Younique Foundation: A Haven

It has been a while since I have posted. I maintain blogs and write for other sites, making it difficult to find time to write for my own.  Alas, Irony.

Younique-Foundation-Logo-Large

Image belongs to the Younique Foundation.

However, I wanted to write about the Younique Foundation and their work at the Haven Retreat for woman traumatized by childhood sexual abuse.  If you have visited this site before, you know that I am passionate about women’s rights and about fighting sexual abuse whether institutionalized abuse, such as was experienced in the Laundries and mother and child homes, or in our everyday lives.  If you have read my book, The Diaphragm Blues, you know I was sexually abused as a child in more than one circumstance.

Although I had accepted that early childhood trauma was my normal, and the norm for several family members, what I did not realize was the impact this trauma had on my life and continues to have on my life.  Like many other victims of Sexual Abuse, I felt that acknowledging it and forgiving my attackers, because who wants to hold onto that hate, was enough.  It wasn’t.

For as long as I can remember, I have had panic disorder, anxiety disorder, and PTSD. After my divorce and my move to Hawaii, my symptoms got worse as I started to feel insecure and unsafe.  What I discovered through therapy and the Younique Foundation, was simply that I was wired to live in the fight or flight dynamic because of my childhood trauma.

When children are traumatized, sexual abuse or otherwise, the limbic system of our brain (which seeks survival, pain avoidance, and pleasure), stores and associates those trauma memories with our senses.  When trauma occurs, our limbic system stores these memories to protect us later from other potential threats. Later in life, survivors of trauma start to associate every day happens with danger, survival, and pain avoidance reactions that are connected to our memories of trauma experienced.  Thus, connections between the limbic and the neocortex (our rational brain) become hypersensitive to danger alerts in situations where no real danger is present (PTSD).  Childhood trauma is a bit different than trauma occurring in adulthood, because in childhood our brains are still developing, and these feedback loops, as I am now thinking of them, become programmed during brain development.

The science is complicated, but the Younique foundation does a good job breaking it down for the rest of us. You can read more about “Trauma and the Brain” on the Younique Foundation Resources, but there are scores of studies regarding the brain on trauma, and a bit of simple research offers a great deal of enlightenment on this topic. The key study for these findings originated with the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.

But now I want to tell you a bit about the Younique Foundation.  I discovered them through my boyfriend’s sister who knew of someone who had attended the retreat.  The Younique Foundation is the love child of Younique, and the Dream of Shalane Maxfield.  Younique the company works to empower and validate women through the use of cosmetics, and helping women establish their own business.  Founded by Derek Maxfield (CEO) and his sister Melanie Huscroft (COO), Younique the makeup company was formed in the hopes that it would eventually fund the Foundation and heaven retreat, and so it is not an afterthought but the reason for Younique. I had the opportunity and privilege to meet Shalane Maxfield, Derek’s wife, at the end of my time at the retreat.  Her passion for helping women is one of pure altruism, and this is such a rare quality nowadays.

The Haven Retreat at Younique is free for women who apply and who were sexually abused before the age of 18.  Although you have to get yourself there, travel expenses, they handle the rest.  The Younique Foundation specializes in helping women understand their brains and why they may have certain coping behaviors, and why they rely on coping behaviors rather than healing. For myself, I discovered several coping behaviors and PTSD triggers that I was unaware of before. Haveing awareness of how your brain works, your actions and triggers is the first step in being able to confront and heal from a trauma that is literally embedded and programmed in your brain. Programming that can be changed.  That’s the key!

Awareness, in fact, is the first of 5 strategic steps in helping a survivor heal from trauma. The other measures include acknowledgment, power through surrender, mindfulness, and faith.

At this point, I feel I need to alleviate any potential worries about these steps in connection with religion. When I first read the steps, I was worried I might be entering some religious establishment wanting to save me from myself. Since some of my trauma happened in the Catholic Church, you can imagine how I was a skeptic.

This concern, however, was not the case. The Foundation bases all they do, the theory, information, and therapy on science and personal spirituality, which is not to be confused with institutional spirituality. If you are religious, no matter what path you are walking, that is fine. But it is also fine if you are not religious. The Foundation does explain how a connection to something larger than yourself is helpful in the healing process, but that something bigger than yourself can be science, the earth, nature, or God. The connection is what is important.

For me, the Foundation’s Haven Retreat was a life changer, hands down. In four days participants are exposed to some intense therapy, classes to help you understand yourself better and why you do what you do, the whys of the traumatized brain. Most importantly, participants receive tools for the road to health: resources, skills, new habits to create, and help for recovery and a successful life.

If you are a survivor of early childhood sexual assault and you are ready to make some positive changes in your life, apply. The process could not be simpler, and you will be provided with a safe environment to start your road to a happier life.

An Open Letter about Feminism to My Brothers

Dear Brother,

My Dad encouraged me to speak out.  He was a feminist!

My Dad encouraged me to speak out. He was a feminist!

I write to you today because I realize how uncomfortable you have been of lately. The Third Wave of Feminism (as it is being dubbed) is blooming (and praise be for it), and you are hearing women speak out about rape cultures, feminism, wage inequality, and the fact that the glass ceiling has not, no matter what PR spinners wish to say, broken. And because of social media, this third wave of feminism is loud, louder then even the first or second wave of feminism.  Women have a large medium to play with and they are using it.  But,  I see your discomfort on Facebook, on Twitter, and other social media outlets.  Many of you are feeling attacked and I am deeply sorry for this.

Please do not feel we are attacking you! We are NOT! We are attacking a system.  Many of our brothers stand with us and also reject a system that objectifies women, promoting the idea of the female as a means to an end. Many of our brothers object to a rape culture.  But what we have to say may make you uncomfortable.  When I talk about my rape, I am NOT blaming you, unless you were the one who did it and trust me, I would not be FB friends with you if that was the case!

Rather, it is important to understand something my dear brother: for decades we were asked to be silent about sexual abuse, assault and gender inequality.  And if we weren’t silent, we were threatened or attacked. Every woman in my immediate family, and yes we have all been sexually assaulted and raped, were threatened for speaking out one way or another: threatened by our attacker and by society at large. You see, this is something you don’t talk about in good company.

Nicolas Mollet, Rape, Events.

It’s like politics or religion, keep your mouth shut. That was the standard. If you did speak out, even your family could punish you for your transgression. Police force, school officials, and other authorities in our culture told us to be quiet.  And if we weren’t quiet we were more often than not, blamed for our attacks. Just like we are often blamed for encouraging an environment in which cat calls are generated: “you asked for it because you dressed like a slut.”

1920s competition

But the idea of dressing like a slut has been so subjective throughout time, and yet it still haunts us women: we exposed our ankles, we were sluts. We exposed a bit of shoulder, we were sluts. We allowed our breasts to be held up in a bra, we were sluts. We took our bra off, we were sluts. We exposed our legs in hot weather, we were sluts. We wear yoga pants, covering our bare legs, we are sluts. You see, this attitude, over time, has bubbled in the cauldron.  And the Cauldron is about ready to explode.

But should you feel threatened by this? No, my dear brother. Not unless you are contributing to the culture, you should not feel threatened by it.  But sadly many of you do. I know because I’ve had conversations with you over Facebook, on twitter, and face-to-face. I have been told that we need to get rid of the word “feminism” because it means that we hate men and are actively into male bashing. What we hate, dear brother, is a disgusting cultural norm that must be revised, but we don’t hate you. Why should we hate our counterpart?

Mabel Capper and Suffragettes with Petition

Feminism was never defined by feminists as male bashing; a matter of fact, feminism defined as a way for women to bash her fellow male counterpart was created by people, men and women alike, who wanted the status quo of gender relationships to be maintained. Why?  One reason was economics.  Consider the recession of the 1970s, and the fact that women coming into the employment market threatened men who were losing their jobs. You see, not unlike today, a corporation could hire part-time female workers for a lot less money than they were charging their male counterparts. Hell, they could hire a woman full time and still pay her less for doing the exact same job as her male counterpart. As men were laid-off from their jobs, a new market niche open, one for women, and many families were desperate for those women to go in and take those part-time jobs. But this should not be understood as male bashing feminism. It was survival.

I don’t want to give you a history lesson, but I do want to encourage you to go out and get a history lesson about feminism, my dear brother. The thing is this, people were feeling threatened, and a PR campaign was created in proclaimed that only lesbians, and male haters, were said to be feminist. The good woman, rejected feminism. This is the same bullshit that we are seeing today with the #IDon’tNeedFeminism and #WomenAgainstFeminism movement that is occurring in reaction to the third wave of feminism. Yes, history is repeating itself. And the sad thing is, most of these men and women who are part of this movement, don’t understand what feminism is. They also don’t understand that they are acting against their own self interest by rejecting feminism.

Gender Equality

So what does feminism mean? It means simply this: that men and women enjoy equal rights. These equal rights are to be understood as being enjoyed in the political realm, the economic round, the social realm, in short – in life. Equality. We ask for no more. We don’t want to rise above man, we don’t want to smash man, we don’t want to be better than men. We want equality and we want justice. Equality does not exist between the sexes presently, and it cannot exist if we continue to encourage and and nurture a culture norm that sees women as objects. That’s the truth.

My dear brothers, please do not feel threatened by the stories that you are hearing women share about their rapes and sexual assaults, about the economic inequality that they are suffering, or the fact that they feel ignored in this world. They are not blaming “you;” that is, unless you have done something to be blamed for. Rather, they are blaming a cultural norm that has gone wrong, and they are asking you, dear brother, to stand with them. I am asking you to stand with me!  I need you!  I need your voice and your conviction.  I need you to be willing to question your assumptions about gender relationships. I need you to speak out when you have been treated badly as well. But above all, I need you to stand with me. I am not asking you to sit in the sidelines. Fight with us and help us make a better world.

Mahalo,
R

A Rebuttal to Bill Flax: Women in Combat

Image: “Flickr – Israel Defense Forces – The Life of Female Field Intelligence Combat Soldiers. Image is released under a creative Commons License by the Israeli Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit.

Hot off the press is Bill Flax’s op/ed piece for Forbes.com: “Memo to the ACLU: Don’t Put Women Into Combat,” published 11/29/2012 @ 2:28PM.  Flax offers a partisan argument regarding women in combat: he is against it. I use the word “partisan” simply because of Flax’s insistance of referring to the “left” and “liberal academics” as being the pushers in this equation, pushing for combat equal in the military.  Flax writes:

Try as the Left may to thwart reality, adult men and women remain different. It’s impossible to comprehend human interactions without recognizing this undeniable certainty. Nevertheless, the American Civil Liberties Union has launched legal action against the Department of Defense. The lawsuit seeks to pry open one of the last pursuits still exclusively masculine, serving in combat.

This phraseology leads me to believe that Mr. Flax is a conservative who sees this issue singularly, as a political concern rather than a topic above simple political wriggling: a civil rights issue. But I will get to that in a moment.  First, I would like to examine this author’s argument.

Flax argues that women are not cut out for combat, and to support his argument he points to how his children, girls and boys, act differently as they greet him when he gets home from work: girls kiss and hug, boys hit.  Further, he brings up a Marine’s Infantry Officers Course designed for women, which failed: “The Marine Corps has opened Infantry Officers Course for a pilot program to study how well women could perform in combat roles. The first two females, and only two entered, both quickly flopped; one on the first day, the other within a week. No female marines have yet opted for the next session.”

Next, to uphold his argument further, Flax explains how women are weak and generally lazy, not willing to pull their backs into training or, one assumes, when in combat:

Every Friday morning we’d bemusedly watch as the HQ elements went on their weekly PT run. The mostly male main body would scurry past and there would inevitably follow a long trail of women marines casually walking along behind. Maybe a paramour or two accompanying their leisurely strolls back to the barracks.

There are likely many women who can hack it physically, particularly in the short term. Over longer spans, however, few women have the endurance, the skeletal structure, the muscularity, to withstand the physical brutality of combat. We can lessen the requirements so more women qualify, but when bullets fly, truth will prove costly.

For the few woman that might be able to hack it, Flax offers brief but partial recognition: “The courageous young heroines who have endured combat missions deserve our recognition, nay our praise. But it’s essential that we limit their duties in theatre. It comes down to our nation’s very essence.”

I had many reactions to this particular article and most of them quite strong. I disagree with Mr. Flax quite rigorously, and for many reasons.  Part of my problem according to Flax, I am sure, would be my political standing. Of course, being one of those “Lefties” and “Liberals,” and being a woman, my first thought was: of the many women I know who experience combat, far too many have told me about being raped, and/or being sexually and verbally assaulted throughout the process by male comrades.* Of course, Mr. Flax anticipates this “liberal” concern when he writes:

At college, after serving in the Marine Corps infantry, it became apparent that all liberal academics cared about the military was whatever sexual harassment scandal then cycled through the news. One would think the armed forces were social engineering mechanisms. Nary any inkling that marines protect our country, their point is fighting and winning wars. Nope, to the Left, it’s all about opportunities for women to invade previously masculine fields.

I am sadden about how Flax dismisses the very real problem of sexual harassment in the military and, contrary to his argument, this is a form of socialization against female participation – hegemony at it’s worse. Silence is half the problem with sexual assault in this country and in the military.  According the our defense department, sexual assault and rape are real issues to be concerned with:

The military services received a total of 3,192 reports of sexual assault during fiscal
2011. Of the 3,192 reports of sexual assault, 2,439 were unrestricted reports and 753 were restricted reports. This represents a one percent increase since fiscal 2010, there were 3,158 reports of sexual assault, consisting of 2,410 unrestricted reports and  748 restricted reports. (See ” Fact Sheet on Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military,” linked to below).

One of the bigger questions that come to mind is this: how many people do not report being sexually assaulted? How many people do not report being physically or mentally assaulted? What does this mean to the numbers and statistics? Indeed, the number of actual sexual assaults is estimated well into the ninteen thousand, according to the DOD itself:

In FY2010, there were 3,158 total reports of sexual assault in the military. The DODestimates that this number only represents 13.5% of total assaults in 2010, making the total number of military rapes and sexual assaults in excess of 19,000 for FY 2010. (See the Service Women’s Action Network, linked to below).

It is inexcusable to simply dismiss this issues as a nonissue in this particular memo, and for the sake of all women, including Mr. Flax’s two little girls, I would urge the author to tread lightly and with some education on this particular topic.

Let me, however, move on to Mr. Flax’s next argument in his op/ed: his insistance that when we talk about women fighting in combat, this discussion is not about socialization or civil rights, but a practical issue regarding gender sensibility and physical, DNA reality: women can’t carry the equipment needed in war, woman can’t emotionally handle the stress of war, and so on and so forth.  We have heard these arguments over and over again, from Rousseau and his “separate but equal” rationale as to why women should be educated to please men, to sudo scientific arguments regarding how women have smaller brains and so could not handle the right to vote, to Flax’s tired and worn out argument regarding why the ACLU should stop pushing for equality in the military.  But make no mistake, all of this comes down to socialization and propaganda: tell a person long enough about how she or he can’t do something, and I guarantee you that person will convince their self of the same. Socialize a society to believe that a certain portion of their population are second class citizens, and you will get a society that happily steps on others.  History demonstrates this point nicely, from slavery, to segregation, to genocide and the like.

Besides being a socialization issue, this writer is incorrect when he states that offering women the right to fight for their country is “not a civil rights matter” … it certainly is about civil rights. It’s about equal opportunity for one to fight for their country without being harassed sexually, mentally, or physically.  How can it be otherwise?  Indeed, let’s consider World War II. In World War II the definition of “fighting for your country” was divided and defined differently for the genders.  Men picked up a gun and went overseas to fight and possibly die.  Women, most of them daughters, sisters, wives/homemakers, were told to redefine womanhood. All of a sudden women were told that they had the strength, nay a new found ability to do a man’s job.  In droves women left their kitchens and their homes, there safe jobs as librarians and teachers to “fight for their country” by building all the goods needed to fight in a modern war: bombs, aircrafts and the like.  They did the jobs that “no good woman” would have been caught doing before the war. Women doing men’s jobs? Women working for their country, their beliefs and ethics; that is, they were “real women” until the men came back, and these women were told that “real womanhood” was again redefined.  A “real woman” would walk away from “real men’s jobs” and go back to their homes, kitchens, and dresses.  Socialization? Civil rights? You bet your ass.

Mr. flax, I personally don’t want to go to war. I think war is a waste of humanity, it is a disease, a blight that affects us all. However, I do believe in the good fight. I also believe that we should all have the right to fight for our rights and ethics, even if it comes to defending ourselves with a gun when necessary.  Of course, I would rather fight with good arguments and words first. But sometimes we are violated, and we must defend ourselves. Women have a right to help that defense.

I have done my best to point out the flaws in these arguments, but I welcome my readers to read up on the issue, and make their own judgments.

 

*Please note, I know many male soldiers who would never, under and circumstance, promote sexual assault or rape – so I am not putting all male military persons in this category. Further, male solders are also assaulted and raped as well.  It is a all consuming problem.

Check out these other resources for women who fight:

O’Toole, Molly.  “Military Sexual Assault Epidemic Continues to Claim Victims As Defense Department Fails Females.”  Huffington Post.  6 Oct. 2012.  Web. 29 Nov. 2012. 

Speier, Jackie. “Why Rapists in Military Get Away with It.”  CNN.com. 21 June 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

NA. “Fact Sheet on Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assult in the Military for Fiscal 2011 April 13, 2012.” Defense.gov. 13 April 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

NA. “Top Ten Badass Female Warriors.” Listverse.com. 17 March 2008.  Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

NA. “Chronologic History of Female Warriors, Military Commanders and Duelists.” Female Single Combat Club. 2012. Web. 29 Nov 2012.

Taylor, Kate. “The Military’s ‘Invisible War:’ A Call To Action To Stop Sexual Assaults.” Forbes.com. 21 June 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

Service Women’s Action network. “Pentagon Releases Latest Reports on Sexual Assault in the Military.” 30 March 2011. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

An interesting article on how women warriors can be defined more broadly: Ufberg, Sharon. “Women Warriors: Not Your Everyday Desperate Housewives.” The Huffington Post. 17 June 2011.  Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

A Mother’s Advice

Like many other mothers, Mom had golden rules that she set forth for her children. Some of them were quite profound, some of them were baffling, and some of them were downright strange, but entertaining. Yesterday, as I sat on the airplane ready to take off from NJ to Seattle, I was remembering one of her rules.  A woman next to me was eating a banana and I wondered if she was hitchhiking her way home. Mom’s rule went like this:

Never pick up a hitchhiker unless he or she is carrying a bunch of bananas

When I was young, hitchhiking was a common phenomenon, and it was only just becoming truly dangerous. My mom, when she was a very young girl, around 15 years of age or so, hitchhiked out of Alaska, and out “the Alcan.” She was running away from a bad situation: she had been sexually abused by her stepfather, ignored by her mother, and was seeking safety or, at least, escape.  She took a large, serrated kitchen knife for protection, and she took off. I still have that knife.  It sits in a drawer, flung in there with other more mundane knives, knives used for butter or bread cutting, paring knives and plastic ones.  If only cutlery could tell us their history.

Mom was not alone when she took off on her bid for freedom. The first time she hitchhiked out of Alaska she went with her friend “Kathy” (they were “Kathy and Kathy”), and they had each other’s back. Mom talked little about this time, but from the little I heard, I gather it was an adventure, but a dangerous one. They hitchhiked from Alaska to San Francisco, and at some point she also went to Washington D.C. More than once she had to threaten somebody with her kitchen Knife, or so I was later told. I would gather to guess that none of these drivers had a bunch of bananas on them.

I liked to romanticize her adventures, but I know that this is foolish. Regardless, during that  time in her life she hitchhiked to see Dr. Martin Luther King speak in Washington DC (yes, she was at the “I Have A Dream” speech), and hitchhiked back to San Francisco where she slept in a rundown hotel with Ginsburg and other poets.  She too was “On the Road.” Mom allowed me to romanticize her travels until just before she died, when I heard the rather sadder portions of her adventure. Sexual abuse, robbery, and, at times, great life-threatening dangers.

Still, hitchhiking was in her blood, as it was in the blood of many young people during the 60s and early 70s. The philosophy of hitchhiking was not unlike the philosophy presented in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the universe is big baby, and you got to get around somehow. Besides, if you have a good towel, you can get out of most scrapes. 

So hitchhiking was a given joy to embrace for many people in Mom’s generation. After Mom was married and had two young children, she again hitchhiked from Arizona to Woodstock, hooking up with some hippies in a bus who were also going.  Many, many years later, after I turned 21, while at a New Year’s Eve party with my folks, an old hippie walked up to Mom and started talking to her. He remembered her, and he remembered their adventure. My mom’s face dropped, and so did mine as he proclaimed moments, stories that she had told me from my childhood. They had all taken the bad brown acid you see, and they had all survived, all but one who ended up in a coma. Mom ended up under the stage, waking up and holding onto a large column that echoed with psychedelic movements, while Jimi Hendrix played homage to America above her – that’s a trip! Watch: Hendrix at Woodstock

But, let me get back to the bananas – and Mom’s Golden rule:

Never pick up a hitchhiker unless he or she is carrying a bunch of bananas

Where on earth could such a rule come from? After receiving my bachelor’s degree in acting from Cornish, I went to work for a children’s theater company in Idaho. At one point I drove from Idaho to Reno in order to play the slots, do a show, and have some fun. I went with a dear friend, and as we drove we passed a young man holding bananas. He was hitchhiking. What a strange sight … it seemed kismet… expected like destiny. What were the odds after all, to see a hitchhiker on the side of the road carrying a bunch of bananas? I pulled the car over. I picked him up. I took him with us. He was kind.

Many years later I told my mom of this event, and asked her why she gave us her golden rule about hitchhikers. Her answer? She said was playing the odds that it would never happen, and so we would never pick a hitchhiker up (the 60s being, after all, a memory of hippy love). Since mom was playing the odds with this particular golden rule, it seems only fitting that the one hitchhiker I have ever picked up in my life was on the way to Reno – a city made for odds. He shared his bananas. They were tasty.

R

Let’s Talk about that “Rape Thing.”

Let’s Talk about that “Rape Thing.”

An Open Letter to Any More Republicans or Tea Party Folks or Others who Want to speak on Rape:

Today, I went to pick up my husband from work. I do this. We share only one car, and since he leaves it for me to run errands, or whatever during my day, it seems like the right thing to do.  He gets in the car, and I give him the driver’s seat, allowing me time to return some text messages. As he starts our vehicle headed toward home, and he asked me the following question:

“So, I am sure you hear what John Koster said today.”

“Koster?”

“Ya, The the Tea Party dude from our lovely state.”

“Yes, so what did he say?”

“Well we have another republican spouting about rape and abortion ….”

At that point I went off. I’m sure this did not surprise my husband, but I had not heard about the news: Congressman Koster calling rape “that rape thing” and then following up this unfortunate turn of phrase with his declaration that women who get pregnant from rape do not deserve the right to an abortion.  As Laura Bassett from the the Huffington Post cited:

“Incest is so rare, I mean, it’s so rare,” he said. “But the rape thing– you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption, and she doesn’t regret it.” He added, “On the rape thing, it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime — how does that make it better? You know what I mean?” (Koster as cited by Bassett)

If I can borrow Tina Fay’s lovely rant about republican men spouting BS about rape:

“If I have to listen to one more gray-faced man with a two-dollar haircut explain to me what rape is, I’m gonna lose my mind. I watch these guys and I’m like: what is happening? Am I a secretary on Mad Men?”

Seriously, I’m done. I am done listening to people tell me how I should feel about being raped. I would like to wager a guess that none of these republicans with their expert reflections on sexually assault have ever been raped. I suspect they’ve never been held down, tied up, felt a knife stuck to their neck by another individual… I don’t have the words. Because I have been raped – and incest is not that rare. I know what it feels like.

But besides the fact that these men have not experienced rape, and so therefore can’t really speak to the experience of being rape, let me address their stance regarding how women who get pregnant from rape should be denied the right to abortion.

The man walks away. 

They never think of that…do they?  Indeed, why would the father, the rapist, stay around? Rape is an act of violence, an act of power domination over another human being. A rapist doesn’t care about the child, the offspring, the result. Where does this all leave the woman raped and pregnant?  I’ll tell you where – without any support, financial and/or emotional, and without any help either. Further, because many republicans and tea party folks feel that social programs are waste of money, these same politicians write off programs to help the woman raped and abandoned.  Why?  The claim of the “individual” and the need to be absolutely self-reliant in all things.  Indeed, don’t we all get what we deserve, even god endorsed rape … she brought it on herself somehow.

“What do you mean rapist father left you after you got pregnant from the rape?  What did YOU do wrong?”

My problem with these men is this: They NEVER speak to the consequences of what happens to these women and children.  It’s all well and good to sit on your high unmoving moral horse, but when it comes down to it, if you don’t bother to actually back up your high morals with a good old plan, what we can do to help and make things right, you’re just full of crap.

None of these politicians have a plan.  They get rid of social programs (oh now work houses and orphanages) to help those who have been harmed via circumstances that were out of their hands, and, in the same breath, condemn the person to live with the reality because?  Because they seem to believe in some form of predestination – Either “God intended it” or, somehow, “you made this happens, so deal with it.”

Come up with a plan. Decide what will happen to the child after the birth when there is nobody there to take care of it. Even if the mother is there, and she’s happy to of had her rape child, what if she can’t mentally and/or financially take care of the child because the rapist, Daddy dearest, took off after the rape.

Come up with a plan. That’s the problem, all these folks want to make grand claims about what is wrong and what is right, but they offer not proof, no backup to their claims.  If these guys were in my Comp class, they would all fail for a poorly composed argument.

We have to consider what happens not only to the victim, but the offspring. Our laws have devolved over time. In today’s world, we take little pains to even go after the rapist, let alone make the rapist responsible for the fact that he or she raped.  In my first book, The origins of the Magdalene Laundries, I discuss the ancient Brehon Laws of Ireland and how they actually legislated for cases of rape.  These laws covered all different kinds of sexual unions between men and women (sadly they were not enlightened enough to apply to same sex unions), the Brehons, Law Givers, including the crime of rape: Not only was the rapist held responsible and punished for the violence offered to the woman, including a breach of honor, he was responsible for all children born from the illicit union. Under these law, there was no such thing as an illegitimate child. All children were cared for by the community, and the rapist had to support the children born as well as pay restitution to the woman assaulted (108-109).

It’s mind-boggling isn’t it? In our society, we  spend a great deal of time letting the victim know that he or she is at fault: You got raped because of the way you dressed.  You got raped because of your belief system.  You got raped because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. You got raped because you had a glass of wine.  you got rapped because you went to the wrong party.  You got raped because your “no” sounded more like a “yes” to me.

We spend so much time blaming the victim that we don’t remember to take equal time at really punishing and holding the perpetrator responsible.

So enough. I would like to educate these men spouting off about rape. Please, make an office appointment. Come have tea, or cup of coffee, or a beer even, I know this great sexiest pizza joint that rejects feminist poetry but serves the best pizza in town.  But, let’s talk. Let me explain to you the reality of being raped, and ethics, and consequences. Let me educate you – I be happy to do it. By the way, you need it.

Rebecca