile a minute. Trying my best to concentrate, I twisted into an elegant pose and took a deep breath to soften my expression. The resulting photograph was beautiful but the experience was terrifying.
I was 20-years-old when I first took my clothes off for money. While it might seem sordid, it wasn’t as bad as you might expect. A sophomore in college in New York, I was completely broke and my babysitting job wasn’t going to pay my rent for the summer while I interned. An old acquaintance — I’ll call her Tania — had been posting censored nude photos of herself on Facebook, and out of sheer curiosity I wrote her a message about it. She quickly replied and said that she had been making extra money “art modeling” for photographers. I was intrigued.
Keep reading »
“So, this is kind of a random question…”
I nodded my head at the man across from me. I was in the kitchen of a fellow parent from my child’s school. I had come to pick my son up from a playdate, and found myself hanging around making small talk while the kids finished up playing. Between multiple playdates and a few shared meals, we had become friendly with this family and had reached the level of Facebook friends and random text exchanges. I was curious what his random question could entail.
“Do you … well … do you know where I could get some pot?” Keep reading »
At the age of three, I already didn’t want to be a girl. I saw from watching my mom what it was like to be a grown-up girl and it didn’t look good. Here are the few memories from childhood that I hadn’t managed to suppress:
We came home once to find our apartment ransacked by burglars. I was forced to drink powdered milk everyday, which I hated. My dad chasing my mom with a big knife into the kitchen. My brother and I, who were kneeling facing the wall as punishment for who-knows-what, turned and watched them run by. Screaming. My dad coming in the bathroom interrupting me and my brother taking a shower together. He came in to punish my brother, hitting him on the butt. My brother remembers us hiding under the dining table while chairs were being thrown around. Apparently my dad used to bring women home, even when my mom was home.
Needless to say I was a sad little kid. By the time I escaped to the U.S. at age six I told myself my life starts now and never to look back. Keep reading »
Last week an anonymous prosecutor who has prosecuted a domestic violence caseload explained to us, from her professional point of view, how we should respond when we have friends or family members in abusive relationships. Some of the comments objected to her use of the pronoun “he” as the aggressor and “she” as the victim. Here the prosecutor, who requested anonymity, is back to respond.
Absolutely, men can be and are victims of domestic violence. The choice to use the pronoun she exclusively was a choice that I made as the author because the majoriy of reported domestic violence victims are women. The data also shows that women are more likely than men to report incidents of domestic violence, according to Measuring Intimate Partner Violence by National Institute of Justice. Keep reading »
Two weeks ago, I wrote an essay about how I witnessed a man committing domestic violence against a woman outside my apartment. I received many incredible emails from readers, including one from a prosecutor who has previously had a DV caseload. She advised me to contact my local precinct and give a statement about what I saw; in her experience, that witness testimony has helped put the abuser behind bars. I asked this prosecutor — who requested anonymity — if she had any advice about how to help victims of DV from a professional standpoint. Here’ what she is sharing with readers of The Frisky. — Jessica
When I read Jessica’s article on domestic violence, I didn’t think of the victim, the bystanders and their inaction, or the abuser. I thought about the prosecutor on whose desk that case would land. I knew statistically speaking, by the time the prosecutor sees the case, the victim has likely recanted. I thought about the volume of evidence that was right before me, in Jessica’s article. I thought about that prosecutor because I am a prosecutor. Keep reading »