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PTSD After Sexual Assault: ‘I Had to Practice Saying I was Raped. Now I Have to Practice Saying I Have PTSD.’

Trigger warning: This post contains descriptions of sexual trauma.

I got a UTI two to three times a month when I was being repeatedly raped. I went to a doctor, and they asked if I was bathing enough, and then prescribed a preventative antibiotic to take before I had sex. Though my body was clearly rebelling against what was happening, no one listened to it—including me. The doctor didn’t ask if my sexually-active relationship was consensual or not, and I didn’t have the language to tell them otherwise.

In the years since, I’ve practiced saying the word “rape.” It happened to me more than once and by someone I know—details I haven’t quite worked out how to relay in one sentence. Again, saying I was raped at all took practice.

Now, years later, I’m physically far away from my abuser but my body still doesn’t feel safe, which often results in panic attacks during or after sex. Without warning, I can’t breathe, think, or override my physical reactions of crying and hyperventilation. My skin crawls until I wrap it up tight, usually in a sweatshirt or blanket. Sometimes my vision goes, or my ears ring. The worst of the episode can last anywhere from three to five minutes; the residual feelings of urgency and shame usually continue all night, often into the following day.

Sometimes I avoid sex for weeks or even months afterward. Other times I seek it out, subconsciously hoping, I’m sure, for a way to release the trauma my body still holds. I wear heavier clothes. The assaults are a constant, aching presence in the back of my mind, as if I’ve forgotten to lock my front door, turn off the oven, or set my alarm. I think about rape when I drink. Sometimes I drink too much because of it. When I’m feeling up to the challenge, I practice looking at my body in the mirror and naming each part—arm, leg, torso—as something that belongs to me, a technique some therapists recommend.

Three months ago, I sat in my therapist’s office recapping an almost idyllic Fourth of July weekend: A trip to upstate New York, farm-to-table meals, oh and a panic attack that left me sick and hyperventilating in the bathroom for an hour. “I think EMDR could really help you,” she said.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. In my case this looked like holding a buzzer in each hand, their alternating vibrations ping-ponging between my palms as my therapist prompted me to close my eyes and conjure certain memories. She asked me to notice how I felt—physically and emotionally—when remembering those moments.

The session lasted 90 minutes. Afterward, I was disoriented and raw. I couldn’t bring myself to do it again.

A few weeks later, I had lunch with a friend who told me she had PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, without so much as a flinch or a nervous blink. She too was in the midst of EMDR therapy—a treatment that’s shown promise for those living with PTSD. When I thought of the condition, I thought of veterans and violent crime survivors, people who’d had knives held to their throats, guns to their backs. People who certainly weren’t me.

Do I have PTSD? I asked my therapist in our next session. She pulled out her DSM-5, a manual which defines and classifies mental disorders, with the caveat that diagnosis is an inexact science; then she read off the criteria for PTSD. There are eight, five of which have between two and seven sub-criteria. I met each of the main criteria and all of the subs except for three.

In that moment, I realized I’ve had imposter syndrome about my own mental health; somehow the years I spent in a body that at any moment might betray me didn’t feel like enough evidence to warrant a serious diagnosis. In a twisted way, my panic attacks and struggling for intimacy with myself and partners for years, didn’t feel significant enough to qualify for PTSD. Why did I need the DSM-5 to tell me what my body had known all along?

The Batman Director Matt Reeves Is Having Too Much Fun Confirming His Cast

For several years, the Dark Knight’s utility belt has been left in an inconvenient knot after Justice League failed to impress, but not anymore. Matt Reeves’ The Batman has been coming together over the past year, with news of casting leaking to fans on what seems like a weekly basis, ahead of the film rolling cameras at the beginning of 2020. The writer/director looks like he’s having a blast confirming the talent filling these iconic roles.

Just take a look at how he shared who is playing Alfred Pennyworth on Twitter:

Get hyped! Andy Serkis is officially playing Bruce Wayne’s trusted confidant and butler. The actor, who is best known for bringing Gollum to the big screen through motion capture in the Lord of the Rings movies and playing Caesar in the most recent Planet of the Apes movies, has joined The Batman. Considering that Matt Reeves directed him in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes, the collaborators were likely itching to find a way to work with another again.

The casting news of Andy Serkis as Alfred did hit news channels a week ago, but they shouldn’t be considered fact until the studio, or in this case, the writer/director, confirms it to be true. Actors drop out of projects all the time or could be head-to-head with another actor. Thankfully, we get Matt Reeves’ clever gifs and cryptic words to get us officially pumped for The Batman. He’s been taking to Twitter to confirm casting rumors for a while now, such as this one a couple weeks back:

Ahead of filming beginning soon, Robert Pattinson is currently training in the art of jiu jitsu with the same trainer who worked with Keanu Reeves on the John Wick movies. This type of combat will give Pattinson’s Batman a realistic and gritty fighting style fit to take down a number of villains. And it seems he is outnumbered! Thankfully, we know for sure he’ll have Andy Serkis’ Alfred Pennyworth by his side for The Batman, coming to theaters on June 25, 2021.

The Comfiest Winter Boots for Women

Hey, reader! Winter boots for women are what you’re here for, but you might notice that there’s a new tool showing up on this page composed of pieces to buy. Our new shopping technology is furthering our goal of surfacing and suggesting the best things to buy across the web. For now, we’ve launched with two great retail partners: Gap and Walmart. Whether you’re browsing desktop or mobile, any Glamour story featuring a shopping bag icon means you’ll be able to instantly shop relevant, curated products. Already inside the story? Check out the product picks to your left on desktop and right on mobile. Happy shopping!

Winter boots for women can often be a challenge to style around: They can be clunky, heavy, and generally lack the cool factor of a crisp white sneaker or a sleek, easy-to-walk-in heel. But once that snow starts to hit and the temperature gets to freezing, idea of looking stylish kind of goes out the window. But! There are indeed ways to combine comfort and warmth with genuine style, as far as winter boots go. Check out the outfits below and note how each woman seamlessly incorporated winter boots into their looks, then shop some really cute pairs, all for under $50 .

Gustavo Caballero

Even in the iciest conditions, an oversized belted winter coat adds glamour to any outfit—even when rubbery winter boots are involved.

Jeremy Moeller

Flat winter ankle boots look extra cool with a skinny jean and a statement coat.

Christian Vierig

An over-the-knee boot goes a long way when the heel is low and walkable—and look surprisingly modern with trousers instead of jeans or tights for a change.

Christian Vierig

A classic sheepskin boot doesn’t have to be reserved for your most casual days. She pairs hers with a silk dress and furry coat.

Laurent Viteur

…But they also look flawless with a waxed jean and similarly cozy coat.

Arnaldo Magnani

Even Sarah Jessica Parker is a woman who loves a winter boot—and always looks stylish.

Christian Vierig

Any pair of warm over-the-knee boots works with blue jeans and a classic button-down.

Anna Webber

Style tip: Wear all black except for your winter boot.

‘I Kept My Miscarriage A Secret From My Best Friend’

My best friend Sophie and I got married within months of each other. We bonded in college over our shared propensity to laugh at things no one else found funny, and the experience of being daughters to Irish mothers (if you have one, you will understand). We were inseparable. Both only children, it was somewhat inevitable that we became like sisters.

Adulthood hit us both differently. We were both very career oriented—Soph, a journalist, me, an executive at a tech company—but I got pregnant within a few months of being married and she set off on a new adventure, temporarily moving to a different country for a job. The months passed, my son Fin arrived, and we saw each other a little less than usual whilst she was working away. When she returned home, we slipped right into a new normal: Her adoring Fin, Fin in awe of his aunty Sophie, me back at work and glad my sister was home.

It was around this time that she started to open up about the fact that she and her husband had been trying to conceive. She wasn’t sure why it wasn’t happening.

At first, we both lived in false platitudes. “It will happen.” “Of course it will!” But as the months rolled into years, it increasingly became apparent that actually, it might not “just happen” for my best friend.

I watched as Sophie and her husband avoided events where babies might be, flinch as a pregnant woman walked into the room, and have their hearts broken into millions of pieces over and over again when rounds of IVF were not successful. We watched our friends decline a glass of wine, and smile apologetically as they popped to the bathroom to administer another dose of hormones for their latest attempt to conceive.

At she embarked on more treatment, I was launching Peanut, a social network for moms. I winced when she offered to test my app, to share with colleagues who were mothers, when she couldn’t use it as a mother herself. “Not yet” I’d correct her, and she would give me a soft smile. She sat with me whilst I obsessed over data, fundraising with investors, bug fixes. I sat nervously by the phone whilst she took another pregnancy test, waiting for that line, and looked in horror at the plethora of fertility drugs she was on. She joked I should make Peanut for women like her, trying to conceive, “I could do with someone else to talk to about this to be honest,” she said.

Last year, I got pregnant again—totally unplanned. As I sat in the bathroom looking at the test the only person I could think of was Soph. How would I tell her? How could I do that to her? How could I become someone she needed to avoid for a year or so for self-preservation? How could we survive that? So for the first time in my adult life, I did something I’ve never done before: I kept a secret from my best friend.

Over the next few weeks, I bumbled through the idea of becoming a new parent again. My breasts grew tender, my stomach started to bloat, I shared secret smiles with my barista as I ordered decaf. Then one morning, when I pulled back the bedcovers, I saw a dark crimson stain on the sheets. It was over. I’d had a miscarrige.

My husband and I stood staring at what might have been, devastated. But it’s strange how fast self-preservation kicks in—I stripped the bed, I dressed Fin for school made his breakfast, got ready for work, and grabbed my Starbucks (relishing the caffeine) on the way in. Later that day, my doctor confirmed I had miscarried.

Charlie’s Angels Star Kristen Stewart Loves That The Angels Start The Movie As Strangers

Given how the trend of nostalgia continues to dominate the entertainment world, there’s no shortage of reboots, remakes, and long-awaited sequels. The trick to making these projects work is providing something new to say, rather than simply repeating past incarnations. Movies like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle succeeded this way, and Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels also has some new takes for the franchise. Most obviously, by creating an origin story and having the three Angels start off as strangers. And actress Kristen Stewart is particularly happy about this dynamic.

Charlie’s Angels is a property that originated with the 1976 TV series. The Townsend Agency was eventually adapted for the big screen in the 2000 blockbuster of the same name, and it’s sequel. While those movies focused heavily on the already established friendship of the three Angels, the 2019 version starts their dynamic from scratch. And it’s a choice that both Kristen Stewart and Elizabeth Banks are passionate about. I had the chance to speak with the cast of Charlie’s Angels ahead of its release, and you can see my conversation about the Angels’ origin story below.

Well, that makes a great deal of sense. While Charlie’s Angels is tasked with adapting to the modern world in the wake of the #MeToo movement, this process began by making the three Angels strangers, and allowing their friendship and partnership to develop organically on the screen.

Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels is different from the preceding film franchise in a variety of ways. But the difference in the Angels’ relationship is perhaps one of the most obvious. While the movie continued the franchise of bringing together three very different women, they also showed the inception of their trio being formed. And by the film’s end, they become a truly effective force against evil.

While Charlie’s Angels may deal with high stakes and over the top action, Kristen Stewart’s above comments simplify things, and focus on the human side of the movie. She’s interesting in how people meet in real life, as origins of friendships and romantic relationships often lead to the best stories. That’s exactly the case with the upcoming blockbuster, which follows the trio as they team up for the very first time.

At the film’s opening, both Kristen Stewart’s Sabina and Ella Balinska’s Jane are official Angels, working in the massive Townsend Agency. But Naomi Scott (Aladdin, Power Rangers) plays Elena, who is a scientist and whistleblower. She’s unexpected brought into a larger conflict, and must put her faith in the agency, and especially Sabina and Jane. Elena’s perspective mirrors the audience’s, as we observe just how far reaching Charlie’s operation has become since we last saw the Angels on the big screen.

Elizabeth Banks also opened up about her process as writer and director, and the decision to show the trio of women coming together on the big screen for Charlie’s Angels. She thought it was important to show how women working together always makes things better. And indeed, the three Angels had very different skills to bring to the mission.

Joker Star Joaquin Phoenix Loves All The Fan Theories About Its Ending

Warning: Joker SPOILERS ahead!

Since Todd Phillips’ Joker arrived in theaters, it has generated unprecedented box office business and intense conversation in equal measure. A big topic of discussion has been the film’s ending, with audiences speculating about what did and what didn’t actually happen and what it all means. To see that debate unfold has been a real highlight for star Joaquin Phoenix, who loves all the fan theories about the movie’s ending, as he explained:

As a result of Joker’s success and visibility, Joaquin Phoenix is getting to see and follow the way that people are reacting to the film and interpreting what actually happened in it. So he is very much aware of the conversations taking place and the theorizing about the ending and he finds that whole process quite interesting. The actor loves the various fan theories and is supportive of all possible conclusions.

Rather than come down on one side of things, Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t think that there is one right answer. Maybe it was all in Arthur’s head and maybe it wasn’t. Part of the beauty of the film is the ambiguity. As he told the Los Angeles Times, Joaquin Phoenix thinks that the answer is ultimately up to the audience, it’s for them to decide and whatever answer feels right and has meaning to you is just as valid as any other.

So even if Joaquin Phoenix has his own answer in his mind of what’s true and what isn’t (director Todd Phillips certainly does), he wouldn’t say because he doesn’t want to take away from that conversation. By giving a definitive answer those fan theories go away and the enjoyment of speculation along with them. Theorizing gives a film longevity and something of a second life, I mean, we’re still debating the ending of Inception almost a decade later.

The ambiguous nature of Joker’s ending challenges audiences and forces them to engage with it and to Joaquin Phoenix, that’s a quality that is usually lacking in big studio movies. This is sort of the problem Martin Scorsese has lamented about franchise films, a lack of mystery and risk-taking in favor of safety and familiarity. He’s not wrong and that’s part of what makes Joker so cool.

It’s also quite fitting that a film about the Joker has people questioning what’s real and what the truth is. Part of what has made the Joker such an enduring and popular character is his enigmatic nature. He’s a villain that is the source of endless speculation, particularly with regards to his identity and origins. So it’s pretty neat that although this film gives away his identity and shows us how Arthur Fleck became this version of the Joker, it still manages to have so much mystery to it.

Joker is now playing. Check out what else is headed to theaters in our 2019 Release Schedule and let us know what you think really happened in the poll below.

Was It All In Arthur’s Head?

The Rock Has Announced When Black Adam Is Coming Out

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been attached to play Black Adam for a long time, and following the success of Shazam! earlier this year, the Black Adam movie finally started accelerating down the developmental pipeline. So when can we expect to see Johnson finally bring this DC Comics character to life? We finally know the answer: December 21, 2021.

This information comes straight from Dwayne Johnson himself, who also debuted the first poster for the Black Adam movie, which you can check out below.

Frozen II Reviews Are In, Here’s What The Critics Are Saying

Are you ready? When the original Frozen hit theaters it absolutely exploded. The movie became Disney’s highest grossing animated feature in the history of ever. It’s songs were all over the radio. It’s merchandise was flying off the shelves. It’s characters were being swarmed at Disney theme parks. Now six years later, the sequel is finally here, and according to most, it’s a worthy, if not a superior, effort. Although, that may not be the compliment that it sounds like.

CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg could only muster 2.5 stars for his review, stating that while the soundtrack of Frozen II was stellar, and the cast is top notch, it’s not enough to save an otherwise messy story.

Most of the rest of the reviews are positive, if not necessarily glowing. Slashfilm is one of those that says the new Frozen is better than the original, though, in doing so it makes it clear that it’s not holding the original Frozen in quite the high regard that many others might. In the end, it’s just slightly better than the original, and still has problems. Some aspects of the story don’t work as well, though visually the film is a treat.

A similar sort of response comes from i09. The review there also says that Frozen II is better than the first Frozen in total, but that, specifically, the structure of the plot has some serious and glaring issues.

In watching the trailers for Frozen II one gets the impression that the sequel will be a somewhat darker and more mature story, for a generation that is six years older than it was when it saw the first Frozen. THR laments that, while the sequel teases us with these ideas, it ultimately doesn’t follow through on them.

While that review is critical of Frozen II for taking the safe road, Variety holds a very different opinion. That review worries that fans looking for more Frozen, as they remember it from the first film, might actually be disappointed. Because Frozen II, for good or ill, is a very different move than its predecessor.

Certainly one never expect reviews to all agree as critics, like all people, have different tastes. Having said that, these Frozen II reviews are all over the map. Some think the music is excellent, others find most of it forgettable. Some think the animation is gorgeous, some find the character designs off-putting. Opinions are quite mixed.

The general consensus seems to be that Frozen II is good, but maybe not great. It’s better than the original, but only if you didn’t absolutely love the original. For those that did, it will be interesting to see how they respond when the film opens November 22.

That Time A Director Asked Jennifer Lopez To Show Him Her Breasts

For a long time it was an open secret in Hollywood, as it was in many other places, that men in positions of power were using that power to take advantage of women. Recently, however, there has been an increase in the attention drawn to these experiences, which has hopefully helped keep them from happening.

Jennifer Lopez is certainly a star in Hollywood and has the power and influence that comes with that, but that wasn’t always the case. The actress has revealed that on one of her movies, the director asked her to remove her top for him prior to shooting a scene.

In a round table interview with several other prominent actresses, like Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o and Awkwafina, Lopez explained that while she was being fitted for a costume, the director came in and asked her to remove her top. While certainly shocked by the request, Lopez was able to say no…

The movie in question was one in which Jennifer Lopez was set to have a nude scene, which was apparently the pretext for the request from the director. While the actress knew she was going to do nudity in the movie, that didn’t mean she was comfortable just doing it next to the costume designer.

Jennifer Lopez has only done nudity in a few of her films, so it would seem that the list of movies where this may have happened is fairly short. Although, Lopez says in the THR interview that she was “supposed to do nudity in the movie” which makes it sound like perhaps the nudity didn’t end up happening.

The actress doesn’t name the director in question. Although, Scarlett Johansson does try to get her to name names. It’s possible she may have done so off the record. Lopez does say that the director later apologized.

This is far from the first time we’ve heard stories like this, and in many cases they don’t end in the way that this one did. The actresses involved in this interview hope that, because some light has been shone on this sort of behavior, it’s happening far less often, and the women that are dealing with it hopefully feel more empowered to respond to it it in the way Jennifer Lopez did when it does take place.