• I wonder why those with delicate sensitivities can't distinguish the difference between open dialogue about a subject and glorification of an act?

    February 9, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.

  • N45BA—

    I don’t think anyone has posted on any of the Vagina Monologues anything that would lead one to believe that the local production of this play, or any production of this play anywhere is meant to be viewed as the ‘great savior of all things woman”.
    While I personally found no value in Aprill Brandon’s ‘humor’ column, every other story about it has been done in good taste. And yes, there are scenarios in the book that cause us to wince and make us want to not read. But, those are the realities of those women, whether they jibe with our reality or not.

    Can you not agree that these stories, particularly this very honest blog by Trysta, have helped folks speak out about this very terrible situation that visits so many families? Trysta, Carolee, Dennis and the others have done a tremendous service to victims. They have shown that it is okay to talk about this topic—sexual abuse and sexual assault. And it is through this sort of conversation that the secrets will be exposed to the very cleansing light, and the healing will begin.

    Don’t go to the play. You wouldn’t get anything out of it. Instead, perhaps, make a small donation to Mid-Coast Family Services—the Domestic Violence Shelter, or to Hope of South Texas—the Sexual Assault Crisis Center and Children’s Advocacy Center. I don’t think you condone violence of any kind, but you can support the work of either agency financially.

    February 9, 2011 at 8:02 a.m.

  • N45BA: It is true, the play is not for everyone. Its adult themes and depictions of sexuality doesn't necessarily jive with some people's beliefs. So no one would blame you for not going; in fact no one would blame you for not reading this blog either. With one click, you can navigate safely from this page and return to your life, which hopefully has nothing to do with abuse or controversial theatrical performances.

    What concerns me, however, is the anger you're emanating, directed seemingly toward women. I encourage you to explore that within yourself as anger can oftentimes be more toxic to ourselves than anyone else.

    And please be respectful of the people posting here on my blog. I want this to be a place where people can safely, and positively, share their experiences and point of view. Unlike the news stories on this site, I have the liberty of removing any comments that overstep the boundaries I have set.

    February 8, 2011 at 10:28 p.m.

  • After reading your blog printed in the VA today, I thought to myself: "The truth will set you free!" It takes knowledge and understanding, but most important, FORGIVNESS, to deliver this message. Good job- well done- And, may God continue to bless you for speaking the TRUTH!

    February 8, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.

  • I realized that my username, teakin, may be a bit misleading. When I first started working for the Victoria Advocate and set up my account, I chose my e-mail moniker for that. I changed it so there would be no mistaking of my identity. I am a reporter, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a sexual abuse survivor.

    Trysta Eakin

    February 8, 2011 at 12:23 p.m.

  • Thank you, Dennis, for your story and encouraging words. And thank you for reminding us that this is not merely a woman's plight. Sexual abuse happens so often to males as well, which seems worse to me. Not only are you not given the words, you are not given permission to feel any emotions, let alone the powerful ones derived from abuse. It is frequently more shameful for boys, as well.

    I commend you for having the courage to come forward, and even with your full name, risking ridicule and wayward looks. I'm honored that you would choose this venue and our readers for your story.

    February 8, 2011 at 12:15 p.m.

  • Dear Trysta,

    You write of these deeply human issues with such eloquence, courage and compassion. Thank you.

    I am a 62-year-old man. As a child, I lived all over the USA and was sexually molested from ages 6-10, in the chance encounters of passing through life. I was never warned. In fact, no one ever talked about it.

    My good fortune was that I was big enough to be able to push away unwanted attentions, which is certainly not the case for everyone, as sexual abuse can extend into infancy.

    Growing up in the 1950's and 60's, I lived in a world of secrets -- societal, familial, personal. We dared not share them so these secrets turned in toxic shame. Instead of something inappropriate happening to me, I believed I was inappropriate, my feelings were not to be honored, I was somehow a broken soul.

    It has been tremendously healing over the years to accept that I am not alone in my experiences. I believe a production like the Vagina Monologues will help create healthy conversations that will lead to individual and community healing and growth.

    I'm proud of the courage all are exhibiting in producing this important work and to having the dialog so our healing can continue.

    Dennis Tardan

    February 8, 2011 at 12:05 p.m.

  • Yes thank you Trysta & Carolee!!

    February 8, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.

  • I have found so many different things in this article! THANK YOU! For putting it the way you have! I for one am a survivor and I completely understand where you are coming from. Thank you again I found alot of strength and assurance in this article! I would love to buy tickets now!!

    February 8, 2011 at 10:36 a.m.

  • Julie Z. is right. It is through awareness and education that the false notions about sexual abuse and the impact it has on the victims, sometimes for a lifetime, will be dispelled.

    You never know--Trysta and Carolee, your testimony just might help some other victim or victims find the courage to do what you have done. You will probably never know who you are a hero to.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:52 p.m.

  • As if I needed something else to admire you for, Trysta....
    Thank you for having the courage to move past your painful memories and share with us so we can all be a little more educated about sexual abuse.

    February 7, 2011 at 5:52 p.m.

  • Thanks EdithAnn and Jennifer. I wouldn't necessarily call myself a hero (*blush*).

    I do agree that we need to be able to talk about it; Having the language to verbalize these things is important. And when that language embarrasses everyone around you if uttered, well that just makes for one big frustrating situation.

    February 7, 2011 at 5:07 p.m.

  • You're a brave woman, and delight to know, girl. Thanks for sharing this horrific experience with the world. It does happen, we should talk about it, and we need heroes like you leading the way. Great job!

    February 7, 2011 at 4:59 p.m.

  • For teakin, carollee and every other victim of sexual abuse who so bravely confronts that history, you have my utmost respect. Thank you for your courage, your wisdom and your struggle.


    February 7, 2011 at 2:13 p.m.

  • Carollee, thank you so much for sharing your life with me and our readers. I think all of our war stories are valid and worthy of swapping on such an occasion as this. And your point of teaching our children about their own sexuality was beautifully put. I hope today's kids grow up more knowledgeable about abuse and be more sensitive to those that survive it.

    In GOP's defense, I think it is easier for people to make crude jokes than to face the reality that abuse of any kind is a soul-ripping, ravaging and annihilating epidemic that has touched the lives of every person we encounter, whether we know it or not.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:19 p.m.

  • Thank you for bravely sharing your experience with us. Because I was never taught the value of my own body or taught to value myself as a person, I submitted myself to sexual exploitation as a teenager. Though I don't dare compare my experience to yours, it has nonetheless scarred me. I spent years thinking it was true what the boys who used me and discarded me claimed: I was a 'whore' or a 'slut.' It's only now, as an adult and a mother, that I see what I really was: a child, who deserved to be protected by the adults in my life. That is exactly what the V-Day movement aims to do: protect children.

    I admire women like you and all the women who have shared their stories for The Vagina Monologues, women who use their suffering to make themselves and other women stronger, when it would be so easy to fall into the role of victim.

    Whatever the mindless critics of V-Day and The Vagina Monologues claim as their motivation, pure, old-fashioned misogyny is the true foundation. Our society doesn't set a taboo for half-naked women in exploitative television commercials, nor for blood-drenched violence, but many people would shame those who proudly announce the proper name of the gateway of life: Vagina.

    The truth is that the vagina is seen as a threat to the traditional power structure of a male-dominated society, for it represents the one power women have that men don't, the most significant power on earth: to bring life into the world. So it's been cloaked in secrecy and shrouded in shame, to keep its bearers "in their place."

    To teach our young girls that their genitalia is not shameful or improper for polite discussion is to arm them with a weapon against sexual abuse. I have taught my three-year-old to call hers a vagina, rather than "tee tee" or any other euphemism, so that she will never be confused. She will know that it is a serious part of her body, and no one has the right to violate it.

    V-Day gives women a little more power, in the form of knowledge. Of course those attached to the archaic structure of man-on-top, woman-as-subservient have a problem with it.

    And to all who would joke in the context of sexual abuse (GOP Love Child), might I suggest you move to Saudi Arabia or some other place where the majority of men share your shameful view of women? Ditto for those who feel the need to threaten lives to suppress freedom of speech. And I hope with every fiber of my being that you, GOP, don't have a daughter. If you do, mark my words, she will be ashamed of you one day for your attitude. Sadder still, she might be ashamed of her own sexuality because you, her male role model, compare a sacred font of life to something disgusting.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:07 p.m.

  • Hahahaha. I needed a good laugh today masondixon. Thanks!

    I wouldn't suggest a child pick up a .45. They're liable to tragically shoot themselves instead. Also, I don't think there's a rapist on every corner and child molesters are usually family members or step-parents who have been abused themselves at some point or another.

    On another note, I had my concealed to carry license in the state of Arkansas, where I'm from. I didn't renew in Texas because I no longer own a gun. I don't object to gun laws or usage. I just don't think it's appropriate for children to handle guns.

    February 7, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.

  • @teakin

    instead of trying to convince everyone that there's a rapist around ever corner, how about you empower victims by advocating firearm ownership? that will solve their problems WAAAAAY faster than attending victim oriented symposiums.

    I suggest a Taurus .45 from Academy because they carry 10 rounds, are cheap ($330), and you can get it TODAY.

    February 7, 2011 at 12:47 p.m.

  • Jared, thank you for your comment and support of donations. I, along with many others, can understand your want to not attend. And on behalf of the Monologuers, a big thank you as well for not calling the college to curse and harangue them.

    February 7, 2011 at 12:33 p.m.

  • My heart pains to hear stories like this. Sexual abuse must be one of the most traumatic events a person can experience and has severe consequences. I consider you both brave and courageous for struggling with the devastating effects.

    I have not contacted anybody regarding the play, but I will not be attending. I will give a donation despite my feelings of the play because I think Mid Coast does good work. I do feel, as I am sure many others, that they would love to support and be a part of the festivities if they didn't go against their own sensibilities.

    February 7, 2011 at 12:26 p.m.

  • GOP: It takes a lot to offend me, so you'll have to do better than that. But I'd guess that the women in your life might find that joke inappropriate as it pertains to this subject. Upon reviewing this blog over the weekend, a good friend of mine asked a group of four women if they'd been abused or raped. All four raised their hands. That might be a good homework assignment for you, too.

    February 7, 2011 at 11:47 a.m.

  • reminds me of the fish market joke

    February 7, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.

  • An excellent blog: honest, direct and bravely voiced.

    I will be in attendance.

    February 7, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.

  • good luck with that...

    V for Victory

    February 7, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.