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Hey folks – I don’t know how it took me this long to figure out how to truly use wordpress but….there are a lot of awesome bloggers here, obviously, and I JUST REALIZED THAT I CAN SPREAD THEIR EXCELLENT PIECES….so….get ready for a lot of awesome articles from folks who blog w/ WordPress.  Reblog revolution. 

 

I’m out

 

I can’t find a transcription of this speech that is correct.  All of the versions available leave out critical bits of this speech.  They leave out the mention of spending too much on military bases instead of bases of genuine concern, etc.  A typical example of the attempt to de-radicalize the good Rev. King.   Listen to this in its entirety.

“My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”

……..

“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway.

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.”

It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

I have pulled some quotes from this speech but reading or listening to the speech in its entirety is the only way to do this speech justice.  Please do.  Here is the speech in full text w/an audio: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm

Folks!!! FOLKS!! LOOOOKKK!!! An exciting opportunity to get together with ya radfolks and MAKE SHIT HAPPEN!

I know it’s tough to be politically conscious in this world, what with all the constant attacks on already marginalized folks and all, but the only thing that’s worse than this reality is the overwhelming feeling of HELPLESSNESS that accompanies a shit-avalanche like the one we’re seeing in North Carolina. There’s so much going on that I for one am still numb with confusion.  What was passed? In what secret midnight vote? Affecting whom? Closing down which clinics? Cutting which benefits? Wait – what happened to my right to vote?

And money = free speech still, right?

*cue cautiously optimistic, inspirational tune*

That’s why it’s important to arm yourself with education — not just about the issues and their effects, but what YOU — yes YOU!!! — can do to [resist the powers that be], [reverse the effects of damaging legislation] and [prevent this from happening again in the future].

Here’s a blurb from the [WIN] Conference event page:

“The [WIN] Conference will serve to educate the community about issues currently plaguing society. What this means is that we will have a bunch of awesome presenters teaching us about what is going on right now.

Learn more about current womyn’s issues such as reproductive rights/justice, politics, violence against womyn, and womyn in the media. Our keynote speaker is Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong. Organizations such as the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, Ipas, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, and Lillian’s List will be presenting and tabling throughout the day!

Come out to the Womyn’s Issues Now [WIN] Conference
WHERE: Union in room 3408
WHEN: Saturday, January 25, 2014 from 9 AM – 5 PM!

We will serve free breakfast and lunch. You don’t want to miss this great event!

 

Space is limited so register NOW!

[WIN] Conference 2014 REGISTRATION

[WIN] Conference Event Page

***Trigger Warning*** Sexual harassment, assault, mentions of rape, the hate-filled opinions of a sad man

So this brings me to my actual story, which I will keep quite short (jk lol).  I am renting a room in an apartment close to the city.  The guy who owns it rents out various rooms that he owns or leases and I happen to have an actual bedroom (compared to an attic or basement space converted into small bedroom) in the apartment itself.

I don’t know how to say this other than to say…he’s obsessed with rape.  From the moment I met him, without any prompting, he wanted always to talk about rape.  He self-identifies as a feminist, but so doesn’t everyone in Iceland, so I thought it was going to be the sort of good conversation about problems, solutions, struggles, structural lag, outrage, etc. that I typically have with feminists on the subject but NO.  Of course not.  I had to meet the guy who – with a straight face – told me that Hugh Hefner has done more for women than any other feminist activist.  He called Hugh Hefner a feminist activist. This is apparently not a completely new statement:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/lindywest1/100046951/hugh-hefner-agent-of-womens-liberation-or-passionate-advocate-of-boobies/

He proceeds to tell me that women who aren’t hurt or aren’t rape too violently are ruining the system for women who “truly need it” and that most of the time it’s just regretting a sexual encounter.  He harps on this constantly and claims that false reporting is very high and just women being bitches, essentially.  He also things that the holocaust death count is “overestimated” and said “Why do you think that happened in Germany? Do you think that the Jews were completely innocent and didn’t do anything to deserve it? They didn’t deserve it….the people were poor but not the Jews,” implying that the Jewish folk of Hitler’s era had forced the Nazi hand, really.

He called the removal of pork and peanuts from school menus “left wing radicalism” because the allergy is bull shit and the pork thing is for Muslims.  He hates Muslims. “They are the only real racists,” he says.  And he just SAYS these things like they are obvious facts and not completely rooted in hatred.  But he hates fossil fuels and guns…I’m so not used to those things going together.

So needless to say it’s been a struggle, and while we started out as amicable strangers, I had distanced myself greatly by the time my friend Tiffani came to visit in mid-September.   It’s awkward because he is always in the house and I was doing a lot of in-home stuff at the time, but I just shut my door and pretend to be dead so I don’t have to talk to him.

He only once before this period of time acted….more inappropriately?  He suggested that I massage him and I thought he was joking so replied with “yeah, ok, I’ll get right on that” in my most sarcastic voice ever.  The next day he asked again and I, more awkwardly, said no. He got angry and said something along the lines of “I don’t know why you would say you would do something and then not do it.”  It was awkward.

So my friend arrives and we spend a lovely week driving around the country and seeing all that we can see.  It was amazing.  We arrive back on a Saturday night and though we are tired we have plans to go into town and check out Reykjavik’s infamous nightlife.  They party until the early morning hours here meaning that you get into bed around 6 or 7am.

We made our dinner and sat at the table with my host and his guest.  He had been drinking very heavily even before we got home and while we were eating and preparing to go out he downed at least another half a bottle of vodka.   He began making a fool of himself and acting quite inappropriately toward my friend.  He sat so close to her that she was leaning away and started babbling drunk nonsense.

I went to my room to get dressed and when I came out she told me he had licked her earlobe without permission.  He then began asking each of us if we wanted to “French kiss” and when we hollered a resounding “NO” he would then stumble forward and try to catch us off guard.  The man is 42.  I had to intercept his face mere inches from my own and push him away at least ten times.  The friend – the only sober person – was having talks with him, hopefully about his behavior (they were in Icelandic) but he kept doing it.  It was disgusting.

His friend then offers to drive us all into town and we agree – it was our original plan and it would save us a 15 minute walk.  We figured my host would tire easily and go home or get separated from us or whatever.  We approached the first bar and were rejected because he was just. that. sloppy.  So we opted for the queer bar – Kiki bar – and began making our walk.  He continued acting like a child.  Sadly, none of this was particularly new to me, so things were going smoothly until he gave me a weird look and then ran up and grabbed my friend’s ass.  I shoved him by the shoulders into a nearby car just as a gut reaction.  He was startled but played it off and laughed.  We told him to fuck off with that bullshit and kept on our way.

The Kiki bar is at the top of a set of stairs, so given his behavior we tried to force him up first.  He refused until we were forced to go up before him so my friend ascended while I turned to face him. I looked him dead in the eyes and I said “if you touch my ass I will punch you in the face.” He giggled and said okay so I turned to walk up and no sooner had I done so than I feel a pinch on the ass – so I turned back around and punched him in the fucking nose. He held his face a screamed “you bitch!” as I ran as fast as I could up the stairs.

I found my friend and told her but he was right behind me.  He seemed to sense that I was on the edge because he offered to buy us a drink to apologize.  We requested beers, trying to make the best of a bad situation, and he brought us two shots of a sort of licorice liquor they have here that he knew we hated.  He mumbled something about “let’s get drunk and get laid” and then asked again if we wanted to “French kiss.”  We screamed a big ole NO at him and he finally went away.  We saw him once more sulking against a wall somewhere and then he was gone.

We made it back to the house around 8:30am only to realize I had forgotten my key.  It took five or so minutes of laying on the buzzer to get him to open the door, but we got in.  He disappeared before we made it up the stairs.  We stayed in my room almost the entire day counting down the hours until we left for a week in Amsterdam.  We saw him once or twice and while he looked ashamed he never mentioned anything about what happened.

This made me angrier than anything.   I have avoided him almost entirely since then and was lucky enough to make a friend and confidant out of another of his guests.  I felt safe when my friend was here and would venture into the living room and kitchen occasionally, but he left and now I am alone again.  I don’t feel safe.  I left for one last trip, which was a huge relief, but I still have 12 days left here.

I looked into coming home early and moving out of this place but the finances don’t work out. I’ve already paid him can’t afford another place (if I can find one cheaper) without a refund.  That would probably require reporting him to the agency that does the renting.

He tried to talk to me occasionally when my new friend was still here but I’ve resorted to one word answers and not looking him in the eye.  I feel so uncomfortable.  I look out the window before I leave my room to see if he might be gone.  When his van isn’t parked outside I am overcome with a sense of relief – even if I don’t want to leave the room.  When I’m in the common area and I hear his van pull up I quickly finish everything I was doing to run into the room and shut my door.  I read, I write, I do yoga, and I go into town and visit my one good Icelandic friend.  But I do not feel safe here.

He’s afraid that I will write a bad review.  He came up to me and the new friend one day – out of the blue – and said “My daughter asked if I thought you would write a review on the rental page and I told her of course you would. She can’t wait to read it.”  USING HIS DAUGHTER – who is amazing and cool btw, to guilt me into not telling anyone what he did!!

And the saddest part of all is that I only just now decided that I would report him to the agency.  As with all of the similar situations I’ve been in it is easier to walk away and pretend it never happened.  It’s so hard to tell anyone the truth because you see what happens when you.  You see people torn apart in public and driven to the edge of their sanity.  No one believes you and everyone questions all the things *you* did wrong or should have done differently.  Everyone wonders why you waited – if you were really so scared why didn’t you do it sooner?  Money shouldn’t matter, they’ll say.  If it was so important you should have said something right away.

But they forget that this is just another in a long series of assaults, rapes, pieces of violence done onto me, my sisters, and the great faceless womyn of “us.”  We’re not even shocked by it anymore.  We’re not surprised and we even expect it.  And we know to keep quiet – or else.  Sometimes you get so tired of fighting. I’m exhausted. 

And that is what has brought me to the point of writing about this. This certainly isn’t the most violent thing that’s ever happened to me.  This isn’t the most impacting. It’s not the scariest and it’s not the bloodiest.  But it is the first in a long time. It is the first thing to shatter the illusion I’ve spent the last four years painstakingly rebuilding.  I had convinced myself that I was safe in this world and that I had some control again. Now. Now that I knew more, saw more, something.  I’d fooled myself into thinking it could never happen again and that I was back to being bulletproof and 20. 19. 13. 8.

Somehow it’s all back now.

For the last ten weeks or so I have been living mainly in Reykjavik, Iceland.  Iceland’s political system and egalitarian being were at the core of the travel proposal I made last fall when applying for the particular scholarship that would provide the opportunity.  I knew that it couldn’t be as perfect in reality as it was on paper, but that didn’t stop me from building up my own personal North Atlantic utopia.IMG_1842Iceland has ranked #1 in the global gender gap index for the last three or four years. They’re #1 in literacy. They are #1 in the global peace index and have been #1 in 3 out of the last 5 years with an interesting break in 2009 following the economic collapse.  The population is under 350,000 people which for my anarchist friends probably makes plenty of sense.  They have universal healthcare, tuition-free education at the University level and no standing army.  They politically engaged and informed about current events and host voter turnout rates usually in the 85%+ range.  This year’s election had a turnout rate of 81% and everyone is freaking out about it being so low….you see what I mean? For some context – the US presidential election saw a turnout rate of nearly 54%.

100_1427Oh and MAY I MENTION they have a limited prison system.  And by that I mean they have one prison.  And it’s not like the US prisons. It’s a rehabilitative prison and the folks there have access to real medical care and therapy.  I’ve heard people complain that they are “too comfortable” but I imagine if you have a wide ranging social infrastructure that provides for basic needs and seeks to actively eliminate poverty you won’t see people committing crimes just to get three squares a day, amirite? Yes. I am right -because Iceland also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.  And besides, when the prison is full (it holds around 60-70 people), and it rarely is full, people just wait until someone gets out to serve their sentence.  Oh and there’s no death penalty. Oh and the maximum sentence is 16 years.

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YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN? DO YOU!?!!?!?

Siggh…..in addition to all of this they are quite LGBTQ friendly, though the whitest place I have ever seen in my life.  They passed a marriage equality bill unanimously in 2010 almost as an afterthought….they were all chilling being white and having an excellent tolerance to the cold when someone said “oh – hey – everyone’s talking about gay marriage. We should probably do that, show we’re on board.  I mean, there’s not a lot of economic advantage to marriage in a socialist country, but all the same, let’s spread it on.”  And then everyone was all like “aye.”  And that’s it.  Until this summer their Prime Minister was a legally married radical lesbian.  Boom.

IMG_1155It doesn’t even end there, though. Iceland is a geological anomaly.  It’s situated directly on top of the mid-atlantic ridge (that’s how it formed at all, way out here in the ocean) and exists halfway on the N. American tectonic plate and halfway on the Eurasian plate.  As a result – VOLCANOES EVERYWHERE! But mostly under glaciers (lots of flooding).   And because it only recently (compared to other masses) emerged from the ocean, everything is still wild.  Recent (1700s) giant eruptions still have large percentages of the land looking like the lunar landing.  Lava fields as far as the eye can see!!!  They’ve only recently started putting on heavy moss and lichen coats, so the soil in these areas is thin to nonexistent.  Apparently there were some trees in Reykjavik around the time of settlement (870 +/- 2) but SOMEBODY harvested them all (I’m looking at you, original Norwegian Vikings).

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There are some reforestation…or…forestation efforts, rather, but the only viable spots are around the edge of the island as the interior is nothing but highlands and hidden volcanoes waiting to bring forth new basalt.

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And I mentioned the glaciers? And there are a lot of sheep. It’s great. Except the daylight is all kooky through the year.  Like midnight sun in summer and 4 hours of daylight in the depths of winter. But whatever – they eat a lot of fish and that helps. Also they have astounding rates of alcoholism. For coping with that SAD shit, it seems.

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Did I mention the President and Prime Minister are in the phone book and that everyone is called by their first name?

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But ALAS, my friends.  Things haven’t turned out to be quite as lovely as I had hoped.  Everything I say is true but there’s still probably some racism. I can’t be sure because I’m white as hell, too, but this old woman uses the n-word to describe people with dark hair and eyes, like me.  Someone tried to explain how it isn’t the same because it’s like…some…derivative of a word that means black and dark….uhhhhhh……but….I haven’t been able to find an expert on the matter, so…there’s that. Also, as a general rule, where there are white people there is white privilege and racism.

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There’s no history of oppressing people of color specifically in Iceland as far as I know, but they sure as hell cash in on that European whiteness and whatnot (i.e. not being invaded and ruled by US and UK from 1944- 2004, but instead just hosting bases and receiving the benefit of lots of US spending on infrastructure (Keflavik airport).  Call it a hunch, but I feel like if they were an island nation of brown-skinned people with no military they’d be a U.S. territory alongside Puerto Rico.

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The other thing is that for the most “feminist friendly” place on earth, they sure do have a lot of rape.  Iceland has the highest rate of rape of all the Scandinavian countries.  It’s lower than the rate in the US but the rates of official reporting and prosecution are as bad as anywhere else in the world.  In addition there is a similar breakdown in “types of rape” that function to make the rape of someone who is unconscious termed “abuse.”  The penalty for rape (has to be “violent enough”) is the maximum sentence – 16 years – while the penalty for “abuse” is 6 years.

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While this is a stouter punishment than the US typically doles out (though we know harsher punishments don’t prevent crime…), prosecution rates render this effectively meaningless.  I mean, the US used to consider rape a crime punishable by death – if you were the “right kind of father’s property” and not just some white lower class woman….and don’t even bother if you’re a woman of color of any class. It’s symbolic of a false ideal.

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I’ve heard ONE GUY make light of it to the tune of “well we were settled by Vikings, what do you expect?”  and while it’s true that 62% of the women in the original class of settlers were mostly stolen women from the Hebrides and forced into marriage, I mean is that the kind of thing you want to compare yourself to?

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So I bring this up as an interesting contrast point – with the exception of the story I am going to tell you in a minute, I have not been catcalled, grabbed, ogled, groped, hit on inappropriately, “accidentally” brushed up against, or even leered at from a distance…probably.  It was one of the strangest sensations of my life, sadly, to be completely free of that constant worry.  I didn’t have to watch my drink or hang onto my bag for dear life or anything.  It’s so straightforward.  And the people are super-sexually active.  No sex-shaming and slut-shaming.  People just fuck all the time. Safely.  They have real sex-ed.

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So why the high rate of rape? I don’t know.  But I read something that suggests that an unusually large percentage of these rapes involved children under the age of 16 and that rates of rape with male survivors are higher than those of peer nations.  So I’m not really sure what’s going on.  Money isn’t put into researching the crimes and probably half or more of folks who seek help with rape crisis center don’t trust the system enough to press charges and don’t want to go through the ordeal with which we are all so familiar.  I don’t know what the typical reaction to a rape survivor is in this society, but I suppose we could imagine that it’s not exactly welcoming.

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Icelandic Feminist Activist  Hildur – famous for being constantly banned from facebook for publicly posting death threats made against her has a Tumblr called: Men who hate women.  On it she posts misogynistic comments made specifically by Icelandic men.  It was pretty devastating to my whole “Iceland is perfect” theory, but I’d rather know the truth, I guess.  It’s why I started investigating rape in Iceland, so I’m very happy I found it.

http://karlarsemhatakonur.tumblr.com/

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Please enjoy the rest of these photos!! I am so ashamed of how bad of a photographer I am….but I highly recommend seeing it for yourself if you can someday.  You’ll see what I mean. This waterfall is called Skogafoss

IMG_2168This one is called Gullfoss – it means Gold Falls

IMG_2550This is the glacier lagoon – a glacial tongue that leads out to sea.  It’s called Jokulsarlon

IMG_2816Famous lava fields with some excellent layers of snow – in mid-September

IMG_2855Selfoss Waterfall

IMG_2922Basalt sea cliffs near the town Vik — called Reynisfjara

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A bit of glacier melting — It’s called Solheimajokull.

I want to write about the word “bitch.”  I’m aware of the many arguments made for and against the use of the word (through a feminist lens, of course) and I’ve moved up, down, back, forward and side to side in my own relationship to the word since the dawn of my political consciousness.

Full disclosure: I don’t say *bitch* anymore.  It used to pop out of my mouth with every other word when I was younger, but I read a piece that encouraged me to stop “in good faith,” if you will.  This bit argued that yeah, maybe it hurts no one, but how would we ever know?  And if it is even MAYBE hurting people – shouldn’t we at least try and figure that shit out? Or is our right to speak unfiltered bull shit too precious to us to even consider it? (I’m paraphrasing…..)  So I did stop.  But then I saw it everywhere.  And it started to hurt.  It wasn’t like “across-the-board-I-hear-bitch-I-hurt” but more like….”when-someone-means-to-hurt-I-really-feel-it-now-ouch.”

Straight up – this was typically a man v. womyn sort of occurrence.  Womyn v. womyn didn’t pack the same sting, but womyn tend, in my experiences and observations, to use BITCH in all its variety and are more likely to go the “bitch = powerful badass womyn” route whereas men stick to the “bitches = all womyn” and “bitch = womyn who made me mad just now for whatever reason – probably because she challenged my authority or did something I think she shouldn’t do.” This is just my perspective and I speak only for myself and what I have seen.

It’s not like I was desensitized by chance or because *sticks and stones* and shit, either.  It was so perfectly normal in my life – to be called a bitch, to call someone a bitch, to hear it as a code word for the seemingly neutral all the way to downright nefarious  sorts of women all around me – OH – and the men who weren’t acting ***mannnnllyyy enougggghhh***

It became normal and therefore invisible.  And at this time in my life I haven’t excavated a single thing from my insides that once brought to light kept its apolitical, no-big-deal character.  I tend to view my relationship to the word as mainly one of internalized sexism and men reinforcing sexist practices and structures. I know that’s not so for everyone and that is valid and fine and totes to be determined by many intersections of identity and experience.  I only ask that folks question shit and never stop.

I have to wonder how the people in their respective stances relate to the word in their personal lives – if we leave the scholarly discourse or theoretical realm and look at our lives as they’ve played out, if we could CTRL + F: bitch – what sort of patterns would emerge?

I am writing this after months of writing absolutely nothing.  I am writing this without analysis, really, and without giving due time to the nuances of the aforementioned stances.  I am writing this because I started thinking about all the *bitch times* in my life and how it felt each time.  It’s not so clear cut, you see, but I thought it might be worth writing down and talking about.

***Trigger Warning: rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, emotional abuse, excessive use of the word bitch***

Strongest memories that  I could conjure up today that are somehow associated w/ the word bitch:

When a friend raped me and I found the strength to tell others (mutual friends) I was a bitch.

When I called the police when my ex choked me, slapped me, pulled me by my hair off of the bed, dragged me topless through the apartment and threw me outside at 4am and he was subsequently kicked out of school — I was a bitch. They couldn’t believe that bitch would do something like that to him.  Some of my own friends were in this camp.

Anytime my mom or stepmom did something I didn’t like.  Or did something that was legitimately fucked up. Or made me mad. They were bitches.

When I was manipulated and lied to by same ex into continuing the relationship so that I could lie to the district attorney and get the case thrown out – I was a bitch then, too.

When I call anyone out for sexist/racist/classist/ableist/heterosexist anything — BIITTCCHHH

When my dad had anything to say about my mom it was usually – in the end – to do with her being just a total, irrevocable BITCH NUGGET

I was a bitch last month when my host got wasted, tried to force himself on me, grabbed my ass and as a result I punched him in the nose.  Such a bitch.

When my sisters or womyn friends before I was 21 did anything silly or anything I didn’t like.  Fuck you, bitches. You’re such a stupid bitch.

I was a bitch when I showed any legitimate anger towards my father growing up.

When I found out that my sister’s bff slept with her boyfriend…. We both screamed “BITCH”

When I, like so many others, though I knew it all and fought hard about it without apology — they were assertive and know how to speak their minds.  But me? Totes a bitch.

When I stood up for an acquaintance from high school in an online bullyfest – Super bitch.

When I graduated from college after years of thinking I would never make it and magically wound up with a GPA that will let me get into a grad program someday, maybe —- Boss. Ass. Bitch.

Being horny and engaging in casual sex as a consenting adult somehow translates to acting like a bitch in heat at least once in my life

When a young man in high school showed any sort of fear or wouldn’t do something risky – come on! Don’t be a bitch.  Man up!

When I complain about something legitimately terrible or not so terrible but it bugs me, so Imma complain – Stop bitchin’ all the time

Womyn knitting and venting about true frustrations in life – Stitch and Bitch

*end scene*

I suppose I like to think that beyond the feminist debate about the impact of this particular word lays another discussion about being more compassionate with our word choice overall.  Fewer insults generally, more engagement…I mean I get that not every use of the word is an insult necessarily – but is its use compassionate?  What’s the aim? Are we conscious of our impact?

Is this just some seriously white feminist shit to say? Yes. Absolutely.  And let’s keep in mind that I’m writing this because I have tons of free time and no obligations for the moment so I can indulge in some “self-improvement” (totes important, but let’s keep some perspective) while WOC and other POC and QPOC and all poor folks generally are busy with just surviving.  The working poor and the impoverished are fighting a centuries-long, losing battle just to keep chins above water.

SO.  Today’s post was brought on by some casual thoughts and then when examining my privilege I see how ironic it is that the first post on our site in almost 4 months will be this.  But ok – this started it and now let’s talk about North Carolina and the white supremacist, heterosexist, classist, ableist, cis-centric patriarchy……and all the shit that has been happening since July……

….to be continued…..

Propaganda/Craftivism

DIY flyers mean more fun and less wasted money

materials: free newspaper, ballpoint pen, blank labels, scissors

Feedback: Projects for Fall 2013

Comments below or e-mails to uncfsu@gmail.com

“Violence against women –once treated as fodder by comedians and regularly ignored by police– is now taken seriously” –Nancy MacLean, The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000

Taken seriously by whom?  Not by the police officers I confronted this Friday at 2:00 A.M. after watching one man beat a woman with his belt, then loop the belt around her neck saying, “I need to keep my women in check” while another man (his friend?) took pictures.  I ran less than a block from the Ackland Store to the Subway entrance, where a bunch of cops were loitering and creating a hostile environment for several law-abiding people of the Chapel Hill area.

“Hey cops!  Did you see that shit?”

A blonde cop responded that he had seen the man beating a woman with his belt, but because the woman appeared to be giggling, he thought she consented to being beaten in public.  “I can’t impinge upon your rights,” he said.

Whose rights can’t he violate?  My right to feel safe when I walk at night?  A man’s right to beat a woman in the street?  Even if you support a person’s right to engage in consensual BDSM, the people involved were visibly drunk.  According to North Carolina law, that would invalidate any extremely dubious consent the officer claimed to have perceived.

I personally felt unsafe confronting the two men on my own.  If the police are unwilling to address sexual harassment and violence even in the most public spaces, we need to create working alternatives in order to address violence and support survivors.  This isn’t a new issue.

More training for cops may help, but heavier policing will not.  If a woman can be beaten by a man in front of a group of six cops, a stronger police presence is not the answer to our problem.

To the extent that we actually have a Carolina Family, or a campus community, we have a responsibility to explore our options for holding perpetrators of violence accountable without the intervention of law enforcement.  Addressing violence is never simple, but doesn’t have to involve police officers working on behalf of violent state authority.  By developing our own tools to address interpersonal violence, including a constant effort to hold ourselves and our loved ones accountable for their actions, we better ensure survivors’ safety and recognize the humanity in the people who perpetrate interpersonal violence.

The Task Force to Review Student on Student Complaints of Harassment needs input from students on how to address violence between students on and off campus.  As a member of the Task Force, I would like to open a space for addressing hostile environments that allows survivors the greatest number of options, and doesn’t subject survivors to further trauma.  Please submit an anonymous suggestion at the Campus Conversation website.  If you would be more comfortable meeting in person (and processing your feelings verbally), e-mail skbryan1@live.unc.edu or contact another member of the Task Force.

http://campusconversation.web.unc.edu/

For more information about what transformative justice may look like, this page has links to good reads: http://www.phillystandsup.com/contact_links.html

Sarah-Kathryn Bryan

Feminist Students United (FSU) is a progressive feminist organization which affirms that no form of oppression can be overcome until all aspects of racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism are dismantled. We acknowledge intersecting identities and strive to be mindful of these intersections in all our work. We endeavor to create an environment which is non-hierarchical and supportive in nature, and we work to bring about change in our community through education, outreach, direct action and community organizing.

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