International Women’s Day: Speaking Out Beyond #MeToo

Silhouette of sexist man and woman

Originally, I was asked to write this piece about a time I felt empowered as a woman. All day I sat with the prompt, but nothing came to me. How sad is that?

Over the next couple of days, I asked a few of my female friends if they could think of a time they felt empowered. They couldn’t think of a specific time, either. I felt sad for them. I felt sad for myself.

Of course, all these other thoughts came flooding into my mind — about all the times I felt like my power was threatened as a woman (e.g. most of the time). All the times I’ve been in situations that made me feel like a piece of meat — something to look at and touch, but not a human to be communicated with, respected or honored.

Continue reading International Women’s Day: Speaking Out Beyond #MeToo

How Men Can Confront Toxic Masculinity (+ Why It’s Important for Mental Health)

Hip young man feeling frustrated and alone

With the #MeToo movement dominating the headlines over the past few months, many of us have had to ask tough questions about our own experiences of gender, power, and relationships. While women have taken the forefront of the movement, it’s also been a moment of reckoning for men.

The movement has not only provided an opportunity to confront more obvious acts of violence, but also how gender roles influence the way we treat one another in our own lives and relationships. This means confronting the role of toxic masculinity in our lives and relationships.

Continue reading How Men Can Confront Toxic Masculinity (+ Why It’s Important for Mental Health)

Having Healthy Sex after Sexual Assault

Person reading with tea under covers

The summer I was nineteen, I researched and wrote a travel guide to Italy, journeying from Venice to the Cinque Terre armed only with a sundress and my handy dandy Macbook.

It sounds pretty ideal, and it was—except for the constant, terrifying, enraging sexual harassment. From being groped on the train to being kissed non-consensually by hostel owners and bartenders, the summer left me tan, skinny, with killer calf muscles — and with a feeling of total disconnect from my sexuality. After months of constant, unwanted attention and physical violation, I felt that my sexuality had become a weapon used against me rather than something for my own pleasure.

Continue reading Having Healthy Sex after Sexual Assault

Coping With Sexual Assault or Picking Up the Pieces

Coping With Sexual Assault or Picking Up the Pieces

Sexual assault can shatter a person’s world into a million pieces – therapy can help put them back together.

There are many different types of sexual assault, which may or may not include physical contact. One of the most important but difficult things victims have to comprehend is that they cannot hold themselves accountable for the vile actions of other people. Just ask any therapist. Continue reading Coping With Sexual Assault or Picking Up the Pieces