Thursday, May 21, 2020

I Was That Girl, I didn't deserve

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Didn’t ask for it, I didn’t want it, and I didn’t deserve it.



Close-Up Photo of Woman With Her Hands Tied With Rope


Have you ever had a moment when you make a decision that seems completely trivial but ends up spinning your life into an entirely unanticipated direction? Some of those choices end up altering our lives in great ways — the wrong turn that took you to the best restaurant ever, that person you met in the library who ended up being The One.

Some of those small choices, though, end up leading to catastrophe. When I was 16, I made one of those choices, ordinary and no-big-deal. Things went bad fast and led to circumstances that defined my life for decades.

 

 

I might not look as though I am in Hell, but looks can be deceiving. In full fake-it-til-you-make-it mode, regional Junior Miss pageant. First Runner-up and Miss Congeniality, thank you very much

I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, daughter of an oilfield worker and stay-at-home mom, who were both a million times more than that description might suggest. They were smart, great-looking and crazy in love with each other. Dad was the kind of family man who came right home off his shift for dinner with his wife and daughters. The kind of man who called from a pay phone out in the oilfield to tell us to run outside and catch a spectacular sunset — and we were the kind of family that did.

Mom was an out-of-step activist in our farming-and-oil community — advocating on behalf of the migrant workers who came through every summer — the time, for example, she went to a city council meeting and told the city fathers that, instead of complaining about how filthy the migrants were, they might put a few bucks into building showers for these workers their businesses depended on. Mama was, as everyone knew, a pistol.

At the dinner table, we talked about books, about words and ideas. We questioned religion, we discussed politics. We were encouraged to think. Mother took my sisters and me to our Disciples church every Sunday morning and choir practice on Wednesday nights. Dad would show up at the church for Easter and Christmas and whenever “his girls” sang the Sunday special music.

I didn’t realize how remarkable they were and how close we had been until my connection with them was stolen and I never found my way back.

Woman in Bathtub With Water

How I Got Lost

Mom and Dad were honorable, upstanding people. I was raised with great values — honesty, hard work, consideration of others — that are still the best of me. They also had a strict moral code. My sisters and I were expected to be virgins when we married — and we were expected to marry sooner rather than later. We couldn’t go out with boys until our parents met them. We had curfews. They did everything right to make sure we had a good, respectable upbringing, according to their standards and the morals of the day.

Except … I was a teenager. It was the Sixties and I wanted to be so much cooler than they were. So, one Saturday in my junior year, I took the bus to Stillwater, a university town about two hours north of my hometown, and met up with “Clair,” another girl from my hometown who had graduated the year before. [It’s not her real name, but hers is not my story to tell. If she ever wants to, I’ll make her a part of mine.] Clair was so sexy and cool I knew going out with her would confer instant sophistication on skinny, gawky me. Our adventure in that college town had one agenda, the ultimate score: Dress so that we looked 21 and see if we could get a bar to serve us.

That was the win. We had no plan after that.

As it turned out, it didn’t matter how old we looked. No one attempted to card us, no one even raised an eyebrow as we sauntered into the bar a few blocks from campus and casually plopped ourselves into a booth. As we sat drinking our first bar-bought beer and celebrating our victory, two well-dressed guys came over and asked if they could buy us a beer. A man was buying me a drink, all sophisticated and adult-like.

I didn’t like the taste of beer, but I loved the idea of being independent women on the town, apparently irresistible to these nicely dressed strangers. Fraternity men, the kind of guy who would impress your parents if you brought him home for Sunday dinner. Such friendly guys, having so much fun with two girls from the middle of nowhere. We thought we were pretty cool. They bought each of us a beer, then bought each of us a pitcher. Soon we were joined by two or three other men — a real party.

I wonder who caught me when I passed out. I wonder how they communicated to each other what they intended to do next. They all knew. It was a pre-existing plan.

One of the men tossed me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and carried me out of the bar. They took us to their frat house. I remember little of what followed, except coming up out of my blackout enough to realize that I was in a room, in a bed and someone was on top of me. I will never, can never, forget the leering, jeering expressions on the faces of the men around the perimeter of the room. I passed out again and when I tried to fight my way out of my unconsciousness and get up, they started this woozy-sounding roller-coaster wooo-ooo chant that would rise and fall with my attempts to pull away and get up. I was held down. Helpless. And they were taking turns.

I blacked out again and only vaguely remember being carried back to the car — again thrown over someone’s shoulder. They must have felt like such cavemen, carrying a skinny 16-year-old girl that way. The next time I regained consciousness, I was on the street with Clair, leaned against a tree on a side street, strategically placed beside two garbage bags to underscore, in case we hadn’t gotten the message, who and what we were: Discarded. Worthless. Garbage.

The lesson landed. I spent the next several years throwing myself away.

Clair and I didn’t look at each other — couldn’t look at each other — and after that night we never spoke to each other again.

The list of reasons I couldn’t tell my parents — or anyone — what had happened to me was long: I had lied to them. I had gone to a bar. I drank. I got drunk. I rode in a car with men I didn’t know. I hadn’t been a virgin in the first place. At every single moment on that timeline, I had done something wrong, something shameful, something I knew they would find unforgivable. No language in our shared vocabulary could describe what had happened to me, so I never tried to tell them, could not have told them … and they never asked. I can’t imagine how they would have even thought to. The horror story that had happened to me would never have crossed their minds.

When we hear of the treatment shown to women in developing countries returning to their villages after having been abducted and raped as an act of war, we’re appalled that they are held responsible for their assaults, rejected and punished by their families and villages because they have been rendered unclean by having been assaulted. Imagine beating or stoning or shunning a woman because she had, through no fault of her own, been raped by strangers as punishment for simply walking to the market alone or riding a bus to school.

Or getting a beer with her friend.

I had no illusions that I would be welcomed back into my family and community. In fact, knowing precisely what I would encounter was the mechanism that kept my tongue tied. Ultimately for all of us who have experienced sexual assault, that social and personal rejection is what renders us mute and keeps the men’s behavior and our suffering concealed.

It Would Have Mattered to Know

Thanks to patron saint Tarana Burke and the #MeToo movement, the degree to which sexual assault permeates our culture can never again be denied. It’s likely that you connect with this story in some direct way. Versions of it have gotten wearisomely familiar. But what we don’t talk about sufficiently is the effect of these assaults in the days, weeks and even decades after. These stories also matter. My story matters.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the likelihood that a person will suffer suicidal or depressive thoughts increases after sexual violence; 94 percent of women who are raped experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the two weeks after the rape and 30 percent report PTSD symptoms nine months after the assault. Thirty-three percent of women who are raped contemplate suicide and 13 percent attempt it.

Check, check, and check.

Like soldiers come back from war, we who have experienced sexual assault close over our wounds because no shared language exists to communicate to lucky, unscathed people what we’ve seen, what we’ve endured. But covering over a wound doesn’t mean it’s healed, only that it’s out of sight as it festers.

I wonder if it’s possible for people who have not gone through serious trauma to understand the complete two-headedness of the life it hands you. If you took a time machine back to 1965 and looked in on me, you would see a vibrant, social butterfly — a shiny doppelganger for what was actually going on inside me. Under that smiling exterior, I was using all the psychic energy I had to keep a dragon locked away where it couldn’t hurt me. Containing dragons takes tremendous energy, and the effort took its toll.

Some kids who are suffering PTSD go dark and angry. Some go bright and breezy. I took the latter path and was fine, just fine. I wanted to be happy. I was trying to be happy. I certainly didn’t want to attract any scrutiny. When you’re harboring secrets as grotesque as mine, the last thing you want is someone raising an eyebrow because you’re moping and saying, “What’s up with all the sunshine, Sunshine?” I locked that shit down tight, lifted my chin and kept marching.

I kept going. Denial saved my life — for a while — but it couldn’t keep the toxins from leaching into my body. At 16, I developed shingles — a painful disease that most frequently affects people over 60, with itching, burning pain along nerve pathways, painful blisters and aches and pains like a terrible case of flu. Having shingles pretty much defines “misery.” In younger people, it is frequently attributed to extended periods of intense daily stress, sleep deprivation or poor nutrition. Again, check, check, check. I went to school for several days with these secret shingles, blistered, aching and itching — and knowing inside it was just what I deserved.

When I finally broke down and told my mom I had some kind of rash, she initially was impatient and dismissive. Then I raised my shirt to show her my blistered belly and she practically swooned. I got a doctor’s note and stayed home for a few days.

After the shingles cleared up, my hair started coming out. I had shoulder-length chestnut brown hair and I would sit at my school desk, idly combing with my fingers. Within a few minutes, I’d have a wad of hair, which I’d roll around on itself and form into a little bird’s nest, then would toss into the trash can on my way out the door into the crowded, noisy hallway, with that head held high, smiling and being fine. Just fine, thanks.

I have a lot of hair, so I didn’t look like a P.O.W., but I felt like one, washed up on some foreign land that I recognized as familiar but to which I was only tenuously connected. Even my good girlfriends, most of whom I had grown up with, could be no comfort. Some of us had started first grade together. Even the ones who didn’t have great lives at least had normal ones. My life would never be normal again. How could I tell even one of them one second of what had happened to me? And anyway, I wasn’t looking for someone to share any of this with — far from it. I clamped down on that mess so tightly it couldn’t have emitted even a match head of light — a black hole, dense, impenetrable and utterly isolating.

When Help Harms

My parents tried to find help when my behavior became impossible to ignore. Not necessarily because I was suffering and they wanted to find a way to help me be whole again, but because one of the behaviors associated with sexual assault is for the victim to become promiscuous. Which I did. When I eventually, inevitably, became enough of a mess, my parents agreed that I should see a psychiatrist. At that time, 1966, in that place, Oklahoma, this was a radical and, of course, shameful decision. Everything was shameful back then. Take your kid to a shrink? No one had even heard of such a thing.

As it turns out, someone had. Some friend of Dad had a daughter who also was being a Bad Girl, too, and he had taken her to a psychiatrist in Oklahoma City. What was required to be considered a Bad Girl in need of psychiatric treatment at that time mostly centered around being sexually active and not having the social skills, money or community standing to cover it up. I can’t remember this other girl’s name, but I wonder what she was bucking up against. My guess? It wasn’t consensual.

So, Mom and Dad took me to see Dr. P., a psychiatrist in Oklahoma City. When I heard the news, I was stupidly relieved that I’d finally be able to get a reprieve from the unrelenting chaos in my heart and head. I didn’t simply feel shattered; I felt atomized. The human I had known myself to be was blown to smithereens and hadn’t sifted itself into a settled identity yet. I was confused — all the time, in every way. Talking to a professional, a counselor, would, at last, give me some way out. I wanted to get better. I cannot stress how badly I wanted to do right. I wanted to earn my parents’ — especially my father’s — approval again. I wanted to be redeemed and to figure myself out. I thought being able to talk with a trained professional would finally help me make sense of myself.

My parents went into Dr. P’s office first and then left as I was being taken in. It was an impressive office — my first experience sitting in a big leather chair. He sat behind a desk and had a stubby cigar in his mouth when I walked in. That was a surprise. I would have thought a psychiatrist would have been dignified and smoking a pipe. Still, he did look impressive and authoritative sitting behind that big wooden desk.

Before I had said a word, he leaned forward, peered over his glasses and said, “So you like it when the boys run their hands over your little titties?”

Wait. What?

That sound you hear is my fantasy of rescue slamming into a granite wall.

In my family, “titty” was a crude word and we would never use that kind of language. How does one reply to such a thing when one is young, naïve and steeped in the Truth that male authority figures know all and are to be respected and obeyed in all cases, at any cost?

His next words foreshadowed what was to come, and as was always the case for me at that time, I had no idea what was going on. “We will see about that,” he said, his voice full of contempt and threat.

Thus began a new, sinister chapter in my downhill slide through the Great Cascade of Shit that led through three years of what I recognize now as psychiatric malpractice, up to and including hospitalization in his private psychiatric hospital and numerous electroshock treatments — to the point I was having trouble remembering my name.

During that entire three-year period, no one — family member, shrink, friend, teacher — asked me what was going on with me. I’m sure they all had theories for why I had turned into such a hell-raiser, but not one person asked me what was going on with me.

I would go along for a week or two, keeping it together, doing my best impression of normalcy and then the demons of self-hatred would ooze from under whatever boulder I had blocked them with and turn banshee, usually inside my head, but under the influence of sufficient alcohol, they switched to their outside voices, shrieking their rage and pain for anyone to hear.

I was a hot date at the time — get her a little drunk and sex was assured, get her a lot drunk and she became this writhing, howling animal, begging to die, yowling, “I hate myself. I hate myself. I want to die. Please, please kill me. I want to die…”

My relationships during this time were exceedingly short-lived.

Decades later, after my father’s death, my mother told me that Dr. P had convinced my father that what I needed to make me “manageable” was a frontal lobotomy. Think that’s impossible and medieval? Welcome to psychiatry in the 1960s. When my mother, God bless every molecule of her fierce, underestimated being, got wind of this she finally put her foot down, telling my father she would divorce him if he went any further with this revolting scheme, which apparently also included forced sterilization, another “treatment” for “promiscuous girls” at the time.

Want to see what happened to young women of means in a related situation? Read the devastating book about Rosemary Kennedy, whose life was destroyed by lobotomy on the altar of Not Embarrassing Daddy. [Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson ]

That was almost me.

In the End, a Beginning

#MeToo was five decades away. Rape simply was not discussed. I knew precisely zero people other than Clair and me who had been raped. I now know that that is statistically impossible. The statistics say (conservatively) that one in six women has been raped. I was possibly — likely — surrounded by rape victims, but all of us were hermetically sealed from each other by the cult of secrecy, shame and protecting-the-rapist.

From the bottom of my battle-scarred heart, thank you, Tarana Burke and others who followed, for the #MeToo movement — but what a ragged blessing it has been. I hate what it has dredged up but can only imagine the difference it would have made to me back then to know that someone, anyone, understood even a fraction of what I was going through.

By the time I was 19, I didn’t have the energy to hold it all together anymore. I didn’t think of what I was doing as “committing suicide.” I just knew I couldn’t stand to feel — anything — anymore. I took a bottle of sleeping pills and carved into myself with a razor blade for good measure and came within — according to the E.R. nurse — a centimeter of bleeding out and dying. “Lucky” she called me, but at that moment, it just felt like one more failure.

Because life loves irony, my nearly successful attempt to kill myself actually saved my life. My parents’ insurance money had run out and because my mother realized she needed to keep me out of Dr. P’s clutches, I ended up in the state mental hospital in Norman, Oklahoma. There I was assigned a counselor — a graduate student, I’m sure — who asked questions and actually listened to what I had to say. From that scrap of a beginning, I began to rebuild myself from the ground up.

A Severe Impact

I didn’t consciously think of the assault again until it came roaring out of my memory when I was in therapy in my 40s. I dealt with it effectively enough at that time — meaning, I didn’t unravel and I did keep doing my job and continued supporting my children and doing my best to be happy. But it certainly wasn’t anything I told anyone except my therapist about. I would have been glad to never again give it a thought.

In June 2016, that carefully quarantined corner of my psyche roared open and a jaw-clenching fury propelled me to finally write about this experience, as California’s Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky gave Stanford swimmer Brock Turner a slap on the wrist for felony sexual assault of an unconscious young woman. Anything harsher, the judge said, would have a “severe impact” on the young man’s future.

Standing in my living room watching that news, I started feeling the alarm bells of impending breakdown. My knees buckled, my heart pounded, I felt the blood pounding in my temples. I was nauseated and furious. I wanted to break something. Instead, I did what I can do now: I picked up the phone, called a friend and told her the story.

As the #MeToo movement gained momentum and Donald Trump’s catastrophe of a political campaign dominated the airwaves, I found myself in familiar territory. On the one hand, good church people looking the other way, making excuses, providing cover for repulsive behavior by privileged white men and on the other hand, me, sorting myself out moment by moment to not let it drag me under.

This time, however, I had so much company. I know without doubt now post #MeToo that though my circumstances were extreme, I was — and am — not even remotely alone.

A Lucky One

It didn’t seem so at the time, but I know now that I actually was lucky. I was eventually able to get counseling. Few people these days can, given the idiotic deficiencies in our mental health system. In self-realization courses and great therapy over the years, I learned that terrible things can happen to us, but we get to say what our lives will be about. I taught myself to be a writer and I created an amazing career as a journalist. I had two kids for whom I had to stay in the game of life, had to do well so that they could have good lives.

Being my mother’s daughter saved me. Dorothy Compton was unsinkable. As I’ve dealt with the many different faces and phases of this trauma over the years, I have discovered that I too am a pistol.

Being my father’s daughter saved me. I was often ashamed because, on a journalist’s income, I couldn’t provide for my kids in the way I knew they deserved. My salt-of-the-earth, brilliant father taught me by example that, no matter what, you get up, put on your work clothes and do the job of supporting your family.

I learned, almost with my life, the price of moral rigidity, and when my kids became teenagers, I made sure they knew that no matter how badly they screwed up, I had screwed up at least that bad and we could sort it out. They got to make mistakes and be restored. And in a couple of instances, I think that saved them.

Here’s something I wonder: Who will save those men? What will save those boys?

I Wonder about Their Lives

I wonder whether even one of the men who assaulted us and then left us there with the rest of the garbage have ever felt any echoes of that act in their lives. Was that clean-up duty left to the pledges? Did they have a heart-stopping moment as they dragged our limp bodies out of their car — My god, what have I done? Did the “better” human beings among them — there had to have been someone — slip away from the pack before the crime began and feel that they were off the hook because they didn’t participate?

Did any of those men ever pray again with a clean heart?

Presumably, these men — healthy heterosexuals all, or at least they would say so — went on to marry, to have children and some even, one assumes, to have female children. Did the fact that they were serial gang rapists ever color their relationships with their wives? Did they ever watch their beautiful teenage daughters going out the door on a Saturday night and think, “Dear God, don’t let her run into anyone like me.”

Did they close over it like lake water over a boulder, justifying themselves, if they ever thought of it at all, with their comfortable lies that we deserved it, that we were little sluts who wanted it, that we were asking for it or we wouldn’t have had that first beer with them in the first place? Or did they just slap each other on the back, laugh and look forward to the next Saturday night?

How do men live with rape? We have spent so long now — since our first hopeful organizing around rape crisis lines and survivors’ groups decades ago — delving into, exposing, dwelling on, deconstructing, and otherwise maintaining our gaze on the victim of this crime. But when we turn the lens the other direction, what do we see? If we had a truth and reconciliation opportunity for men who have raped or who have hidden on the edges of those circles and let themselves off the hook because they didn’t do anything, would anyone show up?

I reflect on the amount of energy I’ve expended on coping with this experience — either the massive amounts of energy it took to shove it under or the relentless energy it has taken to get to the bottom of it and heal myself enough to be functional and then to thrive — and I wonder if any of them has had to expend even a fraction of that energy and intensity to keep from realizing what he did and what his participation in the assault makes him.

Or has man’s fabled ability to compartmentalize kept those doors permanently shut so they’ve never even lost a night’s sleep remembering or regretting?

I wish they would. I would give anything for any one of them to finally feel the weight of lives damaged and destroyed for their “20 minutes of action.”

The only way that reckoning will happen is if other men stop providing cover for them, stop looking the other way, stop refusing to hold them accountable, stop accepting the narrative frame that no girl in such a situation could have been a decent, worthwhile human being.

I can tell you that I was. I can tell you that I am.

Anybody who knows me would agree. I am and was a decent, funny, smart, complicated and worthwhile person and never — at any moment during this episode — stopped being that; there is no prettying up the fact that they committed a heinous act on an innocent person. Murder would have been cleaner. Instead, they killed me off in increments, over decades. I am not just a survivor — I have been resurrected.

What has happened to them? And what is happening every weekend on college campuses around this country to teen boys being force-fed this toxic stew of masculine identity? As best I can tell, this situation has not gotten better and indeed has gotten dramatically worse in recent decades.

I care, not only because of my belief system, but also out of common sense and a deep practicality. Whether we like it or not, whether we own it or not, we are all connected. If we think for one minute that we can heal the profound sickness of this society and this planet without addressing the mental and spiritual malaise that is the “I see, I want, I take” of male privilege, we are delusional. Privilege begets privilege begets power. Considering the frat-to-leadership pipeline in this country, is it any surprise we have the kind of governance and economy we have?

Individually, societally, globally we all pay for the consciousness that believes it owns a body, a person, a people, a land just by planting a flag and claiming it as their own. To paraphrase Ntozake Shange, just because you steal something doesn’t mean it’s yours, it just means it’s stolen.

What I Know Now

I did not stumble into a random experience. I was hunted. I was prey. They had a plan before they ever left their frat house. Clair and I were targeted because we were available and gullible — fresh meat. We were a prop in their theater of dominance and control, and we could have been any girl they got their hands on.

“Party rapes don’t just happen. They’re planned. The victim has already been selected. She is often drunk or high on drugs — in many cases, she is nearly or totally incapacitated and unable to understand or voice consent or resistance, let alone physically fight or escape from a group of stronger people.” Robin Warshaw: I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape

What about these men whose view of themselves requires that they render a victim inert before they can violate her? What happens to a man who allows himself to be debased by a fraternity’s brutal hazing ritual, then turns around and defiles someone he has never met and who deserves no harm in order to be one of the brothers, to “belong?” What goes missing in a heart like that; what price is paid?

When parents send their boys off to college, do they know this might be what they’ll become? I wonder if they know that fraternity boys are three times more likely to rape than non-Greeks, though they are no more likely to commit sexual assault before they enter a fraternity. I wonder if they know that the National Institute of Justice cites attending fraternity parties as a risk factor in “incapacitated sexual assault” and reports that almost a quarter of all campus sexual assault victims belong to a sorority. Those frat men do love their “sisters.”

What would these parents do if they knew? Some only find out about the ritual abasement and abuse their sons endure on the way to becoming “frat men” when they get the call that their boys have died of alcohol poisoning or been injured in a hazing incident “gone wrong.” Some of them will never know because they’d rather not. Some, like Brock Turner’s dad, will wonder what the fuss is about or maybe even envy their sons for their “20 minutes of action.”

No one can grow into an authentic, mature human being in this paradigm. As these flimsy men try to comfort their social fear by dominating and controlling anyone who isn’t them, we all pay the price.

The I see, I want, I take paradigm of what it means to be a privileged male is as thin, brittle and bankrupt as it’s ever been, but that doesn’t mean these men are harmless.

Revenge Would Be So Sweet

When these memories first surfaced, I’ll admit I sometimes fantasized finding the men who damaged me and harming them in the way they harmed me. I couldn’t sort out the logistics of either and actually don’t possess that capacity for inflicting harm.

Plus, I do have sufficient presence of mind to distinguish revenge fantasy from a great idea.

We laugh at native societies that threw virgins into volcanoes to assuage the demands of their gods, yet we blithely look the other way as these privileged men make sacrifices to their power system — equally savage, equally brutal. These are men rendered grotesque by privilege and their “I see, I want, I take” ethos permeates our world.

According to Michael Kimmel, author of the excellent Guyland, as their entitlement erodes and the racism and sexism that supported white privilege takes hits left and right, women and minorities are in all the places where they believe that only they belong, the need for their “band of brothers” feels stronger than ever. Ritual rape goes on every weekend in some frat house (or athletic organization — frequently a similar paradigm) someplace in this country. Not in all, but in some.

I can’t say that often or loudly enough: NOT ALL FRATS, NOT ALL ATHLETIC ORGANIZATIONS. Some of my best friends have belonged to one or both. But one rape is too many.

Humanity has never been in a better position — never, in all of human history — to create a more perfect union, all of us together. To do that, we must stay in the game and we must prevail.

Another of my patron saints, Hannah Gadsby, says “To be rendered powerless does not destroy our humanity. Our resilience is our humanity. The only people who lose their humanity are those who believe they have the right to render another human being powerless.”

Creating a Future

If you are just starting to confront the abuse that happened in your past, you may be feeling, as I did, that you are ruined, that you have been sentenced to a certain kind of life because of what happened to you. I want you to understand down in your mitochrondria that this is not so. You were victimized, you are not a victim. No matter what happened to you, you are whole and complete and whatever happened was just a pile of garbage someone else dumped on you. You aren’t the garbage, but you can use it as fertilizer to create a great life. You can’t — and shouldn’t — deny what happened to you, but it does not define you.

We have work to do and none of us can do it alone. The biggest difference that can be made for men right now must come from men. Women have said just about all we have to say about this for now. It’s time that men take down whatever wall they’ve constructed between themselves and our words and acknowledge the truth of our experience. From my personal experience, I know that there are far more good men than bad in this world. It’s time for them to step up in a huge, unambiguous way. We have to create a society that no longer tolerates the I see, I want, I take mentality. The world can no longer bear up under the weight of that ravenous self-interest and we all know it now.

Their cover is blown. Their time is up.

K.C. Compton has been a reporter, columnist and editor at newspapers throughout the Rocky Mountain region and was an editor at Mother Earth News and several smaller magazines. She now lives in Seattle and is still writing, editing and loving life. She knows a thing or two about building one’s life from the ground up and wants you to know you can do it, just in case you feel that you can’t.

 


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