October 3, 2011

Anonymous Posts (9.26.11-10.2.11)

Every week, we collect anonymous entries sent in using the link on our sidebar and post them all on Monday. We post anything as long as it doesn't contain personal attacks, hate speech, or express or insinuate that one is at risk for hurting themselves or someone else. Please read this for an explanation of this policy and seek help if your or a friend find yourself in that position. With those exceptions aside, please feel free to submit your thoughts and questions. :)

Hey, yo! It was a great week for us here at the blog. Jacob made it onto Pam's House Blend...which is just, there are no words for that. We welcomed our second 2015 blogger, and our first ever faculty blogger.

This week is going to be a great week in the Community, too! Spectrum is meeting on Tuesday from 6-7pm in the Center. Blue Devils United (you know, the Higher Power behind This Blog) is meeting on Wednesday at 5:30, also at the Center. Followed by a blog meeting (the Actual Higher Powers That Be) on Thursday night, 9pm, location TBA. Not to mention, we have another newbie blogger and our first installation of Throwback Thursdays lined up!

Did anyone see this article from CNN on transgender children? It was pretty good. It is also where I learned that Sonny and Cher's child is an out transman (sorry I'm only years behind of this). Oh, and better yet, the Center has his memoir! But if you'd rather stay staring at your computer, you can read an excerpt from it on Oprah.com. If you're wondering, that is information I just happen to know and is obviously not because I spent an hour reading article after article about LGBTQ issues.

And for those of you who celebrated Rosh Hashannah last week, I sincerely hope it was meaningful and included inordinate amounts of apples dipped in honey.

And now, for notes from Our Community (OC...#ThisWillCatchOn).

Love the new layout! xoxo

I was molested when I was 7 years old. As a result of the assault my sexuality was awakened. I had access to the internet, and spent days “researching” whatever information I could find. I would “experiment” with other children. I wrote stories to help understand the concepts that society said I wasn’t yet ready to deal with. Most of the characters were all girls. The other children I experimented with were always girls. I’ve always been attracted to girls, and I’ve always sort of knew. It was never something I questioned, just something I’d always accepted. It was a part of me. I liked girls. As well as guys, but, you know, that’s a given, right? [/sarcasm.] I never really questioned my identity until I was older. And not whether I was straight or queer, but whether I was bisexual or a lesbian. That little nagging voice in the back of my head started going, “What if…?” What if I didn’t really like boys? What if I only liked girls? Most of my previous attractions had been to girls, so I must be a lesbian. But I’d had crushes on guys as well, so I couldn’t be. This went on for a while, until one day, the thought hit me: what if I’m lying to myself? Because at that point, I’d suddenly remembered that I had been molested when I was 7 years old. It wasn’t something that I had necessarily repressed; I’ve always remembered, I remember every detail of what happened; I just never dwelled on it. Until then. What if I only thought I was a lesbian because I had been molested? What if I was trying to compensate for the violation I felt by doing a one-eighty and going in the complete opposite direction of what I was supposed to? Would that explain my sexual attraction to girls? Would it explain my emotional attraction to boys, but the debilitating anxiety that I felt whenever anything remotely sexual with them occurred? Was that why I had an anxiety attack every time my ex tried to initiate sex, or even touch me in any intimate way? Am I not really attracted to girls? Am I just lying to myself? The possibility that my sexual orientation could be the result of a traumatic childhood experience was devastating for me, and it bothered me for quite a while. It was an identity crisis that I never could have imagined I would have to deal with. For now I tend to just not think about it, so I don’t know how badly I’ve been “damaged” by it. And I don’t want what happened to turn into an excuse, for anything, so I ignore it. For now I’ve accepted that I like people of both the same and opposite gender/gender presentations. That’s just who I am. But even to this day, those doubts still linger in the back of my mind, that irksome voice always asking that elusive “What if…?”

[Editor's Note: Thank you for writing in, #2. If you are looking for in-person support, please see the resources at the bottom of this post or consider making an appointment with the Women's Center's Sheila Broderick, a feminist therapist who specializes in sexual violence. In addition to talking through your concerns with you, Sheila can also help inform you of what your options are when it comes to reporting your assault and seeking academic relief, etc.]

Please remember that there are a number of resources available on campus and in the local community. These resources are available over breaks and throughout the school year. If you or a friend are experiencing thoughts or urges to harm yourself or somebody else, please reach out to the following resources: In an emergency, please don't hesitate to call CAPS at any time, including "after hours" at (919) 966-3820. Ask to speak to the advice nurse and tell them you are a Duke student. You may also call the Trevor Project, a national hotline specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning youth (college students included). Their number is 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).


  1. #2 - thanks so much for sharing your experience; there is no way that you are alone in this, and it's so helpful for others to read these on the blog like this. Thanks for having the courage to re-post your story.

    I would also second Risa's suggestion-you may have done this already much earlier before, but I think the Women's Center has a lot of wonderful resources for preventing and responding to gender violence, regardless of when or by whom it occured. (They are great in many other ways, too!)

    Again, it was really great to read your piece and it raised a question I had never thought of before, in terms of how we define identity and by what. Thanks again.

  2. I was molested by my sister's 12 year-old friend (a girl) when I was 6 years old. These numbers are hard to reckon with as college students, but think back to when you were in 7th grade: you definitely knew it was not OK to corner your friend's much younger brother while she was off playing with the other girls, to put your hand down that boy's pants, to fondle and french kiss him, to ask him, "Do you love me?," to make awkward allusive comments in public like, "You're such a big guy," ostensibly commenting on my precocious command of language.

    And like you, I've been wary of seeking the counsel of people I think might actually want to decide how this event has damaged me. Because I feel it hasn't. (Plus, I have a pretty cynical view of psychology).
    When I went to Common Ground my freshman year I told everyone, and ultimately found little virtue in the symbolic action of "confession."
    Which is to say, this is something I have neither suppressed nor harped upon (like you). It doesn't awake me in night terrors, or suddenly descend upon my grocery shopping trips, or even affect my hetero sex experiences.

    Well... but that troublesome last part. What I meant to say was, I never had trouble being intimate with girls. I had plenty of heterosex, and when my motives were pure, I enjoyed it. Except... I just don't look for it much anymore. Well not so these days, though I'd never rule anything out. ;) So then there's the confusion that makes us wonder.

    I wouldn't be totally surprised if that incident of molestation actually *did* have latent effects on my sexuality. I don't necessarily think I was "born this way", and I don't mind if I wasn't. I think that's the enlightening choice that you're going to have to make, because the "what if?" will never end. The ones who claim to know for sure how sexuality derives are motivated more by ideology than science.

    I think the need for homosexuality to be hardwired in us rather than chosen or caused highlights discomfort with difference; this discomfort has more to do with people telling us that we need to settle these identities in order to really essentialize ourselves, to embrace our "true nature," whatever that means.

    Q: But how am I not myself?
    A: I am myself, but I am also always something different.

    Creating personal identity is more often a product of pinpointing differences from others than pinpointing internal truths of our own character. With sexuality, pinpointing the difference can be harder than other politically mobilized minorities if it is a relativity or moving target (Am I gay? bi? pansexual? immortal?). But I'd take a guess that it's the latter striving that is ultimately more worthwhile.

    HoPe ThAt HeLpEd LaLaLa, and if not, here is a good song: