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Saturday, June 27 2020

What’s the first thing that you think of when you think of Pride? Maybe it’s rainbows, parades, or colorful wigs. That’s definitely a part of Pride, but we also want to take some time to dig in a little more. In our blog post at the beginning of the month, we talked a little bit about the origins of Pride (check it out here: https://safeplaceforhope.org/blog1/view/915/honoring_pride_month). Essentially, after years of oppression, killings, arrests, and persecution, a bar was raided and the LGBTQ+ community fought back (https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/). This was known as the Stonewall Uprising. After that, legislature was passed that decriminalized homosexuality. One year after the Stonewall Uprising, the LGBTQ+ community and allies gathered to march to remember the “centuries of abuse....from government hostility to employment and housing discrimination, Mafia control of Gay bars, and anti-Homosexual laws" (Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee Fliers, Franklin Kameny Papers), honor the Stonewall Uprising, and celebrate liberation from criminalization.  

 

Another integral part of Pride is the Pride flag.  

 

In 1977, Gilbert Baker created the Pride flag as a symbol of Pride. He was inspired by Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and each color of the flag has a meaning.  Pink is for sex, red is for life, orange is for healing, yellow is for sunlight, green is for nature, turquoise is for magic/art, indigo is for serenity, and purple is for spirit (https://www.pride.com/pride/2018/6/13/complete-guide-queer-pride-flags-0#media-gallery-media-2).  

You may also see this Pride Flag: 

 

This Pride flag was created in Philedelphia to promote inclusion of people of color.  

 

There are also Pride flags for each sexuality, gender expression, and romantic interest.  

 

Another symbol that we also often see associated with Pride is an inverted triangle.  

 

In Nazi Germany, people imprisoned in concentration camps were denoted by different triangle symbols. Green triangles were prisoners, red triangles were political prisoners, two triangles overlapped into the star of David were Jewish prisoners, and pink triangles were homosexual prisoners. In the ‘70s, the triangle was reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community as a remembrance to past and present oppression and to “[represent] pride, solidarity, and a promise to never allow another Holocaust to happen again.” (https://algbtical.org/2A%20SYMBOLS.htm

Exploring these aspects of Pride may feel like a bit of a history lesson, but it is incredibly important to understand the importance of Pride. When looking at where Pride came from, we can see how far we’ve come and celebrate that, as well as how far we still have to go and commit ourselves to allyship, inclusion, and empowerment.  

While we learn that Pride is more than a parade, we also are mindful that Pride is more than a month. We LOVE awareness months but we know that violence, oppression, and identity exist outside of awareness months and that support and education need to continue 24/7/365. 

Here are some ideas to honor Pride year-round: 

  • Look at representation. Read and watch LGBTQ+ authors, writers, directors, and actors and follow LGBTQ+ folks on social media. 

  • Learn. Find out more about the history of LGBTQ+ oppression, take LGBTQ+ trainings, and listen to LGBTQ+ voices. Know that often we can learn new information that changes our perspectives and that is okay.  

  • Engage. Join an allyship club, meeting, or organization. 

  • Empower. We can impact people every day on the individual level by being empowering, safe, and welcoming people.  

  • Hang a sign showing all are welcome. 

  • Do not assume sexuality or gender expression. Approach all people with curiosity rather than assumption. 

  • Provide your pronouns to show that you are a safe person and allow many options for pronouns and titles.  

  • Do not probe or ask invasive questions.  

  • Respect boundaries and consent.  

  • Respect gender identities, expressions, and pronouns. Do not invalidate or try to change those identities, expressions, or pronouns.  

  • When finding resources or referrals for LGBTQ+ individuals, make sure they are safe before referring. Conversion therapy still exists in Indiana and some medical providers and therapy providers are not LGBTQ+ inclusive.  

  • Teach inclusive healthy sexuality and consent. Often healthy sexuality and consent is talked about in an inclusive and comprehensive way. This further marginalizes and makes vulnerable LGBTQ+ folks.  

  • Use gender inclusive language and be mindful of harmful gender stereotypes, normalization, jokes, and slurs. These things are at the core of what causes and normalizes violence.  

 

For our friends in the LGBTQ+ community, know that we see you, we are here for you, and we are proud of you. Know that it is okay for you set your boundaries and keep them, and that no one should overstep your boundaries or comfort. Know that you deserve to be safe, healthy, and validated. You are important, valuable, and valued. Call us if you need anything 812-932-7233.  

Thursday, June 18 2020
Let's set some boundaries!

“I just can’t say no”

 “I didn’t really want to do that, but I felt like I had to.”

Have you ever found yourself saying those sorts of things or were in a situation where you felt like you were backed into a corner and just couldn’t say what YOUR needs were?  If so, it might be time to set some boundaries.   Think of boundaries as your own personal playbook of rules, guidelines, expectations and limits that you have determined and set for your relationships.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, it can sometimes get a bit complicated and lines can get blurred, which is why it is important to examine your boundaries and determine whether or not you have healthy boundaries in place. 

Let’s talk a bit about why boundaries so important.  Healthy boundaries set the guidelines for how you want and expect to be treated.  Having boundaries ensures that your relationships are respectful, healthy and they help you determine what is acceptable in your life and what isn’t.  Setting boundaries after a traumatic experience, such as sexual assault, can be particularly challenging but is a very important step in recovery.  Assault, whether domestic violence or sexual assault, is the ultimate invasion of personal boundaries.  That trauma can cause you to feel helpless, you may experience many things that trigger you, and you may have anxiety or even PTSD.  You often feel as though your autonomy has been taken from you.  A way to regain that autonomy is to create boundaries.  If you get triggered by touch, making a “no touch rule” is a great boundary to have. By creating those rules around your own expectations of how others treat you, you are reversing that sense of loss of control that assault causes.

Now that we understand what boundaries are and why they are important, let’s talk about how to determine and establish them.  There are several types of personal boundaries, but we are going to focus on physical and sexual boundaries.  These two categories of boundaries can be particularly important for survivors of domestic and sexual assault as those boundaries were likely violated.  Physical boundaries are your rules about your personal space and body.  If you haven’t yet created physical boundaries, ask yourself the following questions:  how do I feel about giving hugs? How about when someone touches my arm?  Am I open to handshakes? What do I do if someone is standing or talking too closely, invading my personal space?  How you handle each of these scenarios is an example of a personal boundary.  If you have determined some physical boundaries, make sure that you are communicating them to those around you, be it family, friends, or coworkers.  We don't want someone inadvertantly overstepping one of your boundaries!  Make sure that the people in your life know them and respect them.

Sexual boundaries are especially essential for survivors of sexual assault.  There may be things that you are 100 percent uncomfortable with, some non-negotiables that you’ll need to communicate to future partners.  One way to figure out what your sexual boundaries are is to analyze some scenarios and identify things you are or aren’t comfortable with.  Think about past experiences, when has sex been great?  What were some things that you particularly enjoyed? What left you feeling unsatisfied?  How do you feel about certain activities?  What about certain language? What are your absolute non-negotiables, and what are your negotiables.  These types of questions are very important in order for you to know what is acceptable to you or not in a sexual experience.  Sexual boundaries and consent go hand in hand, remember that both of these things start with a conversation.  It is important to have this conversation before entering in a sexual relationship so that you can ensure that both of you are on the same page when it comes to your boundaries.  Talk about what you want and need from them and remember that although it may feel uncomfortable at first, it can really be a great way to start building trust with a new partner.  Make it an open and ongoing dialogue between you.  A healthy sexual relationship hinges on good communication and it is important to share what may trigger you during a sexual encounter.  If your partner is aware of some of the trauma you’ve experienced they may be able to help you deal with something that triggers you during sex.  Setting boundaries and having them respected will help you regain that sense of control that may have been taken during an assault.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rethink-your-way-the-good-life/201809/why-is-it-so-hard-set-boundaries

https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-are-personal-boundaries-how-do-i-get-some/

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2018/6/boundaries-and-ptsd-why-you-need-them-how-to-set-them

https://robinbush.com/defining-boundaries-in-our-relationships/

https://markmanson.net/boundaries

Saturday, June 06 2020

June is a big month. It’s a month in which we focus on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), health and safety, men’s mental health, and it’s Pride month! 

What is Pride? Pride is a time when we acknowledge LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and additional sexualities/genders) individuals in our community. That in and of itself is huge and important, but it’s also more than that. I personally realized that while I know that Pride is a time to celebrate love, promote equality, and raise awareness for LGBTQ+, I had never looked into the history of Pride month.  

History is a place where we can find insights, see where we have grown, and identify where we can continue to grow to make new history. I encourage you to dig into the history of LGBTQ+ people, rights, and Pride (here’s a good place to start! https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/).

You might find that LGBTQ+ people throughout history have been criminalized and killed. You may see how often LGBTQ+ folks have been bullied, ridiculed, given abusive forms of therapy, and sexually assaulted. In fact, in our field, we know that trans individuals are murdered at a rate 12 times higher than the general population and 2/3 of trans individuals experience sexual violence. 1 out of 2 of lesbian, bi, and queer women experience sexual violence and 1 out of 3 gay, bi, and queer men experience sexual violence. Both of these rates are higher than heterosexual counterparts.  

In response to the oppression and violence that LGBTQ+ individuals faced, the LGBTQ+ community came together, protested, and worked incredibly hard to create change. A flyer from the first Pride month in 1970 states “...thousands of homosexuals went to the streets to demonstrate against centuries of abuse; official betrayal of their human rights by virtually all segments of society; from government hostility to employment and housing discrimination, Mafia control of gay bars, and anti-homosexual laws.” (check out the flyers here: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860296684/pages).

This Pride, we are thankful for the LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+ community has helped us learn about people and acceptance. The LGBTQ+ community worked incredibly hard to build a society that feels safer and more equal. We recognize that all oppression and violence is connected and that there is so much more work that needs to be done to create a world where all human beings are safe, equal, accepted, and healthy. We also recognize that in order to create the best world, we all need to be a part of it.  

Currently, the Safe Place team has heard the call to look more closely at what work needs to be done to create that world. We strive to be in a constant state of evolution to be the best advocates, service providers, and people that we can be. We are looking at ourselves and the work that we do even harder than normal to ensure a welcoming and safe environment for everyone now and in the future.

Tell us what you think, what voices need to be heard, and how you are creating a welcoming and safe world! 

We DO Talk about that Here
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Safe Place Sexual Assault Center
PO Box 235
Batesville, Indiana 47006
812-932-SAFE (7233)
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This project is supported in part (or in whole) by grant, 03215VAGX006403 from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. Views contained herein are those of the author and do not represent the position of USDOJ or ICJI.