Proactive Reaction #metoo

With women, including myself, sharing their sexual harassment stories on social media, I remembered a paper I did a few semesters ago on the subject. This is something where the dialogue must remain open as the disease of sexual harassment hasn’t decreased in occurrence.

College prepares us for the scary world beyond the classroom, especially directly after high school. While high school gives us social interaction, deadlines, and knowledge, the difference between college and adolescent learning is jarring. We go from one teenaged dream building for all of our classes to running through a vast campus with buildings for metaphorical miles. I remember when I made the leap thirty years ago to further my education in the “oh my god I have no idea what I want to do with my life” major of Liberal Arts. Suffice to say I’ve figuratively grown up as immaturity still waltzes through my living room buck naked. As I start my new venture in schooling with a degree in mind to sustain my humble life, I was amused by the very first course thrust into my hands. No pun intended nor do I mean to take this subject lightly. Sexual harassment or assault is a real threat on campuses around the globe. Even with my conviction on that last statement, I found the Title IX Training a little mild compared to the POSH training I’m required to take for my job. That’s Prevention of Sexual Harassment for those unfamiliar with the government’s love of all things acronym. Are we preparing students for the dangers of sexual harassment by understating its impact by being more concerned with the onset of negative emotions the information might cause?

Title IX has many layers to peel back and digest. The training itself is brief and not overly involved but concise and to the point. We want a safe environment to learn and grow. That’s not the question here. Are we doing enough to prevent sexual harassment? According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted while in college. That number does not drop for women outside of the campus. More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the incident. Sexual assault is the most unreported crime. With the video used for Central Penn, the content only concentrates on women being the victim. While that’s the higher of the two percentages, shouldn’t the focus be on all potential scenarios? Yes, violence against women is a statistic that needs to be lower but it is disingenuous to dismiss men can also be on the receiving end of unwanted advances? On a personal level I have never suffered more than inappropriate language or breach of personal space. This does not give me the right to dismiss the seriousness of this training. I must be vigilant not only for myself but for my fellow humans. I’d throw the buzzword of the decade “privilege” around if it wasn’t overused and too simple of a choice to articulate one’s argument. Perhaps Newton’s Third Law can be loosely applied in this instance—for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The water receding might not affect you but the tsunami that follows has devastating effects. Can we really be firm in our conviction that we’ve never had anyone cross our paths that hasn’t suffered from something Title IX covers whether male or female?

Providing information to students is imperative to not only prevent an altercation but what to do should they witness it. Empowerment is in the bystanders. For example, in my aforementioned POSH training, all of the situations highlighted have the witness variable. Each sample had the beautiful analogy of hindsight and scored a perfect 20/20. As the Central Penn College brochure for Title IX states “If you see it or hear it, please report it”. On the potential victim side, saying “no” is a word that has power and should be utilized as such. Situations can escalate quickly if we use the mute button on our voice box. However when alcohol is involved, a person becomes impaired in having anything remotely resembling a coherent thought. For them to articulate any type of consent to anything is a perception that a predator will bend to their misconceived will. Likewise, an unconscious person cannot communicate therefore “yes” is never an option. The training has the potential to go more in depth but stops short.

One of the principle elements of the Title IX training is triggers. Any parts of the video that might be a little beyond someone’s comfort zone was highly encouraged to be reported. Triggers, defined by the distinguished Merriam-Webster dictionary as a verb, is “cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist”. Think about how something random brings back some recessed memory. On the more pleasant side, the smell of English boxwoods brings back childhood visions of my time living in Virginia. As a more sinister example, the rank odor of any Axe body spray causes a gag reflex of near vomit-inducing proportions because of the emotional trauma I endured during my now-dissolved marriage. I respect the need to not allow anyone to suffer negative emotions during an already draining experience that college tends to be. On the other hand, references such as only citing definitions do a disservice to the severity of the issue of sexual harassment or assault not only in a college environment but the potential in a work place as well. Training needs to go beyond the definition of what harassment or sexual assault is. We have to consciously be aware that something that might be a brush off the shoulder incident in our world has near catastrophic consequences for another. It is a delicate balance of chaos and uniformity. I’m reminded of the old cartoon showing a caterpillar doing something monstrous to an innocent french fry while the edible delight exclaims “Hey! Get off me! I’m a french fry!” Amusing as that might be to some, if one person is uncomfortable by that hanging in their vicinity, it must be removed. Harmless quips aren’t always without offensive meanings. What is more straightforward is we need to make sure the environment in which we learn or work in harmonious. Unfortunately, there is no clear line which not to cross but anything with a sexual connotation will cause an imbalance and has no place within a workplace or college campus.

Perhaps in the long run this little sample video for the Title IX training sets a firm guideline to follow. We are here, first and foremost, to learn. The information age allows not only students but the general public to access almost anything through our pocket computers also known as smart phones. We are in an ever-evolving world. Title IX was birthed in 1972 and the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of education clarified its position on the matter in 2011 in their Dear Colleague letter. POSH training for government employees didn’t commence until 2006. Human emotions are a powerful force. The impact of harassment or sexual assault needs to be studied and fully understood. Emotions are not spared when a person becomes a victim. However, we need to harness that knowledge in a more constructive, or proactive, manner because this issue is far from going away. As we move forward, I suspect that information on safeguarding oneself against potential threats—beyond the victim shaming lists of what not to wear—will grow exponentially. New scenarios will drive the need to do this. It is my hope that the human element rises to the occasion and that sucker punch word “no” is taken with the validity that it deserves, whether vocalized or not.




Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C., Warner, T., Fisher, B., & Martin, S. (2007). The campus sexual assault (CSA) study: Final report. Retrieved from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service:


Abel’s Obsession by Lynn Burke

Title: Abel’s Obsession

Author: Lynn Burke

Genre: BDSM Novella

Release Date: August 31, 2017

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

25% off through Evernight Publishing

A young man of religious fervor and self-control, Abel Beiler has every intention of honoring his parents and being baptized into the Amish church. The woman with red curls and flashing green eyes in the back of a convertible, however, makes Abel wonder what life with the English might be like.

He strives to withstand temptation, but the memory of the woman he yearns to dominate, coupled with the explicit images in his cousin’s filthy magazine, threatens his restraint.

Red, his sinful obsession, haunts his shameful dreams and becomes a secret part of his life. When faced with truth beyond faith, Abel must decide where he belongs—with the Amish community, or the woman who owns his heart.


Much later and hoarse from singing for two hours, my curiosity overrode my better sense, and I followed Eli into the hayloft of their barn. While I held the kerosene lamp, he climbed high into the rafters and returned with a magazine clutched in his hand.

“Got this from my new English friend, Toby.” He sat on a bale, opened the magazine, and turned it toward me.

Lust kicked me in the gut, and I couldn’t speak.

A naked woman lay spread eagle and bound by ropes to a bed, a blindfold and some sort of ball gag in her mouth. A man loomed over her, whip in hand. Tear streaks lined the woman’s face. Red slashes marked her thighs. Wetness coated the pink folds of her sex, glistening, and set my mouth to watering.

The image burned into my brain—submission in an entirely different way than the Old Order’s definition of the word. Spirituality is submission, is what had been reiterated in my ears since childhood. Self-surrender. The willingness to give up oneself to the community and Gott’s chosen leaders.

I soaked in the sinful picture, and for the first time in my life wanted power. Wanted control. I wanted a woman’s submission like the man in leather beside her owned. Unable to tear my gaze off the image, I struggled to swallow.

“Didn’t know people actually did this shit.”

Eli’s curse, the first I had heard from him, barely registered past the blood rushing in my ears. My body tensed as longing to be the man standing over that woman, whip in hand raced through me faster than any thoroughbred—or car.

The image of Red flashed in my mind, and suddenly it was her bound to the bed in the picture, breathing heavily, trembling, and begging for me…

Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.


Happy Book Birthday to Braving the Elements!


Braving the Elements
A Fantasy Anthology
By Various Authors
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Release Date: September 4, 2017
Claire Davon – The Dragon, the Witch, and the Swordswoman
Michael Siciliano – Forging Mettle
Kelly Said – The Myth of Mount Agony
Terri Rochenski – Mist Weaver
Rebecca Hart – Alice and the Egg
The Dragon, The Witch, and the Swordswoman
By Claire Davon
As the person responsible for calling the bronze dragon that destroyed her village, Losha is tasked with killing it. Failure to do so means she will be outcast from everything she has ever known. Yet one she is on the road, two local women in tow, she finds that she is strangely reluctant to harm the beast that lurks in her mind.
After an encounter with an oddly familiar old woman and a knight in a small hamlet Losha is more confused than ever. On one hand, failure to slay the dragon means she cannot return to the promise of marriage from a local boy yet the more she learns about the dragon the less she wants to harm it.  It, like the bronze sword that is her only defense, speaks to her in a way nothing else has.
The stage is set for a final showdown between knight and beast when the knight’s true quest is revealed and Losha must choose between all she has ever known, or the companionship of an old woman…and a dragon.
Forging Mettle
By Michael Siciliano
Xander, a teenaged street thief in the grimy slums of Low Town, discovers he has an innate magical talent on the same night his father is killed. Intent on getting revenge, he attempts a risky robbery which goes bad. Rather than face the hangman’s noose, Xander agrees to accompany a group of soldiers intent on finding a powerful magical artifact. But the Beggar’s Hand isn’t what the King’s sorcerer thinks. Deep in the mountains, Xander must make life and death decisions, not just for himself, but the Kingdom he calls home.
The Myth of Mt Agony
By Kelly Said
Meadow’s mere presence ensures the Morningstar farm produces with preternatural abundance. A dirt-dusted foster-child, she hungers for harmony with Auric’s lands.
Valcone is the reclusive prince of Auric. Confined to his room—for the safety of his subjects—he craves control over his persuasive powers.
The prince and the farmgirl’s powerful personalities will collide with epic force when a war erupts between Auric and a neighboring kingdom. With Auric’s fate on the line, Valcone tests the limits of his ability. He amplifies his steady push into a forceful shove against Meadow’s gentle Nature. The Earth-shaper finds herself between a rock and a hard place, literally, where the only choice to save her family may lie in surrendering to the destructive force of her ground-breaking ability.
Mist Weaver
By Terri Rochenski
Dolan wants nothing more than to escape his village for the big city where his small stature and unpleasant features won’t make him the recipient of constant ridicule by the lord of the manor and his heir, Gilroy. The mist that dances to the sweet notes of Dolan’s flute is his only camaraderie and the only beauty in his life—except for Keavy.
When the kind milkmaid is faced with unwanted attentions, Dolan must defend her honor with a choice that will ultimately change his life.
Alice and the Egg
By Rebecca Hart
Alice would do anything for her father, the only parent she’s ever known since her mother’s death in childbirth. When he falls ill, Alice doesn’t hesitate when the opportunity to barter her life for his is presented by Jayden, the prince and only heir to the Dragorean throne.
It doesn’t take long for Alice to realize the palace has secrets. Ones that relate to her own past more than she could ever have imagined. If she can find a way to play the game of secrets well enough, not only could she save her father, she just may manage to save herself as well.

Blog Tour Schedule

September 4th
Release Day Blitz
Scribbler’s Sojourn – Top
Two List
Jennifer M. Eaton – Favorite Five List

September 5th
Mythical Books – Ebook giveaway 

September 6th
Reviews by Crystal – Author Interview 

September 7th
Liz’s Reading Life – Author Interview
Sharon Hughson, Author – Author Interview 

September 8th



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