Mike isn’t 18 anymore.

So, I went back to school. Not a community college but a four year university. I’m starting from scratch and I discovered that something that I was fearful of is going to be an actual issue. I wanted to share it with you and hopefully other returning-adult students that might be facing the same dilemma.

Starting over means being almost 31 years old in a class with students who are 18/19. Having an intellectual conversation with people of that age bracket when you’ve had twelve years of life (adult life) that they have yet to embark on is challenging. I don’t know how college professors do it, talking about politics and opinion and the realities of the world at a private school with kids that have been going to private school their whole lives.

Bills, rent, jobs, careers, choices, not having choices… I think about my life and what I’ve been through, and when the 18 year old kid sitting next to me tells me that I am wrong and tries to argue with me about the validity of his argument…

I know that I should be listening and respecting his thoughts, but I want to scream, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA”. How the hell do you have any idea what you’re talking about? I think it was because he was directing his criticism at me personally and not my ideology. Which displays his immaturity, so why am I still pissed?

It’s something that I have to deal with, it’s the reality of my situation… but, how am I supposed to do that?

Am I right to be bothered or am I simply being an agist?

Raging on a Thursday: The Topic of Consent

 

http://feminspire.com/why-i-never-play-hard-to-get/

This is an article that you need to read. Yes, need to. It’s thought provoking and insightful. More importantly, it made me call into question some of my own experiences. I recently had a Twitter argument with a friend about the new concealed carry law in Illinois. I think it’s a horrendous idea, he thinks it’s a joy among joys, an early Christmas gift from Santa. I see it from the perspective of being a woman, he sees a manly right to bear arms against…bears? 

Well, I’m really not certain. I haven’t had to defend my home against anyone… ever. My body? I’ve gone to battle several times to protect my body, I’ve even lost. Would a gun have protected me? Not a chance. In fact my rapist was the one with a gun. A gun which he had obtained legally, it was given to him as part of his duties as a police officer. He still carries that gun.

The idea that women can now protect themselves because of this new law is preposterous! Obviously the people lobbying on behalf of concealed carry haven’t read the statistics. It’s one more thing they can blame us for. Why didn’t you scream? Run? Fight? Punch? Kick? Scratch? Why didn’t you shoot him with your new Gloc as a result of your right to bear arms, bitch?!

What is certain is that rape, domestic violence, and child abuse are under-reported and under-prosecuted. Leaving the perpetrators with no records, nothing to tell the state that these are “bad people”, meaning guns for all! Plus, as we all know, there is NO WAY to get around the background checks…

http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/Children_and_Families/Guns.pdf

The damning statistics about gun violence and it’s twisted relationship to  gender violence is terrifying. Especially in light of the current legislation. However, I could go on all day about that, getting back to consent. 

As Rachel Kay states in her piece, our culture, this culture that devalues the feminine, is appalled by the innate femaleness of a woman, believes that a broad just doesn’t know what’s good for her. Until some man shows her. This is what we have done to ourselves,  take “The Rules” as an example. The 90’s guide book for the single woman, it demanded that  women play hard to get, begging to be “taken”. This has stimulated a battle in a culture that already doesn’t hear the word “no” as a demand for the desistance of an action, but as a challenge. 

As I read the piece I kept hearing the words of my rapist, it sounded something like this:

I need to leave.

No, you don’t.

I’m leaving with, (I’m redacting my SO’s name to protect his undeserved privacy.)

I’m going home.

He’s no good for you, I’m a better guy.

I’m leaving, I’m leaving.

Come on, let me show you.

No.

Come here.

No. 

(Don’t worry boys, I was fighting him off during this whole “conversation”. No need to victim blame here.)

I think we need to revisit the topic of consent and how it is understood in our culture.

Life is a Battlefield… It’s a long one…

Hi all, I have been working on an assignment as a volunteer for The Pixel Project and it has been quite absorbing. I haven’t forgotten  my work here and apologize for my lapse. It’s a little after 2 am and I am wide awake. My mind is racing and I just can’t seem to quiet it. It’s a very specific thing that is preventing sleep and I hope that by sharing I can get some relief.

There is a photograph circulating on Facebook of a young man, he is holding a dog by the throat against a wall, his other arm is pulled back and he is about to punch the dog in the face. The same day I saw this horrific image, I was posting a link on the home page of the advocacy center that I volunteer for. On the page I noticed a post, some one with a name that didn’t make any sense and that even now I cannot recall, had posted a comment. An extremely vulgar comment, one that I am loathe to repeat – I checked if it was still there in order to correctly communicate it’s intention – it’s gone. When I saw the comment, I clicked the person’s name to report them (it was THAT bad). On this person’s home page there was a series of pictures, they started with someone putting a cat in a cage and then a series of images of the cage on fire.

It was horrible, my mind wants to tell my soul that these images are not real, that people don’t do such horrendous things, but they do. We know they do. Part of the reason that people do these things is because there is an audience for them. People take pictures of themselves doing disgusting, horrible things for their own warped pleasure and the twisted pleasure of their friends.

Recently, I shared something on my personal Facebook page about rape. The piece or meme as it were, reflected on what is consent and what is not. Being drunk, wearing a short skirt, being out after dark, these are all old, tired lines that called into question the validity of a survivor’s statement. Were they drunk, were they dressed inappropriately, were they out too late, in a bad part of town? An old acquaintance commented on the post, he made a inappropriate comment about rape and mocked the intention of the piece. I had tolerated his various idiosyncrasies thus far, but this was the final straw. I made a polite, but to the point statement that shared my disappointment in his behavior and then I unfriended him.

I believe in free speech, I enjoy the right to say whatever I want without fear of reprisal. People are always welcome to disagree with me and my point of view. However, I do not believe that I am required to tolerate your masochistic, misogynistic attitude. Not when you know my stand on gender violence and how I make it part of my every day life to fight it.

Which is the point, why do we shudder at something someone says and try to laugh it off? Why, when we know someone who’s behavior is just this-side of being totally inappropriate do we simply stand by? Because, “it’s just not our place”? Well, guess what, someone has to start saying something. Someone has to stand up and say, “ENOUGH”. Because when survivors speak out and stake their claim, they have a vested interest in the outcome. That vested interest makes others a little less sympathetic, a little less willing to listen. But, when a man says to his group of friends, “you know, I think that that is really inappropriate, I’d like you to stop”, yes he might get mocked, but he might not. His friends might listen, maybe not the first time; if his message is always the same and he makes it plain, people will listen.

It’s something that we all have to do. We have to stand up for those who have no voice. Especially animals.  They can’t speak for themselves and often when we see things happening to them, we look away. We make ourselves culpable in their suffering. It’s easy to post and repost things on Facebook, feeling like we’ve done something good. It’s not enough, we have to start standing up. No more sitting down. Instead of reposting pictures on Facebook contact your local shelter, find out how to help animals that are being abused. Intervene when you see something happening. Don’t walk by. We can’t let this happen any longer. It has to stop. It has to stop now.

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In the interest of getting involved, I’d like to invite everyone to check out the Hollaback campaign’s website. I discovered them while doing research for my Pixel Project assignment and I find their message really resonates with how I am feeling right now. Their message is amazing and effective. Check them out at www.ihollaback.org.

My editor is sleeping, so if there are tragic grammatical mistakes, I apologize.

Jane Fonda calls for more public attention to sexual violence during the Holocaust | The Times of Israel

I’m surprised that stories like sexual violence during the Holocaust surprise me. It  is strange to sit back and realize that, with the horrendous depravity of the Nazi regime, it never occurred to me that this was happening to women. Is it because I am so overwhelmed with what is happening now? Or that I want to believe that the cruelty stopped somewhere? That with everything that was happening to these innocent people couldn’t possibly be worse. It was. What a revelation.

 

Jane Fonda calls for more public attention to sexual violence during the Holocaust | The Times of Israel.

Book Review: The Trauma Myth by Susan Clancy, Ph.D., Part 1

 Ninety-five percent of children don’t fight it

because they don’t understand what’s happening

and because when they tell the truth nobody cares.

Susan A. Clancy, Ph.D., to Thomas Rogers at Salon.com.

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Susan A. Clancy, Ph.D. looks a little bit like Cybil Shepard, not the researchy post-doctorate fellow that I would have pictured her being. It took reading her interview at Salon.com to really grasp her message and get a feel for her voice. I finished her book, The Trauma Myth, last week. I started writing this blog and realized I was going to have to spread the material out over a couple of days. The next few days I will be posting about the book and my thoughts.

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There’s something I would like to add. 

Despite all of this media and research attention on sexual abuse for the last 30 years, I still don’t hear the answer to one question: What the fuck is wrong with all of these men? 

Sexual abuse is not women; it’s men.

Every once in a while a woman will sexually abuse,

but in 95 percent of cases it’s a man that is known to the child — a teacher, a friend, a family member. 

These are high-functioning people in society who are choosing to molest children. All this focus on the psychology of the victim is a way to sidestep this central question: What is going on in society that so many men are choosing to get off on small children? 

I can find almost no studies on the subject. People will go into jails and interview a perpetrator, but most of these people don’t go to jail, and most of them aren’t caught.

Susan A. Clancy, Ph.D., to Thomas Rogers at Salon.com.

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Dr. Susan A. Clancy, Ph. D., is a cognitive psychologist currently working as Associate Professor in Consumer Behavior at INCAE business school in Nicaragua, she is the Research Director of INCAE’s Center for Women’s Leadership, and she is also a Post-Doctoral Fellow from Harvard. Her focus is on memory and she is the author of another book called Abducted: How People Come to Believe That They Were Kidnapped by Aliens (Harvard University Press, 2007). That’s a pretty impressive resume.

According to her interview at Salon.com, it was the work she did on her second book, The Trauma Myth, that drove her (in part) to Nicaragua. The reaction to her controversial work was vehemently negative, and as she states in the book, she was accused of hurting victims more than they already had been and that [she] was a friend of pedophiles (Clancy, The Trauma Myth, p.77).  She was accused of having a political agenda, one biased against the victims (Clancy, The Trauma Myth, p.78).

Why such a reaction? Any research is good research, and the more we understand what causes trauma the better we can help people recover, correct? Not so. Dr. Clancy states that the current advocacy system is heavily dependent on its current belief structure and advocates and researches have a vested interest in ensuring its perpetuation.

The current therapeutic structure in regard to child sexual abuse is that it is traumatic. The experience itself is traumatic and when it’s happening it’s traumatic, there is a lot of fear regarding what could be lost if we tossed years of research out the window.

However, Dr. Clancy states that during her research she discovered that it wasn’t the abuse that was traumatic. Instead,  most of her research subjects, 92% (Clancy, The Trauma Myth, p. 38), qualified the abuse as confusing. They stated that they didn’t understand what was happening, didn’t understand that it was wrong and so they did not find the experience traumatizing. 85% stated that they knew something about the situation was wrong (Clancy, The Trauma Myth, p. 39) (However, the subjects that had required medical attention as a result of the abuse did qualify the abuse as “traumatic”).

This is an explosive assertion. But what if she is correct, what if we have been handling this all wrong? What does that mean for the advocacy community?

Those that didn’t qualify the abuse as traumatic at the time of its occurrence stated that the traumatic aspects of the abuse came later. If they didn’t report the trauma, the eventual realization of what had happened to them was traumatic. The trauma came as a result of understanding that their trust had been violated, that someone had used them in a most despicable manner. If the subjects did report, often the trauma came from the reactions of others.

As you can see, Dr. Clancy’s book was incredibly interesting. I am spreading my thoughts out over a few days and would love to hear from you. Stay tuned.

A Woman’s Womb: America’s New Sports Arena

I just read this brilliant blog this morning. It reminds us about the really important issues in this election.

It’s from February when everyone was getting amped up and people were saying things that they hope would be forgotten by November. Well, it’s the day before the election and we haven’t forgotten.

It’s an interesting, easy read. Read it with your morning coffee.

A Woman’s Womb: America’s New Sports Arena.

Soul Searching

I am doing a little bit of work on this here blog I got. I started this one after I became frustrated with Blogger, though thinking back on the decision to move- I fear that I can not recollect the reason. So, I’d like to share some of the blogs from that page. Like this one from March, 2011.

Image

I am a proponent of the New American Spirituality. The New American Spirituality is the result of the blending of various cultures and belief systems which mix and mingle in our little corner of the globe. Then we, as Americans, pick and choose that which fits us best.

This is a threat to organized religions. Most religions exist on the fear of damnation, if you don’t follow their mandates and precepts you will certainly receive the punishment of eternal hell. What organized religion REALLY requires to survive, is the financial contributions of their followers. With all this influence, there is not a single organized religion that has solved any global issue. In fact, MOST have made global plagues like war and famine worse. Can you imagine what would happen if all the followers of the various world religions stood up and said they would withdraw their support if their church leaders didn’t undertake a position of peace and spiritual honesty?

I have recently said that atheism suits my current state of mind better than any other option. However, I think I am becoming agnostic. Whatever I am, I feel like I am wasting my time by trying to define it. What is the purpose of a label, but to place someone in a little box? Labels exist less in a climate of inclusion and more in a climate of discrimination. Labels help others point and say, “you’re a ______”. I really don’t want to BE anything but me. A me full of joy, love and peace.

So, I will continue my personal “New American Spiritual Journey” with Kundalini yoga, Reiki and a  Zen Buddhist meditation practice. My purpose on this planet has less to do with being a nameless, faceless member of a flock and more of a life full of purpose and assistance to my fellow travelers on this Earthly journey. If you need a shoulder to lean on or an all natural homemade hair conditioner, a friend for yoga class and a cup of tea or some Reiki time, just let me know. At the end of my time here, what will matter most is that what I did was a benefit to those around me. Not how much money I tithed to an institution that is one of the wealthiest in the world. I’d rather serve at a soup kitchen.

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