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Author Topic: Assault?
loststone
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Thanks [Smile] . My appointment is on Monday.

My ex text me asking to meet up when she's done for the summer. I haven't replied, I don't think she'd leave it if I said no, and I don't want to get into a discussion. Might need to at some point, but not by myself. Threw me a bit though.

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Heather
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I wasn't around yesterday, loststone. Did you find a way you felt comfortable responding to this yet?

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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loststone
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No, not yet. I'm not really sure whether to say no, I'm not really up for being friends right now; or whether to confront her a bit more. The latter doesn't feel like a very good plan, but I think until I say I don't want to be friends at all (and probably also justify that, even though I shouldn't have too) she'll assume that I'm just not ready to be friends yet and keep asking every so often.

I think I'll probably say I'm not up for being friends and put off anything else for now. We'll probably both be at a party together next weekend, and I've told a couple of my friends that she's being "be my friend" clingy and asked if they could keep an eye out for me. It feels good to know there are people who will be looking out for me, even though they don't know everything.

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Heather
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Your answer right now would be no, right? You are still trying to get some distance from her?

That's so great you were able to ask your friends for support!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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loststone
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Yes. I was meaning I was unsure between saying "no, I don't want to be your friend (right now)" or "no, you hurt me and I don't want to see you". But I think I'm going to go for the former, the latter doesn't seem a good idea, at least not without some sort of support system.
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Heather
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I think "No thank you," and nothing else will do the job and answer the question she's asking.

Whether or not you ever want to have any kind of relationship with her is a larger question/answer, and one I don't see her asking here. So, if you're not ready to draw that line yet, I think just drawing this one is a good step already.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(Btw, I noticed you've been giving some other users some help and support around the boards. So appreciate that!)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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loststone
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Good point, I guess I was maybe making that into a bigger deal than I had to. Thanks [Smile]

(No problem, happy to help!)

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Heather
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Well, to give you some room for all that is going on, I think what you were doing was a) realizing that seeing her at all would extend a relationship you want to end and b) maybe thinking about -- if not now, at some point -- entry routes FOR that eventual conversation about letting her know you are 100% done with this, for now and always?

If that sounds right, then okay. But don't let it stifle you from making small steps towards that because you're going to the bigger place, which of course can feel intimidating.

Did that make any sense at all? (Having one of those days where I'm not sure if I'm being all that clear. Have a five-year-old around who doesn't exactly aid in my concentration skills. [Smile] )

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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loststone
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That makes sense, no worries about not being clear.

I told her that I didn't want to see her and we ended up having a bit of an argument, but it ended up with me being clear that I didn't want to try and be her friend (though she did say "talk to you eventually" so it seems she assumes this is temporary). I didn't justify why, and I don't think she'll have guessed because I don't think she thinks she did anything wrong. I don't feel bad about arguing with her, I was angry and I expressed that, I stood up for myself. I actually feel pretty good, expressing anger isn't something I tend to do, and we never argued when we were together.

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Heather
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Biggest cheers for you!

I agree, it sounds like you stood up for yourself and held your ground beautifully here. Well done!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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loststone
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Thank you [Smile]
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loststone
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Hi, just thought I'd give you an update [Smile] .

Things have been going pretty good, I have been seeing a counsellor from the RCC for a while and she thinks I'm doing well. It's been so helpful to talk to someone in person, knowing that I don't have to worry about how they'll react; and being able to work with goals in mind etc. I think I'm making good progress in really believing in my experience and not defending her. (also, massive kudos to her and the RCC for being awesome about the fact that C is a woman and my sexuality in general. I have had no problems with being gay, and I even mentioned that I identify on the asexual spectrum to my counsellor and she didn't bat an eyelid, it was awesome!)

I went to a party a few weeks ago which C was at too (I mentioned it a few posts up) and told a few of my friends that things had been awkward between us (without explaining why) and it was fine. There was one point which was awkward but I just left the room and there were no problems otherwise. I feel really good that I didn't let her get in the way of me living my life.

I haven't told anyone yet, but it's been something that I've been talking to my counsellor about and I have written a short letter to M and I hope to speak to her in the next few days (and give her the letter. I wrote it as back-up because I'm not good at these sorts of talks and I'll probably end up using it). I bought a book called Woman to Woman Sexual Violence when I was with M and a couple of other friends (intending to donate it to my LGBT society's library after I've read it) which felt like a big step, like it was less of a secret. I'm pretty sure that one of those friends, I, is who I will tell at uni first: she's pretty much been my (feminist/LGBT activist) mentor this year and I know she's a survivor herself.

So, yeah. I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth and I'm doing pretty good [Smile]

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Heather
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This is all fantastic news! Brava!

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About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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loststone
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I told my best friend (M) today. She was amazing! Like, really awesome. Once it was sort of, out, I guess, we had a good conversation, which was fairly relaxed. I mean, obviously it was a serious conversation but I felt relaxed enough to talk about it pretty freely with her, which was great. Because it had been so comfortable, I wasn't sure whether she completely understood how serious it was, so I asked her how serious she thought it was and she said "there's two kinds of serious, how serious what she did was, and how serious an effect it has had on you; and I'm more worried about the second one". I mean, could you ask for better?!

But, yeah, she was really supportive and stuff [Big Grin] Also, I think it really shows how far I've come that I was able to say stuff like "but there were times when I can confidently say: "That was sexual assault"".

Also, apparently my ex told all our friends at a party that we broke up because I was a giver and didn't want to receive sexually, etc (which is true, partly; and that's certainly a big reason why she thinks we broke up, I have other reasons (obviously)); and so all our friends think that she's being pretty douche-y anyway. Which is obviously shitty of her to do; but I feel like people are a bit more on my side already (even though they don't know) so this kind of feels like good news to me.

So, umm, I'm feeling pretty awesome right now [Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

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loststone
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Okay, something I've been worrying about a little since I found out what my ex said. A little out of Scarleteen's remit but I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction.

I was under the impression that she wasn't going to be sharing personal details of our lives. Clearly I was wrong to think this, since she has now told most of our friends about our sex life (and the "problems" we had). This makes me feel much more unsure about what she might be willing to do/say.

She has some semi-nude photos of me. I had some of her but I deleted them when we broke up. She made it clear she wasn't intending to get rid of her pictures of me. When we were together she was dismissive of my requests that these photos be kept in password-protected/encrypted folders.

I'm really not comfortable with this. I wasn't before but I didn't think there was much I could do; but now that I've found out that she's been telling people this stuff, I'm worried they might not be kept private. I'm going to ask her to delete them, but I'd like to know where I stand.

Does she have rights to the photos, since she took them? Or do I, because it's a picture of me? (the impression I get, though this isn't well researched, is that she has the rights to the photos, but I have the rights to their public/commercial use. So that would mean she could keep them, but not share them?) Can I get them taken down if she put them online, say? (theoretically, I'm aware that once something's on the internet, it's probably stuck there) Can I get in trouble if she does that? (does that change if I want to work with young people?)

Also, it is possible that she has some photos of me when I was 17 (though I'm not sure). That is child porn, right? Can I get in trouble for that? Does that change given the photos were taken in the context of an abusive relationship? Presumably she can get in trouble for any photos taken when she was 18 and I was 17, can she for photos taken when we were both 17?

Can't believe this is something I'm having to worry about... I mean, fingers crossed she deletes them when I ask, but I'm not holding out for it. [Frown]

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Heather
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I wasn't familiar with the laws around this in the UK, so I just took a brief peek. It does look like nude photos of anyone under 18 are not legal. To my knowledge, unless YOU distributed those photos or YOU made them, the crime would only be on her end.

Ultimately, the way these things usually work from a standpoint of photography is that if photos are of a person, and someone wants to use them or share them, they need a release to do so, signed by the subject, which makes clear how the photo will be used. The usual exception to that is when photos have been taken of someone in a public place: a park, a sports game, a protest, etc.

So, no, she probably does not have the right to share or distribute these photos of you legally, regardless of your age. If she puts them online, you likely can get them removed by contacting the site/host and making clear you have not given her the rights to post those images.

I'm really sorry you're going though this. Unfortunately, and predictably, when someone who was being controlling in a relationship loses that control -- you left -- they will often keep trying to have it, and get more and more desperate in those attempts. If you want to draw a very firm line and feel up to that, I'd go ahead and say that if she shares those photos, you will contact a legal helper for recourse, which might very well include her being considered for distributing child pornography. That's a hard line, obviously, but it sounds to me like you need to keep drawing them with this person.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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One extra piece of advice? If you do have this exchange/discussion, I'd advise you to stay very calm and not to get upset.

Part of what she is likely looking for is evidence she can still control you and evidence of an emotional impact. You want to try not to give her that because obviously, it can only wind up giving her the idea she can keep coming at you this way and getting the result she wants. The less and less you give her that result, the more likely she is to give up in time.

In other words, you want to try hard not to feed the beastie. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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loststone
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Thank you so much for this [Smile]

So, she as the photographer/adult/keeper of the photos is the only one who can get in trouble, even if I consented to having the pictures taken (as a minor)?

Do you know if she is allowed to have photos (when I am over 18) just for herself, without my consent, not distributing or sharing them?

So, what I'm thinking is, first talking to M about this; asking my ex to please delete the photos, making clear I no longer consent to her having them; if she doesn't delete them, asking mutual friends to talk to her (I'm thinking that HER friends telling her this isn't okay is going to have more impact than me. Too, she presumably wouldn't want to lose friends who refuse to enable her (who might otherwise be on her side)); and then if she still doesn't, draw the hard line and make clear the legal implications.

How does that sound? (I'm reluctant to go straight to legal threats because, if she deletes them when I ask, then they're gone. If she only lets up after legal threat, chances are she'll keep the legal photos and not share them. So, I don't want to give her a way to keep some of the photos if there's a possibility she'll delete them)

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Heather
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Responsibility for photos like this, in most legal contexts, is about how takes the photos and who distributes (or asks for) the photos. Not about the subject.

If you allowed her to take the photos, and you were not a minor, and she chooses to keep them only for herself, then yes, that is lawful and not anything you can control after-the-fact. In other words, you gave your consent to her having the when you allowed her to take them, and that's not something you can rescind in this respect.

That given, you can ask her to delete them, but I'd not focus on that, personally. Rather, if you are going to talk about this, I'd focus on you feeling uncomfortable with her having them with the intention of sharing them and feeling uncomfortable with her having them because you feel strongly she cannot be trusted NOT to share them. if that alone doesn't result in her agreeing to delete them (of course, who knows if she will: you can't ever know that), you can, and perhaps should, I think, make clear what your course of action will be should she choose to share them in any way. That's not a threat: that's a clarity about what consequences she should know she is opening herself up to should she make that choice.

That's my two pence, anyway.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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loststone
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Thanks that's really helpful [Smile]
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loststone
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She says she's deleted them [Smile]
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loststone
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Hi, I'm back again.

I'd like to share what's been going on a bit at some point; but right now I'm mostly looking for some encouragement, I guess. It's pretty short notice, I don't know if anyone will see this but it seemed worth a shot.

I'm supposed to be giving a short speech tomorrow afternoon. I don't know if I can do it. I find public speaking pretty nervy anyway, but normally I can deal with it. But I haven't written my speech (I have some ideas written down but nothing much) because I've been really busy, plus I've been supporting some friends. I was talking to a friend who is a survivor earlier and it has just left me unable to write anything. But I know I was putting it off before so I feel like that isn't enough of an excuse. I wasn't really sure about agreeing to it in the first place (it's not my event, but it's related to stuff I am in charge of), but now I've committed, even though I had plenty of chances to back out. It's in front of academics at my uni, plus the wider world on the internet.

I really feel like cancelling. I'm not prepared and I am meeting my friend to talk about stuff with C in the morning too, so I probably won't feel great (last time I went to speak to her I was pretty zombie-fied for a couple of days, I'm not expecting it to be as bad but still). I could feel better tomorrow, but I'd still have to write my speech.

What I'm really asking is; am I letting the team down by cancelling? Or is that good self-care? I really can't tell. But I need to figure it out because if I try and make myself do it then cancel even more last minute than this then it will be even worse.

If anyone sees this a reply would be awesome.

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Redskies
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Hi, loststone. I don't know if anyone else will jump in in a minute, but I've seen this, so maybe I can say something vaguely helpful/supportive.

I think the things I'd think about would be: who is the speech for? How important is it to you, and of what kind of relevance/importance for your life right now and your future? I think if I was in a situation like that, I'd try to think about what I really needed - do I need/want to give the speech and are the personal difficulties getting in the way of that, or do I need/want to be dealing with the personal difficulties and it's the speech that's getting in the way of that?

I think that I definitely would not like to have an emotionally taxing meeting and then give a speech. It sounds like you have doubts about that, too, so it might be sound to consider whether doing both is a wise idea. If you wanted to prioritise the speech for tomorrow, would it be possible to reschedule the personal meeting? Most friends, and indeed people, would be very understanding of the circumstances.

If you feel like giving the speech is really not what you need right now or you're not in the right position to do it, I think that would be a perfectly fair decision. When we've experienced something tough, it's ok to not have to be super-person and to cut ourselves a break. We can't always figure this stuff out at the ideal time, either, and although changing arrangements at late notice isn't ideal for people, most people will understand that people aren't machines and that sometimes these things happen, particularly if you cite "personal circumstances" (and no details should be necessary).

[ 10-23-2011, 05:53 PM: Message edited by: Redskies ]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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loststone
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Thanks Redskies [Smile] it's good to have someone tell me I'm not being unreasonable.

I've actually calmed down a bit and managed to prepare a bit for the speech. It's not really that important for me to speak, however the event is pretty important. I am feeling more confident I will be able to get everything done, but will see how I feel tomorrow.

You're right about thinking about the meeting. I have some boundaries in mind (assuming I still feel okay to do everything tomorrow), so I think it will be okay. I really want to have a discussion about what kind of support she is able to offer and where her/my boundaries are around this; I'm not planning on talking about what happened in any detail or anything. Also I want to make sure I leave plenty of time in between to calm down and prepare etc.

If I'm not feeling that confident about being able to do everything tomorrow I will try to rearrange my meeting; the speech can't be rearranged.

Thanks again, I think I really just needed to get this out. Hopefully it will be okay.

I'll post an update on everything that's gone on soon too.

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Redskies
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You sound like you have a really good handle on this, and like you're doing a great job balancing it all. Carry on taking care of yourself, and all the best with tomorrow.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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loststone
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Thank you for your support Redskies [Smile]

My day went surprisingly well. I spoke to my friend, which went as well as could be hoped I think; my speech went fine and the event was really well attended; and I've spoken to my tutor and am feeling a lot more positive academically too (I've been dealing with a lot in the last couple of weeks and I was worrying about how it was affecting my studies, but looks like I'm doing all right). So, yay for me!

Just a quick update on what's been going on/how I'm doing:

I'm back at university now, so that means I'm away from C, which is good. She has contacted me though, which sent things a little out of whack for me. But she hasn't tried again in about a month. I told my friend, I, who encouraged me to see the local rape crisis here (since I've moved back to uni I can't keep seeing my counsellor back home); and I've had an assessment and been put on a waiting list for counselling. I've also been offered to go to a group they run for young women and am hoping to meet a facilitator soon (though I have my misgivings about this, simply because I'm aware that I would probably be in a group of people who've been violated by men, and I'm not sure whether I could be comfortable enough in a group dynamic like that to make any real progress). I also have told another friend from home, though unfortunately because she told me she was raped. So I've also been trying to support her (and someone else in the last week, who I don't really know...), which is mostly okay, but sometimes is difficult because she's not done as much healing as me and so some of the things she says (about her experiences) are a bit victim-blaming. But she has been pretty supportive of me and is helping me deal with how to do social situations in the holidays. I sent all my friends an email explaining that C has not been respecting my boundaries wrt our break up and so I don't want to see her when we all meet up for Christmas. I've spoken to a couple of them since who have been really understanding; but it seems like some of my friends don't get how serious I was with that (which is fair, I didn't explain much. But obviously it would be much easier if they asked). I'm also really trying to cut back on things I do generally; I am involved with a lot at uni and really need to concentrate on getting through everything and doing my degree. As important as campaigning and student politics is to me, my degree has to come first (well, my mental health needs to come first, then my degree).

So, yeah, that's just how I've been doing; thought it would be nice to keep you in the loop.

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