Bees in My Bonnet: Before the Holiday

Bee in the Lavender

Enjoy another great installment of “Bees in my Bonnet” and for those of you in the US have a great Thanksgiving! 

A dad examines the message that telling jokes about buying a shotgun when his daughter starts dating send.

One thing I’ve learned is that one person’s illogical belief is another person’s survival skill. And nothing is more logical than trying to survive.”  It is so easy to judge others, criticize what have not experienced and do not understand.

Over at Defeating the Dragons the author is doing a series called “learning the words.”  One of her posts is about consent and how she, and others in fundamental, or overly conservative cultures, can take back the word. 

Another Defeating the Dragons post about what Twilight and the movie Fireproof have in common and how they contribute to, and possibly even encourage abuse.

The myths about domestic violence, abuse, rape, and other forms of gender-based violence are becoming increasingly visible.  What isn’t being discussed as much is how supposedly safe and progressive spaces can also harbor abusive individuals and how to deal with that.

A woman struggles with purity culture, feminism, and the concept of virginity.

The anti-domestic violence movement is still fairly new, relatively speaking.  And it is mainly focused on hetero couples.  This does a great disservice to the experiences of those in same-sex relationships that are abusive.  Domestic violence does not discriminate based on sex, gender, race, economic status, or education.  This article does a great job of addressing the silent epidemic of abuse in same-sex relationships.

The Male Privilege Checklist, compiled by Barry Deutsch, is an adaptation of Peggy McIntosh’s The Invisible Knapsack written about white privilege.  Both challenge privileged groups (men and white people respectively) to not only open their eyes to the privileges they enjoy but to acknowledge them.  For example, I as a white woman can go to the store and by a flesh-colored band-aid knowing that it is my flesh color, but my driving ability may be questioned because of my gender.

An awesome post about some amazing men who are standing against misogyny and sexism.

“Being an ally isn’t a title you claim. It’s not who you are – it’s what you do…”  Another great post about male privilege in relation to feminism.

For (cringe worthy) fun 25 super inappropriate ads that somehow made is past marketing into our magazines.

“This short doc [It Gets Messy in Here] challenges gender assumptions and gender identities of all kinds by delving into the bathroom experiences of masculine identified queer women and transgendered men of color…”

via YouTube

How to be an Ally: Part Two

As a follow-up to my previous post, “How to be an Ally” I wanted to share another great article.

It really can be hard to know what to do or say when someone comes to you with their pain.  The following article is written by another woman who has worked at a rape crisis center.  Her main point is that it is not your job to become the counselor.  You don’t have to have all the right words.  You don’t need to have any words.  Just be present with the other person and be a witness to their story.

Be a Human: Helping People Through Trauma When You Don’t Know What To Say

“At some moment, perhaps several moments, in your life, you will be in a room with someone who is disclosing to you about their trauma, rape, domestic violence, human trafficking, suicide, etc. You may freeze up or panic. “What should I do?” You may not know this person, or you may not want to know this person. You may want to leave the room and not come back. Or maybe they’re your dad, or your girlfriend. Maybe you will leave, maybe you won’t. For argument’s sake, and because I have nowhere to go with this if you don’t stay, let’s say you stay. What now…?”

Read the rest here

Tomorrow is Halloween.  Have fun and be safe!  See you in November.

What About the Boys?

So much of the anti-violence movement focuses on violence against women. That is often what we hear more about and statistically speaking women are more likely to have experienced violence. That doesn’t mean that we can forget about the boys and the men who have also experienced violence. This post raises some great questions and issues. I highly encourage you to check it out. It is written by a professor from my alma mater and a brilliant one at that. Also check out her blog: http://mamaunabridged.com/.

Mama Unabridged

In Quaker-speak, we have something called a “concern,” which is basically a deep-felt divine prompting to attend to a particular need. Although I’ve long felt a general sense of “concern” about injustices related to gender and sexuality, when I wrote that article about Don Draper being raped, I thought it would be a small foray for me into the issue of sexual violence against males. My main goal was to raise awareness and perhaps motivate others to speak out on their behalf.

But I can’t seem to look away. This issue of boys being sexually assaulted and shamed into silence is increasingly feeling like a “concern.” Writing that article opened a Pandora’s box for me, a box full of horrifying statistics and heartbreaking accounts of abuse. Most of the people who responded to me personally after the article came out were male survivors. Many of expressed variations of the same…

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How to be an Ally

It can be hard to know what to do or say if someone comes to you and shares their story of abuse, especially if it is not part of your trauma narrative.  And even if it is, even if you’ve experienced something similar it can be hard to hear another person’s story.  You may not have dealt with your own trauma and listening to someone else can be triggering.  It can bring out not so great feeling feelings like jealousy, fear, and even realization.  Jealousy that they were able to come forward and you still don’t feel ready.  Fear that they came to you because they know what you went through, or are going through.  The possible realization that you may be going through something similar.  Any of these feelings can also produce guilt.  Guilt that you are thinking about yourself while someone else is opening up to you.

It doesn’t matter if the abuse is currently happening or if it happened in the past, it can make you feel helpless.  You may want to fix it and bust into their life guns blazing, ready to save them.  You may want to move faster than they do.  Imagine if you are the very first person to believe their story.  On average women (and girls) have to tell 6-8 people before they are believed.  They may still be getting over the shock of your belief while you are gearing up for battle.  It’s natural to want to protect those we love.  But it is important to let the person sharing with you set the pace.  It is important to let them name what is happening or has happened.

There are several things I want to share in this post about how to be a good ally to a survivor.  The first is an article by The Healing Center.  This is a great website and a great resource to both survivors and their friends and family.  The article is called “How to be an Ally” and if offers 12 suggestions of ways to be supportive of the survivors in your life including, listen, believe, and educate yourself.  Read the full article here.  I originally saw this posted on another woman’s blog, Purposefully Scarred.  On her “About” page she shares her own story and states that the purpose of her blog is to “[raise] awareness for survivors of abuse and [help] one another find purpose in our scars.”  I encourage your to click around her site, she’s got a lot of great articles and stories.

The second thing I wanted to share is a YouTube video I found posted on One Woman, another blog written by an amazing and brave woman who has been sharing her story.  I encourage you to check out her blog as well.  The video is a young man sharing words that are important for every survivor to hear, whether it is from him or from you.

As we continue to move through October and domestic violence awareness month I encourage you to be sensitive to the people around you.  1 in 3 women worldwide will experience violence in her lifetime.  So the chances are high that  either you or several women in your life have been affected by violence.  Love each other well.

________________

Update:  Read another article and part two of “How to be an Ally” here.

Bees in My Bonnet: Time to Speak Out

Bee in the Lavender

Welcome to Bees in My Bonnet.  If this is your first time reading one of these posts check out some previous ones from the archives here, here, here, and here.

1.  “…when it comes to domestic violence, the silence can be deafening.”  This is so true it hurts.  Abusers benefits not only from the silence of their victims but the silence of everyone else as well.

2.  In case you haven’t heard yet Angelina Jolie chose to reduce her chances of developing breast cancer from around 80% to less than 5% by undergoing a preventative double mastectomy.  I will have more to say about this in another post but for now please read her article, My Medical Choice.

3.  Vows of Silence Aren’t Always Holy.  Naked Pastor writes an article to go with his cartoon “Don’t Tell” explaining that sadly there is a lot of groundwork that has been laid to keep victims of abuse in the church silent.

4.  I love slam poetry.  Check out this poem called “Dear Straight People: We Have to Talk” by Denice Frohman, a world poetry slam champion.  Also “i know girls (body love)” by Mary Lambert, another amazing slam poet.  Mary Lambert’s voice is featured in the song Same Love by Macklemore.

5.  Read a wonderful fictional piece inspired by Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll and his latest sermon series.

What are your thoughts on the below cartoon?

Shopping

Found at Funny Times.

 

Insensitivity and Ignorance Abound

There is such a plethora of anti-women crap to chose from right now I don’t even know where to begin.  I just have to turn on my computer to hear about some idiot saying something ignorant, misinformed, or just plain cruel.  There’s this guy for example, who thinks comedy consists of threatening to gang rape a woman, or publicly inducing shame by sneaking up on women and “lightly touching their stomachs.”  He makes sure that you know it should be non-consensual, unexpected, and as embarrassing as possible for the intended victim.  Then there’s always aspirin between the knees guy, or Rush Limbaugh’s comments towards Sandra Fluke.  And more recently there is Todd Akin’s comment about “legitimate rape.”  By the way Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, pens a beautiful and very well written open letter to Mr. Akin.  I highly recommend that you check it out.

With all this potential blog fodder how do I even know where to start?  The more I think about it the more I just find myself exhausted.  I can’t live my whole life angry.  It is good to be angry, and righteously so, at injustice.  You cannot let it consume you though.  There will always be ignorant people who either do not understand what is like to be a woman, or what it is like to be raped, abused, controlled, and taken advantage of.  I can explain the cycles of abuse till I’m blue in the face.  I can say that no one is responsible for anyone else’s actions, or a woman should be able to dance naked on a table and not be raped or taken advantage of all I want.  There are always going to be people who don’t get it.  There are always going to be people who will argue with me and I’ve hit my limit.  I’ve hit my rape and abuse limit.  My bullshit meter is in overdrive and I’m not the only one.  So, as I temporarily put aside the idiots who do not understand the complexities of rape, abuse, and domestic violence let’s find something else to be indignant about.

Back in April, Anchorage Alaska rejected Proposition 5, a gay rights initiative that would have created a law protecting residents from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  This law and one’s like it are aimed mainly to protect the LGBTQ community.  This is a community that many people still fear.  They are misunderstood and have gross stereotypes still attached to them.  People who do not fit into gender norms are seen as predatory, threatening, and grotesque.  The following “vote no” ads focus on the transgender piece, portraying them as dangerous to be around children and as having ulterior motives:

These ads portray transgender people as laughable, unsightly, and in all honesty, stereotypically.  They are people to fear and keep our children away from.  This is historically true of people that are not like us.  People that are different are ostracized and demeaned.  In particular there is a fear that they will prey on children.

 “Ads that raise fears about transvestites teaching in the classroom have been used since the 1970s during ballot measure campaigns, and the Religious Right has been raising concerns about transgender women in women’s bathrooms since the late 1980s. These two ads from the Anchorage Proposition 5 campaign are among the newest additions to the long tradition of ads that rely on stereotypes of LGBT individuals as predatory, dangerous to have around children, and having ulterior motives.”  – Amy L. Stone

The conversation goes from being about rights of the LGBTQ community to the comfort of cisgendered and cissexual individuals.  Somehow every conversation becomes about making the “normal” people safe and comfortable.  This is what it means to be privileged.  Think about it.  I will never be second guessed if I walk into a daycare.  I may a sexual predator but because I look “normal” no one questions my motives.  I can take a child into the bathroom regardless of its gender.  People will not be wondering in the back of their heads if I’m a pervert.

Working in what is called a “low barrier” women’s shelter I see this all the time.  Anyone who identifies as a woman and is over the age of 18 can access the shelter’s services.  The number one question I get asked when I explain this is, “what about transgendered women?”  The related questions include things like, aren’t I worried that a man will dress up like a woman just to access services or to prey on the “real women”?  At first I found this an exciting opportunity to educate the people I talked to.  Now it just annoys me.  Let’s face it, discrimination and misunderstanding are alive and well.

**Something I’ve learned about blogging is that readers tend not to click on links.  I would encourage you to do so this time and check out some of the articles I’ve linked to in this entry.  It’s good stuff.  Read Ms. Ensler’s letter at the very least.