Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

I left my abuser on a Wednesday morning in 1992. While he was in the shower, I unloaded the shotgun and rifle behind the bedroom door, threw the guns and ammunition into the trunk of my Buick, along with three green garbage bags of clothes and sheets and books. The guns were given to me by my father after he’d heard about a bear incident my abuser and I had been involved with when we lived in New Hampshire. I had a healthy respect for guns and enjoyed target shooting when I was younger. I hated the fact that my abuser insisted on keeping the guns loaded. They stood as silent threats even when he wasn’t in the house. He had no idea I was leaving that morning. But days later when we communicated, the first thing he said was, “Thanks for taking the guns.” Whether he thought he might kill himself or come after me, I’m not sure. I suspect he wavered between both.

Rhode Island House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly this week to pass a law that will require anyone with a domestic violence restraining order to surrender their guns. The law must still be approved by the State Senate. The opposing views believe the law will make no difference; however, as someone who lived with a violent partner and then later worked with abused women in a Battered Women’s Shelter, I can tell you that impulsive shootings, in the moment of a heated argument, are a large part of the problem. In addition, once the Restraining Order has been issued, many abusers become furious and that’s a particularly dangerous time for women. A restraining order may offer legal recourse, but let’s face it, it’s a piece of paper and will only be effective if the one who receives it respects the law. Many women I worked with entered the shelter because their abuser stalked them once the restraining order was issued. Forcing an abuser to turn in his guns during this time, is one step we can take toward creating safety for women and children seeking protection.

Other stories this week include the connection between health care and civil rights; the story of a woman who runs an abortion clinic who was raped after her date realized where she worked; the willingness of a white privileged society to pay off victims of color for police shootings; and an article on the deadly year it has become for the LBGTQ community. There’s also a bit of good news: two Democratic legislators sitting on the steps of the Capitol discussing Trumpcare grew into a group of concerned citizens working together to brainstorm solutions regarding this major issue in American lives. As the article states, that’s how movements begin. Don’t miss the last article in this week’s list of links which reveals the hundreds of moldy untested rape kits sitting in a storage room in Austin, Texas.

So, for these and other stories, please READ ON. Your comments are always welcome.

 


  1. Of course none of these cold, hard economic facts stopped millions of white Americans from buying into these systems with their tax dollars and their votes, which explains why the city of St. Anthony, Minn., was perfectly comfortable shelling out $3 million in a settlement to Philando Castile’s family. Rather than initiate wholesale change in the city’s Police Department so that something like this never happens again, the city’s residents would rather just drop $3 million.
“Philando Castile Settlement Shows White America Willingly Pays for White Supremacy”/ by Jason Johnson/ The Root/ June 28, 2017

 


2. To watch that scene and not believe Philando Castile was murdered is to believe black life has no inherent right to exist.
“The Philando Castile Jury was Stacked with Pro-gun, Pro-cop, Middle-aged White People”/ by Kali Holloway/ Salon/ June 23, 2017

 


3. If people are going to make jokes about transgender people, they usually single out trans women. The underlying theme of the joke is how ridiculous it is that someone who was a man would decide to be a woman, to be feminine. The assumption is that femaleness and femininity are inferior. That’s part of the joke.
“Julia Serano, Transfeminist Thinker, Talks Trans-Misogyny”/ by Jeanne Carstensen/ The New York Times/ June 22, 2017

 


4. There, King spoke words that have since become a maxim: “Of all the inequalities that exist, the injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman.” In the moment, it reflected the work that King and that organization, the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), were doing to advance one of the since-forgotten pillars of the civil-rights movement: the idea that health care is a right. To those heroes of the civil-rights movement, it was clear that the demons of inequality that have always haunted America could not be vanquished without the establishment and protection of that right.
“The Fight for Health Care Has Always Been About Civil Rights”/ by Vann R. Newkirk II/ The Atlantic/ June 27, 2017

 


5. “I don’t think anyone can look a 2-year-old child in the face and say ‘I think that you’re not worth it,’ ” she said. “What they’re doing with a lifetime cap is saying you have used up enough resources. I’m sorry that you were born sick. I’m sorry that your mother chose life for you, but now that life is not worth saving anymore.”
“A Mother’s Response to the Health-Care Debate: Her 3-year-old Son’s $231,000 Hospital Bill”/ by Cleve R. Wootson Jr./ The Washington Post/ June 27, 2017

 


6. But Mosby bucked that system when she filed 28 charges ranging from false imprisonment to second-degree murder against six officers whose actions she believed led to Freddie Gray’s demise. Since then, she’s been a target for the people who believe police are infallible and suggest that anyone who says otherwise in an un-American criminal.
“Marilyn Mosby Treated Baltimore Cops Like Cops Treat Everyone Else; Now They’re Coming For Her”/ by Michael Harrlot/ The Root/ June 27, 2017

 


7. In early January 2016, Hales left her own birthday party early because she thought she saw her attacker in the crowd. She was feeling increasingly fearful, paranoid, and alone, so she picked up and moved to Charlotte. It’s where the APWHC’s main office is located – and 170 miles away from the man who sexually assaulted her because she worked at an abortion clinic.
“She Told a Guy She Worked at an Abortion Clinic. On Their Next Date, He Raped Her”/ by Rebecca Grant/ Cosmopolitan/ June 26, 2017

 


8. Another interesting point Burch makes in her article is that women are organizing and asking others to join them, but we rarely see just how all of that energy put towards social change manifests in that woman trying to create change. For once, we gaze into who the woman is on the inside.

“This Artist Took The Feelings Women Had Post-Election & Turned Them Into Fractured, Haunting Embroidery”/ by Nia Decaille/ Bustle/ June 27, 2017

 


9. “This isn’t a liberal [versus] conservative debate. It’s a life saving-debate,″ said the lead sponsor, Rep. Teresa Tanzi, D-South Kingstown — reading off the names of many of the 27 states that, along with the District of Columbia, have what she described as similar laws.

“R.I. House Votes to Require Domestic Abusers to Surrender Their Guns for up to Six Years”/ by Katherine Gregg/ Providence Journal/ June 26, 2017

 


10. “Recent executive orders as well as ongoing efforts to pass anti-LGBTQ legislation and roll back protections at the city, state, and federal level make LGBTQ people vulnerable to identity-based discrimination as we go about our daily lives,” said Beverly Tillery at the New York City Anti-Violence Project.
“2016 Was the Deadliest Year Ever for LGBT Americans”/ by Samantha Allen/ Daily Beast/ June 12, 2017

 


11. I am an addict. Without my medications for depression and anxiety, I will relapse. I’m not homeless. I’m not a junkie. I’m not a rock star. I’m a 40-year-old suburban stay-at-home mom.
“Want to Curb the Opioid Epidemic? Don’t Limit Access to Health Care”/ by Jen Simon/ Slate/ June 26, 2017

 


12. It began with two Democratic legislators, both deeply concerned about the threat from the Republicans’ Trumpcare bill, sitting on the steps of the Capitol — Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative John Lewis (D-GA), the Civil Rights legend himself. What began as a conversation shared on Facebook grew organically into a powerful moment of truth.
“Something Remarkable Just Happened on the Capitol Steps in Response to Trumpcare”/ by Sheila Norton/ Washington Journal/ June 27, 2017

 


13. “My objective is to transform the traditional media landscape while redefining social norms and dispelling myths associated with feminism,” said Preston in an interview. “Growing up I felt underrepresented in mainstream media. I knew that someday I was going to change that by holding space for those that felt as I did. As women, those of color, and LGBTQ people, we’re often silenced while others speak as experts on our experiences. No one can tell our stories better than we can.
“Feminist Magazine Makes History, Appoints Transgender Woman as Editor-In-Chief” / by Andrew Phillips/ OUT/ June 28, 2017

 


14. It’s so interesting, in certain parts of the United States the racism is really, really thick. I was blind to most of that growing up in Oklahoma or oblivious to it. But social media is helping to shine light on injustices, not just to the native community, but all over the world. Whenever light is shined on injustices, people do something about it. It’s a voice of the under-represented.
“This Former TV Writer is Blazing a New Trail as a Street Artist”/ by Zach Johnston/ UPROXX/ June 19, 2017

 


15. The Austin Police Department’s mold situation also brings about larger concerns over the state’s rape kit backlog in general. End the Backlog reveals that over 19,000 untested rape kits were sent to the Texas state lab in January 2017, and as of April 2017, an official Texas Department of Public Safety report reveals that 3,157 rape kits across Texas have yet to be tested. Rape kit testing can help bring rapists to justice and create larger profiles for serial sexual predators, making testing of kits sitting at police departments an urgent necessity.
“Hundreds of Untested Rape Kits Were Found at the Austin Police Department Covered in Mold”/ by Ana Valens/ The Daily Dot/ June 28, 2017

 


Joyce Hayden left her university teaching job two years ago in order to pursue her own artistic work. An assemblage artist, painter, and writer, Joyce is currently in the process of acquiring an agent to represent her memoir, The Out of Body Girl, which describes her 8 year relationship with a charismatic gambler and the dangerous road that eventually led to her freedom. Her chapbook of poems, Lost Handprint, is forthcoming from Dandelion Review. A freelance editor and writing coach, Joyce’s writing services and a selection of her artwork can be found at her website joycehayden.com. Joyce is available for commission art work, including celebration shrines for loved ones and pets.

 

 

 

 

 

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