Category: Gun violence

Activist Mama: teach men not to rape

I lost my voice over the weekend. Literally. It was probably a rather nice break for DH and the kids. This quiet life is an interesting experience. I have been knocking once on the wall to say ‘Yes’ and twice to say ‘No’. I have yet to find a quicker way than the morse code to ‘say’: LEAVE ME ALONE! Without words, I seem to be able to keep my emotions more in check. Usually irate things are actually kind of OK when you can’t talk. For example, kids punching each other would normally start a screaming fit on my part. Well, not at the moment. Instead, I gently take their hands and get them to do something less barbaric such as play with a puzzle or less painful such as punching the baby doll instead (I do realize that the latter tactic will probably come back and bite me in the arse). Inside I also feel more at peace too, strangely. A silent me seems to be a better mom. Strange. Disturbing even.

However, the minus side is that I had to go berserk silently when a friend posted this video Teach men not to rape in which Zerlina Maxwell and TV host, Hannity are debating arming women for self-defense Vs teaching men not to commit violence on women and rape. It infuriates me to no end this bullshit about arming up the whole country to feel safer and fight crime. It drives me nuts when the pro gun faction says ‘it is not the guns the problem, it is the people’ to fight gun bans but then denigrate long-term violence prevention measures that seriously focus on people and, let’s face, more specifically men. And I am not talking about men with mental health issues, still a small proportion of the entire population and probably an even smaller proportion of the violent population. Indeed, it pisses me off when people like Hannity put yet again the onus on women. Enough of this ‘gender equality’ meaning a focus on women as victims, perpetrators, the people who have less and thus have to be helped to change. I have found an excellent article on the masculinity excesses in crime and violence by Cynthia Cockburn and Ann Oakley published in openDemocracy. Here’s a powerful extract:

‘Year after year, we fail to connect the huge burden of masculine anti-social behaviour with the social and economic system of which it is part. Where is the search for reasons and remedies? Instead of joining the dots, and drawing a conclusion, we treat every piece of breaking news as a shocking new scandal, a special case. Jimmy Savile is exposed, along with other male celebrity paedophiles. The policy response, ready and waiting, is ‘we need better child protection’. Nobody thinks to ask, ‘what is it with men and power?’ A school massacre grabs the headlines. It is taken for granted the perpetrator will be a male. But the policy response is ‘tighten gun control’. Not, ‘what is it with men and guns?’ Almost always in such accounts of violent crime the man as male, the man as masculine, remains a shadowy figure behind the text. He is never brought into the spotlight. We do not hear him questioned. We do not hear him answer.’

When you see someone on national TV like Hannity  being dumbfounded by the suggestion that men, masculinity and violence are correlated as if it was the first time he heard about such concept, you realize that there is a long way to go to address the roots of violence in our societies.

Sandy hook: how much is too much

I have not written in a while because I was a shell of a human being, my body and brain all numb from the lack of sleep. Everybody says it is going get better, except that at this present time, in December 2012 it is not fucking getting better. In fact, it went from OK to bad to worse to worst to ?!!!@@@!!!!??????But today it does not matter. It does not matter that the twins are now climbing out their cribs in the middle of the night and are jumping around yelling as if they were in the Saturday Night Fever movie. It does not matter that L at 8 months old still does not sleep through the night and  still thinks he is some kind of fat lump attached to my hip. No, it does not matter because on Friday 14th December a very sick person barged into a school and gunned down 26 people including 20 children aged 6 or 7. 6 or 7. Just like that, birthdays, first kisses, first time sex, graduations, first pay checks, weddings, etc. were wiped out. Just like that.It is heartbreaking. I am at loss for words, loss for emotions even.
The whole week end, I kept thinking about the same stuff over and over again, while looking at my three kids eating christmas cookies’ raw dough when they were not busy throwing it on the floor. I wondered if these parents got to hear their kids say that they loved them. P told her nanny she loved her but has yet to tell me or her dad. I hope they did get to hear it, at least once. It would be a memory I would hang on to if I lost my child. I then thought about how relieved I was that my kids were not only alive but too young to read or listen to the the news. I was glad I did not have to explain what ‘shooting massacre means’  because where would I even start? I mean, P & G are so clueless about right and wrong, hurt and pain that they do not understand why we get all pissed off when they throw milk bottles, cream containers or portable lamps onto L in his sleep. They just smile. It is a chilling experience, believe me.Finally, I asked myself what if it had happened to us? How can you recover? DH and I agreed that granted we survived, we would probably dedicate our lives to make sure that no children ever get to die this way again. We would probably feel that inaction would be like letting them down. And then I looked at my three kids wrestling on the floor, fighting over a stupid broom and thought: they are alive but am I not letting them down anyway moping about the shooting and doing nothing? When I moved to the States, I always said that I would be politically involved in three issues: women’s right to choose, marriage for all and gun violence. And then I forgot.

Today, I am adding a new page to my blog ‘Activist mama’ where I will publish my thinking and my actions. This page will remind me that sleepless nights, back to back tantrums, getting hit by flying toys, my kids’ diarrhea etc. will never be in the end too much. But a child who will never be 8 because they were killed by a gun, a woman who has to resort to illegal street abortion or a couple in love who cannot get married because society thinks they are abnormal, is too much, way too much.