A couple only have eyes for each other at a Beatles concert in Wigan, 13 October 1964.
I want to talk about following your dreams and being yourself for a sec.
I’ve been posting a lot on Facebook* about playing music lately, but there really are no words for the miracle I feel inside myself since returning to making music. I haven’t done anything so earth-shattering—a…
Ashley Del Valle is a transgender woman from New York who was arrested in Georgia for indecent exposure after she allegedly showed her breasts, but then was housed in an all-male jail.
You arrest her because her top is too sheer and shows her nipples, something that is only a crime for women.
And then you jail her as a man.
So done with the world.
While we were being distracted by things blowing up and people dying, CISPA was getting passed in the House. If you don’t know what CISPA is, well then, we have other problems…
Issue 13 is live! Featuring the TRIUMPHANT RETURN of Kevin Fanning to beverage reviewing; Michele Catalano on Nassau Coliseum; Jessica Furseth on the demise of Google Reader and the shakiness of the internet; and me on tampons, memoirs, and Buzz Bissinger. Plus another gorgeous cover by the amazingly talented Tim Moore.
My piece is a sort of pre-death obituary for the Nassau Coliseum. Subscribe and read all the other good stuff inside!
Dearest Beloved Girl,
This letter is an apology. An apology for being an adult who has failed to make the world safe for you. Because you should be safe.
Even when you make the sometimes stupid, often naive choices that teens make, you should be safe.
Your vulnerability should not invite assault and attack of your body or your spirit. And so I am sorry, because we have failed to teach your male peers that they have no right to touch you without your consent or to use you to meet their needs or to discard you if your victimization does not fit their life plan. I am sorry we have failed you.
This letter is also a note of gratitude for your willingness to report this crime, to take the stand, and to endure the viciousness hurled at you this week. I know the words that run in a loop in your mind. Don’t tell. If you tell, no one will believe you. If you tell, everyone will think you are a whore. Sometimes he is the one who says them first, spewing the words like mold spores that grow in the darkness of your silence. Sometimes it’s your own voice telling you, I can’t tell. No one will believe me. It’s the reason 54%of survivors never report the assault. It’s the reason I kept my secret for nearly a decade. But not you, beloved. You demanded the right to be heard.
You may have lost your voice that night, but you found it again when you told the truth–even though you knew, didn’t you? You knew just how relentlessly they would try to silence you.
You knew that neighbors, and friends, and even members of the national media would mourn the loss of your attackers’ football careers more than the loss of your innocence. You knew that even those who claimed to be sympathetic would pass along the pictures of your assault with a tone deaf voyeurism that seeks to make you a thing instead of a person. I think maybe you knew, or suspected these things, but you spoke out anyway.
And that…that is astonishing. And I want to say thank you, because you did what so many of us never find the strength to do. You spoke for yourself. You spoke for the 44% of rape victims who are under 18–and you spoke for my 14-year-old self, who still hears that threat echoing in my head, “Don’t tell. No one will believe you.”
So, this is my apology and this is my gratitude. This is me saying, “I believe you.”
And I believe you are inherently valuable. Not as a character in some grotesque news cycle where your assault is all we know, but as a girl with hopes and dreams and ambitions and vulnerabilities and so much more growing up to do. I never need to know your name, but I need you to know you are not alone. Surviving is not a single occurrence, it is a lifetime of making choices that honor you and your right to speak. You have begun surviving. You will continue surviving. And if you ever get down, or wonder how you will go on, take out this letter and read it to yourself.
I believe you.
I didn’t make it through the 2nd paragraph before I was sobbing too hard to breathe.
‘Lethal Lipgloss’ by the Riff Randells is my new jam.
‘Why Don’t You Marry Me’ by Pat Todd & The Rankoutsiders
The audio isn’t the best here, but the band definitely is.