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This author’s powerful essay about sexual harassment is part of a valuable conversation.

Author Bonnie Nadzam spent years not talking publicly about the sexual harassment and assault she experienced in graduate school.

As is common among survivors of sexual abuse, Nadzam felt shame and regret that kept her quiet. What’s more, the men she reports harassed her were well-known authors and her professors — men with significant influence over her career as a writer.

Talking openly about her experiences, though, is exactly what Nadzam chose to do in a recent essay published online.


Bonnie Nadzam. Photo by Jeremy Chignell, used with permission.

In it, Nadzam not only details the specifics of her experiences with harassment and assault by two separate men at two separate universities in two separate degree programs, she also makes clear her reason for sharing her story now, which has nothing to do with forgiveness or revenge. Instead, it has to do with shedding a light on something so often kept in the dark:

"These are men who abused and disrespected me, who took advantage of their positions to exploit me, in institutions of higher learning where their gender and power let them control the narrative ... and where they were allowed to respond to my own resistance with dismissiveness. I wish to feel free to share my experience in the hopes that it will protect someone else from having to be debased through the same exploitative humiliations. And perhaps most of all, I’m sharing because some of you have similar stories eating you alive."

As Nadzam quickly learned, she was right.

Nadzam’s story is not an isolated incident in the literary world. Far from it.

Just weeks after Nadzam’s essay was published, a follow-up post appeared in which 11 other women, also writers, discussed similar instances of sexual harassment they either witnessed or experienced firsthand.

Writer and critic Roxane Gay shared that Nadzam’s essay reminded her of “all the stories I’ve heard about men in the literary community over the years ... who proposition women at book parties and readings and conferences, who offer ‘mentorship’ by way of seduction, who commit a range of sexual assaults and who are rarely named publicly because everyone is, understandably, too scared of the repercussions to their careers and their personal lives and their peace of mind.”

Author Roxane Gay. Image via AP.

Poet Erin Coughlin Hollowell commented on the pervasiveness of the issue: “If you gather a handful of women together and one of them speaks of abuse at the hands of mentor, boss, or partner, it is like opening a tap. The stories come out slowly at first but with an increasing pressure that floods the room. Most women have at least one of these stories.”

And author Porochista Khakpour echoed Nadzam’s sentiment that stories like this need to be brought out of hiding: “As hard as it is, we need to share these stories and we need to put them out there. If not for ourselves, for the women who inherit all this from us.”

Beyond the public responses from these other writers, Nadzam received an outpouring of messages and emails from women who had similar experiences.

Nadzam says what struck her most about these responses was "the repeated description of each person’s physical experience while reaching out." The women wrote of shaking hands and pounding hearts, even when writing about abuse that happened years and years ago, showing the lasting and detrimental effects sexual harassment and assault can have.

Of course, it’s not just the literary industry where this happens.

Image via iStock.

According to a 2015 study by Cosmopolitan, 1 in 3 women have been sexually harassed at work. And instances of sexual harassment and assault happen in a variety of industries.

In October 2016, actress Rose McGowan shared on Twitter her experience being raped by a powerful Hollywood executive. And earlier this year, Susan J. Fowler wrote a blog post detailing her multiple experiences with sexual harassment during the year she worked as an engineer at Uber — a move that’s helping to expose the darkest side of a pervasive sexist culture affecting women in STEM fields.

Sadly, it makes sense that these incidents are occurring in workplaces and institutions of higher education where power structures are so keenly defined.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault are about power. Students are beholden to instructors and mentors for guidance and education. Employees depend on supervisors and managers for performance reviews and raises.

These power dynamics automatically put one person in a more disadvantageous position and allows exploitation to, at times, go unchecked. We see examples of it from celebrities, politicians, and even the current president of the United States.

But women can challenge that power dynamic by refusing to remain silent. Just like Nadzam did.

A victim’s silence is one of the greatest powers a perpetrator can have. But the more vocal survivors of harassment and assault become, the more that power dynamic shifts, which is why women like Nadzam and so many others — women brave enough to make their stories known — are so very important.

As Nadzam said in her original essay:

"What I really want to say is that all of these things happened to me, that none of it was okay, that I didn’t deserve any of it, and that I have nothing to be ashamed of. … We know that men, especially those in positions of power, try to hurt, tame and control what they fear, and cannot or will not try to understand. … If ever there was a time to disregard those who won’t believe our stories, now is the time to speak very plainly about the behavior of those men who assume we’ll be swept away by their poetry, or politics, before we understand what’s happened."
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Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.

Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.

“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.

NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.

“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.

Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.

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Joy

Terrified, emaciated dog comes to life as volunteer sits with him for human connection

He tries making himself so small in the kennel until he realizes he's safe.

Terrified dog transforms after human sits with him.

There's something about dogs that makes people just want to cuddle them. They have some of the sweetest faces with big curious eyes that make them almost look cartoonish at times. But not all dogs get humans that want to snuggle up with them on cold nights; some dogs are neglected or abandoned. That's where animal shelters come in, and they work diligently to take care of any medical needs and find these animals loving homes.

Volunteers are essential to animal shelters running effectively to fill in the gaps employees may not have time for. Rocky Kanaka has been volunteering to sit with dogs to provide comfort. Recently he uploaded a video of an extremely emaciated Vizsla mix that was doing his best to make himself as small as possible in the corner of the kennel.

Kanaka immediately wanted to help him adjust so he would feel comfortable enough to eat and eventually get adopted. The dog appeared scared of his new location and had actually rubbed his nose raw from anxiety, but everything changed when Kanaka came along.

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Health

Woman's felony charge for 'abuse of a corpse' sheds light on the realities of miscarriage

Let's start with the unspoken and uncomfortable fact that miscarriages at home usually happen in a toilet.

Woman's felony charge after miscarriage highlights need for education.

Content Warning: This story discusses pregnancy loss details that may be uncomfortable for some readers.

Losing a pregnancy is not something anyone can prepare for. There's no course you can take to tell you what to expect, how you'll feel or what to do after the miscarriage occurs. It's not something that's widely talked about, even in conversations about miscarriage.

About 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first trimester and 1 in 5 in the second, according to the March of Dimes. Many women who reveal they've lost a pregnancy talk about how difficult it was emotionally, but they rarely talk about the lack of information from medical professionals or the details of the process of miscarrying. It makes sense because it's hard enough to discuss pregnancy loss, and to go into detail may be much worse on their mental health.

There also may be a level of shame attached to the process, partly because the topic of miscarriage is still taboo but also because many at-home miscarriages happen in the toilet. It's an uncomfortable truth that haunts people who have experienced the process. But the truth of the matter is, hospitals don't usually admit you for a miscarriage; they send you home with little to no instructions on what to do after it happens. So to people who have experienced the pain of a miscarriage at home, it makes sense that a woman in Ohio, currently on trial for "abuse of a corpse" would have no idea what to do after miscarrying.

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Joy

Family posts a very chill note to neighbors explaining why their dog is on the roof

“We appreciate your concern but please do not knock on our door.."

via Reddit

Meet Huckleberry the dog.

If you were taking a stroll through a quiet neighborhood and happened to catch a glance of this majestic sight, you might bat an eye. You might do a double take. If you were (somewhat understandably) concerned about this surprising roof-dog's welfare, you might even approach the homeowners to tell them, "Uh, I'm not sure if you know...but there's a...dog...on your ROOF."

Well, the family inside is aware that there's often a dog on their roof. It's their pet Golden, Huckleberry, and he just sorta likes it up there.

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Education

Woman's wild story of surviving 14,500 ft skydive fall because of fire ants is a must read

It's usually a bad thing to land in a mound of fire ants at 80 mph. But not if you're Joan Murray.

Canva

Picture of a fire ant. Eek.

You have a 50% chance of surviving a fall of 48 feet, roughly equaling a 4-story building. The mortality rate rushes all the way up to 90% when you fall 84 feet, the distance of a 7-story building.

So if you’re falling from a whopping 14,500 feet, just over two-and-a-half miles, you can safely bet that you’re most definitely not getting out alive.

But one woman did. And that’s not even the wildest part of her story.
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This company lets children transform ordinary backpacks into creative masterpieces

Dommei’s innovative designs are empowering children to unleash their artistic potential.

Imagine a world where a simple backpack becomes a canvas for imagination and a tool for learning. That's the world Dommei has created.

Born out of a desire to blend creativity with everyday utility, Dommei is not just another company; it's a hub of innovation. In a time when screens often dominate our children's attention, Dommei brings back the joy of tangible, hands-on creativity.

@dommei_inc Play in different! Dommei DIY Backpack combine the functionality of display board, toys, and tools.
♬ 原聲 - Dommei Inc

Each backpack from Dommei is more than a bag; it's a gateway to worlds of space, oceans, dinosaurs, and more. It's where art meets education, and ordinary backpacks transform into extraordinary masterpieces, empowering children to unleash their artistic potential and explore new horizons.

1. The Concept Behind Dommei

During the 2020 pandemic, when the world seemed to pause, Dommei hit the play button on creativity and innovation. The company's journey began with a question: How can we turn everyday objects into something extraordinary? Inspired by the grandeur and innovation symbolized by the Crystal Palace of the first World Expo, Dommei decided to reinvent something as simple as a backpack into a canvas of imagination and learning.

At its core, Dommei stands on three pillars: create, have fun, and share. It's not just about making a product; it's about creating an experience that blends joy with education. The brand encourages children and adults alike to explore their creativity, turning personal expression into an interactive adventure. By marrying practicality with play, Dommei backpacks are more than just storage; they're tools for storytelling, learning, and sharing experiences. Each backpack is a celebration of personal expression, underlining the brand's commitment to making education not only accessible but also enjoyable.

2. The Space Domepak Kit

Blast off into a universe of learning and creativity with the Space Domepak Kit! This isn't just a backpack; it's a launchpad for young astronauts' imaginations. Loaded with a space-themed display board, stellar toys, and tools for connecting, the Space Domepak turns the mystery of the cosmos into an interactive adventure. It’s perfect for those little dreamers who gaze up at the stars and wonder.

By bringing the wonders of the universe to their fingertips, this kit encourages curiosity, learning, and creativity, making the vastness of space feel a little closer and a lot more personal. It’s not just carrying a backpack but a galaxy of possibilities.

3. The Ocean Domepak Kit

Dive into the deep blue with the Ocean Domepak Kit, where every zip opens up a world of underwater exploration. This kit is more than a backpack; it's an oceanic expedition for young explorers! It is packed with marine-themed toys, a vibrant display board, and tools inviting interaction

It's a treasure trove for budding marine biologists. Kids discover and learn about mysterious marine species, fostering a love for our oceans and their creatures. It's a hands-on experience that brings the ocean's wonders to the surface, igniting a wave of curiosity and care for the aquatic world.

4. The Dinosaur Domepak Kit

Step back in time with the Dinosaur Domepak Kit, a prehistoric playground for the little paleontologist in your life. This isn't just any backpack; it's a time machine to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Loaded with dinosaur-themed toys, a prehistoric display board, and tools for hands-on learning, it brings the ancient world of dinosaurs into the present.

This kit makes learning about these magnificent creatures fun and accessible, sparking a fascination with natural history. It's more than a journey into the past; it’s an exploration of a world that once was, igniting a lifelong passion for discovery and science.

5. The Combo Domepak Kit

Meet the chameleon of backpacks: the Combo Domepak Kit. This ingenious creation adapts to whatever your child’s heart desires, be it the cosmos, the deep sea, or the age of dinosaurs.

Each kit comes with a variety of themes, making it a jack-of-all-trades in the world of creative learning. It's not just versatile; it's a playground for the imagination. Whether your little one is an aspiring astronaut today or a marine biologist tomorrow, this backpack evolves with their changing passions. It's a celebration of their growing interests, offering a canvas that's as dynamic and creative as their young minds.

6. The Plus Domepak Kit

For the little artist with a big imagination, the Plus Domepak Kit is a masterpiece waiting to happen. This isn’t just a backpack; it's an artist's studio on the go. With its comprehensive set, including a DIY painting kit, it turns every outing into an opportunity for artistic expression.

The Plus Domepak isn't just about carrying supplies; it's about carrying ideas and dreams. Whether it's painting a prehistoric landscape or a starry galaxy, this kit combines art, education, and endless fun. It’s perfect for nurturing creativity, blending the joy of making art with the thrill of learning something new every day.

Learn More

Dommei's backpacks are more than just bags; they're windows to worlds of creativity and learning. Each one is a unique adventure, inviting kids to explore, create, and grow.

So, why settle for ordinary when your child can carry a masterpiece? Click here to dive into Dommei's world and see where creativity takes you.

Family

People kept telling me to watch 'Bluey.' I still was not prepared.

Some adults say it's healing their inner child, but there's something in the popular Australian kids' show for everyone.

"Bluey" is popular with all ages, despite being aimed at kids.

I have a confession to make. I'm 48 years old, my youngest child is in high school and I can't stop watching "Bluey."

For the uninitiated, "Bluey" is a kids' cartoon from Australia aimed at 5 to 7-year-olds. It's been nearly a decade since my household has seen that demographic, so when people kept telling me I should watch "Bluey," my reaction was basically, "Yeah, I've already done my kiddie show time, thankyouverymuch."

Then my almost-15-year-old started watching it just to see what the fuss was about. And as I started tuning in, I saw why people love it so much. I figured it was going to be a wholesome show with some good lessons for kids, and it is.

But it's also laugh-out-loud hilarious.

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