Wednesday, July 30, 2014

women take yet, another hit! so the gloves come off . . .

"By suspending Rice for two games, a lighter sentence than players who smoke marijuana receive, the NFL’s leadership is sending a terrible message that violence against women doesn’t matter to the league." CREDO action
For many years I have been reluctant to be too political here, on my blog.  I appreciate that my work in has a political bent, especially in terms of the feminine experience.  However I have shied away from posting anything too controversial, too radical,  I have restrained myself from truly expressing my feelings but today I was pushed to far . . .
'in memory of . . . '

I was raised by a code of conduct that discourages being too political, too opinionated, especially if you were a women.  I was counseled against being outspoken or conspicuous, especially in matters of politics, I was taught not to offend or alienate.  So I treaded lightly, though I believe that my dressproject was my answer to these mandates and restraints.  With my dresses I 'cloaked' my opinions and thoughts.  My true beliefs were 'veiled' in a more acceptable, less threatening manner, they were presented in pretty packages. 
But today I am taking off the gloves, I can hold my proverbial tongue no longer!!

In the past weeks 'women', as a whole, as a collective, have taken hits (plural)! 

To name a few of the major setbacks :

April: Senate Republicans blocked legislation meant to close the pay gap between men and women.

By Sarah Baker, in response to the Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby.
July: the supreme court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, basically saying corporations are more rights than women.  And that rulings has brought birth control and Roe vs Wade back into play.  

And this week the NLF has handed down a weak punishment to Ray Rice for the documented (click here to view video) assault of his fiancee and mother of his daughter Janay Palmer.  

click here to go to petition
The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell gave Rice a TWO- game suspension and a $58,000 fine. What I find so infuriating about this decision is that  this punishment is lighter that what a player who smoked marijuana would receive.  
What message is that sending out into the world??? It is worst to smoke marijuana than to beat a woman unconscious?!?!?
All of the above issues are high voltage topics and with many layers, they are not black and white.   In Ray Rice's case it is reported that both Rice and Palmer attacked each other and both were charged, although the charges against Palmer were dropped.  So Palmer wasn't completely innocent in this incident nor is she to blame for what happened to her (as some have insinuated).

What I need to express here is, regardless to the circumstances,  there is NO acceptable amount of physical violence unless the situation is life threatening, and I am thinking Rice 's life was NOT threatened.  Rice is a football player, which I am assuming means that he is physically fit and strong which makes physically attacking a woman wrong, even if this woman herself is physically fit and strong.  Rice should have known better! 

And to add to the savagery of the situation Rice beat up a woman he supposedly loved, a woman he was engaged to and the mother of his daughter!!! And now the NFL has basically said that is OK, this stuff happens, he is really an ok fellow!! 
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was arrested over the weekend for allegedly getting into a physical fight with his fiancee at an Atlantic City casino. Pictured about in March 2013 with long-time girlfriend Janay Palmer and their daughter Rayven
Read more:
The NFL had a chance to really make a statement about physical abuse.  They could have taken this opportunity to tell their millions of fans, both men AND women, that hitting a woman is not acceptable!! That physical abuse to any loved one is unacceptable! But they didn't.  The punishment for this incident is less than the punishment that Rice would have received if he had been caught smoking marijuana (which, by the way, is now legal to smoke in some states) 

This week the NFL basically told the world that it isn't that bad to beat your fiancee unconscious. Not only is it not so bad to beat your partner unconscious, you don't even need to treat her unconscious body with respect -  Rice dragged Palmer's body out of the elevator,   he 
couldn't even carry her which would have eliminated his need to 'nudge' her with his foot to move her out of the way of the elevator doors?!?!? Or better yet, why didn't he call 911?!?! mother of your child is unconscious?? 

So I signed this petition put together by CREDO action a social change organization that supports activism and funds progressive nonprofits.  The petition basically says  "Enough’s enough: Tell NFL Commissioner Goodell to take violence against women seriously."

Below is my comment from when I shared the petition on FB and it was my questions about what is the reasoning behind the NFL being so feeble in their response to this incident is what drove me write this post.  
 Abuse of women must STOP!!
 It can NOT be acceptable in any context.  
Why is it so hard for this fact to be recognized?!?! 

And in fact, why are the basic rights of women under such attack recently, 
the right to feel safe, especially with the men in their lives; 
the right to make their own medical decisions about their own bodies 
the right to get paid a fair and equal salary for doing their job, 
all of the above would allow women the freedom 
to live the life they choose 
(hmmm . . . interesting?!?)
 to be continued . . . 
 FB comment:
Signed the petition!! however I am still absolutely sickened by the NFL's response ~ really!! here is an organization that could make a real statement about the horrors of violence against women that would reach so many men who need to hear that message, but alas they wimped out . . .  it makes me wonder why??? are they afraid of losing revenue?!? are they afraid that taking a stand for the basic safety and welfare of women would tarnish their reputation?!?! besides the weakness in their response it is just another example of what really drives our culture . . . money and fear.

link to page to sign petition

Friday, July 4, 2014

a day to celebrate freedom ? ?

Today is July 4th, Independence Day here in the states, a day we celebrate the freedoms we have?!?!?

Today I also learned about this tremendous project, Faces of Courage: Intimate Portraits of Women on the Edge, by Mark Tuschman, that is looking for funding via Kickstarter and I wanted to share this with you, today, as it is about freedoms; freedom from abuse, repression, and giving women and girls some say in their lives.
Here is the link to the kickstarter site and the video explaining the project.  I was truly moved by the presentation and feel that this is a worthy cause to support.

Faces of Courage:

And I feel that it is importnat to highlight the plight of women and girls around the world as we here in the USA, had a wake up call for women's rights this week.

Today, in the Boston area, Mother Nature presented us with a much quieter and thoughtful holiday, as the threat and rains of Hurricane Arthur cancelled fireworks, town common concerts and parades.
This dampened and subdued acknowledgement of our country's birth feels apropos in the light of recent supreme court rulings and the fall out and discussion following said decision.

This week I feel as though women's rights and freedoms took a serious blow. The Hobby Lobby ruling by the Supreme Court has so many ramifications for Women's Rights that we really should be acknowledging this day with our own revolution.

But that is not happening, there are many women and political groups making statements and making stands, however the silence from the majority of women, and men as well, really unnerves me. There is an apathy in our country which should scare all of us.  The pervasive thought that our opinion really doesn't matter, that the big machinery of government will do what it will regardless of our opinions is alarming.

To emphasize the danger of such apathy let me quote a man you may have heard of:

“The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”

 Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
Also, this case involved the word, birth control, which is such a minefield of emotion and religious zeal that it clouds the waters of any clear discussion of the facts. I have watched as well educated people turn this subject into the dos and don't of unwanted pregnancies - NOT THE POINT!!!

I was hesitant to write a post about this ruling and my opinions because I was taught to tread lightly when it concerns politics. That having a strong opinion about a hot topic could alienate people and somehow have some nasty backlash effect.  But this decision has infuriated me and, at its core, it threatens the rights of my daughters and all women.  This ruling has opened the floodgates to more scrutiny and judgement about a woman's personal and private health choices by organizations, corporations and politicians that have no right to tell me what choices I make in regards to my body and my welfare! I needed to get on my soapbox.

If I remember correctly from my American history classes, in middle school and high school, that there 'should be' a separation of church and state.  As I learned it or as I understood this to means is that the government can not and should not tell us, its citizens, how and what to believe.  Granted this is mucky waters to begin with.

One of my main interests and concerns as a living, breathing woman and a mother of two brilliant daughters is that the government does NOT mess with or alter the rights of a woman to make her own personal health decisions according to HER body, her beliefs, her life style and her choices, PERIOD.

So on this fourth of July I hope that we all really take a moment and consider our freedoms and the freedoms of our fellow citizens.  Let us be able to look at the big picture and not through specific religious and economic and moral lens.

I will close with a quote from Mark Tuschman, author and photographer behind Faces of Courage: Intimate Portraits of Women on the Edge:

thank you and peace ~