Sunday, November 14, 2010

Break Character

I figured I'd take a short break from my already-distracted and broken-up study sessions to discuss something that breaks my heart. Coherent or not, correct or not, this needs to be said.

The following three articles summarize a current case in New Boston:

Read if you wish, but I will summarize, from the general knowledge of the case that I have. A young teenage girl at Huron High School ultimately took her life after reporting that she had been raped by another student, and later was tormented at school for coming forward. The assailant, evidently not believing that he had done anything wrong, was not found responsible because the complainant is now dead. Furthermore, the Facebook page created to honor her life has been bombarded with pornographic and appallingly disgusting and disturbing images. According to Fox News, the fact that the case was dropped is apparently something that "few can understand". Why? I suppose that few people have the opportunity to work closely with sexual assault cases and not all people have had the seams of their lives torn by such events, which is something that I am glad of, but really? It's much more prevalent than people are willing to say.

Personally? I'm heartbroken whenever justice isn't served, but this means that I'm heartbroken a lot. There comes a point when sometimes we have to look at something just as awful and gut-wrenching as this case and say "yeah, that's normal" instead of really feeling the broken heart that should follow.

But what does this solve? Next to nothing. The fact of the matter is that a mailbox, a bathroom stall, a glass store-front are all more protected by law than the human body. Doesn't that make you feel objectified? It does, doesn't it? I have worked closely with cases during which the survivor pushes for new legislation, new laws, a new societal perspective...but often times prosecutors won't even pick up the case in the first place. And then? We get angry. We start speaking out, and when we do, perhaps the same people that were so baffled by the dismissal of this current case are the ones trying to silence us. Because it's unruly to protest. It's a public unrest. It's not proper for the words "STOP RAPE" to be scribbled on a poster board or a sidewalk when, my goodness, there are children that might see! Honestly? I'd love to preserve innocence, but that's impossible. At this point, I'd rather have the children know. I'd rather have your child sense that there is something wrong about Gramps reaching down into his or her intimate crevices while you're upstairs getting dinner ready. Maybe if they understood, it wouldn't take you years to catch on. Maybe they would speak up. Maybe.

For a public that is so distraught, it is sure a public that can turn an opinion quickly. What if she had been just a couple of years older? What if she had taken six shots of vodka just prior? What if she were a lesbian, an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, Mexican, African, German for crying out loud? Would it matter to the public? Often times, juries and judges try to squeeze meaning out of the most irrelevant facts instead of staring reality straight in the face, because reality is not a pretty face to look at. Reality stares back without blinking. It breathes a heavy mist that is dripping with responsibility and a notion of the ability to do the right thing, and that scares people. It scares me, sometimes.

I honestly don't have a solution. I don't have what it takes to change every mind, and I'm not much of a protester like some of my colleagues are. However, I do have an understanding, a familiarity with the system that surprised the public of New Boston. I continue to do my work quietly, on the other end of the telephone, when you call me because you need someone; perhaps occasionally in the hospital, when you're in shock and frightened and unsure. I'll do the work, and love you. Because I get it.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Julia Child Disapproves.

Alrightie, readers, listen up. This is one of the very few times in which I will semi-rant about politics. Why? Because I simply do not invest my entire life and education into the political climate. In all honesty, I am not always politically aware and almost seldom active, unless it is time to vote. Politics are too unpredictable and I can't handle that kind of stress in my life. I'd rather deal with quantum physics. It's easier. Also, I have no official partisan affiliation. Why? Because I am an entire spectrum of different ideas and viewpoints. I am a liberal thinker with conservative values. How does THAT work? I'm not so sure, but I can tell you that some liberal ideas inspire me while others seem like the most idiotic jumble of jargon that I've ever heard of, and some conservative values sit well with me while others seem heinously legalistic, which I am no fan of.

Likewise, things about the Democratic party tick me off, and things about the Republican part tick me off. BUT, what ticks me off more is partisan politics, and the thing that ticks me off the VERY most is the people who try to convince me to vote partisan or straight-ticket. Can somebody please explain this concept to me, because it is absolutely baffling. (Of course, this statement does not apply to those who are officially and occupationally affiliated with a certain party; in that case, partisan politics make sense.) As a citizen of the USA as it were, who is proud to exercise her right to vote, I will review the statements and viewpoints of the political candidates of each political race prior to deciding who to vote for. Furthermore, for this election, I don't mind saying, my ballot reflected a relatively even distribution of the Democratic and the Republican parties. Of course, if both Democratic and Republican candidates didn't sit well with me, I would give up and just vote Libertarian (as long as the Lib didn't seem just as bad).

Here's my point, though. Why on Earth would a citizen trust that every candidate in one certain party reflects his or her values? When you actually look into the candidates, they don't all necessarily agree, even within the same party. How can people trust that they agree with the viewpoints of 100% of the candidates in ONE party? Especially in a country such as America, with so many ideas bouncing around, I am sometimes hard-pressed to find individuals that agree with me even a little bit, apart from basic common ground. Now we're putting faith in politicians just because they say that they are a member of a certain party, and since that certain party officially has a certain viewpoint, we assume that the certain politician adheres to it. It just doesn't make sense. I vote for people, not parties.

So the next time that somebody puts a door-hanger on my door knob urging me to vote partisan, I might throw up. It seems just as ignorant as the candidate-bashing political campaign advertisements on TV. I do not discourage activism, but I do encourage open-mindedness and education. Reading up on the candidates is always a good thing, and the only way that I would ever vote partisan would be if I thoroughly assessed the issues that are dear to me and each candidate, and still found only one party acceptable for my vote. I am an educated citizen of the US, and I vote accordingly.

So, to demonstrate my disapproval of blindly partisan politics, I thought I would use a picture from Halloween weekend.

Pretend that my sister in a bumblebee costume represents an annoying partisan political advocate, Republican or Democrat, buzzing into my ear and urging me to vote partisan. Disclaimer: This is absolutely NOT to say that all people who vote straight-ticket are ignorant, only to illustrate my disapproval of "blind" voting. Now, pretend that me dressed as Julia Child is really just me in real life. Obviously, I disapprove, and therefore, Julia Child disapproves.

In conclusion, far be it from me to tell anybody how to vote in particular. Vote however you want, just do it intelligently.