Is @BillOReilly a bad guy?

I have always liked Bill O’Reilly.  I don’t know him personally, but I wish I did.  In fact, he’s probably one of the people I’d include on the list of people I would most like to have a conversation with about just about anything.  No doubt, I would learn something, probably lots of things.

I bring him up because yesterday I happened to be listening to the radio, and Bill was a guest on the show.  He was talking about his new book, Killing England, and about how he was set up in what he referred to as a ‘hit’ in a smear campaign by those with opposing views from his own.  His words echoed loudly, almost as a warning for Americans to pay attention, as we allow people to remove reminders of our country’s history.

Some say if you fail to understand the argument of those with opposing views, you fail to understand your own stance.  So even if you’re not a fan of Mr. O’Reilly, or agree with him on various issues. it’s probably not such a bad idea, if you take the time to listen to what he has to say.

The closest I ever came to meeting him was when I interviewed Alison Levine, the amzing woman who climbed Mt Everest, and does so much for so many.  We were having dinner in New York City, and Bill was sitting next to us, no doubt discussing something of substance.

Is Bill a bad guy?  Did he make mistakes which caused him to deserve being ousted from his perch on whichever television network ran his show?  Or was he a victim of a smear campaign?  Bill referred to the entertainment and news industry of which he was a part of for so many years, as hateful.  Such a shame, when people set out to destroy others without any regard.

Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine – Walter Cronkite

 

 

 

Sometimes things fall apart …

It’s 4 am and I can’t sleep, so rather than toss and turn, I turn to writing.  It’s what I do when I am thinking, thinking and then thinking some more.  What’s that they say, about sleeping when you’re dead?  I’ll probably end up writing then, too.

So what’s on my mind that I want to share or at least get off my chest?  Things are happening, changing and the reasons I came to Vegas Vs. what’s happened once I got out here, are somewhat clouded at the moment.  For one thing, I never expected to take a position with a risk management firm and re-enter the industry I had left, but it feels like home to me.  The industry, and the firm I’ve aligned with, both give me a sense of belonging and although it was not necessarily part of my plan when I came out here, it’s what’s happened.

I’m also super excited about the prospect of the radio show, BetsLikeAGirl, for so many reasons.  For one, it’s my own creation and it’s fun to see what you can do when you begin something without any particular direction coupled with a sense of knowing that you’re on to something. The world has changed, and women have careers, power, and positions of status and with that comes money to spend.  So what then, do so many in the sports industry still cater to men, and think that women have no place in the overall marketing plan?

The other day someone wrote to me and said, “Thank you for being a voice of change.” That person works with the domestic violence shelter I volunteer for, and I was surprised when I got the message.  I’ve never been one to sit back and accept the status quo, and at the risk of pissing people off, I will share when I see something that seems does not feel right to me.

So how do I make sense of all that I’ve done since I moved to Vegas?  Perhaps focusing on empowerment, in the manner I’ve always done.  Creating my own radio program that honors women, in a subtle way? Creating strategic risk management plans for non-profit organizations, that matter to me?  Being a woman over 40, who will not let stereotypes cloud her choice to feel sexy?  Will those things be on the table?

Stay tuned, the rest is still unwritten.  Thanks for reading, even if you’re not there.  The expression of gratitude is there, just in case you are.

Perhaps I said it wrong . . .

This morning I shared a post about something I had read involving what one writer referred to as, ‘Volunteer Burn Out,’ and I got a lot of comments on Facebook and Twitter.  Some wrote and shared that they understood and advised to follow my heart and intuitive guide, and that it’s okay to take a step back to re-evaluate where you want to give your time.  Others, and one person in particular, commented about how it’s not really about me and that it’s more about the mission and helping.  To sum it up, she shared that she felt that what mattered most is that people give of their time, that they do not look for recognition or appreciation, but that they consider the people they are helping.  It’s not that I disagree, and I think it’s important to be mindful that no task is above any of us, and if it’s handing out bottles of water to those in need, but you have a law degree, it’s not necessary that you do legal work for the organization you are volunteering for, because as she said, it’s not a job.

We have all had our share of relationships where we feel that our time is not valued and we have all had our experiences when we sign on to do things and then feel as though we are not appreciated.  It’s also okay to say, “No.” My point was merely that.  If you wake up and are sad and feeling under-valued, after giving your heart, soul and time to an organization, it’s okay (in my opinion) to reevaluate and decide if there might be a better place for you to spend your time.  It also might just be time to take a break, re-assess the reasons you signed on to volunteer in the first place, and then go from there.  It’s okay to take time for yourself when you need it, and that’s all I was trying to say.

Could the reason I’m so sad, be ‘Volunteer Burnout?’

Last night I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to join me this Saturday to help out at the local domestic violence shelter.  He’s got this pretty important job in the construction industry and knows a lot of about tiling and stuff, and the shelter was looking for folks to do stuff on Saturday that I had no doubt he could handle.  I thought if we did it together it might be fun.  He responded by telling me he had already signed on to ‘volunteer’ to help somewhere else and so if I wanted to help out at the shelter, I was going to be on my own.  I sent a brief email over to the person in charge, and said I could be there by 9:30 on Saturday morning.  Then I went to sleep, and when I woke up I felt so sad.

I have started to notice that ever since I signed on to volunteer at the non-profit organization that helps victims of domestic violence, I have been incredibly sad.  Only, it’s not necessarily for reasons that have anything to do with domestic violence, but rather more so for reasons that have to do with what might be an epidemic that’s sweeping the nation referred to by some as ‘volunteer burnout.’  Then again, it might be something else.

‘Volunteer Burnout’ is described by John Barrymore in the article below which begins by asking a simple question, “Do you feel sad, tired and stressed out?  Are you overwhelmed by all the things you have to do?”  It then goes on to talk about how you can sign on to ‘over-commit’ yourself and discusses how you’re not alone.  “Many adults have trouble using the word, “No,” Barrymore contends, and of course this is something I already know.

Only, I’m not so sure I feel ‘Volunteer Burnout’ because I have over-committed or rather feel a sense of sadness because my education and experience does not seem to be valued by the organization.  Perhaps, if I were doing something that seemed to be more in alignment with what I’m good at, maybe I would not feel so sad.  Ironically, there’s a quote tacked to my refrigerator that I happened to find in a bag from the boutique where purchases help this organization, and it says, “A person will do more when they feel appreciated.”

As with anything, moderation is key to having a good balance.  As much as I like to help out, I have to remember that it’s okay to put my own needs first and if an organization I am volunteering for does not seem to respect its volunteers or value others, it’s mission is faulty, no matter what it claims.  Non-profits need to remember that at the very core it’s those who give of their time, who deserve nothing less than the respect they profess to want for others.

I ended up sending an email over to the person in charge and saying I will not be able to make it on Saturday morning.  I have decided it will be okay to spend the day focusing on my own needs, rather than always giving of my time for others.  Keeping in mind one needs to put the oxygen mask on one’s self before they are any good to another, I think I need to just breathe.

http://money.howstuffworks.com/economics/volunteer/information/volunteer-burnout.htm#.WW-eFL8khH0.twitter

Is 90% too low? #SexualAssault #DrunkenSex

Perhaps I would get fired if I worked for one of those big network television stations, if I dared to suggest such a thing, and in that case it’s probably a good thing that I am, perhaps one of the few remaining, who is able to speak my mind, and not worry about the repercussions.  It’s not like someone is going to blast me for what I say here, I mean for all I know, nobody even reads my thoughts about our criminal justice systems (and yes, there are two).

Maybe nobody took the time to read that book written by the author Scott Turow, about the ‘limitations’ in the system which portrayed a fictional judge facing what took place in his college years. Troubling as it was, he came to realize that some of the things that went on when he was in college might not have been lawful, and could have been attributed to the risky behavior so often exhibited by college ‘kids.’

Yesterday, in the midst of horrific news that was unfolding about four young men, whom many would still refer to as ‘boys’ may have been murdered by another young man, there was a backlash on social media, and in the regular media, as well.  It had to do with something someone said, and the apology that came afterwards.

Before I continue, I want to say that I have not taken the time to listen to the words or read the words that were first spoken that supposedly were ‘flippant’ and alleged that about 90% for all sexual assault on campus can be attributed to “drunken sex” but I will, only I can already form an opinion on the way the media ran with what was said.  How horribly to suggest such a thing, it’s so wrong and it’s blaming the victim, is what was going across the screen in one way or another.  Really?  I am not defending the person who said anything, and of course, numbers such as these should be backed up with a credible study, but if what was said holds any validity should there have been an apology for what was said, as opposed to how it was said or that it was perhaps an opinion rather than a fact?  If that’s the case, then yes it’s wrong for anyone is such a high position to state something alleging something such as this without the credible backup data BUT…

What bothers me is that we as a society overall seem to be afraid to talk about the role alcohol and drugs play in criminal acts, especially sexual assault.  Why???? If we do no understand our opponent’s argument we will fail to understand our own.  Why are some of us so afraid to consider that sexual assault is often triggered by irrational, primal behavior that might have been triggered by a substance such as alcohol or drugs?  We have no problem looking at drugs or alcohol as a contributing factor in deaths on our highway, so why then is it wrong to think that “drunken sex” is alive and well on campus, to the point that it’s an epidemic and the largest contribution to sexual assault, overall?

I do not take full responsibility for what happened to me when I was sexually assaulted at the time when I was too drunk to make proper decisions, and was if I remember correctly 23 years old, but I also know that I did allow myself to drink too much, would not ever do that again, and learned the hard way how horribly crucial it was that I keep my wits about me when I was around those who were drinking.  Some lessons in life come to us by learning from mistakes and it just plain sucks, but that does mean it’s wrong to take some responsibility for your part in what happened.  It also does not excuse the actions of the other party but at least if we look at the circumstances with a desire for totality of circumstances rather than through rose-colored glasses, we can begin to look for solutions rather than blame.

In my opinion, it is not wrong to suggest that a person be mindful that alcohol and drugs can lead them to make incredibly risky choices that can land them dead, raped or in dangerous worlds.  It is also not wrong to tell someone it’s risky to run alone in Central Park.  Of course, it’s a shame that a person should not feel completely free to exhibit such freedom and that running alone in Central Park is not a welcome mat for sexual predators, but it’s not wrong to say that running solo can put one at risk.  Add the variables of running alone at dark, and being drunk and you’re going to increase your chances of something horrible happening.  It’s prudent risk management, of one’s person, to take good care of one’s self.

The actual number of “drunkensex” is not going to ever be known, and the true number of sexual assault is not going to be known, because it’s perhaps one of the most underreported crimes.  Yet, speak to those who have examined their own behavior after they were sexually assaulted, or survey young men and ask them without judging them if they are truly able to manage their brains when they drink too much, and you might realize that very often alcohol does play a role in criminal behavior.  We MUST not be afraid to talk truth, and we must realize that it’s NOT blaming a victim for the crime, but it is educating others about variables that might put one at risk.  We should be talking to both men and women about what can happen to you if you let yourself drink too much.  Googling about what happens to a man after he’s had nine shots, and he’s lying dead in a basement is not going to help when you are facing charges for his death.  These are things we need to know before the man is dead, not after.

Is “Brief Oral Sex” sexual assault in the eyes of the law?

If Oakland Raiders’ draft pick Gareon Conley admits to having “brief oral sex” from his accuser on the night of the alleged assault …” does that constitute sexual assault if she was under the influence?  Under the influence of what?  Well, that’s another question entirely, but what constitutes sexual assault, how’s a guy to know if it’s consensual or not, if both parties are partying?  Do you know the laws that define sexual assault?  Are you or have you committed rape?  Or been raped?  What responsibility is upon us all to know the laws, abide by them, and/or change them if they make little sense?

Life doesn’t always come with a map

Sometimes people don’t understand why I’m ‘working’ in sports, and I do my best to summarize the past five years in a way that allows them to make sense of it all.  When I look around, realize I am actually living in Southern Nevada, moved from my home all because of Twitter, and the amazing power for social media, sometimes it can be overwhelming to me, too.  It helps to remember the reasons I’m here, and just what inspired me to travel this road.

In 2012, I was working toward my doctorate of philosophy in public policy administration with a specialization in law.  At that time I was not working, other than advocacy work with the courts.  Partly because, I had chosen to stay home to raise my son back in 1998, after he was diagnosed with permanent brain damage and because in 2000, I had separated from my son’s dad, and he moved to Texas, which has no state tax.    Before my son was born, I was a Vice President for an international brokerage firm and specialized in risk management.  I was involved in consulting about directors and officers liability and employment practices liability.  Returning to my career, while my son was little, was not practical and his dad’s residency in a no state-tax state, made it nearly impossible for me to earn an income that did not penalize us.  Basically, his income would be taxed more than I would earn.

So while my son was young, I went back to school.  I earned an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, a master’s degree from Boston University in the same field, and went on to work toward my PhD.  The reasons I chose this field had much to do with my desire to understand brain trauma, policing and domestic violence.  BU was studying brains for deceased NFL players, and the NYPD had a football team.  I was witnessing first hand, what I felt was an under appreciated variable, that being brain trauma, in domestic violence and other violent crimes.

The NFL became involved in a much-publicized lawsuit, involving concussion issues, which many thought attributed to propensity toward violence.  Others felt they triggered Lou Gehrig’s disease.  I became immersed in my studies.

My brother was hosting a radio program dealing with sports here in Las Vegas.  I was a huge Raiders fan, and became aware of a former Oakland Raider, Stephen Smith, who had played college ball at Penn State, as well.  He had been diagnosed with ALS.  I asked my brother if I could share about the go-fund me page set up to help the player.

Cantor Gaming sponsored my brother’s show, at that time.  He was also doing a program on SXM radio about fantasy sports. My brother felt it would be best if I used social media to share about the go fund me page.  I was happy to, and also decided to use that forum to market his show.  I did not use sexy photos to market the show, until competing stations accused me of being a robot and/or a man posing as a female on Twitter.  Growing up in a world of chaos, amongst other things, left me riddled with negative thoughts about body image, so when I began to take sexy photos and use them as a marketing strategy to promote the fantasy sports sponsor, Cantor Fantasy, it was actually liberating.  I made no apologies. Although I preferred to remain anonymous to protect my privacy, as well as, respect my work with the courts, I was enjoying the creative freedom and felt a sense of artistic achievement.  Mastering the art of self photos is not necessarily vanity as opposed to a strategic and creative marketing plan than can save thousands.

When my brother was accused of being the person behind the Twitter account, I began to “come out” as myself, only having your sister be on your sports radio show isn’t really the best marketing.  Fantasy sports were becoming huge, Cantor had gone into the fantasy sports biz, and thus I created a marketing campaign using social media, and very sexy sports.  The real businesswoman, the advocate, passionate role model and me began using Twitter to help educate about how virally important it was for athletes to recognize the power of their voice.  I created a blog, eventually was invited to do a sports law segment, and became known as one of the top social media influencers in sports.  I wrote to the commissioner of the NFL after I saw ads in Vogue magazine about the Greg Hardy and Ray Rice cases.

It’s five years since my first sports tweet.  I care deeply about education, our youth and the law.  My own show is a spin off from the work I did for my brother, and since I tweeted so much for him and others on his show, for free by the way, I ended up being seen as a knowledgeable sports personality. Crazy, huh?

So here I am, in Southern Nevada, without a map.  I have a desire to educate about domestic violence, the law, and learn more about sports.  I care about the legalities of sports betting, the variables that might mitigate domestic violence, and work hard to help athletes understand that being a role model, means more than being a mere model.

In my life, I’ve experienced child abuse, domestic violence, and can count on more than one hand the times I’ve been sexually assaulted.  Whether it was having a drink drugged, or being too young and stupid to know better than to put myself in a horribly self-destructive environment, I’ve been there.  By the way, I’m not blaming myself for the reality of being taken advantage of, but BU teaches a great course on victimization, and I highly recommend it, to anyone and everyone who thinks that victims do not, at times, contribute to their own circumstance.  It’s not blaming when you recognize your own contribution to the circumstances that might have lead to the event, and it’s not giving a free pass to the perpetrator, but it is accepting and learning about how to perhaps manage your own personal risk differently in the future.

Was it because of my childhood, life itself, or are we all vulnerable to the horrific crimes such as these?  Rather than be angry, I have chosen to embrace my life, my experiences, and serve as a role model and educator in my community.  For now, you can hear me on the radio or read my articles that are often published in a men’s interest magazine, but who knows where I’ll be tomorrow.  Had you asked me five years ago if I’d be living in Southern Nevada, I would have likely taken the ‘Under’ . . .

Life is like a box of chocolates 😉

@SexUndertheiNFL

Remember when drunk driving was not as publicized as it is today.  I remember being little and having my father tell me that if the police pulled us over, to say we lived in Florida.  Of course, I was also told by my father that lying was the worst crime ever, and had my mouth washed out with soap, if ever I told a fib but when it came to his needing to have a license to drive, lies were okay.  And he needed to have a license to drive, because he was raising four children without their mother, and worked hard everyday.  He also drank hard everyday.

The reason for the lie, of course, was because he had a valid Florida driver’s license and things were not as technologically advanced as they are today, so he could keep his Florida license even though my guess is that he was forced to surrender his New Jersey license.  In fact, I think it was Christmas Eve, when someone had to go bail him out after he crashed ‘the white car.”

So what does all this have to do with sexual assault and education and awareness about why one should not drink to excess and have sex?  I bring it up because it’s very important to understand that when you drink you impair your judgment and obviously if it’s to the point that one should not operate a motor vehicle then one should understandably not have sex, consensual or not.  Especially when consensual sex while under the influence might even land you in a horrible position that involves being raped or accusations of having raped someone.  My question for the world is what are we doing to educate as opposed to punish.

In addition to punishing Ray Rice, the former NFL football player who made news after a video of him punching his then fiancé to obscurity for lying to the commissioner of the NFL and labeling him an abuser, should we not try to understand what role alcohol and possibly brain damage played in the matter.  Or maybe even steroids mixed with alcohol?

While many are busy worrying about whether they might be perceived as a feminist or not, for taking one side of the men vs. women in the sexual assault epidemic, I aim to be neutral and not blame but rather understand.  Someone said to me that if the elevator door had not shut would Ray Rice have punched his fiancé, and I do not know the answer to this question, but I would ask that person to question, if Ray Rice had not consumed hard liquor that night, would he have become violent in that way?  Alcohol, brain damage, or steroids are not necessarily an excuse but they might be variables that have caused primal behavior, especially in athletes who have high testoterone.  Do women even understand the vulnerable position they put themselves in when they enter into ….. do men understand what happens to their brains when they mix this and that?  Do we?

Alcohol is not an excuse, and I am not looking to excuse.  However, I do think we need to help educate about the way the brain is altered and how making choices to drink when you are around a party can lead to a life behind bars.  It’s truly scary to see college kids, and yes I think that’s what they are, throwing their lives away for one night of partying.  It’s equally scary to see the likes of Darren Sharper, or Bill Cosby one of whom was found guilty of sexual assault charges and the other who may be someday, out there possibly preying on victims.

Should we educate women about how not to engage if they’ve had too much to drink, or hold them accountable for contributing to their own victimization?  Heaven forbid we suggest that they drink responsibly  to avoid being raped because when we do this, we tend to be accused of blaming the victim.  Yet, if an auto accident that could have been avoided is considered to be contributory negligence on the part of the driver, when it happens, why is it not okay to hold women (or victims, in general) responsible, at least in part, when they have consumed too much alcohol and placed themselves in incredibly vulnerable situations?  At the very least we should educate about the dangers, no?

My opinion about this matter has taken flight because of my own personal experiences on the job, back when I was in my early twenties and then other experiences  that happened years later, when I was older and wiser.  Did I seek being a victim, did I feel I deserved to be, or did I get raped because ….  These were all questions I tossed in my head for years.  I want to share about my experiences not because anything is about me, but because from a utilitarian perspective, it matters that we work together to help arm one another and society overall to protect against this horrible crime, and help young men understand how to not end up serving a life in prison, for a crime that they might never have committed if they were not under the influence.

Follow me on Twitter @SexUndertheiNFL to learn how you can help me raise awareness about how to prevent rape.  Thank you.

P.S. As I read this article, I thought to myself, “Wait, does that mean I should never drink and have sex, or have a cocktail with my boyfriend, etc., Of course, that’s not what I’m trying to say but  I am trying to say it makes sense to behave just as responsibly as you would before getting behind the wheel of a car.  Maybe consider a ‘designated abstinent party’ who will not drink, and be sure you do not enter a room with those who have been drinking if you are too drunk to do so, and/or make sure you go to bed alone rather than risk waking up and finding out you’ve been accused of rape.

Michigan State University, Not Again!

Somebody please tell me that it’s all a mistake and that the names that of the Michigan State football players that are the latest to be accused of sexual assault and face severe prison sentences is all a mistake.  Surely, they saw what happened to those players who played football at Vandy, and ended up initially being sentenced to thirty years.  What on earth is happening and why is the madness that’s been happening for years, still happening?  Or is it?

As we sometimes forget, people who are indicted for crimes are not necessarily guilty but many times the media will bombard us with information that might not necessarily be factual and it’s wise to stop and pause, if only to remember we live in a country that was founded upon the premise that there would be justice for all.

So many times I’ve referenced the fiction book, Limitations, by Scott Turow who also wrote the book, Presumed Innocent. If I had my way, Limitations would be made into a movie, and everyone would see it before they decided about what’s wrong with today’s “kids” so that they were at least mindful that yesterday’s “kids” were participating in….

Should I stop right there?  Heaven forbid I say something about the way it was, and the way it is, and share an opinion that is not necessarily in alignment with the way I’m supposed to think.  Have we not come far enough to respect that we might not all share the same opinion?  Can I speak openly about what’s happening on campus without having to take a side?  In my opinion, there should be no sides.  Not “men vs. women” or “girls vs. boys” or “liberals vs. conservatives” but only one side which is on the side of goodness and educating our youth about the fundamentals of mutual respect.  Mutual respect when it comes to the way we treat one another, the way we value one another, and the way we want to continue to thrive and evolve in a world that’s ever changing, same as it always was.

I’m a woman who was slipped a drug during a business meeting, and if it were not for me begging my rapist to take me back to my home so I was not left stranded at a train station, I might have ended up in an episode of Forensic Files, but I’m still alive and I never pressed charges against the man who raped me.  In fact I never told the police.  I also met him for lunch a few days after it happened because I wanted to ask him just why he felt it was okay to slip a drug into my drink, and have my brain altered in a manner that would cause me to behave in a manner that was not in compliance with my values.  Should I have gone to the police?  Should I have risked having my name dragged through the mud when my son was just six months old and all I wanted to do was forget?

Why didn’t I tell the police?  Why didn’t I want the man who raped me to face life in prison?  What’s wrong with me that I don’t harbor hatred but preferred to educate and infiltrate a man’s world and write for a men’s interest magazine and try to reach people, who might not value women?  Is that a sexist thing to say that readers of a men’s interest magazine might not value women?  Oh gosh, I sure hope I didn’t offend anyone, again.

The reality is there’s something to be said for women who have walked in my shoes.  Women who get up each day and face the madness of the world and no matter how many times they are shot down by men, or women and treated like insignificant peas in the pod, we still continue to want to make a difference.

“The problem with you is, you want to change the world.” – my ex-boyfriend used to say that all the time.  Yes, I am guilty as charged.  And I still, want to change the world with the UT most respect for both genders, and a mother of a young man, and a woman who has loved some of the finest men out there.  I still want to get through to those who might not value us, that’s it’s not okay.  That being said, I don’t know if the athletes who have been charged with horrible crimes as of late are guilty, and I am not sure if I have any inherent bias or learned bias, because my father was charged of a horrible crime?  Did I naturally attract men who would be disrespecting women because of learned behavior?  Did I come from “good stock?”

If you want to know where that “good stock” reference came from, it was something I heard on a sports talk radio program one day, which happened to air on FOX Sports.  One of the hosts said, that Russell Wilson, an athlete in the National Football League was a great role model, and the reason that is, is because he comes from “good stock.”  What exactly is “good stock?”  Well according to this radio announcer he meant a “good family” which is made up of a mother, father and you know all those great things that someone like me always dreamed of having only what about those murderers and rapists who come from “good families?”  If you’ve followed closely you know that the book American Beauty was based on a story about a young woman who murdered her husband or had him killed (same sort of thing) and she came from “good stock.”  By the way, I’m talking about the story about Kristin Margrethe Rossum, the American former toxicologist who was convicted in 2000 for murdering her husband, Greg, who is now servicing a life sentence.

You see, domestic violence, sexual assault and horrific crimes do not just happen, and they do not just happen as a result of the hands of men.  They happen and quite possibly can be prevented if we all work together to educate and empower one another, and help to understand the dynamics of abuse.