One Billion Rising

Yesterday you might have received flowers or chocolates or gone out to dinner. A day of sharing love. I have never really been a fan of Valentine’s Day. Yes, I believe in love, doting, and pampering, but I think it should happen every day of the year, not a random day in February. What I do like about February 14 is that for the past 15 years, groups of women have come together to stand for women (V-Day). Events like “The Vagina Monologues” that Eve Ensler started on February 14 many years ago. This year, when researching which initiative I wanted to support, tears filled my eyes. I found “One Billion Rising.” The first few lines on the Girl Effect website says:

“One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. With a global population of seven billion, that breaks down to one billion abused women. On 14 February the One Billion Rising campaign will call for an end to such violence.”

(c) OneBillionRising

One billion. I am one of those one billion women. I am a survivor. You probably know more of those one billion than you realize. It could have happened to your best friend, mother, sister, cousin, or coworker.

While we rise together as a force, we need to collaborate together so the number goes from one in three to ZERO. We need to end the violence against women. This is a personal, local, national, and global issue. Violence against women will touch every single one of those one billion women for the rest of their life. One billion is shocking. Absolutely shocking, horrifying, unimaginable. My tears are ones of anguish, pain, shock, sadness. How did this happen? How is this possible?

I know it is February 15 and I am a little late to share this information, but the message needs to continue to be shared. Forget chocolates and flowers. They do not matter if a woman is given flowers on the February 14 and beaten on February 15. We need to dance, rise, educate, and raise awareness for violence against women.

Please share this message widely. Join One Billion Rising.

This link covers events that happened on February 14 worldwide.

Safety. Horror. Why?

Last week I came across this article about bringing guns to work. I found it after the Clackamas Town Center mall shootings. I was shocked that this is even a conversation, or that it is even legal in some states to bring a gun to work. I do not even want to think about my co-workers bringing a gun to work.

Guns at work adds to the already full social commentary about gun laws and mental health. The events of last week have brought us all to reflect on our lives, appreciate our loved ones, and pray for the families affected by these tragedies. My heart and tears go out to those that have been affected by the shootings in Oregon and Connecticut. Horror. Safety. Why? All three of these words come to my mind. Many individuals are asking why this happened, and what needs to change in our country. I am asking myself the same questions. What needs to shift?

Besides understanding the facts, many are talking about what needs to be done with gun laws and mental health issues in our country. Both issues need to be discussed. We also need to address the fear of safety from the public. What does a shooting in a mall, movie theater, and an elementary school do to the fear and comfort level for many families across America. Is it immobilizing them or are they able to continue to live their lives? What effects do these events have on the general trust among strangers? Will we all begin to start looking at each other different?

I do not have any answers. Only questions right now. What I do know is like with many of the natural disasters that have hit around the world in the recent months and years, that this is a time to come together. To work together in our communities and try to find answers to our questions. To not move on as though this was all okay. It is not okay.

Articles I have found interesting from the online conversation:

‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’: A Mom’s Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America – Huffington Post

Guns-to-Work Laws Spread in U.S. as Business Fights NRA – Bloomberg

A Message to Todd Akin

I do not even know where to start on this debate. If I were in a cartoon I would have fire coming out my ears, and fireworks coming out of my mouth. I would be censored left and right. I just am flabbergasted by this politician’s comments. Seriously? There must not be a woman in his life that has ever been raped. Either that or he just has no respect for women. If he did he would eat his words.

What I am talking about pertains to Republican Senate Nominee, Todd Akin. Akin discussed his opposition to abortion rights “even in case of rape with a claim that victims of ‘legitimate rape’ have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.” This quote was from this article about the TV interview with Akin on Sunday. In his interview, Akin said the following:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

OMG. I am speechless. But only speechless because all of the words I want to say just are not nice. I am working on speaking up with clear, direct words, that are not @#$#%#$@$. The article states that rape is not “rare” and that “32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.” Maybe Akin should go through a simulation of what it is like for a woman to be raped, and then tell him he has to carry the baby he is now pregnant with – oh yeah, and Akin, remember you never consented to the sex you have just been forced into.

Why do men and politicians feel that they have any say in what a woman does with her body? What woman should ever be forced to have a baby, after being raped? Then be reminded that they must have that man’s baby in their body for 9 months and then raise it? How is that bringing a child into this world with all the love, happiness, and consensual desire to raise a child? Maybe Akin would think differently if he had to grow a baby in his belly after nine months, and then raise it. BY. HIMSELF.

I would love for someone, anyone to tell me how to look at this from another view, because right now I am just livid. I cannot seem to find any silver lining in this debate at all. I really do not like to talk about politics at all, but this is more than politics. This a woman who has been forced to have sex against her will. Oh yeah, and in Akin’s words: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Seriously? Akin, what part of the female body has a way to shut the whole damn thing down?

Please tell me.

Are Women Paid Fairly?

I am a bit cranky about this…yesterday I was reading the Daily Worth newsletter. Often I scan through their emails quickly and move on, but this time I read it entirely. It was about a bill that is being voted in on Congress today on the Paycheck Fairness Act. I wonder if this Act is going to pass, I want it to, but many news articles mention that it is not going to pass. How is that possible?

I am appalled. Come on folks it is 2012 and women STILL have to fight to have equal wages. Seriously? What a joke. Just like this Daily Worth poll, I had no idea that this Act was even up for vote. If we knew, would more women back and fight it? Yes, I think so. Why do we even have to fight this? If we are truly all created equal, why do we need to fight for workplace equality? Does it mean men add something to the job that women are not capable of doing? The last time I checked the only thing a man could do better was pee standing up. Was there something else I was missing?

As you can tell I am seriously appalled that Congress has to even waste time on this – it should have been passed years ago. It makes me question all the other things that might still be unequal for women. Are women still looked at as not strong enough? What other biases exist about women that still need to be expunged?

I need help with this, I am really struggling to see the bigger picture of why this is even a conversation. Thoughts?