A Terrible Calculus of Toxic Masculinity

When men in my life get pumped over pro football, systemic shit like what is outlined here is all I can think of. Short version: if a violent man is good enough at a sport, thereby bringing in the big $$$, his gendered violence can, with the help of professional PR types, be glossed over.

Propagating toxic masculinity for the $$$ is inexcusable. And literally deadly. But when men I care about continue to support it, I wonder if there is something I could do to help them experience empathy, since my words alone are clearly not enough. In an effort to help men understand what it feels like, I’ve tried to think of a popular cultural tradition where women’s aggressiveness is publicly celebrated while often accompanied by violent acts towards men and children that are then excused because $$$.

Still can’t think of one, but taking suggestions. Also possibly looking to join??

You Didn’t Thank Me For Punching You in the Face

Please read this! Blogger Queen of the Couch discusses how boys are told that it’s okay to express affection and love through bullying and abuse, and girls are told “Oh, that just means he likes you”. A great read!

Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy. If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing… I am going to punch you in the face but I hope you realize it is just my way of thanking you for the great advice you gave my daughter.

County DA in Kansas Decides to Stop Prosecuting Domestic Violence

Photo of Chad TaylorIn 2009, Shawnee County District Attorney Chadwick Taylor signed a protocol with the City of Topeka, sheriff’s office, and the Third Judicial District Court Services “for responding to and prosecuting domestic violence cases“.

Taylor agreed that his office would “aggressively prosecute domestic violence,” “review domestic violence cases as first priority” and “charge the cases that meet sufficient evidence to prosecute the case.”

In spite of this agreement, DA Taylor’s office announced on September 8th that they would no longer prosecute misdemeanors in the city of Topeka, including domestic violence cases. This announcement seems to be a reaction to a 10% budget cut for his office. He has already rejected thirty domestic violence cases and released three offenders.

To teach Taylor a lesson, the Topeka city council has a brilliant idea: repeal the city’s ban on domestic violence, i.e. the ordinance that makes it a crime!

From the Topeka Capitol-Journal:

The convoluted thinking by some council members is that if the city has no law against domestic battery, Taylor will have to take the cases and prosecute them in Shawnee County District Court.

Wow. Five city council members voted for this repeal: John Alcala, Sylvia Ortiz, Chad Manspeaker, Bob Archer and Andrew Gray.

I am actually a prison abolitionist, but when decriminalizing, one must start with behaviors, currently considered crimes, that either hurt no one or only hurt oneself. We do not currently have any societal mechanisms in place to hold people accountable for harm to others, other than the criminal justice system, so starting decriminalization with crimes that ACTUALLY HURT ANOTHER PERSON is simply an expression of contempt for the survivors/victims of such crimes.

Victim’s advocate Claudine Dombowski has a few words about this situation:

“It’s appalling, it’s disgusting.”…

Dombrowski says that she was the victim in a “misdemeanor” domestic abuse case 16 years ago – a crowbar strike to the head left her with 24 stitches and two broken wrists. Now, she worries that nothing is being done to protect victims.

“They need to invest in headstones, because these women are going to end up in cemeteries,” said Dombrowski… “The city of Topeka just said domestic violence is legal and you can beat your wife.”

Shawnee County DA Chad Taylor can be reached at:

sncoda@snco.us
785-233-8200 x4330
Fax: 785-291-4909
200 SE 7th Street, Room 21
Topeka, KS, 66603

Topeka City Council Members can be reached at:

council@topeka.org
785-368-3710
Fax: 785-368-3958
215 SE 7th, Room 255
Topeka, KS 66603-3914

Muslim Men Against Domestic Abuse

Here’s a neat-o website: Muslim Men Against Domestic Abuse.

About MMADA:

Muslim Men Against Domestic Abuse (MMADA) is an organization dedicated to domestic tranquility. By joining our group, you make a commitment never to engage in, support, or remain silent about the physical, psychological, and emotional abuse of Muslim and non-Muslim women and children.

They’re based out of Illinois, of all places. Anyway, sounds cool. Also check out their Call to Action.

I SeE GhEy PEOplE

Daryl MetcalfeRepublican Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe lives a nightmarish life.

Every which way he turns, gheyz are lurking in the shadows, looking foist their agenda on an unsuspecting public.

OttoFortunately, the PA public has Rep. Metcalfe there to defend them. The battle is tough, for the gheyz are tricky. But he expertly sniffed them out behind a seemingly uncontroversial, non-partisan resolution to designate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The Western Pennsylvania legislator said he detected that agenda in this phrase: “one in six women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.”

Oh yes. Rep. Metcalfe is good. Very good. How did he know that we homosexuals were promoting our agenda under the cover of domestic violence awareness?

“It had language woven through it that brought men into the situation,” said Metcalfe, who voted for similar resolutions in the last two years. “I don’t support the resolution or funding for groups that go beyond helping women.”

And any men who are survivors of DV must be gay (because a woman could never beat up a man!), and by offering even the intangible support of a resolution, if a gay person is in any way helped, the GHeyZ have won! Oh that Metcalfe, he can see right through our nefarious machinations.  Drat!

“His comments show incredible insensitivity about what domestic violence is, combined with bigotry against lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgendered people,” said Michael Morrill, executive director of Keystone Progress, an advocacy group in Harrisburg.

…Victims’ advocacy groups say men are victims of domestic violence in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. There were 835,000 reported cases of male victims of domestic violence in the nation last year, according to the resolution.

Ah. Isn’t homophobia hilarious?  And male DV victims totally not worth helping, because they might be ghey?

You get 10 respect points if you can name the movie that gay zombie hiding behind lilacs is from.

Domestic violence is a “pre-existing condition”?

From the SEUI blog:

Insurance companies have used the excuse of “pre-existing conditions” to deny coverage to countless Americans. From cancer patients to the elderly suffering from arthritis, these organizations have padded their profit margins by limiting coverage to patients deemed “high risk” because of their medical condition.

But, in DC and eight other states, including Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming, insurance companies have gone too far, claiming that “domestic violence victim” is also a pre-existing condition.

…In 1994, an informal survey conducted by the Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee revealed that 8 of the 16 largest insurers in the country used domestic violence as a factor when deciding whether to extend coverage and how much to charge if coverage was extended.

It is clear that insurance companies refuse to police themselves. It’s up to us to call on Congress to take action now to pass health care reform and end discrimination against patients with pre-existing conditions.

UPDATE: The National Women’s Law Center has just confirmed that in April, Arkansas actually passed a law prohibiting insurance discrimination against domestic violence survivors…

By Maria Tchijov

Via Feministing.

Please email, tweet, facebook, repost, and reblog this. This is cRaZy shit and people need to KNOW. BTW, I love the invisible hand of the market.

HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR INVISIBLE HAND TODAY?

Invisible Hand

Femicide in North America

Again.

George Sodini seethed with anger and frustration toward women. He couldn’t understand why they ignored him, despite his best efforts to look nice.

…He went to the sprawling L.A. Fitness Club in this Pittsburgh suburb, turned out the lights on a dance-aerobics class filled with women, and opened fire with three guns, letting loose with a fusillade of at least 36 bullets.

And again and again.

Mass murderers. Serial killers. Drug cartel members. Domestic abusers. Rapists.

They so often choose their victims based on gender. Yet we don’t seem to ever have a conversation, as a society, that gets toward explaining this. We never ask ourselves, “Why is it so often that men kill women, and so infrequently the reverse?”

Men often kill men as well. As a matter of fact, man-on-man murders make up almost two thirds of all murder in the USA. Man-on-woman murders make up a quarter of all murder. Women commit 12% of murders, though they make up slightly more than half of the US population.

But how often do we find, after a man or many men are killed by a male murderer, diaries and web posts and suicide notes filled with hatred towards men? How often do they blame men for all their troubles, and speak of men with burning misandrist hatred? How often do they desire to “put men in their place”?

That’s not why men get murdered. But it is why women get murdered. So what are we going to do about it?

If we ask the MSM or an average person, we are not only not going to do anything, we aren’t going to even TALK about it. We can’t manage to even discuss this murderous misogyny in our midst. And women keep getting killed for being born women.

And what about the women whose femaleness intersects with other oppressed identities?

They die in larger numbers. And their killers are rarely found.

Indigenous WomenThe over 400 poor women in Cuidad Juárez.

The hundreds of indigenous women in Canada and America.

So when can we talk about this? In America, in North America, globally? We hear the phrase “gender-based violence” applied once and awhile to “other” countries. Can we learn from activists in Papua New Guinea and the Congo and name our problem? Can we admit that this problem, which we like to assign to those “other” countries in order to assert our superior enlightenedness, exists in our own front yard?

If we can’t name the problem, how can we solve it? The claim that it is “obvious” that men commit more crime because they are naturally more violent, and therefore there is no point in discussing the obvious… well that claim I find more than dubious. I consider it an acceptance of the status quo. And the status quo is lost lives, and women killed because they were born female.

Male violence, as indicated by the numbers mentioned above, arguably affects more male victims even than female victims, if you go by sheer numbers. It sounds like women AND men could benefit from a big discussion of male violence. Everyone benefits. Or so it seems, because if EVERYONE benefited there would be no obstacle to discussion. Who benefits?

Powerful men. Men with political power, men with money, men with capital. They benefit from male power-over, and any male power-over cannot exist without violence against those who are under this power. Because those without power will always struggle for equality, and that struggle must always be put down.

Powerful men benefit. The vast majority of people suffer. Where do you stand? Are you ready to talk?

Jana Mackey Day & International Women’s Day

Jana MackeyJana Mackey was a friend of mine in college. Read about her story here and check out the press release below.

For Immediate Release February 27, 2009

March 8th – “Jana Mackey Day in Kansas”

Hays, KS – In the coming days Kansas lawmakers will be joining Governor Kathleen Sebelius in recognizing International Women’s Day on March 8th by honoring a recent victim and fatality of domestic violence.

Jana Mackey, a 25 year old KU law student was murdered by her ex-boyfriend last July in Lawrence. Jana was well known throughout Kansas for her work on many women’s issues.

Governor Sebelius has signed a proclamation recognizing March 8th as a “Jana Mackey Day in Kansas.”

On March 5th Senator Janis Lee (D-Kensington) and Senator Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) will be sponsoring a resolution honoring Mackey. On the House side, Representative Eber Phelps (D-Hays), Representative Barbara Ballard (D-Lawrence), and Representative Paul Davis (D-Lawrence) will be presenting Mackey’s family with a formal certificate on March 9th.

Mackey, who grew up in Hays, had spent endless hours volunteering to aid victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. She had also served three years as one of the youngest lobbyists at the Kansas Capitol with the National Organization for Women.

After her death, Mackey’s family and friends established a national campaign to help her service live on through others. Symbolic of the number of people who attended her funeral, the Eleven Hundred Torches campaign urges hundreds of ordinary citizens to serve others.

Governor Sebelius has joined the campaign and is calling on all Kansans to set aside time on March 8th to volunteer in their communities.

Special volunteer events are being planned in Hays and in Lawrence on that day.

International Women’s Day began in 1908 with a 15,000 women’s march through New York City calling for equal voting and work rights for women. In 1913 the event was officially scheduled as March 8th. Today International Women’s Day is celebrated world-wide and is an official holiday in 15 nations.

For more information about Eleven Hundred Torches, see their website at www.1100torches.org.

WTF NOW?

The AP published a story today titled Muslim TV Exec Accused of Beheading Wife in NY.

Muzzammil (“Mo”) and Aasiya Hassan had started a television station together called Bridges TV that they intended as a vehicle to develop understanding between non-Muslim Americans and the greater Muslim world.

It now appears that Mo beheaded Aasiya after she filed for divorce. It seems that they had a rocky and at times violent relationship.

I will leave aside the unfortunate choice to include the word “Muslim” in the title as the modifier for the suspected murderer, as it seems to serve no purpose other than draw a broad connection between domestic violence and Islam.

This crime is shocking. The viciousness of beheading one’s partner…. unspeakable.

So when NOW put out a statement about the matter (do they put out a statement about every intimate-partner murder?), why did they focus on the evils of Islam instead of the evils of domestic violence, which transcend religion?

Here’s part of what they said:

NOW New York State is horrified that Erie County DA, Frank A. SeditaII, has referred to this ghastly crime as “the worst form of domestic violence possible.” The ridiculous juxtaposition of “domestic” and “beheading” in the same journalistic breath points up the inherent weakness of the whole “domestic violence” lexicon.

…This was, apparently, a terroristic version of ‘honor killing’, a murder rooted in cultural notions about women’s subordination to men. Are we now so respectful of the Muslim’s religion that we soft-peddle atrocities committed in it’s name?

WTF NOW? In other parts of the press release, they cry out against media silencing of crimes against Muslim women, as evidenced by this case. Which is now a top AP story. Additionally, it seems as though the American press and mainstream American feminist orgs have spent plenty of time letting us all know how anti-woman Islam is, and have been vigilant to point out any abuse. Which has played well into conservative’s “Culture War” storyline.

But the outrage that this is reported as domestic violence? I don’t get it. Isn’t that what so-called “honor killing” is, relatives killing relatives? That sounds domestic.

Allow me to examine the second paragraph piece by piece.

“This was, apparently, a terroristic version…”

Nice way to bring “terrorism” into the discussion as the victim and murderer are both Muslim. Coincidence, I’m sure.

“…of ‘honor killing’…”

What exactly is their definition of “honor killing”? Any intimate-partner/relative murder between Muslims? Otherwise, how is this different from a wife-murder by a non-Muslim man?

“…a murder rooted in cultural notions about women’s subordination to men.”

Unlike “our” non-Muslim partner-murders and other forms of non-Muslim domestic violence, which are totally not based on cultural notions about women’s subordination to men.

“Are we now so respectful of the Muslim’s religion that we soft-peddle atrocities committed in it’s name?”

Ummmmm….. NOW, are you so disrespectful of Islam that you want crimes committed by Muslims given different names than those committed by “normal” people? I also like the jump to the conclusion that this murder was carried out in the name of Islam. Evidence? The husband was Muslim! QED.

Safe House for AU Aboriginal DV Survivors

The BBC reports:

The first refuge for domestic violence victims has opened in Australia’s Northern Territory, and is designed to help vulnerable Aboriginal women.

The project in the remote settlement of Ngukurr is part of the Australian government’s intervention into dozens of troubled Aboriginal areas.

…Aborigine women are said to be 50 times more likely to suffer domestic abuse than their non-indigenous counterparts.

50 times more likely? Wow.

Continue reading

Just for Immigrants: New Domestic Violence Hotline

Some good news! Somehow, the city of Seattle is funding a new domestic violence hotline aimed at getting help to immigrants and refugees. There will be 14 language options!

From the Seattle P-I:

Seattle is the first city in the nation to set up a toll-free number to connect immigrant and refugee domestic-violence victims to a social worker of their language and culture.

The help line, announced Wednesday, is called the “Peace in the Home” line.

…Domestic violence can be a big problem among immigrants, said Someireh Amirfaiz, the director of Refugee Women’s Alliance.

…Of roughly 600,000 Seattle residents, about 100,000 were born outside the United States, according to the mayor’s office.

The line will offer help in 14 languages: Amarinya or Amharic, Japanese, Khmer, Lao, Mandarin, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Tigrigna, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

Cool. The number is 888-847-7205. Remember, this is for the Seattle area only.

Men’s Rights Activists Attack Domestic Violence Shelter

Dallas, you’ve done it again.

I just read about this load of crap today, and it moved me to tears. A bunch of men’s rights activists (MRAs) are attacking the funding and advertising of Dallas domestic violence shelter The Family Place. Why? Because The Family Place placed ads in Dallas’ public transportation system that suggested some men perpetrate domestic violence.

For those new to the MRA phenomena, this is a movement of anti-feminist men who claim to support father’s rights and men’s rights in general. However, seeing as how The Family Place provides services to male children and adult men who are victims of DV, it is pretty clear that they are more concerned with preserving male privilege in society than with helping men in need. MRAs have set up a total of zero shelters for male victims of DV.

They have even gone so far as to call the shelter’s donors and ask them to stop contributing money. They have not gone so far as to raise money to buy ads that raise awareness of male victims of violence. Interesting. Attacking resources for women, ignoring the plight of needy men. Nice.

Here are the links to find out all you need to know about this horrible story. You can donate to The Family Place on their website or through Alas, a blog, which is matching donations made this week.

3-Part Series on Alas:
Anti-Feminists Protest Domestic Violence Awareness Ads in Dallas

Domestic Violence Shelter Targeted by Anti-Feminists: “Some of the vile language and verbal abuse we took on the phone was horrific.”

The Family Place To MRAs: “Instead of bashing women’s organizations, stand up and help somebody yourself.”

The post at Womanist Musings

Story in the Dallas News

The Family Place website

I would like to add a personal note to the men in my life, and the men out in cyberspace reading this. If you become an activist to help male victims of violence, male victims of child abuse, incarcerated men, men who want to be better fathers, I SUPPORT YOU. Let me know what I can do to help you. Do not expect women to lead the fight for men’s issues, just as men haven’t, nor are expected to, lead the fight for women’s issues. But if you do take up that battle, I am here to support you.

I do not support the MRAs, however.

The Over-professionalization of the Non-Profit Sector

Thoughts have been percolating in my head for awhile now about how over-professionalization is fucking up non-profits.

By over-professionalization I mean requiring high levels of education and/or licensing for even the most basic jobs at a non-profit organization, often jobs where real-life experience would be exponentially more relevant to the tasks at hand.

Non-profits exist to try and enact social change in ways that government and for-profit businesses can’t or won’t: this is why we call them the “third sector”. In progressive organizations, which are my concern here, this change involves fostering social justice and equality between all human beings. This being the case, non-profits are often focused on providing services or a platform for activism for traditionally oppressed groups: people of color, the poor, women, LGBT people, etc.

The people best equipped to serve the needs of, say, non-English-speaking refugee mothers who are experiencing domestic abuse, would be other refugee women or survivors of domestic violence. Yet these very people who would be the most effective resources are highly unlikely to work at non-profits that exist to help refugees or survivors of DV because they can’t access the educational levels required for the job. Instead, such a woman as described above is likely to face a native-born, monolingual, middle-class white woman who holds a bunch of degrees when looking for services.

Over-represented among MSW-holders are middle-class white women. Often, these women have lived privileged lives in majority-white environments. Often, they are monolingual. Often, their (relatively) privileged background made it possible for them to get advanced degrees in a field guaranteed not to pay much. Often, they are trained or conditioned to think that they know what’s best for the disadvantaged groups and clients they will be helping.

I am not hating on middle-class white women here. I am trying to point out some uncomfortable truths in the non-profit sector that must be looked at with a critical eye if we are really serious about social justice. Middle-class white women have shown a notable interest in this fight, and they have an important role to play. But if we continue to stack the decks in our field in favor of middle-class white women, well then we have a problem.

People from privileged demographics or backgrounds cannot swoop into troubled communities and tell them how to fix themselves. This is a fundamentally disordered way to go about “social justice.” It actually reaffirms the current social order – you know, the one we are trying to change. Middle-class white women do not have all the answers to injustice. The answers lie amongst the people who are experiencing the injustice.

Only members of an oppressed community, such as people living with AIDS, or transwomen of color, or immigrants facing the deportation of a loved one, know what their community really needs to achieve equality and justice. No one else, especially no one from the dominant sector of society, can tell them this. Their struggle can’t really be “professionalized” without also being de-fanged, made digestible to non-profits more concerned with pleasing donors than affecting change.

Here’s where non-profits have set up a lose-lose situation. Most traditional non-profits require Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees to hold any substantive position at their organization. The kinds of positions that matter, where you can make decisions, rally activists, or clear paths to help for those seeking it, all while making a living wage, require a level of education not attainable for the very groups they are “helping”. If our own organizational structures reflect the very social structures of oppression we are purportedly against, we have already lost our battle. If we, in the non-profit sector, can’t innovate structures of equality and justice internally, we have no business going out into the world and telling the government or businesses to find a way to do what even we can’t do.

One must have a high level of support, either financial or familial or both, to get a graduate degree in Social Work and related fields. A Bachelor’s degree alone is extremely expensive, and add to that a graduate degree in a field guaranteed not to pay well, and you have more or less eliminated anyone making less than a median income from ever being qualified to work in a non-profit. According to the New York Times, a four-year degree at a private university now costs 76% of the median family income [2008]. Of course, people of color and other marginalized groups are over-represented amongst those making less than the median income. So you can see the nature of the problem.

What oppressed groups are rich in is relevant experience and first-hand knowledge of the structures and effects of oppression. This is a qualification where they far out-pace middle-class white women, and interestingly, relevant experience not accompanied by prestigious degrees is greatly devalued. It doesn’t matter how long a black father has been fighting for equal educational opportunities for his children- if he didn’t have the cash and free time to get six years of higher education resulting in a Master’s degree, he doesn’t have the qualifications to be paid to continue his fight through an equal-education non-profit agency. Of course, if he had gone to school for six years while raising children and probably working, he wouldn’t have had the time to gain all that experience fighting for equality. So under which circumstance would he truly be more equipped to support an equal-education non-profit?

Education, academic life and intellectual life remain, as always, valuable, vital parts of our society. But the real experiences and insights of those who feel inequality most keenly must come to be valued at least as highly as the experiences the privileged have who study those injustices in the halls of academia. Over-professionalization prevents the non-profit sector from ever really achieving what it purportedly exists to do.

As Audre Lorde said:

Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference — those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older — know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.

(c) idyllicmollusk 12/4/08, with help from cp