Blog

Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

I recently read the book by Daniel Bergner, “What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire.” After my initial eye rolling “who but a guy can talk about female sexuality?” thoughts, I opened my mind and read.  Then I heard him in an interview say the following beautiful words.  I was so moved that I pulled over to the side of the road in order to fully attend to what he was saying.

“I sometimes think we have to be a little braver about just caring more. Caring, and being open about caring about sex, with one’s partner sounds like it should be easy, but I think often it’s not because you can fail and you can feel hurt. And so I think that candor and caring are important and might well be the root to maintaining passion.”

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Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

It really is true what they say about being a parent.  One day their little chubby hand in yours crossing the street, telling you they want to live with you forever.  And the next, packing up and going to college.  I used to think of this as such a desperately sad thing.  But I have come to understand that these are the thin places, where the sacred meets the profane.  And you don’t get one without the other.

I walk around campus now and it is teeming with beautiful faces.  And while so often we wish for the quiet of the summer, I have to admit; it’s good to see everyone again.  Once again, I am part of a tribe, a thin place.

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Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

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Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

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Once parents find out that I specialize in treating the effects of sexual assault, if they have girls, they often ask me what they should say to their daughter to keep her safe.

 

First, I will say actually you should be talking to the men and boys in your life about the daily realities of violence toward women because we will never make any progress until 50% of the population stops absorbing this problem as a way of protecting the feelings of the men in their lives.

 

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Blog Author:
Sheila Broderick, LCSW

“He doesn’t get points for that.”  It’s one of the most common “sheilaisms” you will hear in my office.   We quite simply live in a culture that literally awards boys points for merely NOT walking into a room and punching a woman in the face or raping her or telling her to go make him a sandwich.  How often do we get annoyed with young mothers in grocery stores for their loud children and how often when it’s a dad struggling, do we offer help or at the very least think to ourselves “oh look at that great dad babysitting his children?”  Imagine thinking a mom is babysitting her children.

 

“Sheila, we are just souls in bodies learnin’ stuff,” he said to me.  And with that one utterance, I was able to let go of the guilt du jour for mistakes made that I had been carrying around.  It is simply not true that therapy only happens in a therapist’s office.  I find mine more often than not sitting across the table from someone I love at Daisycakes or Cocoa Cinnamon or Fullsteam. 

As we begin the last 5 weeks of Spring 2013 semester at Duke I find myself reflective of the souls in bodies who are learning stuff.  It’s that time of the year you can feel the fear from the seniors.  It’s in their dreams of showing up to graduation in their pajamas, it’s in their memorized phrases they tell people my age when I ask, “so, what’s next?”  This year, their fear bounces from them and jumps right into my own soul, also full of it’s own fear.

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Weeklong Events:
Facts on the Quad, Featured Books in Perkins, Daily Tweets, & Photo Exhibit in the BC (Mon-Sun). Other events listed below.

Monday

I’m hearing a lot of pain at work these days.

I hear anger.  I hear hurt.  I hear excuses and defensiveness and minimizing.  I definitely hear minimizing, and my personal favorite, helplessness.

We can’t do anything.

I am not going to call any one person or any one group out specifically, but I am referring to the various themed parties that occur on most if not all college campuses.

I believe we as the old people are missing a chance to invite our college students to take a developmental step forward, evolve and imagine that when they use racial and gender stereotypes for their entertainment that this hurts.  It hurts people.  Actual people.  It causes harm.  It causes pain.  It makes some of us think “is there a place for me?”  “Is there room at the table?”

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I was ecstatic to learn that through the Duke Women's Center I would have the opportunity to be the student representative at a private event with Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood. 

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We do a pitiful job of talking to our children about sex.  I am appalled at my generation.  I suspect we don't talk about sex to our children because we still don't understand our own sex lives.  I talk to adolescents daily about sex and when I ask them how many of them had a parent talk to them about sex, very few raise their hands.  And even among those, the sex talk generally focuses on “don’t get pregnant (or get a girl pregnant), don't get a disease and the ever popular, if it’s a girl “don't be a slut.”

It depresses me.

I offer you what I have learned from my children and other people’s children – this is what they need us to talk to them about:

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