Since Dr. Ford came forward about her experience of sexual assault, women all over the country have been forced to vicariously relive their own experiences of sexual violence. In solidarity with the bravery of Dr. Ford, and second accuser Deborah Ramirez, the collective consciousness of women survivors have reared its head, and many women are sharing their stories.
I have my own story. Two Latina survivors went viral recently after cornering Arizona Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator and demanding his attention. They had never told their story before and their raw emotion in the video got the attention of millions of Americans and Sen. Flake. Here’s how things went down.
Jeff Flake mattered because he was undecided until moments before the Senate hearing vote.
CREDIT: @jfoosg / Twitter
Flake had already announced that he was retiring because he felt bipartisanship in the Senate was lacking and disrupting the ability to get any work done. He isn’t vying for Republican votes, therefore, he’s a bit of a wild card.
He was also the only Republican Senator on the Judiciary committee, which determines whether or not a nominee advances to the full Senate for a vote, who was undecided.
Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher met just minutes before their now infamous elevator encounter with Sen. Flake.
CREDIT: @MaketheRoadAct / Twitter
Archila had been showing up to protest Kavanaugh every day since the allegations came out. Gallagher is a 23 year old recent Northeastern University graduate who impulsively showed up to his office. The two had a common goal and quickly met it together.
Moments before the hearing, Sen. Flake published a statement that he would vote yes on Kavanaugh.
CREDIT: @MaketheRoadNY / Twitter
In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Archila said, “I had gone to his office because I thought that he might be willing to take a step beyond his party.” In a sense, he was the only shot anyone had of ensuring due process would be had to investigate Dr. Ford and other accuser’s claims before a Senate vote.
Just after the two read his statement, they heard him coming down the elevator and were filled with rage.
CREDIT: @MaketheRoadAct / Twitter
In one momentous emotional impulse, Archila told the world what came over her: “All of the emotions we had been holding for the last several weeks just came out pouring. He needed to understand that women feel incredibly enraged about the thought of our stories of surviving sexual violence being dismissed, laughed at, disbelieved. I felt a great sense of urgency.”
Gallagher spoke through tears for the very first time of her sexual assault.
CREDIT: @MaketheRoadAct / Twitter
Reportedly, Gallagher’s own parents found out for the first time after the video went viral. She has not gone public about her experience, and has been respectfully private since the incident.
Sen. Flake kept averting his eyes from the women demanding answers and justice.
CREDIT: @MaketheRoadAct / Twitter
But Gallagher wouldn’t have it. “Don’t look away from me. Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me, that you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do to their bodies.”
Archila said, “He kept pressing the button in the elevator to try to close the door.”
CREDIT: @MaketheRoadAct / Twitter
All Flake could do was respond with “sorry” and “thank you.” Unlike Ted Cruz, it seemed that Flake would receive these women’s experience. We’ve all known that Flake has struggled with his decision more than any other male Republican on the council, and perhaps what we saw was remorse for his decision.
“Do you think that he’s able to hold the pain of this country and repair it?”
CREDIT: @MaketheRoadAct / Twitter
She continued, “Do you think that he’s able to hold the pain of this country and repair it? That is the work of justice. The way that justice works is you recognize hurt, you take responsibility for it and then you begin to repair it.”
The two have since been hailed as heroes after Sen. Flake announced that he would vote yes on the condition of a one week FBI investigation, halting the proceedings.
CREDIT: @AnaMariaArchil2 / Twitter
Flake himself has said that his experience in the elevator truly made him believe that these hearings were “ripping our country apart.” From the elevator, he walked straight into the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting and spoke with his friend, Senator Coons about his moral dilemma.
Behind closed doors, Coons then gathered more Democratic senators to join them, and soon enough, it became a private meeting of the entire committee seeking to sway Sen. Flake.
Folks have responded with unending support for la Marias that demand justice.
CREDIT: @eltarantula10 / Twitter
The last time a Supreme Court nominee was accused of sexual harassment, the Senate essentially ignored Anita Hill’s experience of inappropriate behavior from Clarence Thomas, who still sits on the Supreme Court today.
Flake has given women hope that we will be heard. Men can no longer get away with subverting women’s dignity for their own pleasure, without consequence.
Maria Gallagher has given the world one message since: take care of yourself.
CREDIT: @mgallagher822 / Twitter
Before Sen. Flake even shared his vote, she tweeted “I feel relieved that @JeffFlake seems to have heard my and @AnaMariaArchil2’s voices in the Senate elevator today. We absolutely need an FBI investigation and for him and all Senators to vote NO. #StopKavanaugh”
Thank you, Maria. Thank you for your courage.
Ann Coulter, on the other hand, did what she does and tried dismissing the moment.
CREDIT: @AnnCoulter / Twitter
It should be more upsetting to hear someone say things like this about immigrants. However, Coulter has built her career by hating immigrants and spreading lies to defame an entire community.
Archila legally emigrated from Colombia when she was 17 years old.
CREDIT: @NYDailyNews / Twitter
Today, she serves as the Co-Executive Director of non-profit Center for Popular Democracy, where she pushes for racial and economic justice alongside immigrant rights. For the last 13 years, Archila helped transform the once “Latin American Integration Center” into the “Make the Road New York” available to all low-income immigrants that come to the U.S.
She is a hugely successful activist and lobbyist for labor laws and immigrant rights.
CREDIT: @AnaMariaArchil2 / Twitter
In her bio for Popular Democracy, we know that Archila has helped “put millions of dollars in the pockets of low-wage workers by winning increases to the minimum wage, paid sick days, and strong protections from wage-theft; and they have led the ambitious campaigns to win public policies that make New York City one of the leading Sanctuary Cities in the country.”
Archila stands and fights for Puerto Rico.
CREDIT: @AnaMariaArchil2 / Twitter
She is intimately plugged into the conflicts that continue to arise in Puerto Rico, from the recent incident of police pepper spraying peaceful activists, and the continued lapses in aide after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
Archila experienced sexual violence when she was just 5 years old.
CREDIT: @AnaMariaArchil2 / Twitter
It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened, once a woman has been assaulted, it stays in her consciousness forever. There’s truly no going back. You heal, but you never recover.
She had to tell her story, because our stories matter. Thankfully, they mattered to Flake. The New Yorker reported that after leaving the elevator, Flake “looked more withdrawn than ever, eyes wet, voice a little frayed, chin tucked down in the somber knot of his tie.”
Since then, Archila has been outspoken demanding a woman’s basic right to be heard.
CREDIT: @AC360 / Twitter
“I was so enraged that all these men in the Senate Judiciary Committee basically forced a woman to tell the story of the most traumatizing experience of her life and then proceeded to say, ‘Well thats fine we still like our guy.’ I just could not believe that was happening and really I wanted Senator Flake to look me in the eye and feel my pain and rage, and really it was the pain and rage of women across the country who could not believe this was still happening today.”
She wants you to help.
CREDIT: @senatorcollins @lisamurkowski / Twitter
If you have money: Donate alongside hundreds of others who have raised over $27k to the Center for Popular Democracy to help fund other survivors’ to tell their stories (i.e. transportation costs, etc.).
If you would rather share a story: “People across this country should take the opportunity to continue to share their stories, especially with @SenatorCollins and @LisaMurkowski: they must listen to our voices, look us in the eye, and #BeAHero.”
No matter what, remember how your Senators voted and vote this November.
CREDIT: @womensmarch / Twitter
In an interview with The New York Times, Archila shared her favorite literary sentence, “We cannot understand slavery or any great injustice by thinking about the masses. We have to think about it in the experience of one person.” She went on to ask, “What was this enslaved woman thinking when she woke up in the morning. Who did she miss that morning? Who did she talk to when she felt sad? How did she feel when her child was stolen from her? We have to think about…and especially the people who are creating laws in our country… have to think about the impact of their decisions by thinking about one person. How is that one person going to be shaped by me?”
Latinas are viewed as extremely sexual beings but there are rarely nuanced depictions of what sex is really like for Latinas. From religion to culture to family, there are many factors involved when it comes to a Latina’s relationship with sex. For this list, we asked women of all ages to share what their first encounter with sex was like.
Due to the sensitive nature of this discussion, we respected the request for privacy so each woman has been identified differently. Each experience is unique and there are cases of assault which may be triggering.
In a time when discussions about sex are still not common in Latinx families, this openness is essential to making it less taboo and help empower Latinas to take control of their sexuality.*
The Allure of the Older Man
Caro U., 37, San Francisco, CA.
My first sexual encounter was at 16 years old. It was with a guy named Sam who was 21 or 22 (definitely of drinking age) while he was on college summer break in my small hometown. That night, I snuck out after my curfew and went to a party with this college guy whom I had been “dating” for about a week.
I don’t remember the sexual encounter being anything special. It didn’t hurt, but it wasn’t really enjoyable. He was a good kisser so that was good.
I went home and wrote in my journal that I was excited and that I really liked this guy. In hindsight, it was technically statutory rape because of my age and his, but I just remember feeling like I was a cool kid being with a cool older guy. Sam went back to college in the fall and although we didn’t talk often, we did stay in touch here and there.
When I went to college, we actually dated for a few months after I broke up with my high school sweetheart. The sex then was amazing and I remember it sorta validated any awkwardness I had felt back in high school about losing my virginity to an older guy who probably didn’t care about me as much as I cared about him at the time. The fact that he did in fact, have a nice-size package was another point of validation.
Now that I have a daughter, I wonder how I would react if she went through a similar experience. One thing I will absolutely do is be honest and open about our bodies, sexuality, and the difference between enjoying sex and confusing it with love. I want to do away with the Latino mentality that love should always accompany sex or that women who are promiscuous are sluts and men won’t consider them as serious partners. Latina women would enjoy sex more if we liberated ourselves from archaic machista assumptions and judgment.
High School Deception
Jacquelyne Perez, 25, San Diego, CA
I was 14 when I had my first sexual encounter. A few weeks after the start of the school year, I received a message from a senior. He said he had always had a crush on me. I had never met him before but had seen him all over campus. He was a popular student, handsome, athletic, funny. I was surprised that he wanted to meet me in person for the first time the following day. At school, we met up during lunchtime. He greeted me with a very warm hug and a large kiss on the forehead. He explained that before we could eat, that he needed to get his sports gear from a classroom. It would be quick. He needed his gear before they locked the classroom for the day. I agreed to accompany him.
We headed to the classroom. It was in a secluded annexed building so no one was around. He opened the classroom door, looked around and pulled me forcefully inside. I was stunned. He slammed the door behind us. He picked me up and pushed me against the wall. He kissed me so deeply that it hurt. I was taken aback and completely shocked. I hadn’t realized that he liked me this much. These were nothing like the make-out sessions I had in the past. The ones before never had any tongue, just lips, just hugging. I wanted to impress him so I kissed him back, trying to mimic the way he was kissing me. I was uncomfortable and grossed out and this was happening all too fast. But I kept going. I told myself not to be scared. I tried to convince myself that this is what I wanted. Although reluctant, I let him slide his hands all over my body. No one had ever done that before. But I let him because I didn’t want to seem like a child. I was mature. Why else would a senior be interested in a freshman?
I kept kissing him trying to ignore the forceful grabbing at my breasts and butt. I kept kissing him hoping he wouldn’t notice just how inexperienced I was or how self-conscious I was. I kept kissing him hoping he wouldn’t notice that I was, in fact, a little frightened. I wasn’t ready to lose my virginity — and in a classroom of all places. It wasn’t until he started pulling at the button of my pants did I realize that he wanted more. Way more than I had anticipated. I should have never come here, I started to think.
Nervous, I finally spoke up. “Please… I have never done this before.” He ensured me that it was okay, that he’d be gentle. He told me that he was in love with me. He said he had been admiring me from afar for weeks. He told me that it was his birthday and that I was his present.
I wanted to say no. I wanted to tell him not to go further with what was about to happen. But I also had a feeling that he’d be upset or mad. What if he never spoke to me again? If I let him have what he wanted, maybe he’d fall in love with me. “Just your hands” I heard myself whisper. He thanked me and began unbuttoning my pants. I tried my best to zone out. I began mimicking the girls I had seen in the love scenes of movies. I closed my eyes and tilted my head back. I didn’t want to see. I wanted him to hurry. He finally took his hands out of my pants. We had to stop before the bell rang.
We never got a chance to eat lunch. He never fell in love with me and we never became high school sweethearts. Worst of all, there wasn’t even any sports gear.
Rose E. 39, Florida
I was 13 and went to a school outside of my school district so I didn’t have many friends but enough to get by. There was this boy named Sammy everyone had a crush on, but I wasn’t too into him. My friend insisted I give him a chance. So I gave him a chance that we dated throughout that school year. He would come to my house and when my mother wasn’t around we would fool around. The conversation of actually doing it came up several times. I wanted to wait because of course, I didn’t want to lose my virginity so young.
One afternoon we were fooling around and it got extremely hot and heavy. He asked to just put the tip in and that led to four to five strokes and before I knew it, I lost my virginity at 14 years old. At the very moment, I felt him taking my virginity I told him to stop because I was afraid. When the thrusting began, I felt fear, sexy and loved all at the same time. It was a weird sense of ecstasy and pain at the same time. Now that I’m older I wish I would have waited until I was much older.
It was with a neighbor’s uncle. He locked me in a room and told me I could not leave unless I let him touch me. I was 5 years old. To this today I have trust issues with healthy relationships. I told my abuser I had let him do what he asked, told him he had to let me go and I ran to my house and never stepped foot in his house again. As an adult, I can now rationalize it was not my fault but somehow, this is still hard to get over it because I can’t rescue the little girl in harm’s way.
It’s difficult to open up a conversation about this in Latinx families because usually the abuse comes from people you know and usually the families involved can have a very machista point of view and end up blaming the victim.
I was 20 and he was 21. I went to the most conservative university in Texas and he studied at a seminary. We were engaged so sex seemed to be a natural progression to our relationship. We were both virgins.
I was brought up in a strict, typical Hispanic household where sex was not something that we talked about. Although my father told us stories of his young and wild days, my mother never had “the talk” with us. Sex was whispered about and only “sluts” had sex at our age.
It happened when we found ourselves alone in his apartment one Sunday afternoon after church. He had been asking me about how I felt about doing more than just kissing because he felt a little guilty. Regardless, we started kissing. Then our clothes started coming off. Alarms and whistles were going off in my head to stop, but it felt good and I convinced myself that it was ok since we were going to get married. He got on top of me and asked me if it was ok… and I nodded yes.
It lasted about 3 minutes, just as I started to get into it, it ended. Worse, he had pulled out before he came and collapsed on top of me. I couldn’t move. Then he asked me if I was ok — as if we had just committed some crime. I was disappointed. I had just given myself to this man and it ended so quickly. Then he acted like I needed consoling. It was so awkward and weird. I was embarrassed because I didn’t understand what was happening and the ramifications of it. Then the guilt started to set in. It consumed me.
Eventually, he wanted sex more and more frequently. Sex literally changed the focus of our relationship, so I resisted more and more. I was no longer happy with him. I looked for every reason not to be alone with him. Every fault that he had became magnified after that. I broke off the engagement three months later.
Now as a mom of three teenage girls, I try to be as open and age appropriate with them about sex. I try to teach them that it is one of the most beautiful experiences – with the right person. Try as they may, I hope they wait until the right person comes along.
From Lovers to Strangers
Jazmin, 38, Chicago
It was probably a little past midnight and I could not sleep. I decided to call my boyfriend at the time. To my surprise, he answered.
It turned out that his parents were out of town along with his ex-girlfriend and baby mama. After talking for a few minutes, he invited me over. The convenience of it all was that he lived a block over. From when I got there to when my first sexual experience actually happened is a bit of a blur for me. Not because anything bad happened but I suppose those details don’t stick to me. Once I’m laying in the bed I wanted him to turn the lights off. I also recall being under the sheets as if I didn’t want him seeing me naked. And just like that, we did it. I don’t remember feeling happy that it had happened. More like “this is it?”
A few hours later I got dressed and walked home just as the sun was rising. Something in me was so turned off by my first sexual experience that I avoided him. I believe about 8-9 months had passed by when I finally decided to contact him. After an awful breakup, we parted ways and never saw each other again.
On the Road
Samantha Rae Lopez, 32, Austin, Texas
He was a senior, I was a sophomore and we rode the same bus after school. Toward the end of the year, our casual flirting ramped up to a full-on crush. I could feel him attracted to me and it was exciting for someone who rarely felt that from anyone.
Our stops were towards the end of the route, so every day there was a small period of time when we were mostly alone. One day, he came over to my seat and kissed me. It was welcome, but not subtle or gentle at all. I liked how aggressive he was. I felt wanted and welcomed his advances over the next few days too. Eventually, he became a bit more handsy and I asked him to stop. He did, but over the last few weeks of school I saw less and less of him on the bus and when I did see each other, we didn’t speak.
Eventually, he was gone and I never heard from him again. I remember crying on the last day of school feeling as if I had done something wrong and maybe if I saw him again, I’d let him touch me. I have however accepted that a negative reaction to my boundaries is not my fault, it’s theirs.
When the Excuse is Love
Lillyvette, 54, Annapolis, Md.
*warning: sexual assault*
I am from Puerto Rico and I grew up in a close-knit family with very strict rules. When I was 15 I fell in love with a 20-year-old college boy that used to attend my Catholic school. He was an athlete just like me and was very popular. The catch was if he wanted to date me, he needed to ask my parents for permission. No one thought he would, but he did.
One night, we were at my brother’s senior class party. Everyone knew my boyfriend Sergio. I was allowed to go because it was my brother’s party so I had the appropriate chaperone. Sergio’s neighbor asked him for a ride home, so I asked my brother if I could go because I wanted to turn in for the evening. My brother was busy with his girlfriend and said it was fine to go without him. After we dropped off Ivan, Sergio parked at the Catholic church next to my house and said, let’s just make out for a little while, I never get to have you to myself. I agreed because we were always chaperoned.
The next thing I knew, he was shoving me down the seat pulling my panties off of me and I was trying desperately to fight him off. I must have cried the word NO at least 20 times and he kept telling me, “It’s okay, please…everything is okay.” All I remember was repeating the words “NO” and “please don’t” over and over again as I cried. When he was finished, he got out of the car; he straightened himself out, got back in the car and drove me home. I ran into my house, everyone was asleep. I took all of my clothes off in the bathroom. My underwear was full of blood. My mother came to the bathroom and asked me if I was okay. I told her I had gotten my period and needed to take a shower, so I got in the shower in hopes that I could wash the events of the night off of me. That night, I didn’t sleep at all.
The next day, when Sergio called, I told my mom I was not well. She told him I was ill. I completely changed. I was isolated. I would stay in my room and barely eat. I was depressed. Feelings of guilt overwhelmed me. I confessed to one of my best friends what happened and she cried with me. I was afraid of getting pregnant. The afternoon my period actually came, was on Friday the 13th, 1980. I called Sergio and asked him to come to my home. I told my parents we were going to go for a walk around the block.
That night, I broke up with him. I told him that I’d gotten my period and that I knew I owed him nothing. I told him that I hated him for what he did to me and that I would never forgive him. He cried and said he wanted to marry me when I graduated from high school. I said he was crazy if he thought I would ever marry him. I told him, “you robbed me of my virginity, why would I want to marry you after you stole that from me?”
I never told my mother or father. I buried everything deep inside of me. When I was 31 everything bubbled up to the surface and I began to have terrible dreams. I couldn’t be touched, and I got terribly depressed. I had to seek counseling because I was lost and didn’t know what to do. My troubled marriage brought all of my deeply hidden issues to the surface and I was staring at a terrible monster in the face. Counseling was the best thing for me. I was able to get things off of my chest I had never done before. I wrote Sergio a letter that helped me purge my deep emotions. I was never going to send the letter, but in my letter, I was letting him know the damage he had really caused me.
I regret never having told my parents, especially my mother. I regret not having her there for me, holding me and telling me it really was not my fault and that the word no really is no. I could never tell my parents today because they are older and fragile and I am afraid it would hurt them to no end. I will die with this, regretting I kept this terrible secret from my mother. Today I am a stronger woman, happily married to my best friend who loves me and respects me.
First and Only Love
Ann V., Los Angeles
I’m fortunate enough to say that my first sexual experience was with the man I now call my husband. The circumstances preceding it also made it more significant. We had been together for a bit when he decided to move across the country. We were on a break for the first half and the second half, we were trying to repair our relationship while still far apart. There was much reflecting that happened for both of us and when he returned to live back home permanently, we knew we wanted to take our relationship to the next level.
Like many people’s first time, I was nervous and self-conscious. It wasn’t the most romantic intimate encounter, but it was meaningful, and I feel that’s what is important. Although sex can make some feel vulnerable, I trusted him and knew that the experience was filled with love. My first encounter taught me that sex is made special when there’s a balance between physical and emotional attraction, and when you know your partner respects you.
The Art of Manipulation
Lori, 32, Los Angeles
My mom kept me sheltered and protected and wouldn’t let me do what other girls my age were doing. I am a light skinned second generation Chicana attending a heavy populated Hispanic high school. One of the reasons why I was bullied was because I was deemed too light to be Latina. My identity was lost and I didn’t fit in.
One night a longtime neighbor friend met someone on a phone-chat and they were scheduled to meet in person. She didn’t want to go alone and asked me to come along for moral support and promised me her new guy would bring a friend. That friend spoke to me on the phone briefly the night we were scheduled to meet. The night we met, we walked through Hollywood and I was smitten at the idea that an older guy was interested in shy, awkward me. He told me he was nine years my senior, making him 26. Within hours, he kissed me and asked me to be his girlfriend. Looking back, that should have been the first red flag. I was so thrilled at the thought of having a guy of my very own, that I missed the warning signs.
A few weeks later, my boyfriend picks up my longtime neighborhood friend and me to go out to the mall. He drops her off with her guy and says he wants to spend more time with me because he missed me. He had a way with words. I thought we were circling to find parking but since it was crowded, we left the premises. I didn’t think twice about it because he was my boyfriend and I was safe with him. That was until we pulled into a motel close by. He promised we would go back but since it was a hot day, he wanted to cool off and use the restroom.
Once we were inside the room, he started to hug me and rub me. We ended up in just our underwear and t-shirts. I told him I was not ready because I felt like we needed to get to know each other. He said that because he was my boyfriend and I was his girlfriend, we would get to know each other as each day passed but that sex was a big part of a relationship. Although he said that, sex came first, and the getting to know each other part came second. He said he really liked me, that I was so beautiful and he wanted to consummate our relationship because he couldn’t otherwise date me. He told me if I was too scared that he understood and would only kiss me. He started to kiss me and rub me and just as soon as that happened he penetrated me slowly. I froze and tighten up and he told me it would only be the tip so it wouldn’t count. Within seconds what I didn’t want to happen happened. I remember looking at my reflection in the mirror and feeling so empty and disgusted.
I was a virgin. I imagined my first time as something sweet and right. When I told him he took my virginity he denied it and said it wasn’t true because I didn’t bleed. The relationship after that wasn’t much of a relationship. He wasn’t as attentive anymore. He was always busy. By then he had confessed to me that he was actually 32 and had two children instead of one. On days he would actually make an appearance he would see me for a few minutes and try to make a move. If I told him no, he would say he had to go and give me the guilt trip. This continued on and off for a couple of years until it faded out on its own. A few years after that, I started getting calls from unknown numbers who turned out to be a woman looking for my old flame.
It turns out that this lady was his wife of 20 years. He had two children, the oldest being a year or two younger than me. And to add insult to injury, when he met me, so many years prior, he wasn’t 26, nor was he 32. He was in fact, 44 and I was 17. My first time was through the art of manipulation. In other words, it was rape.
Kathryn James, 27, Houston, Texas
My first sexual encounter is one I try not to think of because I forgave him, and put it behind me. I was in eighth grade and he was in high school. We briefly knew of each other from church and mutual friends. I don’t remember how it began or who initiated the conversation, but we talked all the time, and I mean daily, after school, on AIM (who remembers that?). I couldn’t wait to get home, take off my away message, and ask him about his day.
Even though we saw each other weekly at church, he wanted to spend time with me outside of our mutual friends and his family members. It gave me such an adrenaline rush knowing he felt like that; especially seeing him at church and knowing we had this “thing” going on. It didn’t feel like he was hiding it or embarrassed at all. Little did I know, he was, because I was younger — being in middle school while he was in high school was so “uncool.” Still, my feelings didn’t change.
When I finally had a moment of no practice, we met up in my neighborhood. I was beyond nervous to see him. He came up to me and after a quick hello, his tongue was in my mouth and he was already asking for me to lay down on the ground with him. I hesitated because it was damp and muddy from the rain, and I had to think ahead — coming home with wet, muddy clothes would look suspicious. We found a dry spot to sit down and he started taking off his pants. Whoa, was all I could think. What impression did I give off? I was so taken aback because my naivete had gotten the best of me. I just wanted to spend time with him outside of an AIM chat!
My head was flooded with questions and the next thing I know, he’s grabbing my hand, pulling it towards his unzipped jeans, and asking me to rub his penis. He proceeded to try to get me to take my pants off, and when I said no, he reached for the button and zipper. I backed off, immediately stood up and asked him what he was doing. He said, “I thought it’s what you wanted.” Again, what impression did I give off that made him think that?! He was super embarrassed and took off with his bike.
I went home, took a shower, removed him from my AIM friends list, and if we saw each other at church, he’d look the other way or put his head down. A few years passed and we ran into each other again during confirmation classes. Did he act like he didn’t know who I was or what had happened? He sure did.
Sex as an Obligation
Grace Ann G., 66 yrs. Dallas, Texas
I was 18 and thought I was on top of the world and in love. I was staying with my grandmother and he sneaked into the bedroom. I told him I was nervous and scared. He answered it will be good. So we kissed and hugged and before I knew it we were starting to have intercourse. I just laid there quietly and was somewhat enjoying it, though at the same time not knowing what to expect. My mom never talked to me about sex. Since I was somewhat tense I really did not (I guess) get the effect, he thought I should. Before long it was over and after he left I cried.
My mom was a traditional Catholic Latina – you did not ask questions about sex. I asked her what was sex and how do you handle, she gave me this look and said, “when you get married, just say yes to your husband” I kept asking questions and I truly believe I embarrassed her. Her answer was always, “someday you’ll understand.”
Lorraine R., 52, Texas
My first sexual encounter was my first year in college. It was with a guy whom I went to high school with and that I had had a crush on when I was a junior and him a senior. Growing up Hispanic and Catholic will mess with your whole sexual identity. I was involved with a guy who was going to college out of town and would go to the local dance club on weekends. I was getting some serious attention from some random guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer. I ran into Mike and told him to play along and pretend he was my boyfriend and we just kind of clicked. We started seeing each other, but I had always told him I had a boyfriend and we weren’t doing anything sexual. He was either playing a long game or something because he went along with it. Looking back, I feel sorry for my partner, I strung him along for months before we actually had sex for the first time. I, on at least two different occasions, lead him to believe that we would complete the act — I’m talking, in bed, completely naked, but just couldn’t do it — Catholic guilt is a bitch!
He must have loved me, or something, because we finally did it after going to a New Year’s party, staying in a hotel room for the evening. When I came home the next morning, I was promptly kicked out. My very traditional Hispanic parents were furious and wanted nothing to do with me. How dare their sainted baby girl stay out all night with my boyfriend. We eventually continued having a two-year relationship where I learned a lot about sex.
I loved him with every piece of my being. Things didn’t work out for us and it took me a long time to get over it. But I did eventually. However, the “Good girl, Catholic guilt” persona never really left me. I’m in my 50s now and am fully at ease with my sexuality. I’ve had serious relationships, casual relationships, a roster of men in different cities — but finding that one who will be with you forever through all of life’s ups and downs. Well, I haven’t been that lucky yet.
Note: These personal anecdotes have been edited for clarity and length.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case with potentially huge consequences for several families across the border in Mexico.
They will decide whether or not the family of a Mexican teenager shot on the Mexican side of the border by U.S. Border Patrol agents can sue the U.S. government.
Basically, the court has to decide whether border patrol agents have the power to kill kids, among others, across the border.
On Tuesday, the court agreed to decide whether agents who shoot and kill someone outside of US territory can be held liable by survivors.
The justices said they want to hear arguments about whether federal courts can make decisions regarding deaths that occur outside the US – cases where courts generally have no jurisdiction. But in this case, there’s an argument to be made that the Border Patrol agent violated the victim’s rights and without the courts stepping in to help his family, they have no other legal remedy.
The teenager, 15-year-old Sergio Hernandez, was shot to death by the agent in 2010 as he cowered behind a pillar in Mexico. Hernandez’s family says the agent violated his constitutional rights.
Hernandez’s parents say their son and the others were playing a game: crossing the border, touching a fence and then running back to Mexico soil. Playing a game is no reason to shoot someone, especially a 15-year-old kid.
The response on social media has overwhelmingly been in favor of the boy’s family.
As it should be. You don’t get to shoot someone in the back and then not face the consequences.
And as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals pointed out in their decision in support of the victims family, “We have a compelling interest in regulating our own government agents’ conduct on our own soil.”
Some reports have said that the victim was throwing rocks while others maintain he was playing with friends.
According to lawyers for the government, the agent resorted to force only after Hernandez refused to follow commands to stop throwing rocks.
Either way, Twitter has some serious thoughts.
This is just one of the many people who are calling out the obvious.
Many pointed out that even if the victim was throwing rocks, nobody deserves to be shot dead because of it.
Like honestly, how is this something that has to be decided all the way up at the Supreme Court? Isn’t this just common sense?
Other’s pointed out how little faith they have in the court to protect immigrants at the Mexican border.
With the hateful and cruel rhetoric coming from the Trump administration, few expect a decision to come down on the side of justice for the victims.
But all of us are holding out hope that the court will understand that our federal officers must be held accountable.
While for Sergio’s family’s part, they’ve said they’re only seeking justice for their son.