I stood up for myself for what felt like the first time in my life. I defended myself. I put my foot down and made a pact with every punch, every kick, every stride I took through that desert that never again would I compromise my own potential, health, and safety to be obliging to someone who does not deserve me. I’ve learned how to apply feminism. It is a new era.
Steubenville is a horrific example of the bystander effect. But what if your kid is a bystander to teasing, to name calling, to social ostracizing – behaviors that some refer to as “kids being kids?” Have you addressed that? Are you sure you’ve modeled the proper way not to stand by? Let’s look at some ways parents might inadvertently be supporting bystanders.
With this time of year comes an increase in street harassment. So let me say it plainly to my male-identified people out there: Street harassment and leering are never okay. It’s all harassment. It’s all misogyny. And it all needs to stop. And since men are the primary perpetrators of street harassment, men bear the responsibility for ending it.
Here’s a lesson for any cause: If we don’t get to the root of the issue, all we’re doing is pulling some individuals to safety while losing others. In combatting sexual violence, we must work to help survivors heal, seek justice, and find the new normal in their life, but that cannot be our only work. We must prevent sexual violence before it happens. But how do we do that? What does it look like?
With the repeated images of real life violence, including the Boston marathon tragedy, children’s (and adults’) emotional health are being affected. An easy response is “turn off the TV!” However, simply not allowing children to watch television is not enough to help them cope with violence. We need better approaches to help this generation of youth cope with and resist a culture of violence.
Rape jokes are just not funny. They can be traumatizing and anyone around you may be a survivor without you knowing it. To see why these jokes continue, we need to understand how sexual violence is made insignificant and normalized, the ways we contribute to rape culture, and how to address people who make them. And most importantly, we need to take care of ourselves when it happens.
No one wants to think about the sexual abuse of children, particularly involving their own kids. But it’s a devastating reality that too many children face, and we help no one when we avoid it. We must be educated in order to be prepared to help the survivors – your kids, your nieces and nephews, your friends’ kids. So here’s a breakdown of what is it and what to do if a child is being abused.
I am a 28-year-old Latina feminist who lives with her formerly abusive dad. I can afford to move out but I don’t because I feel an obligation to look after my father. Everything I do is with the hope of making him proud, making him feel loved, and trying to repair whatever is broken inside of him that causes him to be abusive. I want to break so many chains and unlearn so many generations of abuse.
As I board the subway, my heart races a little as I silently assess whom I feel safe commuting beside. I take a seat and am confronted by a disturbing and embarrassing inner realization that I am filled with fear in the midst of African American men. The subtle racism that continues to permeate our society, blurs our perceptions and further deepens our expectations of who is violent.
The social stigmatization that blames women and tells women they should remain quiet and be ashamed of their assaults is rooted in the same view that says abortion should remain unnamed and unspoken about in public. I offer my story to help make the case for positive and unrestricted abortion rights and hopefully challenge pro-life people to view my choice in the context of my humanity.