What About Us?

It’s been a while since I’ve felt the need to blog.

Last week, they announced the verdict of the Eric Garner case which resulted in the officer not being charged.  My heart sank, tears came to my eyes and my mind searched for a reason why this happened.  Just as Jon Stewart pointed out, unlike the ambiguities of the Ferguson case, this case had none, zero.  It was on video, filmed, the murder of this man by a police officer. Clear cut.  Not surprisingly, this proof did nothing.

Police brutality affects us all, however, minorities suffer a much greater impact, loss of life, assault.  The thought that my family could be pulled over for a DWH (driving while Hispanic) or worse…and that is a terrifying thought to me.  My skin is white, I don’t look mixed so I don’t have to be afraid.

There is another reason why I came here to blog.  Lately, NFL players have been voicing their protest of Eric Garner’s trial and Ferguson.  They have entered the field with their arms raised, they have worn shirts saying “I can’t breathe” and that same sentence has been written on their shoes, wrist bands and more.

I applaud their protest, I love that they are using their voice to speak up not only for minorities, but against police brutality, for the families who voices are so limited.  They made the choice to make a public statement, using their status to change our society and I love that.

At the same time though, it makes me want to scream at them in anger, it makes me want to cry, it makes me want to shake them and look them in the eye and say what about us!  Why weren’t there any players using their voice when a woman was knocked unconscious by her partner, why weren’t there players using their voice when a woman was raped, why weren’t their players using their voice when a child was beaten?

For decades, the NFL has harbored, supported and covered up domestic violence and sexual assault cases.  Finally, in 2014, something is being done about it.  Their own organization supports perpetrators of violent crimes, crimes of physical assaults and sexual assault, crimes that kill women and children.  Every day, it is estimated that 3 women are murdered in the United States by an intimate partner.

How many women can’t breathe because the man they love grabs their throat and tightens his grip? How many women can’t breathe because he broke her ribs? How many women can’t breathe because every day they are in fear for their lives?  How many children can’t breathe through their tears of pain? How many women and children can no longer breathe because their life has come to an end?

The video of a woman being assaulted and knocked unconscious brought attention to the problem that has been going on in the NFL for decades.  Since 2000 alone, there have been over 70 domestic violence related arrests….Players now have been asked to or forced into participating in Domestic Violence commercials and campaigns, but no player has voluntarily offered up his voice in this fight. Before this season, no player has voluntarily used his actions or clothing during a game or practice to say that what the NFL has done for decades is wrong, that the perpetrators of these crimes, the abusers, the rapists, the murders, should be in jail.

Again, while I can support their protest, I also have the right to feel angry at them for ignoring the abusers in their own organization.

Through my partner, a die-hard Chargers fan, I have a new-found appreciation and love for this sport.  I haven’t missed a Chargers game all season.  Even when I’m at work, I watch it on my phone.

However, as a woman, I feel that this sport, like so many others, is purely for men where women are reduced to the color pink, the amount of cleavage we show and how short our skirts are.  I can’t help but feel  ignored and marginalized knowing that higher ups in this organization would rather hide and protect these abusers for a profit then do anything about it.  Even the players don’t want to take a stand….

All I can hope for, as in most cases, is that things do change and maybe, eventually, these athletes will volunteer their voices for all of the women who have been harmed or killed.  I hope they will fight for a change.

♥ Meggie

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Wedding Crashers – Stop Laughing at Rape

How would you feel if you were watching a movie and a scene opens with a man sitting on top of a woman.  She wakes up to see him there and then notices that her hands and feet our bound, tied to each bed post.  She looks nervous, asking what he is doing and as he reassures her he only wants to be adventurous,.  She tells him to let her go, stop, beginning to struggle, pulling at the ropes, only to be gagged with a piece of cloth and duct tape.  Then the scene cuts. 

How would you feel watching that?  Would you think, oh that’s funny or oh my gosh, why did he just rape her?  She looked scared, she told him no, she was bound and gagged, why is that funny??  Would you feel angry? Uncomfortable?  A man just took advantage of a woman, violated her and she had no way to get out, no way to make him stop, he didn’t listen to her.

Over the weekend I just watched the movie Wedding Crashers for the first time and this exact same scene happened, except a woman violated a man.  In the movie, Vince Vaughn’s character, Jeremy, is pursued by a woman named Gloria, who he titles a “Stage 5 Clinger” meaning she is obsessed with him.  However, he is forced to be around her because Owen Wilson’s character, John, is interested in her sister so they go to their family’s house for a trip.  

The first time she assaults him is at the dinner table, where she begins touching him and give him a hand job under the table even though he tells her no, protests and keeps trying to move her hand.  She blatantly ignores him and continues to grope him, making him uncomfortable and violating him, ignoring his requests because he didn’t give consent.

That night he is woken up to her on top of him, tied down and as he protests, she puts a sock in his mouth then duct tapes it shut.  Then the scene cuts.  The next morning, Jeremy even makes a joke about being raped.  As the movie continues, they ignore the fact that she raped him and he ends up marrying his rapist.

I fail to see how this is funny.  We can joke about men being raped because we don’t see it as rape, we don’t see it as a violation of a man becauseOBVIOUSLY men always want sex.  The entire point of Jeremy and John crashing wedding was for the purpose of having sex, Jeremy and Gloria already had sex so we can make that a joke.  I looked up the summary of the movie on Wikipedia, just out of curiosity to see how they described that scene and this is what it said “Later that night, Gloria ties up Jeremy and proceeds to have sex with him, saying she is being “adventurous” and is fulfilling fantasies”. No she proceeds to rape him.

He said no, he did not give her consent and therefore she is a rapist.  If they filmed that exact same scene but Jeremy tied up Gloria as she was saying no and telling him to stop, people would be furious!  Watching that scene we would feel upset, uncomfortable, angry, but we laugh instead.

The fact that this entire event is treated as a non-issue is incredibly disturbing to me and once again perpetuates the idea that men cannot be raped by women, that it isn’t something serious.  It’s an extremely sexist point of view as we join together to destroy the ideas that surround female sexual assault, accepting the facts that a woman can be raped by an intimate partner, that what a woman wears or the amount she drank has NOTHING to do with her being raped, but we collectively laugh at a man facing the same violation?  Why is that ok?

I cannot tell you how many times I have been ask, “A man can be raped by a woman? How is that possible?”  Men can be raped by a woman the same ways women can be raped by a men, except our society laughs as we labor under the delusion that this is ok, that men always want sex and men are strong, there is no way they this could possibly happen.

We have to stop this.  Male sexual assaults are under reported because men typically don’t want to admit they have been assaulted because of these cultural stigmas.  It’s even harder if the perpetrator is a woman.  Instead of laughing, we should be furious!!  We should yell and question!!  Why is this funny??  Male survivors need as much support as female survivors and, at times, they need it in a different way.  We have to rid our society of these gender stereotypes and stop laughing at rape.

Meggie

The Protesters

A few Saturday’s ago, I saw those protesters. . . .again.  They are out there every day in front of whatever building it is.  I’m not sure if it is a Planned Parenthood or an abortion clinic, but it’s something along those lines.  They stand there with their signs accusing  the women of murder or terrible graphic images.  Overall, their signs are really just mean, simple as that.

Now my opinion is that abortion should not be allowed except in extreme cases such as rape or incest or something along those lines.  I believe strongly that if it is a consensual act between two people that they child should not be aborted because of that.  There are consequences for having sex, you could get an STI, you could get pregnant or you could end up being a dad.  I don’t have sex because I know I cannot handle the possible consequence of having a child.  I am not financially stable enough to have a child nor am I emotionally ready to have a child.  To me, if you cannot accept those consequences, then don’t have sex.  There are also cases where a protection is not used and it is just completely careless.  Use protection if you don’t want to take care of a baby, please.

That being said, I would never judge a woman.  If I knew someone who wanted an abortion, I wouldn’t stand there calling them a murderer! If I was going to put energy into doing something, the first thing I’d do is say, hey are you ok?  How are you doing?  If you don’t mind me asking, why are you choosing an abortion?  Do you need help financially or with an adoption?  Are you being forced to do this?  Do you just need someone to listen to you and cry right now?  Ultimately it is that person’s decision no matter what I do, but my choice is to be non-judgmental and wrap arms of love around them instead of spitting words of cruel hatred.  My job is to support them whatever way I can and I personally believe that if something was wrong I could do more good & maybe save the baby if I was kind rather than cruel, but I would never judge another person, ESPECIALLY if I didn’t know their story.

He who is without sin shall cast the first stone”

Last time I checked, I’m no saint.  I’ve made plenty of bad choices, terrible awful choices in my life that I regret.  How can I possible judge others for what might be a mistake?  What if the woman walking into that clinic is a rape victim?  What if they are being forced to have an abortion because of a pimp (yes, shockingly trafficking and sexual slavery are in the suburbs, city and rural areas as well) or hateful parent?  What if the women made a mistake and had sex with someone because maybe she has low self-esteem?  Or what if, God forbid the woman slept with a man and painfully regrets her choice because IT WAS A MISTAKE.  We all make them, we are human and it is a common characteristic that we all share.

Your opinion against abortion can be saved for the political field.  You don’t have to agree with a lifestyle of a person to offer help & love. You can rally in front of the politicians, vote, educate people as to why you believe abortion is wrong.

So these protesters are judging women who they know nothing about.  Maybe if they put more of their energy into saying hey, are you ok? Do you need help.  We can help you, our church can help you if you’d like some help.  Maybe some love would safe more children than accusing and casting stones at people they know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about.

With all of the work I do with human trafficking, sexual assault, physical abuse, I have learned not to judge ever.  My Christian grandparents taught me NEVER judge someone, show them love and compassion rather than hate because that does more in the world than cruelty ever did.

So the next time you go to judge someone, remember you don’t know their life & think about how showing them a little love could help them out a lot more than being hurtful.

♥ Meggie

How Do You Want To Be Remembered?

So I had this entire post already written about the Trayvon Martin case discussing race in America and how I have felt only the slightest bit of hatred from both European Caucasians and Hispanics since I’m mixed but look European.  I was going to talk about how I was lucky that I don’t have to deal with so much discrimination and how you shouldn’t judge others but always be away of how you portray yourself.  Then I deleted the entire thing

I decided instead to talk about the protests.  I support these protests 100%.  I think this decision was a terrible decision and Zimmerman needs to be behind bars without doubt.   I don’t like the precedent this ruling sets at all.  I might go down and join the protest this weekend in Chicago.

However, along with these beautiful peaceful protests, there are small groups, violent groups, destroying property and attacking people.  One group attacked a Hispanic man because of his race.  If you are saying Martin was racially profiled, why are you racially profiling another man?  Zimmerman killed Martin, not all Hispanics.  The same with all of this destruction of property.  If you are black (or of any race really) and don’t want to be label as violent or assumed to be a criminal, why would you go around destroying property, hurting people, being violent criminals which only proves the stereotype of your race is correct??  You should be marching peacefully with your peers, showing that no, we are not criminal, we are not violent and you cannot put these labels on all of us!  We will no longer be judged by our color because you are wrong!

There is a quote I read this morning said by Martin Luther King Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”.

This is what some people don’t understand.  Yes be angry that you are discriminated against, be angry that people actually believe that because people share a race, they are all the same, that others believe these stereotypes, be angry but do not let that anger consume you because a life lived in anger is wasted.  Turn that anger into something productive, change that into motivation saying “I will not be part of this stereotype.”  I know that is easier said than done, but organize, get people together and march peacefully or if you live in a neighborhood plagued with violence maybe you can organize a community building event.

Again, I know that is so much easier said than done, but you cannot let your anger turn you into a stereotype because then you are just making everyone who believed in that stereotype say “well see what they’re doing?  I was right! They are all violent!”

Don’t let people knock you down, don’t let them define the person you are.  When you react in anger and violence you are letting them push you into who they believe you are.  Not only that you prove nothing and you accomplish nothing.  What will they remember when you get out of jail for beating someone or destroying property?  Oh those where the kids that broke into Walmart, those are the kids who beat up my dad or husband or the news reporters.  What will you tell your kids?  “Oh I beat up some Latino because a completely unrelated Latino killed a black kid because he assumed he was a criminal.”  Do you really want to tell your kids that??  Or do you want to say, “this is what happened when I was your age and I marched in protest because this is wrong!  We should not be characterized like this and I stood up against it!”

Hatred and anger only breed more hatred and anger and that is the same with goodness and light in this world.  You accomplish more in this world through peace and love.  It might not change the court’s decision, however people will see maybe this was wrong, these protests are all peaceful, why do we judge these people?  Think of how you want to be remembered, as the person who threatened an innocent man because of his race (which is the reason you are mad in the first place) or as the person who stood strong with others who shared your beliefs and pain and anger, but stood in peace?

♥ Meggie