no exceptions

“no”

nō/

Determiner

  1. Not any.

“There is no excuse”

  1. Used to indicate that something is quite the opposite of what is being specified.

“It was no easy task persuading her”

Exclamation

  1. Used to give a negative response.

““Is anything wrong?” “No.””

“Can I touch you?” “Hell no.”

For some reason, some people cannot seem to grasp the response to the last example. Every 107 seconds, a person is sexually assaulted. This includes rape, abuse, verbal harassment, groping, forced kissing, child sexual abuse, or the torture of the person in a sexual manner. If you look at statistics, 1 out of 5 women in universities have been sexually harassed. And just a disclaimer, men can also be victims of sexual harassment but I am speaking from a girl’s point of view. Sexual harassment had its largest problem in 1993, and since then sexual harassment has fallen by 49%. This is obviously such tremendous progress but the world is still a long way away from solving this issue, and to state the obvious, everyone on this earth is on different pages when it comes to this issue.

First off, the phrase that causes steam to shoot from my ears, “did you see what she was wearing? She was asking for it”. Actually I would consider this to be the two worst phrases I have heard. Let’s break this down shall we, “did you see what she was wearing?” What my real question is, who decides what is appropriate or not appropriate to wear in public? Yes it is true that there is a time and a place where you must be modest and respect those around you but I guarantee you that these people who are becoming victims of sexual assault are not walking around naked. Women should not have to alter their style and the clothing they wear to fit what “modest” means. A girl could be covered from head to toe in clothing and still be sexually harassed. This world has become a place where people have to question every piece of clothing on their body in fear of being looked at sexually. Dressing to make yourself happy is not a crime.  Secondly, “she was asking for it”. Who in their right mind could say that and not feel like (excuse me language) a piece of shit afterwards. I mean I could understand that maybe the girl was being a tease but that does not mean she is asking to get forced into having sex. The millions of people who have been sexually harassed don’t go into a situation magically knowing that they are going to be victims. Imagine that you go out to lunch with a close friend. Everything is fine, and out of the blue he/she licks the side of your face. Are you thinking, “Geez, I should have seen that one coming! I should have known better. These things happen when you get lunch with people.” No, of course you don’t think that! You are most likely thinking, “What the hell?! Why would someone do that?! They’re crazy!” why would you ever let someone lick the side of your face it’s ridiculous!” And yeah this analogy may seem silly but it is the same thing, just because you are with a person, consent is not given to start touching someone or even speaking to someone in ways that they are not comfortable. It is sayings like these, ones the target victims instead of the perpetrators, which cause people to retain their own involvements to themselves.

I think it is true that people do not understand how it feels until it happens to them. I would never wish sexual assault upon anyone because things like this don’t leave your head. For me personally, I didn’t go through a traumatizing event such as rape but that is not the only form of sexual assault. A very close friend of mine (who I will not name) was on her way home from work on the metro. She took the same bus every day, and every day there were the same people on the bus. Unfortunately, there was a man, a sick sick man, who watched her everyday on the bus and eventually took his chance. He got off at the same stop as her and followed her down the street and when no one was around he jumped her. This friend of mine, is one of the strongest women I know and she fought, and she fought hard. She was able to get her pepper spray on her key chain, spray him, and ran away. And although he did not succeed in his primary goal, she was left with this haunting memory. Sexual Assault, should never be taken lightly because it is something that will always stay with someone. Yes, it is true that there are people who mentally cannot comprehend tasks they have committed but this is why people must be more aware of how serious the issue is. When I was about 6, I had the best of friends who all lived in the same neighborhood as I did. We would play every single day together, whether it was tag, cops and robbers, wolf are you there, we always played. I lived around the same kids for a very long time and we soon got very close with each other, and some a little more close than id like. One day while playing hide and seek, I hid with an older friend of mine and he was about 12 at the time, 6 years older than me. And we sat there, waiting and waiting for the whoever was “it” to find us. And as I stood there waiting eventually, this 12 your old boy began to put his hands on me. Being 6, I had no idea what was going on but I knew it wasn’t right so I did what I did best at the age of 6 and I screamed. This only ended up in my mouth getting covered and tears began streaming down my face. Luckily for me, my one loud scream scared him off before he got any further than touching a 6 year old’s ass. At that age, I was scared to tell anyone about what happened, I was extremely embarrassed and could even say the words “he touched my butt”. I was six for crying out loud. It was only 2 years ago that I told my mom about the situation. I’m not saying that it was traumatizing because I have witnessed worse, but I am saying that it sticks with people. I remember to this day, where I was hiding, the pants I was wearing, and the words he said to me right after.

We are a long way from the end of assault, but we can all start somewhere. Educate people on this, stand up for people if you see assault happening, even verbal. Anyone can make a difference. Because no means no and people need to understand this.

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My Young Life Experience

            For all of you who have never heard of young life before, it is a Christian organization that reaches out to preteens and teenagers through amazing staff and leaders to teach and introduce Jesus. Young life has never been a place where people judge you, everyone is welcome. Whether you have a relationship with Jesus and are looking to better grow this relationship with him and the amazing people involved in Young Life or you have never even heard of who Jesus is, this is the place to be.

                I grew up going to a Slavic church and learned the foundation of my religion but being young, I was clueless about why religion was important. Going into the 6th grade, I ended up moving to Bellevue. This was really hard considering the fact I knew absolutely no one. Once the school year began I met some really cool people who introduced me to their friends. I became a part of this friend group that always talked about Young life and it sounded like lots of fun. Of course, I never asked about it because I was afraid of being left out and I thought “oh it’s their thing” but what I quickly learned was that Young Life was for everyone. Around Christmas time I went to club for the first time and I walked in very nervous but left with the biggest smile on my face. The night was filled with games and activities and it ended with a short and sweet sermon about Jesus. After that night I knew I wanted to be involved. Each month I looked forward to club and made amazing friendships with new people and my leaders.

In seventh grade I was able to go to a Young Life summer camp at Creekside. I cannot fully explain in words how that week changed me and opened my eyes, but I can say that I was blessed with an amazing opportunity and it was the beginning of my incredible relationship with Jesus Christ. Young life is not some organization that shoves their beliefs down your throats, it is a safe place for amazing pastors to share their knowledge about the lord and introduce him to people who are open to listening. Whether you accept Jesus at camp or somewhere else, everyone in Young Life is going to supportive and by your side the entire time. Since Creekside, I have attended three Young life camps and they have always been the highlight of my summers. I encourage anyone who has heard of Young Life but hasn’t had the chance to look into it, to be open minded, take a chance, and get involved. Sadly I have heard many people say that they’ve always wanted to go to Young Life but have been scared because of a fear of being left out. Young Life is an accepting place, it is a great place to meet friends from other schools and even people who go to the same school as you.

Lastly I would like to talk about some amazing Young Life leaders. These people without a doubt are the kindest and most outgoing people you will ever meet. These leaders will attend your school events whether its sports or drama, they genuinely care. I would also like to thank my leaders Annie Meadows and Lauren Miller. I have not known Lauren as long as Annie but she is so amazing! Through Lauren I got involved in a church that became my home. I felt comfortable and was growing my relationship with Jesus every day.  And Annie, Annie is someone who puts everyone before herself, the most selfless human on this planet. I can honestly call her whenever I need to talk, vent, ask for prayers, or just to speak to an amazing friend. I love both these girls so much and would have never had begun my relationship with Jesus if it wasn’t for them.

Young Life has inspired me to do so much with my faith such as go on missionaries, be on work crew and summer staff. I hope that in the future I could be a Young Life leader and inspire girls similarly to how my leaders motivated me. I encourage everybody to look into Young Life to see if it is something that could better your own relationship with Jesus. For people who are uncertain and are uneasy about faith, come see what Young Life is all about, no pressure, just a fun time.

Who Are You?

I have written about this topic over and over again not really knowing how to word it or how to get my real thoughts out but I have just figured it out, I can’t. This topic is so important that words cannot explain the significance of being an individual. Since the moment we were born, we are faced with options and experiences in our life that shape who we will become in the future. With these experiences come many outside influences; friends, family, mentors. Unfortunately in our society today, we like to hide and mold who we are to fit other’s needs and wants. What ever happened to allowing yourself to be happy with who you really are. This year, the National Institute of Health recorded that around 15,000,000 people just in the U.S received treatment for social anxiety. First off, this is only the number of people who have a diagnosed disorder. There are millions of people on this planet who face anxiety just by being in a room with someone and feeling uncomfortable, different, or unwelcomed; myself included. Over the past few years, I’ve faced many scenarios where I felt like everyone was judging me for who I was and the things I enjoyed. Obviously I have not gotten completely rid of this idea that there are many people who will continue to judge and be critics but I have managed to control how I feel about it.

Without individuality, the world is just freaking boring. The world does not need a billion you’s or me’s. Everyone was created differently for a reason and given free will. So a little piece of advice, don’t care about what others may think of you. Girls, even guys spend so much of their time masking their faces, wearing clothes that they may not really like, listening to music that doesn’t interest them, all because they may be trying to satisfy someone else. Find who you are, where you fit in, and make yourself happy and love yourself before pleasing someone else’s liking. Often times I think about one of my favorite quotes from F. Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols:  “Each individual is the entire single line of humanity up through himself.” You may not understand it right now but you as an individual greatly impact people around you. Everything you do and say towards another human on this planet is adding to their book of life and changing their future. You are important. I’m not saying to go out into this world and act carefree with no morals, but what I am saying is do not change for anyone because people in your life come and go. The ones that will leave are not worth your time, and the ones that stay love you for your real self. There is so much more I can say, I could go on and on about how sad it is that people cannot be accepting of everyone but this also goes with everyone’s right to free will. Or how we were born to be ordinary and not perfect but I will leave it at this, no matter who you choose to be, in the end, you will know the right things to choose and act.

Hello, my name is ________.

So here is where I begin. Many may wonder why I am starting a blog. Yes, I’ve seen others recently start one, but no i am not “copying” or “trying” to be like them. This blog is for myself but I also hope it reaches out to others at the same time. I always knew i wanted to write for people to see, hear my stories, relate to my life or maybe just be entertained and what better way to do so than begin writing a blog. So, now that we have gotten that disclaimer out-of-the-way, what better place to begin then to introduce myself.

People at school know me as Izzy or Isabella, in all honesty I prefer Isabella, it sounds more… professional. I am a sophomore in high school and i am loving the experience. if anyone else asks ” what would you like to do when you grow up?” i may just scream, I am 15 years old and undecided. Don’t get me wrong, i have a numerous amount of ideas but not a set dream. High School has been absolutely amazing and its had its fair share of ups and downs, downs that i wish i could have prevented but i can not now. I definitely do not choose the right choices all the time but i am learning and i am a strong believer of the “everything happens for a reason” saying.

I come from a very large family and am the first generation of my family born in America. My mom, dad, and their families were all born in Ukraine. During the time my mom was about 14, Christians were frowned upon in Ukraine causing many families to pack up and move to America, including my own. It is quite interesting how many aspects in our society can pull  people away from their homes to come and stay in the USA. My biggest inspirations will always be my parents, they believed so  strongly in their faith that they came to  America with practically nothing and no knowledge of the English language, and they began a new successful life. As i said, both my parents and their families have strong beliefs which means my brother and I were raised as Pentecostal Christians which is often compared to an Orthodox Jew based on how many “rules” we follow. I am so thankful to have been raised with such beliefs that have paved out the life i am living today but yes, there are many times in my life when i question what “rules” to believe or follow. This does not mean i have any doubt that there is a God, and oh boy is he great, or that there is a Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, it just means there are many beliefs that I do not understand that other Pentecostal Christians have. I am constantly growing spiritually and would love to share my growth on my blog as I go.

Other than my family and education, i have many other passions and interests. I like to think of myself as an outgoing, flamboyant person. I am never afraid of a challenge or adventures and never get sick of the great outdoors. I enjoy drawing and painting, along with boating, surfing, and spending quality time with my amazing friends.

I hope as time goes on, this blog becomes a place that people feel comfortable to ask questions and read about my thoughts and experiences. This is me, Isabella Pilat and i hope you stick around.