Tag Archives: safety

I am afraid, or, 2017: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here

I am afraid on the basis of all of my identities. That fear is not just of Trump himself, but of unchecked Republican control of the executive and legislative branches of our government, and likely soon the top level of the judicial branch as well.

As a black person, I’m afraid that Republican power will continue to deny that my and my people’s lives matter. That there will be no push from the federal government to hold police who kill unarmed black men and women accountable. That we will continue incarcerating absurd proportions of black and brown communities. That the fact that a businessman who was openly supported by the KKK was elected will give racists and white supremacists a larger platform, a stronger foothold, or even just make them more likely to take action in support of their beliefs.

As a woman, particularly as a sexually active woman of childbearing age who does not want to become a mother now or ever, I am worried about what full Republican leadership at the federal level means for reproductive rights. I have an IUD right now, that was made possible by the stipulation in Obamacare that requires all insurance companies to cover the cost of all forms of birth control. If (it pains me too much to say when) Obamacare is repealed, I will be required to pay for the medically necessary removal of my current IUD in 2018 and for the cost of inserting a new one, which can be upwards of $1000, if I choose to stick with this birth control option that has worked very well for me. If I choose to go with a lower cost, but also easier to misuse option, like the pill, I am scared that I’ll mess up and forget to take it one day, or forget to bring it with me on a trip, and then be faced with a potential unwanted pregnancy under an anti-abortion federal government. I am afraid of catcallers and other predatory men feeling emboldened by a president who has bragged about grabbing women by the pussy.

As a queer person, I am afraid that Trump himself doesn’t care about us, as he has released no policy plans for LGBT rights or HIV/AIDS. But I know how anti-LGBT the Republican party generally is: 2016 has seen pushback on marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples, bathroom bills that have devastating consequences beyond just where we pee, endorsements of gay conversion therapy for minors, and a resurgence of “religious freedom” bills designed to allow businesses the ‘right’ to refuse to serve us. Trans women, especially trans women of color, are being killed every week in this country, and I have no hope that they will be protected under our new president-elect’s leadership. In fact, as the people who oppose QTPOCs very existence see how strong their numbers are, it’s hard to do anything other than expect the violence to get worse.

And speaking of the twisting of “religious freedom,” as a non-Christian, I am worried that a conservative majority in all branches of the federal government de facto pushes church and state closer together. I have extended family members who are Muslim (of the black power, Nation of Islam variety, but that didn’t matter to folks who abused and discriminated against them post-9/11). I am afraid for their safety in the red states of Georgia and Florida under a Trump administration.

As the daughter and granddaughter and niece and sister of people who have worked in the casino industry, literally for Trump himself and/or for people like him, I am worried that Republican control means even further erosion of what little safety net is there for our senior citizens who didn’t work fancy desk jobs with 401ks or pensions and now depend on Social Security and Medicare to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for themselves. I am afraid of what will happen to my father and my grandmother. I am worried that people who don’t make living wages will lose the scraps of support they are currently able to receive from programs like SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid, and won’t be able to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for their children. I am afraid that this administration will do nothing but widen the gap between the rich and the poor in this country, and further marginalize the voices of those being trampled upon.

As the daughter of a woman who has held down a full-time teaching job through multiple rounds of chemotherapy in order to keep her healthcare coverage, I am afraid that people will literally die as a result of this election. Obama was able to bring health insurance (albeit imperfect) to hundreds of thousands of people who did not have it before, and made it so that people couldn’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. I am afraid that if my mom gets too sick to work, a post-Obamacare America will be one in which she cannot be insured, and my family will have to watch a disease she beat once before overcome her because we can’t afford the treatments.

I feel America’s distaste for people like me, a distaste that ranges from a lack of empathy to a straight-up hatred, writ large this morning, feel it in my bones and in my spirit more heavily than I’ve ever felt it before. This place was built by us, but not for us, and is about to be run by people who aggressively don’t support us. I feel unsafe and unwanted here on the deepest of levels. If I joke or even more genuinely consider fleeing, don’t tell me it’s my responsibility to fight through and fix this. I didn’t break it. I don’t know how to heal the divide between rural America and urban America, between white America and diverse America, between people who legitimately support Trump’s platform and ideas and people like me. I don’t know if it can be healed. I am not hopeful this morning.

A safe space is only possible with compassion for others, and a commitment to interpreting what people say generously and attempting to accept unconditionally. For a safe space to be a safe space, you and the people who compose the space must agree to try to uplift each other, and reinforce the validity of what their identity feels like. A safe space, at its center, is exactly what it sounds like: A space where you are wholeheartedly, unreservedly safe. I hope all of you find, create, and inhabit many safe spaces in your life. May they be as vibrant, creative, and strong as you.

Feminist Dictionary: Safe Spaces | Because I am a Woman

The phrase “rubber bullets” is often used to describe what are more accurately termed “rubber-coated metal bullets”, heavy steel projectiles with a minimal coating of 1mm or 2mm of rubber, that are regularly used to lethal effect alongside — not instead of — live ammunition.

Rubber-coated metal bullets are fired from metal tubes placed on the end of high-velocity rifles such as the M-16s commonly used by Israeli troops. Tubes contain around 8 rubber-coated, cylindrical, steel projectiles, which are powered by blank rounds fired from the gun’s magazine.

[….]

Writing in the medical journal, The Lancet, [doctors] said firing the bullets at civilians made it “impossible to avoid severe injuries to vulnerable body regions such as the head, neck and upper torso, leading to substantial mortality, morbidity and disability.”

They added: “We reported a substantial number of severe injuries and fatalities inflicted by use of rubber bullets when vulnerable upper-body regions such as the head, neck and upper torso were struck.

“This type of ammunition should therefore not be considered a safe method of crowd control.”

Misleading terminology: “Rubber” bullets

(via because i am a woman)

Modesty culture is a ruse. More specifically, it’s a ruse that a man has the right to sexually violate a woman if she is not modestly dressed. It’s a ruse because women are not assaulted based on how they are dressed. We are assaulted because we are women living under patriarchy. It does not matter whether a woman wears a long potato sack or if she is nude. She is not safe from victimization so long as there are patriarchal men.

So then what is the purpose of modesty culture if it does not indeed protect women from sexual violence?

Modesty culture is a distraction. It allows women with internalized misogyny to trick themselves into feeling safer than they actually are. It allows folks to put down women and girls. And it allows male violence to be excused as it argues that it’s inevitable and out of their control.

Modesty culture does a lot. But it doesn’t protect or uplift women.

However, modesty culture has other implications. It promotes the idea that women do not own their own bodies. Our bodies are instead held captive by misogynist notions and by every individual man who has eyes to view us.

–Danielle, “On Rihanna Teaching Me to Say No to Modesty Culture” | One Black Girl. Many Words.

It is physically and emotionally draining to be called upon to prove that these systems of power exist. For many of us, just struggling against them is enough — now you want us to break them down for you? Imagine having weights tied to your feet and a gag around your mouth, and then being asked to explain why you think you are at an unfair disadvantage. Imagine watching a video where a young man promises to kill women who chose not to sleep with him and then being forced to engage with the idea that maybe you are just a hysterical feminist seeing misogyny where there is none. It is incredibly painful to feel that in order for you to care about my safety, I have to win this verbal contest you have constructed “for fun.”

— An open letter to privileged people who play devil’s advocate 

(via the dopest ethiopienne)

As Black people, we have been fed the lie that the Black body is an “Always Able” body, with no time to rest, feel safe, or breathe easy. Though there isn’t one of us who can live up to these unrealistic expectation whiteness forces upon us, we still belittle and shame our kin. Black People, it is time to reclaim our Black bodies as our own.

It is time to shed these harmful, white supremacist, capitalist, cishet, patriarchal, binaric notions of The Worthy and Unworthy under ableism. ALL Black bodies are lovable, beautiful, brilliant, and whole—whether or not they are dealing with mental health concerns or living with chronic pain. It is the stigma and prejudice associated with illness, the racist, anti-black ideals filling this systemic society with hatred and violence that makes no room for ALL of us who just want to rest and feel free. We don’t have to “do” anything or “go” anywhere to be revolutionary and worthy of love, family, and community. Our mere existence as people on the margins of society—as Black, Queer/Trans, Chronic, Poor, and all the other labels we use to define our unique intersections—IS revolutionary.

–Lynx Sainte-Marie, “Our R/evolutionary Bodies: On Being Black and Sick”

(via the dopest ethiopienne)

speaking your truth is important.
honoring your feelings is important.
saying no is important.
asking for what you want is important.

especially if it means hurting feelings. especially that.

your safety, sanity, well-being, nourishment, & happiness is important.

don’t dumb it down, hold it back, or keep it unconsidered.

–Ev’Yan Whitney, of just the same, but brand new

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak
we are afraid our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive

–Audre Lorde, Litany for Survival

(via KEW)