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'Sorry if I was a little insistent,' he said later — after forcing her and changing her life forever.

TRIGGER WARNING: This short but powerful essay by Robyn Swirling on rape may be upsetting for sexual assault survivors. Proceed as you see fit.

"Memories Outside the Mind," by Robyn Swirling


I don't quite know what happened. I mean, I know. I just don't remember everything.

I remember "just go down on me, just for a minute, it'll help me sleep," and his hands entangled in my hair as he pushed my head toward him. I remember my back against the full-length mirror, the frame digging into my shoulder blade, the pressure of his forearm across my chest as his fingers dug into me. I remember saying no as forcefully as I could, as often as I could, but as quietly as I could because he warned me not to wake his roommate andthat somehow seemed more important in that moment than the fact that what the roommate would have heard was me begging him to get out from inside me. I remember laying in bed back in my room with tears streaming silently down my face, anxious not to wake my own roommate for fear that I'd have to tell her what had just happened, though the word "rape" was still days away from reaching my lips.

But I don't remember if it was a Thursday or a Monday. I don't remember the date — I think it was late September, but it might have been early October. I don't remember exactly how many days I laid in my dorm room bed, my eyes shut tight against light and friends and classes and obligations. Once I told my roommate and close friends, I don't remember how many days — weeks? — it was before they convinced me to leave my room for the first time for a party, only for me to see him there and panic, locking myself in the bathroom of some Coral Gables group house.

His IM to me lives as a permanent screenshot in my brain: "I'm sorry if I was a little insistent the other night."

I don't remember how many of my parents' calls I screened, as they became increasingly dissatisfied with leaving voicemails. But when I finally called my dad back, hiding from the aftermath of a hurricane in the backseat of my friend's Ford Explorer, I very clearly remember breaking down at his "what's wrong?" I will never forget my mom's first words when I answered her call 15 minutes later. "Why did I have to hear this from your father?"

I remember and I don't remember. Trauma has no respect for memory. It picks and chooses, often seemingly randomly, what words, sensations, details stick with you. Sometimes I smell his cologne on a stranger and have to stop walking for a minute or two to keep myself together. When we'd only been dating for a few weeks, I curled up on the basement floor tonervously warn my boyfriend that he could never ever push me up against a wall while we made out, no matter how hot it might seem, because I had a panic attack the last time a guy did that since the first time a guy did that.

Memory isn't only in the mind. As the book my therapist had me read tells us, the body remembers. The trauma lives in that entire reproductive region of my torso, where what I just refer to as Hurting jumps up to stab me from the inside, incapacitating me for seconds or hours at a time. After eight years of this, a pain specialist finally told me my Hurting is from muscle spasms, from holding everything so tight, from my whole body flinching internally. There is no medical explanation that exam after exam and scan after scan could find. The doctors' explanations are that the trauma did this. That he did this. The body remembers.

I don't owe you any of these details. I have come to know that you won't believe me unless I give you all of these details. And even then you probably won't, if we're being honest. Always one disclosed detail away from belief.

It is an unimaginable yet all too often manifested cruelty to disbelieve someone who tells you they were raped simply because they cannot recall every detail in perfect clarity. Maybe Jackie got it wrong that the guy was a member of that fraternity. Maybe I don't remember which week it happened. Maybe your sister doesn't remember if there were 5 assailants or 6. Maybe your friend doesn't remember how she got home.

Every bit of me remembers every bit of what happened to me. Sometimes we just don't remember the details.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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