#MeToo

“Me too” her little voice spoke as loud as she could.  “Me too” she chanted as if it was a prayer stumbling over the words as she got more and more excited. Getting caught up in the excitement of  Friday treat time.  Excitedly eyeing the unseen shapes in the brown paper bag Daddy religiously brought home week after week, month after month and year after year come hail rain or snow.  “Me too” was uttered without knowing what the words would mean as an adult because at that moment captured in time meant that she also wanted her treat of a walnut whirl wrapped in its blue slippy paper.

Oh, the excitement every Friday of debating with herself which way to eat this treat today.    Will the Walnut on the top be removed and eaten first or kept for later after eating the thick creamy chocolate and the white fluffy filling inside or should the nut be eaten first to be mixed in the childish mouth with chocolate and creamy filling?             “Me too”  as she stepped in dancing excitement as Daddy gave Mammy her apples and then handed out the treats to the two girls.  “Me too” as she reached for her Friday treat not knowing the significance that these two small words would have in her life as a mature adult.

#METOO stood out in bold print and its significance hit me like a ton of bricks because now these words were no longer my childish chant but a hashtag on Twitter.                 The “Me Too” of my childhood a distant memory to be always cherished but washed away by the significance of  #METOO.  As I read each tweet and FB status I  was dragged back down a dark hole of memories which had lain buried under happy memories.  I guess this was a trigger point again.   Slowly my list of  #MeToo grew before my eyes and as it grew my determination not to be ashamed or hid my past grew.  Only good will prevail over all this evil.

#MeToo: Yes a man who was in a position of trust by adults groped me as I passed him when I was getting off the bus after a school tour. He asked me to meet him later when the bus was empty.  I ran to my friends knowing this wasn’t right.  I told one friend and she wanted me to go back later to see what he would do.  Thankfully the fear of being caught out late as child overrode my curiosity as to what this creep wanted.                    #MeToo:  Yes a colleague used to make me feel very uncomfortable by giving me sly looks and stating that he loved the way I stood when I was doing a particular job. I grew paranoid about how I stood. I reported this to a superior to be told just to ignore him.        #MeToo: I was abused emotionally, financially, mentally and physically so much that I got a safety order and should have taken the barring order the Judge was giving me. Sex without consent is rape but when the DPP decided my case didn’t have enough evidence it wasn’t brought to court.

#MeToo:  I got marooned in the snow after bringing a friend home and stayed the night in his place.  I felt safe because well sure he knew I’d been abused before so would not hurt me. I was anally raped.                                                                                                            #MeToo:  I was grabbed in a lift by a man because I looked hot in my red suit.  I ran shaking with terror and tears rolling down my face.  I love that red suit which I still have but have not worn since that day about ten years ago.  One day I will put it on again when I am ready.

#MeToo:  I was harassed by a total stranger when he asked for directions to Leopardstown and I could only direct him to Dublin.  He threw down his bike and ran at me screaming.  I ran into the road but nobody stopped to help me. People drove by on their merry little way in their rosy little worlds while mine was shaking.                         #MeToo:  I got verbally abused today by a customer but because I was at work there wasn’t a lot I could do. I asked him if he wanted a manager and that just made him worse.  But to him and others like him, I am just the service provider behind the butcher counter who is there to serve them no matter what abuse is hurled my way.  I smile as my late father always said kill them with kindness.

Abuse, harassment call it what you like has to be abolished from our race the human race because it’s grossly inhuman to mistreat others.   Future generations deserve to know that they can feel safe everywhere without fear of that childish shout of “Me Too” turning in to the adult hashtag #MeToo.

One thing I could write in concrete is that I would never  have gotten where I am today without the wonderful work of everyone at the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and Women’s Aid

Speaking From Experience And My Heart

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#MeToo

“Me too” her little voice spoke as loud as she could.  “Me too” she chanted as if it was a prayer stumbling over the words as she got more and more excited. Getting caught up in the excitement of  Friday treat time.  Excitedly eyeing the unseen shapes in the brown paper bag Daddy religiously brought home week after week, month after month and year after year come hail rain or snow.  “Me too” was uttered without knowing what the words would mean as an adult because at that moment captured in time meant that she also wanted her treat of a walnut whirl wrapped in its blue slippy paper.

Oh, the excitement every Friday of debating with herself which way to eat this treat today.    Will the Walnut on the top be removed and eaten first or kept for later after eating the thick creamy chocolate and the white fluffy filling inside or should the nut be eaten first to be mixed in the childish mouth with chocolate and creamy filling?             “Me too”  as she stepped in dancing excitement as Daddy gave Mammy her apples and then handed out the treats to the two girls.  “Me too” as she reached for her Friday treat not knowing the significance that these two small words would have in her life as a mature adult.

#METOO stood out in bold print and its significance hit me like a ton of bricks because now these words were no longer my childish chant but a hashtag on Twitter.                 The “Me Too” of my childhood a distant memory to be always cherished but washed away by the significance of  #METOO.  As I read each tweet and FB status I  was dragged back down a dark hole of memories which had lain buried under happy memories.  I guess this was a trigger point again.   Slowly my list of  #MeToo grew before my eyes and as it grew my determination not to be ashamed or hid my past grew.  Only good will prevail over all this evil.

#MeToo: Yes a man who was in a position of trust by adults groped me as I passed him when I was getting off the bus after a school tour. He asked me to meet him later when the bus was empty.  I ran to my friends knowing this wasn’t right.  I told one friend and she wanted me to go back later to see what he would do.  Thankfully the fear of being caught out late as child overrode my curiosity as to what this creep wanted.                    #MeToo:  Yes a colleague used to make me feel very uncomfortable by giving me sly looks and stating that he loved the way I stood when I was doing a particular job. I grew paranoid about how I stood. I reported this to a superior to be told just to ignore him.        #MeToo: I was abused emotionally, financially, mentally and physically so much that I got a safety order and should have taken the barring order the Judge was giving me. Sex without consent is rape but when the DPP decided my case didn’t have enough evidence it wasn’t brought to court.

#MeToo:  I got marooned in the snow after bringing a friend home and stayed the night in his place.  I felt safe because well sure he knew I’d been abused before so would not hurt me. I was anally raped.                                                                                                            #MeToo:  I was grabbed in a lift by a man because I looked hot in my red suit.  I ran shaking with terror and tears rolling down my face.  I love that red suit which I still have but have not worn since that day about ten years ago.  One day I will put it on again when I am ready.                                                                                                                                    #MeToo:  I was harassed by a total stranger when he asked for directions to Leopardstown and I could only direct him to Dublin.  He threw down his bike and ran at me screaming.  I ran into the road but nobody stopped to help me. People drove by on their merry little way in their rosy little worlds while mine was shaking.                         #MeToo:  I got verbally abused today by a customer but because I was at work there wasn’t a lot I could do. I asked him if he wanted a manager and that just made him worse.  But to him and others like him, I am just the service provider behind the butcher counter who is there to serve them no matter what abuse is hurled my way.  I smile as my late father always said kill them with kindness.

Abuse, harassment call it what you like has to be abolished from our race the human race because it’s grossly inhuman to mistreat others.   Future generations deserve to know that they can feel safe everywhere without fear of that childish shout of “Me Too” turning in to the adult hashtag #MeToo.

One thing I could write in concrete is that I would never  have gotten where I am today without the wonderful work of everyone at the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and Women’s Aid

 

From The Top Down And Back Up Again

Everything has to be communicated right through a company for it to be totally effective in this climate of fast-growing retail outlets worldwide. Without efficient communication, a company can lose hundreds daily or billions yearly. Companies collapse because they have gained massive loses through something as simple as lack of communication from the top layer of the management right down to the last worker to be recruited and vice versa. Never assume anything is fully communicated by the person you ask to tell everyone because as in Chinese whispers communications can get distorted.

“Assumptions are made and most assumptions are wrong” Albert Einstein

Communication is only as effective as the communicator. Some people are atrocious when it comes to communication and keep important information to themselves because they think it’s beyond anyone else’s ability to act on it. Or else the information filters down the line only so far and its effectiveness is lost therefore meaning not everyone knows what way to do things or what to actually do. At times its decided that certain people don’t need this information for their job despite it being vital to their work and its assumed by many it’s not relevant to their job or position. Communication is not rocket science and can be done in so many ways via modern technology but there is still a lot to be said for the old-fashioned handover book. Nobody can say they didn’t see the handover notes written in this book if it is routinely filled out at the end of each shift by the Manager or colleague before he or she leaves work every day and signed by them plus the receiver.

For the wheels of business to run effectively, it’s not only the big issues which need to be communicated but the smaller ones also. The smaller issues when passed down from the top to the bottom and back up again can be solved before they generate massive losses for any company. For each department within any business to reach its full potential everyone has to be motivated through communication and this communication while being about company facts and sales figures should also contain words of encouragement and praise no matter how small a contribution a person makes to the company. Without each person, the department would not be complete therefore the company would be missing a vital cog in productivity in its wheel.

While it’s great to be seen to be communicating but ask yourself are you actually communicating efficiently and effectively? Are you communicating more with those outside your place of work or those within it? By this I mean are you talking on the phone more than talking to those actually working around you daily and are you so in tune with everyone that you understand and can see what they have done are doing before barking at them about more tasks. If your barking across the office, company space its time to examine your communication skills and get retrained in this area. The words used and how they are used makes a massive difference when talking to everyone about anything. Also, examine what is being communicated daily to see how productivity is being affected. Simple tasks left unfinished or undone have a domino effect on any company and this will be seen in financial records. The interaction between departments or offices is vital so that hours allocated to each area are used properly and not overspent leading to a wage over the mark allocated for the year.

Open communication is vital in every area of business from the training of new staff to the motivation of all staff. If new staff or those transferred to other areas of the business are not trained properly by communicating their roles and tasks efficiently this, in turn, can lead to a massive lack of confidence in them about their own abilities and by others. Proper training is vital for a business to be profitable and for the services to be given to the customers which leave a good reflection on the service provider and the company. Nobody in their right mind is going to want to do business with a company who has not communicated tasks/responsibilities from the top right down to the bottom leaving massive margins for error. While some companies communicate from the top to the bottom and back up again this communication is ineffective because of the manner it is delivered.

Remember workers are human and the human personal touch is vital in every area of life. Also, remember that those at the bottom can get to the top and those at the top of any company can slide to the bottom. Communicate without belittling, humiliating, bullying or hurting anyone because everyone is important to the company.

Bernadette A D’Arcy

Talking to Da

Da!  I can’t see nor hear you but Da I know you know that I still have a lot to say because so much was left unsaid. Unsaid things which rattle and whoosh through my mind at the strangest of times.  But Da I have so much more to say than what we said because at times we just chit chatted about this, that, the other and really nothing in the long run.  Yes! Da we hit the serious stuff a few times but we always gently waltzed back to the mundane topics of daily life a life which was being sucked out of you by cancer. Yes, fucking cancer which robbed you from me Da.  See I’m still so angry that I’m actually swearing when talking to you and in all my years I never swore within hearing distance of you Da for fear of getting a slap.  A slap which was allowed when I was a child.

Da even after 13 years my anger hasn’t ebbed its roaring like a tsunami or a hurricane because we had only really connected for the first time ever in my 40 years.  Yes, Da I was 40 when you made your silent exit out of my world a world which went into freefall after you died.  My guilt at not insisting that you died or were at least waked at home eats me up every time I think of you pleading with me to take you home.  But your home wasn’t my domain for me to make those decisions in.  Oh! Da I let you down big time.  I didn’t grab courage by the balls and give you what you asked for.  Instead, I let you die in the room where my brother had been born.  But Da if its any consolation to you now just know that you went so peacefully and Ma, Mary, Me and Kevin were by your side.

The anger which ebbs below the brim of me consumes me at times so that I have to escape from reality and the only way to do that without actually telling everyone to fuck off Da is to cycle until I am spent.  No amount of talking or crying seems able to quench this fire of glowing embers of anger because cancer stole you just as we were getting on so well.    Talking of cycling I went through Tara Hill yesterday for the first time in over 30 years and stood looking at the little church where you walked me up the aisle because what else could you do in good old Catholic Ireland in the 80’s with a pregnant 19 yr old daughter.  Yes! Da this scene I now call forced marriage Irish style.  Da! I cried in that village yesterday for the lost teenager and the adult who has lost her Da for 13 years. But crying won’t fix a thing or will it bring you back. But fuck it Da you live in my memories and that is how I have you now. I have you in memories, photos and your sayings.

Da, Da do you hear me at all or are you ignoring me or praying?  Yes, Da it’s late, Yes Da its time I slept but sure musha I will be back to talk to you again because there is so much unsaid waiting to be said.

Da…….  to each of the three of us you gave different memories and at times I wonder were we reared in the same house by the same Da.

No Da I’m not rambling or buying time before I sleep like a child looking for the fairy tale to continue. I’m an adult trying to talk to her Da, the same Da who bought Walnut whips as a treat on Fridays when she was a child but never really got to know her until he was nearly dead.

Everyone thinks they know why we didn’t get on and I guess some have theories about the subject.  But Da at least we discovered the answer before you died and all the theorists can fuck off.

Da…. Da sorry for swearing again.  Yes, Da your not to far away at all because basically your forever in my heart and always on my mind.

Talk soon Da, very soon ….

love you always Da.

Funny I was never a Daddy’s girl but I found my place at 40 and still miss it 13 years later.

Da… Yes, I’m going now.  Good night, God bless  and Don’t let the bed bugs bite

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Scared In My Capital

Scared  In My Capital

Not knowing which direction to go to get from A to B and back to A again was infuriating, scary and bewildering because this was my capital.  The city that as a child I’d been brought to on numerous occasions for visits to the zoo or to shop at Christmas in around its centre.  This city which I as a parent had brought my own children now scared me shitless, reduced me a once confident woman into a quivering wreck.

How was I to know that visiting the city was very different from starting a fresh new life there? What possessed me a country mug or a culchie to move to our capital at the most insecure time of my life?  Why of all the jobs I’d applied for did I get accepted for this job in our capital city when the biggest town I’d ever lived in would just about fill one small corner of this daunting city.  Holy Mother of God what exactly possessed me to believe I a lover of the country side would survive in a concrete jungle and be contented to cycle to Bushy park or the Phoenix park to see the deer make their dawn crossing in majestic splendour.   Me who had lived on the outskirts of a village in what some would call a bush now well planted in Dublin in an apartment on the second floor with no garden to sit in during the summer.

Me who had lived on the outskirts of a village in what some would call a bush now well planted in Dublin in an apartment on the second floor with no garden to sit in during the summer. An apartment with a row of steep steps up to the front door which was yellow like Big Bird out of Sesame Street. These same steps became my garden on sunny days because I lacked the courage to go further than my work place which was the local shop.

Where were my peace and quiet gone in this mayhem of traffic, alarms and calls?  From dawn to dusk or beyond the city didn’t sleep but then again at times nor did I.  Wondering how to get from A to B and then beyond B but eventually back to A without getting lost. Yes lost in my capital which remained a  serious mystery to me.

My capital nearly got the better of me and I almost left after a few weeks but my job held me so I stayed.  Only venturing out that gate in front of the yellow door to go to work. My world was small, crushing me daily, sucking the life out of me as I was scared to venture further in case I got lost and had to ask a stranger for directions from beyond B back to A.

Who would have thought that I struggled with this fear from October until January?   But I drove around the city in my tiny car never asking for directions, relying on my book of Dublin maps. I and my red car managed to get to the other side of my capital daily through the Phoenix park in the snow and back to A again. But this was all in my insulated little world of metal. It wasn’t truly being out in the city.  But being out on foot would mean meeting people face to face, dealing with loud noises or invasion of my personal space. All too much for me to be dealing with alone but there was no one to walk with me, no one to understand the aftermath of my trauma which I had dealt with by attending counselling at the Rape Crisis centre.

My capital scared me shitless and I being me was going to conquer this fear by making a life for myself in this city which was the other side of the Richter scales when making comparisons to the small village I lived in and it.  This daunting capital where others found freedom, I found imprisonment. My home became one prison while the walk to and from my other prison was my exercise area.  This exercise area expanded when I purchased my bicycle and some freedom.

The city that scared me became a different place as I zipped around it early on Sunday mornings, meeting night clubbers going home as I cycled to forget the misery of what was now my existence. I wasn’t living so it was just an existence on the fringes of everyday life because most of my interactions were superficial,   There were very few occasions for focused interaction but by God, there was plenty of time for unfocused interactions.  Meeting strangers on the street, scared to even say Hello but wanting to say hello because this was an inbred form of politeness and I am a good girl who uses her manners.  But fear kept my mouth stitched tight for a long time and only then did I interact with those whom I met daily on my exercise route or in that second prison.

Our capital confused me because at times it was heartless while at other times it was the best warmest place to be.  How could I feel at home in a hot to cold back to hot running place?  This capital where I had to be content with parks instead of a garden to plant, dig or lie in.  This place where married people pretended to be single to get closer. But as big as this scary place is it’s too damn small to have affairs in so put back on your wedding rings and go back home to love your wives.  Oh, I yearned for fields of peace and quiet without all this confusion of infidelity.  Clapping happy people praying on a Sunday but by Monday creeping around again. This capital is small when your unfaithful but huge when you’re a scared culchie from the country who wants nothing more but to make a new life, so put back on your wedding ring and go home to love your wife.

Beyond the pale is calling, beckoning to me with sweet promises of fields, mountains and rivers: Freedom in other words.  freedom from the confinements of those prisons which were part of my life, both necessary to survive. One to live in and the other to work in.  The rolling mountains are now my exercise yard with its strong winds clearing my mind of all unnecessary clutter which drags a person down.  Cycling along the boreens knowing when I venture up to our capital it won’t be as a nieve scared shitless culchie but as a confident bubbling culchie who knows exactly where she’s is going to in life.

Cycling along the boreens knowing when I venture up to our capital it won’t be as a nieve scared shitless culchie but as a confident bubbling culchie who knows exactly where she’s is going to in life.  Experience changes a person and teaches them more lessons than any university can.  But that change has to be constructive or else it will be as destructive as Trump on twitter.

Dublin Yes Dublin I miss and love you and as we parted on good terms we can possibly be together sometime but for now, a day at a time is all I need to saunter up Grafton street or in around Moore street which is ever changing.

 

 

 

 

To fight back or not to fight back ???

To fight back or not to fight back ???

To fight back or not to fight back now that is part of the question. Your damned if you don’t and damned if you do so what does one do?  The rapist might want you to fight back to further his sense of excitement and heighten the thrill of the rape.  But fighting back brings repercussions for the victim just as much as not fighting back.

Nobody ever imagines that they are going to be raped or asks to be raped.  Rape, as I have said before,” is the total violation, invasion and destruction of one person by another be they male or female”.

In my 40’s I never dreamed in my darkest nightmares that I would be raped let alone raped in the place that I considered safe. My home the sanctuary we had created together to be happy in no matter what storms life brewed up on the outside.  But the storm brewed and simmered on the inside and over time it escalated until I was raped despite having obtained a safety order. A safety order which was explained to him by the Gardai after yet another visit to the house by them.

I didn’t fight back because like so many before me and after me in this same dreaded place or position I was filled with a massive fear of being beaten to death.  But I did keep saying NO NO NO.  You see without consent it was rape but the DPP decided there was insufficient evidence so the case never got to court.  What was I to do eat or beat myself up because I had not fought back and gained bruises or worse?  Nope, I did what everyone should do if they are subjected to rape.   Get help.  Yes, I sought and got help to rebuild my life until I got this strong to use my experience to empower others.

To fight back or not to fight back is a purely personal instinct/choice at that precise moment in time.  It’s a bit like fight or flight only with rape you can’t get away because you are pinned down.  Those who say the victim (a word I hate) should fight back they need to close their eyes and imagine to the best of their ability the sheer terror of rape. And those who say a victim should lie still they should do the same thing because both parties must realise that there is no proper way to react to rape.  Yes, we can lock our homes up against robbers but we can’t lock our vaginas up against rape unless we are anxious and the vagina stays tight.   But like the robber breaking into a house, a rapist keeps on raping until full penetration is achieved.  A rapist doesn’t care if they use the front or back door and I am not talking about the house doors. They don’t care if you are raped anally or vaginally and no you like me can’t have a choice.

To fight back or not to fight back still is the question. Who can decide, who makes the choice?  Damned if I can answer that one.

 

 

 

 

I Stood

I stood. Yes! I stood like a rabbit caught in front of the head lights of a car. A car which catches them unawares. Just as my standing there or even ending up there caught me totally unawares.

I honestly totally forgot about that road which leads to that particular cul-de-sac. In fact, I forgot that this particular road would bring me back to my destination. In my mind’s eye as I cycled I couldn’t picture the route until I reached that, yes! that junction. That T-junction which when I turned right instead of going straight lead me there.   I didn’t have to end up where I ended up standing, in all honesty, I could have ignored the opening in the road on my left and sailed down the hill and right past that place.  That place where so much happened. First happiness, but then sadness, terror and abuse.  But I looked as I was just about to pass. Looked expecting what or to see what I really don’t know. I don’t know what I expected to be there.

The first thing I noticed was the cattle grid was gone. The place where that dreaded slippy useless piece of metal was all cemented over.  Curiosity pulled me over that piece of cement because with the grid gone my bike moved freely to where I ended up standing. Standing frozen as if a statue of alabaster.  Did I think that because bad had happened me there the building would cease to exist?  But there it was that beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house. With its massive split level kitchen, massive sitting room and huge entrance hall. It still stood there as I now stood looking at it. Looking at the windows for what I don’t know exactly. Signs that I was never beaten or raped there because that was the house we had our wedding reception in and lived in for a short time.

I stood as if time stood still, never thinking of why I was doing this instead of cycling past this cul-de-sac.  It was as if by being there I thought I could rewind and erase it all. But, nothing can be rewound or erased because he did what he did and I now use this experience to encourage others to report abuse and rape by speaking about my experience.

I never dreamed that in my 40’s I’d be beaten and raped. But that’s what happened and me standing there staring at someone else’s family home can’t change a thing.

But I kept on standing. I stood there playing like a video our wedding reception and then the terror. Talk about examining two opposite spheres of a spectrum.  I stood there, just stood there looking as if there was going to be something to see. In my mind’s eye, I walked from room to room touching the furniture which wasn’t ours.  Only stopping when I reached that rooms door, the room where he raped me. You see despite the fact we were married it was rape because he never asked for consent.

I stood there suddenly cold and I realised it was getting late in the afternoon. The wind was gone colder and dark clouds were shifting over head. So I cease standing there and faced my bicycle towards the road back out of that cul-de-sac back on to the road I should never have left. No, No now it was right to stand there to face demons of the past down.  Now that road is just a cycling route past a place I used to live.

I stood there, I stood there for a reason.  I stood there as part of my healing ritual which only I can understand at times.  I stood there because despite the experience of that place I am who I am today.  I STOOD THERE knowing I’m stronger for sharing to help others get out of bad relationships.

 

Yes!  I stood there knowing that the house will exist long after my memory is gone or I have vanished off the face of this earth. I stood there for more reasons than you or I will ever know.

Standing like an alabaster statue dressed in cycling gear, hand on her racer to move on with life very positively and happy.

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