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Open letter from a Rape Survivor

Jane Doe of WV raped in Steubenville OH,

My name is Beth I am a 25 years old I live in WV. In 2007 one of my best friends on again off again boyfriend raped me. I was passed out and only remember bits and pieces of what happened but I know he raped me and he helped me to bed kissed my forehead and whispered “I didn’t rape you you said it was ok” before I could protest I blacked out again. I was drugged and raped at a party with all my friends by someone I thought I could trust with my life. I am one of the many survivors that didn’t report I am one of many who blamed myself for doing everything I knew I shouldn’t do like leaving my drink when I went to the restroom but like I said I trusted him with my life. I blamed myself for trusting him, I blamed myself for trusting my other friends to watch my back. I was in denial about the truth for along time I thought maybe I did say it was ok but I didn’t feel like I said it was ok and even if I had I was passed out and completely disoriented to the point where I still can’t put that night completely together or the following day for that matter. I confronted him and he said he did it and he would do it again if he could then he said he was sorry which he does send sorry messages to me randomly to this day. He says he deserves my forgiveness and he has changed wants to be friends wants to get back together. He does not deserve my forgiveness he deserves to be sitting in jail he deserves to be ran over with my car he deserves to be miserable for the rest of his life but because I didn’t report it because I knew it would be covered up by the city because I was “just another girl from the projects who was asking for it”. He has a good job, a family and still goes out to parties where girls will be. I have put the word out he is not to be trusted to my friends who warn their sisters and friends what he did to me hopefully saving another girl from being in that situation with him. I was told by some friends I was “asking for it” that I “deserved it” that I was “just like the other girls from the projects looking to blame some guy with money to get hush money” I didn’t report my assault I was being blamed by my friends and I knew the cops would do the same from other girls experiences with them and the way I was treated because I was a girl from the projects.

Jane Doe I don’t know much about you personally, like where you grew up or your families financial status but none of that matters we are bonded together with the millions of women who have been raped. We all know how you feel, you are not alone. Sadly we live in a world where people see or know something is happening and no one comes to your rescue, where girls and women have to constantly watch for suspicious activity even from friends.  Sadly we live in a world where football players and their friends think they can do whatever they want because they are treated like heroes. You Jane Doe are the hero, you survived and you pressed charges. I want you to know you are the hero you are a strong smart beautiful powerful young woman don’t ever let anyone make you feel less than that. Remember no matter what anyone says you did nothing wrong you did not ruin anyone’s lives they did that to themselves when they made the choice to rape you.

To all survivors keep your head up you are a hero you are strong and you are beautiful stay strong sisters,

Beth Dortch

About Beth Dortch

I am an unofficial student meaning I am not enrolled in school but I am surrounded by very educated organizers from many different movements who have lived history and have accepted me as a student and young leader.

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I Used to Work for the State Now I’m on TANF

 The program I am in is called WV Works.  This should tell you some about the program.
I used to have a job and was working for the state as a flagger.  I had a stroke in March of 2010 and had no income coming in and had to apply for welfare assistance until the Social Security Board decides whether I am eligible for benefits   To make a long story short, I receive assistance from the state.  As part of receiving this help, I have to be put into some kind of work program where I do so many hours a week or a total of 130 hours on the month in order to participate and receive the benefits.  I went to our local college this year, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.
I am a full time student and carry 12-15 hours.I made the deans list and GPA of 3.72.  I thought that I would get the winter break in order to regroup with my son who is in the 9th grade and wind down before the semester starts back in January but that did not happen.  My worker said that I had to be put in some kind of activity in order to continue to receive the benefits and the program they put me in is called EXCEL.  It is our local GED center.
With all the grades and accomplishments that I had just completed for the first semester, I am in the GED class doing math, reading, english, and learning how to get myself back into the workforce.  It is a good program for those who need it but at the time, it’s not what I need.   I didn’t even go to doctors appointments during the semester in order to get good grades at the college and not miss anything.  I thought after the semester was over, I could pick up all the things I didn’t get to do.
I guess the reason that I got so upset with the whole program was that every month, we have to fill out a time sheet and turn it in to show our time and participation.  This is also a travel voucher of such because we get paid our hours and mileage for going.
I turned my sheet in for the month of November on December the 2nd.  They have to be turned in by the 5th of each month.  Well, it’s Christmas and I haven’t received mine yet.  I called and left a message for my worker on the 12th of December.  She didn’t return the call, so I called her back on the 13th and she told me she processed them all on the 12th.  I thought OK, it will be coming.  While I was at the GED class yesterday, she calls me and had me come to the phone to only tell me that their computer shows that I brought my time sheet in but they can’t find it and I need to do another one.
I went through the roof.  I do any and everything that the DHHR ask me to do because if you don’t you will get a letter or always be told that you are gonna lose your benefits.  I used to make $31.96 an hour standing in the road for 3 10-hour days out the week.  If the unemployment office would let me draw my own money, I wouldn’t need the DHHR but in order to get that, you have to be eligible to work and my doctors won’t turn me loose because of my health issues.  They say that I could have a stroke at anytime because of the scarring on my brain.  I PUSH MYSELF EVERYDAY TO GET BY BECAUSE I JUST CAN’T SIT BACK AND WAIT.  That’s not me!!

This is from an anonymous guest blogger.

About DAWG

Direct Action Welfare Group (DAWG) is a statewide grassroots organization comprised of current and former public assistance recipients, low wage workers, people living in poverty, and concerned individuals who come together to share information and ideas and to advocate for each other, their neighbors, and themselves. Direct Action Welfare Group’s vision is the end of poverty in West Virginia. In order to make this vision a reality, we advocate with low-income families for economic justice

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