Same old question: Where are the men?

November 2, 2010

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. However, according to sociologist Dr. Evan Stark, the term “domestic violence” is a bit of a misnomer: Up until they try to leave, abuse survivors experience “coercive control” — a spectrum of instrumental violence consisting of intimidation, isolation, and physical abuse meant to maintain an abuser’s power. Thus, the abuse survivors experience is not necessarily domestic, nor is it physically violent. As such, abuse survivors often face three difficult options: Stay with the abuser and live in terror, try to leave and risk serious harm, or try to neutralize their abuser.

Toward the end of last year, several women and children in the Portland-metro area tried to leave their abusers behind. As a result, their abusers murdered them. Under the lead of the Portland Women’s Crisis Line, the community responded with a vigil. During this month of October, 2010, my thoughts turn back to my experience at that vigil last year…

As horrific as these murders are, an abuser’s final homicidal tendencies are just the tip of the iceberg of what abuse survivors experience daily in our communities. They live their lives in an atrocious terror that is completely preventable, and their murders are flash points, like lightning on a stormy horizon. The storm of violence will continue to surge in our communities and terrorize our loved ones if we keep ignoring the warning signs and their underlying causes. When will we commit ourselves to acting as a community?

Let me clarify who I mean when I say, “we.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Quote of the day: Banned Books

January 10, 2010

Banning Maya Angelou from school libraries and curricula is like banning Jesus’ crucifixion from Bible studies because it is “violent” and possibly “gory.”

Here is the relevant quote:

While you’re at it OC, ban the bible too. There’s a lot more rape and killing in that horrid book.

No, I don’t think the Bible should be banned.  I think every school should have important religious and cultural texts in its library, for students to access and study (including important books of other religions, such as the Torah and Qur’an).

For the same reason, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings should be in every school library.  It is a relevant, timeless classic that can help us learn about ourselves, including how to develop empathy and compassion.  For example, to overcome internalized homophobia (that says gay people somehow want or need to become straight, rather than asking us to accept them for who they are).  And isn’t that what Jesus was all about?

“The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.”   –Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891


Slam Adams

January 23, 2009

I am disappointed in Sam Adams.  What he did creeps me out,  like it normally does whenever anybody does it. That is, have a relationship with

  1. Someone who is 18 when he is 42 (less than half his age!!)
  2. Someone who is a lowly [legislative] intern when he is the relatively powerful commissioner of the state’s largest city, and a favorite mayoral candidate.

I don’t think there ever should be exceptions to #2 above, but #1 is a generalization which has, in my opinion, some legitimate exceptions to account for the relative maturity level of the people involved.  But those exceptions grow pretty rare when the one person is over twice as old as the other.

It’s creepy, alright.  But let’s clear the air about some stuff:  creepy isn’t grounds for calling for someone’s resignation from public office.  Nigel Jacquiss insists in his OPB interview that this story was never “about sex and sexuality,” but that he wasn’t “satisfied” that Sam was “being completely straight” with him, and he had a hunch that Sam wasn’t someone he could “get behind.” (yes, I’m quoting from Jacquiss’ interview on OPB) Hmm, sounds to me like the only person in the closet here is Nigel.
Read the rest of this entry »


the violence in all of us

December 23, 2008

Haven Daley of the Associated Press reports:

A woman was taunted for being a lesbian, repeatedly raped by four men and left naked outside an abandoned apartment building, authorities said.

Detectives say the 28-year-old victim was attacked Dec. 13 after she got out of her car in Richmond, in the San Francisco Bay area.

[…] Read the rest of this entry »


Dan Walters: “blame Prop. 8 on the darkie”

November 12, 2008

Props to the good folks over at FiveThirtyEight.com.  Not only did they construct an incredibly accurate model of the 2008 election — they use their statistical acuity for good and not evil.

Here’s the latest example:  Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee wants to blame Latinos and black people for the passage of Proposition 8.  Read the rest of this entry »