Tag Archives: human rights

Rape, abortion, politics and me.

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Rape, abortion, politics and me.

I read something earlier today that made me think a lot about the ramifications of a Romney led country; given the statements that have been made and the stances historically taken by the GOP. Many jokes have been made, gallows humor I suppose, about the white republican males knowledge of my genitalia and sensitive workings of which I couldn’t possibly be allowed to control, you know, as a woman.

But at the heart of it, I am fearful. And THAT frightens me.

I am frightened of what a Romney led Supreme Court could do to Roe v. Wade. To strides made in wage equality. To strides made in marriage equality. Veteran’s benefits equality. Military service equality. Equality in general.

And I also believe that I am rather experientially qualified to speak to a lot of it.

What in particular frightens me most is the seeming need to take away a woman’s right to choose if and when she can have an abortion. If and when she can have birth control and how much it will cost. Et cetera.

You see, my own mother was the product of a rape. And according to (R) Todd Akin, a “legitimate” one at that.  But her mother was poor. She was from backwoods Missouri and lived in a time when if you got a girl pregnant, you married her. So marry her rapist she did. She gave birth to my mother either right before or right after she turned 14. My mother was treated with hate and resentment by her own mother, a mother that was a scared and traumatized girl who was subjected to repeated abuse by an evil adult man. When my grandmother finally got away from him, she sent my mother and her little brother with him. My mother represented everything evil about her adolescent and teenaged years so instead of protecting my mother, she projected upon her. She rejected her repeatedly. She allowed her to be abused by him as well, however in her defense; I don’t know if she even realized what he was doing. This is the world my mother grew up in. This is why my mother is  irreparably broken. Why my mother will always be a child mother, as described by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She cannot deal with life in any healthy way. My mother allowed those cycles to continue. In her own misguided way, perhaps even facilitated them. Our family has a systemic history of sexual and physical violence.

I am a survivor of sexual abuse. I am a survivor of rape. I chose to have an abortion when I was 21, to terminate a pregnancy that was not the result of rape or incest and my life was not in danger. I simply could not afford another child and decided not to have it. As I sit here today, ripe with all my book learning and fancy education in social work and criminology, despite my lifelong passion and commitment to end the cycle of my own abuse, my own daughter was abused. But we are survivors, she and I. She is actually the one who inspired me to write this, as I am sure certain family members who could read this may be less than thrilled that I wrote it and am publishing it publicly. But I will not continue shame and secrets. Those things give power. I refuse to participate and facilitate. I now understand transgenerational trauma. My mother has never been anything but a victim in her eyes. She wouldn’t know how to be a survivor. She has never allowed herself to be validated as one. And after years of trying, I gave up on fixing her to follow my own path.

A path that had my grandmother been financially or theologically able to control; never would have been. She told me more than once when I was younger that she had prayed for a miscarriage, a stillborn, anything while she was pregnant. Had she been granted that, my mother never would have been born. I would have never been born. My daughter would never have been born. At least not in these specific situations. I have the benefit of my beliefs, which in the most simplistic of explanations are as follows: I believe in energy and the human need to name it and I also believe that energy never disappears, it merely changes. I also believe that we have some control before we are born in choosing our circumstances. This shapes my conscience the same as your beliefs shape yours.

So, in believing this way I can say that in some other way, I would have been born. Or maybe not. The baby I aborted? Was born later. I remember reading a Dean Koontz book once that had a boy who I believe was labeled as autistic, but in reality he was some amazing dimensional savant who, in one scene of torrential downpour, was walking with numerous other characters and yet he was the only one that didn’t get wet…When they asked him how he avoided the water, he replied “I just walked where it wasn’t raining.” I’ve digressed, but my point is that similarly to TV shows like “Fringe,””Lost” and any other amazing multiversal show created by JJ Abrams, every choice we make can be made different somewhere else. Theoretically, in some other dimension where my grandma was able to have an abortion, where she was allowed some semblance of a normal childhood and my mother was never born to her to be resented and broken, I was never born. My daughter in turn, never was either. And I am OK with that. That is a choice that I believe my grandmother should have been able to make.

But for a man, any man, who can never experience what it means to be carrying the product of a rape and be expected to love it and cherish it as a gift of some God to determine legally who can make that choice is absolutely wrong.

For a man, any man, who can never experience what it means to be carrying a child that you don’t want, can’t care for, are not ready for, know you will not be able to be a proper parent to and yet be expected to love it and cherish it the way it deserves because of how HE feels the LAW should be, is absolutely wrong.

I can see this issue from every female side. I do not understand how these men can dictate from a position of ignorance. Some of them are well educated. But they cannot know what it is like.

I am for equality, in all choices. To be able to choose whether you see a pregnancy which results from a rape as a blessing or a curse, to keep it, terminate it or put it up for adoption is the most intimate and difficult of choices. And it should be a personal one. And the same should be said about a pregnancy that is the product of a one night stand. A relationship. A birth control mistake. A statistical anomaly from perfectly taken birth control. A broken condom. It should not be one that is made in the legislature. It is not one that should be made by men who have no idea what is going on in a woman’s life.

Becoming a parent is a huge decision.

You know that bumper sticker that says “A world of wanted children would make a world of difference.” Ponder it for a moment.

Why would you force someone who wants an abortion to have and raise a child when you already believe they are wrong, misled or evil because they WANT an abortion? You already know they don’t want or have decided they can’t have the child. Otherwise, they wouldn’t want the abortion. Just slow down and think.

Human Rights courts have determined it is a violation of human rights to not allow someone who is raped to have an abortion.

So many things are going on in the government, in society, in the world that seems to be attempting to exert power over others. Has the pendulum really swung back so far that we are going to start going the other way? Are the men so worried women are going toward equal that they need to start oppressing us again? Sexually? Legally? From the vaginal ultrasounds before an abortion to Paul Ryan’s not even wanting IVF to be legal, we could be moving backwards. I just wish more people were understanding what could potentially happen. What the damage could be. Back alley abortions. Unreported rapes. More babies in dumpsters. Infanticides. Suicides. Should we bring back the foundling wheel?

Oy. I could go on and on. But I suppose I will close with a quote from Hillary Clinton: “I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion.”

The death penalty is a hate crime. Yeah. I said that.

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The death penalty is a hate crime. Yeah. I said that.

My entire life, I had always been a believer in retributive justice. As I began my bachelor’s program (Criminal Justice) with a focus on Constitutional Law, I believed that the only problem with the death penalty was that it was applied yet never used; thus rendering any deterrent effect null and void. It was not a diversion for other people.

Ha.

Now mind you, I have come to different thoughts over the years and no longer believe in the death penalty (except in a very few specific types of DNA verified cases/convictions that I won’t go into now). As a MSW student, there was a discussion today in a class that really made me scratch my head. I have processed and researched my way through the notes I took today and offer this: the students at my school are very keen on discussing the prison industrial complex. They have a particularly different insight into it, from a social work perspective as I do, with a criminology perspective. Obviously, we now have different lenses, but I am coming around to some thoughts that are more in line with my true feelings and theirs, I think…

I digress. Damnit.

The point is the case: McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987) was brought up and I had never heard of it. The 25th anniversary of this ruling just passed. Which I think is interesting given all the media attention of the Trayvon Martin case and what will surely be a pivotal case in the years to come regarding George Zimmerman. In all my classes, in all my laborious years in law offices and school, not once did I hear of McCleskey v. Kemp. WTF

Is it because I went to school in Idaho? I am not sure, but probably.

In case you too, have never heard of it, here is the gist:

Warren McCleskey was a black man who was convicted of killing a white police officer. After being sentenced to death, McCleskey brought to the attention of the court the Baldus study, which showed that black “criminals” with white “victims” were sentenced to death in Georgia 4x more often than black on black criminals.  Some results: (CP= Capital Punishment, B = black, W= white)

Defendants who kill W get CP in 11% of cases

Defendants who kill B get CP in 1% of cases

CP in 22% cases of B defendant, W victim

CP in 8% cases of W defendant and W victim

CP in 1% of cases of B defendant and B victim

CP in 3% of cases of W defendant and B victim

So black defendants who kill whites have greatest chance of getting CP.

He implied that this meant that his conviction and sentence violated both the Eighth Amendment and the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court basically stated that while they were skeptical of the Baldus study, they would apply the findings as rule of law and further stated that they must dismiss evidence of general racial disparities in sentencing, as “an inevitable part of our criminal justice system.”

What?

Government sanctioned racial inequities?

No.

Not in 1987.

Not in 2005, not in New Orleans.

I bet we couldn’t find 10 examples at least everyday in the last 150 years.

Especially not today.

No.

The US is a “magical place” with roads paved with equality and fairness, intersecting justice.

Boo. Mr. McKleskey was executed by electrocution in 1991. Justice Lewis Powell, Junior, who wrote the opinion in his case wrote later that he regretted his decision and every death penalty opinion after that. Too late for Mr. McKleskey. Investigations later revealed enough evidence to have gotten his case retried, as the confidential informant was a police plant with non-eyewitness information. Too late.

Too many cases are realized wrong, too late. According to the Innocence Project: 

There have been 289 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States, since 1989.

Races of those 289 exonerees:

180 African Americans
82 Caucasians
21 Latinos
2 Asian American
4 whose race is unknown

I am not insinuating that Warren McKleskey was innocent or that DNA would have exonerated him. I do not know. I am merely using those stats to further illustrate the racial inequities in the judicial system.  I could write a blog everyday about judicial inequities.

Capital punishment is not reparative. It is not restorative. It is punitive and retributive. It is revenge.

It is Code of Hammurabi. Eye for an eye. Tooth for a tooth. Life for a life.

Hate Crimes are defined by the FBI as:

“A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.”

I think a definite case could be made that as far as the FBI is concerned, sentencing courts could be guilty of hate crimes. The “supreme” court says racial disparities are “…an inevitable part of our criminal justice system.” The death penalty is not restorative justice. It is revenge. It is 4,000 year old bullshit.

Fuck.

To be fair, I will give you this as it still makes #Kony famous:

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To be fair, I will give you this as it still makes #Kony famous:

http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com.nyud.net/post/18890947431/we-got-trouble

This fellow believes we are doing the cause a disservice because of the amount of money that invisible children makes in relation to what they do. I know. I also know that NO effort is ever completely unselfish or without some sort of mutual benefit. I think the good outweighs the bad in this case and believe if nothing else, the fact that the web can be used to do such good and so quickly is inherent purpose enough. I mean this has gone BEYOND VIRAL.

And knowing this, I still bought schwag. It’s just as good a cause as any, plus it resonated with me on a level that few things do. That is all. Make your own choices.

I’m still going KONY2012.

As for the allegations he makes regarding not currently committing crimes in Uganda, perhaps. But that doesn’t mean crimes are not happening. Check it out:

http://www.lracrisistracker.com/

#KONY2012 (No other title seems appropriate)

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#KONY2012 (No other title seems appropriate)

I know the world is a terrible place with terrible people in it.

I also know the world is a wonderous place with wonderful people in it.

Sometimes, when I am caught up in my first world problems and feeling so full of self-pity, the Universe sends me something to remind me of my path and the content of my vision board; a contrast to show me I am a fat american pig with no real problems. I live a blessed life. And so do you. The fact that you are reading this tells me so.

Often, the Universe sends me things via one of my oldest friends and someone who knows me better than I know myself. Oddly, these things come just when I need them. Kismet, you might say.

I digress.

Regardless of how I come upon things, here is my call to action for you today. Just watch this and share it. Awareness is a start. Knowledge is all I am asking of you. 29 minutes of your time and a reblog.  A retweet. A Facebook share. An email.

Joseph Kony via Invisible Children

http://www.kony2012.com

http://www.invisiblechildren.com/frontline