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.
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“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 »