Social Philosophy

Diminshed memories

Let’s Talk About Kasandra Perkins for a Change.
The man who abused her and killed her was a sports star, so she gets to be a bit player in her own death – a mere cipher to discuss him. It is not the same as he put her through – but it certainly is analogous. She deserves a voice in this story, as it is hers too. She suffered. Her baby is motherless, fatherless, and this is the legacy she has too. Her father is ‘mistaken’, a ‘victim of sports pressure’. There is even suggestions, hints, if not outright statements that somehow she is culpable.

She was only culpable for believing they could work it out. That the Counselling was helping. That he meant his promises of change. She wanted to believe it for her daughter. From the depths of her frequently cited (by those who bothered to seek) compassionate, warm, sympathetic heart, she wanted to believe for him, too. There is the same blinding heroism of the star athlete that has led to her diminishment in the story told, who knows what role that held in her optimism? He was such a ‘good guy’….

Too many abusers are seen that way. Too many victims are not believed because ‘he couldn’t be like that’. She must be mistaken, exaggerating, she must have earnt or deserved it. As if anyone deserves it. And it is worse for men – who can also be abused. More often (but not only) emotionally rather than physically abused, they are even more supposed to ‘man up’. As if a man could be broken by words. Huh. Anyone can be. Words can erode your sense of self, of worth. You become ‘lucky they will put up with you’, somehow deserving all the abusers because of your own faults. You become pathetically grateful for any small kindness. And it can all be masked behind makeup or smiles. People can never suspect.

I know all too well. I, like many others, have scars inside that won’t heal, and I am lucky, I escaped. With enough left to recover somewhat, become seemingly strong. I was lucky in my friends and family, they came put to save and support me. I will regret all my life the scars I thought I had protected my children from, that I thought I had hidden away from them. But children are wounded themselves, of not abided directly, from seeing some one they love suffer, and how confusing to have it be at the hands of the other person they love and trust.

So, it’s hard, and it hurts, but you can escape and rebuild. We do need better protection for men and women facing the most dangerous of abusers, the crazy violent stalkers. And we need to remember the victims matter.

Her friends called her Kasi.

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A woman gets pregnant, we all get to judge?

We have a ridiculous set of rules, no, IMPOSSIBLE set of rules for women to follow. Of you are single and facing  pregnancy – slut (if due to rape, was it rape rape?). If married, oh what a blessing. Unless too soon after marriage. Or you have x other children, x being the number some person thinks is enough. Or if you have all of one gender, you must be trying for a $other_gender. Or if you are an obviously happily married young woman who has been with her partner a good many years, is financially secure, has travelled, and obviously likes children – but you happen to be Royal – sorry, you are merely ‘doing your duty’, being ‘used as a brood mare’. As if women cannot choose. As if feminism wasn’t about choice. And women can be the worst judges…

Poor Duchess, is in love and decides to see how that goes by making a commitment – she is ‘Waity Katey’. She is happy being a housewife – she is being a ‘burden’. In fact, any woman who revels in home and hearth, in family raising (a very full time job), is criticized and made to feel she is by doing enough. Working mothers are selfish and ruining their children (note working dads never are).  I want the same choices for my son as for my four daughters – do what best makes you happy, and give back to your society. Do that by raising happy children, or by high flying career, or both. Be a volunteer, be an artist, just be yourself, be honest and kind and true to yourself. That is what Feminism is truly about!

For King and Country: the duty to conceive – The Drum Opinion

A world of women as chattel

In many cultures, women are property, chattel with no right or worth. Dowry must be paid to get rid of them. They only bring shame and dishonor – unless they do the only thing of validity for a woman and bear sons. Less valuable than animals if not suitably breeding, they can be raped, tortured and murdered with impunity – even have that cruelty celebrated if it provides ‘honor’ restoration to her family, for a deed that may not even be related to her. Her childhood is brief and dangerous, as she only has value as potential marriage bargaining. She has no choices, no worth.

We are sending soldiers over to Afghanistan and places like that but only to support regimes that still allow this, as the Taliban, goodness help us, are worse! It is an abiding horror and shame, and while men claim that this is the way of Islam (this is actually hotly disputed by more evolved Muslims), then the reputation of Islam as a brutal and backward religion is sadly but deservedly reinforced. Fundamentalist Christians and Catholics have no reason to point the finger, one must add – the brutality is less on the surface, but the woman is always the ‘slut’, to be blamed for needing contraception or pregnancy or rope support – she is always seen to be deserving of it. In domestic violence, she is often treated as a harridan shrew who earned it somehow.

No, religions have, as a whole across the spectrum, treated women abysmally – and are in a position to do the most to change it. While woman are less in the eyes of their religions, devout societies will also treat them that way. This can range from the brutality of such Stone Age treatment of women as chattel, to diminishing their roles in daily religious observance to less than that of men.

In Afghanistan, a 14-Year-Old Girl Is Beheaded – The Daily Beast.

Thomas Keneally on why he is such a delight

Thomas Keneally claims not the mantle of ‘delight’ yet his words proclaim him (in my mind) to be so:) He seems to carry a certain zest, as if he has looked into the abyss – and chuckled at the vibrant foolishness within. He writes stirringly of the darkness in humanity – but also the light that counters that darkness. Of you have never read any of his books, do so – the ubiquitous Schindler’s List is acclaimed for more than the movie interpretation. The words matter. He does not create a saint out of an all too flawed man, rather he recognizes the dual capacities within us all, that we must choose from when life places us in sudden history made current.


Thomas Keneally: this much I know | Life and style | The Observer.

Power, politics, fear…the poisoning of faith.

Jefferson bible

Above all: give up power over others, because power, if it is to be effective, ultimately requires the threat of violence, and violence is incompatible with the total acceptance and love of all other human beings that is at the sacred heart of Jesus’ teaching. That’s why, in his final apolitical act, Jesus never defended his innocence at trial, never resisted his crucifixion, and even turned to those nailing his hands to the wood on the cross and forgave them, and loved them.

via Andrew Sullivan: Christianity in Crisis – The Daily Beast.

I found this profoundly moving. I move through my life as an atheist, but not an atheist as one would assume they know it to be. I reject the tenets of organised religion for various reasons, but mainly due to intolerance and absolutes of dogma. I reject the Bible in parts, like Jefferson, because I cannot reconcile the overriding message of Jesus with the interpretations of others, with the injunctions on how to treat slaves etc. I loathe the Bible blackness that allows people to cherry pick the doctrines to suit their intolerance an hatred – but ignore the bits that don’t suit. So, I find myself in the strange position of approving of someone who has done just that. Thomas Jefferson excised the Bible to contain only what he believed to be the true Jesus message, removing every flowers opinion or interpretation, leaving the pure message. Oh, and that, how that message matters. And how twisted it has become.

I am an atheist in the same way as every Christian out there – I reject other religions. I just reject one more – theirs. But that does not mean rejecting the message. It means rejecting what has sprung up around it. What has been twisted and shaped around it – the justification for the cruelty, war, and intolerance, slavery, and even today, rejection of others who don’t fit the dogma. People wonder why the young, and many of us older people, are more openly atheistic. Look at what the religions loudly espouse, – born again intolerance, Catholic sex crimes, an unhealthy, prurient demand we live by someone else’s sexual mores –  and you wonder we reject that? A word where I would have died after my tragic miscarriages, as they make the procedure impossible without invasive ultrasound, and expensive operation (D & C, or abortion procedure) – if I can find a practitioner and make it past the gamut of screaming, intolerant people? Or those poor women faced with the most tragic of choices, to abort an embryo, perhaps viable enough to develop into a potential baby, perhaps tragically not? What would Jesus have done? If anything can be learnt from the Bible, his treatment of the adulterous wife should show the clear way he would have behaved…

I am revolted, even frightened, by the Christian Taliban on the rise in America, looking for a return to a non existent time of fantasy, a 1950s sitcom with starched people in their places, white mum in the kitchen, little Billy, freckle faced and mischievous off to school, Sis learning her household chores as she starts her glory box, Dad off to work, and no one ‘different’ around to disrupt the fantasy, a wholesome world where gloved women and men in hats took their 2.4 children to clean white picket churches each week, and all was lovely. But it was never like that. It has never been like that. The Puritans had sex, and drank copiously. They just had doctrinal issues to set them apart. The fifties had bigotry and intolerance, segregation, women having few rights, men trapped in paths decided before they left school.

The Jefferson Jesus is a man to admire, to ponder his words, to learn from and emulate. Whether he was the son of a deity I have no knowledge of. Is there an ineffable being behind it all? I don’t know. But I know the message, the true message, matters. And that everything around us just focuses us on the differences we have between us, not the richness of what we share.


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The right to life – I have it.

The Way It Was | Mother Jones.

This article has made me angry. So angry, i am going to open very far too fresh wounds.

I don’t miscarry. Five times, the fetus died. Five times, this longed for child died before twenty weeks. Some early, two, very very late.

Once I gave birth to a little girl I grieved over, too tiny and perfect for life.

The rest of the time, I had a D&C. The fetus, long dead, had to be removed, as my body was not letting go, as my heart was not. It was killing me. I could have died of septicaemia.

With the law changes in the US, I WOULD have died. My subsequent miracles, my youngest children, never born. My equally cherished older children motherless too soon.

The pious arrogance of the anti abortionists. If they are all so pro life, why are they so willing to sacrifice mine? And my youngest two children, who would not have even had a chance to live? 

And all the women who must make the terrible, awful choice, whether the fetus is viable or not, to end a pregnancy. What cruelty is there in choosing for them. Choosing a way of vast expense and pain. Of almost certain death at the hand of backyard butchers. For these desperate women, often trapped in violence and poverty, frequently trying to protect other already born children, unable to access affordable contraception with the obscene lottery of health insurance (unless for the gift of Planned Parenthood, who do far more to prevent unwanted pregnancies than to end them), or perhaps young, vulnerable and scared, with parents who would not understand, or who would rage and throw them out, or with the consequence of death and revilement from their community, hard lined with religious intolerance, mocking the very words of their religious ethos – how dare ANYONE condemn women to this? Their children left motherless, often already fatherless, consigned to foster homes that may scar them in too many ways. The women dead or broken, from one awful episode left unable then to ever have that child they may have wished more than anything they could have had, who perhaps died, or meant the death of them? Or that they could have had if older, supported, or not abused?

People like these so called right to lifers make me sick with their sanctimonious hypocrisy. They seek only to preserve the narrow definition of life. All life is not sacred to them. ONly that which gestates. 

Those people have blood of far more on their hands than any abortionist. Those people are murderers far more vile.

How to learn from a tragedy – 10yo girl suicides over bullying

And here is an endless grief story where nobody wins.

This poor little girl, suffering until driven to desperation.

Her traumatised family, asking themselves why they didn’t react sooner, why…

Little girls who, (like big ones), can be so cruel – but often don’t intend to be so cruel, they are just fitting in themselves, trying to work out the mores and ways of the culture they are in, a pecking order that all socialised creatures have. They will carry (except potentially in a few, sociopathic type cases) a dreadful guilt, learning too harsh a lesson.

If anything that we hope they would be, her teachers and prinicipal, wishing they had intervened earlier, not dismissed as ‘just kids’ scenario.

And all of us parents, the sad majority of which wince at recollections at how intensely felt the bullying was when we were recipients, (and shame if participants at the giving end), how we want to protect our kids, wondering how to do that without knee jerking into overprotectiveness so that our children are wrapped even further in paranoia and cotton wool, learning nothing but fear…

We need to ask if this is a big picture we are missing, or single incident? Media is of little help in this, the pedophile around every corner has gotten us terrified tolet our kids out to play, restricting their capacity to socialise independently with their peers in a way few groups have historically known.

And in the meantime, if you will excuse me, I am going to hug my 10yo daughter and 8yo son (and think about my other more grown daughters), and hope I know enough to have given them what they need to not face an abyss that this sad little girl could not get beyond.

Parents in a small town in Illinois suspect their young daughter took her own life after enduring years of bullying

via A 10-year-old’s ‘gut-wrenching’ suicide: Is bullying to blame? – The Week.

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Death of this innocent means death of social innocence?

Well, indeed…this one has torn me up. That poor child. But don’t we all feel a twinge before robustly denouncing the Chinese, before claiming it would never happen here, wherever our here may be? Can any of us be totally sure?

How can I be proud of my China if we are a nation of 1.4bn cold hearts?

The death of the two-year-old run over as passersby ignored her is symptomatic of a deepening moral crisis

via How can I be proud of my China if we are a nation of 1.4bn cold hearts? | Lijia Zhang | Comment is free | The Observer.

Death is solitary, but must we be alone?

A beautiful woman, who had met famous people, talented, desired, loved and cared for, liked even by so many around her. Yet her body is found after 3 years – in a housing flat, isolated, with the tv flickering on her corpse – so decomposed they needed dental records to identify her. How does this happen?

Even if people are around us, the dying is the most solitary act we can do. But to be so alone, after such a vibrant life. What made her hide? How did she die?

And what does it say about us?

via Joyce Carol Vincent: how could this young woman lie dead and undiscovered for almost three years?