When I Was 15 and Other Life Changes

I read and see so many stories in the news lately about women, by women, and for women. Our minds, hearts, and souls reel from the quotidian soiling of the “wanna-be king” and his ugly mob of troglodytes who yammer on in support of his spew. Invading every broadcast, these wretched and ugly fools deface America.

Since the news has been sinking in “locker room talk”, I’ve been deeply simmering in memories along with my you, my sisters, who have also experienced the horrors of unwanted male sexual advances. Mine occurred far too early in life and well before I was interested in boys or dating. As three of them drunkenly stole my virginity, I slipped away into the nether regions of my mind and put it far out of my life telling not a soul what had happened. I didn’t want to go from being popular in high school as Sophomore Class President, on the swim team, and in the Red Robe Choir to become “the girl who was raped”. We all know the stigma and in 1977 women couldn’t do much about it without causing a scandal. Sadly, this is still the case. I also knew that my Mom, the hot-headed Scorpio, would track them down and castrate them. It was best to lift up my chin and tuck the memory far, far away.  So far, that I didn’t even remember it happening until I was out with some college pals seeing Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” at a midnight showing and ran out of the theater throwing up. I started having nightmares and decided to see a psychologist.

Therapy helped.

But you know what helped even more? When I was 27 and some asswipe tried to pull my head down onto his lap right out of nowhere. I beat the living shit out of this puny trucker after a gig up in Springfield, Oregon and I’m sure he never tried to advance on a woman again after that. Years of my pent up rage and fury pounced on that neanderthal. After the tour, I stopped singing in Top 40 bands. I traded in the faked dressing girly on the stage for men’s clothes, short hair, and switched from an attempt at a singing career  to a more profitable (and safer) one: sound engineer.

I’m writing this because it’s important for girls to know they can say “NO” and to fight back. When we stand strong and say it out loud, we fight the diseased minds. I’m writing this because mothers and fathers need to train their boys that even thinking of sexual assault of any kind is wrong. More importantly, openly boasting about it like the abominable and appalling candidate of the GOP is despicable. They need to learn how to avoid raising sons like Brock Turner and David Becker. They should never condone the behavior of a perpetrator in the way that Dan and Carleen Turner did with their guilty son and the way Judge Aaron Persky slapped his wrist.

When you’re a victim of sexual assault, there is no way to hear “Boys will be boys”, “It’s just locker room talk”, “It was just 20-minutes of action”, and not have it reverberate through your soul to wreck your spirit. Those shameful responses tell you that you’re worthless when you have suffered from another’s power over you.

That’s why the campaign: “It’s NOT OKAY” needs to continue to circulate and be shared by everyone.


About danaj33

I have been teaching in the Broadcast Electronic Media Art department at City College of San Francisco since 2001. I started teaching full-time in 2009 and am tenured. My career as an audio engineer spans 32-years since the first day I began to record and mix songs on my Tascam PortaStudio (cassette 4-track) in the early 80's while attending college at UC Berkeley. I formed a couple of bands and sang lead (sometimes playing rhythm guitar) until 1988 when I discovered that the "behind-the-scenes" tech realm was much more to my liking. I love how an audio engineer controls the ENTIRE sound mix, and not just one's own instrument. I then began a career as a live sound engineer in earnest and have toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as front-of-house sound engineer for a multitude of bands on various record labels (most notably "Medicine" on American Recordings) and have been a staff engineer at the venerable Bottom of the Hill nightclub since their inception in 1991 leaving a regular shift there in 2010 due to the teaching schedule. The club and its staff are like family. I owned and operated a live sound production company since 1989 (ending officially in 2017) called dcj Productions that has provided sound to the Bay Area community (mostly in the non-profit sector) in both large outdoor sound events as well as nightclubs and music halls. In 1991, I started recording bands on an 8-track Tascam TSR-8 analog tape recorder and moved into the digital realm in 1993 to 16-tracks of Alesis ADAT connected to a Soundcraft Ghost console in my home studio. In 1995, I advanced to Pro Tools and have been recording exclusively digital ever since, combining audio skills in sound for film as a location recordist as well as an engineer in post-production sound design and mixing. I remained "strictly analog" in my live sound mixing until just this past year (2012). Now that one can obtain a decent, live sound digital mixer at an affordable price, it was high time to check out digital for live. I now have a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 to work on with my students to give them much needed hands-on experience with a digital console. I co-owned and ran APG Records & APG Studios, an SF record label and recording studio, from 1999 - 2004 which had a distribution deal through EMI. The company folded in 2004. I continue to record music and engineer live performances at many Bay Area venues in addition to full-time teaching at CCSF. In 2001, I was hired to the part-time faculty at City College of San Francisco in the Broadcast Electronics Media Arts department where I have taught many of the classes including Digital Media Skills (BCST119), Basic Audio Production (BCST120), Digital Audio Production (BCST124), Sound Recording Studio (BCST125), Sound For Visual Media (BCST126), Advanced Sound Recording (BCST127), Sound Reinforcement (BCST128), Audio for the Web (BCST135), Video for the Web (BCST136), and Field Video Production (BCST141). I have also taught classes in sound design, audio for animation and games, music video, and computer applications at Art Institute of California-San Francisco, Globe Recording Institute, and Laney College in Oakland, CA. In addition to teaching, I am a writer. I have several blogs and have written many screenplays since 2007 producing a few of them into short films. In 2020, the craziest year and decade of any of our lives, I am starting a book project titled, "Abra, the Imaginarian." Outside Affiliations: - former Co-Director of SoundGirls - current member of Audio Engineering Society and on the SF Chapter Planning Committee - past Vice President and Interim President Board of Directors - Bay Area Girls Rock Camp - past volunteer/contributor to Women's Audio Mission - past member Bay Area Women in Media and Film - past Board of Directors for Camp Reel Stories
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1 Response to When I Was 15 and Other Life Changes

  1. Monica says:

    This is very powerful, and I am so sorry to hear about your pain and the abuse you suffered,

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