Posts Tagged ‘violence prevention

02
Mar
13

Fighting the good fight

The following speech was presented on the steps of the capital building in Frankfort, KY during a rally for reproductive rights and civil equality.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.

He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and to her God.”

These words were spoken by Elisabeth Catie Stanton July, 19th 1848. Women and men gathered in Seneca Falls, NY where the “Declaration of Sentiments” (a document demanding equal treatment and citizenship for women) was drafted and put forth to the government of these United States. We stand here now, almost 165 year later, still fighting for many of those rights.

Kentucky Senate bill 4 requires that a physician (or a licensed designee thereof) be physically present with a patient at the time of consent. This holds ramifications for women who require distant travel for medical procedures that are already financially crushing.

Kentucky Senate bill 5 requires that all women seeking to have “any part of an abortion performed” must first be subject to an invasive, transuterine ultrasound. In simple language, a woman who is attempting to responsibly deal with an unwanted pregnancy must also be subjected to having a large, uncomfortable instrument forced into her vaginal opening, then lay quietly while a doctor explains in detail about the fetus.

The consequence for doctors refusing this unethical requirement of an unneeded medical procedure is a Class D felony. A penalty that includes, among others, violent offenses and sex crimes. How very ironic, that to avoid these charges, a doctor must force a woman to engage in penetration by an artificial phallus. Nothing less than MANDATED RAPE!

Additionally, I feel it important to note that, of the eight senators cosponsoring this bill, only ONE is a woman. Seven, SEVEN men have put their names and weight behind a bill that does not affect THEM or THEIR bodies, but could affect thousands of women.

This is the reality, so many people (mostly legislators it would appear) think that abortion is easy. That it is a decision that women come to lightly and without reflection. This is NOT TRUE! Women come to this decision because they KNOW that, for whatever reason, they CAN NOT accept the financial responsibilities that pregnancy, birth, and upbringing carry. These women KNOW that they, for whatever reason, CAN NOT provide for the health and well being of a fetus, a baby, or a child. These women KNOW that, for whatever reason, it is in the best interest of ALL parties involved, to terminate a pregnancy.

Kentucky Senate bills 4 and 5 serve to prevent a woman from exercising the right to do what SHE KNOWS is best.

We stand here today, not only to speak for the rights of women to be free from the mandates of rape, but also to speak for the rights of our brothers, our sisters, our sons and our daughters, our friends and ourselves. For too long we have been expected to fight for the equality of our LGBTI family by going city to city, begging for equal treatment one commission or council at a time.

While I salute the leadership of Louisville, Lexington, Covington, and Vicco for trying to secure the equal rights of all of their citizens, it is time to bring equality to all Kentuckians. It is time that we no longer have to wonder if we have crossed the city boundaries and are now fair game to those who would see us left homeless, jobless, and afraid.

KY Senate Bill 28 extends the hands of equality across the Commonwealth. While it does not prevent prejudice, it does prevent discrimination. It lets ALL Kentuckians see that our Commonwealth and its legislators recognize all of us as people FIRST and demands that others do the same. KY Senate Bill 28 shows our YOUTH that, even though we sometimes have to fight for is, it does, in fact GET BETTER!

We stand here today at OUR Capital in common cause. That our rights as individuals not be denied by the majority or by the privileged. We are all here today to stand up and to BE COUNTED!

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23
Apr
12

harold* and the purple crayon (*names have been changed to protect from homophobes)

Bullying is a major problem, we know this. There are anti bullying initiatives, programs, and classes. Schools tell kids to report it. They tell them to stop it. They tell them not to do it. That’s great and all, but me think we are not getting to the crux of the situation. We are pulling at weeds, picking the leaves, and not touching the roots. Yeah, yeah…Enough metaphors. My point?

Parents. We spend millions of dollars per year trying to keep kids from beating the crap out of each other and making each other feel like shit, and yet parents are ignored or enlisted to help teach. This is where so, so, SO many of the teachers need to be the students. PARENTS teach hate. PARENTS teach homophobia. PARENTS teach bigotry. These are not traits that a small child picks up at the local bar on a Friday night. Four year olds don’t judge because someone’s crayon isn’t the right color.

I don’t share a great deal of personal information here, but today it seems necessary. My daughter was upset when I picked her up today because one of the other girls yelled at a little boy for having a purple crayon. My daughter had a blue one. She informed the other girl that if she could have a blue crayon, then the boy could have the purple one, then proceeded to retrieve said purple crayon from the trash (the other girl threw it away) and hugged the little boy.

I get that children have developmental milestones they reach at different times, including indication that ‘blue is for boys’ and (in this case) ‘purple is for girls’. Yeah. I get that. They gender divide. BUT belittling the little boy for the purple crayon? Throwing it away in the trash? THAT is NOT a milestone. That is hateful, mean, and spiteful. I don’t blame the little girl. She did not know that it was hateful, mean, or spiteful, she only knows that is something an adult in her life would never tolerate.

05
Mar
12

Vaginaphobia

Due to circumstances beyond my control, it’s been quite awhile since the last post. Still dealing with said circumstances, but I just have too much wandering about inside my little head.
V-Day having just passed, I feel the need to comment. For those non-feminists in my reading public, V-Day as mentioned here refers no to WWII, but rather to the day(s) devoted to bringing awareness of issues relating to violence (sexual and physical) against women worldwide. As part of the V-Day movement, The Vagina Monologues (VMs) is a collection of theatrical monologues performed to both educate and to raise funds for local violence shelters. So, having provided a short background, I will get on with my random thoughts…

This year there was a great deal of backlash about the VMs. As promotion, our group of young (and not quite so young) women went out and “chalked” our university campus, writing various bits of vagina information, including the dates of the show, some statistics and “Until the violence stops,” among others. One of those with which we were the most impressed was the section on the library steps, ”Vagina words: What do YOU call it?” Here there was a wonderful list written in various colors, many of which offered by passersby who were entertained by the fervor with which our chalk was flying. Some even asked to draw chalk vaginas on the sidewalk and we gratefully granted the chalk for the artistry.

The next day, as the young (and not so young) women involved in the chalking wandered campus, they listened with pride as people commented on the drawings, dates, and yes…the vagina euphemisms. It wasn’t until later in the day that things went awry. Our vaginas were disappearing. Not the drawings, not the FABULOUS euphemisms (which admittedly were the most likely to offend, so we thought), but the actual word: VAGINA.

I received a slightly intriguing email from a professor informing me of the disappearing vaginas. Said that appeared to be the only thing missing. Sure enough, on further inspection, the vaginas were the only thing missing. Someone or someones were removing “vagina” from every chalk tag within a 50 foot radius of one particular building of campus (the other side of campus was left untouched). Reluctant facilities services workers were dragging wet mops across the letters, removing them as though they were some form of profanity. A professor (who shall remain nameless here) was seen removing the word from a large tag stating “The Vagina Monologues 2012, Until the violence stops!” Yes, it was not the euphemisms that were found offensive (beef curtain was a personal favorite, as was the snack that smiles back), but the actual word “vagina”.

That same night, the young women (and not so young and a couple of male assistants) showed up in force with a great deal more chalk than before, and covered the section of campus that had been carefully censored. Also, there was hairspray involved for the purposes of sealing against future mopping. The next day, the same facilities service workers, as reluctant as before, began the work of removing the freshly restored vaginas. At this point, the head librarian stepped out and informed them that they were not to touch any of the work within her area, as that was her domain and it was done with her permission (which is only about half true, but that’s not the point).

It was wonderful to know that we had support. It was amazing to see people standing together for a cause so important. It was disappointing to see that people were so disturbed by such a simple word.

Had the word been “arm” or “leg” or “heart”, I am fairly confident that it would have remained untouched. I am saddened that the words “sideways clam” and “fish sandwich” remained, while “vagina” was removed. Why?

Why is vagina thought to be such a dirty word? Why was something as simple as a body part offensive, while negative euphemisms were left behind? Why, in an arena of free thought and advanced learning, is VAGINA thought so disgusting that it must be censored?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do understand now, more than ever, why it is of the utmost importance that Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues be presented time and time again. We must, MUST begin to realize that vagina is not a dirty word, that it is a body part like any other while being a part like no other. To quote Ensler:

“THE HEART IS CAPABLE OF SACRIFICE.
SO IS THE VAGINA.
THE HEART IS ABLE TO FORGIVE AND REPAIR.
IT CAN CHANGE ITS SHAPE TO LET US IN.
IT CAN EXPAND TO LET US OUT.
SO CAN THE VAGINA.
IT CAN ACHE FOR US AND STRETCH FOR US,
AND DIE FOR US.
AND BLEED AND BLEED US INTO THIS DIFFICULT…
WONDROUS WORLD.”

24
Oct
11

Into the Abyss…

I have actually managed not to post anything on the Occupy Movement. Until now.

I agree with some of it, I disagree with a lot of it. The reality is, those pushing for a full socialism, claiming that they will occupy until they get one, are just delusional. The merits or problems of an absolute socialism aside, it just won’t work here. Period. There will always be those who feel like they are owed something for nothing. There will always be those who feel they have some sort of inherent worth above others. It just won’t work. Period.

What do I agree with? Pay your workers more, you freaking assholes. Waltons. Yeah, you. Pay your workers a living wage. Offer them decent benefits, pull the mass of people employed by YOU out of the bracket of the working poor. You take over small town America and then drag it through the dirt. You take people’s businesses and then offer them a minimum wage job, saying that you are providing a service, building community. Bullshit. Your are thieves and liars. Have fun in your ivory tower.

Now, what brought on this rant? The fine and not so fine folks of The Conservative Tree House. Some of them have been interesting and informative, others have been hateful for no known reason, except that I struck a cord with respectful but socially liberal dialogue. Shame on me.

Yeah, I’m a bit bitter about some of them today. That I would be labeled as having an agenda for being polite, pisses me off. Newsflash: I’m generally speaking a polite person and have to be pushed pretty far to retaliate. Secondly, that anyone would stand up and feel sorry for Gaddafi strikes me as nothing short of hatred toward millions of Libyans. Sure, he killed, maimed, and stole, but he was a nice guy. Whatever.

And the coup de grace…They seem to want their religion in their government. I get this from a number of posts (read through and come to your own conclusion). But don’t let Islam into anyone’s government. That’s not right. You can’t have an Islamic state. You can have a Christian one, but NOOOOOOOO…No, you can’t have an Islamic state. Not acceptable.

Well, that lovely rant aside, I close today with a stock AP photo and a quote from one of the most marvelous Occupiers of the Tree…

“Revolts aren’t calm.
They happen when diplomacy and discussion have failed.
It is a pressure cooker of violence and anger. It is a cataclysmic upheaval of decades of frustration and repression. It is animalistic and degrading. There is no more human compassion in anything of this sort. It is horrifically cruel. When any society has been pushed to it’s bearable limits, these are the repercussions.

There is no way to contain the explosive backlash. You have to let it burn out.

This is the burn.”

25
Feb
11

fairness for all?

I have a great many thoughts (and rants) running around inside my tiny little brain at the moment, but I will try (TRY) to focus on what I came here to write about without rambling too much.

Last night was the first of this round of public forums on the Fairness Ordinance. I was concerned that it would get a bit ugly and, despite my desire to bring some who are a bit younger, because of that potential for nastiness, I did not. I must say, I’m rather glad I didn’t. That people can be so heartless and selfish based on their own bigotry, but hide behind their faith, really busts my buttons.

Reasons offered by said bigots for not passing an ordinance:
1) It is unfair to offer “special” protections for other people.

Yes, it is. However this is not the case here. Not “special” protections, but equal ones. These folks have no problem with the protections they enjoy as women, “people of faith”, people of color, disabled, etc. However, offering those same protections to others is “unconstitutional”. I am quite honestly still unsure how that works, but that was the argument.

2) Anti-discrimination legislation is “thought policing”.

If someone wants to spout hateful speech, that is protected by the US Constitution. Uh…No it isn’t. One person’s rights end where another’s begin. One can’t spout evil, hateful things and think that it is protected. How about I stand in the street in front of someone’s home and scream vicious, hurtful things about the individuals in that home. Can they call the police? You betcha. One’s legal protections of speech DO NOT extend into their work space when attacking other individuals. They DO NOT extend to the property or homes of others that can force them from that home. They DO NOT extend to public accommodations that prevent the capabilities and services of others.

3) This is the one that ticked me off the most…The HRC (Human Rights Commission) is failing in its mission of equality for failing to represent persons of faith among its discussions.

Really? REALLY? Because what exactly does that make me? What does it make everyone else in that room that subscribes to any faith be it Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, or otherwise not specified? Do we not count as people of faith simply because the large group from Fort God disagrees? Because a “pastor” from a church chose not to bother showing up at the group discussion among the other clergy in the area, he states that his beliefs are being excluded? Uh…No. That being said, at least HE was honest and didn’t hide behind bad logic and incoherent ramblings about the Constitution.

And in relation to that same point…Why!? Why should faith be considered? Why should anyone’s faith be considered when this is an issue of civil rights? This is not a question about placing a brothel downtown. This is about EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS. This is about crazy things like job protection, housing protection, and public services. This IS NOT about anyone’s opinions about sexual or gender identity.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” No one is suggesting that anyone not practice their beliefs, only that they recognize the beliefs of others.

23
Nov
10

Richmond Fairness

Tuesday November 23rd at 12 noon, the Richmond City Commission will be holding its semi-monthly meeting at Richmond City Hall. Prior to this meeting the commission will be having a work session to discuss the language and potential for passing a Fairness Ordinance in the city of Richmond. This has been a long and arduous process, spanning multiple years. To get this important issue in the commission work session is a small but very important victory in the advancement of equal rights for all those who live and work within the city limits of Richmond. The proposed ordinance offers protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, guaranteeing that those who may currently face discrimination can maintain employment and housing accommodations. Currently, only three cities in the Commonwealth offer these same protections, Louisville, Lexington, and Covington.

During the work session, information will be offered to the Richmond City Commissioners by Covington’s City Attorney, Frank Warnock, and KCHR Field Supervisor, John Fisher, in regard to the appropriate language of the ordinance, the need for such ordinance, and the positive and negative consequences of a fairness ordinance. This is the first time that the commission will take such a thorough look at the fairness ordinance and its advantages.

I will offer further updates as I get them. The hope is to have a reading of the ordinance at the first meeting in December and a second reading in the second meeting. Because of the disappointing results of the recent election, it is possible that this is the last chance to get this ordinance passed.

12
May
10

Women and Violence in the US

At one time, there were a great many issues facing women and the United States. Through the work of suffragists, women’s rights pioneers, and many lawmakers who recognized gender inequality, most of those issues women once faced are no longer at the forefront. Today, however gendered violence is still a problem facing both women and men.
Women are more likely than are their male counterparts to be victimized by a domestic partner, however homosexual men are more likely to face such violence than are heterosexual men. Because domestic/intimate partner violence is most often about power, those who are outside of the gender norm (ie women and homosexual men) are most likely to be victimized based solely on their marginalized status.
While there have been a great many strides in prevention of domestic and intimate partner violence, there is still much work to be done. Laws have been enacted that protect victims after violence occurs. Most recently, the state of Kentucky enacted legislation to require certain perpetrators of domestic violence to wear devices monitoring their whereabouts should an Environmental Protection Order be in place.
The problem with the current laws is that the vast majority are reactionary. There are few programs in existence to prevent domestic violence as opposed to stopping it after it occurs, and even fewer laws to prevent initial acts of violence. The prevention of initial violence is key to reducing overall occurrences.
Also problematic is that perpetrators are incarcerated for their acts (some of the time) but are not educated in how to prevent future acts. Inmates are placed in a violent environment that only serves to increase violent tendencies, not reduce them. Instead, perpetrators should take part in educational and therapeutic activities to teach coping skills and reduce violent outbursts. Maintaining results with group therapy sessions and visits with parole officers is advisable after release.
Despite the fact that violence faces women all over the world, each and every day, there are methods available to reduce violent acts. The importance is to educate people on the signs of abusers to prevent acts and to educate and treat abusers after violent acts occur.