gretchen_marie: (dr gretchen)
I cannot abide people who refuse to see shades of gray in this world. Let's face it... there are shades of gray EVERYWHERE. In every field, in every topic. And no one in the world has the right to say, "this is how it is for everyone who is *insert a group*."

Not even someone who is part of that group.

I am at a conference at UNI today, a conference for those working to end domestic violence. The keynote speaker is Dr. Gail Dines, author of "Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked Our Sexuality." She has some WONDERFUL points about the culture we live in and how it reinforces violence against women and grooms young men to detach from women (i.e. teaches them absolutely nothing about how to have a healthy relationship or sexuality).

However.

She is yet another "all or nothing" person. Yet another black/white, dichotomy, binary person. Someone who refused, utterly REFUSED, to acknowledge that there might possibly be women doing sex work who WANT to be doing sex work. I men refused. She quoted a study of 7 countries that stated unequivocally (in her words) that women in sex work want one thing: to get out.

Leaving aside the potential can of worms that would be opened by questioning the structure of the study (since any study can be structured to confirm a hypothesis rather than to gather information), how exactly does she justify speaking for ALL women, everywhere? She said this myth about some group of women having lots of fun sex is just that, a myth.

She also pissed me off by saying there was no excuse for men to NOT stand up to misogyny and exert a view of healthy masculinity. I said that in many cases, men were not AWARE of the need for their voices, and not aware of male privilege or the impact of misogyny on their own lives. She dismissed that out of hand. "There's no excuse," she said.

Really, I truly cannot abide this kind of thinking. It is polarizing, exclusive, in a realm that NEEDS to be inclusive.

I see this in every field of activism I have ever been involved in... black and white thinking. It is as if, by admitting that there might be some part of the world that does not fit into the binary, one loses face and ground.

To me, being able to admit and discuss the gray areas means you feel strongly enough about your topic that you aren't threatened by those shades of gray.

Ah well. I didn't change her mind, and she didn't change mine. I'm going to go give a presentation on Deaf culture and domestic/sexual violence now, and see if I can change some people's perspectives...
gretchen_marie: (dandelion)
This morning, at 10am, I go to court for a hearing on dropping the no contact order against my partner Jodie. Jodie has now been in jail for just over two weeks, for domestic assault on me. When sie was first arrested, I was devastated...I hadn't wanted the police to arrest hir at all. I had had Tim call the police because sie had locked me out of the house... and everything in the house was mine.

But such are the laws on domestic violence in Iowa that the police now MUST arrest one party if there are visible injuries. My injuries, while laughably minor, were still visible. And Jodie has a record. So Jodie was arrested.

I think I cried for the better part of two days.

Everyone seems to think that the Incident itself, that being a victim, is what has been so traumatic. But that's not even remotely true. The trauma has come from the aftermath... from the not-knowing. Not knowing what will happen to Jodie, whether sie is getting the medical care sie needs, whether sie is able to sleep at night. Most everyone in my life thinks I am an idiot of some stripe to even worry about hir. I cannot turn off my caring.

The worst thing that I do not know? How sie has been processing this. Is sie sitting in a jail cell thinking about what sie did? Or is sie thinking about what *I* did to *hir*?

This matters, you see. This matters because how sie views this mess will determine whether or not I will remain in hir life.

I know that sounds horribly self-minimizing...like I'm giving hir all the power here. I don't see it that way at all. I see it as... if sie is willing to look at hir own actions and behavior, willing to see that sie was the instigator of this, AND willing to acknowledge that sie is an alcoholic (and work on hir addiction)... there is hope. Hope that sie can move forward, change, and grow.

But if sie is simply sitting in jail plotting revenge against me?

I'm done. I will walk away with nary a backward glance.

The only reason I am even giving hir this chance (which sie doesn't even know about, because of said no contact order) is because I have already seen the massive change that sie is capable of. Turning from a bitter, angry, constantly-drunk old man into a sweet, feminine, not-drunk Sugar who had learned sie DID have control over hir behavior? Was a massive change.

This sounds so simple... either I will remain in hir life or I will walk away. But really... it is horrendously complicated. The decision I make this morning will affect where I will live, how I will continue my job search, what clothes I have, whether I will have a functional computer for VRS...

My back and shoulders and stomach are so tense, in so much turmoil. I haven't been sleeping for two weeks; the only night I got a good night's sleep was when Christopher was here. I'm on the verge of tears right now... I've been fine, haven't been crying for at least a week. I started going to Al-Anon (not AA... the associated group for families and loved ones of alcoholics) the Tuesday after the Incident, and have witnessed the real power of the Serenity Prayer.

I need it now...

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

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gretchen_marie

November 2011

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