November 10, 2010
Oprah Winfrey dared speak the truth of her sexual abuse many years ago, giving millions of women permission to acknowledge their abuse. Today (Nov. 5) and next Friday (Nov. 12), Oprah has chosen to join forces with Tyler Perry to open doors for another huge group who need understanding and healing for the sexual abuse they’ve suffered: men. I honor the bravery and genius of Oprah and Tyler, who both dared to dream that they could help men heal by creating a safe enough place to tell their stories.
The sheer numbers of male survivors are staggering; according to most researchers, one in six men has been sexually abused by age 18. The estimates go up to one in four when you add in victims of covert non-contact abuse. Our culture teaches men to keep their abuse secret for many complex reasons. They learn that they aren’t supposed to be vulnerable; they learn they should be in control, so it’s impossible to be a victim; they might wrongly blame themselves for leading someone on; many mistakenly fear their abuse makes them gay or less masculine.
I wasn’t able to watch Friday’s episode, but I want to promote the next one. This is an incredibly important issue. Men face their own set of challenges when it comes to being abused, particularly sexually. Women have learned to become more vocal, but men are still encouraged to say nothing.
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August 7, 2010
That we still have to ask this question is disturbing. This scenario belongs on the Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. Beyond Belief is a TV show that presents a series of events and asks the viewer to guess which of these events actually occurred. The show ends with the truth, and — often — the truth is unexpected.
I bring up this show because I always imagined that if it ran a segment on the claim that marital rape is not really rape, my fellow Americans would call it “fiction.”
Unfortunately, they’d be wrong. Marital rape is real, it is a fact, it has happened and still happens today in the US. There are people who are not ashamed to admit that they feel ‘marital’ rape is a feminist invention. In fact, they often say so with pride.
This is dangerous. This has serious consequences for married women. Denying the existence of marital rape effectively turns us into property when we get married. Marriage is not a contract that permits a man to have sex with his wife on demand.
Think this isn’t a problem? Today, I read an article about an eighteen-year-old woman who’d reported her husband’s abuse. The evidence was plain and very graphic: her husband smacked and starved her; he pinched her hard enough to leave bruises. She was also repeatedly raped. Her vagina was sore and raw from her husband’s abuse.
When this went to court, the judge found in favor of the husband. He supported the husband’s claim that marital rape was in accordance with his religious teachings.
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July 24, 2010
via Flickr user RNW
UPDATE: You can sign a Care2 Petition to stop breast ironing here.
When you think of Africa, you may recall photographs and video of African women in tribal dress with their breasts exposed. The image titillated paternalistic explorer/conquerors, and continues to titillate boys looking for a legit way to see some boobs. You may or may not have to turn off your Safe Search filter to find such images on the internet, women with their chests exposed, no matter how small, big, youthful, or droopy. I actually had a hard time finding an image for this post. Put “breasts” and “Africa” into a search engine and you get birds (real birds!) and topless women.
I couldn’t use any of those, because those breasts were whole, unscathed.
In Cameroon, breast ironing is a practice growing in frequency. Mothers press hot stones, tools, or wood against their prepubescent daughters’ budding breasts, intentionally harming the tissue so they will not grow. The fear is that a girl with developed breasts is a target for men seeking sex. Teen pregnancy is rampant in Cameroon, and girls often abandon their education when they fall pregnant. Breast ironing damages the breasts in permanent ways, including scarring, ongoing pain, infection, abscess, malformation or eradication of the breast.
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July 15, 2010
It’s recently come to my attention that some people still do not get the appeal of Lady Gaga, or what she might mean to others. I mentioned — in my previous post — that she makes me “feel alive”. And she does. The Thinking Housewife dismisses my adoration of Lady Gaga by calling me “half-alive”.
But let me tell you, I am far from being “half-alive”. I have probably seen more life in my twenty-something years of life than most others who are nearly double my age. And let’s not forget: art is relative to the person. While one person may prefer classical music, another may prefer rock. That’s not to say that one is better than the other, because although they are distinctly different genres, they both speak to the listener.
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July 9, 2010
via Flickr user mdezemery
I decided that my first “real” post would be concerning my relations with members of the male gender. I haven’t exactly had the best exposure to those toting sausage, starting from when my father beat the shit out of me when I was younger, and also telling me that nothing was ever good enough. I would get all A’s in school and not do the typical stupid shit that most my age partook in, but I was still doing something wrong. Certainly that whole experience gave me a great head start in my relationships with men.
Fast forward to late 2008. I was living in Las Vegas and working in a casino (and no, it is not on the Strip, so stop asking) as a cop/floorperson. This casino was stuck in the ’70s and apparently still used its budget from the ’70s, so I pulled double duty. My first day of work I walk on in, and see two guys power washing the outside of the casino. One I noticed in particular. I remember thinking, “Wow, what a mighty fine piece of man meat!” Something just hit me about him, almost like a slap in the face. I remember checking him out whenever I could, asking my co-workers what his name was and what they knew about him, and trying to figure out what nationality he was. One night when one of my co-workers was talking with him, I decided to jump in, and promptly made an ass of myself. That still didn’t deter me. I was damn persistent, which I never have been before. I have always just sat on the sidelines when it came to men. But with JR, I jumped right in. Pretty soon, we started talking pretty frequently, and not long thereafter, we were inseparable at work. He would wait for me to get to work, we’d catch up on our lives over the past 17 hours, talk more when things were slow, hang out on our breaks together, and pretty much always stay near each other the whole time we were working. I remember one day I gave him my phone number. Let me repeat that: I GAVE HIM MY PHONE NUMBER WITHOUT BEING ASKED. I have never done that. And not too long afterwards, I get a text from him. That was it. I’m glad I had unlimited texting and calls because otherwise I would be working to pay my phone bill. He would pick me up from my apartment to go to work (with my crazy roommate, who thought we were an item, getting drunk nearby), and bring me back after I got out and we spent a little time together. Mind you, he left work at 8 AM, and he would come back to work just to pick me up at 11 AM. We got in trouble so much for spending so much time together at work, and we seemed to be quite the hot ticket for gossip at work. I remember even having management look at all of the cameras outside to see if we were leaving together; we played it slick and met a few stores down the road. He made me love going to work, but only just because I got to be near him.
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