A victimless society – my take on how society perpetuates guilt associated with victims of domestic abuse (or rape)

I got into a discussion with my dad the other day when he brought up “So tell me this, why would she go on to marry the guy” (in regards to the Ray Rice case).

I told him this simple question implies that she deserves, or is asking for abuse.

He of course said he didn’t mean it that way, but I told him that there is an underlined blame society puts on victims as if “they should know better”.

I get that people don’t understand it, and I fully understand how easy it is to say “well why would she stay”. Especially for people who have never walked in those shoes.

Ultimately, our focus should be shifted off of the actions of the victim, who are scared beyond belief for their life, and the lives of their loved ones if they do ever leave, and onto to the question of “why would HE do that”.

The last thing we as a society needs to be perpetuating is the guilt already felt by victims.

I had to break it down for dad, and told him that it isn’t easy, nor is it the safest thing to just pack up and leave.
1. there are control issues there, and many times that separates a victims from their loved ones
2. many victims feel embarrassed about the situation they are in
3. with society perpetuating the idea the victims are ultimately responsible for staying in a situation, many people feel they can’t talk to their loved ones without fear of being ridiculed for sticking around, and
4. many women are cut off from all money, possible have children with their abuser, and simply do not see how they could survive without him – or worse, how bad will the abuse be when he comes after me?

He has hit me, so will he hit my children (or will he torture my beloved pet who I cannot take with me, or will I have to give my pet to the pound because I have no means of taking care of it)? He said he won’t do it again and that he loves me. I believe he loves me, it was just an accident. Maybe if I HADN’T said that, he wouldn’t have gotten so angry. Maybe if I DID THIS and THAT better.

There are so many reason WHY people stay – but that isn’t the problem here. The problem is with the abuser.

The sooner society begins shifting the blame on the abusers actions, the more likely we are going to see victims finding their voice, and their rightful place back in society without a huge, embarrassing stigma over their existence.

To switch, or not to switch.. my reasoning behind why we are a spank free home

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I get it, kids don’t have a great attention span, but I think we underestimate how much they comprehend, and because of that we don’t think using communication is the best way to get our point across. My daughter is two years old, and I never have lengthy conversation with her about what landed her in timeout. I keep it short and sweet, and she understands perfectly and corrects her behavior, for the most part, all on her own.

If we choose to undermine the intelligence of our children, and treat them as if they are below talking their problems out, then what are we teaching them when the only consequence is pain? And yes, I was spanked with belts, spoons, hands etc. when I was younger. Did it correct my behavior, sure, but not because I fully understood why I needed to correct my behavior, I just didn’t want another painful spanking. The results came from fear of being spanked, not from learning how to make better decisions in the future.

My child hates timeouts, but she knows, even at the grand age of two, that there are consequences for her actions, and she accepts those consequences. It gives her time to calm down, get out of the mindset she was in when she threw the block at the window after I told her to put it away, and it also puts her in a mindset to calmly listen to me when I briefly discuss why that behavior is unacceptable.

Like I said, amillion times, what works for one family, won’t work for all, but there is nothing that aggravates me more than when people say “well they are too little comprehend”, cause if that is truly the case when it comes to communication, then I can only imagine what their perception of reality is when mom or dad put a belt/hand/spoon/switch to their bottom.

To read, or not to read..

We are only on chapter 5 of Harry Potter, but it is amazing seeing the transformation within Amelia when it comes to books.

Instead of asking for her mimi, bankbank, or simply stating “nini”, when she is tired, she now asks to be read to. We have always read to Amelia before bed, and she has always loved books, but seeing that she is so excited over a book, with no photos, just words and our voice, well it is absolutely heartwarming.

I am a firm believer in literature,  and all the things it offers to people. From creativity to quietness.. from imagination to inspiration. All of these things I have personally experienced while reading, and exploring books, but seeing that transformation within my child, well that creates a joy within me that is unexplainable.

Book worm

Millie has always been into books. She loves flipping through them, pretending to read.

We noticed a few weeks ago that the average children’s stories we were reading to her just weren’t engaging enough.

Our solution?  Harry Potter. We have always talked about reading novels to her, and now seemed like the perfect time to start.

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We found a paper back copy at our local used book store, and I couldn’t wait to begin reading it to her.

The first night I brought the book out she couldn’t wait to crawl in bed and listen to the story.

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We read 4 or 5 pages every night before bed, and so far it has been a success! We are currently on chapter two, and seeing that I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books, this story time is just as special for me as it is for her.

We can’t wait for dad to get home from vacation so he can join in on the story time fun.

Millie’s second birthday

Millie turned TWO in April, and it felt as though the entire month had been set aside just for her. We had a small birthday party at the park,  which ultimately turned into a tailgate party because of the 24+mph winds (oh April, how we have have a love hate relationship). As you can see from the photos, the theme was buzz lightyear aka Amelia’s favorite character EVER!

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We also planned a three day trip to disneyland to celebrate at the end of April. Which let me just say, three days was one too many for all of us. Day 1 was magical, day 2 was magical, day 3.. well we were all worn out, overheated, and very overwhelmed.

It doesn’t help that the gusty winds followed us to anaheim. The first and second day were accompanied by 25+mph winds, plus it was the hottest week southern California had seen all year. Nearly 100* degrees every day.

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We were able to snag photos with many of the characters, but the one we wanted to see the most was Buzz Lightyear. I have to say that he is quite elusive. We waited in his normal spot in California Adventure park, where he never showed. He wasn’t in the pixar parade, even though we were told he always is, and on our final day, he again didn’t show at his normal spot. By the end of the trip I firmly believed that buzz lightyear is a dick! 😛

After we got done with Disneyland, we headed south to San Diego to visit with Rach and the kids. It felt amazing to just relax and enjoy the company of one another with no real plans set in stone.

Rach offered to watch Amelia one of the days so Calvin and I could have a date day.

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We ate breakfast at this quaint little restaurant, went to the beach, got ice cream, and then saw the Amazing Spiderman. It was absolutely amazing just spending the day together.

Don’t get me wrong, Calvin and I do date nights quite often at home (go to dinner,  maybe see a movie), but just spending the entire day together,  knowing Amelia was in good hands, well it was a much needed alone time to just dwell on one another.

The one big thing I wanted to do before we left SD was hit up Coronado beach. Rach has access to the private military beach, so it is a must stop when we visit. We headed that way late afternoon on our last day in town.

I have said it before, and will say it again, Amelia is such a water baby. She has absolutely no fear of the ocean and jumped right in.

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Overall it was a great end to a great vacation, and a wonderful conclusion to the month long celebration of Amelia turning two!

Like I said.. I am not good at keeping up with this blog for long periods of time

But I guess that is okay, because it means that there is a lot going on in our lives, and to be honest, I am okay with spending my time focusing on my family and getting shit done.

THE GOOD
Amelia has been growing up so fast! She will be TWO in 12 days, and it still baffles me how we created such an amazing human being. She has a personality all her own, and is up for any challenge that is placed in front of her. She is so incredibly smart; knows her colors, lots of letters, shapes, and how to count to 5. If you ask her to do anything though – like sing her ABC’s or count, she refuses. She has to do it on her own terms, and it is usually when she is sitting on the toilet concentrating :P. Oh! and that’s another thing. She has potty trained for about 6 months now. We still put her in pull ups for night time, but during the day, whether at home or out and about, she goes to the potty without any issue. She is the most fearless, intelligent, and beautiful little girl; makes me wish time would slow down so she can stay our baby forever.

To celebrate her birthday this year, we are throwing her a small birthday party at a local park with our closest friends and family. The big birthday surprise comes at the end of the month when we road trip to Anaheim, and go to Disneyland for 3 days! We are beyond excited for this trip, and most excited to see the new Carsland and Toy Story Characters. Amelia goes GA-GA over Buzz Lightyear and Lightening McQueen! It will be interesting to see how she fares when she comes to face to face with them.

On another note:

School has been a challenge this semester for both Calvin and I. Nothing that we can’t handle, but after our last semester we thought it would get somewhat easier – or at least we would be more use to the work load that comes with school. I feel it is the total opposite. Last semester I had my weeks all planned out according to when my assignments were due, was able to get them done in advance and have a couple days to relax, etc. This semester I feel as though the workload is 10x heavier. This is mostly my fault because I enrolled in three, 6-8 week classes to try and get them over with. I am surviving though, and with A’s, so I guess it isn’t all that terrible. On another note, I am actually contemplating switching my major from History to Political Science. I love history, but I am finding that I have a deep rooted passion for politics and government. I not only love to learn about it, but I enjoy engaging in conversation relating to politics. It’s really crazy the things you learn about yourself as you get older.

THE BAD (Well kind of bad)
So, to give an update, today marks the day of Calvin’s last day with Geek Squad. We were notified about one month ago that the company was going through a reorg, and with that comes eliminating many leadership positions. Calvin, being the Geek Squad Senior, just so happens to be one of the employees who is getting laid off. Scary right?

He was offered a demotion, but we both thought that after 9 years of blood sweat and tears (you’d have to work there to understand), there was no point in moving backwards with the company. So the only thing to do is move forward in our lives. This was far from an easy decision, but after many heartfelt discussions and weighing our options and risks – we have finally come to terms that it truly is the best option for our family at this time.

THE BRIGHT SIDE
Calvin and I have discussed moving out of Vegas since Amelia was born. We have never felt that this city was a good place to raise children, or nurture a family. Now before everyone gets all “It’s how you raise them, not where you raise them”, I have to politely disagree. Where you raise a child directly affects how well you raise your child. If you don’t believe me, take a sociology class; it will teach you a ton about how society and cultures within that society impact even the most minute aspects of someones life.

As many people know, we are getting married this fall, and moving was something we wanted to avoid before the wedding. We planned to sign another 6 month lease after ours is up in September, which would keep us in vegas until early spring of 2015. Because Calvin will be looking for a new job (and me too if need be), we have discussed looking for them in other states, and relocating if the opportunity presents itself.

We both have/will have a good amount of family in the San Diego area, and with Amelia being so little still, we feel it is the best option at this time. We are not sure when it will happen, but expect it to be before September this year.

We are excited to see what this next chapter in life has in store for us – and will try to keep the blog updated as new things arise. Wish us luck!

Day 5 & 6 – wedding stuff

So I took a trip to our local Michaels to pick up some things for my bridesmaid boxes. They are coming together rather nicely if I might say so! I have hesitated on taking a photo because they aren’t 100% done, but once they are I will update with a photo.

I have to admit that planning a wedding is extremely fun! My best friend, carly, is even super excited to plan. We are meeting up for lunch this weekend to get some ideas out.

We are also very excited about our venue, the Montague Inn in Saginaw MI. Not only is it gorgeous, but it really offers the whole package. It is big enough for our entire bridal party to stay, close enough to my family that lives in MI, hosts outdoor and indoor weddings (good cause I have no idea what the weather is like), offer plated and buffet dinners – along with hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. ALL FOR ABOUT A THIRD OF WHAT I WOULD PAY IN VEGAS!!

In all honesty, I’m just excited to be marrying my best friend, the greatest other half and father!

On another note, I have been making it a point to work out throughout my day! today it was arms and legs, tomorrow will be abdominals. My biggest concern right now is my arms. I HAVE to get them in tip top shape before my wedding!