Saturday, February 18, 2012

Denaturing Domestic, Dating and Sexual Violence

Important Safety Information for Reading this Entry

For victims of abuse using a computer/technology at home, or where an abuser has access to it, can be very dangerous.  It is impossible to erase all computer history.  Additionally, spyware can be installed onto your computer/technology without your knowledge and give the abuser ways to track and monitor your computer activity.

I highly recommend that you use a computer/technology that you know is “safe,” and to which the abuser does not have access.  You can go to a trusted friend’s home, a public library, or a rape crisis or domestic violence program in your community.


If you are in danger now and in the USA dial 911 now.



"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face...we must do that which we think we cannot." Eleanor Roosevelt.  You  Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life


"It isn't enough to talk about peace.  One must believe in it.  And it isn't enough to believe in it.  One must work at it." Eleanor Roosevelt.


You never know where you'll be called to do work as a wise witchy person.  When I was in college I’d never be caught saying: “I’m pursuing a career in ending domestic, dating and sexual violence.”  I'd been raised to not talk about “it.”  “It” was treated like a contagious disease.  "It" happened in other families and to those kinds of people.  Talking about “it” put you at risk for becoming a victim. 

Before I left for college (81-85), I was given a long laundry list of rules to follow so "it" wouldn't happen to me.  Most of the rules focused on: my clothing (no plunging neck lines or miniskirts), my hair style (no pony tails), not walking at night alone, not going to bars alone, being at home before dark, knowing where all the blue boxes were on campus…  I was to beware of all the shadow areas on campus and strangers who might follow me (it was a large campus and how was I really going to know everyone).  I was told "it" was apart of loving relationships.  Everyone fights and sometimes it just gets physical.  I needed to stick with the cultural norm of being tolerant in relationship and learn to bend more, lay back and take it, and to not be so "earthy" (I think this was a euphemism for feminist, a behavior never encouraged in my household).

The above rules I found out were garbage.  They were created for people to blame the victim (known as victimization).  These rules still influence jury members and the general public.  The defense attorneys count on and still uses them during the hearing.  I find them bogus rules whose only purpose is to make others have a false sense of security.  And, I'm amaze at how people still cling to these rules: "He/she was a nice person, a boy/girl scout, a church elder"...when "it" happens.  The biggest lie I was told was the stranger one because 95% of assaults are committed by an acquaintance.   

Needless I avoided these topics like – the plague.  Because I also found out talking about "it" is a party silencer.  

But, sometimes the Great Motherfather Spirit has something else in store for you.  I personally like the the kind of magic that is full of light and healing (think Cinderella’s Godmother, babies, flowers, puppies and kitties).  Denaturing Domestic, Dating and Sexual Violence doesn't fit this description.  It is the kind of work I hate most – cleaning up messes or preventing the mess from ever happening.

~#~

Facts:

Domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking and child abuse is a crime in the USA.

It is also a crime in violation against the International Human Rights Treaty

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used: to manipulate, to exert power and control over another, and make the other person feel bad about them self.  It comes in the forms of: emotional and physical, stalking, sexual, digital (technology), and financial.

Domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking and child abuse can happen in rich and poor families, it can happen in young and old, straight or LGBT couples.



~#~


To denature:
The first time I came across this word was in Mr. Boyle’s 11th grade Chemistry Class.  It was changing the physical structure of a molecule into something else.  His lecture was about the nitrates in proteins and how they became possible cause for cancer.    This same lecture was repeated several times in my college pre-med experience.

When I define denaturing domestic, dating and sexual violence – it is diminishing and ultimately eliminating this structure in society within the context of intimate relationships.  Ultimately, if the properties that cause domestic, dating and sexual violence are removed people would have healthy relationships. 

As a wise witchy person we have the ability to help harness energy to do this.  Thinking back on the burning times, I believe our integrity to speak out against injustice was one of the many reasons those in power didn't like us.  We were truth tellers.
~#~

Z Budapest 68

My discovery of Z. Budapest was through my friend C.  I'd attended many Take Back the Night events, you might say, as an initiation to becoming a feminist.  For those who don’t know – Take Back the Night is an international march to protest and bring awareness to end sexual and intimate partner violence.  It was C who told me that the first Take Back the Night march in the U.S. was organized in San Francisco, California on November 4, 1978.  Budapest and the Susan B. Anthony Coven were one of the lead organizers. 
Reading her book, I felt comfortable about hexing.  Her definition was more in line with my belief system of pursuing social justice in a civil society.  It was about exposing and ultimately bringing people to justice who had a disregard and contempt for human rights by committing barbarous acts that outrage the conscience of society (Declaration of Human Rights).  Hexing to me became another way to plea for justice to the Great Motherfather Spirit. 

The following link is a video to her hexing ritual against an unknown Richmond rapists who left a woman almost dead in the winter cold.   


In The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries Part 1 there are two hexing rituals: stop harrassment at school (59) and to hex a rapist (63).   In Goddess in the Office there is a whole section regarding sexual harrassment within the office (39-49).
 


~#~

The Catylis for this work - Barbara


I worked with Barbara for about nine years.  She was a licensed social worker in public health.  Barbara had a sense of humor.  She collected “Barbie” items even though she was a feminist.  The closest comparison to Barbie was her long hair that was brown.  She was able to find humor in the worst situation.  If there wasn’t anything funny, she would do something funny like draw a silly doodle.  Barbara would refresh everyone with her contagious laughter.  She had a way with fostering the best in everyone by drawing out individuals’ strengths and commonalities. 

I know that Barbara liked books.  She read mysteries and criminal investigation stories.  Barbara was fascinated by the criminal mind.  Barbara was a dog lover.  Her ideal retirement would be to open up a book, plant, coffee and adopt a pet shop.  She cared for people - especially those who were the underserved and poor.

What I didn’t know was Barbara’s home life was a secret from many.  Her marriage to her husband was filled with violence and isolation. And, she was very good at hiding the abuse.  Visual bruises or broken glasses were laughed off as her being clumsy or that her two beloved dogs being underfoot.  Long sleeve dark tops were worn in the middle of summer, because the building was so cold.  I'd hear her husband’s frequent telephone calls.  When we'd comment, she would tell us “they were still in love.”  Many didn’t know that he had gradually isolated her off from her sister and close friends.   
   
In the late eighties, the American Medical Association stated that all health care facilities should screen for domestic violence, Barbara was a vocal advocate in stating all publicly funded health clinics should do this type of screening.  Ohio was one of the first states to sign on.  And, she was the key person who made this happen.

I can still remember that Tuesday after Memorial Day (1997).  I was watching the morning news.  The reporter was broadcasting in front of her house.  Her husband was announced that he had been taken into custody.  I was in denial all the way to work telling myself how many (Barbara’s Last Name) live in Central Ohio.  I made our supervisor call her house.  We got the answering machine.  Within hours we were called in by Employee Assistance Program.

Looking back, I can read all the signs.  Back then – I’d have never believe one who was the loudest advocate when it came to helping women get out of violent relationships would be in one herself. 
Her death called for me to begin working to shine light on the darkness.  To be a part of a community working to end domestic, dating and sexual violence.  To become part of the solution by finding ways to prevent this behavior from ever happening.    

Barbara's death was the catalysis for me.  Her death made me feel the final push of the Great Motherfather Spirit's calling.


~#~
Why is it in my handbook?


Sometimes you are called to do hard work and clean up messes that have been going on for many generations. 

Sometimes this work goes against what is popular.  That's okay.  Sometimes you need to call for help from the Great Motherfather Spirit and your plea maybe in the form of a hexing ritual for social justice. But, know that you aren't alone - there are others doing this work too.


You will know that you are doing good work - when magically time slips away.  This is what happens when I do this work.  

~#~

Activities:


Things you can say to a friend who is victimized

  • I believe you….
  • I am here for you….
  • No one deserves to be……
  • There is help for you

Know and share your local resources and national numbers
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224 http://www.thehotline.org/
  • Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit their on-line hotline at https://ohl.rainn.org/online/    http://www.rainn.org/
  • National Teen Dating Violence Hotline  1-866-331-9474 or TTY 1-866-331-8453  http://blog.loveisrespect.org/
  • If anyone is in danger now – dial 911.
Things you can say to a friend who is making a sexist remark or joke, bullying, texting sexual rumors, displaying pornography.  (Note: When you say something –they may say “no big deal” or “everyone is doing it.”)


  • Say it: I just heard you call Chris a (fill in the blank)
  • Claim it: The word (fill in the blank) is personally offensive to me and is an offensive term in general.
  • Stop it:  Please don’t use that word in my presence again.

Participate in one of the many marches that bring awareness to ending domestic, dating and sexual  violence.

Walk a Mile in her Shoes - http://www.walkamileinhershoes.org/
The Bride March - http://www.bridesmarch.com/
The College Brides Walk - http://www.collegebrideswalk.com/default.html


Plus there is the work that Eve Ensler on V-Day 

For men: Oakland Men's Project 
White Ribbon Campaign -  http://www.whiteribbon.ca/
Men Can Stop Rape - http://www.mencanstoprape.org/
Paul Kivel and the Oakland Men's Project and Jackson Katz and......



7 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post and your work on these issues. I think working in a magical context to denature the structure a really powerful addition to the tool box.

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    Replies
    1. Based on the many conversations - I think that there are many oppressive issues that need to be denatured in order to establish a better world.

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  2. Amazing post! I have to admit the squish in this cancer is coming out I have a few tears.. thank you for this post.. :)

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  3. Great post! I'm thankful to you and others like you for dragging these issues into the light so that women can be safe.

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  4. Great post!! Remember abuse also happens to men and boys... I've heard sooo many women make statements about men that would be considered harassing and sexually exploitative if said about females.

    I have also known several men who were physically abused and were usually the ones to get arrested when the cops showed up because the abusive woman turned on the water works...

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    Replies
    1. Madame Molly:

      Thank you for your comment. You are correct in stating that there are male victims of sexual, domestic and dating violence. I thought I tried to keep my comments gender neutral (e.g., he/she and the use of Chris in my example). Barbara’s story was my catalysis into this work. Since coming into this work, people feel comfortable telling me their stories. And, both men and women have shared their stories with me. Violence doesn’t know any gender.
      What the research shows is numbing.
      1. Based on the recent US National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010): Who are the victims? 1 in 5 women will have been raped in their lifetime while 1 in 71 men will have been raped in their lifetime. 1 in 6 women have been stalked in their lifetime and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking in their lifetime. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
      2. Based on the recent US National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010): The majority of this victimization starts early in life: Approximately 80% of female victims experience their first rape before the age of 25 (30% between 11-17 years old and 12% at or before the age of 10). 28% of male victims of rape were first rape when they were 10 or younger.
      3. Based on the recent US National Intimate Partner Violence Survey (2010): Who are the perpetrators? Across all types of violence, the majority of female and male victims reported experiencing violence from one perpetrator. The majority of female victims reported that their perpetrator were males. Male rape victims and male victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experience reported predominantly male perpetrators. And, nearly half of the stalking victimization against males was also perpetrated by males. Perpetrators of other forms of violence against males were mostly females.
      My Summary and Belief: Violence is a misuse of power. Violence hurts men and women, families and communities. In my view, violence hurts both the perpetrator and the victim.

      What I’m trying to do in my work is end the violence before it starts. Thus denaturing this behavior before it escalates. I am inviting others to help.
      There are many activities everyone can do based on your comfort level:
      a. Say it, Claim it, stop it…… I wrote about above.
      b. Be an example by showing how to model healthy respectful relationships.
      c. With the recent Penn State crime against young boys: If you are involved with any youth serving organizations make sure policies and practices are set in place to protect all children by making adults accountable for their behavior. See Stewards of Children – they have model policies. What I like about this group is the concept that adults are accountable for other adults. Children should never go around telling their story over and over. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts also have great model policies.
      d. If no one is listening – as at Penn State – pick up the phone and call 911 (US). If getting involved in a “fight” will put you at risk of injury – call 911 (US).
      e. Educate yourself:
      • www.vetoviolence.com
      • Love is Respect – teen dating violence quizzes and games
      • Net Cetera – internet safety quizzes and games
      • Stewards of Children
      • Take a parenting class
      • Green Dot
      • Learn how to be an upstander

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  5. Great post, you have pointed out some superb details, I will tell my friends that this is a very informative blog thanks.
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    ReplyDelete

Hi all - I really like your comments, but have had a change of heart regarding anonymous comments. My CCWWW beliefs are that you need to stand behind what you say and what you do. Peace out.