What We Know About Sex, Discrimination and Violence

Over the past two weeks or so, several political and current event stories have piqued my interest. They are the stuff I am mulling these days. Bits of stories that grabbed ahold of me and won’t let go. And most of them relate to sex, discrimination and violence.

These stories stop me. Each has a line or a word that shakes me and makes me want to shake the people involved. Perhaps it is my complete “Libra-ness” showing, that idealist in me that wants us to treat one another as we want to be treated. That child within me that learned early that if I couldn’t say anything nice, to not say anything at all. That very humane part of me that wishes the world was more humane and that humans more easily lived humanely.

But it isn’t to be. Each of us is caught in that struggle between what is right and what is wrong. And some will choose right and some will always choose wrong.

And those moments in time, that we are made aware of via technology and the sharing of stories, grab ahold of me. I am a child railing against the unfairness of the world, and I am an adult who knows life is not fair. Because life is filled with people making choices that are unfair to others.

We know this. That life isn’t fair. We all learned it years ago.

We know that there are people who take their power from others using whichever form of brutality is available to them.

  • In Wisconsin, Representative Don Pridemore publicly stated that women in abusive relationships need to stay in those relationships and that “If they can re-find those reasons and get back to why they got married in the first place it might help.”
  • Also in Wisconsin, Senator Glenn Grothman has sponsored SB507 which cites single parenting as a form of child abuse.
  • Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. Standard police procedures were not followed in what appears to many as a hate crime.
  • Shaima Alawadi died after someone broke into her home and beat her in what also looks like a hate crime.
  • Senator Chuck Winder of Idaho stated that doctors should question a woman requesting an abortion after being raped, thus ensuring the pregnancy did not actually result from “normal relations in a marriage.”

This list could go on and on. A week or so of our national news and story after story emerges of people in power stripping others of theirs. And international news stories are no better.

These stories evidence what we know.

  • We know that people discriminate against others based on their skin color.
  • We know that people discriminate against others based on their religion.
  • We know that people use violence against others whom they feel deserve to be discriminated against.
  • We know that people use violence against others whom they are physically stronger than.
  • We know that people are not equal in the eyes of the law or the laws of the land.
  • We know that people in positions of political power represent more than their constituents.

But what do we “know” or can posit from these stories?

Don Pridemore has never been beaten by his wife. Glenn Grothman has never been a single parent. Trayvon’s killer had the legal right to carry the gun that his mental state told him to use. Shaima’s killer considered her a terrorist based on the head scarf she wore. Chuck Winder has never had sex without his consent.

What we know is that far too many people are without power. That far too many people are beaten, alone, hunted down, tortured, and raped. And the people elected and hired to protect them do not care unless they have a reason to do so.

What would our political and justice systems look like if every member of them had been beaten, left to parent alone, attacked, tortured and raped?

I think I know what would happen.  There would be more empathy and less apathy by the men (and few women) in the position to ensure that life was a bit more fair for all people. Which, of course, is why they were hired in the first place.

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3 thoughts on “What We Know About Sex, Discrimination and Violence

  1. I have been so upset by all of these stories recently in the news. Too upset to put my own anger and disbelief into articulate thought. Thank you for writing these words.

  2. These matters get very complicated. I was a high school teacher, for a while in an interesting alternative program. One of my former students, a few years after graduation, in cahoots with her boyfriend, murdered her husband. She was recently released from her “life sentence” in prison and went on to graduate from college. When I was myself in high school, my first girl friend was black. (I am white/secular Jewish.) Was I hip and enlightened? No, hardly. Mostly horny. Back to when I was a high school teacher, in a different (and very diverse) high school, I was supervising a game with another school (you are a Seattleite, I think, so you probably know the schools — Rainier Beach and Ingraham); after the game I was the only adult in the parking lot in what was about five seconds away from turning into a mini-race riot. My daughter, now in her forties has lived with another woman for over twenty years. My eight-year-old granddaughter with two mommies (who live in Seattle) and two daddies (who live in Chicago) considers such a family as perfectly “normal,” and why not? Welcome to the future.

  3. It is a sad state of culture at the moment. I’d thought we’d gotten past a bunch of that stuff – and now here it is back, and in really alarming levels.

    Thanks Kristina

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