CA Adopts a “yes means yes” sex assault rule

ACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when “yes means yes” and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports.

Brown’s office announced that he signed the bill Sunday.

State lawmakers last month approved SB967 by Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, as states and universities across the U.S. are under pressure to change how they handle rape allegations.

De Leon has said the legislation will begin a shift in how college campuses in California prevent and investigate sexual assaults. Rather than using the refrain “no means no,” the definition of consent under the bill requires “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.”

The legislation says silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent. Critics said it overreaches and sends universities into murky legal waters.

(Copyright 2014, The Associated Press, All rights reserved.)

This article originally appeared in KRON4 on their Facebook page. I will be blogging on this later.

Emma Watson, Ambassador for ALL

“We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence…

I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too – reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.” – Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador

Sandra is no Fluke

I hate to give any mention to a certain hothead idiot asinine sexist piece of crap radio “personality” so I wont name him. HE does not  need the attention. Moving on to the IMPORTANT things….

Sandra Fluke is a social justice attorney who testified before Congress in 2012 about the importance of contraception coverage in health insurance. She is currently running for the California State Senate. She is articulate, intelligent and we would be lucky to have her working in our government on behalf of We The People. (Plus I live in California so I’m a bit biased too, because I’d be  one of many to luck out) She has argued against matters that I think we can all agree with: corporations aren’t people, Hobby Lobby should stay out of their employees uteruses (uteri?) She has been called vile names by men with who have no better comebacks than insults. Its a sad sad statement about our country that there are people who listen to these women haters and consider them to be the articulate ones. These types are fools who love to hear themselves speak but have nothing to say.

In this day and age of post-Civil Rights Act, post-segregation, post-Industrial Revolution there is no place for the type of hateful attitudes and comments that are directed at those who make up half of our population. We should not stand for it. *I* will not stand for it. To the radio commenter in question; you add nothing productive to our society. Youre a spiteful hateful human being. Please”Rush” to the finish line of your career already.

Sandra Fluke has much to say. Articulately. Intelligently. Without insult but with commonsense. I’d like to give some space to share her voice.

“Restricting access to such a basic health care service, which 99% of sexually experienced American women have used and 62% of American women are using right now, is out of touch with public sentiment.”
“These denials of contraceptive coverage impact real people. In the worst cases, women who need this medication for other medical reasons suffer dire consequences.””This is the message that not requiring coverage of contraception sends. A woman’s reproductive healthcare isn’t a necessity, isn’t a priority”

“.We talk often about choice. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to choose.”

“Because we spoke so loudly, opponents of reproductive health access demonized and smeared me and others on the public airwaves. These smears are obvious attempts to distract from meaningful policy discussions and to silence women’s voices regarding their own health care.”

“A significant gender pay gap still persists. That’s why we cannot be passive as we acknowledge Equal Pay Day, which marks the day when a woman’s earnings catch up to what her male peers earned in the previous year. To millennials, it’s startling to see that women still earn just 77 cents to the dollar of what men earn.”

The NFL..late to the game

There has been an epidemic of stories of violence  in the news involving not only football players but others as well.

Fed up with the league’s woeful inconsistencies on domestic violence and its belligerent insistence on protecting misbehaving players, Anheuser-Busch took the NFL to task on Tuesday. No, it didn’t say it was pulling its $1.2 billion, six-year contract – yet.

But it doesn’t take a marketing genius to see what’s down the road if the NFL doesn’t get its act together. And fast.”We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season. We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code,” Anheuser-Busch said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. When morals and commonsense fail, money talks. I have a feeling this potential loss is what inspired the NFL Commissioner’s statement today. “Unfortunately, over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong,” he said in his opening statement. “That starts with me.” Sadly his insincerity is completely obvious. The Ray Rice video came out over two weeks ago. It SHOULD HAVE started with him then yet not until the potential loss of advertising dollars did the commissioner become motivated to speak out. Hmm,.

It speaks volumes that the first response from the football world was resounding support for Rice via Twitter & other public forums. It seems now that there is an embarrassing horrifying video that the world has seen, suddenly what was a private matter the Ravens did not want to deal with has turned into something they are forced to deal with, not because its the right thing to do but because they need to save their public image in what ESPN>com referred to as “the worst NFL Crisis in history.” I think that may be an exaggeration but really its not.

Goodell did not specify how he would address the rash of domestic violence incidents in the league. He said the NFL wants to “implement new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl” but did not sate what these would be or how they would be implemented. I Think we should all watch closely & hold Mr. Goodell accountable to keep this promise.

This situation has caused the Ravens and the entire NFL some bad publicity which may be hard to undo. They will lose fans & sponsors. The universal ramifications are toward their female fans who may be supportive but maybe not. Women account for almost half of football fan base (45% percent per the New York Post). If I were Commissioner Goodell I would think very hard about how to proceed after the Ravens essentially blamed domestic violence on Rice’s wife. I certainly hope Commissioner Goodell thinks long and hard about what exactly he will be doing to handle situations like this in the future. Oh and way to show respect for women, Ravens.

Domestic Violence and Relationships…its complicated

As horrifying as the recent events surrounding football player Ray Rice are, it is a good thing to bring conversations about domestic violence out from behind locked doors. For those that aren’t aware, Ray Rice is  a football player with the Baltimore Ravens. In a video recently made public, Rice is seen punching his then-girlfriend to the point of making her unconscious. He then dragged her out of an elevator and left her in front of onlookers in a lobby. Rice is a classic abuser. He waited until he thought he was alone and could hit his victim behind closed doors. Victims are afraid of their batterers, and now that people have seen the video, hopefully this gives an idea as to why. I’m sure Palmer (girlfriend-now-wife) was terrified of getting Rice in trouble with the police or the NFL, but thankfully they weren’t alone, the cameras were watching. And now, so is the world.

Domestic violence isn’t a rare phenomenon in America. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year, and 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Unfortunately, these are just nameless facts and figures. Palmer is a real person with real problems. When this incident came to light, Rice’s teammates, instead of reacting in horror or shock, rallied around him to the point of this appearing on the team’s Twitter page: “Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.” Hows that for standing up for women? Way to go NFL. I have to wonder what “role” was that exactly? Not running away from a man whose career is built on running & tackling? Not calling for help among his friends that clearly serve his interests? Not taking the stairs instead of the elevator? I also have to question why all the people in the lobby did not call police upon seeing this event. But that is neither here nor there at this point I guess.

Famous or not, this situation is exemplary of CLASSIC domestic violence. The beating behind closed doors, hiding behind money/friends/prestige, victim blaming. The elements are all there.

While many cheered the NFL’s move to punish Rice’s  behavior, several media outlets fell into the classic mode of  victim blaming. “Let’s not all jump on the bandwagon of demonizing this guy,” said Fox News contributor Ben Carson. “He obviously has some real problems, and his wife obviously knows that, because she subsequently married him.” While that is true, and horrifying to those of us not in violent relationships, there are MANY reasons for Janay Palmer (now Rice) choice to do so, none of which we are privy to. However the recent creation of stories falling under the hashtag #WhyIStayed can give us clues. Women and men have shared their experiences and detailed reasons they had for staying in an abusive relationship.

The reasons for this our many, and ones we ALL can relate to, abused or not: love, guilt, religion, children, shame, hopelessness, embarrassment, loyalty, exhaustion, gender roles, family pressure. lack of money, lack of friends, lack of family support, lack of confidence. depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, fear. fear of hurting the kids, fear of not being able to provide, fear of losing everything, fear of repercussions, fear of being hurt, litigated, belittled or killed. I think that while we all have not been in abusive relationships, it’s safe to say that most of us have endured our share of break ups or incompatible relationships and the reasons for staying in those situations can be very much the same. Unfortunately the internet is aflutter with opinions from people who view DV relationships as an Other. People who don’t understand, choose not to understand, by way of dismissing such relationships as easy to walk away from. It is no easier than walking away from any relationship that isn’t working but one in which you may care about the person still.  DV Is not an Other. It is a common occurrence that happens to people we ALL know. Our dismissal & failure to acknowledge those around us who may be suffering does not help end its existence.  Brian Pinero, director for digital services of The National Domestic Violence Hotline and LoveIsRespect, a program for teens and young adults, was quoted on CNN stating it takes an average of seven times for a victim to leave an abuser. The Rices have a child together, which most certainly plays into Palmer-Rice’s decisions.   Those calling  Janay Rice’s motives money driven may be off base but not entirely. She depends on the guy for support. She may not have an education, job training or people willing to take her in. More to the point he DOES have: job training, money, people willing to support his behavior.  We as observers have NO Idea what has been said and done behind closed doors other than that one elevator.  She may be angry at the media response for leading to her husband’s indefinite suspension from the NFL and the possible end of his career. She may also be fearing for her life and trying to salvage herself. NO one can blame her for this, Unfortunately unless this WAS a one time event and Ray Rice truly WAS sorry, the media circus around the Rice’s may simply be cause for more violence in the Rice home. (Ie see what YOU did, see what YOU caused) Batterers do not wake up one day understanding their behavior unless they have sought help to do so. Chances are Rice simply feels he did what she “made” him do.

Rather than criticizing Janay Palmer’s decision to remain and marry Ray Rice, lets ask some other questions: What support system does she have? Did the NFL/media/people around Rice in any way offer support and a safe place for her to go? Was Ray Rice given the impression that his  behavior was wrong and that he would face repercussions from it? Initially the Ravens response was an appalling show of support for Rice and complete lack of disregard for Palmer.  Thankfully what the media circus HAS done is hold him  and them accountable for their responses. On September 8th, tThe NFL, faced with new evidence that proves Janay Palmer had no role in this incident, regardless of what she might have said to downplay it, are doing what they should have done after the first video showed her unconscious on a lobby floor and Rice admitted he had assaulted her.  The Ravens just released Ray Rice and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him indefinitely. For this I commend them, but only for this. Their initial response to the situation must not be forgotten nor should the fact that the bad publicity’s effect on their team probably was the mitigating factor.

Janay, I know you’re upset with the world right now, but you need to know you have done nothing wrong. You are a victim. Ray Rice may be a man of power, wealth & fame…but his actions are still WRONG and he is NOT above consequences. I’m sorry for any embarrassment you feel and any suffering you may be facing. I hope this is your catalyst to seek help, and that should there be a next media circus, that it’s not around your funeral.


California, the new desert

I live in California, a state soon drying up in many ways but most greatly in the water type of way. We are currently experiencing what is to be one of the worst droughts in the history of the state. Everywhere I go, there are street signs reminding people not to waste water. There are programs to assist residents with replacing lawns with drought resistant plants. There are articles daily in every newspaper & News clips daily showing the effects of the drought in many areas.

About 1,000 more wildfires than usual have charred the state, including some unusual ones in the spring. The drought is likely to inflict $2.2 billion in losses on the agricultural industry, according to a July study from the University of California-Davis.

Popular vacation spots such as Lake Shasta are becoming arid dry spots where one can only hope to get their feet wet.

In some areas of the state- wealthier areas– people aren’t even aware there IS a drought. I guess money can buy happiness..or at least it doesn’t buy awareness. Even those that are aware, seem to act with a sense of entitlement – washing cars that aren’t visibly dirty, daily watering of lawns to keep them green, etc. There seems to be an attitude among this set that if they can pay for it, its theirs to use. A Commodity. The fact that Jerry Brown is in talks to reroute water to LA- a place where the most water wasters seem to be, water their green lawns, keeping their pools filled- does not help drive to home the point that water IS a limited resource for EVERYONE now. You cannot simply have the government give you more because your pool needs to be refreshed. I think it’d be much more educational if the wealthy elite in LA were told to reduce water waste the same as those of us in northern CA, central CA, etc are being told to.

I Think theres so many folks who dont want to acknowledge it, or are ignorant. I think when people have to think ab our very basic need for water and our dependence on nature it can be scary. It reminds us how human we are. IT reminds us that we cannot simply make more or buy more of a necessity simply because we need it. Indeed that is a very scary place to be. I know, I feel it too. The alternative thought may be among such folks is that we are so used to government/corporations/whatever managing things ppl just think there must be a plan to get more somehow.

There was rumblings about desalination of the ocean water since California is conveniently located next to an ocean. The problem is that desalination is a costly & quite honestly, impractical solution to our long term problem. Trucking in water from out of state, as some have suggested, is even more so impractical.

The reality is that we need to treat water as we do money–money on a budget. People would do well to develop a wider world view in thinking about our water situation. The water we have is the water budget of us all in the state. We need to spend it carefully. The water you waste washing your car could be the water your neighbor needs in order to wash their dishes.Yes, we all have water coming through our taps when we turn them on….but for how long?

Budget your water now. You will not end regretting it later.