So, um, hi!  *waves*

The good news is that about 5 months ago, I started working at a new place.  I may post more details under f-lock later, but suffice to say that the money, coworkers, and overall environment are now significantly better than they were.  In fact, it's exact the sort of place at which I envisioned working as I was finishing school.  Career-wise, while I wouldn't call myself completely settled, I do feel that I'm finally starting to reap the rewards of all the dues I've paid since March of 2011, which was when I finally bit the bullet and went back to school.

Here's the thing... At first, I was very busy after I started at the new place - learning the ropes, getting used to the hours, and generally learning the culture as one does when one is just starting a new job, which was my excuse for setting my writing aside for a time.

I also made a number of resolutions when I left my former place for this one, but one of the biggest was to keep my head down, avoid drama as much as possible, and not get too involved with my coworkers' lives.  This has served me well.

Very well, actually.  So well that my overall stress level has decreased considerably, which is awesome.

Except that apparently, I can't write when I'm happy.  So once again, the sequel to "The Perfect Storm" has stalled, which is, naturally, the bad news.  Well, that and the bridging chapter, the one that is absolutely essential in order for anything I've written that takes place after it make sense, is nearly 20,000 words of utter dogshit.  Thanks to beta reading, it's getting better, but for some reason, the words simply aren't there, the story doesn't flow, and I feel as though I'm leading the characters instead of the other way around, something that I've sworn from the beginning that I wouldn't do.

Long story short - I haven't forgotten, I haven't given up, but I'm really hoping that something terrible doesn't have to happen in order for my muse to return from where it seems to have retreated.

Thank you to everyone who's been so encouraging and patient - it means more to me than I can say.
This is your trigger warning.

Scroll fast if you need to because I'm not cutting this.

Before this case came about, I'd heard of Steubenville from a lovely older couple (the Enditches from Steubenville, which is how I remember) on a bus tour I took roughly twenty-two years ago.

I didn't know about the football program there or how it was basically the only thing that held the town together.  However, when I heard it, it didn't surprise me because of how utterly beyond the pale OSU fans are.  They riot sometimes when they WIN, :/.

For those of you who are either not in the U.S. or who have been living under a large boulder for the last few months, a young woman of sixteen got drunk at a party last August and was dragged, semi-conscious and unconscious to several locations, where she was sexually assaulted multiple times.  She didn't know she'd been attacked until the next day, when she discovered multiple text posts, pictures, and videos about/of the assaults had been posted online.

Sunday, two football players, Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, were convicted of "digitally penetrating" her. There were at least two dozen other witnesses/possible assailants, but these two were (in my opinion) the sacrificial lambs.  I wonder how good they were on the team?  I wonder how many more players/bystanders actually assaulted this young woman?  These two young men were convicted in juvenile court despite their ages (seventeen and sixteen, which in a lot of cases would have them tried as adults), which means that once they're over twenty-one, their records could be swept clean.  Yes, they have to register as "juvenile sex offenders" and yes, their pictures have been plastered all over the media, (we'll be talking more about the media in a moment), which will hopefully help to save future victims, but they still won't have ADULT criminal records.  This still won't necessarily ruin their lives forever in the same way it's affected the life of their victim, who has been shamed in court and received death threats from two other young women via social media sites.  Ohio's Attorney General is charging those who made the latest threats, but where are the charges against all of those who watched this young women be raped?  Not only that, but made videos in which they were laughing about her being raped.

To be clear, I think that this young woman can overcome this, but she might not.  She might not be able to come back from what they did to her.  Her life might spiral out of control because of the control that was stolen from her that night.  She's a survivor either way, but whether this rules her life forever or she's able to put it behind her, the fault still lies with those who, according to the prosecution, "treated her like a toy."

Where is the outrage?  Oh, that's right.  It's being directed towards the RAPISTS, in that media outlets like CNN think it's a shame that their lives were ruined by all of this. (Here's a petition you can sign to tell them what you think of their coverage of this issue.)  And the fucking Onion predicted all of this two years ago.

So what am I taking away from all of this?  I'm not a person once I get drunk.  Hell, I'm not a person if I'm out after dark alone or forget to lock my door or to set my alarm or am not careful enough with my surroundings or wear pants that are "too tight," a skirt that is "too short," or a burqa that shows "too much ankle."  You see where I'm going with this, right?

We teach men that women are "asking for it."  We teach them that they aren't responsible for their actions and that their "innocent lives" could be ruined by "giving in" to a girl who was too drunk to say no.  We shame rape victims so much that someone made a video called, "Shit Everyone Says To Rape Victims," and I'd heard them all before.

Our society doesn't teach men not to rape. Look at what happened to the woman who dared to suggest that we do so on Fox News - she was vilified and got both rape and death threats. Bullying is a part of it - men are bullied by their peers into going along with behavior that makes them seem "manly" to said peers. Even now, we're telling them to "man up," as though being a man is automatically strong and capable.


However, young men are also bullied by their fathers who bullied them, "Don't be a [misogynistic slur]" if they dare to express their emotions. They are bullied by a society that tells them that they aren't "real men" unless they attract as many women as possible, by any means possible. This is not peer-on-peer bullying. This is bullying at every level, from every angle, every day from the moment these young men are born.


If this is not 100% clear - I'm not excusing their actions, but until the rape culture stops telling women how they can avoid rape instead of telling men not to rape, cases like this will continue to happen.  People are starting to think this way (in Vancouver, an ad campaign entitled "Don't Be That Guy" has helped to reduce sexual assaults there by 10%), but the process is entirely too slow.   Also, the myth of the stranger attack needs to go away. Most women are raped by men they know. The Steubenville survivor even testified that she "thought she could trust" one of her rapists and didn't realize that she couldn't until she saw all of the social media about her attack the next day.

Can you imagine that?  Finding out you were raped (and that multiple bystanders, many of whom were your classmates, stood around ENJOYING your rape as though it was entertainment) via fucking Facebook and Twitter?  Can you imagine having two supposed friends of yours call you a liar and end your friendship because they wanted you to leave the party and you didn't do so, ergo what happened to you was your fault?

I've spoken about this before, but seeing what this sixteen-year-old woman is having to go through, with 18,000 townspeople she's known all her life and thousands more strangers online all acting as though this situation came about because she was drunk and not because those young men are fucking rapists, is making me sick on a level I can't begin to express.

She deserves better.  She deserves to be believed, to be supported, to be cared for, and, above all, to be told it was NOT HER FAULT!  But we don't do that in this country, or apparently any other, if Steig Larson and recent reports out of India are accurate, which I'm certain they are.  And those are only two examples - if anyone knows of a country/culture where rape is considered SOLELY the fault of the rapist, I would certainly love to hear about it, as I could use some good news on this front today.

The worst part - everything I've linked here is the barest tip of an iceberg so huge it could sink a million Titanics.  I could find dozens more links, all telling me that in the eyes of the world, my bodily autonomy is subject to the whims of others.

Society doesn't see me as a person.  I'm going to fight to change that.


ETA: Henry Rollins' commentary is rather similar to mine.
Schrödinger’s Rapist  (Or a guy's guide to approaching strange women without being maced.) ~Phaedra Starling

This is a blog post that I've been hearing about for years, but only recently found a link to.  If you are male and have to interact with unknown women at any time for any reason, this applies to you to one degree or another.  Yes, it even applies to you if you're gay, because no woman knows that if you are a stranger, :). 

Obviously, if you're gay, it applies less because you aren't looking for the "relationship" aspect of this interaction, but I think it's important for everyone with male privilege to keep this stuff in mind, regardless of their actual intentions towards women - this is about what sort of image you present to a woman to whom you are a stranger and who isn't aware of your desires, orientation, or anything about you at all other than the fact you're male. 

In truth, I wish I'd had this to link to when I did my "Don't Talk To Strangers" post, because it pretty much exactly mirrors what I was trying to convey, but didn't have the words to express.   

On The ERA

Oct. 1st, 2011 06:12 pm
I've been hearing about the Equal Rights Amendment for most of my life.  My dad was (and I assume, is, though the subject hasn't come up recently) very anti-ERA (big shock to all of you, I know).  From the semi-coherent ramblings he gave me on the subject, I assumed it was a plot to turn women into men (or something equally stupid).  I'd never actually read the text of it until last week and I have to say, it utterly stunned me:

bulletSection 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
bulletSection 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
bulletSection 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
That's it.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. 

It's mind-boggling, stunning, sickening - I really can't put into words how horrified I am that this has been impossible to pass.  

Cut for length and possible triggers for everything associated with anti-feminist thought. )

Why is all of this so difficult?

Why can't I just be a person? 
[Error: unknown template qotd]I would erase the intrinsic idea that most human beings have that anyone "Other" is someone to be feared.  I know the place where it comes from is one that helped our ancestors to survive (because it told us that the thing that went "bump" in the night might be a bear coming to eat us or that a stranger might be a drain on resources already stretched thin by subsistence living), but I'd truly rather that our species never have made it to this point, instead of us being sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic and generally horrible to anyone who doesn't fit within our specific definition of "normal" (which is something that literally varies from person to person and no one really has set values for anyway).

Cut for length and mentions of harm. )

Bottom line:  I would erase all of the excuses and justifications that people use to rationalize hurting those who are different from them.   

*weeping*

Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:32 pm
Missing Trans Woman Found Dead

There are several issues here, so I'm going to try and address them one at a time and be as coherent as I can despite my surprisingly overwhelming sense of grief for someone I didn't even know.

A quote from the article: She worked with people with disabilities but also had a police record for prostitution.

It saddens me beyond all measure that they felt the need to mention her police record for prostitution in the same breath as her work with those with disabilities.  As if one negated the other.

But I forgot.  Sex workers are inherently tainted, aren't they? 

As far as her status as a trans woman and the bearing it has here, given past cases, I have to wonder if it wasn't the cause of her death.  If the person who killed her (assuming it was murder - the police report says she died of asphyxiation, but not if it was due to an outside person) did so because they found out she'd been born with male genitalia.  And it makes me think of all the people out there who think that transgender persons are under ANY obligation to disclose their status, when the leading cause of death among transgender persons is MURDER because of ignorant bigots finding out their status.

To be clear: if you think that a trans person should tell anyone that they are trans for ANY reason whatsoever, you're an asshole.  It's their business and only theirs.  Not yours.  Not mine.  Only.  THEIRS.  Period. 

I've had this argument before and I'm going to make something else clear - I'm done arguing.  If you have an opinion that differs, keep it to yourself.  While I'm normally okay with having discussions here... not about this, not today and maybe not ever again.  Not when I keep seeing stories like this because of the sort of hatred that still exists in this world that will allow a bigot to justify ending an innocent life simply because of how that person is living it.   

Again, I don't know that this woman was murdered, but given past history, it's the most likely cause of her death. 

Cross-posted to Abolish Slavery - Legalize Prostitution.
Well, kids, it's official:

My muse is on holiday.  Right now I owe 23,000 words in total for the $230 my bidders donated for flood relief.  The biggest chunk is a 20,000 word Perfect Storm sequel which I've started, but which right now is made of utter suck.  I know what I want to say and how I want it to go, but my fingers don't want to make the connection from my brain to the page.

I'm starting to wonder if my anti-anxiety medication isn't affecting my ability to write?  )
So do any of you have any ideas for jump-starting a stalled muse?  I'll take anything, :).

South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers

When I first saw this story, I thought it had to be a case of bad reporting, but no - there's more than one source:

Source 2

Source 3

Source 4  South Dakota legislators have tried repeatedly  to outlaw abortion, but those bans were rejected by voters. So they've passed several laws to chip away at abortion rights, Sheppard reports. Women seeking an abortion have to listen to a lecture that they're terminating "the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being," then wait 24 hours to get the medical procedure. And for 16 years, the state has had no abortion providers--Planned Parenthood flies in a doctor once a week to Sioux Falls.

I'm actually numb with shock right now and can't think of anything coherent to say other than the title to this entry. There's no clever icon I can use, no words to express how horrified, disgusted and actually violated I feel that this could be even be considered, let alone get this far.

If I think about this long enough, I'm going to start to cry, so this will be something that just gets pushed into the RAGE BOX until I can begin to actually process it and think about what could be done to stop it.

Just...

Shit like this is why there are only 836 doctors even willing to perform abortions in the US and that number probably just went down today.  I can't blame them, but I can hope that every pro-life woman out there finds herself needing an abortion.  A horrible thing to feel, let alone say?  Yes, but it's truly how I feel in this moment.  If you're willing to kill for this and allow other women to die for it, you should be willing to die for it yourself. 

Period.

Ohio “Heartbeat” bill could ban abortion just 18 days after conception

Quick show of hands, all you moms out there:

How many of you knew you were pregnant EIGHTEEN FUCKING DAYS after conception?

This is it.  I'm done.  From now on my stance on abortion is as follows:

My body, my choice.  Your body, your choice.  I don't care what you do with your body so long as you don't infringe on my body while you're doing it.  Every woman should have access to an abortion at any point during her pregnancy for any reason she chooses to have it.  PERIOD.  What is growing inside of her isn't alive until it takes a breath outside her body.  Until then, it is a fucking parasite and has ZERO rights that infringe upon the woman who is carrying it.   

No more fucking arguments about when a life becomes a life, because it leads to shit like this.  A life becomes a life when the woman carrying it CHOOSES to bring it into the world and not one moment before.  PERIOD. 

It only becomes a life when it is breathing outside of the woman.  NOT when it could theoretically take a breath.  When it is actually fucking BREATHING

If you don't like my definition of life, fuck off.  Seriously.  Fuck off.  Either I have the right to say what is done with my body AND WHEN or I don't.  If I do, I'm a human being.  If I don't, I'm a broodmare whose only purpose is propagation of the species.  If I don't, I should never be heard from and stay in my house, pumping out child after child with no other thought or reason to exist. 

The moment someone says, "Abortion should ONLY be allowed IF," it turns every woman into a beggar for basic human dignity and respect.  It makes female rights contingent upon what someone else feels is moral.  It takes my body and turns it into a vessel for someone else to fill with whatever they fuck they feel like putting in there.  

Either I'm a person or I'm an incubator.

Try and make me into an incubator.  I fucking dare you. 

Try. 
"Bruises and broken bones do not define rape - a lack of consent does. Stand up and oppose the dangerous GOP legislation to redefine rape."

Please sign this petition to stop the GOP from continuing to limit personal liberty.

WTF, BBC?

Dec. 30th, 2010 09:07 pm
If you haven't heard, the BBC decided to interview a Christian who supports the execution of gays to comment on Sir Elton John's baby with his civil Partner David Furnish.

They are now defending this action, saying that it was required to 'balance' the coverage.

[livejournal.com profile] mercury_phoenix has sent a letter to the BBC in protest and [livejournal.com profile] sparkindarkness  has summed up the WTF far better than I ever could, so all I'm going to say is that having this asshat comment on a gay couple having a baby is offensive, disgusting, homophobic and generally makes me want to stop the planet so that I can get off.  

This is not a question of 'balance', BBC, this is a question of human rights, freedoms, and dignity, three topics that you obviously are as versed in as I am in Sanskrit. 

WARNING:  RAPE TRIGGERS AHEAD.  

I saw the Keith Olbermann segment with Michael Moore because I watch Keith Olbermann.  I saw Michael Moore say that the rape allegations against Julian Assange stank to high heaven.  And based upon WHAT THEY SAID, I agreed that it sounded fishy because whoever heard of 'sex by surprise?  And because I trust them.  

Now the details of those allegations have been released and guess what, it's not and accusation of 'sex by surprise', it's and accusation of RAPE. 

Tiger Beatdown has organized a protest on Twitter both to draw attention to how rape survivors are treated in the media and to call out both Micheal Moore and Keith Olbermann.  Michael Moore, especially, as he donated $20,000 to Assange's bail fund.  The protest is getting seriously trolled by every time of misgynistic rape-denying asshat on the planet, but they're still keeping it going for one very important reason:

The survivors who are accusing Assange of rape?  Their information has been made public and have received death threats.  They're in danger of being killed or RAPED AGAIN by crazy Assange supporters and Keith Olbermann's response is a non-apology apology that says that the #mooreandme protesters are hurting rather than helping. 

I'm not even going into Michael Moore, for while I generally think that his movies say things that need to be said, there have been allegations in the past that he's not a documentary maker so much as a movie maker.  They're allegations that I've let slide because his essential message is generally one that I agree with, but the fact remains is that sometimes he's made of fail just like everyone else.

If Julian Assange dies tomorrow, it's a political assasination.  If he gets convicted of rape based on what these charges say he did, he's a RAPIST and should be treated as one.  It's possible for someone who does something that people see as positive to still be a rapist.  The two aren't mutually exclusive.  Dismissing the charges that these women made based upon who they were made against is the worst form of cover-up.  Cases like this are one of the many reasons WHY SURVIVORS DON'T REPORT RAPE.  Because if the rapist is rich and/or powerful enough, they can ruin your life more than they have already and get away with it.

Hell, Charlie Sheen falsely imprisoned and assaulted a porn star, but because of her profession and who he is, he gets a walk.

The message that all of this is sending is that if the person that rapes or hurts you is in any way higher in the social strata than you are, they're going to get away with it.  I know that this isn't news to anyone, but it needs to stop.     


Everything you ever wanted to know about dating a sex worker.  Pass it on, please.
Ganked from [livejournal.com profile] rm, though I deleted one sentence, paraphrased another and added one more, :).

So there's an LJ meme about your holiday wishlist.

The wishes can be anything from small and with no obvious monetary value to unlikely and/or extravagant. The idea is that I post mine and you post yours, and if people are inclined some of those wishes may just come true. For example, if you have a leather jacket you don’t want or a gift certificate you’re never going to use, that might just be the thing that could make someone else's holiday.

Anyway this is an entirely guilt/obligation-free/why-not sort of thing.  Just a bit of whimsy, and I do not expect nor require anyone to participate, :).

If you have already or do post one of these in the future, please comment with a link so that everyone can spread the word around.  Remember: one person's trash is another person's treasure, :).

Cut for my list, an incredibly vague trigger and my thoughts on this time of year, :). Happy Holidays! :) )  

I hope that everyone is safe and happy for this season and beyond and wish you all Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Everyone, :).

Thank you all for being my friends, :)!
As everyone who reads this should know, I'm pansexual.  I am attracted to personalities, not physical appearance.  I can appreciate someone whom society tells me is beautiful, but their gender enters into it only as an afterthought.  In addition to this, I don't believe in monogamy.  While I'm very committed to those whom I love, I don't allow jealousy or possessiveness.  Period.  I'm not an object - I'm a human being.  And so are those whom I love and/or have sex with.

There are those who feel that my identity as a human being is immoral, that a person should only love one person of the opposite gender (or only one person, as I am discriminated against by some gay, lesbian and bisexual persons as well for not being monogamous).  People look down on me for being free with my sexuality. 

They tell me that I'm immoral, but they never adequately explain how or why.  Why is it immoral for me to love more than one person?  Hell, so long as everyone practices safe sex (in the interests of public health), why is it immoral for me to fuck every person I feel sexually attracted to?  

Who am I hurting?  So long as I am not an unsafe sex-practicing carrier of disease and make no promises that I can't or won't keep, how does my identity as a human being hurt anyone else?  I'm honest, up-front and completely open with who I am.  

Who am I hurting?  No one.  But there are those who feel that my sex life is their business and that they have a right to control me in the name of a morality to which I don't subscribe.

To me, something is moral if it causes no direct harm to anyone else.  It is moral if everyone is adult and it is consensual.  It is moral if it is honest. 

My identity is moral.  Period. 
Under the cut is an incredibly long exploration of possible reasons why our society sees certain identities as immoral, as well as the possible causes of GLBTQP identities. (WARNING: This will likely be offensive to some of you, but I do have a method to my madness. I hope. If I fail, please let me know how, because I tried really hard not to fail with this post.) There is also an examination of the differences between civilized and uncivilized human beings.  )
So when you tell me that I'm less than human because your 'morality' tells you so, I reject your morality.  I reject your primitive version of civilization.  I reject your identity as an asshat, because again, unless you are a born asshat (i.e., a psychopath), you can choose to be a decent, civilized human being instead.  

I didn't choose my sexual identity, but I did choose my identity as a decent, civilized and ultimately (despite my many, many failings) moral human being.  


ETA: I'm rather glad that I thought of something cool to post about for my 600th entry, :).
Woman Utters Line Never Previously Recorded In A Police Report

Warning:  This is one of the worst things I've ever read.  Cut for sexual assault triggers. )

This is yet another case of our society needing to get it's head out of its ass where sexual equality is concerned.
I'm ashamed of myself as I write this, because about five years ago I laughed at this joke.  I'm writing about it as a 'full disclosure' sort of thing and then I'll go on to why I'm choosing to write about it today.

Awkwardly cut for length, serious suicide triggers and slight child rape/murder triggers.  )

And that, finally, is the thrust of my argument.  We're saying these things to people over speech.  Hate speech, some of it, but still, speech.  I may loathe Clint McCance on principle, but dying in a fire for being a bigot is cruel and unusual punishment.  I'm NOT saying that we shouldn't call out the bigots or tell them that their behavior is inexcusable, please don't get me wrong here.  I'm only saying that we shouldn't sink to their level as we are doing so.  

And for the record, Harry Potter rocks!  (The books, not the movies, but that's a whole other rant...)





When I first began to suspect I had HFA, I contacted a high school acquaintance (now facebook friend) who actually studies brains and asked him about it.  His first response (in part)?  

You strike me as a very empathetic person. Your Facebook posts show that you have a keen sense of how others feel. (For example, think of how you feel about all this recent bullying news!). You probably don't have to "figure out" or "calculate" how others feel... you just empathize automatically. You also seem to be a person willing to try new things and can be social when you choose to be. If you were "autistic enough" to have anything to worry about, you would probably have been diagnosed by now. ASD folks tend to be noticeably weird. But then, there are also perfectly normal people who are weird. :)

I wrote back with my (very long list of) suspicions as to why I was feeling that way and he was very supportive and felt that since I was so high-functioning, I should only mess with a good thing if it was making me unhappy.  I felt fairly comforted by it, especially by his impression of me as having empathy for others, but recent events have forced me to realize that he was wrong.

I have empathy for certain people and situations.  If we agree (or mostly agree), I have empathy for you.  However, if you disagree with me, a lot of the times I am actually completely unable to see your POV.  At all. 

Cut for epic! length, rambling and incoherence. Read at your own risk. )
There are no rules to human interaction, but I really wish there were some, :(.  I also wish that there were a way to predict how people would react in a given situation, but I know it's a forlorn hope.  

In summary, I'm stubborn, set in my ways and will defend my position to the death if you come at me in a way that makes me feel as though it's necessary, even if you honestly aren't attacking me, only my position.

However, if you give me a thoughtful, reasoned, CALM explanation of why and how the Earth goes around the Sun, I'll listen.  It might take me a while to reset that part of my brain to accept it, but I will listen.

Finally, if for whatever reason you feel that what I've said is so made of fail that you can't be respectful, please send me a PM and vent there, because if you do it publicly, it won't end well.  

Thanks for your time and attention.

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