Rape is an Economic Crime: The Case for Mental Health Restitution

On TV, the plot looks something like this: a woman is raped or abused. She is a sympathetic character, traumatized yet brave. She reports the crime to the police, who perform a detailed forensic investigation and arrest the perpetrator. A trial ensues, and the survivor steps forward to tell her story. She wins over theContinue reading “Rape is an Economic Crime: The Case for Mental Health Restitution”

How to Reclaim Your Sexuality After Trauma

Ending an abusive relationship felt like being reborn: slowly, painfully, sharp as shattered glass. My body had been rearranged, Mr. Potato Head-style, into something new, simultaneously more sensitive and blunter, more empathic but liable to shut down unexpectedly—on the sidewalk, in the bedroom, in the grocery store. Many of us, especially women and queer people, have survived someContinue reading “How to Reclaim Your Sexuality After Trauma”

Why Bisexual Women Are at a Higher Risk for Violence

It feels strange to admit this, but when I first read that bisexual women are more vulnerable to sexual and intimate partner violence than people of other orientations, I felt relieved. It wasn’t the butterfly-winged relief of good news. It was the lightness of finally being able to breathe. Or perhaps, of feeling that I still couldn’tContinue reading “Why Bisexual Women Are at a Higher Risk for Violence”

The Girl Who Jumped Out of a Pie and Into a Gilded Age Morality Tale

ON MAY 20, 1895, 16-YEAR-OLD Susie Johnson, wearing nothing but gauze and haloed by a flock of live canaries, burst through the crust of a giant pie. It was polo player John Ellliot Cowdin’s 10th wedding anniversary, and the dinner was lavish: 16 courses from clams to coffee, each punctuated by champagne. Two models entertained theContinue reading “The Girl Who Jumped Out of a Pie and Into a Gilded Age Morality Tale”

Dealing with Complicated Feelings Around Abusers

Recently, a man I know was outed as a serial sexual harasser. I say “know” in a rather unfortunate sense: I’d been approached online by, went on a date with, and even kissed the guy a couple years ago. His too-forward sexual advances had always left a bad taste in my mouth. When the revelationsContinue reading “Dealing with Complicated Feelings Around Abusers”

One Year After #MeToo

The day after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before congress about her experience of sexual violence in relation to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) received the highest number of calls in its 24-year history. More than 3,000 people connected with the network on September 28, part of a record-breaking increase inContinue reading “One Year After #MeToo”

Do You Have to Forgive to Move On?

My mom had one response to our childhood complaints of schoolyard mean girls: “They’re probably having problems at home. Let it go.” I, of course, wasn’t having any of it. “But they’re mean to me,” I would wail. “Can’t you take my side?” Now that the grade school social scene is firmly behind me, I understand thatContinue reading “Do You Have to Forgive to Move On?”