Yesterday, was a good day.  As I came back on to the installation, the bright sun was at my back casting a beautiful glow on the mountains.  That would be enough to make most of us stop and just be happy to be living.  Then my eyes spotted the movement before the sound reached my ears.  Fighter Jets!  There were a couple sets of military jets doing lazy overhead maneuvers, the sun at their backs as they reached out and danced among the mountain peaks.  Years of walking flightlines, launching and recovering aircraft, this sight brought back warm and fond memories of a life well spent in a profession I love. Yes, Life was good ... life IS good.

Which made it that much more ethereal when I snapped back to where I had just been and the presentation I had just heard.  For while watching fighter jets reflecting the sun's glint and dancing in the blue sky around snow covered mountains, I now recognized more than ever the incongruities of a dark landscape stretching out under these jets and these mountains.  A landscape that you have around yourselves, if you stop to look.  A landscape we are only now beginning to address with any kind of growing crescendo ... one that until this night, I was going to watch from the sidelines and let one of you carry the cause ... but I cannot.  For I have a wife and a daughter.  And when the statistics bear-out that 1 in 3 women during their lifetimes will be sexually assaulted, I simply cannot sit on my hands.

You know my direction, and you now have the option.  Choose to come along; click, Continue reading ...

Most of you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  That's an excellent start.  But we need to go one step further in mind.  Let's talk about Sexual Assault Awareness AND PREVENTION Month, eh?

We are mobile.  Our lifestyle takes us all over the US and the world.  We see and experience things and grow in both worldly as well as personal ways that folks who never leave our hometowns can never imagine.  And our kids really do benefit from this --they may not think so now, but wait.  They will.  But along the way, what are we doing to make sure the snares and traps, if not outright exposed, are at least addressed in ways that will help our kids know what to look for?  Not with lip service, but with a sincerity, love, and compassion that only Mom and Dad can conjure up.  And really ladies, for our daughters, we may have (in my male mind) the upper hand on this one. 

Okay, Dad--sit down, let's talk.  Have you had the guts to go eyeball to eyeball with your daughter, and tell her that no matter what, you love her, always will love her and that she will always be your girl?  Because you need to tell your daughter, Rape Can Happen To Anyone.  Tell her to know her boundaries, and help her set them in her mind so that when push-comes-to-shove, she will not be manipulated or coerced 'under fire.'  Tell your daughters that those tiny little hairs on the back of her neck serve a very real purpose.  They are directly connected to her gut instincts and should always, ALWAYS, be trusted.  If those hairs aren't in a comfortable situation, she'll know ... but you have to tell her ... it's okay to act on those instincts -- And Leave Immediately.  Whatever you're doing -- Stop.  Get out.  Say No.  Move in the opposite direction.  DO SOMETHING!, but don't "just go along hoping it'll get better."  Dad, tell your daughter that we're not so naive to believe that alcohol isn't something she'll experience long before we want, but, she has to know and you have to explain to her that alcohol and drugs are THE most commonly used weapons in rape.  Your daughter needs to understand that she simply can't control the situation when she has subjected herself to their influences.

Mom's come on back to the table -- your daughter needs to see this part in yours as well as in Dad's eyes.  Uppermost, the "unthinkable" can't become the "unspeakable."  Both of you need to tell your daughter to sear these next things in her mind.  It must be in her rote memory.  If the unthinkable happens, get to a safe place immediately.  Call 911.  Call you or another trusted friend.  Get to a hospital.  And resist the overwhelming urge to sanitize, clean up, bathe, brush their teeth -- they are a walking crime scene and everything about their physical condition will tell a story.  A story that 90% of the time, is never told to the authorities.

And then, before they've rolled their eyes for the umpteenth time and get up to leave, let her know this.  That if rape should happen, that each of you understand it isn't her fault--sexual assault is not her fault.  And that she won't be alone.  She needs to know that she'll be feeling overwhelming anger, and guilt, and confusion.  But to the core of her being, she must never forget that each of you do and will always love her.  And it is this love that starts the recovery and will provide hope.  It is incumbent upon you, Mom - Dad, to restore and rebuild the hope that your daughter must have to live.  And to grow.  And to survive this, the unthinkable.    

Sexual Assault Awareness AND PREVENTION.   One in Three Women. 

It was a beautiful evening yesterday, with blue skies and a setting sun.  Now as I sign-off, the beauty of the evening is a bit less incongruous knowing 30 to 40 young women listened to yesterday's presentation that will hopefully make them a bit more aware of the snares and the traps.  The beautiful evening and the landscape of rape aren't subjects that flow well in any authors hand, but if only one of you out there in the blogosphere can make someone aware and maybe prevent an assault, then this hasn't been for naught.  Let's face the unthinkable and overcome the unspeakable.  Are you ready?  Now, it's your turn--go wake up your daughter; tell her you want to talk.   Over & Out, MaintenanceToadOne

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