Alaska just threw out a major abortion restriction “You can’t legislate good communication between families, and you certainly won’t do it by forcing young people to seek unsafe abortion care. These laws aren’t about health or safety – quite the opposite. They don’t improve quality of care. They simply place yet another barrier in front of young people’s ability to make the best decision for the personal circumstances.”
Moving from Fear to Empowerment “Abusive partners can come on hot and heavy, or can play hard to get. They can be charming as hell, or slightly mysterious. Basically, there’s very little about an abusive partner that screams ‘RUN’, right off the bat.”
Lily Allen felt ‘victim-shamed’ over stalking “She…had first alerted police to the problem in 2009 and gave them the notes as evidence. She assumed that they would be used as part of the 2016 court case, but was told that they had been destroyed ‘according to police protocol’.”
Monica Lewinsky: ‘The shame sticks to you like tar’ “These days, she’s often approached by victims of online bullying, ‘when I’m on the subway, in line for coffee, at dinner parties.’ Shamed people tend to seek each other out, the cure for shame being empathy.”
Ashley Judd talks about the response she gets when she pushes back against online harassment: “I brought it on myself. I deserved it. I’m whiny. I’m no fun. I can’t take a joke. There are more serious issues in the world…. Grow thicker skin, sweetheart.”
A new book tells the stories of women in the Zapatistas movement: “The [Zapatista army] has always had a clear commitment to women’s right to participate at all levels, and Zapatista leaders insisted on this from the very beginning. In spite of some men’s resistance, there was a strong response from women who wanted to be involved, who wanted to see a change in their lives.”
Of all the critiques of Starbucks Race Together initiative, Tressie McMillan Cottom’s is my favorite: “There is little reticence about race. My students love to talk about race…. They like to talk about the latest race films. This semester it is Selma. Last year it was Django…. Old people in diners tell me about Obama’s race problem. People on the train to the airport talk to me about Ferguson…. People talk about race to me but they rarely talk to me about racism.”
I just listened to a powerful This American Life story. In Act 1: Ask Not For Whom The Bell Trolls; It Trolls For Thee, Lindy West talks about her experiences as a writer and the internet trolls that come with that. This might not sound new or interesting. We all know it happens. Many of us who have posted something online have experienced some version of the mean, rage-y, entitled rants of those who disagree with us. But this story ends differently than you might imagine.
This whole virtual world is like a minefield of meanness. Sifting through comments of a post on a hot-button issue can be heart-wrenching. Even when the comments are not directed at me, they still impact me emotionally. (Consequently I’ve created a habit of NOT reading the comments…usually.) As Lindy West describes her daily struggle processing all the nasty words written to and about her, it occurred to me that online harassment can eat away at you like an abusive partner.
What ever happened to human kindness? In this world where we now have to navigate both our online and offline lives, it would be so nice to see some basic manners make a comeback. Employ internal filters! Engage in respectful—and even lively—debate! My kids are six and three and they get the concept. We talk a lot about using our words, lowering our voices, and showing kindness. As they have practiced it, I have watched them get better at it, navigating their own disagreements with compassion. Let’s all give it go. Practice!
In her story, Lindy West went out on a limb (one she did not have to go out on, and one the troll in question did not necessarily deserve) to reach out and share how she felt. The result was remarkable. The troll APOLOGIZED. Yep. They had a conversation and some healing happened on both sides. I probably don’t have to tell you that this is not typical, and is not the best choice for a lot of people experiencing abuse and harassment. But this ending gives me hope that things can get better. Lindy’s strength and capacity for kindness in the face of the crap she wades through on a daily basis is remarkable, just like the hundreds of survivors I’ve met whose strength and resiliency shine in the face of abuse.
Anita Sarkeesian critiques sexism in video games. Angry gamers have been responding with harassment and threats so vile that she was forced to flee her house for safety.
This week, everyone was talking about anti-rape nail polish. Sounds great, right? Well, beyond the fact that women are once again being held responsible for preventing rape, chemists are pointing out that it won’t even work.