— Shannon Perez-Darby - “The Secret Joy of Accountability: Self-accountability as a Building Block for Change” (via grumpyfemme)
Does your partner:
- get jealous of people in your life regardless of their gender?
- make fun of you for being bisexual?
- try to control how you dress or act?
- force you to choose between being straight or being gay/lesbian?
- accuse you of cheating or flirting with others?
- use money or gifts to make you feel like you owe them something?
- prevent you from being out as bisexual?
- not respect your safeword?
- pressure you to have sex in ways that you don’t want to?
- keep you from going to LGBTQ events?
Abusers may say:
- "I know I can’t trust you alone with your friends because you’ll sleep with anyone."
- "You aren’t really part of the LGBTQ community."
- "If you leave me, I’ll tell your boss that you are bi."
- "I know that all you bisexuals are just sluts."
- "You are just confused about your sexuality."
- “If you want to be with me, you have to be a lesbian/gay.” OR "If you want to be with me, you have to be straight."
- "Don’t tell anyone that you’ve been with men before, that’s disgusting." OR "Don’t tell anyone that you’ve been with women before, that’s disgusting."
- “I know you are going to leave me for a woman.” OR “I know you are going to leave me for a man.”
Click HERE for pdf document to download
The rape-kit backlog in the United States is severe. There are hundreds of thousands completed forensic exams that have been sitting idle in storage rooms of law enforcement agencies untested for years. Decades. Often identified as a barrier to the testing is a lack of funding, but clearly that isn’t quite the case.
In the process of reporting a sexual assault and potentially having the report taken and investigated (remember, this is not a guarantee), survivors are frequently told that a forensic exam/rape-kit is a required step. This is an invasive and sometimes re-traumatizing experience, and since developed in the 70’s has become a way to medicalize violence and determine what “real” violence is. From the report in the Economist, cops generally believe survivors are liars and only take [slightly more] seriously stranger attacks where there are signs of physical harm - which we know do not constitute the overwhelming majority of interpersonal abuses.
Here is what the dynamics of abuse look like on a structural/institutional level: Law enforcement essentially mandating forensic exams to survivors under the idea that this evidence is necessary for an investigation, but don’t actually have intentions of processing them.
There is a level of absurdity that comes from the federal government allocating 1.5 billion dollars to DNA testing over the past 10 years, and law enforcement opting out of doing so to spend money on other things, to now say there is a funding shortage on this issue. Especially with some municipalities even making survivors pay for their own exam. Now Congress is poised to approve $41M more aimed at addressing the national rape-kit backlog http://t.co/5RcfcH3pws.Additionally, not taken into account here are the backlogged rape-kits, set to be tested under this possible new funding, that have already exceeded the statute of limitations in their states. Meaning, even if the DNA was processed, the ability to prosecute the sexual assault as a crime would be impossible due to the time limits already running out on these cases. The issue with the rape-kit backlog is not about a money shortage. In fact, the LAST thing that should be happening is more money being given to policing agencies. Remember, there has already been over a billion dollars made available for this testing to happen, but because there is nobody overseeing the police, these funds were not used in the manner they should have been. This is about the structure and way the system is set up to respond to sexual assault, which is inherently problematic. Law enforcement openly admits they don’t believe survivors, have no intentions of investigating the majority of complaints related to interpersonal abuse (while placing importance and necessity on getting a forensic exam), and have already misused the money. This is state violence. Let us rethink the demand to put more money in the direction of the backlog and examine why it exists in the first place.
States have been passing new abortion restrictions at a record number. So what happens when a woman in a domestic violence situation is unable to get the care she needs? A new study from ANSIRH tells us: http://bit.ly/1sLlUs7
I Deserve Justice: Native Women From Alaska - 5 Part Series
This September, as world leaders make their way to the United Nations for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, five brave Alaska Native women are traveling to New York to ask the world to assist them in their journey for…
Marissa Alexander was sentenced to prison after firing a warning shot to protect herself from her abusive husband.
Last week, domestic violence was front-page news in America as the video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice beating his partner circulated online. Sunday morning news shows interviewed domestic violence survivors, social workers at domestic violence agencies, and even police chiefs about their departments’ policies around domestic violence calls.
But in all this discussion about the realities of domestic violence, one perspective was clearly left out: the people who are imprisoned for defending themselves against abusers. Where are the stories about how the legal system often punishes abuse survivors for defending themselves, usually after the legal system itself failed to ensure their safety?
Many readers already know the name Marissa Alexander, the Florida mother of three who was arrested for firing a warning shot to dissuade her abusive husband from assaulting her. In 2012, Alexander was found guilty of aggravated assault and was given a 20 year sentence. Her sentencing coincided with the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, drawing wider public attention than she might have received otherwise. People across the country rallied to her defense, organizing fundraisers and teach-ins and bringing media attention to the injustice of her case. Alexander appealed her case and was granted a new trial, which is scheduled to start in December 2014. The prosecutor has said that, this time, she will seek a sixty-year sentence for Alexander if she is convicted again.
While awaiting her new legal ordeal, Marissa Alexander is allowed to be home with two of her three children. (Her estranged husband, the same one who had assaulted her and then called the police on her, has custody of her youngest child.) If it weren’t for that outpouring of support nationwide, Marissa Alexander might very well still be in prison on that original twenty-year sentence.
We know Marissa Alexander’s name, but there are countless other abuse survivors behind prison walls whose names and stories we do not know. We actually do not know how many women are imprisoned for defending themselves against their abusers. No agency or organization seems to keep track of this information. Prison systems do not. Court systems do not. The U.S. Department of Justice has some data on intimate partner violence, but not about how often this violence is a significant factor in the woman’s incarceration. In California, a prison study found that 93 percent of the women who had killed their significant others had been abused by them. That study found that 67 percent of those women reported that they had been attempting to protect themselves or their children when they wound up killing their partner. In New York State, 67 percent of women sent to prison for killing someone close to them were abused by that person. But these are just two specific studies; no governmental agency collects data on how frequently abuse plays a direct role to prison nationwide.
This past Sunday morning, an ABC news segment reported that 70 percent of domestic violence calls do not end in prosecution. That story stressed how many abused people choose not to press charges against their loved ones. Not mentioned, however, is how often systems fail to help survivors when they doseek help. Domestic violence survivors have reported that, time and again, they sought help—from family members, from their communities, from domestic violence agencies and from police. Many times, they found that help was unavailable to them. As we collectively wring our hands about domestic violence, shelters for people seeking help remain grossly underfunded. Passing the Violence Against Women Act (which relies heavily on criminalization and arrest, both problematic for women of color and other marginalized people) required a monumental political effort.
We all have the right to be respected in our relationships.
Remember, regardless of your sex, gender, or sexual orientation, you have the right to:
Always be treated with respect and as an equal
Be yourself and have your own space
Say no to something you don’t want to do
Abstain from sex or practice safer sex
— (via thisisnotsocialwork)