White House Confirms Latest ISIS Beheading

TIME

President Barack Obama on Sunday confirmed the murder of U.S. aid worker Peter Kassig by militant extremist group ISIS.

A former U.S. Army Ranger, 26-year-old Kassig was working as a medical aid to Syrians escaping civil war when he was captured in Syria in October of last year, the Associated Press reports. He converted to Islam in captivity and went by the name Abdul-Rahman.

“Abdul-Rahman was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity,” Obama said in a statement. “Like Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff before him, his life and deeds stand in stark contrast to everything that [ISIS] represents. While [ISIS] revels in the slaughter of innocents, including Muslims, and is bent only on sowing death and destruction, Abdul-Rahman was a humanitarian who worked to save the lives of Syrians injured and dispossessed by the Syrian conflict.”

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Why Rape Jokes Are Not Funny

People who suffer from any sort of violation, especially rape, lose their innocence. There are millions of people out there who are victimized by rape and sexual assault. Even though they have physically survived the act of being sexually violated, it is a long and hard road of recovery, both psychologically and mentally.

There are a few reasons why rape jokes aren’t funny. For starters, making light of a horrible situation only adds insult to injury. You don’t know what it’s like to be pinned down and have things shoved up inside you. You don’t know what it’s like to be scared of sleeping because of the goddamn night terrors and nightmares. You don’t know what it’s like to not want to get out of your house because you’re too damn scared to be violated again. You simply don’t know what it’s like to be a victim of rape.

Rape victims might survive the act itself. Their physical wounds will eventually heal and with much needed therapy and support, might actually be able to put the past behind them. One thing they don’t leave behind is the psychological pain that sneaks up on them every once in a while. Every rape victim will remember details of their attack and can tell you exactly how they felt during every second it lasted.

The Egyptian Center for Women Rights stated that only 200,000 rape cases are reported annually in Egypt. The exact number or a close estimate to the actual number of rape and/or sexual assault towards women is unknown due to the fact that most rape cases go unreported because of the ”shame” that comes with it – a social stigma that almost all societies in the world created.

Another reason why rape jokes aren’t funny is because while you’re acting like a class clown and cracking a wise joke about rape, there’s a high chance an individual who was raped before is sitting right next to you. While you’re laughing, a person next to you is getting flashbacks and is going through the whole ordeal in their heads again while pretending that there is nothing wrong. While you’re sitting there being a complete insensitive little bitch, the person next to you is living their worst nightmare over and over again.

Additionally, when you laugh about rape and/or joke about rape, not only are you’re giving a rapist an excuse to be proud of what they’ve done but you’re actually encouraging the act itself. If we, as a progressive society (supposedly), do not stand against rape but in fact, make light of the situation every chance we get, how the hell would it ever stop?

Next time you decide to crack a dumb joke that is useful to no one, think about the people that are around you because you might be doing more harm than good.

 

The Beauty of Being Damaged

“Damaged people are dangerous because they know they can survive.” – Josephine Hart.

 

I remember all the times I was told I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough or smart enough to be anything. I remember being told I was a nobody, that I am nothing and will always be nothing. That I am just another waste of space.

We’ve all had a bully in our lives. Someone who is mean and picks on you constantly. Whether it’s at home or at school, whether it was physical or verbal bullying – we all know a bully or had an encounter with one. The victim is often left anxious, depressed with little to no self-esteem and the haunting feelings of uselessness and helplessness.

My depression is deeply rooted in my childhood, which consisted of neglect, fear and the constant need of approval from parents and teachers. Speaking of my own personal experience with bullying, at home and in school, I still pretty much carry those feelings around. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t say something mean to myself. Whether something about how I look or how stupid I can be sometimes, I have to say something mean and heartbreaking to myself. Something, that I will never say to a friend or a stranger. It is a learned behavior that I picked up at the tender age of 6, continued to my teens, and extended in my 20’s.

The reason why I am telling you this, whoever is reading this and wherever you are, is because I know what it’s like to torture yourself  with your words. I know what it’s like to become a person you hate and despise. I know what it’s like to not be able to look at yourself in the mirror without saying something truly and utterly disgusting to yourself.

There is no magical solution that will make you feel better and make the past disappear. It’s a struggle that you will often have to face and all you need to do is be the person you needed when you were a kid. Be the kind and gentle voice that you so desperately needed to hear. Love and cherish the child within you.

Always remember that you’re beautiful. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from – you’re beautiful. It doesn’t matter how broken, battered and bruised you are, you are still beautiful. Noting can change that. Nothing can ever change that.

The beauty of being damaged is that somehow, you still manage enough strength to go on about your day and live your life. The beauty of being damaged is that, despite what you were taught to believe, you’re still standing your ground, you’re still breathing, you’re still here. The beauty of being damaged is that you know exactly what to say to those who need kindness in their lives.

Best of all, the beauty of being damaged is that nothing can really break you.