Tag Archives: Human Rights

gay rights are human rights

Gay rights are human rights, and this woman tells us how.

 

Speaking Truth to Power about Gay Marriage

This video is inspirational on its own, but it is especially informative to those who oppose gay marriage and the raising of children by gay couples. I’d be proud to be the parent to a son like this.

 

when “love” is expressed through violence and what we can do about it

Pride and sadness fill my heart. After reading BlogHer blogger Liz Henry‘s post, Domestic Violence: I called the cops. Where were my neighbors?, I couldn’t help but feel a strange combination of pride and sadness. Pride for the blogger and her partner who risked their safety to intervene when they saw someone else’s safety in danger. Sadness that this kind of violence is allowed to go on. Oh, and I feel fear, for both the woman being attacked and for the couple who stood up for her even as they were threatened with violence and assaulted by racial slurs. After letting all of this  set in, I also feel anger. Not the anger that leads to violence, but the anger that yields a desire to do something, to bring about change. And now, a feeling of hopelessness and desolation. How can I/we change something that generations of women have been fighting against with little result? I’m not certain how correct this is statistically. I studied violence against women for some time, but I’m unfamiliar with any studies that provide empirical evidence of the connection between anti-violence movements and lower rates of domestic violence. Of course given the low reporting rate for violence against women, this may tell us very little. I suppose the best way to make a difference is one person at a time, the way that Liz Henry and her partner did. The outcome wasn’t ideal. The woman refused to press charges and left with her violent “partner,” but she left knowing (or if not, at least having someone show her) that there are people who care about her. People who care when anyone, even people that they don’t know, are being threatened and abused. People who care enough to risk their safety to intervene. People like Liz Henry and her partner. Maybe this knowledge will bolster her strength, remind her that she is important and that:
Last night, my mother told me about the SC woman, Tisha Cason, who went to court twice to get a restraining order against her husband only to be turned down both times and then murdered by the husband that she feared enough to seek help from a justice system that did not take her concerns, her life, seriously. [The linked article does not foreground the denial of the protection order, so I am quoting that segment here:
court records show Tisha spent her final days trying to get the court to protect her from her estranged husband. Nine days ago a judge denied Tisha’s request for an emergency hearing, and two days ago, another judge said no to a protective order against Charlie Cason
This cannot continue. What can we do to protect the men and women of the world from the people who claim to love them but who express that “love” (read: control, possessiveness, hatred for self and others) through violence? I guess we must do what Liz Henry and her partner did: help and protect as much as we can, one person at a time.

apparently I am researching a myth

According to a recent book by Susan Clancy, The Trauma Myth, childhood sexual abuse is not traumatizing. In fact, according to Clancy, children may even enjoy it. Let me begin with this caveat: I have not actually read Clancy’s book. I read the Salon.com interview discussing her book. While Clancy is clear to point out that sex with children is a crime, her primary argument is that it does not result in trauma or PTSD. This is the “myth” she is referring to. According to Clancy

Most victims do not understand they are being victimized, because they are too young to understand sex, the perpetrators are almost always people they know and trust, and violence or penetration rarely occurs.

My first response to this is: of course they don’t understand that they are being victimized, they’re children and since, as Clancy notes, the abuse is usually perpetrated by people (and I would add “adults”) that they trust, they may very well think that it’s normal. Not consciously knowing that one is being victimized is quite distinct from the reality of being victimized. Many children who experience physical abuse at the hands of parents are also frequently unaware that they are being victimized. Quite simply, if it is the norm in their household, they assume that it is the norm in all households. Does this make the abuse less “wrong” or traumatizing? Furthermore, I wonder how Clancy defines “violence.” I would argue that all acts of sexual abuse are violent by nature. Perhaps these children aren’t being beaten, but they are certainly being coerced and forced to do something that they cannot freely consent to.

According to her interview, Clancy does believe that childhood sexual abuse is harmful but that the resulting psychological state is not traumatic. She cites the fact that few people seek treatment for the abuse in adulthood and that most of them first describe the experience as “confusing,” which she says is “a far cry from trauma.” She also notes that shame is part of the reason people don’t come forward about their sexual abuse. This is one of the few points that we agree on. However, Clancy argues that the shame isn’t so much a result of the abuse but rather that victims don’t see their responses as consistent with what they see portrayed in the media and pop culture. In other words, their response to the abuse isn’t identical to cinematic representations, etc. I disagree. The shame does not come from the fact that their responses may be different from those of others (although that may be a factor; I can’t say since I’ve seen no research on this) but is instead the result of feeling as though they are somehow to blame for the abuse.

I’m trying to not have a knee-jerk reaction to her argument, but knowing what I know makes that difficult. I’m sure that this is something I share with other researchers and survivors. Unfortunately, many of the comments posted on the Salon site reflect agreement with her argument. Certainly there are those who disagree and they have posted their refutations, but I am saddened by the number of people who dismiss the traumatizing effects of childhood sexual abuse.

In all honestly, I will probably not read Clancy’s book. I have neither the time nor inclination. This is a song that, sadly, I have heard before.

Equality for All: A WWII Vet talks about Gay Marriage

My friend Sally posted this to Facebook, and I feel it’s worth posting again. This man’s testimony warms my heart and gives me great hope. I think this is the first time that I’ve heard a WWII veteran apply the sacrifices that he (and others like h im) made in war to the rights of all to be able to marry. What a spokesman for the gay rights movement! Definitely worth watching.