Current Events: The War on Women

Inside: War on women; Teach the children well; Stalkers; The a-hole preacher

I am not a feminist. I need to say that up front so that you won’t be surprised if/when I say something unintentionally ignorant or polemic. I’m not anti-feminist, though. I am critical of the following aspects of all identity politics isms: the self-reinforcing echo chamber bubble thinking, ideological dogma, reactionary-ness, demonizing The Other, and logical fallacies in favor of popular rhetoric. That’s the downside of political and philosophical isms. Having said that…

THE WAR ON WOMEN

I wonder how many women are killed by men every year. Hold on a sec. Let me look that up. Hm. Not quite what I was looking for but:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/50-actual-facts-about-dom_b_2193904.html

Number of US servicemen killed in Afghanistan and Iraq: 6,614

Number of women, in the same period, killed as the result of domestic violence in the US: 11,766

Wow. That doesn’t include stranger murders. Not to mention sexual assaults. And this is in a superlatively wealthy, civilized, technologically advanced nation.

It’s a massacre. Every day. Every damn day. I need to stop reading and watching the news but that doesn’t make the problem go away.

A-HOLE PREACHER

Did you read about the preacher who confessed to his church that he did drugs, used church funds inappropriately, has AIDS, and has been having sex with multiple female members of the congregation.

Now he’s refusing to step down and relinquish controls of the bank accounts and such.

You can not tell me that his behavior wasn’t suspect before that. Someone mentioned that he ran the church like a dictator. And yet people put up with that.

He’s responsible for his actions and the consequences (which unfortunately will shatter other people’s lives) but his church members and congregation played a role in that codependence and enabling.

Talk about a massive ego. This is one of the reasons that I don’t like church(es). They too easily turn into intra-denominational cults led by a charismatic personality.

You ever notice that without fail, it turns into some dude’s harem? That’s what men do when we acquire power and have no accountability or collaborators who are complicit by way of silent complacency. Creating little fiefdoms. Every time.

NEWLYWED MURDER SUICIDE

I am morbidly fascinated by this news story. Man and woman get married in Indiana. Guests say there seemed to be some tension after the vows. The couple didn’t speak to each other at the reception (at their house). Shortly after, the husband shoots her dead and then kills himself. Hours after the ceremony.

It was especially weird to me because she called 911 three times (unfortunately she gave the wrong address), the second time she said that he was beating the s— out of her and he had guns. The third time he shot her while she was on the line with 911.

The weird thing is that at least two other people were in the house, including the guy’s father. I think the other person was a kid. What were they doing while all of this was going on?

Once again, every couple should have pre-marital counseling.
What the ever-living frak?

BECAUSE THEY SAID NO

Two women were attacked in the past week (when I originally wrote this) in two separate incidents because they turned down a guy. A different man in each case. One of the women was shot to death. The other had her throat slashed but she lived.

No. Let me rephrase that last part.

A man shot one woman to death after harassing her all night when her fiancé tried to intervene.

A man slashed a woman’s throat after she said no to his advances while getting her mail or something like that.

I’m noticing a theme here.

HOW WILL THE CHILDREN PLAY

I was hanging out with some folks and a kid a while ago. Let’s call him Billy. He’s a good li’l dude who, I think, views adults as equals. We were walking along and Billy playfully hit one of the women. I think I said, “You shouldn’t hit people unless you have to. Unless it’s in self defense.”

She said, “Especially don’t hit women.”

Billy stopped hitting but as he walked ahead he said, “God put men in charge of women.”

My friend and I were both caught off guard by that. Like, whoa. He’s a kid, right, so he’s making sense of all kinds of things.

I said, “Okay. Even if men are in charge of women it doesn’t mean they get to hit women. Your mom goes to work, right?”

“Yes.”

“She has a boss. He’s in charge of her. Does that mean he gets to hit her?”

“Yes.”

You could tell that he was saying yes to not lose face. He loves his mom and I’m pretty sure he’d go ballistic if he ever saw her in trouble of any kind.

So I was like, “No! Come on. You know that’s not right.”

What I failed to communicate — in retrospect I always could have said something better — is that even when you are legitimately in charge of something that means that you have a responsibility. You have a responsibility to care for and protect your charges.

There will probably be a time when he will be responsible for a family or a team. He will be in charge of projects, plans, situations, and, yes, other people.

What’s the difference — the life experiences, training, and upbringing — between a person who treats his/her charges with respect and compassion and a person who is abusive and throws tantrums. (I have worked in environments with the latter and am appalled and surprised every time that people actually behave that way and are rewarded for it, especially if they make money for themselves and others.)

LUNCH WITH YOUR STALKER

I read an article on Jezebel about a woman who shot her stalker as he broke into her house. Good for her. Thoroughly justified. Eff that guy. I think he lived, by the way. I hope that he doesn’t continue to fixate because that’s only going to end with death.

But the comments. Never read the comments, G. A commenter recounted her story of being stalked and it was mind blowing. The dude stalking her had some serious issues. I’m not going to get this entirely accurate but here’s how I’ve remembered it. The timeline is probably messed up because my brain tends to do that.

The thing is, that usually any one incident was minor, relatively speaking. I mean, it was a big deal but legally the police either wouldn’t or couldn’t do much. I imagine it went like this:

“Oh. So this guy you’ve known since childhood was looking through your windows? Well, that’s kind of creepy but what do you want us to do? He doesn’t seem intoxicated or violent right now. Did he hurt you or threaten you? Do you want to press charges for trespassing? Okay. Sir, I think it’s time for you to go home. Sure you didn’t mean any harm. Stay out of trouble.”

But imagine that happening regularly. Being followed, spied on, stalked, weird messages.

At one point, though, her stalker was in her home or apartment, became physically threatening and held a knife to her throat, terrorizing her until she managed to get to a different room and call the cops. She stated that she called the police, it took them an hour to show up, and they didn’t do anything.

Here’s where my mind was blown. She went on to say, “I met up with him a few days later for lunch…”

Uh. Wait. What?

Her stalker intimidated her with implied underlying violence/craziness that would be difficult to prove in a court case, psychologically kidnapping (that’s what I’m going to call it) her for hours causing her to miss an appointment with her boyfriend. She gave her boyfriend an excuse and didn’t tell him about meeting with her stalker.

She doesn’t know why she didn’t tell her boyfriend the truth. She doesn’t know why she would meet her stalker for lunch. She doesn’t know why, after her stalker violently threw her to the ground and choked her to the point where she started to black out and questioned why he shouldn’t just kill her right there, she didn’t tell anyone and a few days later she would meet with him.

For reasons unknown to her, she was enabling her own stalker.

I don’t understand. I’ve never been in that situation so I don’t know what it’s like. I do think it’s reasonable and even important to ask, “Why?”

Anyone who asked “why” in the comments did not fare well and was accused of victim blaming and shaming and contributing to the atmosphere that makes women afraid to come forward and press charges.

I disagree. It’s critically important to understand why and how we enable our own abuse. How do we get trapped and why can’t we see beyond the abuse force field? It’s not her fault that this guy stalked her. She did not cause this. He is responsible for his behavior. He needs to face the consequences of his own behavior so that he can get help or get incarcerated, not necessarily in that order.

I do believe that there are things that she could have done to end the cycle. To say that she didn’t have any power in the situation is to say that she was a completely helpless victim with no options. That’s the worst thing you can tell someone who’s in an abusive situation.

I’m trying to say that she didn’t realize that she had the power to end that. She couldn’t see it. Because of the way abusers get in your head maybe, she couldn’t access that power. The power to report her stalker, the power to tell others and not feel like she should cover for him.

I’m not saying it’s easy or safe, and we all know that law enforcement and restraining orders are woefully inadequate. They do little to protect someone from violence or death when the stalker/abuser is obsessed, dangerously possessive, and just does not care.

She was victimized. She had the power to end that victimization but didn’t know how. In the future, having gone through that tragic experience, and with years of hindsight, I bet you she will.

The other day I overheard a conversation between two women. I only caught a few sentences of it but it said so much. One of them said:

I was worried about getting him in trouble. Then all of a sudden I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. I’m the one who’s stressed out all the time. I’m the one who can’t sleep at night because of it. And I’m worried about his problems?”.

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