intimate violence

Breathtaking Grotesquerie

#violenceagainstwomen | #WhatTheyVotedFor

U.S. President Donald Trump pauses as he talks to members of the travel pool aboard Air Force One during a trip to Palm Beach, Florida, while flying over South Carolina, 3 February 2017. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

“The latest excuse for assaulting women minimizes the violence so much we can contain it in just one short word: ‘it’.”

Laura McGann

Quibbling over what passes for mastery is probably not helpful. To go down the line from Vox:

• Coaston, Jane. “The White House had to protect Rob Porter to save Donald Trump”. Vox. 9 February 2018.

For the White House, the politics are simple: Protect Trump. Because Trump himself is accused of assaulting dozens of women, they’ve had to lower the bar for male behavior so that even he can meet it. Any allegation of misconduct made against anyone close to Trump, then, must be dismissed as if it were being made against Trump himself.

• Kirby, Jen. “A second White House aide resigns over domestic abuse allegations”. Vox. 9 February 2018.

Another Trump administration official is resigning amid accusations of domestic abuse, just days after White House staff secretary Rob Porter stepped down after he faced similar allegations . . . [Speechwriter David] Sorensen denied the allegations to the Post, saying that he was the victim and that he resigned because he didn’t want the allegations to be a “distraction.” The Post was working on the story when he resigned.

• McGann, Laura. “Trump just taught a master class in manipulating language to excuse abuse”. Vox. 9 February 2018.

Trump’s attempt to help Porter on Friday shows he understands the root of #MeToo’s power. When victims speak, when they take action, when they force us to see, the power of predators fades away. The best Trump could do for Porter was to take away his victims’ humanity, their active descriptions, and replace it all with just one word: ‘it’.

• North, Anna. “Trump’s long history of employing — and defending — men accused of hurting women”. Vox. 9 February 2018.

At least five administration and campaign figures (including Trump himself) have been the subject of abuse allegations. Rather than treat such allegations with gravity, Trump and his team have chosen to ignore them, to fire back at the women on Twitter, or to parrot men’s assurances of their innocence over women’s reports . . . [Staff Secretary Rob] Porter resigned amid public pressure, but Trump’s response is a good reminder of the lesson he’s learned from escaping the reckoning sweeping much of the rest of the country — #MeToo does not apply to him. And given his tolerance for men accused of abuse inside his very inner circle, it’s clear he doesn’t think it applies to his closest associates, either. Trump’s team may lose men like Porter periodically, but the message the president sent on Friday was clear: to him, violence against women really doesn’t matter.

What a day. That is, of course they did, of course he did, of course he did, and of course he does. Nor is that all.   (more…)

Advertisements

An Undefined Question

Fight: Mikasa awakens ― Detail of frame from Attack on Titan episode 6, 'The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2'.

Lynsi Burton, for SeattlePI.com:

A 32-year-old man is accused of following a pair of women on Capitol Hill, holding his exposed penis, before knocking one of them unconscious.

Police reports say that Derron Wiggins then tried to run from cops but was caught while appearing to shove cocaine into his mouth.

(more…)

An Opportunity We Cannot Afford to Pass By

The Black Dot is a call for help, your call to action.

The point of the Black Dot Campaign is pretty straightforward:

One in four women in the U.S. has experienced severe violence at the hands of an intimate partner, yet asking for help is often far too dangerous for victims to even consider. That’s what inspired a new grassroots campaign that allows survivors to open up about their experiences without even having to say a word.

Domestic violence victims are most at risk for getting killed in the moment that they decide to leave their partners, Cindy Southworth, executive vice president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, told The Huffington Post in June. To help survivors signal to others that they need help, but are struggling to ask for it, a new initiative is encouraging victims to paint a tiny black dot on their hands.

The goal is for the black dot to serve as a subtle, yet urgent, message to agencies, relatives, friends, doctors and others that a victim is in need of services to help them escape the abuse.

Please read the rest of Eleanor Goldberg’s report on the Black Dot Campaign.

And please stop by the Black Dot Campaign Facebook page.

This is your chance to help. This is everyone’s opportunity to help. Tell your friends and neighbors. Tell your family. And when you see a Black Dot, please remember what it means.

And please …

please

… do not pass by. Do not walk away.

There is too much at stake.

(more…)

The Value of Woman in South Carolina

Undated photo of South Carolina state Sen. Thomas Corbin (R-05, Greenville/Spartanburg).

The question sometimes arises: What the hell is wrong with Republicans?

And, yes, there is a reason for this. No amount of pathetic equivocation―no mewling about how both parties are the same―can really stand up to scrutiny; they are the words of embittered surrender.

Because, really, while many might stop to wonder about the abysmal situation in South Carolina, most are also quietly and sadly aware that according to Palmetto virtue things can only get worse. After all, this is a state where prosecutors argue that women are not allowed to defend themselves against domestic and intimate violence.

And when we stop to look at who the people of South Carolina are choosing to represent them, we need not wonder how those Palmetto virtues have become such an embarrassment to pretty much everyone. We might also add that in South Carolina, if embarrassment is the worst one suffers for this situation, they ought to consider themselves fortunate. In a state where women cannot defend themselves yet unsettle those Palmetto virtues by going and dying of domestic violence at a rate of one every ten days on average, people like state Sen. Thomas Corbin (R-05, Greenville/Spartanburg) pretty much sum up what’s wrong with South Carolina:

Chauvinist in any context, Corbin’s remarks occurred during a legislative dinner this week to discuss domestic violence legislation. Sources present at the meeting told FITS that Corbin directed his comments at fellow GOP state senator Katrina Shealy, the sole woman in the 46-member chamber.

“I see it only took me two years to get you wearing shoes,” Corbin told Shealy, who won election in 2012. Corbin, the site explains, is said to have previously cracked that women should be “at home baking cookies” or “barefoot and pregnant,” not serving in the state legislature ....

.... Indignant at Corbin’s rank sexism, Shealy asked him where he “got off” making such remarks.

“Well, you know God created man first,” a smirking Corbin replied. “Then he took the rib out of man to make woman. And you know, a rib is a lesser cut of meat.”

(Brinker)

Ah, South Carolina. And this is the part where we should just crack a glib joke about what passes for “family values” in the Palmetto State, but the truth of the matter is that this just isn’t funny.

South Carolina, where domestic abuse victims should not be allowed to defend themselves, according to prosecutors in Charleston.We might wonder just how much gravity such dense ignorance as Sen. Corbin’s might actually have, and even make the point about his bizarre obsessions in general, including the time in 2013 he suggested Sen. Shealy (R-23, Lexington) leave the room while he discussed children performing oral sex on older men.

It probably wouldn’t help to ask him to explain why, if the Adam’s rib story is supposed to be true, God went so far as to make all humans female by default. No, really, even XY starts out female; hormones received in utero trigger the physiological male development. We ought not be surprised that the Bible has it backwards; after all, we’re talking about a bunch of men writing down oral traditions.

Sen. Corbin was elected in 2012; the question remains whether Palmetto virtue in District Five want another four years of this sort of madness. Then again, it’s South Carolina, so … right.

An equally fair question: What the hell is wrong with South Carolina?

____________________

Brinker, Luke. “GOP lawmaker calls women ‘a lesser cut of meat'”. Salon. 13 February 2015.

A Matter of Priorities

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama pose with the Jackie Robinson West All Stars Little Baseball League in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., Nov. 6, 2014. (YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

It is, of course, a tragically stupid tale:

Little League Baseball has stripped the U.S. championship from Chicago-based Jackie Robinson West and suspended its coach for violating a rule prohibiting the use of players who live outside the geographic area that the team represents, it was announced Wednesday.

Jackie Robinson West must vacate wins from the 2014 Little League Baseball International Tournament — including its Great Lakes Regional and United States championships.

The team’s manager, Darold Butler, has been suspended from Little League activity, and Illinois District 4 administrator Michael Kelly has been removed from his position.

The organization found that Jackie Robinson West used a falsified boundary map and that team officials met with neighboring Little League districts in Illinois to claim players and build what amounts to a superteam.

As a result, the United States championship has been awarded to Mountain Ridge Little League from Las Vegas.

“Quite honestly, we had to do this,” Little League International president and CEO Stephen D. Keener told ESPN on Wednesday. “We had no choice. We had to maintain the integrity of the Little League program. … As painful as this is, it’s a necessary outcome from what we finally have been able to confirm.

“The real troubling part of this is that we feel horribly for the kids who are involved with this. Certainly, no one should cast any blame, any aspersions on the children who participated on this team. To the best of our knowledge, they had no knowledge that they were doing anything wrong. They were just kids out playing baseball, which is the way it should be. They were celebrated for that by many, many organizations, many people. What we’re most concerned about today is that it’s going to be hard on these kids. And that’s the part that breaks your heart.”

(ESPN)

People are, as you might imagine, furious. And they should be. Yet what is it about our society that so many people waste so much energy being furious about the wrong thing?

(more…)

Terrible

Alright … a grim proposition: Should domestic violence victims be allowed to defend themselves?

Please don’t ask why I ask that. Because if you do, then you need only keep reading. Nicole Flatow of ThinkProgress tries to explain:

South Carolina is one of more than 20 states that has passed an expansive Stand Your Ground law authorizing individuals to use deadly force in self-defense. The law has been used to protect a man who killed an innocent bystander while pointing his gun at several teens he called “women thugs.” But prosecutors in Charleston are drawing the line at domestic violence.

South Carolina, where domestic abuse victims should not be allowed to defend themselves, according to prosecutors in Charleston.In the cases of women who claim they feared for their lives when confronted with violent intimate abusers, prosecutors say the Stand Your Ground law shouldn’t apply.

“(The Legislature’s) intent … was to provide law-abiding citizens greater protections from external threats in the form of intruders and attackers,” prosecutor Culver Kidd told the Post and Courier. “We believe that applying the statute so that its reach into our homes and personal relationships is inconsistent with (its) wording and intent.”

† † †

South Carolina is one of several states that has two self-defense provisions. One known as the Castle Doctrine authorizes occupants to use deadly force against intruders. Recently, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that this provision could not apply to fellow occupants of the home, in a case involving roommates, although that ruling was since withdrawn and the case is being re-heard this week. The Stand Your Ground law contains a separate provision that authorizes deadly force in self-defense against grave bodily harm or death in another place “where he has a right to be.” Prosecutors are arguing that neither of these laws permit one occupant of a home to use deadly force against another. But as Nicholson points out, this interpretation would yield the perverse result that both self-defense provisions explicitly exempt domestic abusers when they perpetrate violence within their own home.

Okay, really. What? What the hell are we supposed to say? Sometimes it feels like being that guy in the “dead bleepin’ alien” episode of the X-Files, wandering naked along the roadside muttering, “This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening.”

So let us offer a statistic then, that will do exactly nothing to cheer you up: Twelve days. As in, “women are dying at a rate of one every twelve days from domestic abuse in South Carolina”.

Hello?

____________________

Flatow, Nicole. “South Carolina Prosecutors Say Stand Your Ground Doesn’t Apply To Victims Of Domestic Violence”. ThinkProgress. 14 October 2014.

That Certain Sinking Feeling

Detail of image by Alex Nabaum/The Washington Post.

As long as we’re wrecking your day, let us tack on the latest regarding the National Football League. Simone Sebastian and Ines Bebea bring the bad news:

It’s counterintuitive to the outside world: Women should leave their abusers, and their abusers should be punished. But the NFL is a unique universe with an overwhelmingly male workforce whose members are lionized in the press and in their communities; a we’re-all-in-this-together ethos; and incentives for the managers, coaches, and union reps to keep negative stories under wraps. Going to authorities, whether police or hospitals, means social exclusion and, more importantly, negative media attention that could end your husband’s career. Justice imperils their belonging and their livelihood.

National Football LeagueThe wives, whose husbands ended their playing careers in the 2000s, say they knew of no safe alternative — no liaison to players’ families, no counselor, and no procedure for reporting abuse. In fact, the league rarely communicates with wives at all, on issues serious or benign, even though a great number of them don’t work and are dependent on their husbands, they say. The NFL did not answer several requests for comment about league culture or how officials interact with players’ wives. Teri Patterson, deputy managing director and special counsel to the NFL Players Association, says her organization beefed up its communication with wives after she arrived in 2009. The NFLPA now holds meetings for players and their wives in 10 cities each year, plus up to five others at special events like the Super Bowl. (There are 32 teams in the league, meaning only one-third of them have access to the sessions each year.)

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, just one-quarter of the 1.3 million American women assaulted by an intimate partner each year report the attacks to the police. But the two wives interviewed for this article claimed the rate of reporting among NFL wives and girlfriends is much lower. They say the league has built a tight-knit culture, similar to a fraternity, with entrenched hierarchies and a fierce sense of loyalty among members. “You get brainwashed. It’s so ingrained that you protect the player, you just stay quiet. You learn your role is to be the supportive NFL wife,” says one of them, the onetime wife of a Saints player who asked to speak anonymously because her now ex-husband is still associated with the league. Otherwise, she says, “You’d cost him his job.”

Once upon a time, a childhood spent awash in football culture offered treasured memories. But we are living in a time when people are looking past the glories and wondering at the cost. And, yes, this chauvinistic, insane victimization looms over the sport today. True, that stings, but we’re also really, really late to this particular contest. One wonders how many wife-beaters have the stones to to take a swing at their best male friend for similar annoyance. And most of us know from observation the answer is not many. What we might observe from casual cultural references to domestic and intimate violence is pretty straightforward: You don’t treat people that way. Just women.

Or is this just the wrong time for sarcasm?

____________________

Seastian, Simone and Ines Bebea. “For battered NFL wives, a message from the cops and the league: Keep quiet”. The Washington Post. 17 October 2014.

The Curse of “Good” News

This is not the Playboy list of best schools to major in rape.

On a depressing note, Nick Anderson of The Washington Post pauses to consider sexual violence at American colleges and universities:

The number of federal investigations into how colleges handle sexual violence reports has jumped 50 percent in the past six months, reflecting a surge of recent discrimination claims and the difficulty of resolving high-profile cases that often drag on for years.

On May 1, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights released the first public list of colleges and universities under scrutiny for possible violations of federal law in their responses to sexual violence allegations.

This is overdue. Not a matter of perhaps or slightly or whatever. It’s flat overdue. To the other, just how good is good news, really, if its context is established by atrocity? Because, really, all it means is that maybe some substantial aspect of sexual violence in our society will change for the better.

It’s a big maybe.

____________________

Anderson, Nick. “Tally of federal probes of colleges on sexual violence grows 50 percent since May”. The Washington Post. 19 October 2014.

Very Nearly Ineffable

"In my five years on Twitter, I've been called 'nigger' so many times that it barely registers as an insult anymore," explains attorney and legal analyst Imani Gandy.  "Let's just say that my 'nigger cunt' cup runneth over."

Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly, via The Atlantic, offer one of those mammoth monstrosities of compelling writing about a really ugly subject.

For some, the costs are higher. In 2010, 12-year-old Amanda Todd bared her chest while chatting online with a person who’d assured her that he was a boy, but was in fact a grown man with a history of pedophilia. For the next two years, Amanda and her mother, Carol Todd, were unable to stop anonymous users from posting that image on sexually explicit pages. A Facebook page, labeled “Controversial Humor,” used Amanda’s name and image—and the names and images of other girls—without consent. In October 2012, Amanda committed suicide, posting a YouTube video that explained her harassment and her decision. In April 2014, Dutch officials announced that they had arrested a 35-year-old man suspected to have used the Internet to extort dozens of girls, including Amanda, in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The suspect now faces charges of child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment, and Internet luring.

† † †

Hildur Lilliendahl Viggósdóttir, decided to draw attention to similar problems by creating a page called “Men who hate women,” where she reposted examples of misogyny she found elsewhere on Facebook. Her page was suspended four times—not because of its offensive content, but because she was reposting images without written permission. Meanwhile, the original postings—graphically depicting rape and glorifying the physical abuse of women—remained on Facebook. As activists had been noting for years, pages like these were allowed by Facebook to remain under the category of “humor.” Other humorous pages live at the time had names like “I kill bitches like you,” “Domestic Violence: Don’t Make Me Tell You Twice,” “I Love the Rape Van,” and “Raping Babies Because You’re Fucking Fearless.”

No, really, we have nothing for this one. Rather, there is plenty to say, but there are enough profane words here already. In small doses, it is possible to muster on the spot such energy as to not only reject such hatred, but also strike back at it ferociously. In such volume, sadly, it is hard to know where to begin, how to organize the response. Meanwhile, Buni and Chemaly’s article is necessary reading. Many of us believe we have at least some idea of how bad things are out there, but every once in a while, the only thing to mind is, “Holy shit!”

Then again, we at This Is can easily get in over our heads. Our “we” is abstract. It is reader and writer and community at large. That is, at This Is, “we” is only “you” and “me”. And there are days I might think I have at least some idea of how bad things are out there, but I am not a woman. I have no idea. My “out there” is someone else’s “right here”. And while it is easy to rage and fume about this atrocity or that, there does come a point where the magnitude of this sickness raging through humanity becomes very nearly ineffable.

____________________

Buni, Catherine and Soraya Chemaly. “The Unsafety Net: How Social Media Turned Against Women”. The Atlantic. 9 October 2014.