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Every time this country validates (or votes in) a sexual predator they are invalidating my rape, torture and basically my life. How can I want to live in and support a country that does not support me?

But that isn’t what this is about, I just needed to get this off of my chest. Despite my past, I have been able to push myself forward and I’ve been very lucky to have the experiences I’ve had. None of this has been easy and never will be but I am very lucky to have friends who don’t run away from me when they find out what I’ve been through. I’m very lucky to have these people in my life who understand what I went through not only once, but twice. The second instance, not one I can openly discuss but I can tell you some details.

I spent over a year doing a job I loved with all of my heart. My dream job. What hired for room and board until the business would bring in money then they could pay me. I worked with teenagers, many of them troubled and I loved it. I helped to give them a space to express themselves, be themselves, not be ashamed and also to learn about the communities around them….all of them and myself brought together by a rock band. Yes, a rock band.

They needed a me because the band themselves couldn’t spare time to handle fans with so many questions and need for compassion. This band made them feel important, made them feel they shouldn’t be afraid and I was asked to help facilitate this message because I too believe in it.

Sounds great yeah? It was for a while but there are a lot of very sleazy people in the music industry, a lot! My problem was not the rock band but the people around them and working for them. I was propositioned on so many occasions and told that I was “boring” because I wouldn’t sleep with any of these prospects. I was told I didn’t know how to have a good time. I was constantly oggled and told I needed to dress a certain way (short skirts, etc) in order to promote the image of the record label they were creating. I was told I was “fuckable” and should use that. I was asked by several couples to be their “third”.

I spent the entirety of my time drunk in order to cope with it because the room and board they offered was basically alcohol and pizza. I’m not an alcoholic but it was definitely what I used to deal with it. One night while drunk a “friend” within this circle attempted to force himself on me. I fought him off. The next day I was told, “Why are you so fucking boring that you couldn’t have just enjoyed that good time??”

After that I began trying to get out despite loving my work with the fans I had to finally realize the abuse I was tolerating was affecting me too much. It had started to push back all of the hard work I did on getting through my childhood. I was learning to confident and fearless and then this happened and knocked me back down to scared and having no self esteem or feelings of self worth. I was told one day “You know, you’d be absolutely useless if you didn’t have a vagina.” That was it. I had to leave or I would probably kill myself. I swore I’d never let anyone abuse me again and I let this go on far too long. Then the disrespect towards the fans started to show from within the label and that was upsetting me too. They referred to them as “money” and “little dykes” and “who cares what they want, we just want their money.” It just spiraled into something I could no longer be a part of. So I found a real job and left. Not a real job I wanted but one that would afford me the ability to leave.

Leaving did not ease the torment at all. At first I was threatened by members of this circle of friends. Threatened to be found and “talked” to and “dealt” with. Then the fans and teens decided I was no longer a connection to their idols so now I was worthless to them (not all of them, many of them) and proceeded to cyberbully me to the point of me losing my website and my brand, art group and everything that at that point was keeping me alive. I had a nervous breakdown and hid from the internet. I literally could google myself and find so much vile hate about me and then as if to twist the knife a bit more, the wife of one of the band members decided to encourage the kids to harass me. This went on for, no shit, 3 years?

I’ve never openly dealt with it. It’s a difficult one. My childhood is one thing but when it’s something you poured your heart and soul into and something you believed in so much it just somehow feels like I failed myself by even thinking it was possible. And therein lies my lack of self confidence that has come back to tell me I am a failure.

I am lucky to have the friends I do have (despite them being spread out so far) because without them, I might be dead. Working in that industry left me feeling unnecessary, not wanted or needed. It added to my childhood of being told no one would miss me if I disappeared. I am very lucky because usually I assume people will run away from me when they find any of this out. Yet this is all who I am and a part of me and it doesn’t make me a bad person, it makes me a wise person, an educated person but also a sad person who sometimes just needs to be told “Hey I miss you” or “We need you.” But doesn’t everyone have that need?