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.

Politicians: Erect & Standing Up, But Not For Women

Maybe you don’t want to call it a “war on women”. Maybe you find the word “war” to be over-the-top, despite the facts regarding bombings, shootings, rape, and other violent attacks against women, including the places where they seek access to medical care. Perhaps you just don’t think that violence is enough to be called a “war”. But what about when you factor in the legislative bombs aimed directly at women here in the USA?

Legislating against women’s rights is at the center of politics. In the past three years, state legislatures in the US have enacted a record-setting 205 restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. That exceeds the total number of such restrictions enacted during the entire previous decade — and that last decade was no small potatoes either. Between 2001 and 2010, states passed 189 abortion restrictions. (Data from a Guttmacher Institute report.)

women's rights restrictions in states

Legislating against women’s rights is so popular right now, that one candidate for congress in Virginia, Richard Black, thinks that marital rape should be legal again, like it was in 1965, and that military rape is “as predictable as human nature”. That says a lot about his nature. And a lot more about a society in which someone espousing such beliefs can run for office.


Maybe 1965 isn’t so far back that we need a stone tablet to mark the date, but we sure are moving backwards.

And all this while, from 2006 to 2011, Medicaid was paying $175 million for 473,620 claims for penis pumps — you know, so men can have sex. Sex that maybe their spouses didn’t want to have. Sex that maybe resulted in unwanted pregnancies, because, you know, birth control isn’t always an option. It’s a limited option with many private insurance companies and with Medicare. And it’s even less likely that your insurance or Medicare will cover an abortion. But let’s just be glad that men not only have the right to those erections but the access to medical help to force those erections too.  Isn’t it nice to know that men are all about standing up for themselves?

On This Day In History, We Ought To Be Reminded

On this date, November 6th, in 1967 a baby girl was born; just 21 years later, on July 18, 1989, she would be murdered.

The woman was Rebecca Schaeffer, an actress most famous for her role as Pam Dawber’s sister Patti Russell in the CBS sitcom My Sister Sam. For some of you youngsters, this might be before your time. (Perhaps all you know of Schaeffer is that she was the inspiration for the 2002 Jake Gyllenhaal film Moonlight Mile; the film is said to be loosely inspired by writer/director Brad Silberling, who was dating Rebecca Schaeffer at the time of her death.) But I remember distinctly being a young 24 year old woman and being shaken by the news of her death. Her age being so close — even younger than my own — pierced my youthful resistance to mortality; but what was worse was the way Schaeffer died.

Schaeffer was murdered by a stalker, a man who considered himself a fan — until God instructed him otherwise. This man-fan named Robert Bardo had adored Schaeffer’s youthful innocence, but disliked her new work as an actress when a small roll in Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills put her in bed with a male character. “If she was a whore, God was going to appoint me to punish her,” Bardo said. His mission now was to “stop Schaeffer from forsaking her innocent childlike image for that of an adult fornicating screen whore.” Or at least that’s the story he would later tell after he stalked Schaeffer at her home, was rebuffed, and retaliated by shooting her to death.

Whatever motivated Schaeffer’s murderer, the fact is that her murder finally motivated the public to care about stalking. As is unfortunately the case in our celebrity-obsessed culture, it took the death of a celebrity like Schaeffer to generate awareness and concern. Such concern over Schaeffer’s death would even lead to protective legislation.

An Innocent Life, a Heartbreaking Death

schaeffer people mag july 31, 1989

The majority of stalking, of course, occurs in the regular (non-celeb) world — and in the context of domestic violence or other situations involving everyday people the victims know. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) most recent fact sheet (August, 2012), the majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know, with 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner. When it comes to femicide:

* 76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.

* 67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner

* 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder

* 79% of abused femicide victims reported being stalked during the same period that they were abused.

* 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers

Now all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the Federal government recognize stalking as a crime; however well, or not well, police and other officials may respond, strides have been made.

Yet there is another huge unresolved issue that is brought to light with the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer: Rebecca was murdered with an illegally purchased handgun, but gun control has only gotten worse here in the USA — and by that I mean less gun control.

Since Rebecca Schaeffer’s death in 1989, her mother, Danna Schaeffer, has remained consistent in her concern, saying, “I’m angry at the system that allows things like this to happen, that allows a deranged person to get his hands on a deadly weapon.” Since then, Danna Schaeffer has lobbied and fought for sane gun control. In 1991, she went door-to-door at the Capitol lobbying for a ban on assault weapons and an end to the old gun show loophole on criminal background checks. She co-founded Oregonians Against Gun Violence (OAGV). And she continues to speak out today. But despite her actions and the actions of many, politicians still refuse to take necessary action to protect innocent Americans. What more we need? Why wasn’t Sandy Hook enough? Why has public demand for gun control waned? Do we need a celebrity massacre to make us give a damn?

Today, on the anniversary of Rebecca Schaeffer’s birth, let’s not only remember her, but do something. Contact your legislators and let them know that you demand stricter gun control laws. Now Is The Time.

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.

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.

Sex Strike Strife

Via (NWS), I heard about the Liberal Ladies Who Lunch and their attempts to organize women in protest of the recent war on women with



In light of the recent war on women, we are calling for a nationwide sex strike from April 28th to May 5th. All women should withhold from having sex with their partners.

This will help people understand that contraception is for women and men, because men enjoy the benefit of women making their own choices about when and if they want to get pregnant.

Once congress and insurance agencies agree to cover contraception, we will then resume having sex. Until then men will have to be content with their hand.

The suggestion is nothing new and the group notes the history on their FaceBook page — a page where you can read some nasty, negative and ignorant responses which only make women like me feel more like doing it by not doing it, i.e. going on a sex strike.  However, the sex strike mandate does present some issues…

As Gracie at Sex Kitten notes (still not work safe!):

While this may have some merits in terms of affecting those with men who need a little push, making those men pull it on their own, what about lesbians? And does this effectively unemploy sex workers?

These may not be the groups who should bear further duress in our dark times.

Besides, am I to punish myself and my husband — a man who already agrees such attacks upon women are terribly unfair, unsafe, and unreasonable? Isn’t the real point to motivate the unbelievers, those who would keep women under their thumbs?

As a survivor of domestic violence, my main concern is that this passive act of civil disobedience by women will be met with violence from their men at home.   Unlike Virginia State Del. David Albo (R-Fairfax Station), not all men will take “no” for an answer; especially if it’s politically motivated. After all, the whole point of this anti-women legislation is that we women are not individuals with equal rights; we are property that men control. So why would a man male who thinks that way accept his property has the right to say no? It brings the all too real and violent images of “breaking strikes” to mind.

Maybe the safest paths to take are legislative; to fight female health and contraceptive restriction with male reproductive and sexual restriction.

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?

Mississippi Paper Burning (Hot Vintage Magazine Blog!)

I’ve fallen in love with a newly discovered blog: Visual Arts Library Picture & Periodicals Collections, part of New York’s School of Visual Arts. And not just because David Pemberton, the Periodical/Reference Librarian who runs the blog, linked to my (obsessively detailed) post on The Mentor magazine, either. (Though I am a sucker for librarians and curators — and links don’t exactly hurt.) No, I’m in love with this new-to-me blog because of it’s content.

Sure, the visuals are great — as you’d expect from a visual arts school library. But it’s more than that. It’s the writing. Not just the historical context I crave, but the frank tone I adore. Such as the delightful description of National Lampoon Magazine as having “heaping sides of boob and toilet humor.” (I know I’m a fan of heaping boobs and even side-boob *wink* I’ve even succumb to toilet humor plenty of times.)

But the best part is the mix of selected offerings. Again using the National Lampoon post, look at this gem from the August 1975 issue:

Many of the magazines have embedded publications in them that parody other actual publications, such as this one that is supposed to have been put out by the state of Mississippi Bar Association featuring articles on “Closing Those Loopholes in Mississippi Lynch Law” and “No-Fault Rape–New Concepts to Protect Our Menfolk:”

I’m absolutely dying to read that! I bet most of the satirical messages are still relevant today. But then I love to read what I collect. …How else can I obsessively research it, over-analyze it, blog about it?

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.

Postcards & Posters For Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Men Can Stop Rape helps us all celebrate Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a sale:

Target young men with inspiring images and messaging that highlight how they can be strong without overpowering others or resorting to violence:

So when men disrespect women,
we say that’s NOT RIGHT

Mention code DVAM20 when ordering 10 or more posters, 50 or more postcards, or 2 or more banners and receive 20% off the subtotal (before shipping).

Sale ends 10/15/09 — and you must use the promo code on your order form to receive the discount. Now shop already!


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.

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.

Ryan Jenkins Dead; Long Live Domestic Violence

The case of Jasmine Fiore’s murder gets even more upsetting as Ryan Jenkins is found dead from an apparent suicide in a hotel in Vancouver.

That a man would kill his ex-wife and commit suicide isn’t, unfortunately, so strange; but what’s being said by the manager of the Thunderbird Motel (in Hope B.C.) where Jenkins’ body was found is. The room was paid for by an unidentified woman (some speculate that it was Jenkins’ former girlfriend, Paulina Chmielecka) who only stayed at the hotel for about 20 minutes before leaving Jenkins behind. What follows is the sort of 15-minutes-of-fame-seeking commentary that you’d expect, such as “when I opened the door, I did smell the smell of death” and then the stuff that Jenkins supporters will take & make a grand conspiracy theory of:

The manager went on to tell reporters that the woman was “extremely calm” when she checked in, that there was no suicide note that he saw, and that Jenkins’ feet were touching the ground as he hung, which would indicate a sedative of some sort may have been used during the suicide.

Anyway, while Fiore’s mother & former boyfriends mourn the loss of the young woman and express anger that Jenkins has escaped answering for what he’d done, Jenkins’ family is also telling their story in the media. And what I’ve read is most upsetting.

Naturally none of us wants to believe the people we love are capable of such things, of murder & violence, but when that person has been found guilty on more than one occasion, as Jenkins had, you have to stop living in denial — and being an asshat.

In this interview, Jenkins dad, Dan Jenkins, told this to the Edmonton Sun:

What Jenkins refuses to believe, despite Ryan’s past conviction in Calgary for domestic abuse, is that his son was the only villain in a relationship gone bad.

“A lot of these things were just silliness, like the charge in California,” said Jenkins.

Ryan was arrested on a charge of domestic violence earlier this year, after allegedly slugging Fiore in the arm.

Jenkins says his son only pushed his wife into a pool, after a squabble.

“He felt like it was a police state. People push each other in the pool every Saturday afternoon, and he goes to jail for two days — that’s ridiculous,” said Jenkins.

“He turns around and his wife’s kissing another guy and he grabs her hand and starts walking away, and they’re arguing and he just pushes her in the pool. Well, big deal.”

Hey, daddy Jenkins, abuse isn’t “silliness.” Pushing a woman, into a pool or not, no matter who or what she kissed, is a big deal. Gee, I wonder where sonny boy got the idea in his head that it was OK to be abusive towards women.

Dan Jenkins interview continued:

Jenkins said his son’s relationship with Fiore, and Hollywood in general, was toxic.

“He went to Hollywood and something down there in the last four months, including this girl, just destroyed him,” said Jenkins.

“She would take off for days at a time and lie, and Ryan was lonely and distraught and alone down there. She was his only friend and she’d just disappear.

“It was hell on earth — I advised him 50 times to get out of that relationship.”

So he realizes the relationship was toxic, and said that he told his son to get out of it, but where does Dan Jenkins leave the blame?

On the victim.

Hasn’t Fiore paid enough?

Jenkins must be held accountable for his violence, even in death. And Dan Jenkins isn’t dead — he must be held accountable for his inexcusable misogyny. Isn’t he as much an accomplice as anyone who may have helped Ryan Jenkins kill Jasmine Fiore &/or helped him afterwards? I certainly believe daddy dearest is.

In a rare show of class for VH1, the channel has pulled both reality shows in which Ryan Jenkins participated.  Too bad they didn’t have the sense to have properly vetted Jenkins in the first place.

Breast Implants Identify Murder Victim

Playboy model Jasmine Fiore has been found murdered. Her body was badly beaten & naked, left in an Los Angels trash bin on Saturday — her fingers & teeth “forcibly removed” in an apparent attempt to not have the body be identified, but her remains were identified by the serial numbers on her breast implants. (Now there’s something many feminists don’t know about the benefits of breast implants!) The preliminary coroner’s report indicates that Miss Fiore was strangled.

Her former husband, Ryan Alexander Jenkins (formerly a contestant on VH1’s reality show Megan Wants a Millionaire) is wanted for questioning. You can read all the details here; but here are some of the warning signs people should have heeded:

Court records show that Mr Jenkins was charged in June in Clark County, Nevada, with a misdemeanour count of “domestic violence” when he was accused of hitting Miss Fiore on her arm.

Mr Jenkins was also charged with assaulting his girlfriend in July 2005 in Calgary and given a conditional discharge with 15 months probation.

I may have more to say about this; but I have to go cry & throw-up first.

Hope For My Own Healing

The Hope For Healing blogathon was harder than I thought…

I thought I could, by dedicating a day to the subject of domestic violence, finally be personal about my own experiences, but that was not the case.

At first I thought it was because the world, my life, wouldn’t stop for me for 24 hours (despite scheduling the date, family came in from out of town and visiting to-dos could not be put off); it may have made it more challenging, but the real reason is that domestic violence is a very personal & emotional issue for me.

Every time I begin to tell/type my story (or parts of it), I hear the heckling from the jerks — you know the ones, the ones who belittle and devalue your statements because they are anecdotal, not statistical — and they belittle & devalue you right along with their “complaints” of non-data to support yourself.

I know these are the same people who call you a “fat ugly hag” because you dare to use facts to stand up for your rights, that these people just plain refuse to listen, let alone hear, and so I should easily dismiss their crude, hurtful statements as the weak defensive posturing (& refusal to become educated) that it is. As a feminist I’m used to these jerks. Most of the time I don’t mind them. But confessing painful truths while knowing how you’ll be attacked for it is far more difficult than intellectual debating or education dissemination.

Truth be told, it’s not easy to say the things I want to say anyway, but knowing what will be said…

I want to be braver than this. I hope I will one day.

I could view my inability to meet my own objective during those 24 blogathon hours as a failure — but I don’t.

What I’ve learned from this experience is vital to my own growth and healing.

No, I’m not fully healed from this — if one ever fully heals from domestic violence — and accepting that is part of the process.

Realizing yet another place I’m stuck at is disheartening, but one needs to see the problem for what it is in order to solve it. And so realizing just how held back I am from telling my story, using my voice, helps me see the issue for what it is — a fear of judgment, of victim blaming, of retaliation…

But if I want to move on, if I want to assist other victims, and prevent others from being victimized, I will need to address this all. And sooner is better than later.

The Cult Of Domestic Violence

Regarding this last post & that article about Stockholm Syndrome and living in a controlling and abusive relationship…

While the psychological condition in hostage situations became known as “Stockholm Syndrome” due to the publicity, the emotional “bonding” with captors was a familiar story in psychology. It had been recognized many years before and was found in studies of other hostage, prisoner, or abusive situations such as:

  • Abused Children
  • Battered/Abused Women
  • Prisoners of War
  • Cult Members
  • Incest Victims
  • Criminal Hostage Situations
  • Concentration Camp Prisoners
  • Controlling/Intimidating Relationships

Maybe it’s the late hour & lack of sleep, but comparing domestic violence to living in a cult seems like the most succinct comparison ever; it’s the Cult Of The Abuser, the Cult Of Him, the Cult Of [Name].


This post is part of the blogathon for Hope For Healing; Twolia generously sponsored me in this wonderful event raising awareness of domestic violence & funds for supporting victims!

You can help too: Comment at, link to, &/or Tweet my posts & use this special link to iSearch.iGive.comclicking it and performing searches will raise money for HopeForHealing.Org.

Why Do They Stay?

One of the things people have difficulty understanding about domestic violence is why the victim of abuse stays with his or her abuser. There are many reasons, but a very common one is dependence.

Not just financial dependence, but utter dependence… Self-esteem is so shattered — especially when compared to the batterer’s physical & emotional power, the latter of which extends to public life past the home.

It’s rather like the domesticity of dogs: your life, no matter how good or bad it is, depends upon that being, so you are ever alert to their whims, wishes and commands. You please them because your life, such that it is, depends upon them.

This is greatly multiplied if you have children or others dependent upon you.

If this seems too simplistic or unflattering for humans; if you can’t see how, in reality, being a human trained for another human’s service is worse… That you are held hostage… That you become grateful for the scraps…. Check out Dr Joseph M Carver’s Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser.


This post is part of the blogathon for Hope For Healing.

You can help too: Comment, link, Tweet & use this special link to iSearch.iGive.comclicking it and performing searches will raise money for HopeForHealing.Org.

When Funding Is Cut

In an effort to reduce spending and balance the budget, Governor Schwarzenegger eliminated the $16.3 million initiative that funds domestic violence shelters statewide. The San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium & Partners Ending Domestic Abuse did manage to get public funding restored — but I thought you should be aware of just how much of a threat funding cuts are…

In this working example of the California cuts, a total of 94 organizations receive funding; for some of those organizations the state money is more than half of their budget.

But the effects wouldn’t only be limited to them.

Many shelters use state funds to contract with other nonprofits to help battered women & their children access legal, health, counseling, and other services at other agencies — but if the shelters can’t pay for those services, the nonprofits who rely on those contract fees will suffer too, forcing lay-offs & agency closures.

Not to mention the number of abused women and families in need of the shelters & other services which would be left to their own defenses.

Let this serve as a reminder for you to speak up locally about supporting your state’s funding programs; let your governor & state representatives know how vital the issue is to you before there is a crisis to be averted.

And this this be a reminder to donate to your local organizations which work with & support victims of domestic violence; funding is a terrible thing to lose.


This post is part of the Twolia sponsored blogathon for Hope For Healing, raising money for & awareness of domestic violence; use this special link to iSearch.iGive.comclicking it and performing searches will raise money for HopeForHealing.Org.

I Interrupt National Romance Week For Some News…

At 8:00 A.M. on Saturday, August 15, 2009, Hope For Healing will be hosting their first ever Blogathon — 24 hours of blogging dedicated to raising awareness of & funds for helping victims of domestic violence. And I’ll be participating.

Twolia has generously & graciously sponsored me for this Blogathon & I’ll do everything I can to stay up & blogging for 24 hours. What can you do?

I’m so glad you asked!

* Read what I have to say (I know it may not be easy to read so many emotional & perhaps depressing posts; but if I’m going to pour my heart out along with educating y’all, it would be nice to know you give a crap!)

* Carry on the conversation: Post comments, Tweet, post/link at your own blog, email links to your friends & family — spread the word & let everyone you know how important the issue of domestic violence is to you and that you think it should matter to everyone else too.

* While I/we search for answers, try searching for something online… At the end of each Blogathon post there will be a special link to — clicking it and performing searches will raise money for HopeForHealing.Org. (Maybe you’ll want to debate me on a point & need some research… Maybe you want to find out just sleep deprivation does, so you’ll better understand the condition of my posts… Maybe you want to see if you can have coffee delivered to me!)

So here’s the deal for this Saturday: I stay up, confessing, educating, ranting (and I bet raving — it will be 24 hours, you know!); you read, you discuss (here, with friends & family at home, &/or out in the internets somewhere), and you perform a search (on any topic you’d like) and I’ll know you give damn about domestic violence.

More about Hope for Healing.Org: A nonprofit located in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, that works with victims of domestic violence; restores the lives of juvenile offenders; distributes Angel Food, household items and free clothing; and meets some other needs of survivors and their families on a case-by-case basis.

Preventing Intimate Partner Violence, Is Screening Enough?

According to a recent study, the answer is “No.”

Screening for domestic violence followed by referral to a clinician does not reduce the recurrence of violence among women, according to a study for the the McMaster Violence Against Women Research Group, published in the August 5, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Full text here.) In the published editorial on the study, the authors have this to say:

[This study] should dispel any illusions that universal screening with passive referrals to community services is an adequate response to violence in intimate relationships.

The findings are not overly surprising to me…. And it reminds me of how that “Are you safe at home?” questions is addressed whenever I visit doctors offices, the emergency room, walk-in clinics etc. The question in terms of words varies only slightly (from “Are you safe” to “Do you feel safe” to “How would you rate your sense of safety at home?” etc.), but the manner and tone in which it’s asked varies quite a bit.

For some, it’s such a routine question, it seems as if your answer isn’t even going to register. Others try to toss it in with the litany of other questions, like a sneaky curve ball, hoping you’ll be caught off guard and give away the truth you might otherwise resist. Still others seem embarrassed to ask it — but they are fine with my “dignity” hanging out the back of a paper gown.

I wonder if there have been any studies on how effective the actual questioning aka screening itself is.

Oprah: At Least 6 Years Late On Domestic Violence

The August 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, has a feature story (beginning on page 154, after the book reviews?!) on how the laws against domestic violence aren’t enforced. The piece, titled “Why Didn’t They Stop Him?” (by Phoebe Zerwick, photographs by Mary Ellen Mark) is an excellent one — and long overdue.

Not only did I pitch this story roughly 6 years ago to Oprah, but the horrible especially because it’s true story of the ordeal of Vernetta Cockerham which resulted in her daughter’s murder is really only half the story.

Every time I start to blog about Oprah and her ignorant stance on domestic violence (she thinks it’s as simple as leaving), I get so infuriated I have to quit; I have 7 posts in draft to prove it. And this one will be short so that I can finally get to posting something without getting so outraged or ill that I cannot continue.

For the past 6 years I’ve contacted Oprah by every means I could find: via her website’s online form, via email, via phone messages at Harpo, and even spoke directly to producers of the show — who told me the half-dozen books and another half-dozen studies on the subject weren’t enough; call back when I published my own book.

Grrr — I’m in the middle of a battle for my own safety & that of my children; the book, and 1 million other things, will have to wait.

Wait for the day someone wants to open their minds to the realities — before another woman &/or her child(ren) dies.

Yes, Oprah, I told you about the Massachusetts study in 2000 which said that as many as 60-80% of restraining orders are not enforced; and I have the personal experiences to prove it. Running from my abuser kinda kept me a bit too busy to write that book.

Yes, I told your staff about the U.S. Department of Justice study that same year which said that arrests were only made in:

47% of the cases in which the victim reported being raped

36% of the cases in which the victim reported being assaulted

29% of the cases in which the victim reported being stalked.

I especially went into great detail about what happens when children are involved in domestic violence cases.

And I emphatically stated how all of this not only results in victims having a loss of faith in the system, how it not only results in keeping victims with their abusers, but how it is further abuse of victims by the system & how it impacts the children involved.

I even offered to put myself at further risk by going on-air to discuss this.

So, while I applaud you for finally getting to the truth of some of the matters involved in domestic violence, Oprah, I wonder why it took you so long? Especially when you had 6 years of my nagging.

I wonder how much longer it will take for you to heed my voice and take up the other issues I have brought to your attention?

And I wonder how many more women & children will suffer & die during that time.

But I guess death just sells more that saving lives, doesn’t it; don’t worry, continue to ignore us, and you’ll have more deaths to put on the cover of your publications.

Oprah, and staff, be prepared for more calls & emails from me.

Royal Pains, Crazy Love, Stereotypes, Abuse Excuse, & Big Fines

Last night’s Royal Pains gave me a royal pain in my donkey. Normally I love the show (especially the MacGyver-medical stuff), but last night…


One of the plots in this episode (titled Crazy Love) revolves around a “passionate Latino couple” from Caracas. (I’ll spare you my diatribe on the stereotypical ick of that — and most of the hour long show’s plot — and just get to the part that makes me want to slap Royal Pains with a fine.) “Passionate Latina” Sophie (played by the lovely Roselyn Sanchez), discovers that along with paying for her boob job, her adoring husband (who is having financial troubles and so fears his beautiful wife will leave him) has had a GPS device implanted in her without her permission. This is discovered when she’s having an MRI and the device tries to pop through her chest (incredibly gross!), and gives her radiation poisoning.

royal-pains-promo-stillWe never see Sophia upset (though the concierge doc, when confronting the husband with moral & medical outrage, tells the husband to “give her some space now” — and Divya, when asked by the doc how Sophia is doing, says, “She just keeps saying (in mocking Spanish accent), ‘Why me? Why me?'”). When Sophia lays in the hospital bed, recovering from the surgery to save her from the radiation poisoning, her sheepish husband shows up at the door to her room and asks if he may come in. Sophia says yes; he says he’s so sorry. Sophia’s reply?

(Get ready for it, because it’s so infuriating!)

Sophia’s reply to her controlling spouse who has had her secretively implanted with a GPS device so that he can track her, to a man who nearly killed her with such abusive behavior, is… “I didn’t know you loved me so much.” And then they kiss so much that everyone leaves the room.

Ho-ly crap.

Didn’t anyone during the writing, acting, editing — any part of making this show — violently puke at the idea of even suggesting a happy, sexy, “forgive & forget” reaction to the discovery that a man has violated his wife by secretively implanting her with a tracking device?!

I guess it’s all a-OK because he was stressed over money & insecure; isn’t that the excuse we so often offer abusers? We see the incidents (at least the reports) increase during times of economic down-turns, and we study those connections, but do nothing about it — other than use it to justify, to excuse the control & violence.  Here, in this show, literally.

And they didn’t even leave it at that!

This lovely-dovey stuff makes Divya covet such passion for herself with her (presumably arranged) engagement. Barf barf barf barf barf.

Isn’t one woman mistaking love for abuse enough? No, you had to show us another woman craving it, thinking that’s the secret sauce missing from her happiness sandwich.

Knowing all this, doesn’t it make the episode’s title of Crazy Love wildly inappropriate? You’re going to inform us that you can check for blood type matches in a jiffy using a silver tray, but you’ll pass along the dangerous mythinformation that love = control?  Bad math, bad science, bad idea.

Shame on all of you at Royal Pains. I sentence to you to a fine of $60 million to, payable to two different abuse & crisis centers (each receiving $30 million) — one organization specifically helping Hispanic women.

And don’t ever do this again. I want to keep watching your show — but if you ever do this again… Well, let’s just say that I doubt you’ll be responding to me with a “I didn’t know you loved me so much.”

The Corrected Word

I was understandably distraught when I read Christina Hoff Sommers’ Persistent Myths in Feminist Scholarship, in which she finds fault in Berkeley law prof Nancy Lemon & her widely used textbook, Domestic Violence Law, saying:

False assertions, hyperbole, and crying wolf undermine the credibility and effectiveness of feminism. The United States, and the world, would greatly benefit from an intellectually responsible, reality-based women’s movement.

I’ve not read Lemon’s book, but naturally I agree — false statements are not good & undermine the very causes I hold dear.

But so do false accusations about such work, and Sommers isn’t as pure as any ethical now in my book — she’s got an agenda. OK, so maybe we all do — but hers is not exactly pro-female. Sommers is (white hetero male) conservative and she’s well-connected, meaning her false assertions, hyperbole, and crying wolf greatly undermines the credibility and effectiveness of feminism because her voice is deemed worthy & given lots of media push.

This weakens Lemon’s book and therefore weakens educational & societal concern over the validity of domestic violence, diminishing the issue of violence towards women, and, because Lemon is a woman (and I gather a self-proclaimed feminist), such attacks by Sommers discredit Lemon and female authors (at least those who identify as feminist and aren’t conservative foundation teat-suckers & ass-kissers of the patriarchy), turning the “conversation” in general into a feminist bashing event.

All very horrendous & vomitous indeed.

But thankfully, Tenured Radical rides to the rescue.

Just go read it — now! — and see how deeply sucking (figuratively & literally) Sommers is — and how Tenured Radical gets to the truth of the very historical facts Sommers questions.

You may not feel “all is well,” but it’s good to know that others are in the battle.

I try to help by magnifying & spreading the corrected word.