121812 single spark

October 7, 2014

121812

my friend, I see you
as you walk so calmly amongst us
as if you were nothing more
than a simple guy with a smart strut
sliding between us
smooth as silk cuts through strands of smoke
searching.  I search, too.

I hear you
laugh as you take a joke
and file it away, for later
the same as I see the wheels in your rational head
twisting and turning, thoughtful dead
I feel the empty hunger in your heart
pumping and burning, and
I sense the doubtful blood in your veins
yielding to the yearning.

you are kind and gentle
to us, perfectly flawed
you are a good friend
to some, and we stand blind, in awe
but all it takes is just one, to me
no turning back, you embrace
what you’ve become

I am here to help you
realize what you’ve done
because i see you, in the dark
and in the moment that we meet
will be a single spark
so it’s with a heavy hand
and an open heart I offer you
fair warning and a fresh head start:

watch your back, monster
you might hide from others
but I see you for what you are
I know your victims, some survive
I see them in the skies at night
and I feel their scars

you won’t be the only one
stalking its prey, by night
and by day, any where, any way
might be the perfect time to strike

you won’t be the only one
calculating, cold, cautious of his choice:
vulnerable, accessible, lacking credibility
those without a voice
whose silent terror falls
with the cycles of the moon
because they put their trust in you

relish their fear
you will know it soon.
living too much in your brain
run away, hide, explain it all
the pain you cause
you will feel it, too

the moment when we meet again
we won’t be so lonely, because
you won’t be the only one
refusing to take, ‘no’ for an answer, anymore
I know exactly what it is about you I abhore
you’re nothing special, nothing unique
not talented, nor gifted
nothing, and no more.

Do you see me, now?
because i see you in the dark
and in the moment that we meet
will be a single spark
through the lens of history:
your life, your death
our one, and only mark.

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Violence Against Women: A Man’s Issue

September 12, 2014

Yes, violence against women is a man’s issue.  It’s not only a man’s issue (obviously, violence against women affects women and children and non-human animals and, and), but it gets tiring to read all the defensive responses when someone points out that it is also a man’s issue.  This should be non-controversial. Given that

  1. societal and intimiate partner and sexual violence/abuse comes mostly from men
  2. men are most likely to be victimized by other men
  3. women who abuse tend to be taking on masculine gender roles

this is definitely a problem of masculinity that men need to address.  Since gender roles co-exist, this is a problem of patriarchy, namely, the rigid, unrealistic (for most people) gender roles patriarchy imposes on us all.  men need to participate in that conversation about ending patriarchy and replacing it with something more anarchistic — that is, lacking a rigid hierarchy, that is, allowing people to negotiate their gender roles on (inter)personal levels without culturally imposing a bunch of crappy baggage on us all.

In this way, feminism means liberation…for us all!   The only people I hear complaining about feminism are those (usually men) who seem to fear “losing control” over women, and who often seem to view women as inherently narcissistic or sociopathic (and use that as a justification for their behavior).

Ironically, these dudes are also victims of patriarchy, as well, whether its the social shame/victim blaming of being a male victim of sexual/domestic violence or child abuse (though it is high for everyone), not living up to unrealistic expectations of “what it means to be a man,” (which leads to other men/women policing their behavior, shame and overcompensation), developing unhealthy and counterproductive views of women, having to navigate the minefield of homophobia, or any number of other issues.  Feminism brings these issues up, like a societal-scale counselor, or a messenger.   Each time we raise the issue, some men try to shoot the messenger rather than address the actual issue.  Can you imagine how different the US would be today if people decided to shoot Paul Revere rather than heed his warning?  ha!

Women have been asking for men to participate in these conversations for decades.  Each year, more and more men listen to that call, and more and more men express the courage to step up and participate, for a number of reasons:  for their own sake (because they are sick of patriarchy), for the sake of their loved ones, for the sake of their relationships, and for the sake of the social fabric of our society (a fabric that domestic and sexual violence and its patriarchal underpinnings rips to shreds), and others.

James Brown’s wonderful speech is an example of that trend toward liberation.  Let’s keep on it!


Bambu for Women’s History Month

March 29, 2011

The two songs below are two small (and important) reasons why Bambu is one of my favorite artists/activists of any kind, anywhere

1. Something

March, in case you were unaware, is Women’s History Month. Los Angeles’ own, Bambu, leaks a song that takes a look at domestic violence from a personal perspective. The song speaks on his family history with violence in the home, as well as his own struggles with it, even touching on the normalcy of such violence against women in our own Hip Hop culture. For this one, DJ Phatrick stepped out from behind the turntables to produce, sampling Adele’s “Someone Like You.” A video is set to drop at the end of the month and the song will also be included on Bambu’s …Exact Change… re-release bonus EP, Short Changed, dropping on April 29, 2011 through Beatrock Music Label.

2. The Queen Is Dead…. an older song calling out sexism in the “conscious” and “progressive” elements…

Bambu explains the track here (track #5)

If you haven’t yet, also check out his “Old Man Raps” (explanation is track #7) and “Crooks and Rooks” videos, as well.


immigration: yet another example of sexist piggybacking on racism

December 31, 2010

i do not have a witty title for this.

A great introduction to and reposting of an equally-great article in Latina Magazine, embedded ironically amongst adverts featuring toothpick-skinny white models and french-sounding perfumes.

Let’s call it the intersection of racism and sexism, via immigration.  I fully and whole-heartedly support this blogger’s message to “these people condemning refugees,” amounting to a resounding

 

fuck you for every asylee you want to send home. These people need help, and you are sending them back to hell and, in many cases, certain death. I am not exaggerating to make you feel guilty — this is truth, and I hope you never have to live in the same terror these people do[…]

I will leave the story as to why there was even a copy of Latina Magazine in my house in the first place for another day…


violence against women is not the problem

November 2, 2010

As a bit of a preface, I am writing this as an activist working to end men’s violence against women. So this essay is largely a self-critical analysis of how I situate myself amongst the strategic landscape of the movement for gender justice.

Abuse, as Dr. Evan Stark argues in his book Coercive Control, is fundamentally a crime against liberty. Physical violence is, at most, merely instrumental to the purpose of subjugating women. Physical violence has been a powerful force in keeping women down, but is by no means the only (or even most) effective tactic available to agents of patriarchy (of any gender ;). Since feminists have successfully unearthed Read the rest of this entry »


Guns, Sex(ism), and Hugs

February 13, 2010

What a week.  One shooting at Fort Hood, then a second shooting in Orlando…a bit closer to home (Portland, OR), the 3rd shooting of the week…because she filed for divorce??  And a fourth shooting and a fifth shooting in the Portland-metro area.  In all five cases the perpetrators are men.

UPDATE (11/18):   A sixth shooting

UPDATE (11/30):  Seventh shooting and eighth shooting

UPDATE (12/03): Ninth shooting

UPDATE (02/11): Tenth shooting

In the last three four SIX SEVEN EIGHT local murders in a matter of weeks, it is the same old story…

  1. man believes he has a right to control women Read the rest of this entry »

Open Letter of Resignation

September 21, 2009

PLEASE NOTE:  Many readers have stumbled across this post while searching for example letters of resignation.  I am not suggesting the below resignation as a template or model if you are considering resigning from your workplace for similar issues.  Please be aware that there are repercussions for resigning publicly, and for calling people on their crap if they have more institutional power than you do.  One of the ways you can protect yourself from retaliation is to give your boss a letter of resignation that does not implicate or accuse them or wrong-doing.  Unlike the below.

Below is the letter of resignation I just sent.  I was doing anti-violence work under an executive director who has her entire staff terrified and purges the organization of all employees who show anything other than submissive assent to her.  Why does she bully her employees?  According to some recent peer-reviewed research in social psychology, it’s because she feels both incompetent AND empowered.  Scary combination, and completely unacceptable and inappropriate anywhere — let alone within the context of anti-violence and social justice work!

UPDATE (9/21):  The SATF Executive Director’s response is included, below.

UPDATE (9/24):  Another follow up from the Executive Director, which includes a message that Eva Kutas, Board President, sent to the SATF staff (but not the listservs).

UPDATE (10/7):  A follow up that came through RAINN, entitled “Just What Are We Afraid Of?”

September 21, 2009

To Whom It May Concern,

It is with a heavy heart that I hereby submit my resignation as Prevention Specialist of the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force. Read the rest of this entry »