More #YesAllWomen Backlash & Myth-Information (It’s Math, Really)

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, then you may not have noticed how in love I am with the #YesAllWomen phenomenon. Personally, it became very difficult for me to maintain such conversations when Maya Angelou passed, but despite that, and the hashtag’s bump off the top trends at Twitter, I manage to maintain conversations. (My goal, and yours, should be to talk about the realities of women’s lives daily to ensure the conversations continue. The hatred and misogyny, the misinformation and bad defensive attitudes, they all continue so the conversations must.

Today’s example comes from the Washington Post: One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married.

Oh, sure, they went and changed that horrible title & subtitle…

yesallwomen backlash

But that’s not much better, is it?

The general point of view in the article itself is one of victim shaming. Along with that, there’s the whole shaming of single women, especially single mothers (see history of this here). — and the assertion that “single women who date more” are the problem is rife with problems. Simple, obvious problems.

Yes, it may be safer for women (& their children) if they remain with one man — but that’s because the majority of gender-based violence is committed by someone the woman knows. Ditto child abuse. So, even as the percentage of abusive men remains the same, the more men a woman knows, the greater the number of bad men she knows and so grows the likelihood that she will be attacked, raped, abused, etc.  Yup, that’s how math works.

So what W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson proclaim is that women, the victims and potential victims, once, must again, be the ones taught to control rape culture & misogyny. That way, if it happens to them, they are to blame. We give permission to men because the women didn’t protect themselves enough.

Why can’t the men be the ones educated and blamed?

One of the fundamental points of #YesAllWomen is that our culture has it all backwards. The burden should not be on women to take actions to prevent themselves from what men do, but that men need to cut this shit out. And we all need to stop justifying bad & violent behaviors.

I’ll Keep You In My Hoosegow, Valentine

Isn’t this a creepy, abusive-stalkery-type valentine? It takes the idea of a prisoner of your love to a whole new (low) level — complete with gun!

You’re the one I’ve been looking for,
My chase is over now.
No use in trying to escape —
For my heart’s a strong Hoosegow.
You’re Mine.

See it in action!

More images of this gem in the My Valentines Have Google Eyes post I made last year at the other blog.

If this is a necessary part of your collection, I’ve got it for sale in our case at Exit 55 Antiques — and they will ship to you. You can call the store between 10 am and 5 pm (central time) at (218) 998-3088 between 10 am and 5 pm (central time) any day. (Yup, the shop is open seven days a week!)

vintage mechanical hoosegow valentine

Brilliant Comic Highlights the Complexity of Speaking Out About Sexual Assault

Trigger Warning: This post mentions sexual violence, reactions to sexual violence, and victim blaming.

Speaking of sexism and comics, this simple 3 panel webcomic tweeted today by @GirlhoodStudies is alllll kinds of genius. It juxtaposes the kinds of reactions people have to hearing about sexual harrassment and, in doing so, shows the viewer how friggin’ hard to is to talk about sexual violence in a meaningful way – as if we didn’t know that already.

See on

Domestic Violence Permission Slips

refuge 1 in four domestic violenceWe, as a society, give many permission slips to abusers, excusing their abuse, violence & control with claims of “understandable stressors.” Perhaps no category of these permission slips is larger, more pervasive, than the economical permission slips.

Since society is made up of individuals, this is not surprising to me; I’ve seen the permission slips handed out personally — and in my own life.

When my ex husband, who was convicted of battery, first began his regime of oppression, I talked to others, including my parents, siblings, and friends.

When I complained that he was unrealistic in his expectations (a perfectly clean home with kids, the mandatory shutting of window blinds a specific time every evening, my accounting for every purchase down to each nickel, etc.), I was told to give him a break, “He’s got a new family,” “There’s a new mortgage,” “The economy’s bad in his industry,” etc.

When I expressed fear over his irrational anger (swearing, stomping, yelling, threatening to kill the cat), I was told the same things… And I could do a lot to help his disposition & my situation by doing the little things he asked for, like shutting the blinds at 5:30 and providing him with receipts and my left-over change for every purchase, including a soda pop at the gas station.

It may seem to you like “little things to do.” That even if they seem petty or downright silly, they are things I should have done to make him happy — and stop his yelling & stomping & threatening. I did them; I assure you I did. But there are problems with this theory, you see…

For one, my doing what he asked did not make him happy — or even happier. He simply made more lists of things I should be doing, and if I didn’t do them (or did them, but stopped doing the other things as well), the yelling & stomping continued. His greed for control grew.

And his power grew too.

I can’t say that he knew about my conversations, but he did know I was complying and doing the “fast as I can, Master” dance to please him. And so he knew he could ask for more.

And, boy, did he ask for more.

I mention this not just to point out examples of excuses we automatically give to controlling, abusive people, but to illustrate what happens to the one who is controlled and abused.

It wasn’t only that in doing such things I was devalued & debased — what adult, let alone a parent, has to account & atone for buying a soda and lazily dropping the change into her purse — or is forced to shut the window blinds at home for a man who is not there anyway?

It wasn’t only that I had more irrational rules to follow & unrealistic things to do for him.

While those things are bad enough by themselves (and if you see yourself, your sister, your friend in such a situation — get help!), probably the worst thing is that I was losing my support system.

With every “silly” complaint I made, I was losing credibility & respect outside my own home; I was the complainer.

Every time someone else that I went to for help told me to “buck up” (which, in reality, was saying, “knuckle under”), I lost my ability to trust them.

As time goes by, these are the things which only widens & deepens your isolation. You, bit by bit & one by one, kill-off your relationships and don’t have a support system.

Then, when you are on your own, you only have two voices: His & yours. And you can’t trust yours because you were wrong, see — otherwise your family & friends wouldn’t have said those things, wouldn’t have split…

I know because I lost my ability to trust myself.

I thought I should just “buck up” and “knuckle under” because that’s what everyone had said I should do — my own voice needed to shut-up, my own gut was horribly wrong.

So even if you have a person left who is willing to listen to you, you fear your fears will only be heard as whiny complaints… And if that’s what they are, complaints & not fears, then you are wrong. You are as wrong & bad & worthless as he treats you — no wonder you have to account for every nickel you spend & be given a time to shut the blinds & stomped at for not reading his mind! Saying anything to anyone else was a giant “I told you so!” — proof that he was right.

So you say less… Say nothing. Until you are bereft of power as you are support (external & internal support systems). The only thing you have is him, and when you’re so dependent upon him — you’d better do what he wants.

Giving him excuses, was giving him permission to be so controlling. With each additional permission slip, he was granted more power & control — while I was reduced to nothingness, completely dependent upon him because I was isolated & unable to trust myself.

We need to stop making excuses for abusive behaviors, stop giving them excuses for why they control, stop handing them permission slips for unacceptable actions & belief systems. We need to start believing in the “complaints” and fears of those who are abused, help them stand up for their rights, support them if/when they need to leave, and show the victims that we both hear them and are here for them. We must stop giving control freaks & abusive jerks excuses which are permission slips for continuing their persecution of the very people they profess to love.

Image from Refuge.

Happy Birthday Me

Birthdays are a time of reflection — but don’t worry, this isn’t one of those sentimental personal pieces full of beauty and gratitude, a wistful and wise piece about aging, or even one of those sad yet triumphant stories of survival. While I have moments of deep gratitude, brief bits of wisdom, and small moments in which I feel triumph sits on the horizon like a ship I can see and might one day board, I’m still working on all those things.

Instead, this birthday is like most birthdays since I was to turn 16. That year I told my parents that I didn’t need or deserve a party; I had achieved nothing and they deserved the credit for having kept me alive. Today I feel rather the same — only with a much heavier sense of futility. For in 48 years, neither the world, my status in it, nor my feelings about it has changed much.

I was born on June 21, 1964; I joined this world, as Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney left it. My mother’s screams may have been dulled by the twilight sleep of that time’s hospital deliveries, but I passed through the same veil, entered the ether echoing with the agony, pain, and fear of those men, their families and friends, and all who possess any shred of humanity… And I have lived in a country filled with those sounds and the stink of racism ever since.

I was born white; but such privilege doesn’t preclude the ability to know how wrong racism is, to hate what separates and enslaves.  …To feel the futility of such efforts even to educate that we the privileged have an obligation to do what is right is a heavy rope around my own neck.

I was born a girl; I joined this world with my rights up for debate and my womb under the control of others men. Any progress towards equality and the right to my own person has been met with struggle, abated with state allowed terrorism, and, indeed, is being wrestled away as I sit here today. Such abuse, rape, and control by the state fills me with the same pain, indignity, helplessness, and shame as the abuse, rape, and control experienced at the hands of individuals. …And then there are the more subtle, less violent, means of control — disrespect, dismissing, muzzling, belittling, economic inequality, shaming — used to assert government control, which perpetuates the abuses by individuals.

I was born “straight”; but, like being white, I know that my privilege of heterosexuality obligates me behave as a human being towards my fellow human beings. Ostracization and inequality based on orientation &/or gender identity is still in practice, in vogue in some places. It sickens, saddens, and wearies me as if it were my own personal struggle. …Then again, since this is very much tied to male power, beliefs about sexuality, it really mirrors — nay, is, my personal struggle.

I was born without silver spoon in mouth, or nearby. My parents worked tirelessly to provide a better future for their children. It was achieved; but brief. Those born with silver services and gold flatware have worked just as tirelessly to ensure that the poor and middle class would assume their place at the feet of their economic masters. I now work tirelessly to ensure my children survive; “thrive” is a question which lies under the boot heels of social and economic masters — i.e. wealthy white men and their corrupt corporations which are allowed human status.

Survival isn’t as easy as it sounds.

So you’d think I could hang my proverbial birthday hat on that, give myself some credit for just having made it to 48.

But I am just too tired.

Too tired to even go, as is my birthday custom, and visit graveyards and cemeteries. For when I see how the nuns who gave their lives in service and faith are buried like paupers, adoringly facing the monuments of their male leaders — presumably to serve even in death, I cannot bear the energy such emotion evokes. Not even when I see that the little cement slabs which mark where the nuns lay are less lavish, less cared for, than the markers for the never-born, the aborted. Really? Are female lives given in such service worth so little that they must still be treated as less-than virtual beings, ideas of beings?! It’s all just too-too much.

A lifetime of so little progress is just too much.

Toxic Break-Ups (Stalking)

Hey Alessia,

I dated this guy for about 6 months — about 6 months ago now. But he continues to call me — at home, at work, on my cell. I’ve told him in no uncertain terms to bug off, but every time he calls or leaves messages (because I avoid his calls if I can see it is him), he acts like I’ve never said such a thing. Worse, he’ll leave me messages to meet him somewhere and when I naturally have not done so (I avoid — like the plague — any bars, restaurants, etc. where we ever went just so I won’t even accidentally be where he wants me to be at any given point in time), he calls back ranting like a lunatic, asking why I stood him up.

Yesterday I came home late from work (I had stopped by my mom’s house for dinner), and I found a note from him on my door — a “where are you, you should be home by now!” note that sounded pissy. Granted I could be reading said pissy-ness into that note — but only because of his angry voice mails.

What am I supposed to do to lose this guy for real?

Sneaking-into-my-own-apartment Susan

Susan, you should not have to slink & sneak your way into your apartment or anywhere else. No means no means no means no.

You’ve made it clear you’re done, avoided him, and six moths later he’s still around?! That’s not him having a tough time with the break-up; that’s stalking.

Gather all harassing evidence you have saved from him — voice mails, texts, notes, emails, etc. — and present it to the police. (And, should the police do nothing, continue this every day, week, that it occurs until the police take action.)

Do the same with your employer. Regardless of whether or not the police take action, your employer needs to know you will not accept contact with this jerk.

Notify all landlord and your neighbors. Show them a photo & let them know he is not a friend of yours; they should call the police &/or alert you if they see him about the building, parking lot etc.

Tell all your family & friends about the situation. Especially those who have met him &/or those who he would be able to contact or visit.

Never be alone in public — easier said than done, sometimes, I know; but try to avoid arriving or leaving any place alone. And, even when out in a group, be sure to let someone who is not out with you know when and where you are going as well as when you are expected to return. (Remember to let them know when you are safely home!) Tell them who to call if you are — heaven forbid — missing or unable to speak for yourself.

Every time he even attempts to make contact with you, is spotted by neighbors, friends etc., contact the authorities.

Do not cut corners on any of this. Yes, it places a burden on you and those who care for you; but the alternative is simply no alternative at all.

Short-Term Emergency Escape Plans From Abusers

In Emergency Plan = Emotional Pain, Kellie Jo writes, “It’s one thing to know you need an emergency plan to escape possible domestic abuse, and another thing entirely to create it.” And then she proceeds to describe how her attempts went.

The first failed because it wasn’t well thought out enough — in fact, as she states, it was only a plan to get out of the house, get temporary relief, not leave her marriage.

I remember too many of those episodes myself; they’re hard to talk about.

The worst was the time I managed to get out of the apartment, shoeless but with my coat, and went to hide behind the small building behind the pool. It had a shoveled path, so there were no footprints for him to follow, and allowed me to remain unseen (by him and anyone else at the complex). On a slight hill, I had a view, just over my shoulder, of anyone approaching — as long as I sat in a giant snow drift. I kept myself warm by swigging from the bottle of vodka I had managed to swipe off the counter on my way out the door. I felt victorious when I saw him stomping out of the apartment, slamming the door behind him, on his way to the parking lot. I remember smugly giggling when he squealed out onto the main road.

But then I knew I’d have to go back; shoeless and tipsy in a snowbank was not how I wanted to be found — or how I wanted to die.

From then on, I was prepared. I kept a cheap paperback novel in one pocket of my old coat, gloves and a hat in the other, and slip-on shoes in the sleeves. I’d escape to the drive-up window area of a bank, read by the light of the (fortunately not-oft used) ATM, feeling vindicated if not protected by the angel that was the bank’s overhead camera. If he came and got me, if he attacked, if I disappeared one day, all would be on tape.

Escape Key Tee
But, like Kellie Jo, this was an escape from immediate danger, a respite plan, not a safety plan to get out of the relationship.

It sounds crazy to those who don’t live with abuse or an abuser, but these tricks often save our lives. At least in the short term. And they build our escape muscles.

We not only flee danger, but give ourselves the time and space to think. We think about what we need and create plans when we sit alone in our cars, under the shield of bank cameras, or swigging booze to dull the pain sitting without shoes in snowbanks. Those small successes also are proof that we can get away — and one day, when we get the right plan, we will get away for real.

Image Credits: The Escape Key by schmang.

What We Can Learn From Teen Dating Violence

Talk about burying the lead…

A recent survey commissioned by the Family Violence Prevention Fund and Liz Claiborne Inc. and conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) set out to explore “how the economy has impacted dating relationships among young adolescents and to determine the level and impact of parental engagement in the issue of teen dating violence and abuse.” The survey, Impact of the Economy and Parent/Teen Dialogue on Dating Relationships and Abuse, titled their press release New Research Finds Possible Link between Troubled Economy and High Levels of Teen Dating Abuse, despite the fact that the findings were about far more then the “media popular” word “economy.”

A new survey reports today that teens nationwide are experiencing significant levels of dating abuse, and the economy appears to be making it worse. Nearly half of teens (44 percent) whose families have experienced economic problems in the past year report that they have witnessed their parents abusing each other.
Sixty-seven percent of these same teens experienced some form of violence or abuse in their own relationships and report a 50 percent higher rate of dating abuse compared to teens who have not witnessed domestic violence between their parents.

While it’s not exactly news that domestic violence increases with stressers such as economic troubles, failure to focus on the horror of parents abusing each other (and in such a high percentage as 44%) is a bit disturbing on several levels — even if the survey was about teens. Put a pin in this; we’ll be back to it in a few minutes.

The survey findings continue:

For the first time, data also shows that despite the fact that the majority of parents say they are comfortable talking about these issues, parents are not effective in educating their children about the dangers of dating abuse. 74 percent of sons and 66 percent of daughters say they have not had a conversation about dating abuse this past year. Even more troubling, the majority of teens who are in abusive relationships report they have not talked to their parents. Of the fewer than one-third who do confide in their parents, 78 percent report staying in these abusive relationships despite their parents’ advice.

Note the glaring statistic: 74 percent of sons and 66 percent of daughters say they have not had a conversation about dating abuse this past year. Evidence that we are not talking to our sons about violence, which leaves them vulnerable to abuse, but also perpetuates the BS that it’s a “women’s issue” and not the responsibility of men.


But now, in the “Hurray! We’re doing something!” part, something else disturbs me…

“This poll shows a disconnect between what some parents think is happening with their teenage children and what teens say they are experiencing,” said Family Violence Prevention Fund President (FVPF), Esta Soler. “Not enough parents recognize behaviors that may be warning signs of abuse. It concerns us that about one-third of parents don’t recognize that isolation from family, being kept away from family by a dating partner, and isolation from friends can be danger signs. We are making progress educating parents, but we’d like those numbers to be higher. So we have more work to do. Dating violence is a huge problem in this country, and we need parents, schools and everyone to take responsibility for helping keep teens safe. Macy’s is leading the way with its support for the RESPECT! campaign, which offers the tools parents need to define and promote healthy relationships, and intervene effectively if abuse begins.”

Remember when I asked you to put a pin in that part about domestic violence in the teens’ homes? Well, if 44% of the teen homes surveyed had “parents abusing each other,” then the following can easily be concluded:

Both the parent being abused and their partner (spouse, co-parent, etc.), would be under the influence of domestic violence. They might see the abuse mirrored in their child’s dating relationship, but either A), as the abuser, think it’s OK, B), as the one abused, have no power or influence to intervene (they even may have tried to intervene but were punished for it), &/or C), as the one abused, they too are isolated — and discredited.

Similarly, the teens themselves would be stuck in belief that it’s OK, be dismissive of parents’ comments because they themselves are “living it,” &/or feel powerless in general because of living with domestic violence in the household.

I’m not saying that teen dating violence should not be of any concern, but the data in this survey reveals that the prevalence of domestic violence, especially when combined with gender-skewed safety education, means that such violence prevails because we are too busy providing reasons such as “it’s a tough economy” that “explain” violence rather than flat out condemn it.

Driving Female Victims Crazy

Women, report rape, get labeled as having a mental illness. This isn’t only something that happens in the military, you know; it’s just easier to document this group of women and to hold an institution accountable. At least we hope it will be easier to hold the military accountable for this! However, the rest of us who are victimized aren’t officially given a psychiatric discharge to track.

If we live to tell of the abuses we suffered (and even a one-time assault has abusive consequences from the very persons, places, and institutions we are taught will protect us, provide justice, and support us), we are then treated to the same devices our abusers employed: Isolation.

We are silenced, ostracized, demonized, all but abandoned by a society which would rather believe (if they believe us at all) that we had somehow deserved or at least brought such atrocities — because to think otherwise is to believe that the boogeyman isn’t some stranger under our beds, but rather the man we lay with in our beds. The resulting isolation alone is enough to depress. Yet that isn’t they type of “crazy” they’ll be satisfied with either.

Women need to be put in their place with stronger, more pathological or violent diagnoses, so that we can be even less credible, dismissed completely. We are medicated (if we are white enough) and even institutionalized. There’s a long history of this, which Karen Essex shares:

I read the psychiatric journals of the period, which prescribed bizarre treatments for ladies who were “hysterical,” which usually turned out to mean that they were “excitable in the presence of men.” In many instances, the desire to read all day or engage in intellectual studies, were also regarded as symptoms of mental illness in the female. Young women were committed to asylums for doing cartwheels in mixed company, for desiring sex with someone other than one’s husband, or for staring seductively at a man. Most behavior that showed spunk, spirit, or sexual need, was pathologized.

All sorts of harrowing and torturous cures were developed to “settle” these women – restraints, forced housework (to help them remember their true natures), repeated plunges in ice water, and force-feeding, to name a few. As mental illness in females was thought to originate in the womb, doctors also were obsessed with menstrual cycles, figuring that if a patient’s cycle could be regulated to a strict 28-30 day cycle, the “illness” of wanting to have sex or read books all day, would disappear. Not coincidentally, an irregular cycle was also considered a sign of mental illness and required treatment.

If pure “spirit” or too much personality at odds with a man’s opinion is a problem, just imagine what daring to accuse a man will do to upset the apple cart.

(Absurd medical practices based on the thought that a woman’s menstrual cycle has any connection to her existence in utero, or manipulation of the former can correct the latter aside… If mental illness in women originates in the womb, just try to get insurance to cover that preexisting condition!)

But wait; there’s more.

You can be among the more fortunate of us and have escaped assaults, abuse and violence and still suffer. As I’ve asked before, in a social world of politics & legislation which tries to control us & our bodies, how do we keep perspective, how do we honestly keep our sanity in this mess?

Is simply being a woman in today’s society a reason why so many women, more than men, are medicated? I can feel a reason why more women in my age bracket of “over 45” are feeling crazy– as Angela Davis notes, 40 years later, and so many issues for women’s equality still have not been resolved.

Perhaps this why there’s something called feminist therapy.

Techniques that are used by therapists include helping the client understand the impact of gender roles in their lives, to provide clients with insight into ways social issues affect their problems, to emphasize power differences between men and women in society, to help clients recognize different kinds of power that they possess and how they and others exercise their power.

If your insurance will pay for it, of course.

Oiy, and before anyone whines or complains; I don’t hate men.

“Unsolicited Advice To Adolescent Girls With Crooked Teeth And Pink Hair”

I absolutely adore this piece by Jeanann Verlee:

Unsolicited Advice To Adolescent Girls With Crooked Teeth And Pink Hair

When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys call asking your cup size, say A, hang up. When he says you gave him blue balls, say
you’re welcome. When a girl with thick black curls who smells like bubble gum stops you in a stairwell to ask if you’re a boy, explain that you keep
your hair short so she won’t have anything to grab when you head-butt her. Then head-butt her. When a guidance counselor teases you for handed-down
jeans, do not turn red. When you have sex for the second time and there is no condom, do not convince yourself that screwing between layers of underwear will soak up the semen. When your geometry teacher posts a banner reading: “Learn math or go home and learn how to be a Momma,” do not take your first feminist stand by leaving the classroom. When the boy you have a crush on is sent to detention, go home. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boy with the blue mohawk swallows your heart and opens his wrists, hide the knives, bleach the bathtub, pour out the vodka. Every time. When the skinhead girls jump you in a bathroom stall, swing, curse, kick, do not turn red. When a boy you think you love delivers the first black eye, use a screw driver, a beer bottle, your two good hands. When your father locks the door, break the window. When a college professor writes you poetry and whispers about your tight little ass, do not take it as a compliment, do not wait, call the Dean, call his wife. When a boy with good manners and a thirst for Budweiser proposes, say no. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys tell you how good you smell, do not doubt them, do not turn red. When your brother tells you he is gay, pretend you already know. When the girl on the subway curses you because your tee shirt reads: “I fucked your boyfriend,” assure her that it is not true. When your dog pees the rug, kiss her, apologize for being late. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Jersey City, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Harlem, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because your air conditioner is broken, leave him. When he refuses to keep a toothbrush at your apartment, leave him. When you find the toothbrush you keep at his apartment hidden in the closet, leave him. Do not regret this. Do not turn red. When your mother hits you, do not strike back.

Via PANK Magazine.

Image via.

Cheap Thrills Thursday: Skeeter Davis Was A Lover (Not A Fighter)

Skeeter Davis fan club pinback, circa 1970s, printed with her photo and one of her song titles, I’m A Lover (Not A Fighter).

Here are the song lyrics:

I only married you for love dear I didn’t go for all of your dough
Now and then you say you love me but honey baby it didn’t show
I never seemed to please you lately cause all you ever do is complain
I’m sick of this fussin’ and fightin’ so baby let your loving woman explain.

I’m a lover not a fighter
I kinda like it that way
If you want a fightin’ partner
Go live with Cassius Clay.

— Instrumental —

A woman is soft and tender and willing to love her man
So why don’t you take advantage of the woman that you know I am
I don’t want to fuss and fight dear for the rest of my natural life
Stop treatin’ me like your enemy start treatin’ me like a wife.

I’m a lover not a fighter
I kinda like it that way
If you want a fightin’ partner
Go live with Cassius Clay.

I’m a lover not a fighter
I kinda like it that way
If you want a fightin’ partner
Go live with Cassius Clay.

I’m a lover not a fighter
I kinda like it that way
If you want a fightin’ partner
Go live with Cassius Clay…

Resist, And You Are Called Confrontational. Or Mentally Ill.

Remember the Nirvana song Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle?

Here’s Kurt Cobain’s response to, “So why was Frances Farmer such an inspiration?” (Melody Maker, August 28th, 1993)

“Well, you know, I’d read some books about her and I found her story interesting. She was a very confrontational person.”

Extremely confrontational.

Selfish, maybe. “That’s not what I got from the books I read. Actually, I did from two of the biographies I read about her, but there was one, ‘Shadowland’, the best one, written by this PI from Seattle who researched it for years, and I didn’t get that impression from that one. She was obviously a difficult person, and got more and more difficult as the years went on, as people started to fuck with her more and more.

“I mean, she was institutionalised numerous times and, in the place in Washington where she ended up, the custodians had people lining up all the way through the halls, waiting to rape her. She’d been beaten up and brutally raped for years, every day. She didn’t even have clothes most of the time.

“Courtney especially could relate to Frances Farmer. I made the comparison between the two. When I was reading the book, I realised that this could very well happen to Courtney if things kept going on. There’s only so much a person can take, you know?

“I’ve been told by doctors and psychiatrists that public humiliation is one of the most extreme and hardest things to heal yourself from. It’s as bad as being brutally raped, or witnessing one of your parents murdered in front of your eyes or something like that. It just goes on and on, it grinds into you and it’s so personal.

“And the Frances Farmer thing was a massive conspiracy involving the bourgeois and powerful people in Seattle, especially this one judge who still lives in Seattle to this day. He led this crusade to so humiliate her that she would go insane. In the beginning, she was hospitalised – totally against her will – and she wasn’t even crazy. She got picked up on a drunk driving charge and got committed you know. It was a very scary time to be confrontational.”

Though nothing could excuse what was done to her, even the most reverent accounts of Farmer’s life don’t attempt to deny that she was on extremely difficult person, that her much-vaunted independence often amounted to a ruthless self-interest that left her indifferent to the suffering she caused. So she was no martyr.

But Farmer – beautiful, arrogant, creative, destructive and destroyed –does appear impossibly glamorous, especially from the safe distance of a few decades.

Is that what drew you to her?

“No. No, not at all”

The song, especially if Geffen have the good sense to release it as a single, may succeed in glamorising her.

How would you feel about that?

“I’d feel bad about that. I just simply wanted to remind people of tragedies like that. It’s very real and it can happen. People can be driven insane, they can be given lobotomies and be committed and be put in jails for no reason. I mean, from being this glamorous, talented, well-respected movie star, she ended up being given a lobotomy and working in a Four Seasons restaurant.

“And she hated the Hollywood scene, too, and was very vocal about it, so those people were involved in the conspiracy, too. I just wanted to remind people that it happened and it has happened forever.”

Most of your songs are, in one way or another, about suffering. A popular liberal notion is that suffering ennobles. Do you think there’s any truth to that?

“It can, it can. I think a small amount of suffering is healthy. It makes your character stronger.”

Do you think you’ve suffered on a large or small scale?

“What do you think I think?”

Don’t know.

“I’ve suffered on a large scale but most of the attacks haven’t been on me, they’ve been on someone I’m totally in love with, my best fucking friend is being completely fucking crucified every two months, if not more. I read a negative article about her every two months.”

Why read it? Why torture yourself?

“A lot of the time I can’t escape it because Courtney gets faxes of articles from the publicist all the time. But also it’s a form of protection. It enables you to remember … and to make sure you never deal with those people again. And another reason we like to read it is that we can learn from the criticism, too. If I never read any of the interviews I did, I’d never be able to say ‘Jeez, that was a pretty stupid thing to say. I’d better try to clear that up.’”

I was first introduced to Frances Farmer — and subsequently fell in love with both her and Jessica Lange — in Frances (1982).

The book Cobain “recommends,” Shadowland, by William Arnold, and the ensuing (no pun intended as Arnold sued regarding the film) Lange movie may not be reliable, according to journalist and researcher Jeffrey Kauffman who has spent decades unraveling the Frances Farmer story. However, this doesn’t change much for me.

It’s not that I refuse to accept fact or Kauffman’s research; quite the contrary.  I find all the representations and misrepresentations as detrimental to Farmer as the life she did lead. Mental health, especially then, was not kind, no matter what the ignorant intention. The media has only become worse. Her life as a creative, passionate woman was painful, co-opted.

We All End Up Paying For It, Celebrities Or Not

Gawd I love Roseanne. There are about one million reasons to; here’s one more.

A very special quote from a very special article, And I Should Know, Barr had published at NYMag:

Based on Two and a Half Men’s success, it seems viewers now prefer their comedy dumb and sexist. Charlie Sheen was the world’s most famous john, and a sitcom was written around him. That just says it all. Doing tons of drugs, smacking prostitutes around, holding a knife up to the head of your wife—sure, that sounds like a dream come true for so many guys out there, but that doesn’t make it right! People do what they can get away with (or figure they can), and Sheen is, in fact, a product of what we call politely the “culture.”

After seeing one episode of Two and a Half Men, I (no prude, mind you) was aghast that this subject matter was on during the first hour of prime-time, a slot usually reserved for family programming.  Even if I didn’t have children, or it aired later at night, I wouldn’t have watched it because I don’t enjoy misogynistic television.

I also eschewed the show because I dislike Sheen. I knew the allegations about Sheen and his abusive behavior were true. Even before I experienced domestic violence in my first marriage.  And I have no problems not backing an abuser, no problem refusing to add my consumer clout to a celebrity brand — especially when they refuse to get help, continually mock their victims, and act entitled to their “right” to control and harm others.

And I don’t understand why more people don’t do this, don’t refuse to line the pockets of violent losers who hurt people.

I don’t know what Sheen’s entire problem is; and I really don’t care because he has a wealth of resources and people to support him in his hour lifetime of need. But even if it’s only due in part to the “culture” Roseanne refers to, we all end up paying for it; so why perpetuate it?

Responding To’s Top 10 Scary Girlfriend Behaviors

Alessia here, responding to’s Top 10 Scary Girlfriend Behaviors, so that they — and you — can, you know, learn something.

10 She knows things about you that you haven’t told her. Uh, maybe that’s because you men are transparent children and we can see right through you.

9 She introduces herself to your family & friends behind your back. OK, that is wildly inappropriate, if not down-right scary stalker behavior. Girls & boys, don’t do that. However…

This line, “If she gets in good with the ones you trust, it will be much harder to give her the eventual heave-ho,” is stupid. Unless you are a completely dependent or codependent person, any grown-up can and does run their own relationships and break-ups.

8 She responds to messages on your behalf. Unless she was practicing number 9 — or you were, silly boy, by not being a gown-up and avoiding things, this doesn’t really happen.

7 She has all your passwords without you having given them to her. This is like stalker No 9 behavior. Learn boundaries, people.

6 She shows up in places unexpectedly. First of all, don’t tell her where you’ll be if you don’t want her to know — that way, unless she’s a stalker doing number 9 things, it won’t happen. But girls, if a guy didn’t invite you, you’re not welcome. And that doesn’t have to be personal; it’s just some personal time.

5 She made a key to your house without asking. The article continues to say, “How she did it isn’t important right now because you should be much more concerned with why she did it and what you’re going to have to say to get it back.” Well, the freaking “how” is important. Because unless you’re a weak dude who won’t admit you actually gave her the key (or one to copy), the chick is not right in the head. Ditto guys who do this to girls.

4 She stops taking birth control without telling you. There’s so much wrong with this, I have to show it to you:

As crazy as she’s been acting, the sex is still porn-movie material. It makes sense because the crazy ones are always phenomenal in the sack. You ditched the love glove weeks ago because she is on the pill. At least you think she is on the pill. You haven’t see her take it, she hasn’t had to stop at the pharmacy for a refill and, now that you think about it, you can’t recall the last time she had a monthly visit from “Aunt Flo.”

How to handle it: You could just be imagining things, but come right out and ask her if she is still on birth control. Ask to see proof. Make up an excuse, like a friend who just found out his girlfriend is unexpectedly expecting, and it made you realize that you’re in no way ready to be a dad. She’ll want to ease your fears and show that she still pops the pill daily. If she can’t show proof, you’ll need to make a pit stop at the pharmacy for a new stock of rubber raincoats and a home pregnancy test.

Whoa, there’s so much unconditional love and trust going on there, I’m nearly at a loss for words. Nearly.

Dudes, did she ever say she was on the pill or any other birth control? If she did, she’ll tell you if/when she’s going to stop. Likely she’ll tell you why too. But she will tell you before she stops and probably even tell you to go get condoms. Why? Because she knows she’s the one at greatest risk with a pregnancy, so she’ll avoid it.

Unless, of course, all your worst stereotypical male behavior is an indication that you are living in some soap opera or movie… Then yeah, she’s gonna try to trap you into marriage by having you help create a fetus; because we womenfolk know just how well that works out for us.

(That’s dripping with sarcasm; I tell you that because if you’re so dumb as to believe this has a greater likelihood of occurrance than her killing you and your entire family, you probably can’t figure it out.)

3 She gets physical when arguing. Yes, that is scary. (Though the odds of that are far less than the odds of you men hitting a woman.) But you missed the opportunity here,, to suggest how to properly deal with abuse, i.e. get professional help for the both of you &/or stop dating/end contact entirely.

2 She threatens to hurt/kill herself. Yup, that’s scary. Neither guys nor girls should do this. Also see my previous advice about getting professional help, etc.

But then, article author Chris Illuminati (an ironic pen name, I suppose?), you had to go and say this: “The other scary behaviors should have raised enough red flags.”

OMG here I thought we were talking about the Top 10 Scary Things Women Can Do, not building the stalking pyramid of danger of one freak of a girlfriend!

I don’t want to blame a victim, but if this is all the same woman why didn’t you leave earlier? Why, Chris, didn’t you better title and otherwise sell this article as the 10 Steps To Death From A Lover?

1 She won’t let you break up with her. I think that’s a repeat of number two, personally… Or at least one and two should be reversed because only an spineless idiot is more freaked by continued contact than by suicidal (or homicidal) threats.

Yes, you ignore all contact with her; yes, you tell your family & friends do please do the same. And if we are talking about the same chick (or dude) here, you also contact the police so that there is a record of the stalking behavior and perhaps you change your phone number, tell family and friends you’ve done so (possiblly have them do the same).

And really, is this comical photo the one you should really be using here? Really?

For Those Who Think Pin-Ups Are Stuck-Up, I Guess…

A vintage ceramic pinup — pencil holder?! While I struggle with the idea of such a pencil holder, what else could it be?

The seller, luxebetty,shares the following details:

Made in Japan 5 1/2″ tall by 5″ wide and 2″ deep. …holds 6-10 pens, markers or pencils.

So you know luxebetty’s stuck stuff in this pinup’s butt.

While I have no idea to see figurine rape, I kinda want to see the pencils sticking out… Just to see if that’s really the intended purpose.

I struggle with stuff like this; I really do.

Moby Vs. The Funding Terminator

Continuing to salute men who care enough to do something, I bring you the happy news that Moby has announced that he will donate 100% of the proceeds of his three California tour dates to help the state’s domestic violence shelters which have been struggling ever since Governor Schwarzenegger eliminated all State funding for shelter services back in July.

From Moby’s announcement:

Moby said that he wanted to make his donation in a way that would ensure that the funds had a statewide impact. “I’ve decided to give all of the revenue from my upcoming California shows to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence,” he said. “My hope is that by doing this I will enable domestic violence prevention workers to continue their work, and also encourage other people to step in and help raise funds for domestic violence prevention and care. Domestic violence is equal parts prison and torture for many women, and my sincere hope is that we can step up and help to protect women in California and end domestic violence.”

For more, you can see this CNN video with Moby.

I’d like to be all poetic and say something witty, like how the pen may be mightier than the sword, but music is mightier than the governor’s pen, but well, I’m just glad someone is doing something. And, as Moby also reminds us, you can do something too: donate to the CPEDV.

Boo-Hoo, Poor Wife-Beater Complains

I was going to write a rabid response to this bozo who wrote into “Since You Asked” at Salon, whining that it’s unfair that he should have to worry about his current girlfriend’s response to discovering that he — on more than one occasion — abused his former wife:

On half a dozen occasions, during the first few years of my decades-long marriage, I physically abused my wife. This abuse, and the years we went without discussing it, was one of the factors that led to our recent divorce. The divorce itself led me into therapy where I was able to understand my reasons for the abuse, and the effect it had on both my wife and our relationship …

Currently, I’ve started seeing someone else and this woman means a lot to me. Our relationship is at a point where we’ve started talking about sharing a future together; however, I haven’t told her about the abuse in my previous relationship. I want her to know because it’s part of my past — albeit a very painful, unflattering part — but I believe that she may leave me once I tell her. To complicate matters, my ex-wife, in a bit of uncharacteristic malice, has announced her intentions to tell any woman I might be in a relationship with about the abuse at their first meeting.

So, I’m scared and confused. I want to tell my girlfriend about my past, but also want her to understand that she’s not at risk of being abused. And ideally, she would choose not to dump me.

But when I discovered that Heartless Doll had posted such a good response, I figured I should save my efforts for an issue/occasion when I’m more needed. You should go read her entire post, but here are her much applauded highlights:

  • Anyone with a history of abuse who thinks they are an “ex” abuser is a holy-cow-you’re-pretty-much-about-to-do-this-again-abuser, not dissimilar to the “ex” alcoholic who believes she can have “just one.”
  • Not disclosing a violent (and probably controlling) past to someone who has a vested interest in knowing whether or not you’re violent and controlling is … violent and controlling.
  • Not wanting to “get dumped” is a bad reason not to tell someone the truth about a history of abuse. Because she will find out, and then you will definitely be dumped.
  • An ex-wife who refuses to stay silent about your abuse is not exercising “malice.” She’s “refusing to continue be a victim” so that you can “bone some girl.”

One Thing We All Can Do To Address Violence & Abuse In Relationships

People often ask me, the tireless big mouth on the subject of toxic relationships, what’s one thing anyone and everyone should do to prevent such bad relationships. My response is to tell them to educate children.

Children need to be taught that they have rights to their own bodies, that they have a right to be and feel safe, and that when either they or their rights have been violated, what they ought to do about it. (Here’s a good starting place.)

If you disagree, if you “yeah-but” a list of excuses why not to educate children about their own rights and safety, then you need to look at what messages you learned and perpetuate — yes, your personal choice to remain silent on educating children about their own rights and safety is perpetuating the taboos that allow children to be victimized.

When children grow up certain of their own rights to their own bodies and are armed with the knowledge of what to do if they should be abused or have their rights violated, they grow up to become adults who are confident in their rights, demand respect, respect & protect the rights of others — including taking legal action against those who commit such trespasses.

Divorce: Is It Really Funny ‘Cuz It’s True?

At first glance, these “grounds for divorce” snippets from a 1949 issue of Quick magazine seem funny — but then you read them, and then…


You realize that it’s not funny when a husband controls and limits his wife.  Sure, painting a car so that it’s too embarrassing to be seen in it sounds funny (and it sure isn’t flattering to Zona, making her look like a shallow materialistic person), but he has no right to limit her life like that.

And it sure, Tai-chien’s divorce story lends itself to a visual of his four wives disagreeing with his opinion that multiple marriages are OK — providing a punchline worthy of Leno. But Tai-chien broke the lawand probably four hearts too.  That’s not so funny, is it.

Finally, Sexual Assault Tips That Don’t Blame The Victims!

I didn’t write these rules — and neither did Jess McCabe at The F Word, where I found them — but as you see, we’re all supposed to share these rules:

Please distribute this list. Put it up in your place of work, in your university’s library or wherever you think they might be read:

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

Any tips you all would add?

Tips For Dating A Married Man?!

At, Von-Anise McCoy posted No Judgement Fridays: Five Tips To Follow When Dating a Married Man. While I applaud the spirit of no judgements, and I certainly agree that a man or woman in a committed relationship is the one doing the cheating (not the one dating the married or previously committed person) and is one who will likely cheat regardless of your individual “yes” or “no,” I cannot applaud this article.

I take great issue with McCoy’s tips for what they represent: agreeing to a relationship with a person committed elsewhere is to agree to center the relationship based on their needs, not your own.

That is a tacit agreement to make yourself secondary, if not worse. And by “if not worse,” I refer not only to the number of your subjugated position on the list, but to the game playing involved.

The whole set-up is abusive — and when you agree to that, you abuse yourself.

Look at McCoy’s rules — spot the degradation, the use (abuse) of others, the game-playing and dishonesty which plagues not the married or committed person, but the one dating him/her and others involved!

You are number two in his world so play your position.

Keep a man and when I say man, I mean another male companion.

Low-income men are not an option.

Never say the three words, “I Love You!”

This last one is an oldie but a goodie: He is never leaving his wife for you, never, ever, ever no matter how much he may complain about their relationship.

The advice isn’t wrong; it’s all sound if you want to play that game. But who wants to play a game that defeats them at every turn, with no chance of winning because the game is skewed to screw them (literally & figuratively) while it panders to the married or taken?

Wouldn’t the best sound advice be to point out to these women just how unfair to themselves dating a married man is?

I agree these women do not need a morality lecture, but wouldn’t these women be best served by advice which points out the truth of their own willingness to settle for less the least for themselves?

Alcohol Consumption, Alcohol Policies, and Risky Sexual Behaviors

According to work by Sara Markowitz, Robert Kaestner, and Michael Grossman, “There appears to be no evidence suggesting a causal role of alcohol use in determining the probability of having sex.”

Linda Gorman breaks it down:

The consequences of risky sexual behavior fall heavily on teenagers and young adults. In 2002, the incidence rate for chlamydia was 297 per 100,000 population for persons of all ages, 1483 for teenagers, and 1610 for young adults. Similar age disparities are found for gonorrhea, with incidence rates per 100,000 population of 125, 476, and 593, respectively. Moreover, approximately half of all new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in the United States occur among people under age 25. Current teen rates of pregnancy and out-of-wedlock birth in the United States are high by historical standards and high relative to other developed countries.

Although alcohol use has traditionally been associated with risky sexual behavior, there is still a question as to whether excess alcohol consumption causes an increase of risky sexual behavior among young adults. In An Investigation of the Effects of Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol Policies on Youth Risky Sexual Behaviors (NBER Working Paper No. 11378), co-authors Sara Markowitz, Robert Kaestner, and Michael Grossman ask whether alcohol use promotes risky sexual behavior and whether there are public policies that can reduce risky sexual behavior by reducing alcohol use.

The authors look at the influence of alcohol consumption on individual behavior using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the biennial Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. Alcohol use was defined as the number of days in the past 30 days that an individual reported having had at least one drink of alcohol and the number of days on which five or more drinks were consumed. They conclude that, “there appears to be no evidence suggesting a causal role of alcohol use in determining the probability of having sex.” There was some evidence, however, suggesting that alcohol consumption does “lower the probabilities of using birth control and condoms” among sexually active teens.

The authors use aggregate data on the reported incidence of gonorrhea and AIDS infections by state to measure whether state and federal taxes on beer, county laws banning alcohol sales, laws governing blood alcohol levels, and zero tolerance laws for underage drinking and driving affect infection rates. Though women appear unaffected, zero tolerance laws appear to decrease the gonorrhea rate in males aged 15-19, and a one percent increase in beer taxes is associated a 1.1 percent reduction in the gonorrhea rate in young men aged 15-19 and 20-24. Neither the percentage of the population living in dry counties nor laws controlling blood alcohol rates affected either rate of infection.

Now compare and contrast that to Sara Markowitz’s research on the links between alcohol and violence and you’ll see the real reasons why drinking alcohol can be a problem for women.

Continuing The Domestic Violence Conversation

At Newsweek, Barbara Kantrowitz and Pat Wingert discuss domestic violence:

Domestic violence used to be the problem no one talked about. But in the past few years, the issue has clearly emerged from the shadows. This summer the Obama administration appointed longtime advocate Lynn Rosenthal to the newly created post of White House adviser on violence against women. Around the same time, singer Chris Brown pleaded guilty to a felony after being charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend, Rihanna; the case drew so much negative publicity for Brown that he had to embark on an intensive campaign to revive his image and his career. In an appearance earlier this month on Larry King Live, Brown even added victim to his résumé when he discussed growing up in a violent household himself.

All this attention creates a unique opportunity to find new ways to help the 1.5 million women who are raped or assaulted annually by a spouse or intimate partner, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But what’s the next step?

While the article doesn’t even pretend to have the answers, it is (another) step in dialog on a serious topic. However, when you read the comments you’ll find disturbing proof of how intent people are to down-play the realities of domestic violence in this country.

For every

Society was making progress in stopping domestic violence. Women were better able to access shelter, orders of protection, criminal prosecution of their abusers, divorce, support and the help of the community. As a result the rate of domestic violence homicide went down. This progress has been stopped or at least slowed by a particularly cruel tactic developed by male supremacists who encourage abusive fathers to go after custody even when they had little involvement with the children before the separation. The courts have been slow to recognize and respond to this tactic. Up-to-date research has now established beyond question that the broken custody court system has resulted in thousands of children being sent to live with abusers. Newsweek was one of the few members of the national media to expose this scandal in an excellent article by Sarah Childress. I hope you will follow-up on this subject by looking at the latest research. (Antisexistdad @ 09/17/2009 12:43:16 AM)

there’s a

There are more women in ER for bee stings than domestic violence of any kind let alone ‘blookdy pulp’. This article was for the sexist hysteria crowd. The author is no different than the birthers.” (eplurbis @ 09/19/2009 6:31:22 PM).

Read, cry, vomit, then discuss. Because if we stop at crying, or try to avoid vomiting by avoiding the subject, then we stop the conversation and let the problem continue.

And Another Thing… Are You The Shallow Person You Refuse To Date?

America, your apathy offends me.

Based on trending Twitter topics, popular blog stories, and popular keyword action, you are more concerned with the rude comments made by Kanye West and Taylor Swift’s hurt feelings than you are with the institutionalized victim blaming and other crimes of health care. What are the acts of one classless man when compared to the battered and shattered lives of women and children?

Based on trending Twitter topics, popular blog stories, and popular keyword action at the time, you were more concerned about Chris Brown‘s bow tie selection than his acts of violence towards Rihanna and his paltry sentencing — combined. Is deriding fashion more important than denouncing violence towards women?

What’s wrong with you?

Where do your priorities lie?

Are you the shallow person you say you want to avoid when dating?

If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem; if you aren’t willing to acknowledge the problem, if you won’t even express outrage at issues that matter but would rather focus on unimportant celeb dish, then you perpetuate the problem.

You, yes – you, are condoning acts of violence when pay attention to classless clutter. You, yes – you, are sanctioning the blaming of victims with your silence.

Your silly preoccupation with nothingness in light of what really matters offends me.

You are the shallow person you say you wish to avoid.

Feminism On A Friday

Some quick responses to what I’ve been reading this week…

First, The Cult of Masculinity by Jennifer Kesler, which clearly articulates thoughts in my own head & heart; specifically the following:

I must caution casual readers: this article is not a “Men’s Rights Activist” platform. The form of feminism I grew up taking seriously was the kind that believed the current patriarchal system was hurting both women and men, and wanted to replace it with something that would establish equal opportunity and equal responsibility for all adults (and legal protection for children and for adults unable to care for themselves). Men’s Rights Activism has a fatal flaw of interpreting natural consequences for male behavior – so long suppressed and suffered by innocents instead – as infringements of their rights, and this makes most MRA arguments illogical to the point of hilarity, if they weren’t so frightening in their blindness.

Kudos to Kesler.

If only this true equality existed — then I might not have to show you this recent post at Feministing about the cute nicknames given to men who assault women:

At Georgetown University yesterday morning, an unknown man revived a year-long series of assaults between GWU, Georgetown, and American University in which he breaks into women’s apartments near campus, lies down next to or on top of them while they sleep, attempts to enter them with his hand, then runs away when they scream. This earned him the nickname “The Georgetown Cuddler.”

“The Cuddler?!” Cuddling is a sign of affection, which implies caring for the other person, respecting at least the fact that they are separate from you & so, as autonomous beings, have their own bodies & feelings — and rights to same. Penetrating a non-consenting person, however, is as cuddly & affectionate as how I would respond to it — by striking his penis with my knee.

My reaction would be just another natural consequence the MRA folk would scream is unfair to men. *sigh*

The Facts About Children, Sex, Predators & The Internet

Last year the Internet Safety Technical Task Force released the Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies, the Final Report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force to the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking of State Attorneys General of the United States, but I wouldn’t have heard of it if it weren’t for the recent article by Michael Castleman at Psychology Today:

Last year, the attorneys general of 49 states created the Internet Safety Technical Task Force to investigate sexual solicitation of children by molesters who troll for targets using sites popular with kids, among them, MySpace and Facebook. The 278-page report concluded that there’s no real problem.

The task force, led by Harvard researchers, looked at reams of scientific data dealing with online sexual predation and found that children and teens were rarely propositioned for sex by adults who made contact via the Internet. In the handful of cases that have been documented-and highly publicized-the researchers found that the victims, almost always older teenagers, were usually willing participants already at risk for exploitation because of family problems, substance abuse, or mental health issues.

The report concluded that MySpace and Facebook “do not appear to have increased minors’ overall risk of sexual solicitation.” The report said the biggest risk to kids using social networks was bullying by other kids.

“This study shows that online social networks are not bad neighborhoods on the Internet,” said John Cardillo, whose company tracks sex offenders. “Social networks are very much like real-world communities that are inhabited mostly by good people who are there for the right reasons.”

The bottom line is, the actual threat to children from sexual predators online is negligible.

So I’m guessing the reason I hadn’t heard of this before was that the findings, though incredibly clear, aren’t willing to be heard & accepted by the population at large. Instead of shouting from the rooftops that the internet is as safe a place as any for children, or even breathing a sign of relief, people would prefer far more salacious, fear-mongering headlines.

In truth, the actual Internet Safety Technical Task Force report says that, “Bullying and harassment, most often by peers, are the most frequent threats that minors face, both online and offline.” Which means parents should be paying a lot more attention to what their children are experiences (and dispensing) at school, with their friends, etc., than they should be about the invisible “they” known as internet boogie men.

From the report:

Much of the research based on law-enforcement cases involving Internet-related child exploitation predated the rise of social networks. This research found that cases typically involved post-pubescent youth who were aware that they were meeting an adult male for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.

And if you think that’s only gotten worse because kids today are bombarded by internet porn, well, that’s just plain wrong too; from the report:

The Internet increases the availability of harmful, problematic and illegal content, but does not always increase minors’ exposure. Unwanted exposure to pornography does occur online, but those most likely to be exposed are those seeking it out, such as older male minors.

In other words, most kids ignore it, but those (mostly male) youths who want it go for it — just like those meeting with adults or others for sex. Because teens have sex drives, so you’d better be prepared to deal with the issue.

However, the report does not ignore the few times where child molesters have connected with youth online. It says that in the small number of cases, the internet was the first of several steps — the rest of which are no different than how “real world” hook-ups are made. So, if the sexual predator finds prey on the internet & the prey responds, the next step is telephone contact (right under their parents’ noses), followed by eventual meetings in person.

Here’s what the report suggests in terms of advice (I’ve bullet-pointed them, so they are easier to read):

Careful consideration should be given to what the data show about the actual risks to minors’ safety online and how best to address them, to constitutional rights, and to privacy and security concerns.

Parents and caregivers should:

  • educate themselves about the Internet and the ways in which their children use it, as well as about technology in general
  • explore and evaluate the effectiveness of available technological tools for their particular child and their family context, and adopt those tools as may be appropriate
  • be engaged and involved in their children’s Internet use
  • be conscious of the common risks youth face to help their children understand and navigate the technologies
  • be attentive to at-risk minors in their community and in their children’s peer group
  • and recognize when they need to seek help from others.

All of this, though, ignores the basic facts regarding child molestation: Most rapes, sexual assaults, and abuse is perpetuated by someone that the victim knows and trusts.

And I guess that’s the real reason I hadn’t heard of this report & its findings before; people still prefer to pretend they are safe at home, that the unknown danger is “other” and locked outside — or on the internet.

What Can Be Learned From Chris Brown’s Light Sentence?

By now you’ve probably heard how Chris Brown barely got his hand slapped for beating up Rihanna; just probation, community service, domestic violence counseling, and a restraining order. This for a man who, as reported by CNN, had two earlier incidents of domestic violence with Rihanna before the more publicized incident in which Brown punched Rihanna numerous times; put her in a head lock, restricting her breathing and causing her to start to lose consciousness; bit her ear and her fingers; and threatened to kill her.

Rihanna’s injuries included cuts and bruises inflicted by a large ring on Brown’s right hand, which he used to punch her, the probation report said.

“Officers at the scene observed numerous contusions and abrasions to the victim’s face and forehead, as well as bruising to her left arm near the bicep,” it said. “They also saw abrasions to her arms near both wrists and on her upper chest near her collarbone and around her neck. There were abrasions on her left leg and on the inside of her upper lips.”

If you want to know how such atrocities can be met with such a lazy legal response, keep reading here at Relationship Underarm Stick; we’ll be going through this subject in great detail. For now though, you may want to consider this poor court response of little consequence to Ryan Jenkins. He had a history of domestic violence & he too was allowed to be free — and he killed Jasmine Fiore. Rihanna should remember this anytime she even considers letting Brown break that restraining order.