Gender violence and gender harmony

This is about gender violence, specifically it is about violence against women performed by men. Yes I know that there are women who attack men. Yes, there are women who attack women, and men who attack men. This is not about that.

This is about the fact that there are way more women who are being attacked by men just because they are women. Just because they are seen as lesser. I speak about what I know. You always have to write from what you know and what you experience.

Simply being a woman is seen as lesser. We are seen as the weaker sex. We are not encouraged to do anything that is rough-and-tumble. We are not encouraged to do anything outside of our proscribed gender roles. When a woman does anything that is seen as traditionally masculine she is seen as is as butch. When a man does anything that is seen as feminine he is seen as effeminate and is considered to be weaker.

This is a shame. It is not fair for men to not be allowed to be who they are. It is not fair for women to not be allowed to be who they are. There is nothing specific about our genders that make us better able to wash dishes or better able to pay bills. There is nothing specific about our genders that make it logical that one is supposed to be nurturing and caring and the other one is supposed to be hard and aggressive.

Everyone can take care of the house and everyone can take care of the children. It is important that everyone knows everyone’s roles. The role has nothing to do with gender but with ability. And ability comes from education, not gender.

It is important that young boys learn how to cook and darn their own socks. It is important that women know how to balance a checkbook and how to do house and car repairs. It is important that everybody learns how to take care of themselves completely and fully.

If we only know half of our tasks that we are half people.

Perhaps this is why women and men think they have to get married. They think they have to have someone else to take care of them instead of being able to take care of themselves. Imagine how strong marriages would be if both people are independent and strong, so both together make something even stronger.

This is the source of healing. This is the source of peace. We have to stop being women and men. We have to start being people.

Suppressed pain – rethinking domestic assault.

When I slipped a disc in my back, I was in extreme pain for a while. Then I got used to it. When I went to the chiropractor the next day, he tested my blood pressure while I was sitting and when I was standing. It was not different, and it was supposed to be. He told me that was a sign of stress caused by the pain. I wasn’t hurting much, but I did feel a little weird. I now know that feeling was from suppressed pain.

I hear that if you are going to boil a live lobster, it is kindest to do it slowly. Put the lobster in the pot and raise the heat gradually until it just goes to sleep. This is less traumatic than putting it in a boiling pot.

Bad smells become normal after a while. Constant loud sounds do too. After a while you can get used to anything, even if it is dangerous for you.

I’ve been a lobster for a long time. I’ve been in pain for a long time. I’ve been around bad smells and loud noises for longer than is healthy. I’d gotten used to it.

I’m not talking about these things in the literal sense.

I have been the victim of a culture that puts women last. I have been the victim of a culture that tells me and every other woman that our value derives from how we look, how we act, and how we related to men. I have been a victim of abuse from family and boyfriends and strangers. People I thought I could trust have harmed me, with the full approval of a society that says if a woman is harmed, she must have done something to deserve it.

As if men can’t control themselves.
As if men are basically animals.

I didn’t even realize I had been raped by a boyfriend until recently. I thought it was my fault, a misunderstanding. We were dating, but we hadn’t had sex. We’d talked about it, but we hadn’t agreed to it. We were kissing each other and fooling around one minute, and then he had entered me the next.

I thought it was my fault. I shouldn’t have led him on. I shouldn’t have let the situation get that far advanced. Right? That is what I’ve been told by our society.

And now I know. Sex without the consent of both people is rape. Even if both people are dating. Even if both have had sex with each other before.

Every single time it must be clearly mutual, or it is rape.

And it isn’t the woman’s fault. That is the definition of codependency. Nobody is responsible for another person’s feelings or actions. They are. A woman didn’t “make” a man do anything. He chose to. This is true for rape and domestic assault.

If a boundary is violated – whether it is being smacked around or raped – it doesn’t matter who does it. It is still an attack, and it is still the fault of the person who did the attack. The victim is not ever to blame.

We have to change our mindsets. We have to start thinking of violence between people who are supposed to be in a loving relationship as simply the same as violence between strangers.

Approaching a dog – social conventions on physical space.

When you come across a dog, you don’t know whether it is going to bite you or not. So the safest thing to do is to crouch down and appear nonthreatening. You put out your hand, palm down, in the form of a fist. This way your fingers are not exposed. That way the dog can come up to you on its own terms and in its own time and decide if you are safe. It is up to the dog to determine whether you get to touch it or not.

The same is true of people. There are number of people, myself included, who have problems with physical space. I was abused as a child in multiple ways, and I only started learning about boundaries in my 40s.

Because of my past, I have problems with physically being around people. I am very uncomfortable with people coming up and randomly touching me. This is true even if it is someone I know very well, even if it is my husband. If he and I are alone together in the house he can still startle me with touch. If I have my back to him, such as when I’m doing the dishes or I am working at the computer, and he comes up to me to touches me or give me a hug, it frightens me. I have told him repeatedly to give me a warning because it because it makes me scared. He doesn’t quite seem to get it. It is foreign to him.

We have a family friend who has a young son who does not understand boundaries. He is like a bouncy puppy. He is a little overwhelming to me, and it turns out, to many others. As soon as I walk in the door at their house he opens his arms and walks into me for a hug. If we are walking outside, he will come up beside me and throw his arm around me. It is very startling. We haven’t been visiting with this family for very long, so there isn’t a history between him and me. Essentially, I haven’t given him permission to touch me.

He has very few friends his age, and has expressed difficulty making female friends. He is very socially backwards in many ways, and his parents have noticed this but are unaware what to do about it. His mother is very forward and direct like him. She does not seem to understand that not everyone is, so she does not know to teach her son how to “read” whether it is safe to be forward and direct with them.

I’m of course older than the middle-school girls this boy deals with, and even I didn’t know why I feel so uncomfortable around him. If I don’t know, then they certainly don’t know. I can suppress my feelings for the sake of not embarrassing him, but they don’t hold their punches. He’s becoming more and more socially backwards.

It was so uncomfortable that for a while my husband and I considered only visiting with them when he was not there. We have finally realized that God has put this child in our path for a reason, and that we are to be like surrogate parents to him. I still don’t know what to say, or how to say it, but I’m trusting that the Holy Spirit will give me the words, as Jesus promised his disciples.

I really don’t want to embarrass him by telling him how uncomfortable his behavior is to me and many other people. But I do feel that he wants to get along, and wants to know how to “play” the social game. It has rules that sometimes aren’t easy to learn.

One thing I learned when I was working with college students with learning disabilities was that sometimes dyslexia isn’t just about words. Some students with LD have a problem “reading” people and feelings as well. The social rules that we all take for granted are very hard for them as they don’t pick up on nuances at all. They become further and further isolated from the rest of their peers because of this.

I don’t want him to feel isolated, because that is a recipe for another school shooter.