If you’re not into the commercial cutesiness of Valentine’s Day, there’s an alternate, empowering holiday to celebrate on February 14th: V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. ”The Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler created V-Day, which is celebrated each year on Valentine’s Day as the play is staged around the world to raise money for local rape crisis centers.
This year, V-Day also marks the grand finale of Ensler’s year long One Billion Rising campaign. The One Billion Rising name and collective goal derives from a statistic that one in three women will suffer abuse or rape in their lifetime; out of the seven billion people populating the world, that means roughly one billion women will be victims. Keep reading »
When you live in New York City, it’s impossible not to find yourself inadvertently in the middle of someone else’s crazy. Sometimes it’s a domestic dispute and sometimes it’s a person in the throes of a psychotic break — either due to mental illness or substance use. You learn to assess these situations as best as possible and take your best guess as to whether to call the police or keep the hell out of it. This becomes even more difficult when you find yourself trapped in a subway car with a threatening situation. This happened to me this morning.
A visibly intoxicated 30-something woman got on my train. I’m guessing she was intoxicated because of the water bottle full of what looked and smelled like whiskey she was carrying and the way she was stumbling and slurring. As she pushed her way onto my subway car, she began ranting immediately. This happens a lot — ranters on the train. You usually move as far away from them as you can, avoid eye contact and hope for the best. It’s harder at rush hour when the train is crowded, as it was this morning. My personal motto when it comes to crazies on the train is: “Don’t poke the mad dog.” Keep reading »
Nope, this is not a headline from Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. People really did put to death a woman accused of being a witch in 2013. A town in Papua New Guinea, which is in the South Pacific Islands, publicly tortured and then murdered a 20-year-old woman by setting her on fire in a public square. The government and local police condemned this act of violence against women, but that didn’t stop it from happening: the young mother had been accused of sorcery by the family of a six-year-old child who had recently died and townspeople took matters into their own hands. The details of how she was killed are grisly and gross and I won’t recap them here. Alas, the embassy in Papua New Guinea has called for a closer look into gender-based violence and police are pursuing the as-many-as-50-suspects who had a hand in putting the young mom to death. This barbarity is frankly disgusting. [ABC News]
Welp. There’s no denying it now. Rihanna is officially back together with Chris Brown, less than four years after he assaulted her to the point of hospitalization the night before the 2009 Grammy Awards. In the new issue of Rolling Stone, on stands this Friday (but excerpted quotes are already making the rounds), the singer is pretty straight up about her reasons for taking back her abusive ex. Check out some quotes from the interview, after the jump… Keep reading »
A few years ago, I posted a roommate request on Craigslist. I received a handful of responses, and after weeding out the crazies, I invited a few people to come see the apartment. One afternoon, a girl I had contacted stopped by with her boyfriend. She seemed nice, respectful and she really liked the place. I remember her boyfriend walked around the whole time with a look of delight on his face, as if to say, “Wow, you could actually live here!” Shortly after meeting them, I told the girl she could have the place. This is how Tam and Fred* came into my life.
At first things went really well. Tam was a very sweet person and a considerate roommate. Fred spent a lot of time at our apartment, but he was so friendly I didn’t mind his presence. He would go out of his way to talk to me when he was over and to see how I was doing. If Tam was busy, he would watch TV with me and talk. During these conversations, I learned something important about Fred: he was an idiot. Keep reading »
If you’ve been reading the blogosphere lately, you’ve likely heard about Alisa Valdes and her memoir, The Feminist And The Cowboy: An Unlikely Love Story. Valdes is the author several romance novels and the debut novel The Dirty Girls Social Club (as Valdes-Rodriguez), which landed her all kinds of accolades. She was even named one of the top feminist writers under 30 by Ms. magazine. Then, somewhere along the way, her feminist principles started to chafe: she felt like men were emasculated (“icky ‘liberal’ men,” she calls them in the book) and she resented feeling like women wore the pants. Soon Valdes fell for a Fox News-watching, macho cowboy who exuded an alpha male sexiness and she started to submit to him in their relationship. As the Amazon.com description of The Feminist And The Cowboy says, Valdes discovered ” “when men … act like men rather than like emasculated boys, you as a woman will find not only great pleasure in submitting to them but also great growth as a person.”
Alas, it didn’t quite work out the way. In fact, following the publication of The Feminist And The Cowboy, Valdes has now come forward to say the cowboy raped and physically and emotionally abused her. Keep reading »