Jesus Loves the Little Children; Westboro Doesn’t

Westboro Baptist Church might as well call itself “The Reigning Douches of the Religious World.” Their favorite past times include praising God for the deaths of children in Oklahoma, picketing soldier funerals to praise God for their deaths, and…picking on a five year old girl for selling lemonade. When I seriously think these guys can’t out do themselves, they prove me wrong.

Jayden Sink, a kid with a whole lot of courage and a good heart, set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Compound in Kansas. (Before we go any further, let me just point out that “compound” sounds a lot like a cult totally ready to drink the “Kool Aid.”) Jayden decided to use water, sugar, and lemons to raise money for love and peace.

westbaoro baptist church lemonade

Because it’s Westboro we’re dealing with, they yelled things at Jayden’s customers, tried to call the police on the girl, and made a general nuisance of themselves. I find it semi-hilarious that one child can make them get so upset. To be fair, the girl amassed a HUGE following very quickly. Jayden’s peace campaign received over $16,000 in donations! How awesome it that?

Call me naive, but I hoped that with such a show of support and a beautifully non-violent way of dealing with their hatefulness the Westboro people’s hearts would grow three times that day and they might even see how their so-called “mission” should be put to rest. What a fool I was!

Westboro decided to show Jayden what they thought of her cute little peace campaign with this:

westboro baptist church responds

Ok, at some point during this endeavor to put up a sign against lemonade and peace, someone should’ve said, “Uh, guys, are we seriously about to bully a little girl? Is this what we’ve ended up becoming? Is this what Jesus would do?” The very fact that Westboro thinks that the foundations of their “morality” can be done with LEMONADE and a FIVE YEAR OLD should probably tell them that their mission needs some revamping.

As a Christian, more on some days than others, I find myself feeling ill that I’m in some way associated with these people. They call themselves “Baptist” but I went to a Baptist church as a kid and nowhere at any point in a sermon did the pastor go, “God hates us all! Let’s go forth into the world and be utter assholes to everyone!” I’m pretty sure that was the exact opposite message I got from nice old man who tried to help me get on the stairway to Heaven.

Actually, one of my all time favorite sermons was about kids. Since I was a kid at the time, the idea that Jesus took time out of his busy saving people from demons schedule to bless children really impressed me. I’d like to think that Jesus wouldn’t just approve of Jayden’s endeavor but would also break out some five loaves-two fish action to make it a feast. Jesus was even quoted saying something that’s kind of stuck with me through the years:

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 9: 14-15)

On that note, my birthday is next week. Instead of getting me a gift, do me a solid and send donations to Planting Peace. Help little Jayden fight these jerks with the power of love.

Thanks and God bless!

Rethink the Rant

TRIGGER WARNING:

The following includes commentary that may serve as a trigger for victims of sexual violence.
Please be advised. 

In the wake of my post yesterday on the pervasiveness of rape culture, several people attempted to argue in the comment section that the piece was not complete without acknowledging the important idea of false rape accusations.

I attempted to explain that their argument had been intentionally excluded, as it is 1) not supported by data as a significant problem, and 2) the kind of apologism that made women fear disbelief should they come forward. The second part, I argued, was a perpetuation of rape culture, and I would not give them a platform for it. They argued. I presented data. They presented none, and tried to comment again and again.

And I decided I would no longer publish any comments which attempted to caveat rape culture with the…

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The fight doesn’t end with a hot button issue. Keeping up the fight to end rape culture is what we should do. I don’t intend to be quiet about it.

Rethink the Rant

TRIGGER WARNING:

The following includes descriptions, photos, and video that may serve as a trigger for victims of sexual violence.
Please be advised. 

Someone asked me today, “What is ‘rape culture’ anyway? I’m tired of hearing about it.”

Yeah, I hear ya. I’m tired of talking about it. But I’m going to keep talking about it because people like you keep asking that question.

Rape culture is when a group of athletes rape a young girl, and though there are dozens of witnesses, no one says, “Stop.”

Rape culture is when a group of athletes rape a young girl, and though there are dozens of witnesses, they can’t get anyone to come forward.

Rape culture is when a group of athletes rape a young girl, and adults are informed of it, but no consequences are doled out because the boys “said nothing happened.”

Rape culture is when a group…

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It’s a little scary to think that I might come back someday and become one of these “unfortunate victims are picked at random daily” by the “bad group of immigration officials at Narita that power trip on detaining foreigners entering Japan.” I’ve personally never experienced this problem myself, but I’ve heard tales from friends about harassment from the immigration services and security at Narita. Be careful, and if it happens to you, contact your embassy as soon as possible to let them know what happened.

Globalite Watchdog

Airline passengers, rights groups cite decades of corruption, extortion, rights violations at Tokyo’s Narita airport, once known as “Japan’s Vietnam” for its violent clashes and heavy security. 

by Christopher Johnson

Most travellers find Japan one of the safest countries in the world, even after the March tsunami and nuclear disasters. Haneda Airport in Tokyo Bay has won rave reviews for its new international wing.

But behind the scenes at Narita International Airport about 65 kilometres outside Tokyo, rights groups say that thousands of foreigners, including several Canadian expat workers in Japan, have been locked up in windowless dungeons under the airport, treated like criminals, separated from their luggage and wallets, and denied the right to immediately call lawyers, embassies or family. According to rights groups and several eyewitness accounts the past two decades, a shadowy group of security guards, subcontracted by airlines and possibly linked to organized crime, have harassed…

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Foz Meadows makes some great points about the ties between the Young Adult fiction genre and sexual confidence in young women. I really enjoyed reading this blog article because I remember being a young, impressionable teen girl. I remember classmates making fun of me for daring to read a romance novel in front of them, while boys could show off their porn mags without protest. I want to see a world where young girls can be safe and confident to explore their sexuality, instead of shamed and terrified.

shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows

Trigger warning: some mention of rape

TMI warning: masturbatory themes

In Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Habibi (which is problematic to say the least), there’s a scene where Zam, a preadolescent boy, watches with horror as his female caregiver and sole companion, Dodola, is raped. As Zam and Dodola live alone in the desert – and as, through a strange twist of circumstances, Dodola is less than ten years Zam’s senior – his sexual awakening has thus far consisted of a burgeoning, awkward attraction to Dodola, who is quite literally the only woman he knows. But after he witnesses her rape, he starts to loathe his own sexuality. Because that single, awful, abusive image is Zam’s sole frame of reference for adult sex, it’s what he pictures whenever he tries to imagine himself with Dodola; instinctively, he recoils from it, but without any knowledge of what consensual sex might look like…

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Some Goods News: A Small Rant (Not so much cursing this time)

Well, I discovered today that brave Savannah Dietrich will not be held in contempt. When I saw The Courier-Journal of Louisville, KY reported “Contempt motion withdrawn for assault victim Savannah Dietrich,” I could’ve sworn I heard the halleluiah choir singing from the heavens. At last, some sense of justice has prevailed!

And yet, as I read through the reasoning behind the withdraw, I felt a little pissed off.  On of the attacker’s attorney,  David Mejia, said in an interview, “What could contempt do now?” adding that the boys’ names have already been circulated far beyond the original tweet. “Seems like a rather useless exercise doesn’t it?” Well, yes, but it was also a dick move on your part, Mr. Mejia, but I suppose a man who protects the “good ol’ boys” wouldn’t really care about some girl’s rights when it comes to having pictures passed around about her fucking rape. God forbid the boys names are slandered!

The names of the boys, by the way, are not released to the general public because they’re minors. However, several videos on YouTube, White Knight/ Black Knight forums on various sites, and a whole bunch of other tweets claim to know who the boys are. I find this a little dangerous to spread around. It’s not because I don’t want to see those two asshats get their names smeared, but I will say that I don’t think people should take justice into their own hands and go vigilante on them. I’ve already heard talk about various people determined to make those boys’ lives living hell in return for what he did to Savannah. While one side of me cheers, the more logical side of me realizes that hurting the boys won’t do anything in terms of getting Savannah justice.

Instead, what I want to see is some new legislation put into effect. I want to see more laws that protect the victim’s rights, laws that would trump a ruling like Judge McDonald’s. After I simmered down from the earlier rant, I felt a cold chill when I realized that this gag order could happen to any victim of rape and assault. There’s nothing to protect victims from a gag order like that, and honestly, I don’t know if it’s happened before because the victims are silenced.

I still want to hear from Judge McDonald on the reasoning behind the asinine decision to silence a victim of rape and call that justice. So far, I hear only silence. What’s wrong, McDonald? You’re not afraid to speak up and pick on 17 year old rape victims when no one knows about it, but now that there’s some attention called to your decision you go all quiet? Asshole.

I am glad the motion was withdrawn, and I am extremely happy that Savannah will never have to serve jail time for standing her ground. At the same time, I feel like this battle is only half-way over. The war is getting to  a day when all victims of assault- be they women or men, children or adults- can break the silence without fear of backlash. A day when they can face their attackers and get justice instead of shame. I want to see a world that blames the attacker first, victim second. Until that day comes, we haven’t won.

But today, Savannah wins, and that is one victory I cherish.

 

Where our legal system still goes wrong: A Rant (Warning! Copious amounts of cursing)

I read an article tonight about an unfortunately fucking awful situation unfolding in my home state, Kentucky. In the article “Savannah Dietrich, 17-Year-Old Sexual Assault Victim, Faces Charge For Naming Attackers” on Huffington Post, I discovered that this brave girl was put under a gag order by the oh-so “honorable” Judge Dee McDonald to not talk about what happened in court or the crime itself.

What was the crime? Savannah was sexually assaulted. Two boys she knew assaulted her, and somehow pictures were taken of her assault and then shared! Savannah was quoted saying, “For months, I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t go out in public places…You just sit there and wonder, who saw (the pictures), who knows?” She dared to defy the gag order (you go girl!) and tweet about what happened and release the names of the two boys.

There are many reason this case pisses me the fuck off. Firstly, how the hell is it alright for those two boys to pass around her assault pictures, showing exactly what happened to her, but the girl is not allowed to tweet their fucking names? The answer is simple: NO, IT’S NOT FUCKING OKAY AND IT’S NOT FUCKING JUSTICE!

These boys violated her body and then violated her privacy by showing those goddamned photos. Not only should she be allowed to tweet their names, but please, by all means, show a mugshot of the assholes! They deserve no less.

Next, what the fuck Judge McDonald? A gag order? As if it’s hard enough for victims of sexual abuse and assault to come forward, now we’re going to silence them after the fact? And for what? To protect two shitheads that will most likely commit another sexual offense in the future? Are you fucking kidding me?

When I saw that my hero Savannah was told to not talk about the crime, I saw red. A vital part of the fucking healing process of rape is motherfucking talking about it! To deny her that right denies her the ability to heal from this experience. Also, silencing her prevents her from helping other woman who’ve been involved in a rape. If she so chose to share her experience with others, she could get jailed for it when all she wants to do is help another victim. What kind of message does that send? Talk and you will be the one in trouble.

And here’s my final word: How the fuck is it that we supposedly live in an “enlightened” modern world with all in equality YET bullshit like this is still fucking happening?

One would think that after the Sandunsky trial we would’ve learned something. Silence does not solve the fucking problem! It creates more victims, it creates shame, and it prevents justice from being done. When the legal system demands that silence, where can victims go for justice?

To Savannah, I admire your bravery. Thank you for breaking the silence. I’m on your side.

Fuck the Silence.