About Me

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Feminist. Pro-womanist. Anti-racist. Pro-GLBT rights. Pro-diversity of all kinds. Vegetarian/bordline-vegan. My spouse is Ghanaian. I've visited Ghana twice and think it is beautiful place, and one that everyone would be lucky to visit.

Monday, August 31, 2009


I feel so weighed down by everyone else's expectations
They expect me to be feminine and pretty,
when that's just not me,
they expect me to shave my legs and stay thin,
to fix my hair and put on make-up,
to spend money I don't have on brand names I don't care about,
why should I give my hard-earned cash to some rich designer who's done nothing for me?
They expect me to have a smile on my face 24/7,
yet give me nothing to smile about,
somehow my being female is highly offensive
when it's not topped off with a smile
and a nice rack,
so sorry I can't play bimbo for you,
I'm not going to giggle at jokes that aren't even funny,
if that's what you want go to H**ters or something,
the "pay off" I would get
isn't even worth the effort,
I'm expected to be a master chef,
and keep a spotless home on top of my own pursuits
but no one can tell me where I'm supposed to get the time and energy,
and on top of the exhaustion I'm supposed to keep a perfect, pleasant attitude at all times
There aren't anti-depressants enough in the world
to make me into this perfect, Stepford wife
that the world demands I be
I'm much more concerned with what I want:
I want to always be improving on myself,
I want to learn as much as I can,
I want to know why things are the way they are,
and how to make positive change,
I want to find people who think like I do,
who appreciate all I do for them,
and who do nice things in return,
I want to play the guitar and sing,
to be able to spend time with the ones I love,
I want to speak my mind without being called a b!tch,
but most of all I want to be me,
and I want that to be enough

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Can anyone refer me to a comprehensive tutorial for this blogger thing? I'm wondering if there is some way to search for people with similar interests or even to search for friends by name. Is there any way to promote your blog in a more subtle way than going on other blogs, commenting, and saying "check out my blog at..." That seems sort of in-your-face for me. Any advice you want to share on how to use blogger would be welcome. Thanks everybody!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

For Those Who Have Been Raped (and those who love them...)

I have studied rape and the psychological effects of rape since high school (1993) after seeing how it affected friends of mine. I wanted to know how I could have better reacted to their disclosures and helped them. In college I was involved in a group that spoke out and educated college classes about rape. Since then I have met many women who have been raped by men, quite a few men who have been raped by men, and one man and one woman who were raped by women. These are just people who have disclosed to me their experiences. Who knows how many more people had similar experiences, but didn't tell me about it! Since rape is the most underreported crime the statistics on it are next to impossible to verify. Here are some things that people who have been victimized can do to heal after a rape. Also there is a short list of things people can do for their loved ones who have been victimized.

For all rape survivors

-Get yourself (and others) safe

-It is not your fault, your attacker has full responsibility for his or her own actions

-It doesn't mean you are weak-Prepare yourself for flashbacks and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) by reading up and researching these

-Rape is not caused by an uncontrollable urge for sex, but by a desire for power over another

-Do not hate or punish your body by over- or under-eating, self-injuring, smoking, drinking in excess, drugs, having promiscuous or unprotected sex, or in any other way harming yourself

-Get depressed or angry, but do not hurt yourself or others (unless it is in self-defense)

-Report it within 24 hours if there is ANY chance you will pursue it (and do not bathe, eat, or drink before your exam)

-You can call a rape crisis center to get someone to go with you to report a rape or to get an exam done

-You don't owe it to anyone to report it if you choose not to

-The legal process can be a long, drawn-out process; research it as much as you can to know what you are in for and to better prepare yourself

-Do not think that if your case does not make it past the police or through the court system and to justice that your experience is somehow less worthy; it is not about whether your rape was real or not or whether it was damaging or not, but about whether you have the right amount of evidence and fit the stereotype of the most violent, forceful rape (and the most innocent, pure victim) possible

-You may not realize right away that what you experienced was rape or sexual assault, but if you were unwilling or underaged or incapacitated or mentally incapable of consenting it was rape!

-Unwilling sex is rape whether or not you say no, resist, or fight back and have proof that you said no, resisted, and fought like hell

-Find your own unique way of dealing with it- therapy, writing, exercising (but not over-exercising), screaming, punching (a punching bag, of course), self-defense, counseling others (when you are ready), etc. can all be helpful

-If you decide to find a counselor keep trying until you find one that you are very comfortable with

-If you do not have insurance you can still get free counseling at a rape crisis center or you can find a counselor who is open to a sliding scale payment (in other words they will negotiate a price with you)

-If you are more comfortable with a counselor of one sex or the other feel free to seek one out based on that

-When facing what happened to you head-on balance it with positive experiences (limit the time you spend on it per day and then put it away!)

-Take back control of your sexuality- have sex or don't when you choose it; do not give in to pressure either way

-Choose carefully who you disclose to- some people can be dismissive, disbelieving, unsympathetic, and some will even blame you for another person's actions against you! The problem is with these people not with you

-You are not unworthy of love and being treated well

-Some rape survivors especially survivors of child sexual abuse react by becoming promiscuous and some become afraid of or avoidant of sex

-Some rape survivors become depressed or anxious or suffer from other mental illnesses, and may choose to get counseling, go to a hospital, or go on medication and there is nothing to be ashamed of in that

-Some survivors become suicidal, there is nothing wrong with this BUT DO NOT ACT ON IT! Find help no matter how many people or organizations you have to go to and be turned away by, or call 911 ASAP!

-If anyone discounts your rape or abuse pay them no mind; if you need to and can avoid them until they are more supportive

-If you feel an urge to harm others please seek help and don't act on it!

Child sexual abuse survivors

-You may respond by acting out in overly-sexual ways and that doesn't make you bad

-If you were abused by someone of the same sex you may be confused about your sexuality, but the abuse isn't about your sexuality it is about another person's desire to control someone else

-You may have a lot of anger at the adults in your life who didn't protect you; that is okay; work through it to ease that burden from yourself and heal those relationships you want to keep

-You may find yourself having flashbacks or other reactions when a child close to you is the age you were when you were abused

-You might find yourself drawn to people like your abuser

-You might be drawn to people who will mistreat you because that is what you grew up with and that is what feels familiar, and therefore strangely comfortable, to you

-Your experience does not make you any less than or different than other kids

For women who have been raped by men

-You will be angry at and afraid of men, don't let anyone make you feel bad for that, but work to heal this anger and fear when you are ready to

-Not all men are evil, but not all men are good either

-You don't have to avoid sex or have sex unless you choose to

For men who have been raped by men

-This does not make you "gay" (which is not a bad thing anyway) or a "sissy" (also not a bad thing depending on who you ask)

-This kind of rape is more common than people know because it is still hard for men to report or speak about male on male rape

For men who have been raped by women

-What happened to you is rape and is not an unheard of occurance, it is just not talked about as openly as male on female or male on male rape

-You were victimized and you don't have to act like you weren't or like you were "lucky" even if the woman was attractive

-This does not make you a "sissy"

-If you were under 16 to 18, especially if the other person was over 18, what happened to you was rape; you don't have to act like it didn't hurt you

-There is little information on female on male rape; you may have to be one of the first to speak out

For women who have been raped by women

-What happened to you was rape

-What happened to you may be uncommon, but it is not unheard of

-There is little information on this kind of rape; you may have to be one of the first to speak out about it

For loved ones of rape survivors (whether it just happened or happened years or decades ago)

-Tell them you believe them

-Tell them you support them

-Tell them you love them

-Ask before touching them especially if the rape was recent

-If it is your significant other who was raped understand that sex might be difficult and even physically painful for them, don't pressure them to have sex when they are not ready

-Know that recovery is a long process and may pop up for years or even decades

-Know that not all rape survivors respond in the same way or in a way you would expect: some cry, some are emotionless, some are angry; some become afraid to go out, some become bold and reckless about their actions, going out at night, alone, etc.

-Let them heal in their own time, even if it takes years or decades

-Contact a rape crisis center to get more information and to ask any questions you may have

-Research rape and the common reactions to know what to expect while helping your loved one heal

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let people be who they are- GLBTQI

A gay man was stomped nearly to death in a nearby town in Massachusetts. I don't understand people! Gay people are always going to be around. You can cry, kick, scream, thrash about- they're not going anywhere. So we have two options: we can continue to try to repress them and have millions of ruined male-female marriages because we are married to people who want to be with someone of the same sex but risk disapproval at best if they come out, or we can JUST LET PEOPLE BE WHO THEY ARE, love who they love, and fork who they want to fork (in this blog I will use the word fork instead of the obvious other word so as not to be crass).

If your reasons for disliking gays and lesbians (and bisexuals, transgendered people, inter-sex people, queers, etc.) is religious keep in mind not everyone is of the same religion. And not everyone of your religion views things exactly the same. There are many different interpretations for every holy book there is, and many rules that are listed in them are no longer followed; ask yourself: why am I so afraid of this one particular rule but not the others? Is it really religious or is it mostly out of fear? If you are interested in learning more feel free to ask me and I will find you some resources.

If your reason for disliking gays and lesbians is because they do not conform to their assigned gender roles (gay men are not "manly" enough, and lesbians are just too unfeminine), that is a different issue altogether. Not all straight men and women fit their assigned roles either. And not all gays and lesbians fit into the assumed butch/femme dichotomy (dichotomy means an either-or, polar opposite standard). People are becoming more and more aware these days that the gender roles and stereotypes that people believe in don't really fit anymore, and perhaps gender is just a social construct (or a role made up by society based on stereotypes about what is a man and what is a woman).

If your reason for disliking gays and lesbians is because you just find gay and lesbian sex to be "icky" then there's really no nice way to say this other than grow up! You don't have to imagine every couple having sex and there are plenty of straight couples that you would probably be grossed out thinking about doing the deed (think: your parents!).

Another reason people often cite is that gay sex is "unnatural". But people don't always do things that are natural anymore. In fact a lot of things are unnatural and we still use, buy, consume them. Also if we look to the animal world as the model of what is and isn't natural this theory is entirely untrue! Anyone who has been around more than ten dogs for any extended period of time has probably seen all kinds of activity between two dogs (and sometimes one dog and an inanimate object or a random body part, ie. your leg, etc.).

One thing I will say about gay sex that is true for all kinds of sex is that people need to use protection. Make sure you know how to use condoms, kids!