While the direct blame for abuse rests solely on the abusers, we live in a culture that supports and perpetuates the cycle of violence. It is on all of us to listen, support and validate the voices of those who come forward. Victims shouldn’t feel censored or have their stories dismissed just because there isn’t a direct line solution to their complicated realities. We cannot get to #WhyILeft without confronting the reasons #WhyIStayed.
At first glance, Charlotte Alter’s piece on Time.com, “Instead of Asking Women Why They Stay, We Should Ask Men Why They Hit,” sounds sensible. In 140 characters, it even seemed empowering — almost spectacularly right on the money.
Why are we asking Janay Rice and other victims of intimate partner violence to explain themselves?? Abuse survivors shouldn’t need to justify their circumstances and choices in a hashtag. Shouldn’t we be as shocked and appalled at that conversation as Alter seems to be?
Actually, no. It turns out, she has missed the point entirely. Keep reading »
I’ll try to write about this with as little abject fury as possible. Yesterday morning, my Facebook feed was full of sympathetic posts about Janay Rice, some good burgeoning conversations about domestic violence and how it’s been swept under the rug and normalized by our culture — but by the afternoon more than half the conversations I saw centered around statements like “What, was she stupid?” or “Anyone with half a brain knows how a MAN should act” or “If she’s going to stay, she’s bringing it on herself.”
Did the Hulk do diaphragmatic breathing or something? What were his methods? I need to know. Keep reading »
My ex-husband was the most romantic person I’ve ever met. He also hit me on the day we got married, while I was wearing my wedding dress.
That’s why when I saw the footage of ex-Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée Janay Palmer, I wasn’t surprised that she was now his wife. It isn’t — as many of the commenters on the original TMZ video have said — “all about the money,” or “she doesn’t care about taking a punch,” and it’s especially not that “she is telling all women it’s okay for your man to beat you.”
Domestic violence is so much more complicated than a lack of money, or not having self-respect, or feeling like it’s OK for your man to beat up on you. I’m not an expert on what makes women stay in abusive relationships or even marry their abuser. But I did both of these things and I can speak to my particular story. Keep reading »
To protect and serve, huh? Oklahoma City police arrested fellow cop Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, 27, yesterday for rape and sexual battery against seven Black women.
Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said that an investigation by the sex crimes unit found Holtzclaw assaulted the women while on-duty between February and June of this year, according to KOCO news. A three-year veteran of the force, Holtzclaw stopped women while they were walking in their neighborhoods or during traffic stops; he then searched and threatened them. He forced some of the women to perform oral sex on him, while others were forced to fondle themselves or expose themselves. One victim was raped.
“We kind of anticipate there may be more victims out there because this goes back to February,” said Oklahoma City District Attorney David Prater, as quoted by Michigan Live. Authorities are urging any other potential victims of Holtzclaw to come forward. Keep reading »
Let us turn now to the most important people in our nation: young men who attend elite universities and want to work in law or medicine someday. As a new school year is about to get underway, Bloomberg checked in with these gentlemen about the perils of having sex with their female classmates. Of particular concern is that they might accidentally rape a woman — which, no, they wouldn’t want to do at all!!! (They want to work in law or medicine, remember.) It would help, though, if women stopped getting in situations where a man might accidentally rape them. One of these young men, a 22-year-old at Stanford University named Chris Herries expounded thusly:
“Do I deserve to have my bike stolen if I leave it unlocked on the quad? We have to encourage people not to take on undue risk.”
The best and the brightest indeed. Chris Herries couldn’t be more correct! Leaving your bike unlocked on the quad is exactly like living under a patriarchy in which one in four women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.
In the spirit of Herries’ helpful observation to women, here are some other bike safety tips that I hope my fellow lady bike riders will follow: Keep reading »