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November 22, 2010


Jen Guerrero

So true. Once I had kids, I all of a sudden found my voice. Like after my ordeal of having kids I had earned the right to speak up. I was not afraid to stand up for myself to friends, family, strangers. Funny how before I thought standing up for myself was being rude. I didn't want to make others feel bad or feel uncomfortable, when that's the very way they made me feel. I wish I had been more outspoken when I was young. There were many situations (and some similar to what you wrote about) where I could have benefitted from speaking up and saying, "You know what? I don't deserve this. Knock it off." I feel so much freer now that I can do that.

wholly jeanne

tonight i watched a law & order episode, and when the female judge told her story about being raped as a college student and how she was questioned by campus security about what she was wearing and how many dates she'd had in the past month, when she said to the young female rape victim "you must stand up for yourself," i cried. i cried for all the young women - including myself - who haven't felt strong enough, powerful enough to stand up for themselves. and now i come here and read your amazing post. wow.

oh, and i came by to say welcome to #reverb10. now i look forward to your reflections and reverberations more than ever!

Karen T. Smith

Thanks Jen and Jeanne for the comments.
@Jen - I think you're onto something with the idea of finding our voices as parents. I am much more bold, much less afraid, much more able to take a stand, stand up for what is needed, and otherwise put myself out there in ways I wouldn't have dreamed of before becoming a parent.
and @Jeanne - thank you for the kind words. I felt it important to talk about this, even though it's the kind of subject that makes most of us uncomfortable. I'll admit to being a little fearful because many people I used to work with are connected with me via facebook and likely see my blog posts (or could if they wanted to.) But why shouldn't I talk about it just because people who I used to work with might see? If they knew and did nothing, well - it's important for them to understand what happened and what it meant. If they didn't know, then it's important for them to understand that this HAPPENS. And for the friend who was a friend to me when I was experiencing the harassment, I hope if he reads this, he sees how much that meant to me.


Karen, this is brave and bold and I'm so glad you had a confidant at work who stood with you and helped you. I remember the barbaric days of shared work stations in a college setting when there was one computer lab of just a few computers for all the art students to share and it was up to you to schedule time on it somewhere in a 24 hour day. During that time there was a professor who made lewd comments about the Life Drawing nude model outside of class and joked with the male art students in inappropriate ways about T&A in front of the female art students and refused to give female art students A's even if there work was every bit as good as the male students. Another female student and I were sick of it and went to the Dean of Fine Arts. I don't remember the timing perfectly looking back but probably at the end of our Junior year. He talked to us, he talked to the chairman of the Art Dept. and they figured out a work around for fall semester Senior year. Then the rules were changed and the only way we could have lab access Senior year was an independent study with this professor. So we signed up. We did the work. We put on our Senior Shows to meet graduation requirements for a BFA. We found out the day before graduation that he gave us both D's in the independent study. We graduated anyway and protested the grades - thinking of our transcripts just in case we needed them someday. What we didn't know was that the dean and chairman had reviewed our work in addition to the professor. Our grades were changed to A's and the professor was replaced the following year. So even though we had to put up with it, the future art students didn't.

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