Posts Tagged ‘america’

When I became pregnant with our second child I was so thrilled. Just as thrilled as I was with the first.

Hard to believe it was twenty years ago.

While pregnancy brings about many things the first on my list was prenatal visits. So an appointment was made with the ob/gyn group down the road from our home.

On one of the first prenatal visits I checked in at front desk. Soon I was escorted to an examining room in the back. I am handed a disposable paper covering for the bottom half of my body. You have to know when it comes to me disrobing in an exam room I take it very seriously. It’s like a game of twenty questions. The nurse normally gets pelted with my inquiries.

Usually goes something like this.

“All of my clothes? Just the top? Bra? Panties? Socks? Headband? Watch? Earrings? Wait! Does a paper gown open to the front or back?? Flimsy disposable paper sheet covering the lap?”

I quickly followed the instructions. Took off clothes and placed the neatly folded clothes on the chair. No one dilly dallies around in those exam rooms. Because anyone could open the door at any moment and catch you partially clad. Or exposed. Doesn’t matter that the doctor and/or nurse is going to soon see every little bit of you.

While waiting for the doctor I sit on the table and get caught up with the celebrity news in the latest “People” magazine. I am making a lot of noise because every time I move an inch the paper liner on the examining table crinkles up, rustles and makes a racket.

I soon realize that I cannot concentrate on the magazine. Or anything else. Because the heater must have been broken. It was absolutely freezing in the room.

The doctor poked his head in and saw that I was turning blue. Okay, that’s an exaggeration but he did get that I was cold. He appeared upset at this.

Said, “Hold on a minute.”

He leaves the room. Two seconds later he returns with his jacket. It was waist length and black leather. He takes it and wraps it around my shoulders.

So, there I am. Sitting on the examining table with nothing on except a black leather biker jacket.

Feeling uncomfortable and awkward. Like I was about to star in a S&M photo shoot.

I honestly didn’t know that to think. Was it kind? Unprofessional? Creepy? Chivalrous? Inappropriate?

I was surprised and didn’t know how to react. This was not in the rule book I learned over the years or in my memory bank. I left feeling confused.

See, him inserting his gloved fingers into my vagina for a pelvic exam was okay and appropriate. I knew that would happen and signed up for that. But putting that black leather jacket on my body was not in the pre-approved script.

Did not go home and tell my husband. Or my friends.

Just filed it away in the old gray matter under the indexed tab, “Confused.”

I wouldn’t be the first to file that. Women can experience all sorts of confusion. We are taught to be nice. Think the best of folks. So we question is the boy/man being kind or pushing a boundary? Manipulating or thoughtful? Purposeful touch or an accidental brushing? Surely, he didn’t mean that? Did I somehow lead him to this? Allow this? And on and on.

I did eventually share this anecdote at a party with a couple of lady friends. Not in the vein of my being wounded, scarred or anything. Just adding to a conversation topic that might have included “Bizarre behavior” or “You can’t make this stuff up!” Or maybe even, “Wait, get this! I have an even better one for you!”  Maybe even, “Proceed with caution.”

My husband hears me recounting the experience and looks at me like I have more stories than Walt Disney and says, “What??? That never happened.”

I replied, “Oh, yes, it most definitely happened. I was there.”

The reason I never shared this with him was because, in my mind, it sounded crazy and embarrassing.

I didn’t do anything wrong. Yet I couldn’t rightly say that the doctor did anything wrong either.

I would also later share with my ladies’ bookclub. Again, using it as fodder for interesting, bizarro conversation. Certainly not portraying me as a victimized woman.

It’s not something I really shared with anyone else.

I was a grown woman nearing her thirty-fourth year. Not physically hurt in ANY way. Just want that to be crystal clear. Yet, I still walked out of that office feeling like it was a bit surreal. Embarrassed and confused. Not feeling quite as clean as I was when I arrived. Thinking how on earth did that weird scenario happen. Could I have prevented the cow hide from being draped over my shoulders? Who’d believe that story?

Imagine then how a young girl might feel if someone abused power and violated a different boundary. Hurt her. Who would believe her? Against the word of a possibly upstanding young man? What would she be put through if she actually told her story? Character assassination? Shame? Embarrassment? Confusion? Guilt?

63.3% of sexual assault cases are not reported in the United States. Think about that for a minute. That’s something to really ponder. We don’t even need to wonder why. We know why. And since the thinking caps are on consider this also. One in three girls/women will experience some type of sexual violence in their lifetime. In the United States of America. So take a good look around your neighborhood, classroom, place of employment and home. Then count to three.

My last couple of postings have a recurring theme (girls and women) with some type of vulnerability as the common denominator.

The mindset of our society needs to change. The old, abhorrent way is no longer acceptable.

We certainly don’t need to worry about boys/men and possible false reporting. The boys (if they are white) will be just fine. The percentage of that happening is quite low. Something like 2%.

While actual sexual violence perpetrated against women is disgustingly high. 

Wait. Tell me again. Who do we need to worry about?

How’s this novel idea, though? Instead of worrying about our girls why don’t we focus on properly educating our boys. About boundaries, respect, language and objectification. It will be a struggle since every outlet we (men and women) are exposed to these days seems to support the objectification of women.

Maybe we could make America great again.

My original intention was to keep this short and sweet but it morphed into something else.

I’m glad it did.











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This is not my story to tell. Wait a second! Yes, it is. It most definitely is my story to tell.

It’s everyone’s story to tell.

But it wasn’t written by me. This is an article written by Dick Sheridan of the New York Daily News back in 1999.

It is just one more example of why we cannot look the other way when hatred toward a particular group of people is exposed.

It’s about a man named Jack.

Jack’s history, sadly, is not that unique. His experience, although somewhat different from Sam Silberberg’s experience in my last blog posting, is woven with the same sickening threads. The thread of millions.

Why would I want to share one more horrible story of past hatred?

Because I’ve actually met Jack at family functions. My cousin is married to his son.

He exists. His experience is documented.

Imagine, if you will. I know I say this frequently. But we will never understand if we don’t even try to imagine someone else’s situation. Put ourselves in their shoes.

Read the Daily News article below and insert a mental image of yourself in the story or that of a family member. Imagine the fear, horror and hopelessness.

What if it were me? What if this happened to my family? My beloved Dad? My mother and sister?

Jack’s the cutest little old man you’d ever want to meet. Still drives around New York in his itty bitty car. He’s now in his nineties.

He forged ahead and made a life for himself in America. He survived.

Jack’s last line in this article is, “This is the very best country in the world.”

And that is why we confront hatred. So that something this evil doesn’t ever happen again. To you. Or someone you know.

Read Jack’s narrative and remember that this occurred while our parents or (for the younger set) grandparents were alive.

It’s your story to tell. So that it doesn’t ever actually become your story.



MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1999, 12:00 AM

Nearly 60 years ago, back when sculptor Jack Betteil of Bayside was just a teenager, he found himself a prisoner of the Nazis in a camp at Plaszow, near his birthplace in Krakow, Poland.

One day, the SS guards delivered a huge pile of clothing that had been stripped off Jews who had been gassed at Auschwitz. The clothing was to be cleaned, sorted and redistributed. “

The pile was two stories high and was made up of all kinds of clothing — children’s shoes, women’s dresses and men’s suits and shirts,” recalled Betteil, who then was known by his Yiddish name, Yankel.

The pile was in the middle of the parade ground, and I went to look at it because my parents and my two sisters were prisoners at Auschwitz.”

Sticking out from among other garments near the bottom of the pile of clothes, Betteil, now 76, saw the sleeve of a green jacket.

““I saw the jacket sleeve and right away I knew it was my father’s” he said.

“It was a bright green, not like any other jacket that people wore at that time.” He dashed past the cordon of guards surrounding the pile and grasped the garment. “

“Three Nazis jumped on me and started to beat me,” he said. “

“They hit me with rubber hoses, leather hoses.””

Betteil, his head and face bloodied, screamed that the jacket belonged to him.

“”The Nazis told me to prove it,”” he said. “

I felt the jacket and found my family’s passports and photos were still in my father’s pocket.”

Maurycy Betteil had been planning to flee Poland with his wife, Roza, eldest daughter, Cesia, youngest daughter, Salusia, and son, Yankel.

But he was too late.

The Nazis locked up all five members of the Betteil family in the Krakow ghetto before packing them off to the camps.

All except young Yankel Betteil went to Auschwitz, where father, mother and 12-year-old daughter Salusia died in the gas chambers.

Yankel Betteil was sent to Plaszow, then on to Mauthausen in Austria, then to Melk and finally to Ebensee on the banks of the Danube. “

“I was a slave laborer and did heavy manual labor in a quarry,”” he said.

In May 1945, after nearly five years in the camps, Betteil was liberated by elements of Gen. George Patton’s Third Army.

““I weighed 80 pounds,”” he said.

Betteil discovered that his older sister, Cesia, also had survived the camps.

In 1947, after spending a year in a displaced persons camp in Italy, he joined her in New York.

“When I first came here, I had a lot of jobs,” said Betteil, who after a while studied electronics at the RCA Institute and opened his own television repair shop on 163rd St. near Bowne Park in Flushing. “

“I had that shop for nearly 40 years,”” he said.

He retired about 10 years ago.

Though he no longer went to synagogue or practiced his faith after his experiences in the camps, Betteil still believed in good works. He began repairing old TV sets in his shop and donated nearly 100 of them to the mental hospital at Creedmoor, near his Bayside home.

““That was before the state installed TVs,”” he said.

Then, about 20 years ago, Betteil took up sculpting.

His works — which share the strong primitive emotion of Grandma Moses’ paintings — have since been exhibited by the Douglaston Art League and the Nassau County Holocaust Museum. Betteil works in wood, stone and copper, carving faces — many of them stern-visaged American Indians. “

“He calls them ‘inmates,’”” explained Helen, his wife of 47 years and the mother of two grown children.

She said her husband’’s doctor suggested that Betteil felt the need to sculpt the faces of Native Americans because they too experienced genocide.

Betteil shrugged. “

“I have insomnia,”” he said. “

“I feel sad.””

Despite the sadness of his memories, however, Betteil has no regrets about his decision to come to America. “

“This is the very best country in the world,”” he said.

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