This is a great blog post on the disregard our society has for violence against women. I hope you find it as enlightening as I did.

(Dana Bolger)– Do you wonder what sexism and misogyny look like in 2012?

Imagine a drawing of a woman. She’s clad only in a bra and a thong. She’s got bruises on her side. There’s an apple jammed in her mouth. And she’s stretched out, tied up, suspended from a spit, and roasting over a fire.

You don’t have to imagine. Last April, a fraternity at Amherst designed this image, stuck it on a t-shirt, and sold the shirt to students in honor of the frat’s annual pig-roast party. By the way, there is a pig depicted on the shirt. It’s in the corner, smoking a cigar, and watching the woman roast. The words “Roasting Fat Ones Since 1847” appear above the image.

The administration opted not to punish the individual students responsible for the shirt but rather to hold an unadvertised, effectively closed-door discussion with a handful of students…

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What’s important… and why I need your help

I try to not bully my readers with constant posts. Especially when the content that I generally post about is so heavy.

I wanted to share some simple Saturday morning thoughts with you, my lovely readers. I’m not going to have my editor clear this piece, so be prepared for errors and random unnecessary punctuation. I just feel like I want to really talk to you.

It’s Saturday morning and I am surrounded by purring cats. I want to go get a cup of coffee and do some research for a piece I am writing but I was up late last night reading, following links like it’s my job and getting sadder and sadder.

I’m reading about authors and commentators that feel it is appropriate to call the President a “retard” and then call people outraged by such behavior “retarded”.  http://politicker.com/2012/10/ann-coulter-calls-obama-the-retard/

I read about a young girl last night who was bullied into suicide. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/15-year-old-throws-front-train-staten-island-article-1.1191808

A vice presidential candidate who refers to rape “as another method of conception”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cat5SyMBSpk

Detroit has over 11,000 untested rape kits. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/50-facts-rape_b_2019338.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

I don’t care about your political persuasion, and I don’t care who you feel is to blame. The problem is that these situations are becoming more common and it’s happening with greater frequency, we need to do something to change it. I’m so sad, it’s unbelievable. I volunteered for over 30 hours last week, that’s how important these things are to me. Are they important to you? Will you help me change the world? Because we need to, now more than ever.

The Plan Begins…

I had a very interesting conversation today, one that I would like to share with you.

Today was the Domestic Violence Vigil at the Circuit Court on Harrison. This courthouse specilizes in domestic violence. The courthouse also houses various agencies providing resources for survivors of domestic violence.

While at the vigil, I was speaking to a woman who was there with an advocacy agency. As is want to happen at these functions, we were dicussing the struggles that the advocacy community faces; not only the usual trouble related to funding and staff, but the fundamental issues that we find in garnering understanding from those outside the advocacy community.

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Why are we still struggling against partner and sexual violence? Why, in 2012, is this still even an issue? It isn’t even strictly about women. Partner violence is violence, no matter the gender of the perpetrator. Those of us fighting for the survivors don’t differentiate between gender, race, class or creed. We simply see people that need help and we want to be there to help them.

So, why, I asked her, are we having such trouble convincing people to help us help survivors? Not only help, but stop judging. I came to this conclusion: in large part it is an issue of understanding.

Sexual assault and domestic violence can all happen (though not exclusively) in established relationships. What does this mean? Women who drop charges against their abusers, or refuse to prosecute their rapist, to the frustration of police and the court system, are often linked to the perpetrator, emotionally and psychologically.

Imagine if your partner of 2 months or 12 years suddenly became abusive, the feelings of confusion that would accompany this sudden change in behavior. What would you think: what happened to them at work, or school? What happened today to upset them? Did I do something?

That’s how abuse often starts in these relationships; slowly, with psychological abuse, then the alienation of family and friends. By the time the physical abuse begins, the survivor often feels like they have no one and nowhere to find help.

Think about how many times it took you to break up with the last person you dated. Was the decision easy? Were you married, financially dependent on them? Were children involved? What about pets? Ending a relationship is difficult, even when violence isn’t involved. Now, what if that person was threatening to hurt you, your child, or your dog? Take your money, tell everyone lies about you? Murder you?

The most dangerous part of a relationship that involves domestic violence is when the survivor decides to leave. This is something advocates tell them. They tell survivors because they want them to safety plan, so that a survivor knows when they are planning to leave, that this part, NOW, is when they are in the most danger.

When you put it into perspective you can’t really blame the survivor for struggling with the choice to leave.

This is why advocates are so important – they have not and can not be alienated by abusers. They don’t fall for the tricks and the lies. They are willing to wait while a survivor rebuilds their self-esteem and sense of worth, builds their safety plan and gets ready to leave, to run, and sometimes to hide.

That’s why advocates need our support. More than ever. And I have a plan. Are you willing to help me?

copyright 2012 Michelle Cahill

Mission Statement 2012

It’s amazing to me that we are still having this conversation. It’s amazing to me that there are pundits who believe that the domestic terrorism of violence in a relationship is a secondary issue to who controls the oil in the Middle East. It’s amazing that Donald Trump demands a birth certificate and THAT gets more airtime, (it felt like a lifetime) than Nancy Grace bullying a woman on her show, the result of which was the woman’s suicide.

People twist the truth and change the numbers, spinning away until we’re all nauseous. It’s a game of power: chess and we’re the pieces. The truth is this: the safety of women, children, and men in this country should NOT be a political issue. It is NOT a talking point for the left, right, center. It IS a person’s right to be safe, secure, and sheltered. How else can one pursue their right to life, liberty and happiness? 

So together, over the next few days we are going to review some interesting facts. Some things that we all should know. How who and what we vote for actually DOES impact our daily lives. Let’s get informed, because we need to be. Now more than ever.

Dusting it off…

It’s been a year since my poor little blog was paid any attention by me. I went back to school and got some education. Graduated from a pretty spectacular program and learned a lot about the fine art of Chinese Medicine. Not enough to be allowed to put needles in people, but enough to use massage to help them feel better. Now I’m back, I’m refreshed and I have lots more to say… Luck you.

Stay tuned.