Sunday, July 31, 2016

Calling All Women


CALLING ALL WOMEN
written by Brittany King
photography by Brittney Lucy


 


Strong, beautiful, broken women,

We live in a society where men have more power. We grow up gaining our wisdom into dating and relationships from rom coms and Taylor Swift songs. We learn the "game" we must play and train ourselves to become the most promising competitor. We numb the emotions we feel to avoid seeming "crazy", "desperate", "needy", all of which we've been told stems from hormonal imbalances.

Strong, beautiful, broken woman.

I want to tell you, in case no one has, that there is no fatal flaw in the way you operate. You were made to be the heart of this world. Your love and need were perfectly designed by a Creator who knit you together in your mothers womb and knows the number of hairs on your head. You are seen. You are understood.

You are so deeply loved.
I beg you to live out your truth with boldness and vulnerability. To let yourself feel and be the things that make you a woman. To let your love and vulnerability heal calloused hearts. To remember that you are not your relationship status. You are not your hookups. You are not lost and there are men in this world that are strong enough to be in partnership with women, allowing them to be the unique addition to society, family, and relationships that only they can be (and even further: recognize their desperate need for us).

While you are waiting and learning, you must know that you are under no obligation to do anything you don't want to do, ever. Please trust that what you deserve exists. Don't let fear drive you to betray yourself for a man who is broken and full of hurt. 

You, you caring and sensitive woman, are the only person who can lead your life.

You must not forget yourself, your dreams, your passions, your faith, your quirks, your me-time, your favorite foods, your education-- for anyone. Trust that just being completely you will be the sail that guides you exactly where you are intended to be.

And most importantly, woman, be there for other women. We need you.








Friday, July 29, 2016

The Change in Me




The Change in Me
written by Kate Klimist






The journey here has been one that I have anticipated and hoped for since before my first day of college. My expectation was filled with excitement, thinking of being abroad with great friends in a foreign country such as Scotland. Looking back, that was incredibly short sighted because my experiences have been so much more.
This journey has altered how I view the world around me, 
as well as how I view myself.


It is humbling to stand on a cliff in the Highlands with the rain and mist swirling around you while looking over some of the most breathtaking rolling green hills and lochs that are the deepest of blues; Wee walks that go on forever, but after a while, become part of your daily routine: familiar and soothing. There was a great deal of time for reflection. Time I rarely take. Time I did not realize I needed.


You see, I have been here before. As a young child I came to Scotland with my family. My grandfather joined us, whom I loved with my whole heart. It was his heritage that prompted us to take that trip because my mother insisted that it was important to understand where I come from. Scotland was his heritage. I remembered very little of that trip, or so I thought.


While in Glenelg, I was walking along the rainy shore with a friend. A shiny flat rock caught my eye laying in the water. When I reached down to pick it up, I remembered my grandfather standing beside me as a little girl handing me a rock of a similar feel. I remembered the size, shape, and warmth of that oval piece of sparkling granite he had placed in my hand. I could see the grin on my grandfather's face. Something so simple had given us both such joy. I remember I slid the rock in my pocket for safe keeping. Had it been a diamond, I could not have treasured it more. That day my grandfather taught me to skim stones on that loch, and come to think of it, it was raining that day too. He died almost one year later.

                                  


It is humbling to be surrounded by the ancient history of this country, and be with people that view life so simply, that see worth and beauty in small things as well as large. Hearing Eddie's stories and singing at a ceilidh in gaelic at the local town hall are memories of a time gone too quickly, a time I cherish so deeply. All these Glenelg moments bring to light new knowledge, knowledge of what is truly important in life. The most moving part about being in Scotland is that the people are real. Both Glenelg and Glasgow have a quality of people that I have come to value greatly.


Our time in Glasgow comes to an end this weekend as we head for Edinburgh. I cannot help but be grateful for the time in Glenelg, the Isle of Skye, and Glasgow. With each step of this journey, I have grown in my perspective on life. Now, leaving doors open a little bit wider to even greater possibilities, while gathering inner strength and far greater determination.


I would like to think that perhaps my grandfather placed that second rock in my hand-- to help me remember his love and strength. Perhaps the whole saying "it takes looking back to move forward" is true.

I know it is true in Scotland.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The One That Got Away - A Company Member's Story


The One That Got Away
A Company Member's Story 


                           




For a long while I have been contemplating: Should I share my story with others? What would people think of me if they knew? Am I ready to face that part of my life?

Lynda Radley said it well when she wrote, "Some survivors never speak." Because, for about five years now, I never have. I have buried my story so deep, and it was not until I started working on Lynda’s new play The Interference that I too was "forced to face some really uncomfortable truths." 

It was the summer before I entered my senior year of high school. The final remnants of spring were finally melting away, sun block began to replace lotion on the grocery store shelves, and I was just about to start working at the local dessert shop. I felt light- ready to take on summer. Although, even amidst the warmth I felt in my heart, something still felt broken inside. Right around that same time, I had found out that the boy I had been seeing for almost eight months had been keeping something from me. For, not only had he been seeing me that year, but he had also been seeing another girl at the same time, one of my friends. I was crushed. I blamed myself. I did not understand why I was not good enough. I went into summer feeling not only abandoned, but also embarrassed, used, and unworthy of love.

The unworthiness I felt in my heart made me easily impressionable and frankly, hyper-vulnerable. So it comes as no surprise, that when this same boy asked me out on a date later that summer, I said yes.

I am willing to admit that evening was avoidable. I will admit that I could have been more aware:

Going into that evening, I did ignore the fact that he had already taken advantage of me once before. That there were warning signs.

I did consent to “watching a film in his basement” that night.

But, I did not invite him to take things too far.

He did that.

He broke the boundaries.

He is the one that took advantage of me even after I said I was uncomfortable.

That was all him.

No one thinks they will be a victim of sexual assault. We look at people who have been sexually assaulted, and think: “man, they must not have been very careful.” We automatically question the victim instead of the perpetrator. We automatically wonder why the victim “let themselves get into a situation like that?” But, the second it happens to us, the second sexual assault becomes our own reality, we reevaluate everything. Everything suddenly begins to make sense. Everything suddenly becomes more real.

The Interference is all about a survivor’s struggle for justice. “When a university sports star rapes a fellow student it is the survivor who seems to be on trial – struggling with the very forces that are supposed to protect her.”


Never once, have I questioned the purpose of my involvement in this company. This story may not have been written about me, but it certainly reminds me of that summer night when I was only 17. I was emotionally abused by my friend for eight months prior. That emotional abuse eventually led to sexual assault. Like Karen, I was violated by my friend who was not only the star athlete of my high school’s sports team, but he also was the lead in almost every school theatre production. Like Radley’s character Smith, he was “bad ass.”

I will not go into detail about what happened that evening. I will not tell you his name or where he goes to school. I’m laughing right now because I just realized I would not be able to tell you most of those things, even if I wanted to; I have no idea what he is doing, who he is dating, or even where he lives. He is a stranger to me now. In fact, we have not spoken since that night.

I won’t disclose what my name is because what happened to me that night is not my whole story. I am not a victim. I won’t let what he did define who I am as a person.
I am only writing this blog because I want people to hear me when I say:

Sexual violence does not have just one victim.

Sexual violence does not always have to involve alcohol. Neither of us were drunk that evening. Even if there was alcohol involved, there is still no excuse for what he did. There never is an excuse for sexual harm.

Just because survivors aren’t speaking up does not mean they are not out there.

Sexual violence is a crime. It is a common one. And, it is happening now.

A survivor may have buried their experience deep in the depths of their soul, but sexual assault should certainly never be ignored by the public.


Without even knowing it, Cathy Thomas-Grant, Alex Fthenakis, and Michael John McCarthy are responsible for helping me close a wound in my heart. Without even knowing it, my wonderful company has helped me cope, has helped me come to terms with what happened. Lynda helped me move on.

I know I will never see my “once” friend again. I will never be able to tell him how he destroyed my self confidence, how disgusted I am that he used my emotional brokenness at the time as his vantage point, and I will never be able to tell him how hurt I was that he never said sorry. He will never have to face what he did.

I am okay now. I am about to enter my senior year of college. I have a wonderful boyfriend who always treats me with undying love and genuine respect. I am a part of a wonderful company who is about to perform a moving piece written by Lynda Radley at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 3 -16th. I am okay, but thousands of women and men are not.

Overall, it is my only hope that this play will inspire change, will maybe even change the life of anyone who comes to see it.



The Interference has certainly changed mine.





Posted on behalf of a company member of Lynda Radley's The Interference, which premieres at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016.  For more information on the play and Pepperdine Scotland's partnership with Rape Crisis Centres please visit www.pepperdinedrama.com

Friday, July 22, 2016

We Know

We Know 
written by Katie Lavelle
photography by Brittney Lucy Rivera 



The hardest part is knowing.

I don't know what made me believe this, but I came to Scotland thinking it would be better here. That the amount of sexual violence here could never possibly be as bad as what we deal with at home. Maybe it was naive for me to think this way, but after the amount of research on rape and sexual assault that I have done in order to prepare for this show, all I could do was wish this issue was better somewhere else.  But, here is the truth...

In the United States 1 in 6 women will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in her life time. According to Rape Crisis Scotland, 1 in 10 women experience rape, and 1 in 5 will have someone try to have sex with them against their will. Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience either physical and/ or sexual intimate partner violence or non partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

It's not better here. 

It's not really better anywhere. And, now, I know the truth. And that's the hardest part: knowing how many people have to deal with the effects of sexual violence. 

Sometimes it makes me wonder what's the point of this show? How is our show going to make any impact on this issue? Millions of people, predominantly women, experience this trauma, so how can we help them? 


Then, I remember that is the beauty of theatre. After seeing our show, audiences will know what we know, and that can't be undone. 

Our show won't end rape and sexual violence. It won't end victim shaming. But, it will teach those who don't know about the seriousness that is sexual assault, and it will let survivors know they are not alone. 

We know.




https://www.rapecrisiscentre-glasgow.co.uk
Click here to be directed to Rape Crisis Glasgow





Friday, July 15, 2016

Adventure Time

Adventure Time
written by Dakota Dickerson

            Abroad. Just the word itself breeds thoughts of tall mountains and crazy cool instagrams with your friends. Now add in another word before abroad: Study. This provokes thoughts of writing an essay atop a hillside, looking at beautiful city as the sun sets, or enjoying the writing of a famous author in one of the most renowned libraries in the world. However, what those two words don’t tell you, is that sometimes you have to be the one to make your own memories. This could be anything from taking a train to a far off land, or simply taking a different way home from class. Being abroad means you have a real life: “choose-your-own-adventure” book in the palm of your hand, waiting to be written by no one else than yourself. But, just because the choices are yours, do not mean you have to go it alone, because what good is an amazing memory if you have no one to share it with?

            I have already had quite a few spontaneous adventures, all because I had an open mind and a willingness to get lost and wander. On one occasion, I found myself and a friend wondering what to do after reading a very heavy play on sex trafficking in the U.K. Knowing we wouldn’t be able to fall asleep after reading something as such, we decided to walk out the front door of our lovely residency in Glasgow, Scotland, get on a pair of Next bikes, and just ride around the city for two hours, going over the most beautifully lit bridges and seeing parts of the city we would never would have, had we not ventured past Sauchiehall street. After all the sightseeing, we were able to have a satisfying conclusion by stopping at a 24-hour McDonald’s before riding back.


            Another adventure that snuck up on some friends and I was an incredibly - and quite unbelievably might I add - sunny day in Scotland, where we skipped our lunch break to go blindly searching for a basketball court to play on. We ran from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and somehow ended up at the Glasgow Caledonian University, playing on a full-sized court outside, and reserving the gymnasium for the entire Pepperdine Theatre Program for later that night. Could we have guessed that would have happened? Absolutely not.


            The key to these adventures is that we said "yes." We kept an open mind and a willingness to fail, and just went for it! I encourage all of you reading this to apply it to your daily life, wherever you may be! Say yes, take risks, break out of your comfort zone, because anything safe isn’t worth the drive. Just remember, you are always abroad from somewhere, it just depends on your perspective.