Self Care

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If you’ve worked in social services, you’ve likely heard about “self-care” so many times you’ve lost count.  If not, you might be encountering this term for the first time as we all [hopefully] spend more time investing in our mental and emotional well-being while we’re distancing.

Whether you’ve heard it once or a hundred times, you might wonder why people place so much emphasis on the idea of “self-care”.  One of our Sexual Assault Counselors, Naicia, shares her thoughts:

Why do we encourage self-care?

Trauma compromises our wellbeing. Taking an active role to care for our mental, emotional, and physical health can be a challenging journey. People who have been repeatedly wounded by another person may come to understand that they lack worth  or are not deserving of having their needs met. A survivor’s world is distorted by enduring repeated crises. When the brain is trained to be on hyper-alert for safety, the idea of feeling well doesn’t make sense. Avoiding and ignoring emotions may seem safer. 

Self-care is giving space to see yourself as deserving of emotional and physical wellbeing. Activities that encourage movement like music, dance, yoga, and exercise allow the body to release intense emotions in a nonverbal way. Creative expressions of art, writing, music, and crafts also release the energy of trauma in healthy ways. Focused breathing releases stress and tension and slows heightened awareness and flashbacks that impede day to day functioning. Positive affirmations empower self-awareness and increase self-esteem.

Consistently practicing things that energize us and center us at the moment slowly rewire the brain to recognize that our present needs are important. Nurturing self-care activities can help us gain control over stressful emotions.

Whether you are the victim of abuse or enduring higher than normal stress due to our unprecedented circumstances, don’t forget that you matter.  You are valuable.  You deserve to invest in yourself.  Take the time to remind your brain, body, and spirit that you matter.

What are your favorite self-care activities?  What are the things that ground you or lift your spirits?  Share them in the comments!  You never know who you might inspire!

Chasing Cosby

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In January, the LA Times premiered a new podcast which followed the career, and dark personal history, of comedian and convicted sex criminal, Bill Cosby.  The six-episode podcast, Chasing Cosby, is available wherever you get your podcasts.

The podcast is an important reminder that we can’t assume someone is safe just because they are famous, powerful, or well-liked in our communities. The podcast sends the message loud and clear that we must Start By Believing and trust survivors when they come forward.  Only by believing survivors, supporting survivors, and holding perpetrators accountable, can we truly end sexual violence in our world.

The podcast is powerful, moving, and haunting and please please please be cautious in listening if you are a survivor or may be triggered by stories of abuse. This is not an easy podcast to hear. But it is important for many of us.

We’ll be sharing more of our thoughts on different episodes and themes through the podcast, but first and foremost, the lesson we can learn from this podcast is how incredibly strong survivors are. Anyone working in this field or industry will tell you, the ones who are making a difference and the ones who are changing the world are survivors. We are in the background, offering support and guidance, but the real power behind the movement to end violence is and always has been survivors.

The women who reported Bill Cosby’s abuse not only had the courage to share their stories, to press charges, or to testify in court, but many of them ALSO advocated for changes in the laws of their home states.  State after state changed or discarded restricted statute of limitation laws for reporting sexual abuse and they did so because of the advocacy of survivors of Bill Cosby.  These women not only sought justice for themselves, but they sought to make the world a more just place for future survivors.

They had no responsibility to anything but their own healing, but they still took this stand. Because of them, Colorado DOUBLED the length of time a survivor has to report assault and abuse. Nevada and California removed any statute of limitations on reporting these crimes.  Women and all survivors are safer, our world is safer, because of their courage.

Remember each day as we work together to end sexual violence to listen to survivors.  Ask survivors in your life what they need and how you can support them.  Look to survivors in the news, buy and read books by survivors, watch Ted Talks from survivors (may we recommend any and everything by Tarana Burke?), and learn from them. We don’t do this work FOR survivors of violence, we do this work WITH them.

Thank you, to each and every person, who has survived sexual violence and is fighting for yourself and for the world.  We are honored to fight with you.

Update

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As with many social-service agencies and businesses, we find ourselves operating under a new normal due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

While we are all practicing social distancing, finding new ways to spend our time, and doing our best to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe, the need for services and support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence continues. Everything feels different right now and we don’t know when things will go back to normal. So in the meantime, we want you to know that we are here.

If you are feeling alone or unsafe, you can call us 24/7 at 815-756-5228.

We can’t meet together, which is an incredible disappointment, especially as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April) approaches, but we can still all stand together against sexual violence and stand together for survivors. We’ll be posting more on this blog with reviews of books, shows, and podcasts.  We’ll be sharing lots of information, quizzes, and live videos on our social media channels (Facebook: @safepassagedvsa; Instagram: @safe_passage_dekalb; Twitter: @Safe_PassageDV).  We’ll have contests, story time, and so much more. Keep up to date with us and please interact with us!  We’d love to see your comments, discussion, and recommendations!

We want survivors everywhere to feel blanketed in love and support during this crisis.  This is a difficult time for everyone and the best thing we can all do is help one another.  Be a voice of support for survivors.  Reach out for help, if you need it.  If you don’t, reach out to those who do! We may be apart but we are not alone!

Will You Accept This Rant? March 2

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Hello and welcome to all our ranters, readers, and people who just weren’t getting enough yelling from the Democratic debates!

Welcome to the Women Tell All recap! This episode is a chance for the women of the season to share their side of the story, explain themselves, and question the lead.  It can be illuminating and interesting as heck!  Last night, however, it was mostly just exhausting. But if you love people screaming over one another and a breakdown in basic civility, read on!

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All right, let’s dive in.

Like always,

We’re working to examine and call out our culture of relationships that we see under a microscope in the petri dish that is Bachelor Nation.  Check out our weekly Facebook Live video (clink this link!) to hear all our thoughts and let us know what you’re thinking about this week! Don’t forget, you can always follow along with us on Twitter too! (@Safe_PassageDV)

Unlike most WTA episodes, we started with the rose ceremony that wrapped up Fantasy Suite week.  Peter gave the first rose to Hannah Ann and then the second to Madi. Two things from this…Peter CLEARLY is so into Madi and so worried about if she’ll stick around to be his final choice.  It was so uncomfortable for Hannah Ann (and all of us watching from the comfort of our sofas) to see how obviously in love with Madi he is.  It almost felt heartless or at least clueless for him to so obviously be ignoring Hannah Ann’s presence during these moments with Madi.

Second thing…Victoria F went home!  A lot of people were celebrating last night and with good reason. We genuinely hope that she has learned from this experience, can look back on her actions and attitudes, and grow into healthier relationships in the future.  She’s got some HEAVY baggage to unpack, but if there is one thing we know, it is that people can change. No one is born abusive.  No one is inherently bad.  We are all taught healthier or less healthy ways of navigating the world. I hope this experience taught Victoria to take some responsibility and work on herself before she jumps into her next jOuRNeY to fInd LOve.

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I’m sure we’ll see you in Paradise, Victoria.

As we moved into the actual Women Tell All portion of the evening, there were two HUGE themes that landed for us: accountability and growth (or the lack thereof) and bullying. We’re going to talk about both so STRAP IN!

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We’ll miss these airplane puns next season.

No one came out of this season smelling like a rose.  Even Madison, a long-time favorite, is being dragged in the press by Chris Harrison for her “not-an-ultimatum”.  There were moments for all the girls that I’m sure they wish they could take back.  The difference we saw last night was that some of the girls seemed to be ready to apologize and move forward and some seemed ready to double-down.

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Same, Tammy.  Same.

Victoria P kicked off the gas-lighting, trying to reframe her experience with Alayah as a “weird” personality quirk, rather than an attempt to throw her competition under the bus. Tammy continued the trend, trying to rewrite Bachelor history.  She wasn’t rude or hurtful.  She was concerned.  She wasn’t spreading rumors; she was looking out for her housemates!  She didn’t call Kelsey an alcoholic; she said she had “alcoholic tendencies”.

This is a really problematic trend you often see in abusive behaviors.  Abusers will often rewrite history, even to the point of believing it themselves, to prop up their belief that they aren’t the bad one. They aren’t the bad guy.  Maybe even they are the VICTIM! When mentally abusive relationships go on long enough, you can almost start to feel like you are going crazy.  You don’t even know if you can trust yourself because you are getting SUCH mixed messages from a person you care about as they do everything they can to avoid accountability.

On the other end of the spectrum, you had people like Alayah, Kelsey, and even Victoria F, admitting that they screwed up. Alayah apologized to the other girls for “word vomiting” and speaking without thinking. Kelsey apologized for being WAY too over the top about ChampagneGate.

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One last time.

Even Peter acknowledged that he is getting a lot of criticism for how he handled his season and that he is taking that criticism as an opportunity to grow.  That is really what life is all about.  None of us are perfect.  We all make mistakes.  We all were raised in environments and systems that set us up for failure in relationships.  We can’t expect perfection, but what we can expect from ourselves and our partners is accountability and growth.  Our responsibility is to know that no one, no matter how much they love us, is required to put up with abuse AND our responsibility is to listen when people call us out and take that as an opportunity to change and grow.

We saw a lot of growth from a lot of women (and a little from Peter) this season.  That is a step in the right direction.  That is an airplane at the right gate.  That is a flight that is on-time out of O’Hare.  Whatever the metaphor, you get it.

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That brings us to the last thing we HAVE to address. Bachelor Nation is a mess, y’all.  There is so much racism, misogyny, and hatred in this community. We can’t let this be normalized.  Kudos to Chris and TPTB for opening up the conversation and thank you SO MUCH to Rachel for her courage in leading such a difficult and necessary conversation.

ALL (I think I can feel confident saying all.  Idk, maybe not Josh…he’s too scary) or nearly ALL members of Bachelor/Bachelorette/BIP/etc. casts get messages of hate.  They are called horrible names.  People attack their character.  People attack their children.  People send hateful messages to their family and friends, people who never signed up for this! It has to stop.  No matter what someone did on this show, they do not deserve to be bullied or harassed.  Just because it happens online does not make it any less scary.  Many Bachelor contestants have been harassed out of a job or have had concerns about their safety.  I don’t care how annoying Tammy was this season, she shouldn’t be harassed.  I don’t care if Victoria F slept with 100 married men, she shouldn’t be harassed.  I don’t care if Alayah is literally a snake who transfigured herself into the shape of a woman to sow chaos in the Bachelor Mansion, she shouldn’t be harassed.

And we HAVE to admit that happens on a way deeper level and a much more violent scale for people of color in Bachelor Nation.  It is racism, plain and simple. Just like our work, Bachelor Nation doesn’t exist in a bubble outside the racism that is built into the American system.  We don’t do our clients any favors by ignoring the fact that it is SO MUCH HARDER for survivors of color to access justice. We have to admit and examine the ways that race has intersected with violence and oppression throughout the entire history of the world.  This is not just about one type of violence.  This is not just about online bullying and harassment.  This is about admitting that the system is broken and that we all MUST do better.

Like the women on Peter’s season, we can bury our heads in the sand and double-down on pretending like everything is fine.  Or we can admit that we’ve all made mistakes and we can put in the work to grow, change, and be better.

If we do that, we’ll make a safer, healthier, and better world for all of us.

 

Will You Accept This Rant? February 24

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Hello hello hello and welcome to all our readers, people who accidentally stumbled here from Twitter or Reddit, and a special hello to all the animals in Australia.  You’ve had a rough time lately…first rampaging wildfires and then Peter’s rampaging hormones?  We’re so sorry.


You deserve ALL the hugs.  And lots of legislation fighting climate change.

If you’re new here:

We’re working to examine and call out our culture of relationships that we see under a microscope in the petri dish that is Bachelor Nation.  Check out our weekly Facebook Live video (clink this link!) to hear all our thoughts and let us know what you’re thinking about this week! Don’t forget, you can always follow along with us on Twitter too! (@Safe_PassageDV)

Last night’s episode was Fantasy Suites and things got turbulent!


Peter seems really LOST this season.

For anyone who is new to Bachelor Nation, Fantasy Suites are famously set-up as the place where contestants have the chance to sleep with the Bachelor or Bachelorette but as many former cast members have reported, it is MUCH more about the chance you have to spend time alone together without cameras. Get your minds out of the gutter.

OKAY.  Quick Recap of the Fantasy Suite Dates in the order we saw them:

  • Hannah Ann:
    Peter steals Hannah Ann for an afternoon of jet-skiing and canoodling on the beach. They proceed to have the most NORMAL date, accept a key to the fantasy suite, and spend the night together.
  • Victoria F:
    Peter takes Victoria on a helicopter ride (HE’S A PILOT REMEMBER?!), they land by a waterfall and Peter tells Victoria there is nothing she needs to fix in their relationship. Its 99% fine. Over dinner, Victoria blames her ex-boyfriend for her poor communication skills. They spend the night together in the fantasy suite and we’re all so over it.
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  • Madison:
    On to the main event!  Madi and Peter climb a really tall building because love requires taking risks.
    “If tall heights be the food of love, climb on.”-Shakespeare…ish.
    Madi takes a bigger risk over dinner and asks Peter if he slept with the other women. When he admits that he did, Madi is faced with the decision of if she can accept this and stay or if her journey ends in Australia.

 

The theme of this week’s episode (aside from Pound Town TM) was communication. Communication is SO important in a healthy relationship. We got to see both sides of how communication can make or break a relationship this week from both Madi and Victoria F.

In Madi’s case, we can see that even in healthy or happy relationships, if you can’t communicate, you are going to hit some major road blocks turbulence. When you are such different people or come from such different backgrounds, you have to be able and willing to be have hard conversations and if or how you can sort them out.  I think Madi is finding that she and Peter aren’t on the same page she thought they were and that could spell the end of their relationship.  This MIGHT (not definitely, but MIGHT) have been avoided, if they had communicated sooner and more openly about their differences and how to sort them out.

On Victoria’s side, we can see how unhealthy relationships can be built and maintained through deliberately poor communication. Victoria isn’t a monster.  She isn’t a lost cause. But if she is going to be able to build healthy relationships, she needs some serious introspection and honestly some therapy.  None of that will be accomplished if she keeps gaslighting, manipulating, and running from every deeper conversation.  Even on their Fantasy Suite date, the date where we’ve seen her cry the LEAST, she still turned weepy every time Peter tried to bring up anything that even remotely looked like a conversation on the areas for growth in their relationship.  Victoria keeps deflecting and running every time Peter tries to go deeper.  At best, she’s missing out on a chance to grow.  At worst, she’s deliberately sabotaging Peter’s attempts at building a healthy relationship and manipulating him to the point where he is easier to control.

The last thing we want to touch on today is the difference between Luke P and Madison. Madi has boundaries and choices based on her belief system. Agree or not, believe the same or not, you HAVE to respect her right to make those choices.  And communicating those choices to Peter was absolutely okay.  Their relationship couldn’t have moved anywhere without him having that information. The key was that she laid out her boundaries and stuck to them without shaming him for making different choices.

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Luke P, on the other hand, had a history of gaslighting, manipulating, and shaming Hannah B.  His ultimatum to her set the tone that this would change how he thought of HER as a person.  He wasn’t laying out his boundaries and choices and asking her to respect him. He was trying to make her choices for her. That isn’t a standard or a boundary.  That’s control and shame.  And we don’t have time for that in 2020.

Our thorn of the week goes to Victoria F (this is a new record) for taking WAY TOO MUCH pleasure in Madi’s discomfort and pushing her insecurities.  Again, women and femmes…we’ve got to build each other up, not get ahead by tearing each other down.

Our rose of the week goes to Hannah Ann, our unexpectedly unproblematic queen. Her confidence in herself and her relationship, despite being in the weirdest friggin’ situation speaks volumes.  She was kind, empathetic, and compassionate with Peter AND with the other girls and she didn’t take the process personally.  We’re rooting for you, Hannah Ann.

Until next week, Ranters!  We hope the nosy Kangaroos from Peter and Madi’s date are keeping their eye on you.  If not, we’re still here for you 24/7 at 815-756-5228.

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Will You Accept This Rant? February 17

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Hello hello hello to all our returning readers, our ranters, and to Victoria F’s dog, Buxton!


We had a similar reaction to this week’s episode.

As always, here’s a reminder about what we’re up to:

We’re working to examine and call out our culture of relationships that we see under a microscope in the petri dish that is Bachelor Nation.  Check out our weekly Facebook Live video (clink this link!) to hear all our thoughts and let us know what you’re thinking about this week! Don’t forget, you can always follow along with us on Twitter too! (@Safe_PassageDV) As a fun bonus this week, our video is sideways on Facebook and someone accidentally gets hit in the face with a rose!

This week was all about the drama, so let’s not wait one more second!


Who wants drama?  Nobody.  Us.

We’ll start with a quick recap off all the hometown dates in the order shown by production before we dive into the drama:

  • Knoxville, TN: Hannah Ann
    Hannah Ann takes Peter ax-throwing so he can prove that he’s a “tough guy” to Hannah Ann’s father who works in forestry. Cool.  When meeting Dad later on that evening, he seems wholly unimpressed, so this might not have worked out as planned.
  • Des Moines, IA: Kelsey
    Kelsey and Peter foot-stomp some grapes into a signature wine.  She tells him she loves him and they drink the Toe Pinot. That’s really all there is to report.
  • Auburn, AL: Madi
    Madi takes Peter to explore Auburn University and trounces him in a friendly game of HORSE. Charles Barkley tells him to treat Madi right and Madi’s family obsesses over whether she’s told Peter that she’s a virgin.
  • Virginia Beach, CA: Victoria F
    DRAMA. Victoria meets Peter on a beach and almost loses her dog while making out with Peter. They take some old-timey pictures and dance to a live country-music performance that’s just a little too on-the-nose with lyrics like “I don’t want easy; I want crazy.” Before leaving, Peter is caught by an old ex, Merisa, who warns him that Victoria isn’t a good fit for him.  Merisa tells him Victoria has a reputation for ruining relationships, a negative personality, and just generally not the right fit for a guy like him. Peter brings this up to Victoria before meeting her family and all hell breaks loose. Peter heads back to his hotel room rather than sit through what would have been THE MOST AWKWARD FAMILY DINNER EVER.

The episode ended with a rose ceremony.  Peter sent Kelsey back home to Des Moines.  Next week is the fantasy suites and the previews show we’re not done with the drama yet!


We’ll miss you, Kelsey!

Of course, we have to talk about the Victoria F situation and we’ll get to that, but we want to take a minute to address a few other more subtle things that happened this episode.

First, the idea that Peter has to be some kind of “tough guy” to impress Hannah Ann’s dad. We see this time and time again that just as girls are expected to look and behave a certain way to be accepted, guys get forced into their own box too. Tony Porter calls this the “Man Box” (Watch his Ted Talk!) and Jackson Katz calls it the “Tough Guise”. Men are expected to be unemotional, providers, physically intimidating, and even violent.  Men aren’t often told that it is okay to have feelings and to be empathetic and kind. Peter doesn’t strike us as the ax-throwing type and that is completely fine.  Everyone should be free to be who they are, not feel forced to live out a stereotype based on their gender.

The other subtle attitude that popped up was the idea that the highest ideal a woman can strive for is a relationship with a man.  You might be able to guess it from our ranting last week, but this came up in Madi’s family.  We talked last week about purity culture, so I won’t rehash that except to say that staying a virgin until marriage is a CHOICE.  It is a totally great choice to make if it feels empowering or important to you, but it is not an inherently better or safer choice than choosing to have sex with another adult who is enthusiastically consenting.  “Saving yourself for marriage” is totally cool; you do you! But choosing to have sex (or being a victim of sexual assault or abuse) does not make you any less valuable.  You are not broken.  You matter.

Click this link and watch this video right now.  

OKAY.

Getting off our soapbox there and climbing onto another soapbox…

Madi’s dad, Chad, mentions that he and Madi’s mom have been praying for Madi’s husband since Madi was an infant.  Do I think that this makes Chad and his wife bad people?  Do I think they had bad intentions or wanted to hurt their daughter?  Absolutely not.  Do I think this attitude props up our patriarchal system that harms women, even if unintentionally?  Absolutely yes. 

What if Madi realized growing up that she was bisexual or a lesbian?  What if she fell in love with a woman or someone who was nonbinary? Would she feel safe to come out to her family, knowing that they’d been praying for her husband since she’d been born?
OR
What if Madi met a man, fell in love, got married, and then started getting abused?  Would she feel confident and safe to leave that relationship, knowing that her family would always support her?  Or would she worry that she had “failed” in the most important aspect of her life, her relationship?

If you are the praying type, pray for your daughter to be kind.  Pray for your daughter to be brave.  Pray for your daughter to be smart, to be empathetic, to be a leader, to be a world-changing woman.  Pray for her to be so much more than “just” a wife. Make sure your daughters know that the most important thing isn’t if or who they marry.  They are so much more than that.


Thank you Hasan Minaj.

Okay…onto the main event. VICTORIA F!

In our ABC book of Abusive Behaviors, G stands for GASLIGHTING! And underneath G for Gaslighting?  A big ol’ picture of Victoria F. Funny enough, she’s pictured under M for Manipulation as well.

When things are going her way, Victoria is happy as a clam.
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Sorry not sorry

But as soon as things aren’t going her way, Victoria pulls out all the stops to manipulate Peter until she gets what she wants. Last night, Peter had some concerning information brought to him by an ex-girlfriend.  He very reasonably wanted to sit down with Victoria and discuss what he heard.  He wasn’t accusing her of anything or calling her names, but just looking to have a much-needed conversation. But just like all the other “tough conversations” they had, as soon as Victoria felt the power shift away from her, she went into defensive mode.

  • Victoria said that it was “unfair” that Peter brought this up.  (Wouldn’t it be more unfair for him to continue to blindly pursue this relationship without giving her a chance to air her side of the story?)
  • Victoria made herself seem like the victim, flipping the narrative that this was Peter’s fault for bringing this up at a bad time. (“You decided that what Merissa told you is more important than meeting my entire family.”-Victoria making it seem like PETER is at fault for bringing this up. When were you supposed to talk about this?  Should he just ignore all the problems and red flags so that it doesn’t inconvenience you?)
  • “I’m trying really  hard.  I’ve never tried this hard in a relationship.” (Again rough quote from last night, but Victoria claiming that she is putting in the work without showing any of the receipts.  What have we seen that shows she is trying?  You can’t just say that you are doing things.  You have to actually do them.)
  • Peter tries to talk things out and make sense of the situation.  Victoria’s response: “You just came in here to act like that…are you kidding me?” “I like adore you. I was going to tell you tonight that I’m falling in love with you.  How am I supposed to do that now?” “I had high hopes for you to meet my family and I’m just so disappointed.” (She’s blaming him and hoping to make him feel guilty, so he ignores his gut feeling about her being the wrong person.)

And Peter ends up apologizing to her. He apologizes if she felt like he was attacking or accusing her.  He apologizes for ruining the evening.

He had a TOTALLY normal reaction to getting some disturbing news about a love interest he is really just starting to get to know.  His reaction was reasonable and rational.  He tried to get to the bottom of things.  But Victoria F’s manipulation and turning-the-tables confused him until he couldn’t trust his gut or his heart and he ends up keeping her around for another week.

Our Rose for this week goes to Merisa for being the friend who would reach out and let someone know that they might not be seeing all sides of the situation.  This wasn’t just messy gossip or sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong.  This was a chance to be a positive bystander, check-in on a friend, and let them know they may be stuck in a relationship that is hurting them.  Be there for your friends.  Reach out.  Let them know they aren’t alone and that they deserve a love that doesn’t gaslight or manipulate.  They deserve a relationship that doesn’t hurt all the time.

If you’re that friend and you need advice on how to get through, give us a call.  We’re always here.  815-756-5228.

Will You Accept This Rant? February 11

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Hello again to all our readers and fellow ranters!  And a special hello to everyone who knows the difference between alpacas and llamas!

Image outlining the differences between llamas and alpacasWe’re Team Llama over here and we hope you are too.

Per usual, here’s a reminder about what we’re up to:

We’re working to examine and call out our culture of relationships that we see under a microscope in the petri dish that is Bachelor Nation.  Check out our weekly Facebook Live video (clink this link!) to hear all our thoughts and let us know what you’re thinking about this week! Don’t forget, you can always follow along with us on Twitter too! (@Safe_PassageDV)

Love is really starting to take flight, folks!  Here we go!

Lima, Peru:

  • Madi’s Second 1-on-1
    Madi and Peter went fishing and caught some feelings! Over dinner, Madi shared how important faith is to her and Peter told her he was falling in love.

    Madi hit a slam dunk with this relationship! (Did we do sports right?)

  • Natasha’s First 1-on-1
    Peter and Natasha explore the city and Peter sends Natasha home at dinner.  Raise your hand if you were surprised?  Anyone?
  • Kelsey’s Second 1-on-1
    Kelsey and Peter explore the countryside on ATV (as if Peter isn’t the biggest accident-prone goofball who just healed from cutting his head open in a golf cart accident), do some cardio up a mountainside, and talk about their futures.
  • 3-on-1 date with Kelley, Victoria F, Hannah Ann (and Peter)
    The three women head to a park to talk with Peter. We are tricked for a few minutes into thinking Peter might do the right thing and send notoriously messy Victoria home, but no.  Hannah Ann and Victoria F get roses and Kelley heads home after enjoying a few weeks of all-inclusive vacationing.

    Gone but not forgotten: our chill queen Kelley

 

We don’t even have time to unpack everything that went on this week.  Oh wait…that is the entire point of us doing this?  Okay.  Barstool Trent, roll that suitcase back on in here.  We’ve got some unpacking to do!

We feel like we FINALLY got to see some genuine connection-building this episode instead of just drama on drama on drama.  We really got to see the relationships that are forming.  Since next week is hometown dates, we can only say, it’s about darn time!

Peter and Madison’s date showed that they continue to have one of the strongest connections here. Peter talked about the close friendship he feels with Madi and potential for that friendship to turn into love. It is easy to see when watching them that this relationship has some legs to it.

Peter gets WAY too into looking for a relationship that is hard or emotional or challenging.  He chases Victoria F because he thinks that the problems they are having signal a deep relationship, rather than an unhealthy one. He thought that Hannah Ann crying meant that she was invested in the relationship. He sent home the two most level-headed women left (RIP Natasha and Kelley) because they used words like “fun and easy” to describe their connection. Peter is too obsessed with the romcom trope that relationships have to be hard to be real; that you have to fight for the one you love.

The only exception to this seems to be his relationship with Madi.  We get to see them having fun, being goofy, AND building their connection. It is an important reminder to not just look for a partner who isn’t abusive, but actively look for a relationship (and BE a partner) that makes you better. You deserve more than to just not be hurt.  You deserve to be loved, challenged, encouraged, and supported. Look for the green flags, not just the red ones.

We also saw Peter and Madi tackle some tougher conversation topics over dinner. We’ve gotten past the standard Bachelor sob stories and now they are finally getting to talk about the things that help you know if you really can build a life with someone outside the Bachelor Bubble.

Peter and Madi discuss their religious beliefs and how important it is to Madi to have a partner who values faith the way she does. We’re not sure yet if Peter is on the same page with her or not (our guess is not), but it was good that they had that conversation instead of just assuming. You know what happens when you assume.

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Kelsey and Peter continued this trend by having a conversation about kids and family.  And not just the standard “do you want kids?” conversation, but Kelsey opened up what a work/life balance would look like for her as a future mom. Again, you can’t assume that you and your partner are on the same page or that you will be able to change their mind about something so important. And if you can’t have those kinds of important conversations with a partner, it might be worth asking if this relationship is worth investing in. That is a pretty big red flag.

As we look forward to next week, we’ll be heading to hometown dates. This might be my favorite week of the season as you really get a chance to see where someone came from and how that might be shaping who they are as a person.  From the preview it looks like we’ll see more drama with Victoria F and a peak into how Madi’s faith (and her virginity) might cause some turbulence on her journey.

We also have to give our reminder, because we’re sure the producers are going to lean HARD into this tired Bachelor trope, but being a Christian is not synonymous with being a virgin.  We saw SO MUCH of the shaming, manipulative, abusive, toxic purity culture with Luke P and we’re over it.  You can have sex or not have sex.  It is your body and your choice.  The choice that you make cannot and will not impact who you are as a person or your value.  Virginity is a social construct, not a moral or religious imperative. This idea has been used for millenia to police women and shame and silence survivors of sexual assault.  We’re fed up with it and we’re not going to tolerate it.  So get ready for more ranting.

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When one llama gif isn’t enough to fully express our frustration at toxic purity culture

Our thorn for this week goes to *drumroll* Victoria F!  Congratulations Victoria on being a multi-thorn winner this season!  Her gaslighting and manipulation of Peter are getting a BIG THUMBS DOWN from us.

Our rose this week goes, of course, to our confident queens: Natasha and Kelley.  You know your worth and you didn’t let Peter get you down. We’ll miss you next week but we’re glad your out of this mess.

See you next week, Ranters!