News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

Have you ever wondered how much energy you put in to avoid being assaulted? It may shock you “It’s not just the overt approaches from men … it’s that women are routinely pulled out of their own thoughts in order to evaluate their environment. They are less free to think about the things they want to think about because of the extra effort they have to put in to feel safe.”

This Oregon Politician Should Probably Just Not Weigh In On Domestic Violence “Bud Pierce… may have torpedoed his campaign last week by claiming, in the middle of a live-streamed debate, that women with a “great education and training and a great job” aren’t susceptible to domestic violence.”

Look At These Incredible Pictures Of Women Protesting For Abortion Rights “Thousands of women took to the streets of Poland on #BlackMonday to protest against a draft law that would limit access to legal abortions.”

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 news stories that caught our eye this week:

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has found Princeton out of compliance with Title IX because of their poor handling of on-campus rape. Dana Bolger lays out the nuances of the decision, including the welcome news that Princeton is required to reimburse tuition and other costs incurred by some victims.

In the ongoing conversation about street harassment, many men insist that catcalling is a harmless, non-sexual greeting. So Elon James White started #DudesGreetingDudes on Twitter, exploring what it would sound like if catcallers were talking to other men instead of women.

And finally, the Crunk Feminist Collective offers some empowering words from black women in the face of the ongoing unrelenting racism in this country.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Everybody’s talking about Hollaback’s video of what it’s like for a woman to walk down the street in New York City. In response, Funny or Die wonders if a white man would get the same treatment, while others pointed out that the editing of the video has some racist and classist implications.

Meanwhile up in Canada, a popular entertainment figure has been exposed as a long-time abuser of women. Among the many reactions, a colleague of his explains how ‘everyone knew about him’ but no one had the power to stop him, a prosecutor writes about the kind of women who don’t report sexual assault and Kate Harding offers “A brief history of ridiculous things we’ve been asked to believe after famous men were accused of rape.”

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Critics respond to Louie’s attempted rape scene: Is it meant to reveal the dark truth behind Nice Guys or does it offer excuses for men who sexually assault women? What is Louis CK trying to tell us?

Feministing shares an amazingly hilarious tale about a lady who was groped while leaving a movie theater in Boston and put her monster voice hobby to good use.

After much public pressure, Lego is releasing a Research Institute set featuring women scientists—an astronomer, a paleontologist, and a chemist.

Stop telling me to smile

Over my shoulder, I call towards the back of the car, “Why do you think men yell out at women on the street?” “Because they can,” came the lightning quick response from one of my twin 16-year-old daughters. We were talking about Stop Telling Women to Smile, the public art project by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh who interviews women about their experience of street harassment, draws their portrait, and uses their words to create posters for buildings and outdoor walls. Both of my daughters said they liked Fazlalizadeh’s posters because they had short, clear messages that anyone could understand.

Last year I blogged about my daughters initiation with street harassment. They were scared and tentative about taking public transportation for a while. Now, only ten months later, I feel like I am talking to experienced and disgusted young women who still don’t understand why men feel like they are entitled to their time and attention, and why they face anger and ugliness if they ignore the catcalls. They wonder how to respond and when is it the right time to say “leave me alone.” All of this feels exhausting for them, and for me knowing that so much can happen out of my sight.

Our conversation transitions to talking about how street harassment is connected to dating relationships. Do guys just turn off this behavior with a girlfriend? Do all guys do it and just not talk about it? I explain that not every guy engages in street harassment, but the fact that it goes on undermines the things you need for a loving and equitable relationship. Street harassment is not just about individual behavior. It is a part of our culture that uses fear, intimidation, or violence to give women and girls the message that they are not in control of their lives. These public art posters are so powerful because they are making women’s experiences of street harassment visible and public rather than a fleeting remark that is too often dismissed and trivialized.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

A new ad in India cleverly attempts to show men how creepy and gross they are when they harass women on the street.

Last week it made national news when local students protested when their vice-principal was fired for getting married. Today, the vice principal speaks publically and we learn that the school actually asked him to divorce his husband in order to keep his job.

We celebrated as marriage equality came to Utah this week! The New York Times coverage reminded us of one of the fundamental rights that marriage brings: “Amy Wilson, who is seven months pregnant, spent much of the night outside the offices of the Salt Lake County clerk. Her daughter is due in February, and Ms. Wilson said that a marriage license would mean she and her partner…would both be recognized as the child’s parents, each of their names listed on her birth certificate. Without the license, they have been exploring out-of-state adoptions and other costly measures to ensure both women are legal guardians.”

Teens want to talk

“It might be easier if you talk to my teenagers and I talk to yours.” That’s where a chat with a good friend went when we realized our teenagers no longer wanted to discuss sex with us or their dads. Even though I have had pretty frank conversations with them in the past about emergency contraception, responses to street harassment, and grinding at dances, I understand that I’m not their only source of information. Most teenagers I know think that conversations at home, school health class, and with their friends are all they need. Maybe so, but I know my daughters forget things and don’t always have the most current information. Sometimes they are just plain wrong. And I’m sure they’ve never practiced telling someone they care about “No, I don’t feel comfortable doing that.” Whatever that is—sex acts, drugs, drinking, or anything else.

Some of the complicated conversations I want someone to have with my kids:

  1. Medically accurate information about all available forms of birth control
  2. Knowing how to respond when a friend or potential partner oversteps their boundaries
  3. Deciding when is the right time to have sex
  4. Knowing how to freely say yes or no to anything involving your sexuality
  5. What to do or say if a friend has difficult questions or secrets they don’t feel comfortable keeping
  6. Knowing where to get good information and help—online or in-person
  7. Strategies for stepping in to help someone else
  8. Knowing the qualities of a healthy relationship and believing they deserve it
  9. Knowing how to talk to a friend about his or her relationship

teens-talkingI think teenagers want lots of chances to talk about these things. As a parent, your best bet may be to find the right person to initiate those conversations. Think about a terrific woman or man that you trust who could engage your teenager. It might be a relative, friend, or an educator from Planned Parenthood. You could set up one or several conversations with this trusted adult, add some food, a couple of your teenager’s close friends and leave for a few hours. I did this with my daughters. I know it was a success because one of my daughters said to me “we talked about a lot of things that I wouldn’t want to talk about with you.” I understood what she meant. With me, she has to worry about my judgment or if I’ll ask too many follow-up questions. This way, we can pick up the conversation whenever they want and I sleep a little better at night.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Wondering what role you can play in ending domestic violence? This article gives great concrete tips on how to talk to friends about their relationships.

Who doesn’t love Burt’s Bees products? But I’m gonna have to quit using them if they keep up this nonsense of legitimizing street harassment. Catcalling is not a compliment!

Have you heard of the End Revenge Porn campaign? Read the inspiring story behind its launch.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

  • “My first marriage taught me that abuse is not always obvious to the victim, nor those closest to her/him. It begins with love, dreams and promises of a happy life together. Slowly this changed, and after giving in to a series of outbursts, I found myself in a position that I had never dreamed of.”