Category Archives: politics

Women should be in control of their own bodies!

I have always been an advocate of reproductive rights for women. Every woman should have the right to decide for herself when and if she wants to have children. This decision is a very personal one, and each woman should have the right to make it for herself. Without interference from parents, siblings, spouses, and especially from the government. There are two points I would like to make. The first is that I am deeply offended by the anti abortion people using the phrase “right to life” as their catch phrase. As if being pro-abortion rights makes you somehow “against” life. That the only group that values life is the people who are against a LEGAL medical procedure. That is the bottom line for me. An abortion is a medical procedure. A LEGAL medical procedure. If people looked at it that way would it remove some of the volatility? Could we look at a heart transplant, or an appendectomy, or tonsillectomy through the same lens? NO, you can’t remove that organ because it was given to you at birth and since you are a GOD created being, it is God’s appendix, so you MUST keep it, even if it kills you….  Women should be in control of their own bodies!

reproductive rights

Think about it. The argument against abortion usually stems from a religious basis. That it is against God’s law to “take” a life. Well, what if that “life” threatens the mother’s life because of where the cells chose to implant themselves, or what if the “life” was created from a violent act of rape or incest? At what point does the woman within whom these cells are growing get to have agency over her own body? Why does her agency stop due to religion?

Religion removes a woman’s agency over her own body in more ways than just the abortion argument. What does the religious right say about contraception? Or about her right NOT to have children? In many cases a woman’s ONLY value is about bringing babies into the world and being her husband’s “helpmate”. And before anyone argues that I may not understand, I wish to let you know that I was married to a man for 9 years and we belonged to the fundamental Church of Christ church. While I was a member of that church I was not allowed to speak during services, not allowed to teach men (because MEN are the head), not allowed to hold a leadership position in the church, and was taught to be quiet, meek and subservient to my husband. Those of you who know me in real life might understand how these directives affected me. For those of you who have never met me, you need to know that I am a strong, opinionated, passionate, intelligent woman. Having to squash all of that in order to “serve God and my husband” was a heavy chain around my heart and soul. The yoke of religion can be a burden women have to bear, not the spiritual uplifting I think a truly loving, kind and just God would want for us.

However, getting back to reproductive rights, I am ALL for them. There was a time in my life when I was 18 and dating a very sweet young man named Ron. We were both in Hospital Corps School, and were just about to embark on our Navy career. I got pregnant. I was completely distraught. I knew if I continued with the pregnancy I would not be able to continue my Navy schooling, and it would change my career and educational aspirations. I was only 18. I was not ready to be a parent. Ron wasn’t ready to be a parent. We decided to terminate the pregnancy. My mother agreed and I flew home to Connecticut from Chicago, and she took me to a clinic to have a LEGAL abortion. This was in 1984.  As we neared the clinic I noticed there was a chain link fence around the entire building. The fence was there to keep protesters away from the front door of the building. As I neared the fence there was a throng of people standing by the gate holding signs and shouting at me. They told me I was evil, and sinful, and that what I was doing was murder and I was going to hell. My mother grabbed hold of my arm tightly and just steered me through those people. To be honest I was afraid of them. They seemed so angry and so incredibly judgmental.

protestors outside a clinic

I think about that day sometimes, even now. Less now than I did when I was younger. I think about the fact that I could have a 31-year-old child. I think about the fact that I would probably not have married my ex-husband if I had chosen to have that child. Then I wouldn’t have my two amazing beautiful boys my ex and I created together. My life would have been so different. I can’t say that it would have been better or worse. I may have still married, I may have had more children, it my have been a beautiful life, but it wouldn’t be the life I have now. We can only theorize about “what if’s” so much. To dwell on them would make me crazy, so I choose not to do that.

What I do know is that I love my life, and I am incredibly blessed. I do mourn that child, and it still makes me sad, but that is what I believed was the right thing to do for myself at that time in my life, and I am INCREDIBLY thankful that I was legally able to obtain an abortion. Thankful that my parents supported my decision. Thankful that I had access to a safe clinic. Thankful that I had access to medical care from qualified people. Thankful that I was able to decide for myself what I wanted to do with my body. Thankful that I had reproductive rights.

I think EVERY woman should have those same opportunities, same access, and same ability to choose for themselves. Until this happens, we are not truly free as human beings. And Women should be in control of their own bodies!

#womenslives

A petition to reinstate the African American Cultural Center at Old Dominion University

So another student in my Women’s Studies classes who I also consider a friend has decided to take up a cause to reinstate the African American Cultural Center at Old Dominion University where we go to school.

Morgan is working with a group called Generation Forward, whose mission statement says : “Generation Forward is part of the nationwide movement to re-assert the value of Black lives, to create real, lasting change in the community.

Morgan

Morgan

So Generation Forward has begun a grassroots campaign to have a Black Student Union reinstated on Old Dominion University Campus.  There used to be a safe space for the African American students to meet on campus, but it was closed in 2008 due to expansion of residential housing.  There are other safe spaces available for other marginalized groups to meet, such as the Women’s Center, GLBT Housing, a space for Chinese students, Filipino students among others.  However, there is no space set aside for black students. Here is the executive summary:

Black Student Union at Old Dominion University Executive Summary

In 2008, the Hugo A. Owens African American Cultural Center was closed, due to residential area expansion, after serving the campus community for seventeen years. A haven to all who had the opportunity to experience it, the center was a prized jewel to the campus community. In its absence, the university has significantly decreased institutional funding toward Black programming and cultural awareness. There is no longer a central safe space for Black students to commune while accommodations for other marginalized groups have been made (i.e. the Women’s Center, the Safe Space Committee, Lavender House — a living arrangement for LGBT students, the Confucius Institute to promote understanding between US citizens and Chinese culture, and the Filipino American Center). Currently, the Black community makes up 46% of on campus students and 22% of the student body as a whole. With such a large amount, making our university the most diverse in the state, it is also time to make it the most inclusive in the state and reinstate the African American Cultural Center as a Black Student Union. Black students bring in an excess of $3,000,000 in student activities fees each year, but are invested in at a rate close to $6 per student, per year, in cultural programming from student organizations alone. From alumni and faculty who remember Owens House, to the students who’ve never gotten a chance to experience such a space, it is important that we make this opportunity available for prospective students in the future.

So what does a Black Student Union at Old Dominion look like? Ideally, this building will house one large event space, multiple meeting spaces, organizational offices for Black student organizations, and an administrative office for a director and two assistant directors devoted to academic success, institutional equity, community outreach, and cultural awareness and programming. While this space will function as safe space for Black students and anyone else interested in enhancing their cultural awareness, we also have a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between Old Dominion and the campus community. The Union’s interior is only a starting point, where historical images pertaining to Blacks in Hampton Roads will be showcased. From there, mentoring programs, college student to youth and professional to college student, will be established with the community at large.

The Union will serve as a space that promotes and maximizes academic excellence, community outreach, recruitment and retention of Black students, and supportive programming centered around Black culture and the African Diaspora. It will also provide a wide range of support and resources that include opportunities for leadership development, mentoring services, graduate school workshops, career services, informal counseling and advisement, networking opportunities, internships, and more. While all of these services are valuable, the most important goal of the Union is to foster critical concern for, and understanding of, Black and African Diasporic history, arts, politics, and culture.

The Union serves as a vehicle to promote cultural and racial understanding, build community, and foster appreciation for Black culture. It is imperative that this facility return to Old Dominion University so that we can all call ourselves members of not only the most diverse campus in Virginia, but also, the most inclusive.

I think the mission of her group has merit, and a Black Student Union on campus is needed.  Please take a moment to sign her petition. 

All cultures are valid, all cultures are important.  We need to ensure that we are not attending to some cultures needs and not others, particularly when the culture in question is almost 1/2 of the student body.  Please support Morgan, Generation Forward, and all of the black students at ODU, and sign the petition!

Thank you all!!!

 

Why are the men who commit violence against women invisible?

So I was thinking about women and violence against women.  And I was thinking about the media and how the media reports crimes against women, and it occurred to me that when you think about crimes and violence against women it is not women who are the perpetrators (usually) but men who are the people committing violence against women. So why are the men who commit violence against women invisible?

But what do the headlines say?  What do the websites say?  The headlines read:

Violence against women is on the rise.”; “Global and regional estimates of violence against women”; “Ending Violence against women”; “Hate crimes against women”

etc, etc, etc …..

So who is committing all of this violence and crime?

Men. Men commit the crimes against women.  Men commit the violence against women. 

teachboysrespect

Okay, so before you start whining about how women kill each other, and women hurt each other, and every other thing you can throw at me, Yes, you are right.  Women do assault each other.  We have all heard about “cat fights”.  We know women kill each other, and are generally awful to each other a lot of the time.  But when you look at statistics about violence against women and who is doing it, the answer 8 times out of 10 is: MEN!

Just because I like statistics:

18.3% of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)

63.84% of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date. (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)

The Campus Sexual Assault Study estimated that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 college women experience completed or attempted rape during their college years (National Institute of Justice 2007). I would argue this number is higher now than in 2007

About one-third of female murder victims ages 12 or older are killed by an intimate partner. (Department of Justice 2007)

batered women

So now that you have seen some numbers and statistics, lets reshape the way the headlines SHOULD read.

“The amount of violence men are committing against women is on the rise”; “Global and regional estimates of men committing violence against women.”; “Ending male violence against women”; “Hate crimes men commit against women”.

The media says things like:  “the Columbine shooters:, “the Newtown shooter”; “Kids killing kids”; “the alleged shooter”.  They are called psychopath, or shooter, or murderer, or killer, or maniac….which are all genderless names.

Then the media has experts come on who talk about mental illness, or violence in video games, or gangs, or dysfunctional homes, or many other reasons why this violence is happening.  Hmmmmm, I am pretty sure that girls and women also deal with mental illness, and dysfunctional families, and play violent video games, and are exposed to violence in society, and are in gangs.  So why are the people committing the violence disproportionately men.  And why don’t we call them out for it?  Why are the perpetrators in visible, and the the headlines genderless, unless of course you are mentioning the gender of the victims.  Let’s mention the gender of the people doing the raping and the killing.

Because the lives of women are important.  The lives of women matter.  Women’s stories need to be told.  #womenslives