A personal statement

 

One core value of this movement is that the exploitation or injury of any person because of the power, status or social standing of another person is wrong.  In every instance it is wrong.

So as you might expect the recent post about the issue of misogyny in this movement  has gotten a lot of response and feedback.   Many people have told me that it is a problem,  has been a problem for a long time and in fact has been an open secret that no one wants to or feels safe talking about. Some people have talked about behavior close to criminal.  Others have talked about exploitation, manipulation, prejudice and different standards of treatment based on their gender.  Some people have named names and some of those people have been named by more than one person.   Some people have said it is a problem but it is a problem everywhere and not much will happen until issues in the wider society are dealt with.  What seems apparent to me is that it is a problem,  from the perspective of many women I have talked to a major problem and that in least some circumstances a blind eye has been turned and people hurt.

The original post happened because someone that I have reason to believe is credible told me she had been hurt, been threatened and that she felt like her personal safety was at risk. She asked me to keep her identity confidential which I have done and will continue to do. Her story and things I have heard from others have left me with the conclusion the subject needed to be broached. Nothing I say should be taken so an attack or accusation towards any specific person. I do not have specific first hand knowledge of anything. I have stories, compelling stories but that is all. I know what I believe to be true.  My assumption, at least my hope, is that most of the people reading this post will have no direct experience with the issues I talk about, but again I do not know.  I am not trying to make trouble.  By any measure I know we have that already.  Anyway I think we are better served by trying to be what we claim to be and trying to hide or to minimize the exploitation or injury of anyway is a violation of who we claim to be and what we claim to be about.

I have a personal bias I need to be open about.

I have a friend who survived 16 years in a state mental institution in Ohio.  She was raped multiple times.  Nothing was ever done.  She was never believed.  Simply she was hurt because someone could and nothing she did, said or wanted had any effect on it.

More than one person in my life has been hurt because of their gender, their disability, their social group or status.

Too many people can make the same statement.

Part of my hope, my fight is to see a culture, a society in which the injury of one person by another is neither expected or simply the way things are.  It is a value I think everybody reading this post shares.

My statement is really simple.  If we are to ask, if we are to demand, that the larger system do no harm to the people in it we must expect the same of the way we treat each others.  Do no harm.  Many of the  people in this movement have long experience of trauma and injury.  And they should be able to expect no more harm will be done.

For me I will try to do a better job holding people accountable for the injury they do to others.  For those hurt I will try to do a better job being supportive of those that have been hurt.

If you identify yourself as a member of this movement you have a right to expect you will be safe.  And you have a right to expect all of us to support you in that right.

 

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7 thoughts on “A personal statement”

  1. How would I know if there is a concern or if a person I come across has been harmed in the manner of misogyny? I am reluctant to assume that all females have been so harmed.

    1. I thought I responded to this yesterday….didn’t stick? I think this is a good question and has a complicated answer. I actually have a degree in women studies, specifically studied the history of women and psy/psy traditions, and have done activist work, such as a full day workshop on the history of women, psy/psy, and domestic violence. If interested in further discussion into complexities, you can check out my website although, I haven’t categorized my posts properly and you might have to mosey around abit. You can also contact me through my website….and follow me as I’ll be sharing more online on this subject. karendee57.wordpress.com thanks for the discussion.

  2. Eric,
    I don’t think Larry is suggesting that we assume all women have been so harmed. Women (whether they are treated as such or not) are capable of knowing when and if they have experienced abusive behavior. They are also capable, according to their own politics and belief systems, of deciding whether to privately or openly discuss that abuse, or whether to perpetuate a culture of silence and victim blaming that renders them, ultimately, in all arenas, inherently inferior and disempowered.

  3. The greatest harm to women is the systematic ways we’ve been taught to perceive them, stereotype them, and eliminate the history of their lives. It is this that allows and creates the sexual and physical violence because it justifies what is done to them. Honoring someone doesn’t go with violence towards them. Wm Blum said, Just put that stereotype down and no one gets hurt. The antidote is taking time to look and listen, honor and respect any person in your presence.

    Both being the same as men and different as men as currently understood is false, serves to keep men as the ‘standard’ superior human in antiquated opposite sex theories/hierarchy of gendered behaviors/qualities/ways of being. It also falsifies both and all categories of people into ideas of inferior/superior behaviors/ways of being which in essence causes much pain/suffering/isolation….. As long as we have the present categories, we aren’t operating on understandings of being fully human for everyone to live by but instead suffer with ideas of being parts of human. Constantly assessing parts of ourselves and weighing them in opposition to others and ourselves. We are operating on some antiquated version of humans laid down in text and image. Text and images can never fully cover a human being, yet we are all trying to live or forced to live inside someone’s snapshot or paragraph that is simply a dead product and can not show who we are. I am an advocate working to change the way we see ourselves and question the image and text relationships we have. My 50 cents.
    karendee57.wordpress.com

  4. Reblogged this on silences to be broken and commented:
    In the mad movement (the liberation struggle of people whose world views, emotions and experiences are often pathologized as mental disorders), many activists have entered mental health systems by force or under duress because of our responses to trauma, oppression and environmental stressors. We know that women, queer, trans and gender-nonconforming people, Black people, poor people, youth and people with disabilities are disproportionately subject to forced psychiatric interventions.

    Yet within the mad movement, these populations are often underrepresented, denied access to leadership roles, and targeted with violence, discrimination and abuse. And those of us who dare speak out about violence and abuse within the mad movement and call for accountability are routinely silenced, dismissed, maligned and ostracized.

    Activist Larry Drain has begun to take a stand as an ally to call on the movement to address this problem, on that he notes “has been an open secret that no one wants to or feels safe talking about.”

    Larry has broken this silence on behalf of a woman who confided to him that “she had been hurt, been threatened and that she felt like her personal safety was at risk. She asked me to keep her identity confidential which I have done and will continue to do. Her story and things I have heard from others have left me with the conclusion the subject needed to be broached.”

    Larry’s friend’s story echoed those of too many other women and people with disabilities he had known. “I have a friend who survived 16 years in a state mental institution in Ohio. She was raped multiple times. Nothing was ever done. She was never believed. Simply she was hurt because someone could and nothing she did, said or wanted had any effect on it.”

    While Larry feels compelled to speak up to hold the mad movement to its most core values, he is also bracing himself for censure within the movement. “Nothing I say should be taken so an attack or accusation towards any specific person. I do not have specific first hand knowledge of anything. I have stories, compelling stories but that is all. I know what I believe to be true…. I am not trying to make trouble. By any measure I know we have that already. Anyway I think we are better served by trying to be what we claim to be and trying to hide or to minimize the exploitation or injury of anyway is a violation of who we claim to be and what we claim to be about.”

    Kudos to Larry Drain for taking the risk of speaking up despite an anticipated backlash, in order to spark a conversation that might one day make the mad movement a safer and more equitable space for women and people with disabilities to take part in.

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