amckiereads

(with less books) [trigger warnings for sexual assault / rape / racism apply to many posts here]

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In rape recovery you quickly learn that no one will ever provide you with justice. Even if you decide to pursue it legally, there is no result that will act as a salve on the violation you’ve felt, that will repair how the incident has upended your life. Proving someone’s guilt will not give you back the years of your life destroyed by that endless fear and mistrust, how you were forced to reconstruct your life in order to survive what others do with ease. It will not alleviate the doubt you have, that the world has given you with its constant questioning of the validity of rape claims.

[…]

Any rape survivor who has watched her rapist live out his life in relative bliss, while hers is a wreckage of fear and mistrust, will tell you that justice is a fiction we all consent to. While she struggles through the slow tedium of recovery others live in willful ignorance, believing that some sort of redemption is possible. The survivor lives a life redefined by the actions of another—every victory against him, every loss endured in his shadow. Like Alice Sebold writes in her memoir of sexual assault, Lucky, “I share my life with my rapist. He is husband to my fate”

[…]

This season of SVU is a departure from its usual formulaic narrative because it acknowledges a difficult truth for a show quite literally founded on the validity of a “system of justice.” It acknowledges that the forty-two minutes to closure I relied on to get me through is actually just fictional comfort, an escapist lie. When your life is upended by sexualized violence there is no external justice possible—only a slow, groping, desperate attempt to stay alive. It is a process governed only by the timelines and the strength of the victim herself.

It is the little steps, adding up.

One of the best articles I’ve read in some time on rape and recovery. Read it all. 

——“The Truth Is Embarrassing”: Olivia Benson and the Timeline of Trauma by Stacey May Fowles on The Toast
http://the-toast.net/2014/02/03/olivia-benson-timeline-of-trauma/

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The study, by Katherine M. Flegal and her associates at the C.D.C. and the National Institutes of Health, found that all adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese have a lower mortality risk than so-called normal-weight individuals. If the government were to redefine normal weight as one that doesn’t increase the risk of death, then about 130 million of the 165 million American adults currently categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead.

[…]

How did we get into this absurd situation? That is a long and complex story. Over the past century, Americans have become increasingly obsessed with the supposed desirability of thinness, as thinness has become both a marker for upper-class status and a reflection of beauty ideals that bring a kind of privilege.

In addition, baselessly categorizing at least 130 million Americans — and hundreds of millions in the rest of the world — as people in need of “treatment” for their “condition” serves the economic interests of, among others, the multibillion-dollar weight-loss industry and large pharmaceutical companies, which have invested a great deal of money in winning the good will of those who will determine the regulatory fate of the next generation of diet drugs.

Our Imaginary Fear of Fat on NYTimes http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/03/opinion/our-imaginary-weight-problem.html?_r=0

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I told her that Lean In argues that women need to break down “internal obstacles” within themselves that are preventing them from moving up the work ladder. “There are a lot of barriers women face,” Randall said. She ticked off a few: lousy pay, no benefits, no sick leave, no unions, sexism, and a still highly sex segregated workforce. “There are lots of jobs that are still considered women’s work,” she said. “In one of the mills, I was actually referred to as ‘the girl.’”

What Randall described is what most American working women face. And they are also the sort of problems that the advocates of Lean In and its sister impulses must address if they are not to be seen as individual women empowering themselves by deserting other women—if they are to be called, as Sheryl Sandberg calls herself, feminist.

What about “internal obstacles,” I asked Randall—the sort of obstacles that cause women to curb their ambitions because they’re afraid they won’t be likable? She pondered the question for a time. “I don’t know,” she said finally. “That’s just not the world I came from.”

This is a great article that articulates my issues with Lean In and it’s brand of ‘feminism’. Individuals ‘leaning in’ does not do anything for structural inequality, and just lets companies off the hook by partnering with it and not actually changing discriminatory practices.

—Facebook Feminism, Like It or Not by Susan Faludi

http://www.thebaffler.com/articles/facebook-feminism-like-it-or-not

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A new report from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty found the number of cities imposing penalties for camping, begging, sleeping, sitting or eating in public has risen sharply in the last two years. There are now laws against feeding the homeless in over 50 cities. Ordinances prohibiting sleeping in cars — specifically targeted at the destitute — have more than doubled nationwide since 2011. […]

This crackdown is happening without equally forceful measures to develop the nation’s supply of affordable housing, which has fallen by 12.8 percent since 2001 because of fewer subsidies for federal housing. The U.N. Human Rights Committee even condemned the trend as “cruel, inhuman, [and] degrading” in a recent report on the United States.

The Growing Criminalization of Homelessness http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/7/the-growing-criminalizationofhomelessness.html

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I believe, as Roxane Gay does, that people are skeptical of abuse victims because “the truth and pervasiveness of sexual violence around the world is overwhelming. Why would anyone want to face such truth?” I also believe that deep down people know that once we start to believe victims en masse—once we take their pain and experience seriously—that everything will have to change. Recognizing the truth about sexual assault and abuse will mean giving up too many sports and movies and songs and artists. It will mean rethinking institutions and families and power dynamics and the way we interact with each other every day. It will be a lot.

And we are lazy.

It’s easier to ignore what we know to be true, and focus on what we wish was. But the more we hold on to the things that make us comfortable and unthinking, the more people will be hurt—and the more growing room we’ll create for monsters.

Choosing Comfort Over Truth by Jessica Valenti   http://www.thenation.com/blog/178203/choosing-comfort-over-truth-what-it-means-defend-woody-allen#

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The Tiki Sea Pop-Up Bar Party (Formerly Pacific Dreams)

If you have no plans, it’s not to late to come to the tiki event my friend is putting on!

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Behind the story I tell is the one I don’t. Behind the story you hear is the one I wish I could make you hear.
Two of Three Things I Know for Sure by Dorothy Allison, in Lived Through This edited by Anne K Ream