Domestic Violence Should Not Be Politics as Usual

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​Sunday will be the sixth anniversary of my friend’s death. She was murdered by her ex while simply living her own life, washing a tea kettle out when he came up behind her and ended her life. For all of us who are touched by domestic violence and abuse, we ask if there was something we could have done, something we should have been aware of. I participated in my own share of victim blaming until I saw the larger picture of having your finances and only home tied up with someone who is threatening. 

I think we all like to believe the best of people, and if we’re wrong, we just pick up and walk away. Everyone has friends they can rely on, but how true is that really? Can a mom, the mom who seems to have all the problems, is never on time, offering flimsy excuses with the two kids, both in diapers – can she crash on your sofa or spare room indefinitely? Are you friends with her domestic partner? Who will you believe?

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and it takes on a variety of forms. Some, though not many, don’t realize they’re abusive; it’s the way they were raised, and they think it’s “normal” to slap your wife and kids or grab her or slam doors and drink a little too much. Others seem like the perfect couple, family, etc, and no one knows what’s going on inside someone else’s home?

For B, my friend, when she had nowhere to live, she arranged to live in her house. Her house, that she paid for, contributed to the down payment of, was responsible on the deed for, but also on the property where her ex lived. I thought that was crazy. However, what else could she do?

He threatened her, but people say things they don’t mean all the time.

Why didn’t she call the police? Well, she did, several times. In fact, the police paid a visit to their house the night before she was murdered. They didn’t believe there was a problem; not a real one. Don’t set him off, though.

I didn’t understand.

Now, in Congress, in the House of Representatives yesterday, a bill was passed that will now go on to the Senate to be voted on. If it passes the Senate, I have no doubt that President Trump will sign it. He signs whatever he’s told to.

This new bill, that might become a law, which by the way also exempts members of Congress from its new rules and changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as affecting private insurance and employer insurance along with Medicaid and Medicare, defines pre-existing conditions in horrific ways and will affect someone you know.

They say that pre-exisiting conditions will be covered, but that depends on the state you’re in, and legal access to health care doesn’t mean that everyone will have it or be able to afford it.

For example, four of the pre-existing conditions mentioned specifically are: domestic violence, sexual assault, c-section, and post-partum depression. What do these four things have in common? In addition to being completely and arbitrarily unpredictable and randomly occuring, they also only happen to women. The first two – domestic violence and sexual assault – are perpetuated by men onto women, but as is the case in many instances, women pay the brunt of the violence against them.

This is one of the most blatant and disgusting and obvious moments of victim-blaming.

They’re looking at getting rid of well visits and preventative care, maternity leave, and pre-natal care as well.

I’m appalled.

In today’s Congress, had my friend survived her gunshot to the head she would be blamed for it as a victim of domestic violence. It would be considered a pre-existing condition and not covered under the Republican’s repeal and regress health care plan.

They’ve had eight years to come up with something, and they’ve failed. However, they continue to punish women for their failure.

Do not let this Republican controlled Congress and White House continue to abuse women and their families.

If you or someone you know are in danger or in a domestic abuse relationship or situation, contact the The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. They can help you and find resources for you wherever you are.

If you or someone you know are an LGBT+ youth and in an abusive situation, contact The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. They can put you in touch with someone who can help you.

You are not alone.

Life and Living

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(It says: “Until life within the womb of a mother is safe, life outside the womb will never be safe.”)

(*Note: I saw this earlier today and I had an opinion on it to share. Not all of my reflections this Lent will be on my positive journeying through the forty days. I have many things that cross my mind in a day, and this was today’s.
Trigger warnings for abortion and choice.*)

I could not disagree with this more. In fact, I find it offensive that this is part of a so-called pro-life campaign.

In fact, I think the opposite is true: it is our obligation to care for those already born and through education and appropriate birth control, abortions will, and have been going steadier, lower.

The false equivalency of a fetus and a grown person having the same safety concerns tells me that the person who wrote this sign doesn’t understand the real issues that women in this country, pregnant or not, face on a daily basis.

Is abortion really less safe than being born without a spinal cord or a brain stem?

Is abortion really less safe than starving and dying in poverty?

Is abortion really less safe than living in a chronically abusive household?

Do we really care more for our unborn than our already born? Our persons of color? Our single parents? Our foster kids? Our child victims of rape who are forced to carry babies to term when their emotional states and their physical bodies are not ready for it?

Shouldn’t we begin with taking care of those outside the womb first? If we can’t get that right, how can we presume to know what’s the best options for inside someone else’s body?

We also know that a fetus could not survive on its own without its physical attachment to the mother, the host, unlike people who are already living, breathing, thinking human beings. It is not a symbiotic relationship; it is strictly one-sided. If you remove the baby from the situation, the mother will still be alive. The opposite is not true.

I would prefer less bumper sticker sanctimony and more real world options without the attack on pregnant women at every turn.