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Chloe Dykstra has spoken out about the painful reality of being in an abusive relationship.

In a post on Medium in June 2018, beloved gamer, actress, model, and cosplayer Dykstra wrote about the harrowing experience of being in a long-term abusive relationship.

"One day, I met someone at a convention and ended up falling for a man almost 20 years my senior," Dykstra wrote. "It wasn't the first time I'd found myself in a relationship with an older man; I've always joked about my daddy issues, and thought that with age came stability and wisdom. Welp."


From there, Dykstra details the horrors of that relationship. Within the first two weeks, she was isolated from her friends, given a curfew, and told not to speak in public.

Quickly, the relationship turned into one of fear — "I was terrified to piss him off — so I did what he said," she wrote — and then became assaultive. Dykstra revealed she developed an eating disorder. Then, when she suffered an ectopic pregnancy and either had to have surgery or risk death, she said her fear of having to tell her partner she was pregnant was stronger than her fear of death.

Chloe Dykstra. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Dykstra is shining an important light on why people stay in abusive relationships.

When people learn of an abusive relationship, the common question that surfaces is "If it was so bad, why didn't you just leave?" The answer to this question is complex in general and often has nothing to do with a person's strength. Often, it doesn't even seem like there's a choice.

Dykstra's answer to this question paints a painful picture of why escaping an abusive relationship can feel impossible:

"I believed that, to borrow an analogy from a friend, if I kept digging I would find water. And sometimes I did. Just enough to sustain me. And when you're dying of thirst, that water is the best water you'll ever drink. When you're alienated from your friends, there's no one to tell you that there's a drinking fountain 20 feet away. And when your self-worth reaches such depths after years of being treated like you're worthless, you might find you think you deserve that sort of treatment, and no one else will love you."

Her story has clearly resonated with people far and wide.

Dykstra's main goals were to create closure and warn others about how surprisingly common abuse can be. According to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 10 million people are abused by an intimate partner annually. On an average day, approximately 20,000 calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines.

The stigma of being trapped in an abusive relationship is slowly disappearing. The overwhelming support Dykstra has been shown is a sign that progress is moving in the right direction — but there's so much work yet to to be done.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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True

You could say Marine biologist, divemaster and National Geographic Explorer Dr. Erika Woolsey is a bit of a coral reef whisperer, one who brings her passion for ocean science to folks on dry land in a fresh, innovative and fun new way using virtual reality.

Images courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Her non-profit, The Hydrous, combines science, design, and technology to provide one-of-a-kind experiential education about marine life. In 2018, Hydrous produced “Immerse 360”, a virtual underwater journey through the coral reefs of Palau, with Dr. Woolsey as a guide.

Viewers got to swim with sharks, manta rays and sea turtles while exploring gorgeous aquatic landscapes and learning about the crucial role our oceans play—all from 360° and 3D footage captured by VRTUL 2 underwater storytelling VR cameras.


Hydrous then expanded on the idea to develop two more exciting augmented adventures using Meta Quest 2 technology: “Expedition Palau,” a live event where audiences can share a “synchronized immersive reality experience”, which includes live narration from Woolsey, and “Explore,” a “CGI experience” to enjoy the magic of the ocean at home.


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“I’ve been extremely fortunate to explore and study coral reefs around the world,” Woolsey said, sharing that it was “heartbreaking” to see these important habitats decay so rapidly while the latest scientific reports did not clearly lead to widespread compassionate action.

“How do we care about something we never see or experience?” she reflected. As she discovered, virtual reality would be a powerful solution for eliciting empathy. “VR has the ability to generate presence and agency and make you feel like you’re there. It's that emotional connection that can bridge scientific discovery and public understanding”

The combination of virtual reality and the ocean’s natural breathtaking beauty is, as Woolsey puts it, a “match made in heaven” for getting people more engaged in ocean education. “When you’re floating you can look up and down and all around you…seeing a school of fish surrounding you and reefs in these cathedral-like structures. Rather than watching a video of a scientist, you get to become the scientist.”

Hydrous also has special kits to provide middle school students hands-on learning about ocean life. In addition to a journal, activity cards and a smartphone VR viewer, each kit includes lifelike 3D printed model pieces of a coral reef so that middle school students can try building their own.

These reef models even turn white when temperatures rise inside the aquarium, which mimics the real “bleaching” that corals endure when they die due to higher than normal ocean temperatures. Students really do become scientists as they figure out how to bring color back to their reef.

While it’s true that the health of our oceans affects us all, the growing threats our oceans face—pollution, overfishing, climate change—don’t always affect us on an empathetic level. Through the use of technology, Woolsey has created an innovative way to connect hearts and minds to one of the Earth’s most important resources, which can inspire real and lasting change.

“We can’t bring everybody to the ocean, but we’re finding scalable ways to bring the ocean to everyone.”

To learn more about Hydrous, click here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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