Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The Gender Gap

The societal rift between men and women is getting wider.  The rights that women have fought for over the last century are slowly being whittled away by politicians and lawmakers (mostly male) who believe that women need to have every facet of their life policed.

What makes it worse is the burgeoning culture of entitlement and the ease of twisting the system to one's favour.  If a man is rich, athletic, or well connected, he can pretty much get what he wants.  And the internet is the perfect tool for that.

Dating sites such as Tinder have become means for men to get sex quickly and easily.  In 2015 the magazine Vanity Fair published an article in which several young people were asked about their experiences.  One man said, "Guys view everything as a competition... There's always something better."  Another man added that he'd slept with over 30 women in the past year.  "I sort of play that I could be a boyfriend kind of guy, in order to win them over, but then they start wanting me to care more... and I just don’t."

It's this abundance of options that makes people, men in particular, less inclined to seek a meaningful relationship.  One woman interviewed for the aforementioned article put it: "It's such a game, and you have to always be doing everything right, and if not, you risk losing whoever you're hooking up with."  And as a side effect, many of those who refuse a date receive relentless verbal abuse because they are perceived as being too standoffish.

Someone I know recently posted a vlog about her disastrous experience with Tinder.  One conversation had barely passed the "How are you doing?" stage when the man asked her about the kind of sexual acts that she preferred.  When she eventually refused his advances, he lit up the chat with insults: "You have mental issues", "You're ugly", "Do you have a disability?" and so on.

This is hardly surprising in a world where many professional women receive only 2/3 the salary that their male counterparts do, they're constantly judged by how they look, and they're swept aside when they try to right the wrongs that have been done to them.  Those who choose a career that traditionally has been male-oriented face even more difficulty, if not outright condemnation.  In recent years, female game designers, online critics, and even celebrities have been forced to shut down their internet presence or even move house because of threats against them.

I'm always grateful to have male friends whom I can trust and speak to openly.  Because it seems that such men are becoming an endangered species.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Nowhere is Safe

"Rape culture is a myth," some people cry out.  "It's a flawed notion, lacking in logic, that only teaches women how to be victims."

Wrong.  It might not be visible, but it's everywhere.  What makes it worse is that people (usually men) shrug it off and say things like "it's the way things are" as if to justify the behaviour.

I'm a survivor.  I had my skirts flipped up in school.  I've had my bottom pinched in bars.  I was once propositioned by a co-worker at an office party.  A person with whom I was in a relationship many years ago grabbed my bottom or breasts without consent, forced kisses upon me, and laughed at me when I called him out on it.  I've endured spousal sexual abuse and rape.

As a survivor it infuriates me to read about women who have attempted to bring their abusers to justice but get nowhere because they aren't believed or they're told that there isn't enough evidence to go to trial.  In my case I never reported because the incidents happened in private and I knew that it would be my word against his, meaning there was no chance of anything ever happening.

Women above the age ot 13 have a set of unspoken rules about going anywhere: Don't dress provocatively. Don't go out at night alone. Stay in well lit areas. Carry keys in one hand. Watch your drink. Know how to not provoke people.  Have an exit strategy.

Whereas men can walk down the street shirtless and nobody bats an eyelash.

Recently I heard through a friend that a five year old girl was harrassed at a summer camp.  A boy told the girl that he wanted her to "get naked" so he and his brothers could have sex with her.  This was followed up with a threat that they would kill her if she refused to go into the boys' room.


Events like this are beyond disturbing.  Young children are not sexual.  Such behaviour at that age means that it was learned from somewhere or someone.  The boy could've been exposed to adult media or observed it from the adults around him.  Either way, situations this must be dealt with quickly before more damage is done.

It's a sad state of affairs when even a kids' summer camp isn't safe.  To say nothing of the fact that many sexual predators receive sentences that are far too lenient - if they get to court at all.  The media is saturated with books, shows, and ads that glorify sex.

Where can we draw the line and say "This is not okay"?


Thursday, 21 June 2018

Breaking Badly

No, this is not about the TV show.  It's about how the Republic of the United States is slowly destroying the lives of its people. Particularly those who are fleeing violence in their home countries only to be detained and have their children torn from them.  I could write pages about this, but my friend Norm Duguid beat me to it and posted the following on Facebook yesterday:


"Those who continue to claim that it's the parents' fault because they are breaking the law by entering the country between ports of call should pay heed to this case."

And let's be clear about the "illegal" immigrant side of things too. Someone had the audacity to tell me, "The children are not responsible for their parents' bad choices."

Which bad choices? Would that be the choice to get out of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, away from the gangs and violence? The choice to not let their children be killed by said gangs? The choice to not have their sons be forced into the gangs, or their daughters used as sex slaves by the gangs? The choice not to pay a "war tax" to the "maras" (gangs) which roam with impunity down there? Oh, wait, perhaps you're referring to the chronic malnutrition children suffer? Which "bad choices" might you be referring to?

Once again, my bile and disgust rise when people seem to think refugees and immigrants just suddenly decided to pack up one day and say, "what the hell, let's go leach off the United States, Canada, or Europe".

These are families and individuals faced with untenable choices. And people condescend with "They should come through legally."

No. These are not people accepting a research assignment contract for a couple of years and then moving back to their politically stable country. These are people in fear of their lives and the lives of their children. People who have seen families murdered, unspeakable atrocities committed, and have run out of any other options. There is no government agency who can help them. I would guarantee they would love to stay in their birth country, but to do so, would mean death.

Or people say, "Why should we take them, other countries don't. It just costs us money."

I say: "Who gives a steaming s*** what other countries do?"

If you can, without blinking, tell a family fleeing from a war zone, gang violence, government dictatorship, or certain death, to go back there and accept their fate - congratulations, you are not part of the human race and need to develop empathy, compassion, and sympathy. It must be nice to treat suffering as an abstract, because it is not happening to you, or your family, personally.

Yes, it costs money. Millions, maybe billions, to take in these people. You want to increase my taxes by 100 bucks a year to do it? Go for it. 200 bucks? Have at it. I'm not wealthy, but at least I will sleep knowing we did the right thing, not the politically expedient thing, not the popular thing, but the morally correct course of action in protecting fellow human beings from those who would prey upon them.

Or hearing yet again, "Bunch of Liberal bleeding hearts."

Far from being a "bleeding heart blah blah blah" thing to do, it's the strong thing to do. To protect those who cannot fight for themselves. You want weak willed? That would be people who simply turn them away without a second thought, NIMBY in action. People who hide behind, or invoke policies that are isolationist. People without the guts or toughness to say "We will spend the money, time, and resources to welcome you to a country where you are safe, where you and your children can thrive and grow."

Remember, by twist of fate, luck, or (ironically) immigration from a stable country, that is why we have the lives we have here. Our parents were lucky enough to be in a country where democracy resides, financial stability can be earned, opinions can be expressed and your religion can be practiced. All without the fear that doing any one of those things will get you tortured, or killed. Don't tell me you had a say in it. We all got incredibly lucky. And if you are the first generation born in a country with parents who came from that kind of terror, I would expect you would be at the front lines in all this. To do any less is moral duplicity. We should be extending hands, NOT closing doors.

What do we get in return? Nothing. This is not a sum total game. No one ever explained to Trump that sometimes you do things with absolutely no benefit to yourself. Things that might actually cost you, because for no other single reason, not to do so is to abdicate your humanity.

Actually, we do get something. We have saved lives. Kept families together. Given them the rare gift of hope and compassion. And statistically, these "immigrants" will contribute more, work harder, and actually engage in less crime than the average citizen.

So if you want to proselytize that Trump is being tough, I'm being naive, politics doesn't work that way...

Go f*** yourself and whatever ideology that lets you think ripping families apart is a viable option.

Monday, 14 May 2018

A Woman's Rights

Yes, I know it has been a long time since I've posted, so here we are.

Yesterday was Mother's Day in North America, a day where mothers are celebrated.

And yet the hypocrisy continues.

There are people in government positions who are working to limit women's rights.  Believe it or not, some of these are actually women themselves.

Historically, women have been overwhelmingly depicted in positions of subservience and often subject to grievous punishments for any transgression or behaviour that was not considered proper.  The Bible reads "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you" (Genesis 3:16).  Homer's Odyssey contains a scene where a young man tells his mother to get back to her weaving because "speech will be the business of men" (Scroll 1, Line 7).  As recently as the 19th century, women who aborted their pregnancies were sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Even today, many women feel that they have to work twice as hard for the same amount of reward that men receive.  They are subject to judgment and harassment for their career and life choices.  Even their most basic right - to control their own bodies - has come under attack.  That's just in North America.  In Yemen, women are not allowed to leave their homes at all without male permission.  In Saudi Arabia, rape victims can be forced to marry their rapist.

The last time I checked, this was 2018 and not 1930.

In the movie The Color Purple there’s a scene where Oprah Winfrey’s character Sofia was practically ordered by the mayor’s wife to be her maid.  Sofia, being a headstrong and independent woman, responded “Hell, no!”  She was immediately surrounded and attacked by several townspeople, and when she pleaded for help from the (white) sheriff, he pistol whipped her and put her in prison – all because she defied convention.  The experience broke her.

I am a member of several abuse survivors’ groups on social media and the stories are heartbreaking.  From sexual assault to kidnapping and gang rape, most of these people have one thing in common: the authorities don’t listen to them when they try to bring their abusers to justice.  Instead they are blamed, shamed, and ignored.  Many have gone to trial only to see their abuser get a light sentence, or worse, walk free to offend again.  Some women have ended up running and living in fear for years.

I too am a survivor: I was subjected to constant teasing, insults, gaslighting, and demands for sex at unreasonable times.  Because of that I nearly lost my job, my self-respect, and my sanity.  However I never reported him because it would've been my word against his, and he had lied about the situation to everyone who would listen. When I tried to tell the truth to his family, they said "he wasn't raised that way" and disowned me.  It took many years before I finally made peace with myself about it.

Abuse victims deserve to be heard and have justice done.  Women deserve to not have to live in fear.  I've heard it said that vigilante justice should be legal, but the problem with that is that more innocent people could be caught in the crossfire.

Sadly, at the rate things are going, it will take a long time before true equality is a reality.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Gun Debate Again

The following post by a long-time friend of mine has been cross-posted from my Facebook wall.  It is in response to a claim that gun registration lists were used by the German Nazis to identify and disarm people who were seen as threats to the regime, and that the U.S. was planning to start doing the same.


Can I play too? In 1996, Australia Enacted Strict Gun Control Laws

Because it worked out really well there. See, here's why your argument, for lack of a better word, is nonsense. Hitler's endgame was a fascist state. Unless you are a strong believer in Infowars or Breitbart, I'm pretty sure the endgame of the United States is not fascist. 

And you're running a straw man argument as well. The rights of law abiding citizens are ALWAYS changing. You used to be able to drive without a seat belt, but they looked at the facts that seat belts saves lives. Boom, new law. Matter of fact, it works that way with the vast majority of safety laws.

Except, it seems, with guns.

A school bus gets hit at a train crossing, boom, 17 new state laws enacted to make sure it never happens again. Kinder Eggs might cause a choking hazard in small children, boom, you can't buy them in the USA. Lead paint causing brain damage? Boom, removed, done. Asbestos in schools? Boom, removed, done.

Seven weeks into 2018, there have been eight shootings at U.S. schools that have resulted in injury or death. Sorry, we can't do a thing because the God given right to own an inert tube of metal that can shoot projectiles at high volume and high speed trumps even the MERE idea that people should have to give any thought to perhaps control and license them, or Jesus tapdancing Christ, give them up. 

So can we stop with this irrelevant argument that somehow your gun rights are in ANY kind of danger? Tell me of ONE single law in the past decade that has infringed on your right to own pretty much any type of gun? You can't. So you should be happy.

No matter how many people are shot in any kind of gun violence, "thoughts and prayers" will be the ONLY thing that comes of it. There will never be any significant changes made to gun laws in the USA, because you are comfortable with children dying as long as no one messes with your "right" to own lethal weapons and play with them, dreaming of Steven Seagalian scenarios in which you are the last great patriot defending the Second Amendment from God knows what.