News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

8 Terrifying Ways People Restrict Abortion “An overturning of Roe v. Wade would be instantly disastrous, thanks to many cases in which anti-abortion laws are waiting in the rafters of state legislation, including four states with laws on the books called trigger bans, which would instantly impose criminal bans on abortion if the case was overturned.”

The Kids Who Rocked the Racial Justice Movement in 2016 “From the Flint native who propelled her city’s water crisis onto the national radar to the girl who rallied Latinxs to vote their interests, here are the young activists whose intersectional battles inched us closer to freedom in 2016.”

Ariana Grande Defends Anti-Objectification Comments “Expressing sexuality in art is not an invitation for disrespect !!! just like wearing a short skirt is not asking for assault …You are literally saying that if we look a certain way, we are yours to take. But we are not !!! It’s our right to express ourselves.”

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

Abortion Is Health Care, So Why Aren’t Crowdfunding Sites Treating It as Such? By naming abortion access as “divisive,” YouCaring offered a flippant dismissal of those in need of important and imperative health care. And to be clear, abortion is health care.

How We Tell Campus Rape Stories After Rolling Stone Reporters must resist looking for a particular kind of story or a particular kind of victim. This is, perhaps, part of the problem with what happened at Rolling Stone. In the very first paragraph of the CJR report, the authors of the report write that Erdely found Jackie when she was “searching for a single, emblematic college rape case.”

The Link Between Oil Pipelines and Sexual Assault Survivor-led art and activism group FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture put together this infographic showing how the construction of oil pipelines—like the one proposed near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation—could contribute to an increased risk of sexual assault for Native women.

sexualassaultonthepipeline

 

Fire Drill

I am going to interrupt the first paragraph of this blog to tell you the aftermath of writing it. This is simple too ironically delicious to pass up.

Go to Google images and search “Fire Drill 1960s.” I mean, really.

I went looking for a good picture idea to illustrate a story of growing up in the 1960s and doing fire drills at my little rural school. A story I don’t need to tell you now.

What I found was NOT a fire drill 1960s style, but rather an atomic bomb drill 1960s style.

duck-and-coverWhat tickled me so much about these pictures of children huddling under their desks (which, by the way I did not experience as funny at the time) is that how we prepare our children these days for the actual threats they face is very much like this google-search-gone-sideways result: we are leaving our children huddled under their desks when the real problem is that the building is on fire.

I thought of a couple stories to illustrate how we can use the notion of the fire drill to practice things with our beloved kids before it is an actual emergency. And to show how weirdly odd we grownups behave in the face of actual emergencies.

Fire drill: unintended pregnancy

I once asked a young woman friend of mine who was headed off to college what kind of birth control she was using or thinking about using. She’d had a serious boyfriend in recent months and I was thinking they were likely sexually active so I was just curious. She looked at me with a stricken look on her face and didn’t say anything for a long moment. Then she blurted out, “I’m not opposed to abortion.”

“Um, sweetie” I replied “you know there are ways to avoid getting pregnant if you don’t want to be right?”  And the conversation unfolded from there.

We grownups waste unimaginable quantities of energy and money arguing about whether abortion should be illegal or legal. Available or unavailable. In the meantime this is the stupidity our children are saddled with. By losing our focus on what is actually happening with our kids, we outright deprive them of meaningful access to the information they need. Metaphorically, we leave our teens huddled under their desks. Come on. We can do better than this.

Another time, some friends and I were talking about Plan B (the emergency contraceptive) when their teenaged son walked in. It struck me suddenly that teenagers may not even have any idea what the concept of a plan B is. I mean, do you? Plan A is we meet at the corner to walk together to lunch. Plan B, we meet at the restaurant and I’ll save us a table. Right?

No surprise, the young man didn’t have any idea what plan A and plan B meant. But then, poor thing, I subjected him to some questions about the contraceptive Plan B. What followed was a wildly entertaining conversation which I will leave for another time.

Back to Plan B which is, after all, the fallback. It is not the first line of action for young heterosexual sexually-active people. And yet we adults leave our children huddled under their desks while we argue about regulating the actual drug of Plan B–in fact, all the way to the Supreme Court. The building is on fire people. Grownups get your act together and help kids with Plan A for sexual health and wellbeing, contraceptive and otherwise!

Fire drill: gun violence

I don’t own a gun, but I got a free gun lock at a recent event and gave it to a friend of mine who has school-aged kids. She doesn’t have guns either, but we gabbed about if and how she asks about guns when her kids go to play in their friends’ homes. She said she has struggled with this in a mighty way but has not yet figured out how to ask. It is just so hard to talk about it.

And this is completely understandable. We have locked down the conversation around guns rather than the guns themselves. Even the most basic common sense actions are taboo because any mention of guns leads straight to the second amendment. Even when all we’re talking about is keeping our children from accidentally shooting themselves or someone else. Children have a natural curiosity around guns, secured or not. Again, we leave them huddled under their desks while we argue about politics.

Fire drill: rape and domestic violence

Let’s face it. Even approaching thoughts about a beloved child raping or being raped—being battered or battering is more than most of us can endure.

And yet, no victim or rapist, no victim or batterer comes into this world as such. We unintentionally put our children on a path the moment they are born with our ideas about what it means to be a boy or a girl. And we follow that up with a million actions, individually and culturally.

But we do not need to fix all of our million transgressions against our children at once. One at a time works. Each one of us doing one at a time.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Action Month. And I’m here to tell you that in the same way that we don’t have to wait until our daughter or son is accidentally pregnant or our child shot to do something, there are simple ways to help kids learn about and navigate healthy and unhealthy relationships. You may never know if something very simple that you say or do plants a seed for a child or young person and helps them avoid a small problem or a large catastrophe.

Grownups. We can do this. It is not hard. It is actually really fun and, I have found, often hilarious. Try these ideas and let us know what happens. Write about your stories in the comment section below, or on our Twitter or Facebook page. We can help each other learn how to safely usher our kids out to the playground!

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

Don’t Think the Supreme Court Matters? Think Again. “In one instance, the Supreme Court can bend the arc of justice faster than any march can. And then in the next breath, it can bend that arc into a hook that pulls us back decades.”

Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Restrictions “The majority opinion considered whether the claimed benefits of the restrictions outweighed the burdens they placed on a constitutional right. Justice Breyer wrote that there was no evidence that the admitting-privileges requirement “would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment.”

Supreme Court Upholds Tribal Rights in Key Sexual Assault Case “For many Native women and children survivors, civil jurisdiction isn’t an academic or even a legal question. It’s a matter of life and death.”

The Supreme Court Upheld the Law Against Domestic Abusers Owning Guns. If Only Someone Would Enforce It. “A study from Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that “laws restricting firearm access for batterers subject to restraining orders are associated with a 19 percent reduction in rates of intimate homicide.”

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

Cherelle Baldwin: Woman Accused of Killing Abusive Boyfriend is Freed After Three Years Behind Bars “Brown had cut up her tires, stalked Baldwin’s mother, broken a window in her house, choked her, and pulled her by her hair during an altercation. Ten days prior to his death, Brown had been told by a court to stop issuing threats or committing acts of violence against Baldwin. He remained unperturbed by the court order and, on the day of his death, had sent Baldwin an ominous text that said “DOA on sight,” meaning “dead on arrival.”

Women in Jail Are Being Denied Tampons, Pads, and Basic Human Dignity “Jail guards are “consistently inconsistent” with giving incarcerated women access to menstrual products. Sometimes it’s because they’re not enough of pads to go around. Most times, however, it’s because guards want to punish an inmate.”

‘Abortion Pill’ Gets New Label: 5 Things to Know About Mifepristone  “The FDA’s approval of the new Mifeprex label means that medication abortion [using drugs to end a pregnancy] can once again be provided everywhere in the U.S. in accordance with what research shows is safest and most effective,”

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

The very funny Rachel Dratch and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America ask, “What could go wrong?

The Hijas de Violencia (the Daughters of Violence) are a Mexico City collective that fights street harassment with confetti guns and punk rock.

Elizabeth Banks tells Rebecca’s Story for the Draw The Line campaign from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

Dee Gordon, a Major League All-Star, lost his mother to domestic violence when he was six years old. Now he reaches out to other kids in the same situation: “I went through it, and when I went through it, I didn’t have anybody,” Gordon said. “Nobody could relate to me. So now I just want to relate to kids and give back my time.”

Finally, someone is trying to make guns as difficult to access as abortions: “Since Missouri holds the rank as one of the strictest abortion regulation states in the country, it is logical we borrow similar restrictions to lower our horrific gun violence rates,” said Senator Stacey Newman.

Imagine how discouraging and offensive it must be to have strangers who know nothing about you assume that you aren’t capable of parenting your own children: How a disabled pregnant woman handles insensitive questions.

I stand with you

StandWithPPIn September, my Facebook feed became saturated with the #IStandwithPlannedParenthood campaign. People I haven’t seen or heard from in over 10 years were talking about going to Planned Parenthood and how it helped them. I wasn’t surprised by all the support—Planned Parenthood has helped me too. But I was surprised to see a post from one of my closest friends where she shared her experience going there for an abortion. I realized that during that time period I had seen her almost every day. I had sat with her in class, done homework with her, and gone out for meals, all the while having no clue that this was going on in her life.

I debated for a long time whether or not to bring it up, but I eventually did. I told her how bad I felt that I hadn’t noticed that something so difficult was going on in her life. She said it was hard to go through alone, but didn’t talk about it because she was ashamed, embarrassed, and thought no one would understand. Of course that made sense to me, I’ve had those times too. I felt that way about the time a guy I was dating in college assaulted me, even though I know that’s fairly common. It was a sad moment when we realized that we could have been supporting each other. Then we got mad. Why didn’t we feel comfortable talking to each other? Gah, patriarchy had been wining!

But ever since that time, we’ve been using our experiences to fight against the patriarchy. She’s using her experience to demand that health, reproductive care, and options are widely available. My experience has been a slow burning fire that keeps me committed to my work in the domestic violence movement. Instead of standing by ourselves, we are standing side by side.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

One of the journalists who uncovered Jian Ghomeshi’s rampant sexual abuse is now writing a ‘tell-all’ book that threatens to identify the women who told their stories with the promise of anonymity. It’s just another example of why victims of abuse choose not to speak up.

Isiah Thomas was convicted of sexual harassment the last time he was president of a basketball team. So how in the world did he just land a job as president of WNBA’s New York Liberty?

Check out Amy Schumer’s hilarious birth control sketch.