Freddie Grey..more questions, few answers

So forgive me kind readers…I’m still searching for answers to this case & these events.

Let me review what I have learned so far. The police arrested for Freddie Grey for reasons they haven’t disclosed. Freddie ran from police prior to that. In some peoples minds this shows guilt or suspicion. However, the reality is, it can also show fear. Eith so little information to go on, it would be impossible to draw an informed conclusion. If Baltimore PD is known for being corrupt (*not saying they are*) and Freddie was being pursued for no valid reason (*not saying this is the case*) it’d be reasonable to think he would run. I’m not saying this is the case or that that’s a good idea, but it would be understandable & explain why if he was not being arrested for any wrongdoing. Unfortunately Baltimore PD is not forthcoming with details. In any case where there is an ongoing investigation its procedure not to give away sensitive information but to not give any information when someone has died, when there’s rioting (which clearly shows a population that is angry & distrustful of police, in my opinion) Unfortunately the lack of real information feeds the distrust and discord and fuels speculation. I’m disheartened I cannot find information on this case, There’s rioting, looting, endless news coverage…and few facts. I implore Baltimore PD to be forthcoming & transparent as quickly as they can. Godspeed Baltimore.

Kinky Boots teaching us to walk in others shoes

Last month I went to San Francisco to see the stage production of the musical “Kinky Boots.” I’ve listened to the soundtrack for years and have been waiting to see the stage production.  Prior to attending the stage version of “Kinky Boots” I knew the story through the songs. I would say the story is genius as well, but it actually is based on a true story…one that still rings true, almost more so, today.  The musical tells of a struggling British shoe factory’s owner Charlie, who forms an unlikely partnership with Lola, a drag queen, to save the business. Charlie, the storys main charachter, had gone off to London to live an artists life leaving his father and his fathers company, the aptly named,  “Price and Son” behind.  When his father dies, Charlie is forced home and takes over the shoe factory but struggles to be the person his father was (and the person his father wanted him to be). Charlie develops a plan to produce custom foot wear for drag queens, rather than the men’s dress shoes that his firm is known for, and in the process, he and Lola discover that they are not so different after all. We could learn a lot from the examples of Charlie and Lola. In one song, “Not My Fathers Son,” a duet between Charlie and Lola, both sing about a longing for approval to be who they are.

(LOLA)

When I was just a kid
everything I did, was to be like him
under my skin
My father always thought,
if I was strong and fought
not like some albatross, I’d begin
to fit in

Look at me powerless and holding my breath
trying hard to repress what scared him to death
It was never easy to be his type of man
to breathe freely was not in his plan
and the best part of me
is what he wouldn’t see

I’m not my fathers son
I’m not the image of what he dreamed of
With the strength of Sparta and the patience of Job,
still couldn’t be the one
to echo what he’d done
and mirror what was not in me

So I jumped in my dreams and found an escape
maybe I went to extremes of leather and lace,
but the world seems brighter six inches off the ground
and the air seemed lighter
I was profound and I felt so proud
just to live out loud

I’m not my fathers son
I’m not the image of what he dreamed of
With the strength of Sparta and the patience of Job,
still couldn’t be the one
to echo what he’d done
and mirror what was not in me

The endless story of expectations swirling inside my mind
wore me down
I came to a realization and I finally turned around
to see

that I could just be me

(Charlie)
I’m not my fathers son
I’m not the image of what he dreamed of

(Lola)
With the strength of Sparta and the patience of Job,

(Charlie/Lola)
still couldn’t be the one
to echo what he’d done
and mirror what was not in me

(Lola)
We’re the same, Charlie boy,
you and me.

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.”

Hobby Lobby for the win. Hobby Lobby female employees…for the lose.

This morning, Hobby Lobby won their case against the Supreme Court regarding birth control coverage through the ACA, For those who haven’t read my previous post on the subject, or who haven’t followed this story in the news, Hobby Lobby, a for-profit and privately held corporation owned by a family of evangelical Christians, sued the Department of Health and Human Services in September 2012 because it believed that the contraception requirement of the Affordable Care Act was an unconstitutional violation of its sincerely held religious beliefs. While I’m certain no one has contested  the religious beliefs held by Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green and his family, but the Greens are not on the hook to provide their 13,000 full-time employees with contraceptive coverage. In reality, their privately held corporation is responsible for that coverage. Because that’s what it means to be incorporated. One of the questions brought before the high court is whether or not the company itself can have sincerely held religious beliefs, and — if the court is willing to recognize corporate religion — whether the contraception mandate places an “undue burden” on those beliefs.

Hobby Lobby has based its claim in its religious opposition to abortion; according to lawyers for the company, the main issue here is four forms of birth control that it doesn’t want to cover because it believes they are abortion-inducing drugs. This is incorrect!Hobby Lobby already covered 16 of the 20 methods of contraception mandated under the Affordable Care Act, but it didn’t cover Plan B One-Step, ella (another brand of emergency contraception) and two forms of intrauterine devices because of aforementioned ideologically driven and not medically based ideas about abortion.“These medications are there to prevent or delay ovulation,” Dr. Petra Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Mayo Clinic, stated  in an article on the science behind emergency contraception. “They don’t act after fertilization.” As noted in that article, which first appeared in the New York Times,  emergency contraception like Plan B, ella and the hormonal IUD do not work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb. Instead, these methods of birth control delay ovulation 0r thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, meaning that fertilization never even occurs. That said, when used as a form of emergency contraception, the copper IUD can interrupt implantation, but this still does not mean a pregnancy has occurred. Thus even the “logic” of Hobby Lobby (the people behind it, excuse me) Is unfounded & flawed.

I respect Hobby Lobby being a “Christian run” company. I think its great that they are closed on Sundays and some of the other small things they have infused into their company. I understand SLIGHTLY where they are coming from BUT …it is incredible UN-Christian in my opinion to not provide for your employees health, or ability to have more family than one can care for…Unless Hobby Lobby plans to have a kick ass daycare, extra money to those with families, bonuses for additional children, etc then their views on family have no place being pushed onto employees. Its one thing to decide YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS should be closed Sundays because the Bible says that is the day of rest (I think that’s great & I suppotr that). Its entirely different to say that because the Bible says “go forth & multiply” that you’ve made the executive order that no employee shall have means to choose not birth control options. I could say this affects women more than men, which it does, but Hobby Lobby employed men should be equally offended at essentially having their right to decide the size of their family stripped from them by their employer.

That said, any amount of research can reveal some inconsistencies in HL’s “morals.’ Hobby Lobby has a retirement plan that invests very heavily in the manufacturers of the forms of contraception it claims to abhor so much. According to a report from Molly Redden at Mother Jones, the Hobby Lobby 401(k) “held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions.” I myself HAVE a hormonal IUD. I know several other ladies who are Christians that have IUDs (side note not all denominations specially denounce birth control) They are wonderful. God gave me the children I wanted. He also gave me the tools i needed to not have more so that I could care for the ones I have (just my opinion)

I myself say NO…as I hope all people agree. A corporation is an entity. It is not a person. It does not have feelings. I’m a Christian, I believe in birth control. I also believe God gives us the ability to choose that. Furthermore, I do not believe the Bible says to go make and disciples of your company. God cares about relationships with people and corporations aren’t them, no matter what legal mumbo jumbo one wants to use to argue the point. However I’m not trying to make this blog piece about religion, mine or yours or anyone’s. The main issue here, I feel, is that the Supreme Court in voting YES to this decision has created a slippery slope in which ANY company can pick & choose coverage that they have a “moral objection” to. Not oly that, but this creates a mask for corporations to hide behind whether they have moral objections or not – I can see companies trying to save a couple corporate earned dollars by citing “moral objections” left and right. Thank you Supreme Court for your complete inability to see the big picture.

 

Again it is my personal belief that this is less about morals and more about money. Unfortunately, my fear-and I can realistically see his happening- is that other corporations will follow. As Justice Sonia Sotomeyer stated in her objection  “If corporations could claim a religious objection to providing contraception coverage couldn’t they also object to vaccinations or blood transfusions?”  There are a number of other medical treatments that are not considered legitimate under certain religious doctrine, what is to stop corporations from objecting to covering those as well? We are entering a scary territory where corporations could essentially pick apart the things in the ACA which they “object” to. Again, follow the money not the morals and you can see where this is going to go…this isnt about morals, this is right wing hijacking of the ACA. Theres other powers behind this than just HL> If HL felt that strongly about this one issue they could simply have chosen not to offer coverage & told employees to seek it through the exchange.

In her dissent Ginsburg stated. :”Reading the Act expansively, as the court does, raises a host of “Me, too” questions. Can an employer in business for profit opt out of coverage for blood transfusions, vaccinations, antidepressants, or medications derived from pigs, based on the employer’s sincerely held religious beliefs opposing those medical practices?”  No. At least…not yet.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month should be every month (part 3)

I feel like sharing a personal anecdote. I enjoyed the 3 part series on eating disorders & delving a little deeper than just a one blog rant. I intended with this blog to steer away from anything personal (Just the facts ma’am) but it was fun to weave some story into it as well. This isn’t too deep, dark or personal so don’t worry. Its more of a cautionary tale. Or a “It Could Have Been Me” moment.

For people who question a woman who ask “what was she doing drinking?” “…going home with him?” “…flirting with him?” and all the questions that some women who experience acquaintance rape deal with, I can tell you, people sometimes just don’t know  or think something could happen to them because they  “know” the person. And no means no right?

So okay, many years ago,  I was 22 years old, newly single having just ended a 2+year relationship. I wasn’t looking to date, just people to have fun with. I’m not a one night stand person & have always been upfront about that with guys. Some people of course think if THEY are getting hot,  maybe a girl will be getting hot too…yeah, not me, I can put the brakes on just fine. I mean what I say. I say what I mean. So anyways..yes, newly single, still navigating the single world. I’d just lost a good friend in a car accident as well, so “fun” was definitely something I was aiming to do in effort to keep myself occupied.Being 22, this involved clubbing, bars & parties…. Typical for anyone of that age. One night, I was working the closing shift at my job  at a bookstore, when this guy I casually knew walked in. I did not know “Jack” that well but he was a friend of my friend who’d just passed away & he was cute and kind of flirty… so I was slightly flirty in return. I was off at 11p and “Jack” invited me to meet up at a nearby bar so at 11pm – for me back then, the night was still young!- I met up with Jack. He had a friend with him. It was relaxed and chill, I drank a few things and probably was a bit buzzed by the end of the night, not fall down sloppy drunk but definitely good & happy. Jack told me he lived downtown and was within walking distance. He asked if I wanted to go over to his place to “hang out.” Now,  okay I get it. It was probably not the best idea to go to his place at 1:30-2am after drinking a few solid drinks, but we had been having a good time just chatting , hanging out, etc. I felt safe b/c he had a friend with him and frankly, other than being a little flirty-flirty earlier he didn’t seem overly interested in me.  And remember, I was newly single. I was 20 when I met my previous boyfriend and had almost excursively gone to any drinking type engagements with him and never had to worry about safety issues.

 

So off we trotted to “Jack’s” house. It was a quiet building which was odd for a complex downtown on a Saturday night, but he assured me there were neighbors. He did not have roommates & his friend had not gone with us. I was feeling a little unsure of the situation but he had been perfectly nice so I felt I had nothing to worry about. Anyways we go in, he pulls out some pretzels or whatever, and we sat and chit=chat, very chill right? We were chatting & mid-conversation he just started kissing me. Maybe I should have expected that, but I was honestly surprised, but not entirely put off. I kissed him back, we had a little  fun but nothing beyond PG. At some point he did imply he wanted sex & expected me to stay and provide that for him. I told him it’d been fun but I didn’t do the one night stand thing. At which point nice “Jack” turned into not so nice “Jack” (Jerk?) He got up and locked his front door. I’m not sure what he thought he was doing other than trying to intimidate me, but honesty at that point I had had to deal with a few stupid guys in the past month or two and had just about enough of the single life. What’d I do? I got up, unlocked the door & walked (stumbled, staggered…) out.  I lived about a mile and half from downtown which I found was very empty by 3am. I proceeded to walk (stumble…stagger..) home cursing myself along the way. “Jack” caught up with me in his car & offered me a ride home. At that point I took the ride cause I was already debating the merits of walking home at 3am half drunk. So we get to my house, I thank him & get out. I go up to my front door, unlock it …and “Jack”s walking right on up with me. I thank him again and start going in. “Jack” stands in my doorway and proceeds to yell at me about being “overly moral” or something like that. He essentially implied  I’m obligated to sleep w/ him since I turned him on (um, sorry? thanks?) and took up his Saturday night. He proceeded to rant and rave some more before I told him I wasn’t going to be lectured into sex, it was in no way a turn on for me, that his rantings might wake up other people I lived with & if he didn’t leave I was calling the police. He stood in my doorway a few moments longer & said a few more choice words before finally leaving. In retrospect, I’m glad he wasn’t aggressive and backed off when I threatened him because I had been worried about what he’d do if he called me on my bluff. Because no one else was home. And my phone was in the next room.

Thankfully this story ends more or less well, but it might not have if “Jack” had been more aggressive or truly angry over hearing the word “no.” Sure it wasn’t smart of me to drink with him or go to his house, I’m sure he thought something would come of it but you know what? He didn’t have the right to harass me and yell at be and guilt me for saying no, either. I seriously went to bed and cried. And I never talked to “Jack” again.  (PS I plead naivete here. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say….)

I give you this story not because I really feel like getting deep and dark but b/c people see the statistics 1 in 4 and wonder  if they are true and how these things happen. In a short  survey (a mental tally) of my friends, I’d say those statistics are true. As to “how this can happen”?  Sigh. All too easily.  I’m just glad in my case, “Jack” took my “no” and went home.

 

. Stay tuned for part 4 …how to teach people to respect boundaries, the word no and other fine things you shouldn’t do. “How Not to Be a Potential Rapist 101” (Answer: “Dont be a rapist” The End)

 

Daisy Coleman attempted suicide this week :(

Not that long ago I wrote an open letter to the town of Maryville for their treatment of Daisy Coleman, a rape victim in their community whose attacker was a well known local athlete. I got crazy replies. Those people are a special kind of stupid.I could not imagine being the victim of a crime thats publicized this widely. I commend Daisy for not backing down. I commend those who support her. I am horrified by the reaction of the people in this town. II realize not everyone is part of the lynch mob but it certainly seems a good majority are. And when I say lynch mob I mean it. The actions of people against Daisy have been hateful and horrific. Criminal charges should be brought against MANY of them. I’m just appalkled at the actions an reactions from some people in this town. In reading their town newspaper, articles about Daisy are very very slanted against her. The paper makes sure to speak of how irresponsible underage drinking is but fails to take to task the BOYS involved (certainly I cannot call them men)

Youre better off without them Daisy. Now please stay off Twitter, Facebook etc & focus on YOU not them. They dont matter. #Justice4Daisy

 

This is just sad, awful & just plain upsetting. ‪#‎Justice4Daisy‬
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/07/daisy-coleman-hospitalized-suicide-attempt_n_4554341.html

Open letter to the town of Maryville regarding the assault of Daisy Coleman

This was a letter I sent to the editor of the local paper in Daisy Colemans hometown. I didn’t get a reply so I posted it to the Facebook page and addressed it to the entire town. I didn’t get many replies but the few I got were a bit half cracked, not pro-Daisy, not in agreement or expressing concern for their town. Not surprised but I am re-posting it here in my blog.
To the townspeople of Maryville
In January of last year, a young girl by the name of Daisy was assaulted by a boy described as a “popular senior” and grandson of a politician.
You note that your town is having a “rally for justice.”
I certainly hope this rally involves support for Daisy, and a call to prosecute these boys. But given that your newspaper took the time to note that sex with a drunk 14 year old was “consensual” I highly doubt that.
I don’t know all the facts but I know enough to be disgusted with Maryville. For those of you stating this isnt your town or a real portrayal of the people there, I call you out to then do something instead of standing back and allowing what is happening to continue. This girl was harassed instead of supported. This girl was antagonized by many, instead of the BOY who did this. More concerning is the modern day lynching this family received by way of having their HOUSE BURNED down. Why is there not justice for DAISY?
The response from your town towards this girl & her family is horrifying. So these guys are “popular” & well connected. Would a single one of you want YOUR daughters going to a party with them?

SHAME ON YOU Maryville.

Bianca May
northern California