Trauma Bonded: How writing a show about my assault helped me heal.

By Chloe Burns

“You need to address this now,” my therapist told me at a regular appointment in December of 2019, her tone more stern than I’d heard her before. “The longer you wait, the harder it will be to correct.” 

She was referring to my laundry list of trauma symptoms—a collection of hyper-vigilance, chronic insomnia, disorganization, nightmares, panic attacks, and dissociation—I had been dismissing for years until I experienced an assault at work in October of 2019  and those symptoms came crashing back. I was then unemployed, living off of my dwindling savings, and spending my days alternating between crying and watching TV with my eyes unfocused. I hadn’t been in Los Angeles for a full year, and already, I was at an impasse.

In June of 2019, I moved to LA to pursue acting and filmmaking, and the business of my life had helped me manage my existing trauma symptoms so far. Running between background acting jobs on television sets and acting classes to my various jobs left me happily exhausted at the end of the day, my mind distracted from the anxieties and hyper-vigilance that tormented me in the quiet. 

But when I was violated at work that fall, my systems shut down completely, and I could no longer lean on my lifestyle for distraction. My ability to sleep was destroyed. My body felt so numb that I frequently mistook my own heartbeat for the earthquake tremors I had experienced since moving to the coast. Anxiety flooded my veins so ferociously that I was exhausted before my day even began. Yet, rest was out of the question. Unexpected noises caused me to lurch out of my seat,  but my limbs felt so heavy I doubted my ability to defend myself against even the slightest threat. I was somehow moving one hundred miles an hour while stuck completely still. Every day that passed meant more of my savings vanished, and by the time COVID sent the nation into their homes, I knew something needed to give.

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A smutty book guide for first-time erotica readers to seasoned spice fans

By Kelcie McKenney
Photos by Travis Young

I love a good book that makes me curl up under a blanket, spend the afternoon in, and… reach for my vibrator. We’re talking smut, babes, so buckle up. Bodice rippers, erotica, chick lit, spicy books, naughty fanfiction—whatever you’re reading, erotic literature has a long history of giving women a safe space to explore their sexuality and get off.

The thing about fiction is it allows us to escape into fantasy, and fantasy is a great place to explore our sexuality. In mainstream media—movies, male-written books, porn—women are more often than not depicted with a lack of agency over their bodies and own sexuality.

“In the media, representations of sexuality are still mostly white, cisgendered, and heterosexual,” said Chelsea Reynolds, an assistant professor at California State University Fullerton studying sex in media told Mashable in 2018. “For many, fanfiction represents an important site of resistance, sexual exploration, and identity transformation.” (Humble brag, Reynolds was a mentor to my student magazine in college and she seriously rocks. Hi Chelsea!!)

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Babe Monthly: What’s happening in Texas and what we can do about it

By Emily Park

At Catcall, we’re all about turning catcalling on its head and calling out the patriarchy with stories that inspire the shes, theys, and gays and highlight the work that needs to be done to dismantle systemic inequalities. 

We put together Babe Monthly to highlight the major headlines, stories, and stats—good and bad—in feminist news that have surfaced over the last month. The mission of this monthly column is to highlight the challenges we face in the fight for women’s, LGBTQIA+, and BIPOC rights, while uplifting and empowering our readers with the work that’s being done—and the amazing people who are doing that work. 

These last couple of weeks have been some of the most challenging weeks in the reproductive rights movement we have experienced in a long time. While we usually spend a couple of hours scouring headlines for the best feminist news that has come up in the last month, it’s hard to focus on anything but the abortion ban that went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1.

Banning abortions from taking place around six weeks after conception—before many individuals even know they are pregnant—the Texas law doesn’t include any exemptions for cases of rape or incest. The law is the strictest abortion ban to go into effect in the United States.

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New National SASH Club Program Empowers Youth to Confront Sexual Harassment and Assault

By Nicole Mitchell

When I was in high school, I was sexually harassed. This boy, a year older than me, would follow me around school daily, which made me uncomfortable. One time I even remember him pretending to drop something so he could look up my skirt. Actually, I wasn’t the only person he did that to. There were plenty of other young high school girls going through the same thing because of this person. At the time, there was nothing I could do about it. I was confused and had nowhere to go.

This has to change, and thankfully, there are programs being put in place that will help young people understand what sexual harassment really is and take a stand against it today. Stop Sexual Assault in Schools has created and launched its new initiative SASH Club to empower youth ages 13+ to take action against sexual harassment and assault.

SASH Club provides a set of free online, ready-to-use tools on their website for teens of all genders, races, ethnicities, and orientations to start the discussion and educate themselves and others about sexual harassment and assault, support survivors, and make real change in their schools and communities.

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I can’t come. What have my antidepressants done to me?

By Nicole Mitchell
Illustrations by Kelcie McKenney

I have chronic “white coat” anxiety—I am terrified of doctors and medical offices. Pair that with the somatic symptoms that come with my anxiety, my heart disease, and other illnesses I’ve had to deal with, it’s been quite a ride—especially when the pandemic hit.

After months of suffering with chronic stress hives, panic attacks, severe cleaning routines for my body and apartment, refusing to go outside, and absolutely avoiding everyone, I decided it was time to try antidepressants.

The good news? They worked! I’ve been taking them since October 2020, and I’ve only had one panic attack since then. And those stress hives? Disappeared. 

The bad news? Once I was on those meds, I couldn’t come. And I lost my sex drive, which changed the whole dynamic between my boyfriend and me.

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