Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Lowdown Dirty Shame

The shit with my fucking mother and Kid's dad has got all sorts of atrocious memories swirling around in my head, and the recurring theme is shame.

Now lemme tell you a little something about shame, at least as it relates to domestic violence and rape. It isn't the violence of the act itself that causes the shame. No, really. Would you feel shame if you got rear ended in a car accident? Nope, you'd feel pissed off that the fuckwad behind you wasn't watching where they were going. There isn't anything you can do to avoid being rear-ended. Period. I think even most states' laws treats the rear-ender as the person solely responsible for the accident, and insurance companies follow. Get rear ended and it's over and done, not your fault.

The shame for victims comes from how people treat you after the fact. Will you be believed or blamed? Will you get support and empathy, or punishment? I think from the amount of shame attached to abuse, we all know what the most likely answers are. And it gets really tricky. I was reading Fugitivus' post (and damn if that ain't a familiar story) and thinking about all the shit I had to go through to get away from "but he's such a nice guy" Kid's dad.

I mentioned the other day that sometimes you have to choose, safety or justice. Those things shouldn't be mutually exclusive, but they are. But you also have to be willing to put up with a mountain of shame if you take either route. To be safe means explaining to people why you are afraid, and praying, fingers crossed, eyes closed, that the person you are relying on with this information is not going to judge you for it and cause you harm "for your own good". (See- my fucking mother making friends with Kid's dad for a concrete example of that).

To get justice means that you have to tell people what happened, pray, fingers crossed, eyes closed, that they believe you and then put a mighty large amount of faith into the "justice system". I have not yet met a victim of domestic violence or rape that has actually gotten justice from this system in a way that restored their faith in the world. Not a single one. Ever.

But there is one other choice. You shut up. You can surrender to the victim blaming and not say a word. You won't get justice. You won't be safer. But as long as you're quiet about it, you don't have to join the ranks of the publicly shamed. There will still, most likely, be a giant swarming of blaming going on in your own head. But at least the whole world isn't chiming in to say how much you deserved to be hurt for being an imperfect person.

When we put conditions on victims, when we require them to be "perfect" in order to be believed, we set an impossible standard that perpetuates rape culture. The shaming is part of that. There is no difference between a wealthy, educated, white woman who gets hit once and leaves, and a poor, less educated, less white woman who can't. Neither deserves shame for their situation. They both have been rear-ended by an asshole. There is also no difference between the lily white virgin, sober and modestly dressed, who never leaves her house except to go to church and is raped anyways, and the prostitute whose john decides he wants a freebie at knifepoint. Neither of these women deserve shame. But we shame them all. The educated lady had "bad choice in men", the virgin should have fought back harder. Nobody tells the rear-ended driver that he shouldn't have been at that stop light, or shouldn't have been driving a shiny new car.

Shame is a silencer. It keeps us from screaming because we know, not that we won't be heard, but that we will be punished for screaming in the first place. Punished for not being perfect enough, for "getting ourselves into bad situations", for "not knowing better".

Friday, March 05, 2010

Stalking is a long run game

So I broke my own cardinal rule of how to avoid having your life turned to shit by stalkers .

I've been avoiding them (my douchtastic mom, Kid's fuckwad dad) for many many years. I follow Gavin de Becker's advice from Gift of Fear, and normally I refuse to acknowledge any contact. Emails go to my spam box. My phone number is unavailable. My twitter, blogger, facebook all have them blocked. Somehow mom still manages to get around these blockings, but wevs. I'm not spending my whole life trying to figure out what crappy thing she's gonna do next.

But my douchetastic mother is a fucking crafty ass nugget. She keeps sending presents to the Kid. Presents he doesn't want. Things that he gets no joy from, hasn't requested, and is generally annoyed by their existence. This is a form of abuse. The gifts are meant to instill a socially programmed sense of obligation on the recipient. Serial killers use this tactic to get women to trust them. "Oh hi lady, let me carry that grocery bag for you, I insist" right before they throw you in the trunk of their car.

I refuse to let the Kid become a victim of that kind of manipulation out of politeness.

So now she is teaming up with Kid's fuckwad dad. Seriously. It's like a manipulative stalker convention. They're friends now. I can't even imagine that. If someone hurt my kid, the only thing they'd get from me is a giant hole where their throat used to be. If someone neglected my grandchild, (hypothetical grandchild- I'm not that OLD yet) the only thing they'd get from me is a job application delivered with a swift kick in the ass.

So I am pissed (see violent imagery above). And I sent a rather pissy email backing saying exactly the same shit, minus the violence, above.

Stupid, stupid, stupid stupid. I gave her fucking fuel for her obsession. I should have just left it. I know that there is a huge difference between justice and safety and that often you can only choose one. I know that safety is usually the better route. I know all this shit. And still, still.

Stalking is a long fucking game. The Kid is about to be 15 (hence yet another round of inappropriate and and unasked for "gifts" meant to instill a sense of obligation). So i've been dealing with his dad on and off for oh 14 years-ish. And this was the first time I have contacted my mother in 7 years. Over all, that's a pretty good no-contact record. But one little fuck up and they're back. It's like lice.

All I want if for the Kid to grow up peaceful and happy and without abuse, physical or emotional, and for me to be free of these asshats so that I can concentrate on more important things like finishing this damn novel I'm writing. That's all. It's not a big thing to ask. Really. To just be left alone, that is all.

The good news is- one more year and the Kid can get his passport. One more year. I'm thinking France would be good, what with their new laws against psychologically terrorizing someone. A girl can dream.............

Thursday, March 04, 2010

For all my bitchez

For Gidget, who I think has my same big squishy soft spot for Disco Punk (Mission of Burma?)

For Sylviiiiiiiiiiiiiiaaaaaaaaaaaaa- Because the first line of the song makes me think of Sylvie dinner nights with big ass boxes of Franzia. I miss you! My birthday is gonna suck without you.

Gang of Four- To hell with poverty

And since I'm on a disco punk kick (but really, when am I not?)

Franz Ferdinand- The Outsiders

The Clash- Magnificent Seven

The Fall- Victoria

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Patriarchy is Lucy and We Are Charlie Brown

We keep falling for the same stupid trick with the football. Will we never learn?

I mention this because last night I was reminded that I once wrote a paper on Tacitus' "On Germania". It is considered to be one of the first ethnographies (cough, sputter cough). But what it really is is a blueprint for how to sell invasion of a foreign land back home. There is plenty of othering, idealization of the native and all around condescension, but what I focused on was the way Tacitus used his description of German women as a rationalization for conquest.

He describes the women as buxom beauties with a sense of family loyalty that is missing in their Roman counterparts. These women go to war with their husbands, they raise the children and cook the meals and do all the work while their unwashed men drink nasty beer and start fights with each other. They are oppressed, oppressed I tell you, by the loutish German men.

It is not a huge jump (any jump at all) to apply that same kind of thinking to Iraq or Afghanistan. We have to save the poor oppressed women from their brutish Muslim masters! We must rape and pillage and plunder to save these poor oppressed women from rape and pillage and plunder. Wait, what?

At the same time, it works to shut up women at home who might be getting uppity what with not being alowed to venture out of the house. See you could have it so much worse, you could be married to a drunken German or Central Asian Muslim! You can't complain when you've got it so good, privileged women of the Empire.

And it works. Over and over and over. We keep falling for the same bullshit propaganda. We keep thinking that this time the patriarchy is going to let us kick the ball, only to end up flat on our ass with grass stains.

The patriarchy has no new tricks. Just the same ones in new shiny packaging for at least the last 2000 years. When are we gonna wise up and walk away from the stupid football? How many wars must we fight before we get that it just ain't in our best interest?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Fun with trolls and Liberal Carnivals

First things first- Montag from Stump Lane is hosting this month's Carnival of the Liberals. You should go check it out. I'm in it, so it must be good. ;)

Because of this here carnival I got a lovely little troll comment stuck in moderation from a guy ( I assume) with the lovely screen name of WaChinYu.(I could go on about how his name manages to be both creepy stalker fodder straight from the patriarchy AND racist at the same time- but you all are smart. I think you can dissect that yourselves).

If we can bait enough suckers with class envy propaganda, we too shall enjoy a socialist utopia; just like the ones envisioned by Stalin, Tito, Pol Pot, and Chairman Mao.
(pssst... don't tell them that the little guys got stepped on too, or that there were still poor people in Utopia)
Bootstrapping doesn't work if your a Dumb-Ass!!

What's really funny is that dude doesn't think there is all ready a class war going on.

I think this is a case of a woman saying "fuck this- I'm not gonna eat your shit sammich and call it dinner" and a dude with shit sammich crumbs all over his shirt refusing to call his sammich what it is, because he all ready ate it. I think somebody has a vested interest in keeping the spectacle alive, though a little tooth paste and rational thinking would serve him better.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Dear President Obama:

During your first year as president something has happened, and it's not a good something. It's something that didn't happen under George W., and he was pretty fucking awful.

In 2000, the year that Bush was appointed to the presidency, I made a reasonable salary of 35k per year. I was middle class. I owned a car, had my own apartment, paid an outrageous amount in money for childcare fees. But I always had enough money to buy my kid new shoes when he out grew them and I didn't get a dime of child support or public assistance. I had health care that actually covered things. I went to the dentist. It was good.

Then there was a recession that was only moderately, kinda declared a recession. I got laid off, the only time I have ever been let go from any job. After that we never really recovered, though the news bunnies all declared the recession over. Since then I have never found a full time, non-temp, benefits eligible position.

The first year under Bush my income dropped by a third.

Every year after that, my income dropped by another third, until about 5 years ago when I bottomed out at the poverty crushing level of 7k a year. And there we stayed.

It was tough. I needed a shit ton of government assistance including: medicaid, food stamps, subsidized housing, LEAP grants to keep the lights on. We even sometimes had to rely on the kindly readers of this here blog for donations.

We survived. Well, physically I mean. I am now prone to bouts of serious depression and years of dealing with Welfare workers pretty much kills your dignity. But for 5 years, my income didn't change, no more sinking. No raising either,but we floated along on the crappy Styrofoam beer cooler that passes for a life preserver in this country. I thought to myself, well if this is the bottom then we will get through it. It sucks, but we will get through it.

But that wasn't the bottom.

I'm reminded of how far from the bottom that was by my tax return. See last year, 2009, the year you became the president of hope and change and bipartisan leadership (of the United States of Kleptocracy), I made a grand total of $3500.

That is less than $300 a month for a family of 2.

That is a 50 percent drop, bigger than any Bush level third. And it's the most painful. I can no longer say "well if this is the bottom, it sucks but we'll get through it".

Thank you, President Obama, for destroying any hope (or should I say delusion) that I had about our government's efficacy.

Thanks for giving me the change (and by change I mean the spare change I'm going to start asking for on street corners) I can believe in.

I am just one little person in a sea of millions of little people all drowning in this financial crisis. I do not have the clout that say a few "savvy" banksters do. I'm just a mom, with no income, no health insurance and a kid who has a toothache and can't go to the dentist.

And what I need from my government is for it to work for me. I don't give a flying fuck about bipartisanship. I don't give a tiny fuck about "the tone" of Washington politics. These things don't do anything as far as getting food on the table.