Lets Talk About Sex – Sexual Assault Awareness Month

abuse prevention

 

I received two notes as it pertains to sexual assault awareness month and child abuse prevention month.

  1. Why aren’t people talking about these issues? Why is my FB newsfeed blown up with Autism Awareness and not Sexual Assault Awareness? 1 in 88 children have Autism. 1 in 6 women are victims of sexual assault. I’m a supporter of Austism, too, so I am not trying to offend anyone. I just want to wrap my head around the fact that this issue still seems so taboo. Just something on my mind today and would love to hear your thoughts. Write about it! If you haven’t already.
  2. How do we transform the stigmas more widely? (Big questions, I know!)

So why isn’t sexual assault and abuse talked about or the preventative measures more commercially supported such as a Sexual Assault Prevention walk similar to the Breast Cancer Awareness walk? Why isn’t there a special tax bracket for that via the IRS even though more women will experience assault and abuse than most forms of cancer combined?

The simple answer is that society still has so many hang ups regarding SEX.

Many people can’t fathom talking about sexual acts in an authentic, honorable and yet pleasurable way, so how the hell are we supposed to be comfortable talking about molestation, rape, incest, forced anal sex, and street harassment? If we can’t talk about multiple sexual partners without being labelled a whore, weird, or it being a case of  how “black people date,” just how can we talk about the cost of rape, the after effects of child abuse, and the curious case as to why the legal system favors the perpetrators?

Until we can talk about SEX without getting weird, awkward, judgmental, and shy, WE WILL NEVER see a nation wide or global campaign for the annual Child Abuse Prevention Marathon. Not going to happen. If your response to a teacher explaining the REAL words for body parts, leads you to say that, “they’ve destroyed your child’s innocence,” then, you can go ahead and assume we will never get pass the stigma of assault or date rape. If the idea that Bert and Ernie are lovers on Sesame Street, makes you blog about how fucked up the world is, …which is two consenting entities displaying a positive relationship, your child will probably NEVER tell you their uncle made them suck his penis. Just saying. If you squirm when I say that I like to be tied up during sex, you’re too weak to be an advocate for an 8 year old who was beaten, mutilated and gang raped.

So this leads to the obvious next question, why are we so caught up about SEX and how can we transform the SEX STIGMA and the SEXUAL ABUSE and ASSAULT STIGMA?

Why are we so caught up, guarded, secretive, and repressed when it comes to sex? Oh I have my theories. I think most major religions hold responsibility in the control of how we think about sex. I also think religion paired with the various shifts in our thinking and evolution in our various governments as people sought more power, control and innovation has led to the controlling and limiting way that we process sex. The shift from horticulture to agriculture came with its own metaphors as to how we approached the role of men and women when it came to sex and making babies. Perhaps you should read, “Who Cooked the Last Supper.” I don’t agree with many things in the book but the woman makes some crazy valid points. Or maybe its the way you enjoy living in complacency and surrendering personal responsibility…as people have systemically done since a long fucking time, that’s leading to the repressive way we think about sex. I.E., we’re repressed because we’re letting ourselves be repressed. It’s a stigma because we’re letting it be a stigma. It’s a secret because we want it to be a secret. We’re comfortable that way. And comfort and complacency is easier than personal responsibility and action.

I wrote in Embracing Sensuality Through Movement that, “We could attribute the repression of feminine (and masculine) sensuality and sexual expression to a variety of causes. It could be the domination of a patriarchal society, religion, the need for power & control or sheer ignorance. Whatever the inference may be, a vast majority of women (and some men) live trapped in their bodies unable to literally move in freedom. Many are afraid of being outcast and labeled as tramps, harlots and whores for exploring an innate gift that is part of their person-hood. Due to this repression, you find women (and some men) reserving themselves and attempting to be smaller, quieter and “well behaved” in every possible way at the expense of their natural authenticity. If living wholly as a human being at our highest potential is important, such repression cannot continue. To be a FULL human being requires embracing our sensuality and sexuality in addition to everything else that makes us who we are.

So how to do we transform sex so that we can transform the dialogue and the preventative measures and the laws regarding assault and abuse?

Oh, because you know that the repressive and hush hush nature that you have surrounding sex is one of the leading causes towards abuse and assault, right? I believe there is a direct correlation. I believe because we’ve made sex secretive and only for select groups, PART of the reason people rape or molest is because they have no context for respectful sexual interactions. Please note I said “PART of the reason”! If you teach your daughter to be pure by not expressing and exploring her sensuality and sexuality, more than likely she’ll play a compliant role in her future date rape. BUT, if you teach your daughter to express herself verbally, sexually, sensually and emotionally…if you teach her that her desires are normal, intuitive and beautiful and that its natural to want and to yearn, she’s less likely to be a victim. Same with your sons. How you handle issues of sex in your family as it relates to your sons, is how they will handle assault and abuse.  If you teach him that he needs to focus on football and not have sex with the “fast girls” or the “hussies” or the “sluts”, you’ve already taught him a great deal about sexually expressive girls. You’ve taught him that they are less than. He will treat them as such. In an indirect way, you are sort of teaching your son to believe certain concepts about women and sexuality that’s not so good.

I digress.

So how do we transform the dialogue about sex so we can transform the dialogue and action around assault and abuse awareness and prevention?

TALK ABOUT SEX. Maybe stop judging those who do. Maybe be a bit less defensive and guarded. Maybe stop rolling your eyes at your friend who’s dating four guys. Maybe stop calling that guy a player because he fucks two girls. Maybe stop telling Becky she’s a prude because she’s not interested in that guy. Maybe talk to your children. Maybe call your friends out on the shitty energy they put out at dinner discussions regarding sex. Maybe stop caring what people think and go after your desires. Maybe think for yourself and do what you want versus marrying that guy because it seems like the right thing.

Another way to transform the dialogue would be to get comfortable in your body. Its kind of hard for me to listen to a woman give a speech on preventing abuse when I can tell from the way she holds herself that she’s not comfortable in her own skin. When I can literally see you making your self smaller, when I can tell that you are closed off and that your shoulders a hunched up and you’re hunched over and you intentionally hide behind your hair because you don’t want to be seen….well, sexuality and sensuality just isn’t going to evolve into a normal part of our dialogue…because you’re not even in touch with yourself.

Wanna help stop child abuse? Learn what pleases you. Dance, maybe. Maybe stop holding yourself so tightly. The way that you live embodied in this world sends energetic clues as to how people process sexuality and sensuality as it relates to you.

I’m going to piss someone off. I really don’t give a fuck. And no, I don’t have a PhD. And no I haven’t done a clinical study on my estimations of why this topic is so screwed up. I’m just rambling. Maybe you should ramble too. Because maybe in your rambling there’s a nugget of profound truth that could change things.

Rather than approach this topic from a cultural or political stance of how we can change things, I just take things personally. What can I do? Never-mind church, school, and my borough president.

What can I, Sheena LaShay, do to transform the dialogue around sexuality so that maybe it helps the dialogue around sexual abuse?

1. I write openly about my childhood sexual abuse.

2. I write openly about my journey to heal.

3. I write openly about my advocacy efforts.

4. I am open about discussing dating, sex, relationships and such with those close to me.

5. I have a sex blog. Anonymous to the public but enough people read it that even men say they are learning things from it about communication, authenticity and expressing yourself.

6. I have sex without apology.

7. I pole dance.

8. I reserve judgement and share my own issues and questions so as to foster an environment where others feel free to share with me. The fact that I have friends who ask me about my suggestions on the best porn sites or they share their stories of fetish experimentation or they share their childhood trauma or they call me out on a mean thing I did to that one guy….well…that’s helping the dialogue around sex. How do you and your friends talk about sex? Do you even talk about sex?

9. I educate myself. For sheer curiosity, I read books on sexuality, sensuality, human behavior, feminism and even erotica just to learn. I read them from many different perspectives. I have a christian book on feminism and a buddhist book on sex and an atheist book on celibacy. I just read and listen to all types of people.

10. Oh yeah, LISTEN. Maybe instead of talking about sex and the girl you smashed last night and the horrible bad date you went on or how your mother ruined your childhood, maybe its about being an active listener to everything that’s going on around you. Sometimes when we talk, we try to push an agenda. I had a “secret” agenda to get every woman in a pole class and sometimes I need to calm down with that. So maybe its about closing your mouth, pausing your sexual agenda and just listening. Because isn’t that how all this shit got started in the first place. Religion had a sexual agenda. The government had a sexual agenda. Your grandmother had a sexual agenda for all of her granddaughters and that agenda determined how they talked to you, educated you, and silenced you. So maybe be quiet, so that you can listen to someone else. What does your daughter have to say about sensuality? How does your husband really feel about the way you view your body? What are others saying and how can that teach you?

**********

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. You can read more about the history and discover resources at Child Welfare.gov. April is also National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year’s campaign focuses on healthy sexuality and its connection to child sexual abuse prevention. You can read more about the history and discover resources at The National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO READ

  1. Empowered Living : Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse
  2. The Conflicting Nature of Good Touch and Bad Touch
  3. Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept
  4. My name is…. Sheena LaShay
  5. The First Offense
  6. Why I Rise
  7. What is Sexuality
  8. Why Don’t People Report Sexual Crimes
  9. Why I lied to child protective services
  10.  The Least of These Things: Surviving vs Thriving
  11. Taking Control of the Healing Process
  12. I was the 1 in 4
  13. How to rescue victims.
  14. Early Childhood Education

If you have been the victim of sexual assault and need help, or you want to help a loved one, you can contact RAINN or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

If you suspect that a child is being abused, or if you are a child or teen who is being abused, you can contact Child Help or call the National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

 

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Showing 3 comments
  • Dawnya
    Reply

    Thought provoking. It is amazing that society has made our views on sexuality, sensuality, etc. such a taboo subject. Unfortunately, many people will never educate themselves enough to appreciate its essence.

    • Sheena LaShay
      Reply

      @Dawnya, Maybe since its taboo, we have more freedom in reshaping the conversation or really push the boundaries.

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  • […] Let’s Talk About Sex via Sheena LaShay – “Many people can’t fathom talking about sexual acts in an authentic, honorable and yet pleasurable way, so how the hell are we supposed to be comfortable talking about molestation, rape, incest, forced anal sex, and street harassment? If we can’t talk about multiple sexual partners without being labelled a whore, weird, or it being a case of  how “black people date,” just how can we talk about the cost of rape, the after effects of child abuse, and the curious case as to why the legal system favors the perpetrators?” […]

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