SaneSurvivor

Toughing It Out

Wild Aunts Guide to Life — April 7, 2016

Wild Aunts Guide to Life

I wrote this Guide To Life when my first niece left for college to mitigate potential crisis.  I have been asked for it several times since so I thought I would post it

1. Don’t lose your keys. Ever. It’s also a good idea to not lose your ID, your purse and your phone but stuff happens. If you focus on never losing your keys you probably won’t lose the other stuff. Make photocopies of all your Identification documents and keep them in a safe place.
2. Don’t walk in parking lots, garages or around the campus by yourself. Ever. Especially at night.
3. Don’t trust everybody.
4. Trust your gut. If you don’t feel 100% about something or someone – walk away.
5. Make a safety plan for everything. Put your friends on notice that you have one and encourage them to do the same.
6. Don’t talk bad about other people. Even if they talk bad about you. Particularly other women.
7. Don’t get pushed around physically, spiritually, emotionally or psychologically. Ever.
8. Don’t drink and drive. And don’t ride with someone else who has been drinking. Ever.
9. Don’t let your friends leave you by yourself if you don’t feel safe. Don’t leave your friends by themselves and if one if them disappears for more than 15 minutes go look for them with another friend. If they are gone longer than 30 minutes – notify the person in charge. If the person in charge doesn’t do something appropriate – call 911. You’ll only have to do this once and then everybody will know they shouldn’t disappear without letting someone know where they are going and when they will be back.
10. Treat yourself well and put yourself first.

I love you.

Aunt Alex

Rape, Sex Work and Opinions — September 15, 2015

Rape, Sex Work and Opinions

I really dislike bathing my 2 nine-year old golden retrievers.  I can delay it forever and they wouldn’t mind if I never did it again at all, but all of us know it will eventually have to get done and we all look forward to it being over.  I felt similarly about reading an op-ed article regarding the rape of a Sex Worker in Chicago.

Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote an opinion editorial regarding a sex worker who had called the police after being raped by a man who had contacted her from an ad she posted on the adult section of Backpage.  My Twitter feed quickly filled up with links to the article accompanied by condemnations of Mary Mitchel, the Chicago Sun-Times and then later more links to more publications, blogs and posts with both large and small organizations and individuals  calling for apologies and retractions.  My inbox filled up with angry and hurt emails and my Facebook page was deluded with more links and comments.   The intro to the links on both Facebook and Twitter were filled with fury and resentment and I delayed actually reading the article for the better part of two days because I knew this was going to be a trigger for my anxiety to crush any hope I had that the lives of Sex Workers were going to improve any time soon.  So yesterday afternoon over a cup of chamomile tea, I read – and reread – Mary Mitchells opinion piece.

Violence in general, has always been a good way to get me riled up, but violence against women by other women is just unforgivable.  Women have fought too hard for too long to allow any one of us to behave in such a way without concern for consequences.  There is no room for a woman in a place of power as a board member of the editorial staff of the Chicago Sun-Times to voice her opinions about the victimization of another woman.  Particularly one, like this sex worker, who has been violated in such a horrific criminal act and then shamed for her profession in such a public manner.  For Mary Mitchell to say that it was “hard to see her as a victim” and to be “grateful” that the perpetrator hadn’t done this “to an innocent woman on the street” and to have the Chicago Sun-Times rubber stamp their approval and publish it, was like a knife to the heart.

Mary Mitchell has been found guilty in the court of public opinion of violence against women by her op-ed piece and she should have to pay a price for that.  She has nothing to offer the community in Chicago or anywhere else for that matter that will ever makeup for this gross violation of ethics.  Mitchells insinuation that Sex Workers cannot be raped and her own “risky” behavior was just cause for her bad luck at being raped at gunpoint are the verbal equivalent of a hate crime.   Victim blaming, minimizing the act of rape and a complete disregard for the framework of “consent” are all issues that Mary Mitchell completely disregarded, setting us back decades in the Human Rights for Women in general and Sex Workers in particular.

I spent some time looking at other issues that Mitchell has written about and she seems to enjoy controversy and almost appears to have taken this stance in an effort to gain notoriety.  I think she got the notoriety she sought but I’m hoping she loses her job, her place on the editorial board of the Chicago Sun-Times and is forever considered a pariah in the media.  I also hope that this despicable article reinforces the need for better protection for Sex Workers and the furtherance of the cause for decriminalization of Sex Work as recommended by Amnesty International this past August.

But my greatest hope is that women everywhere will recognize that we MUST unite and force each other to be accountable for our actions.  We could achieve so much if we would simply understand that we are stronger together and find our commonality instead of looking for ways to be divisive and unkind to each other.