Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

As a rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence survivor, much of my life has been lived in fear, or at least the continual shadow of potential danger. One of the articles posted this week initiated a conversation with a female friend regarding the amount of time we use every day in being aware of our surroundings, of protecting ourselves.

A very short list from the many things I do/don’t do because of fear of rape:

  • I will not retrieve anything from my car after dark, even though I live on a dead end road, even though the chance is slim that a rapist would be in my driveway. The point is: there is a chance. The point is: a woman I know was savagely beaten and raped for five hours in her apartment after she went to get some juice from her car at midnight, in her gated NC development.
  • The many events, such as poetry readings or music venues, I miss out on because I refuse to park in a dark lot behind buildings, or in a parking garage. Under no circumstances will I ever park alone in a public garage. (Yes, I could bring a friend, but as a gypsy, I often live alone with no friends in the immediate area.)
  • I do not travel at night. I always make plans to return home, or wherever I am staying, before dark.
  • Hike without a sharp knife and a can of pepper spray. To be effective, I must be holding the can of pepper spray in one hand…which means, even unconsciously, I am always aware of the possibility of danger.
  • Take a night class. When I lived in Los Angeles years ago, I was followed at night after a class in Farsi, to the point where I was running and screaming until I reached a lit bus stop and the pursuer disappeared.

You get the idea. One article in this week’s list is a very simple piece of writing on “Rape Anxiety.” Although it was first published in October 2016, I include it here as a place to begin discussions with men in our lives regarding fears and anxieties that can prevent us from living full lives. I believe it is a good article for people beginning to become more involved in their attempt to communicate their realities to others, to inform and help others become aware, especially the white male community. That’s how change begins.

In the mid 90’s, I worked for NELCWIT, a battered women’s agency, and led writing groups for female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. There were no resources in western Massachusetts for this population, so the organizers of NELCWIT set up a meeting with state and local legislators. As workshop leader, I was asked to attend the meeting and bring a couple of my students. We spoke to the male legislators about the difficulties that existed for women with these traumatic histories. The legislators were shocked and compassionate. They said they had no idea that such a community of women existed in the larger population of their jurisdictions. The fact that these men had no idea that we survivors of childhood sexual abuse existed, shocked me. At first I scoffed, I didn’t believe them. But during the course of our meeting, I realized that we were in fact opening their eyes to an issue they had not previously recognized. And in a few months time, they had allocated enough funds that we were able to open a drop in center for this population and offer several ongoing services. These conversations are crucial. If we want to create a world of safety, informing others is necessary. Take a look at the ideas presented in Natalie San Luis’ article to see how you might contribute to a conversation that helps enlighten others on the unseen risks women and minorities face every day.

Also included this week are articles that discuss the history of white supremacy regarding how we view innocence in children; Trump’s tweet on Trans people not allowed in the military; the very latest news, as of 4pm Thursday, on Health Care status; the impact of excluding women from the Health Care drafting group; and a story about how NPR got an abortion clinic piece wrong. I also share a Charles Blow op-ed for up to date Trump mis/actions and articles from the disability community, Native American education issues, and how Obamacare saved Detroit.

So, for these stories and more, Please Read On. Your comments are always welcome.


  1. “I’m a former Marine, tech seller for a big tech company, and transgender,” said 58-year-old Connie Rice. “I served; Trump never did. His bone spurs disappeared the first time he played golf. He is a self-absorbed narcissistic fuckwit. His decision hurts thousands of serving people—and their families. It’s based on ignorance and bigotry.”
“’I Served. Trump Never Did’: Trans Veterans Respond to The President’s Ban”/ by Diana Tourjee and Leila Ettachfini/ Broadly/ July 26, 2017

 


2. The problem, however, is that every time we insist that the gates of innocence open to children of color, we limit ourselves by language, a “frame,” as the linguist George Lakoff would say, that is embedded in racism. When we argue that black and brown children are as innocent as white children, and we must, we assume that childhood innocence is purely positive. But the idea of childhood innocence itself is not innocent: It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy.
“Let Black Kids Just Be Kids”/ by Robin Bernstein/ New York Times/ July 26, 2017

 


3. As reporters attempted to document protesters who interrupted the Senate’s vote to open debate repealing Obamacare on Tuesday, and their subsequent arrest for doing so, Capitol Police barred them from recording and taking pictures, telling them it was “a crime scene,” according to Gabby Morrongiello, the Washington Bureau Chief of the New York Post.
“Reporters Allege Capitol Police Blocked their Coverage of Health Care Protests, Forced Them to Delete Footage”/ by Charlie May/ Salon/ July 26, 2017

 


4. Men wrote the Senate healthcare bill that has foundered and may finally die this week. It foundered in part because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the decision to exclude women from the 13-person drafting group. Ostensibly, McConnell excluded women because he correctly assumed they would have would have balked at many of the bill’s provisions, such as defunding Planned Parenthood or slashing Medicaid spending, which women depend on the most.
“Washington’s Biggest Problem isn’t Gridlock or Wasted Dollars — It’s Men”/ by Cassady Rosenblum/ Los Angeles Times/ July 26, 2017

 


5. Are you framing your posts with a call to protect trans people? Similar to #ProtectTransKids — while this means well, it also infantilizes the trans community. Stand with trans people. Support trans people who have been fighting for their rights. See the difference?
“To the CIS Person Angrily Sharing News of the Trump Transgender Military Ban”/ by Angela Dumlao/ Medium/ July 26, 2017

 


6. Wells said Lopez’s wife had already gone to bed before the officers arrived. When she woke up, she said, she didn’t hear any verbal commands from the officers and she denied that her husband went to the door with a gun. Wells said a neighbor, who was alerted to the scene by the police cars, also said he didn’t hear any verbal instructions from the officers.
“Police Go To Wrong House, Kill Man Who ‘Wasn’t Wanted For Anything’”/ by Nina Golgowski/ Huffington Post/ July 26, 2017

 

 


7. Most egregious was McCammon’s credulous characterization of crisis pregnancy centers, which often deceive, shame and coerce women out of choosing abortion care by lying to them about connections between abortion and breast cancer (there is none) and abortion and mental illness (there is none). That’s not my opinion; it’s backed by findings from public health research published in peer-reviewed journals.
“That Time NPR Did Not Consider All Things”/ by Andrea Grimes/ DAME/ July 25, 2017

 


8. Much remains unknown — how far the White House will go to punish or pressure Murkowski, what exactly the impact will be for Alaska, and just how it will play out.
“Trump Administration Threatens Retribution Against Alaska over Murkowski Health Votes”/ by Erica Martinson/ Alaska Dispatch News/ July 25, 2017

 


9. His desecration of the Boy Scouts’ national jamboree matters. Not only did he turn his appearance before the boys into a political rally in which they booed both former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he seemed to be appealing to their basest instincts.
“’First They Came For…’”/ Charles M. Blow/ New York Times/ July 27, 2017

 


10. Yet in late June, nearly 40 years after the Gang of 19 protests, I experienced a troubling moment of déjà vu as I watched disability rights activists being hauled out of their wheelchairs outside the Denver offices of Senator Cory Gardner. The sit-in was a protest against the Republican Party’s proposed drastic cuts in Medicaid, cuts that would certainly push millions of people with disabilities out of sight and into the neglect and despair of institutions, home confinement, joblessness and poverty. I was saddened, bewildered and angered that a movement that gave so many so much more life could have come so far, only to be forced to protest the same issues all over again — basically, our right, as people with nonnormative bodies, to basic access, to our very existence.
“Why Is Our Existence as Humans Still Being Denied?”/ by Emily Rapp Black/ The New York Times/ July 26, 2017

 


11. The Community Health and Social Services Center, or CHASS, is a buzzing hub of activity in one of Detroit’s poorest neighborhoods. On a hot July morning, its waiting room is full of young children, expectant mothers, and medical staff calling out names for appointments. It is an economic engine delivering health services to the city’s most vulnerable populations, boosted by Obamacare.
“How Obamacare Saved Detroit”/ by Sarah Kliff/ VOX/ July 25, 2017

 


12. Last year, less than two-thirds of the tribal members who were enrolled as seniors in the 509J School District graduated. Warm Springs Tribal Councilwoman Carina Miller, who graduated from the district in 2005, is concerned that Native students aren’t receiving an equal education. The administrators “don’t see us as people deserving the same sort of education and opportunities,” she said. Miller was suspended several times herself, once for swearing; a white student once called her a “prairie nigger.” As a student, she added, “I felt worthless—like I wasn’t worth the effort or patience to understand who I am and my history. This school district has failed us my entire lifetime, and it continues to do this today.”
“How America Is Failing Native American Students”/ by Rebecca Clarren/ The Nation/ July 24, 2017

 


13. In an email to Republican senators, McConnell said the proposal — dubbed “skinny repeal” — would eliminate the law’s requirement that Americans obtain coverage or pay a tax penalty, and suspend the mandate that firms employing 50 or more workers provide insurance for at least five years. It also would eliminate funds for preventive health care provided under the 2010 law and transfer the funds Planned Parenthood would receive for one year to community health centers. Finally, the measure would provides states more flexibility in how they administer their Medicaid programs under the law’s 1332 waiver program.
“Senate GOP Leaders Work to Round up Votes for More Modest Health-Care Overhaul”/ by Juliet EilperinSean Sullivan and Kelsey Snell/ The Washington Post/ July 27, 2017

 


14. Sometimes, if we’re walking down a dark alley alone, we worry that we might get raped. That anxiety can even happen in more low-risk situations, like if we’re walking to work in broad daylight or even when someone rolls down the window of their car to shout something about our bodies.
“What’s Rape Anxiety? This Woman Explained it to Her Favorite Men, and They Were Shocked”/ by Natalie San Luis/ Upworthy/ October 19, 2016

 


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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