A feminist perspective about the feminist perspective

Category: Abuse

The Problem with Indifference

“Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.” -Boondock Saints

This could probably be my favorite quote ever.  It rings so true, no matter the time period.  There may be evil in the world, but there is no way for us to defeat evil if people keep turning blind eyes to the trouble.

What do people say about rapists and pedophiles, traffickers and murders?  That they’re rare, that they aren’t in my neighborhood, that their crimes couldn’t effect me.  And yet we hear about it everyday.  The victim is blamed.  Surely they did something, because there is no way that just happens to the average person!  No way that could happen to me!

And so, crime goes on because the general public is too afraid to even admit that evil is there.  We become apathetic to the troubles of others, fearing the world outside of our volunteered ignorance.

But I’ll tell you something.  If we all admitted that things were wrong, the majority of us would be in the fight against these evil people.  We would quickly take charge of situations where someone was in danger.  No longer would people stand by and watch, but they would get involved and save the victim.

If evil can’t hide behind our apathy, then evil has no where to hide.  So call the cops when you see a crime being committed, defend people who are being hurt, and be aware of the cruelty in your world.  We can stop it if we stop denying it.


Modern Day Slavery: A Problem for the Whole World


I learned a great deal about human trafficking yesterday in my capstone class.  It was inadvertent, as we were supposed to be learning about how to use the library resources, but my topic of human trafficking in the Midwest was used, and most of the time nothing came up.  It wasn’t so much human trafficking as the Midwest that was hard to pin down, but when it came to recent news, there were a lot of pings.  In fact, Google was kind enough to autofill “Human trafficking in Indiana”, where I live.  One woman was so surprised that she read the line out loud.  Human trafficking in Indiana?

A few people laughed uncomfortably, realizing that this should not shock anyone.  But I heard the thought process across the room, because I had heard it out loud before.  Human trafficking can’t happen here!  That’s so third world!

Unfortunately, the case stands.  To believe that you are safe from human travesty is just a self defense mechanism.  Sex trafficking happens in third world countries.  Sex trafficking happens here.

People get sick and die in third world countries because they can’t access health care.

People get sick and die in America because they can’t access health care.

People are raped and beaten with no legal recourse.

And we are all forced to listen to people in power make remarks that hurt us and undermine our lives.

This is no third world experience.  This is the human experience.  And when it comes right down to it, we are no different than our ancestors.  Our house is still a hut designed to protect us from wild animals and intruders.  We still use light to protect ourselves from being snatched up in the darkness.  We still eat animals and food from the ground.  We still live in tribes and defend ourselves from the other tribes.

Empires have risen and fallen, and despite the common idea that America was there yesterday and will be there tomorrow, we still live in a system that allows nations to crumble to the ground and be built back up as new nations.

So yes, modern day slavery in the Midwest may resonate as impossible, but it happens every day.  Ohio just found out that an average of 1000 children are taken into slavery every year in their state.

Don’t deny that crimes are happening around you!  Defend your tribe!  Defend yourself!  Expose the dangers that are taking over our lives!

You do not live in a different world from anyone else.  You just wish you did.

Waste Through Hate

There has been a lot of concentrated backlash against feminism lately.  The “men’s rights activists” are on full alert in forums, and many loyal conservatives are trying to belittle the We are Women march that happened in DC.  Fortunately, I’ve seen little support for them on a large scale, and I hope that people will continue to understand that what feminists are working for is not the degradation of society, but a system of support and equality for all.

What really disturbs me about the backlash is the way that anti-feminists are trying to belittle us.  There is no argument, only snide comments and insults.  They sit and laugh at our attempts of being visible, and invite others to laugh along with them.  I wonder where the honest discourse has gone.  I wonder why we can no longer have different opinions without demonizing each other.  I don’t blame others for having a different opinion from me.  I only work towards making sure that those opinions and lifestyles don’t end up hurting other people.

This active need to tear down others is so saddening.  Gay marriage hurts no one.  Equal rights for all genders and races hurts no one.  But people still refuse to allow these basic rights, and they do it through hate and scorn.

Why are we so obsessed with how others make themselves happy?  Life should be happy, and we should be praising each other and building each other up for being so happy!  Instead, some people make it their personal prerogative to destroy happiness that doesn’t even affect them.  Their concern is solely for themselves.  They worry.  Worry that somehow, this is going to come back around to them.  Make them less moral, take rights from them, raise their cost of living.  It’s just not true.  Equality has time and again shown to improve the lifestyles of people, and if the morals of others damages your own morals, then you weren’t convicted enough as it is.  Besides there’s no harm in your morals being changed so that you are a more accepting and loving person!

We should be working together against what really makes us unhappy.  What really takes away our rights and raises the cost of living, ruins our lives and the lives of those we love.  We should be working together to end sexual violence, poverty, abuse, and a myriad of other issues that ruin lives every day.

I don’t know you, but I love you.  I want you to be happy and to have a fulfilled life.  I want you to do something that makes you proud of yourself, that lets you know that you are worthwhile.  Hating others is never going to give you that feeling of joy.  So if your first action is to attack that which doesn’t hurt you, take stock of why you want to hurt others.  Question your own values and the purpose of your attack.

On a practical note, being hateful is going to get no one on your side but those who already hate as much as you.  You can mock and laugh together, but at the end of the day, nothing gets done.  Nothing changes.  The only difference in that day is that you took action to hurt someone else, and there is no joy in that.

Both the Damsel and the Hero

I have a lot of contradictions in my head.  One of the contradictions that bothers me the most is the damsel in distress trope.  I’m aggravated when I realize that a women is going to be saved in a movie by a man, but at the same time, my  heart flutters when, spurred by his sudden realization of love, the hero bursts through the door to rescue her, sweeps her into his arms, and kisses her passionately as the evil withers on the ground, foiled by its own greed.

The feminist blood in me boils at my own betrayal.  How could I possibly quiver with desire at the idea of being rescued by a man?  The anthropologist in me, however, understands that there is an underlying cause and that I should look at the culture I was raised in to fully comprehend my desires.  I know that we are enculturated as women to want a man who is strong and capable of solving all of our problems.  We’re meant to marry and stay at home, perfectly content that the man has to contend with the world, dark and scary as it is.

But we women, no matter what we do with our lives, are always handling the world and its problems.  They come to our door, endanger our families, and we are the shields that block out everything despite how much money we make at it, if any at all.  And I think that sometimes we just want to be taken care of, to be swept off our feet and told that we don’t have to worry about that anymore.  It’s that secret desire to just lift our heavy burden off of us and hand it over, to live happily ever after as the evil is dispatched by someone else.

That’s the fantasy.  And we know its a fantasy.  I know its a fantasy.  And yet my heart screamed for it so loudly a few years ago.  I was embroiled in a relationship that was abusive.  I was trapped.  There were so many people around me that I just wanted to take me out of the situation, save me.  So many opportunities for cameos from other men.

But in the end, I cut the ropes myself.  I sat in that room alone with the man who had hit me, burned me, imprisoned me, raped me, forced me to have a miscarriage, and I said that I wouldn’t do it anymore.  I stared blankly as he cried, as he promised to be better, to never hurt me again.  And I said no, and I left.

It’s not to say I didn’t have supporters in my life.  My current husband was my rock at the time.  He and my friends encouraged me and offered places to stay.  But I had to face the evil alone.  I couldn’t be swept off my feet by another man.  I had to handle my world and protect myself.

You might wonder how I came to have that kind of courage.  Well, I didn’t.  I didn’t have that courage when I went.  I apologized profusely to him and his family for leaving, despite what he had done.  For some reason, even in the end, it was my fault that all of this had happened.  But I didn’t do it for me.  I did it for that baby.

No, I never saw my baby.  But I had visions of her even as I cramped over, devastated from the blow to my stomach.  She was so very real to me.  And I swore that I wouldn’t let him destroy another piece of me.  It still took weeks from me to finally leave, but I didn’t let him have another piece.

The fantasy of being rescued never happened for me.  I wished for it, over and over again.  I saw it in movies and shivered from the thrill.  I still do.  There’s something fantastic about the idea of giving over responsibility and still being rewarded for it.  But we have to count on our own strength in the end to make life worth living.  We have to obtain our own rewards and grow to be our own hero.  After all, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the door get smashed in, and seeing yourself on the other side.

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