Contact Points USA

I found this list on the blog, Coalition of the Brave, which is appropriate. Contacting anyone on it is an act of bravery. Thanks to darthtimon for putting this together, along with ones for the UK and Australia. Use them if you need them; there is no shame. Be well. – Larry

Coalition of the Brave

Do You Need To Talk To Someone?

If you or someone you know is in crisis, pleasecall 911, go to the nearest emergency room, call1-800-273-TALK(8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center, ortext MHA to 741741at the Crisis Text Line.

You can also call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 at the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline. Trained crisis workers will listen to you and direct you to the resources you need.

Suicide Hotline Phone Numbers

If you feel suicidal or you’re in a crisis situation and need immediate assistance, people at these suicide hotlines in the U.S. are there to help. We have additionalsuicide information and resourceshere.

  • 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE) – National Hopeline Network
  • 1-866-488-7386 (1-866-4.U.TREVOR aimed at gay and questioning youth)

Just a note: These are resources that we have come across that may prove helpful…

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The Siren’s Song

 

Note: I’m telling this story from a heterosexual viewpoint, because I am one, but I feel pretty certain it’s basically the same, regardless of your sexual preference.

 

This one is tough to write. It makes me uncomfortable, but I’m hoping it leads to a bigger conversation I think is worth having.

When you’re a guy, the pull of pornography is a strong one.

It starts even before puberty, the looking at “nasty pictures” of naked girls. It’s not about stimulation then, it’s about just being naughty. It’s in our teenage years that the motivation behind looking at them changes.

Now they’re stimulating. Now they’re exciting. And they’re naughty.

Those pictures, along with our now hormone-fueled brains, inform the way we look at every nubile female in our line of sight. What were once germ-infested, alien life forms suddenly become objects of overwhelming, insatiable lust.

And we tend to look at them that way for the rest of our lives.

As if that’s not bad enough, porn is the gasoline we sometimes like to throw on that fire.

And, I believe, is what has gotten us to where we are in our attitude about women, which has produced this whole culture of sexual assault.

 

Because the appeal of porn for guys, of course, is the vicarious thrill of having any woman, anytime, anywhere, for any sexual encounter. And since society largely finds porn to be, at the very least, distasteful, there is the additional appeal of engaging in something forbidden, taboo. We all like to be bad sometimes, don’t we?

Well, is it any stretch to think that if some guy watched enough of that, it would carry over into how he viewed women in real life? How he treated them? How he regarded them sexually? No doubt, he would feel justified in having any woman he damn well wanted.

Because, as far as he’s concerned, they all want it. Even the ones who say no.

And that’s what sexual assault is about. Not the actual sex. It’s about the feeling of power, of control.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying every guy who looks at porn wants to go out and rape a bunch of women. But, it’s not tough to see how one behavior can lead to another. In fact, there’s plenty of research to suggest that sexual objectification of women often leads to aggressive behavior toward them.

And yet, women who are sexually assaulted are seldom believed, often grilled and, in one instance, mocked by the President of the United States, of all people. Society seems to have this twisted idea that the woman must have asked for it, in her manner, in her wardrobe, something. Why is it so hard to believe she could be telling the truth?

Does our culture now view women to generally be horny, sex-crazed sluts who want it all the time, even when they say they don’t?

And what part has pornography played in shaping that view?

 

So, back to my original point:

As I said at the beginning, pornography has a strong attraction to guys, like the sirens of Greek mythology, whose seductive singing from the shoreline lured many a sailor to certain shipwreck on the rocks. There’s probably not a man alive – myself included – who hasn’t, at some point succumbed to its attraction. And no matter how much they tell themselves that it’s demeaning, and degrading, and disrespectful of the women in their lives, the sirens remain in their ears.

Not that men are totally helpless. Self-control does still exist. But when even some mainstream advertisements skate right on the edge of soft-core porn, and push their products using objectified images of women; when pornography is so much more accessible on cable TV and the Internet; when, besides topless and nude bars, we now have these chains of “breastaurants”, intentionally staffed with curvaceous women in deliberately revealing outfits…

It sure does make resistance tougher, you know?

Now, just as an aside, if porn is used by couples to help/enhance their sex life, as long as both partners are on the same page about it, that’s different. Where porn becomes harmful, as it does in many relationships, is when it’s a secret, when one partner is unaware of the other’s indulgence. Because, if and when the secret comes out, it makes for serious strife, damaging the relationship badly, perhaps irreparably.

I apologize; I got a bit long-winded. But, as I said at the outset, I think this is something we need to talk about if we’re going to bring change to our culture that is more respectful of women.

And, I feel pretty safe in saying, unfortunately, that’s gonna be a slow process. So, we need to get started right away.

 

“WAP2”

 

As I’ve said before on this blog, I believe that it’s time that we men do a serious reassessment of how we look at, and talk about, and treat women.

Apparently, judging by their recent ad that generated so much controversy, Gillette feels the same way. I salute them for putting the message out there, that men can be better than they are in several ways, including their behavior towards women. I hope more companies follow suit.

Guys, you know we’ve always excused our treatment of women with a shrug, a smile and a Whaddya expect? We’re guys!

Well, if you’ve been paying attention the last couple of years, you’ve surely noticed that women are up to here with that. They’ve made it very clear the way it’s always been will no longer be tolerated. And they are taking a stand for the respect that is due them in both their professional and personal relationships.

So, I just want you to know, ladies: I’ve been listening, and I am trying to change my mindset, but it’s an almost 60-year-old mindset, and the process is slow.

Because, man, I see a lot of beautiful women where I work, and it’s easy to look at them just as bodies, and not as complete people, with actual lives. And not just at work either. At the mall, at the fast food restaurant, anywhere there are women, basically.

So, to help me, I’ve created this little acronym, WAP2, to remind me that Women Are People, Too. I haven’t fully absorbed this lesson yet, but maybe, at some point, I’ll get there. I’m about as far away from perfect as it gets, believe me, but I am trying to make some improvements here and there.

Like the Nobel laureate Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a-changin’.” For the better, in this case. Women are finding the courage to speak out against men’s disgraceful, demeaning treatment of them, and it’s been a long time coming.

Fellas, time for us to act like men, not boys. Men respect women. Remember, WAP2.