Sunday, November 19, 2017

Hunting Season

[TW: Rape, sexual assault]

It's interesting what happens when the hunters become the hunted, isn't it?

Over the last few weeks, more and more victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape have come forward. I'm sure even more will come forward in the weeks and months to come. Something happened when Harvey Weinstein was utterly destroyed for his reprehensible crimes. Women began to think that maybe, just maybe, they would actually get justice after all. And so one woman came forward. And then another. And another. And as each woman raised her voice, the men who had silenced them for so long were suddenly forced to face the consequences of their actions. Valuable things were taken away. Careers were ended. Punishments were meted out.

Women across the country breathed a cautious and wary sigh of relief.

And men began to feel threatened, for some reason--they are so terrified that there's about to be some kind of hysterical mob violence where men are rounded up and accused of sexual assault for funsies. Which is weird, because the FBI consistently puts the false report rate at 8%, and this study done by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center in 2012 indicates false report rates between 2-6% in varying cities and states. It's no higher than the false report rate for any other crime.

So it's almost like, if a woman comes forward saying she's been raped, the likelihood of her lying is 2-8%. It's almost like, if a woman comes forward saying you've raped her, the likelihood that you've done it is 92-98%.

I'm starting to think that if you've never raped or sexually assaulted anyone, you shouldn't be this concerned that women are feeling like they can come forward and name their attackers.

It's interesting how you're so quick to demand that people trust the justice system until it's you in the handcuffs, you in the defendant's chair. If you're not guilty, you don't have anything to worry about. Isn't that what you always say to folks who are falsely arrested while exercising their right to protest? Maybe you should just let the justice system do its job--once you've been thoroughly investigated, you'll be exonerated. Just relax and let the system work, right?

Well, time to eat your words. If you've never raped anyone, you don't have anything to worry about. Maybe you should just let the justice system do its job. Once you've been thoroughly investigated, you'll be exonerated. Just relax and let the system work. If you're not guilty, you don't have anything to worry about.

Do you?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sutherland Springs

TW for gun violence, particularly against children]

By the time of this posting, you’re likely aware of what happened on Sunday night in Sutherland Springs, TX—26 people gone. Gunned down by a “mentally ill lone wolf” who they will refuse to label as a terrorist because he's white—and I refuse to use his name because I don’t want to add to his inevitable infamy—who was allowed access to an automatic rifle despite being discharged from the military and court martialed for assaulting his wife and child.

I don’t even know how to describe my emotional state at this point. I’m beyond angry. Furious doesn’t cover it. Because we keep letting this happen. Over and over and over again. Because when it's white men committing the violence with what they believe are their Constitutionally-guaranteed guns, apparently it's perfectly okay. Because in this particular instance, half the victims were CHILDREN. CHILDREN. One of those children was just 18 months old. One victim was eight months pregnant. Her fetus was just a month or so away from being a newborn baby.

If you’re wondering why you don’t hear our pro-life Republican representatives demanding sensible gun control, that’s because they’re not. Because they’re busy offering “thoughts and prayers” instead. And that’s because they don’t actually care about a fetus’ “right to life.” If they actually care about fetuses, they should demand immediate action on sensible gun control legislation. But they won't. Because even if they believe that a fetus is essentially an already living, breathing child, we’ve already established that it’s not about saving fetuses—it’s about controlling women’s bodies and therefore their lives. Always has been. Their radio silence on this most recent mass shooting is perfect evidence of that. But we also know that dead children isn’t enough to sway them from that sweet, sweet NRA money, anyway.

Because we’ve done this before.

We lost 20 children—babies, really—at Sandy Hook Elementary back in 2012 and not a single common-sense piece of gun control legislation ever got passed. No one even bothered to fight for it. They just offered thoughts and prayers, as usual, and life went on. A year passed. Two years. Now five. More people died. More children. So much death that could have easily been prevented had the Republicans just pried their fingers from their guns and their NRA membership cards for one fucking second and passed some fucking gun control. But no. Their love of the 2nd Amendment (and those super-shiny NRA paychecks, of course) superseded those kids’ right to life, and so they did nothing.

And they will do nothing now.

The fact that a fetus likely died with a bullet through it won’t even make them flinch.

And life will go on. For some of us, anyway.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

Reproductive rights are non-negotiable. Reproductive rights are non-negotiable. REPRODUCTIVE. RIGHTS. ARE. NON. NEGOTIABLE.

What's that? Oh no, I'm not talking to the Republican Party. I'm not even talking to the Txxxp administration. Believe it or not, I'm actually talking to the Democratic Party leadership.

Just yesterday, the Democratic campaign chief, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) indicated that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) will continue to fund Democratic candidates who oppose abortions, stating that "There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates....As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.” In other words, they seem to think that licking the boots of the Republicans and the alt-right will help them win back the House in 2018.

I'm here to say that, if they think making reproductive rights a negotiable bargaining chip will help them gain more votes, they are delusional. They will lose more votes from women, LGBTQ people, etc. than they will gain from old, white, male Republicans, as we do not take kindly to having our rights reclassified as being non-essential when they become inconvenient to the Democrats' success rate.

It is not a coincidence that the all-male Democratic leadership does not consider reproductive rights to be essential--not just to the party platform, but to women! Apparently we can just drop the issue for the moment and we can pick it up again when the time is right, sweetie. If you need any proof that the current Democratic leadership doesn't give a fuck about women, think about this: anti-abortion politicians, whether Republican or Democrat, will vote for anti-abortion legislation. The Democratic Party leadership is not stupid--they know this. However, even with that knowledge in mind, instead of doubling down on reproductive rights and continuing to press it as a non-negotiable issue after the presidential election, they have instead decided that our right to bodily autonomy, our right to decide if and when we have children, is worth sacrificing for votes.

The Democratic party, as it stands right now, does not give a fuck about women. It does not give a fuck about LGBTQ people. It does not give a fuck about anyone who needs reproductive healthcare services, abortion or not. It does not give a fuck if they vote in anti-abortion politicians who will continue to strip us of our reproductive rights until they disappear, as long as they get the votes they want. We really need to think about what will happen if there comes a future when candidates from both major political parties, the parties that tend to win elections, are anti-abortion.

Do you want the Handmaid's Tale? Because this is how you get the Handmaid's Tale. And it's clear that, with men in charge, we can't have basic human rights in ANY party.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Call to Action: Day 4 of the Resistance

The Women's March, which had representation in all seven continents, took place on Saturday, January 21st, to the tune of 3.67 million marchers on the low end and 4.6 million on the high end of estimations. More than one out of every 100 Americans took to the streets to voice their outrage at this incoming administration and voice their determination to fight and resist at every turn. Many people, Drumpf included, voiced their confusion about the necessity of this march. They argued that women already have all the rights and privileges that they could possibly need. What was the point of this march, really?

A bill was recently introduced to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, January 17th. A full four days prior to the march, and yet nobody knew about its existence until yesterday and today. Even now, most people you inform of the existence of this bill are surprised to know that it's there. This bill, titled H.R.586, posits that "human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization." This is why women marched. This is EXACTLY why. Because from the moment Drumpf set foot into the Oval Office, we knew that he and his administration would start decimating reproductive rights as we know them. This bill sets a dangerous precedent for our country, on a number of levels, and needs to be voted down.

If this bill passes into law, it will make abortion access, and very likely contraception, a thing of the past. With life defined as beginning at fertilization, abortion will be criminalized and defined as murder (even though, interestingly enough, when you ask pro-lifers what the punishment should be for women who have abortions, they usually cannot, or will not, give an answer). The "pro-lifers" who believe that contraception terminates pregnancies, some of whom are our political representatives, will look to deny women access to birth control using the language of H.R. 586 as their justification--seeing as "alternative facts" are perfectly acceptable now, the legitimate fact that contraception does not actually terminate pregnancies will not matter. Women's bodily autonomy will be a distant memory, and all the bloodshed from pre-Roe v. Wade will return to our doorsteps, back alleys, and hospital ERs in very short order. This bill will also set a dangerous precedent for women who have wanted pregnancies and are facing a miscarriage, fetal anomaly, or other medical issue that requires an abortion (early or late term). What's to stop Congress from forcing women to carry non-viable pregnancies to term, even if it kills them? What's to stop Congress from criminalizing miscarriages and imprisoning women for something along the lines of "suspected abortion?" What's to stop Congress from ultimately using The Handmaid's Tale as an instruction manual rather than a cautionary tale? 

The reality is that bills like these, laws like these, do not "save babies." They kill women. Women like Savita Halappanavar, who died after being refused a life-saving abortion during a miscarriage. Women like all those who died prior to the Roe v. Wade decision--approximately 5,000 women ANNUALLY in the United States--bleeding to death in back-alley abortion clinics and dying of sepsis in hospital emergency rooms from DIY abortions gone wrong. Women who poisoned themselves with whatever they had in their medicine and/or kitchen cabinets rather than go through with an unwanted pregnancy. As I wrote in a previous post, women will have abortions, bills and laws notwithstanding, whether they are safe or not. Whether they are done by a professional or a back-alley "doctor" or the woman herself. These politicians know this. They know. They know that women who do not want to be pregnant will do whatever they have to do in order to no longer be pregnant. They know that women who do not have access to safe, legal abortions generally end up injured or dead. 

But, as I also mentioned in that same previous post, it was never about protecting women's health. Our political representatives who claim to be "pro-life" are fully prepared to ignore (or even condone) the fully preventable deaths of actual living, breathing women, fully prepared to step over the corpses of women in the streets, in order to prove how "pro-life" they are. The fact of the matter is, we have laws in this country that state that we cannot be forced to donate organs, blood, or any other living tissue to another human being, EVEN AFTER WE ARE DEAD, unless our express consent has been given. And yet, somehow, it's perfectly acceptable to force women to give up their bodily autonomy for approximately 40 weeks--from the moment she becomes pregnant, her body is no longer hers. She becomes a mere vessel for the fetus. In many states where abortion access is practically nonexistent, pregnant women literally have fewer rights than corpses do. To say that this is unacceptable is the understatement of the century.

For those of you who have read up to this point, for those of you who are beyond angry, I'm issuing a call to action and I want you to do three things:

1. Contact your House representative and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 586
2. Contact your Senators and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 586
3. Read this short story titled "ILU-486". Bookmark it. Read it every day that you feel like you can't fight anymore, because this could very well be our reality if we don't fight back NOW.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women, and Witches, Get Shit Done

I participated in the Women's March on NYC today--sort of. I went with my best friend of 20 years, her parents, and their friends. The crowd was so huge that we never actually got to march in the actual march itself--the streets were so crowded that they were basically a parking lot, which makes me so. Fucking. Happy. As of this writing, the estimated total number of marchers in NYC is 400,000, much higher than they anticipated. Approximately 3 million people, obviously a majority women, marched across all seven continents, with our marchers outnumbering the Trump inauguration attendance by a staggering amount.

Mentally prepping to be part of what would turn out to be a 3 million person march across all seven continents

If you want to get an idea of the scope of the NYC march, take a peek at this video footage of the march from the Daily News. 

Shitty cell phone pictures, because I forgot to charge my camera
Since we couldn't get into the march itself, we walked around the perimeter instead and cheered from the sidelines. And the streets. Were. Packed. The sidewalks were packed. And not one fight broke out. Not one. Not one confrontation between fellow marchers or with the police (thank the gods). In a city whose inhabitants are known for flipping their shit on slow tourists, there was a surprising amount of patience for the molasses-pace of the march and an overwhelming amount of acceptance of each other as allies in this fight. I never thought I'd see something so beautiful come out of this nightmare.

One of my best friends, Althea, aptly compared it to the scene towards the end of "Practical Magic" when the women join hands and exorcise Jimmy from Gillian Owens. We identified a problem and gathered our sisters and allies around us to support us as we said "Enough is enough." We raised energy as a collective with the target of creating positive change in our country, preserving the rights we fought so hard to protect, empowering and emboldening each other in solidarity. If that's not a spell, I don't know what is. So many women woke up to their wild woman nature today because of these marches, and it's sending chills down my spine. The Divine Feminine woke up in us today, not with a stretch and a yawn, but with a heart-stopping roar.

Friday, January 20, 2017

To Trump, With (No) Love

Dear Trump,

President Obama talked recently about the tradition of the outgoing President leaving a handwritten note for his successor. I’m sure he wrote you some very diplomatic things, because he is a diplomatic person with class and distinction.

I, on the other hand, am not. So I’m writing you this letter instead.

On this day of your inauguration, I wish to let you know a few things. First of all, your tiny, tiny feet have some very big shoes to fill. You are walking into this office with a 40% approval rating, the lowest in American history. Unless you make drastic changes to the core of your being, it is almost inevitable that that number will drop with every passing day.

You have showed this country and its inhabitants nothing but absolute disdain from the very first day you started running. Your campaign and your soon-to-be-presidency are drowning in racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and all your other isms and phobias. Your cabinet choices are, for lack of a better word, deplorable. None of you know how to do your jobs—the only thing you know is money, power, bigotry, and climbing to the top on the backs of other people.

It is clear to us that you had no intentions of actually becoming President—you just wanted the attention. You just wanted to feed your already gigantic ego. But unfortunately, for you and for us, you tapped into a deep-seated hatred in this country, and it responded to you in kind. You have validated racists, sexists, homophobes, and rapists (much like yourself), condoning their beliefs and their behavior, refusing to denounce the violence and bigotry being enacted in your name. The rise in hate crimes in this country is in direct correlation to the garbage that continues to come out of your mouth. Ultimately, you allowed a neo-Nazi group to “Sieg Heil” you in the nation’s capital—I have yet to see you make a statement condemning that. This silence speaks volumes.

Mr. Trump, you are not my President. You will NEVER be my President. You will go down in history as a national mistake, as the worst error that we have ever made as a country. Just because I know this eats at you day in and day out, I will remind you that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote—65,844,954 (48.2%) to 62,979,879 (46.1%). You are not the President this country wants. You are a monster, a fascist, a totalitarian, a child. You are ill-prepared for the office of the Presidency, and while you may think us weak and easily destroyed, you are ill-prepared for the amount of resistance you are about to face. Millions of us are watching you, ready to fight—know that our numbers will swallow you whole.