Sunday, May 25, 2014


In case you haven't heard of it yet, #YesAllWomen is blowing up Twitter!

Details on what set off the conversation can be found here and here.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Tough Love

Queendom’s study of 1,234 parents who took their Parenting Style Test reveals that healthy parent-child relationships and well-adjusted children require a different view of “tough love.”

“Authoritative parents are able to create a balance. They don’t over-compensate, like Permissive parents, and unlike Authoritarian parents, they can be strict without being harsh,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “These two traits cannot be separated. Responsiveness and firmness need to both be present in order to create a healthy environment for a child to grow up in – and the data show this.”
We all know what kind of parents control-freak abusers are.

And I doubt abusers would even be honest during such tests.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so please take the time to educate yourself so that you can educate the children in your life.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same: Let's Talk About Domestic Violence

Nobody wants to talk about domestic violence; but somebody has to. Before we begin, here's a reminder; read it, heed it, before you comment or I'll delete it.

In the news...

At The Daily Beast, Barbie Latza Nadeau writes about Men Who Hate Women. While this article focuses on the increase in domestic violence against women in Southern Europe, there's, again, the reminder that the most dangerous time for women with controlling male partners is when they've decided or attempt to leave:
Though statistics on femicide are hard to come by, according to the United Nations, 50 percent of women killed between 2008 and 2010 in Europe were killed by a family member. For men, that number was just 15 percent. In other words, women are killed by those who supposedly love them. Only six weeks into the year, already nine women in Italy have been murdered by their husbands, exes, or boyfriends.

(In Spain, another European country with high rates of femicide, so far, 13 women have been killed this year. Last year, 97 women were killed in Spain—35 more than in 2011.)

In many cases, men feel insecure or threatened because their wives or girlfriends say no to sex or attempt to leave the relationship, says Diana E. H. Russell, Ph.D., a Professor of Sociology at Mills College in Oakland, California, and one of the world’s foremost experts on violence against women. “It’s a macho acting-out of the attitude, ‘How dare you—you inferior bitch—leave me!’” she says. It’s “acting out his feelings of male superiority.”
(You can find out more about Dr. Diana Russell and her work here.)

Male superiority is a continual phallic fallacy in the boisterously avowed and politically allowed arena of controlling women. Astonishingly, the culturally perpetuated notions of male dominance by violence was not even on the agenda of the women's liberation movement when it began. Ruth Rosen, author of The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America, writes:
They demanded three rights: legal abortion, universal childcare, and equal pay. These were preconditions for women's equality with men at home and in the workplace. Astonishingly, they didn't include the ending of violence against women among their demands—though the experience and fear of male violence was widespread—because women still suffered these crimes in silence.

Those three demands, and the fourth one that couldn't yet be articulated, have yet to be met.
For me, this seemingly-futile and lifelong struggle seems like forever. But there is a longer history... A pre-history, even.

Resisting all bitter puns about cavemen, I present this news story: Battered skulls reveal violence among stone-age women. (Even Fox can't ignore the news!) And from it we glean the following:
It's not clear why women were frequent victims of violence.

Domestic violence could be a factor, but proving it requires looking for repeat injuries and wounds to the ribs and torso, [Linda Fibiger, archaeologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland] said. Given that skulls and skeletons are jumbled up at these sites, and many skeletons weren't preserved, that's not possible, Fibiger said.

More likely is that women suffered fatal injuries, because they couldn't fight ferociously in raids, she told Live Science.

Men may have trained from a young age to fight, whereas women were probably tasked with child rearing.

That would have slowed them down, "because you're probably going to try and protect your children rather than being able to properly defend yourself," Fibiger said.
If the inability of women to "fight ferociously in raids" is laid at the feet of men-fight-women-take-care-of-kids gender roles, then how is this any different when one looks at the facts of domestic violence today?

Aren't these assumptions, notions, and training (or the lack thereof) still at work today? Aren't women taught more about how to protect the household from dirt and grime than they are how to protect themselves from a loved-one's-crime? The facts are there; we know them. We know that it's who we lock in with us are night who are more dangerous than those we lock out; we know guns are not protection either; yet we are not taught how to properly defend ourselves physically, emotionally, or legally. We are not even prepared to fight legally. And it's that last one that kicks survivors in the teeth the hardest.

I can tell you the gender roles pervade our culture; I've seen it at work in court enough times to be sick writing this. For a woman who dares to protect herself and/or her children from the raid on her home coming from her own husband, male lover, or domestic partner, is "too ferocious" and deemed worthy of a man's beat down. Even fighting with words is considered something no male should have to tolerate, especially in his own home. Her lack of femininity and submissiveness warrants the male master's control. It doesn't matter what the laws say, or what they intended; even defending your legal right to safety is fighting -- and fighting in court is unbecoming to a woman, intolerable to a male or at least a male system.

It may seem all the more poignant to imagine that a good mother plays the lioness for her cubs, that she'll at least "try and protect her children rather than being able to properly defend herself", but these actions too are not to be tolerated. For a man's home is his castle and everyone in it, his subjects -- subject to his rule. Defy him at your own peril. Go into court at your own peril.

Again from Ruth Rosen:
The public generally believed that rape victims had probably "asked for it," most women felt too ashamed to report rape, and no language existed to make sense of what we now call domestic violence, sexual harassment, marital rape, or date rape. One simple phrase seemed to sum up the hidden injuries women suffered in silence: "That's life."
If that seems old fashioned or outmoded to you, if the world prior to the 1970s seems so long ago as to be as irrelevant as the plight of stone-age women, look around you. See what's being said, what's not being done.

Rosen sums things up this way:
So, yes, we've come a long way, but without achieving full access to legal abortion, comprehensive childcare, or equal pay—those three demands from so many decades ago. Nor have we won the right to enjoy public space without fearing violence, rape, or worse.

I always knew this was the longest revolution, one that would take a century or more to unfold. It's upended most of our lives, and significantly improved so many of them. Nothing will ever be the same. Yet there's still such a long way to go. I doubt I'll see full gender equality in my lifetime.
I say things are even worse than that.

For today, we don't even have the right to enjoy our homes, our private spaces, without fearing violence, rape, or worse. And when we dare to point that out, we are not merely dismissed, we are punished.

So many of us are still having to say, "That's life."

Image via.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Making Noise

Making Noise

Sometimes reading the paper is just not good for one’s blood pressure. I bought today’s paper and right at the top was a headline “Googling lands in court”. Ok, Google always seems to be in some kind of stir so curiosity being one of my traits I started reading. The first line stopped me cold. It read, “In a first-of-its-kind ruling, a … County Judge has ordered that a young woman’s Google searches must be turned over to the man accused of beating and raping her”. It went on to say that the state Supreme Court refused to rule on the constitutionality of the order because the alleged victim (and the D.A.) waited too long to appeal. Get this; they only had seven days to appeal!

You can guess what is going on. The accused rapist wants to use her Google records in an attempt to prove that the rape, strangulation, and assault was consensual. He wants all of her Google searches and their results, all the websites she visited, and all of her e-mail for the last five weeks. In other words, a desperate fishing trip to find anything the dirt bag can use as a defense for being a piece of s…!

Fortunately the D.A. is on her side saying he can only get the information legally if he has a search warrant and he can only do that if he believes it necessary for the D.A.’s office to do so to further the criminal investigation. Google, by the way, refused to comply saying to do so would be a violation of the federal Electronics Communications Privacy Act.

Oh, and get this, the accused also faces rape charges in another case! What a piece of work.

I have been harping on the subject of what we can do. I am sure the people of that county know who this judge is. This would be the time for men and women who are concerned about this judge’s actions to see what could be done to get him off the bench. The people in that county need to MAKE NOISE!

As an example, another article in the same paper stated the Oregon state parole board was not going to allow the victims of a serial rapist (he admitted to 9 assaults during the 70’s and 880’s.), speak at his parole hearing. The reason the board gave was that they felt the two women did not qualify as victims because even though he admitted to the crime, the statute of limitations had run out so he was only convicted for the rape of a 13 yr old girl in 1986. This was not a state or federally required definition, it was an administrative “rule” the board adopted in 2010.

However, less than a week before the hearing they reversed their decision and will now allow two of the women to have their say. Why? According to the article it was due to the fact that the women threatened to sue and public pressure.

Public pressure, exactly what I have been campaigning for. If violence against women is ever going to stop we all have to express our rage to the members of the enforcement and judicial members of our society. We have to let them know that it’s not just the victims who find easy treatment of convicted abusers inexcusable, it’s all of us. We need to MAKE NOISE!