By the time you finish reading this paragraph, nearly 20 people will become victims of domestic violence. Over the course of one year, that will equal more than 10 million people. Whether you are a victim or know a victim, domestic violence affects us all. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Let this be a time to heal, to be aware, and work towards prevention.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse.
Who are the victims of domestic violence?
Anyone can be the victim of domestic violence.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be the victim of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
1 in 6 women and one in 14 men experienced contact sexual violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
Children are victims too.
1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
What are the long-term effects of domestic violence?
For the victims who survive, domestic violence is a lasting trauma. Domestic violence has been linked to depression and suicidal behavior. Other issues linked to domestic violence include unintended pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, nutritional deficiency, abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal problems, neurological disorders, chronic pain, disability, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as diseases such as hypertension, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Victims of domestic violence are also at higher risk for developing addictions to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
Is there any way to prevent domestic violence?
No victim should be blamed for domestic violence, as no one chooses to be abused. Increasing awareness and providing support for those who are abused is the best way to prevent domestic violence.
Know the signs. While some signs of domestic violence may not show up until months into a relationship, some signs are there from the beginning:
Being jealous of your friends or time spent away from your partner
Discouraging you from spending time away from your partner
Embarrassing or shaming you
Controlling all financial decisions
Making you feel guilty for all the problems in the relationship
Preventing you from working
Intentionally damaging your property
Threatening violence against you, your pets or someone you love to gain compliance
Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to
Intimidating you physically, especially with weapons
Leaving an abusive relationship is sometimes easier said than done. Leave if you can safely. Leaving a domestic abuse relationship is often the most dangerous time for a victim. Of those victims, the danger can be more serious for racially and sexually marginalized communities.
Write everything down.
If you are in an abusive relationship, document everything. Write down the dates, times, take pictures. All this information will be useful when filing a police report or a court case.
Get the FACTS: Trump’s Zero Tolerance Policy
Have you heard that children were separated from their parents under Obama & Clinton? Then, you need a little Facts vs Myths lesson. Michelle Martin, PhD Cal State Fullerton summed up the most important FACTS:
There is so much misinformation out there about the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy that requires criminal prosecution, which then warrants the separating of parents and children at the border. Before responding to a post defending this policy, please do your research…As a professor at a local Cal State, I research and write about these issues, so here, I’ll make it easier for you:
Myth: This is not a new policy and was practiced under Obama and Clinton – FALSE.
The policy to separate parents and children is new and was instituted on 4/6/2018. It was the brainchild of John Kelly and Stephen Miller to serve as a deterrent for undocumented immigration, approved by Trump, and adopted by Sessions. Prior administrations detained migrant families, but didn’t have a practice of forcibly separating parents from their children unless the adults were deemed unfit. https://www.justice.gov/…/press-rele…/file/1049751/download…
Myth: This is the only way to deter undocumented immigration – FALSE.
Annual trends show that arrests for undocumented entry are at a 46 year low, and undocumented crossings dropped in 2007, with a net loss (more people leaving than arriving). Deportations have increased steadily though (spiking in 1996 and more recently), because several laws that were passed since 1996 have made it legally more difficult to gain legal status for people already here, and thus increased their deportations (I address this later under the myth that it’s the Democrats’ fault). What we mostly have now are people crossing the border illegally because they’ve already been hired by a US company, or because they are seeking political asylum. Economic migrants come to this country because our country has kept the demand going. But again, many of these people impacted by Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy appear to be political asylum-seekers. https://www.npr.org/…/arrests-for-illegal-border-crossings-…
Myth: Most of the people coming across the border are just trying to take advantage of our country by taking our jobs – FALSE.
Most of the parents who have been impacted by Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy have presented themselves as political asylum-seekers at a U.S. port-of-entry, from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Rather than processing their claims, they have been taken into custody on the spot and had their children ripped from their arms. The ACLU alleges that this practice violates the Asylum Act, and the UN asserts that it violates the UN Treaty on the State of Refugees, one of the few treaties the US has ratified. This is an illegal act on the part of the United States government, not to mention morally and ethically reprehensible. https://www.nytimes.com/…/meatpackers-profits-hinge-on-pool…
Myth: We’re a country that respects the Rule of Law, and if people break the law, this is what they get – FALSE.
We are a country that has an above-ground system of immigration and an underground system. Our government (under both parties) has always been aware that US companies recruit workers in the poorest parts of Mexico for cheap labor, and ICE (and its predecessor INS) has looked the other way because this underground economy benefits our country to the tune of billions of dollars annually. Thus, even though the majority of people crossing the border now are asylum-seekers, those who are economic migrants (migrant workers) likely have been recruited here to do jobs Americans will not do. https://www.upi.com/…/Donald-Trumps-wall-ign…/2621477498203/
Myth: The children have to be separated from their parents because their parents must be arrested and it would be cruel to put children in jail with their parents – FALSE.
First, in the case of economic migrants crossing the border illegally, criminal prosecution has not been the legal norm, and families have been kept together at all cost. Also, crossing the border without documentation is a typically a misdemeanor not requiring arrest, but rather a civil proceeding. Additionally, parents who have been detained have historically been detained with their children in ICE “family residential centers,” again, for civil processing. The Trump administration’s shift in policy is for political purposes only, not legal ones. See p. 18: https://www.aclu.org/…/ms-l-v-ice-plaintiffs-opposition-def…
Myth: We have rampant fraud in our asylum process the proof of which is the significant increase we have in the number of people applying for asylum. FALSE.
The increase in asylum seekers is a direct result of the increase in civil conflict and violence across the globe. While some people may believe that we shouldn’t allow any refugees into our country because “it’s not our problem,” neither our current asylum law, nor our ideological foundation as a country support such an isolationist approach. There is very little evidence to support Sessions’ claim that abuse of our asylum-seeking policies is rampant. Also, what Sessions failed to mention is that the majority of asylum seekers are from China, not South of the border. Here is a very fair and balanced assessment of his statements: http://www.politifact.com/…/jeff-sessions-claim-about-asyl…/
Myth: The Democrats caused this, “it’s their law.” FALSE.
Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats caused this, the Trump administration did (although the Republicans could fix this today, and have refused). I believe what this myth refers to is the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which were both passed under Clinton in 1996. These laws essentially made unauthorized entry into the US a crime (typically a misdemeanor for first-time offenders), but under both Republicans and Democrats, these cases were handled through civil deportation proceedings, not a criminal proceeding, which did not require separation. And again, even in cases where detainment was required, families were always kept together in family residential centers, unless the parents were deemed unfit (as mentioned above). Thus, Trump’s assertion that he hates this policy but has no choice but to separate the parents from their children, because the Democrats “gave us this law” is false and nothing more than propaganda designed to compel negotiation on bad policy. https://www.independent.co.uk/…/trump-democrats-us-border-m…
Myth: The parents and children will be reunited shortly, once the parents’ court cases are finalized. FALSE.
Criminal court is a vastly different beast than civil court proceedings. Also, the children are being processed as unaccompanied minors (“unaccompanied alien children”), which typically means they are sent into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS). Under normal circumstances when a child enters the country without his or her parent, ORR attempts to locate a family member within a few weeks, and the child is then released to a family member, or if a family member cannot be located, the child is placed in a residential center (anywhere in the country), or in some cases, foster care. Prior to Trump’s new policy, ORR was operating at 95% capacity, and they simply cannot effectively manage the influx of 2000+ children, some as young as 4 months. Also, keep in mind, these are not unaccompanied minor children, they have parents. There is great legal ambiguity on how and even whether the parents will get their children back because we are in uncharted territory right now. According to the ACLU lawsuit (see below), there is currently no easy vehicle for reuniting parents with their children. Additionally, according to a May 2018 report, numerous cases of verbal, physical and sexual abuse were found to have occurred in these residential centers. https://www.aclu.org/…/aclu-obtains-documents-showing-wides…
Myth: This policy is legal. LIKELY FALSE.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on 5/6/18, and a recent court ruling denied the government’s motion to dismiss the suit. The judge deciding the case stated that the Trump Administration policy is “brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency.” The case is moving forward because it was deemed to have legal merit.https://www.bloomberg.com/…/aclu-suit-over-child-separation…
This post is also on Facebook as a public post: https://www.facebook.com/MIchelle.Martin15/posts/1852738241454566
Happy Baby Daddy Day, Baby!
This is my first Father’s Day after the passing of my father. Ours was not the closest relationship but we did have one, of a sort. Finding the perfect Father’s Day card always required a bit of a search, as I could not honestly pick one from the pile that spoke to Dad’s golf game, grill-master skills, date vetting or funny dad-isms. My father’s life was difficult after my parents divorced and his relationship with me became strained. And yet he was always my Dad, never a “baby daddy.”
One of the recent Father’s Day offerings from American Greetings, a 100 year old greeting card company who aims to create “innovative social expression products that assist consumers in making the world a more thoughtful and caring place,” is a card featuring a Black couple and the words, “Baby Daddy” printed on the front. After a blast of social media hits, American Greetings offered half an apology and requested stores pull the offending card.
Here is the official “apology”:
This particular card was created for, and addressed to, a loving husband — which the inside copy makes clear. However, we now see that the front page, taken out of context, can communicate an unintentional meaning that we are strongly against perpetuating and is not consistent with our company purpose and values. We should do better in the future, and we will. We have notified our store merchandisers to remove the card from the shelves and apologize for any offense we’ve caused.
I’m Just Playin’
In some stores, this was the only card featuring an African-American couple. American Greetings says the intention was a “playful” card for a husband. Can I just call that out for the blatant lie that it is? There is nothing about the phrase “baby daddy” that lets the viewer know it is intended for a loving husband. Additionally, if I’m looking for a playful card, I don’t look in the romantic-photo-embossed-and-foiled-fancy-lettering section. Playful cards have bright backgrounds, quirky lettering, and funky drawings or pictures. One hundred years in business and American Greetings doesn’t even know its own brand!
American Greetings appropriated a phrase without knowing its actual definition. Just because people say “baby daddy” with a smirk on their face and a lilt to their tone doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for a card from a company who claims to inspire thoughtfulness and caring. The excuse of communicating an unintentional meaning is a paltry cover-up because they never attempted to determine the actual meaning of the phrase. AG lacked both awareness of their audience and context of how and when the phrase is used.
I have a White friend who uses the B-Rock and the Bizz song My Baby Daddy as her husband’s ringtone. It’s hysterical. One, because it is a personal joke, not a national campaign (awareness) and two, because she knows the phrase means deadbeat dad and her husband is the opposite of deadbeat (context). The song lyrics are clear – the “baby daddy” is not an active part of the singer’s family. He is not the “loving husband” American Greetings says they are targeting.
Had American Greetings used the same phrase over a photo of a White man in a suit and marketed the card in the humor section, I don’t think the outcry would have been quite as fervent. It becomes a joke of parody (which still has its issues since it would be based on the perceived unlikelihood of the White man being a deadbeat dad when compared to a Black man). By appropriating the phrase without bothering to look up its history, American Greetings shows its hand as disconnected, outdated and wholly lacking in a vetting process consistent with its mission statement.Trying so, so hard to be woke American Greetings comes across like your 60-year-old CEO busting out his Cabbage Patch moves at the Christmas party. It’s embarrassing for everyone. Click To Tweet
Trying so, so hard to be woke American Greetings comes across like your 60-year-old CEO busting out his Cabbage Patch moves at the Christmas party. It’s embarrassing for everyone. In the recent past greeting cards would exchange the photo on the card from a White couple to a brownish one, but now card companies, struggling to remain relevant, yet keep their upper ranks Caucasian, do not understand the market. Will we next see anniversary cards with “side piece” in fancy, embossed script across the front or the “puta” line of Latinx Mother’s Day cards?
Know Your History
It’s not as if they don’t have stellar examples of what not to do. 2018 began with retailers H&M’s major snafu of putting a Black boy in a “coolest monkey in the jungle” shirt. Dove’s body wash turned a Black woman into a White one and was compared to racist soap ads from the 19th century. Nivea had to cancelled their “white is purity” campaign. Heineken pulled their “lighter is better” ad after Chance the Rapper called them out on Twitter. In every corner of the earth, Black people shake their heads and wonder who approved these campaigns? Even the tiniest bit of common sense should make manufacturers question their choices. At the very least AG should have checked Merriam-Webster or even Urban Dictionary. The DUH factor is so large it makes you doubt the qualifications of these CEOs. That they didn’t recognize a prejudice of stereotype for this card is an indication of a much larger problem.
American Greetings thinks this is what we want. They hear the phrase in Black popular culture, see it’s become a part of the Caucasian lexicon, hear Becky from HR use it in a sentence and decide “baby daddy” is cute and mainstream. Believing this card will provide a reasonable turn on investment and itis added to the collection. Green-lit through sales representatives to the store buyers who cleared it for the shelves of Target, Walgreens and other major stores, everyone thought it was fine.The fact that @amgreetings didn’t recognize a prejudice of stereotype for their 'baby daddy' card is an indication of a much larger problem. Click To Tweet
American Greetings is a company (it includes Carlton Cards, Gibson, Recycled Paper Greetings and Papyrus), and companies like to make money. They don’t particularly care what color that money is. They offer African-American products not because they feel we are beautiful, valid human beings, but because they want to increase profits. From their market research, they know we are out here, dollars in hand. We are a commodity harvested for gain; a spice to their banality. “Baby daddy” allows them to feel as though they are The Bomb. Fresh-to-Death. On both Fleek and Point. It’s the 21st-century version of “some of my best friends are Black.” But when those best friends aren’t represented on your board of directors or executive teams, it’s impossible to believe your company purpose and values are inclusive and thoughtful.
I want to believe American Greetings, Dove, H & M and all the others have learned their lessons, but this just keeps happening. The decision makers live in a whitewashed world where contact with marginalized people is at a minimum. As a result, these incidences will continue to happen until executive teams reflect the diversity of the world at large. Thinking ahead to the next infraction, I offer this slightly more genuine apology for any company who crosses the line:
Dear (offended people group),
We are heartbroken about our offense and apologize for our ignorance. We thought we were being clever and didn’t think at all about your lives, feelings or contributions to the human narrative. Reducing you to a stereotype was a quick and easy way to make a buck. Now we’re in the spotlight and it’s uncomfortable and embarrassing. We will do whatever we need to do to avoid this kind of negative publicity in the future, including letting some people go who aren’t in step with our mission. If we mess up again, please call us out because no one should be made to feel less than.
Big Conglomeration Who Pays a Lot of Money for PR
Finally, even though it is late, here are three Etsy sellers who offer cards celebrating Black families:
Deborah Carrie Studio – https://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahCarrieStudio
PiCs by Adrione – https://www.etsy.com/shop/PICsbyAdrione
Stacey Ann Cole Art – https://www.etsy.com/shop/StaceyAnnColeArt
Re-imagining Black Love
By: Cody Charles
a bursting speck of gold dust
sunrise waking us
~Megan Pendleton (Badass Black Queer Poet)
I’ve been thinking about Black Love for a while now, and how it is both felt and intellectualized. As a Black fat queer cis femme, love has always been complicated.
I have been in community with beautiful Black folk who uplift me, challenge me, hold me accountable, induce hearty laughs, and often finish my sentences and interpret my infamous side-eyes.
I have been in community with resilient Black folk who hold me when I have nothing left, who cook my favorite meals in times of celebration and grief, who massage my shoulders and administer hugs that heal the soul, and who I trust passing the baton onto when I’m in need of rest.
In addition to the above, I have felt extreme isolation and violence in the name of love, often caping behind the veil of organized religion (informed by Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist CisHeteroPatriarchy).
Re: someone does and says something really awful to me, and using the above framework, I’m supposed to respond with love and forgiveness.
The word love is complicated, and often goes untroubled.
I am curious.
I am curious about how we engage love outside of the aforementioned toxicity.
I am curious about what love even means? Isn’t it a made-up word steeped in violence and manipulation- a tactic to keep the powerful in power? Am I off here?
But, I am most curious about the following question…
What is Black Love outside of Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist CisHeteroPatriarchy? (What is Black love minus the standards/expectations of the cisgender white phukshyt?)
Below I have asked a few of my brilliant friends to chime in.
Enjoy, and share.
Bulaong Ramiz-Hall– Educator, writer, community builder, granddaughter of the resilient survivors of enslavement and colonialism
Black love is the magic of our ancestors existing in our bodies, minds, spirits and souls. It is the deep and direct rejection of all things that tell us we are not beautiful, brilliant, worthy, and free. Black love is what makes us human, what allows us to access the deepest parts of ourselves, its that love that separates us from all others and connects us to each other.
I had to learn to love blackness, mine and others. I had to train myself to find the beauty in my people, to feel an affinity with my culture, to let the connection to both intergenerational trauma and intergenerational thriving sustain and guide me.
Black love is the antithesis to white supremacy, it is the cure to imperialism, it is a return to the fluidity of our roles in community, it is a rejection of hierarchy that allows for some to have more than enough and others to have nothing, it is the elevation and celebration of women and femmes, it is what will free us all.
Robert Jones Jr.- Creator of the Son of Baldwin Platform
To me, this kind of black love would, first and foremost, be built on a foundation that neither fetishizes nor recoils at the sight of jet-black skin. It would know that dark-black skin is something to be adored and treasured, like the cosmos itself, rather than covered up or bleached away.
Nor would black love understand or accept violence in the face of black queer desire and black queer bodies. Rather, it would celebrate, given their unpopularity in this current white supremacist cisheteropatriachal moment, any consensual romantic black bonds.
Black love would not be afraid of black children’s joy and would not seek to police it. I use that word “police” intentionally. Black love would seek, instead, to un-train itself from art of corporal punishment because black love would push out the fear and sadism that drive such practices.
Black love, outside the scope of the pathologies mentioned, would make untrue the rap verse (“And when you get on, he’ll leave your ass for a white girl” — Kanye West, “Gold Digger”) describing the phenomenon of black men who select white partners over black ones because black would be seen as more than enough.
Black love would eschew respectability for humanity, choose humility over pride, select gratitude not ego, seek to be spiritual rather than religious, make whole not half, restore as opposed to damage. It would never assume, but would always ask permission, move forward only when permission has been granted, and would not whither from rejection, but would rejoice at the mutual respect left in its wake. Rather than seek to narrow, confine, and exclude, black love would seek to expand, liberate, and include.
In short, black love is potentially the complete opposite of imperialist white supremacist capitalist cisheteropatriarchy.
Zerandrian S. Morris– Anti-Academic and Ivy League Professor
Hmm…black love outside of the phukshyt is…Hell, I have no clue, as I’ve never experienced it. But I would imagine it to be exceptionally liberating and a deeply creative space. A place where it’s ok to phuk up and the fear of relationships dissolving at whim, wouldn’t be there. It would be women liking me for me, not because they’re curious about what its like to date a non-binary person and a year later, they’re engaged to a cis-person.
Sorry let me try and stick to what it is, versus what it’s not.
It is freer. More liberatory. It’s both hood AF and elegant like a quarter pounder with cheese with a side of sushi from Masa in NYC.
Damn. That sounds dope AF!
Romeo Jackson– Black Queer Femme Educator, Learner, and Thinker.
This is such a hard question to answer given most images we have of Black love are Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist and deeply invested in CisHeteroPatriarchy. Even the few public images we have of Black love are often coded as white and placed in proximity to gender and sexuality norms (think: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade or Michelle Obama and Barack Obama). Where are the expressions of poor Black love, of Disable Black love, of trans Black love?
Black love has the potential to be the transformative power to liberate all Black people. This liberatory Black love understands that love is a way of being versus a feeling. Yes, love can be a feeling, but what if we imagined love as a place we can never reach, a way of thinking, as praxis? In thinking about Black love this way, no where can the cis-het-college-educated-upper-middle-class couple with two cis-het children be seen as the model for Black love? It is then, how we start to imagine the Black trans femme couple fighting for survival while mothering an entire community of queer and trans youth as Black love, because at its core Black love is a rejection of Black death, pain, and suffering.
Lastly, we must begin to understand Black friendship as Black Love. Love is more than the people we fuck, go on dates with, and enter into romantic relationships with. My friendships, often with Black queer and trans people, have been my greatest source of Black love. Black love that sees you in your wholeness. A Black love that is there to call you out while honoring your humanity. Black love is seeing another Black person as human, always deserving of love, support, and community. Black friendship is the past, present, and future of Black love.
Black folk, what is Black love to you outside of these toxic systems? #ReimaginingBlackLove #BlackJoyWeDeserveIt Click To Tweet
a bursting speck of gold dust
sunrise waking us
~Megan Pendleton (Badass Black Queer Poet)
This is the work of Cody Charles; claiming my work does not make me selfish or ego-driven, instead radical and in solidarity with the folk who came before me and have been betrayed by history books and storytellers. Historically, their words have been stolen and reworked without consent. This is the work of Cody Charles. Please discuss, share, and cite properly.
Bio: Cody Charles is the author of Getting To Know Rosa Lee: An Overdue Conversation With My Mother, Black Joy, We Deserve It, The Night The Moonlight Caught My Eye: Not a Review but a Testimony on the Film Moonlight, 5 Tips For White Folks, As They Engage Jordan Peele’s Get Out. (No Spoilers), A Letter to Black Greeks Who Happen to be Black and Queer, Student Affairs is a Sham, 19 Types of Higher Education Professionals, and What Growing Up Black And Poor Taught Me About Resiliency. Join him for more conversation on Twitter (@_codykeith_) and Facebook (Follow Cody Charles). Please visit his blog, Reclaiming Anger, to learn more about him.
Entertainment6 days ago
Alleged Abuser Rapper XXXTentacion Pronounced Dead
Entertainment1 week ago
PettyYoncé: Did Beyoncé Just Shade Nas On Twitter?
Entertainment3 days ago
Spicy White & Morehouse College Gets Dragged On Twitter For “Being A White Student At Morehouse” Documentary
Entertainment1 week ago
R. Kelly’s Ex-Wife Drea Kelly FINALLY Breaks Her Silence!
Entertainment1 week ago
The Queen of Rap & Her Husband Release Joint Album and Video ‘APESH*T’
For The Culture7 days ago
Behold, The Coolest Black Female Protagonist Gaming Has Ever Seen
King Of Reads TV6 days ago
Azealia Banks, Cardi B, & Blackness | In The Middle
For The Culture5 days ago
Soul Food Sessions Announces Four-City Tour Served with a Coke