Saturday, April 30, 2005
thursday found me speaking at a high school. while i find myself feeling comfortable speaking in front of groups maintaining the attention high schoolers is difficult- maintaining any kind of focus when talking about rape- next to impossible. (this seems like complaining- you know i love this!!!)
there were two groups- so i had the pleasure experiencing this twice. the first group was the 'achievers' kinda group- they file in, mild gossiping, sit close to the front, asking what we're going to discuss... there is this one, especially highlighted-tanned-thin-wearing jeans and carrying a coach purse girl- we're chatting before we get this party started, waiting for others to file in... she turns turns to her friend (equally tanned- not so highlighted) and says, "look at her bracelet- it is so cute... she really accessorizes." hearing this i say- 'well, thank you- i try to look cute when i go present- it doesn't freak people out as much when you talk about rape!' they laugh- we begin soon after...
so we are about 20 minutes into this discussion of what is sexual assault, how does one avoid this, and what are good relationships...
we get to relationships- what is/is not a healthy relationship (i think i can speak to this- i've seen unhealthy...) and my style is more discussion based- lots of talking, lots of walking around- trying to engage everybody... and i say, "let's discuss some of the pitfalls of possibly being in an unhealthy relationship..." and one of my accessories damn near kills me-- my cute (and new- they were only $17... SEVEN-TEEN DAH-LERZ!) black open-toed heel manages to catch itself in a small hole at the front of this lecture hall. (evidently there was wiring there at onetime for an old overhead?- cover the damn hole- geez) having child-like reflexes as i do... i stumble, NOT A FALL!, and quickly recover- raising both hands in the air as though i had just 'stuck the landing' and manage to convince them that i had done the sight-gag on purpose to illustrate that the hole is "jealous behavior" and you will fall into it if you are not aware of appropriate relationship boundaries!
all that before noon!
Thursday, April 28, 2005
i thought i could wait but i keep thinking about it and so i have to get it out, work be damned!
last night at the Bath House Cultural Center there was a performance for Sexual Assault Awareness month called "from victim to survivor." working with sexual assault everyday i find it hard to divorce myself from taking it personally and i have found some rather frustrating aspects of a slow moving, poorly paced, not-so forward thinking: but still expecting to be forward moving, "non-profit" agency. if i have to hear one more time in that head slightly tilted to the side, voice lowered (as if that will ease the delivery) tone that "oh meredith, this is just how non-profit works" OR one better, "welcome to non-profit" i think i will find the closest pair of scissors and take off in a full run. i want to scream: "DO NOT STIFLE ME!" but enough about job DIS-satisfaction- the performance was moving. and it's times like now when i think back to last night that it not only makes it worth while but gives me that unexplainable peace in knowing this is where i need to be. it's strange leaving- knowing that this is not where i want to see my self 5 years (or even 2 years!) from now but knowing that what i do, the people i come in contact with, and those that i serve will forever have a small imprint on there life that is me. (and that other times... most times- it totally freaks me out because i'm scared to death that i'm going to screw up). so today, because i have to present at a high school and teenage boys always... ALWAYS ask something along the lines of- 'well, it's not rape if she doesn't say 'no' enough' <-- this drives me to drink, and there is a happy hour tonite- but back to today- today i'm going to act as though what i do matters and the resistance only further solidifies that what i do because of who i am is doing far more to help than hinder.
every 2 minutes a person is sexually assaulted
every 3 minutes a woman is battered
every hour a woman is victimized by an intimate . . .everyday the statistics are staggering
not everything faced can be changed- but nothing can be changed without being faced!
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Court, Emilie, and myself had a meeting of the minds last nite!
we ate sushi, did some shopping, acted like we weren't totally strapped for cash, and then came home and watched a movie- Sister's of '77
(documentary about the 1st womyn's conference in Houston- really neat!!!).
so we're sitting around talking and Court reminded me of a starbucks story that i had not thought of in years!!!
imagine, if you will, standing in line at a north dallas starbucks. and i think it was a saturday or sunday or something- not a day that required one to look their best- but everyone (everyone but me....) looks up to north dallas par. this woman standing behind me in line is talking about her husband or something...
she and her cohort are conversing and she says: "well, there's two things i cannot stand... bigots, and mess-kins" (translation: mess-kins means mex-uh-cuns for those not fluent in 'south'). with that i find myself delighted at a true irony of not liking those that discriminate AND not liking those that differ from themselves.
and with that i feel that that story quantifies the love/hate relationship that i have with starbucks- hating bigots and mexicans. so i had to wonder did she mean that there are two (as in 1...2) things she can't stand OR too (as in very or also) things? because ultimately- it lends itself to still NOT MAKING SENSE IN ANY WAY!
goodtimes.... goodtimes when you just listen at a starbucks- makes that $5 cup a coffee worth it when it comes with free entertainment!
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
actually it's...3 months and 19 days later than my male counter part- but i made it!
On average, women make only 76 cents for every dollar earned by men. To match men's earnings for 2004, women have to work from Jan. 1, 2004, to April 19, 2005 on extra four months.
so courtney (affectionately known as "court") and i go to a Women in Film Dallas presentation of pay inequity. we, as always, find ourselves having a goodtime. we go (for the food) to be supportive of issues important to us and because (of the food- mmmm cheesecake squares...) it is informative. (the websites features some fun candid pix- page one has what appears to be the 'meredith OH face' and page two has my ass...) http://www.wifdallas.org/index.asp
here are some of the neat stats:
state: she makes $.XX to every $1 he makes
TX: $.76 (surprisingly to me- in the top third)
KS: $.73 (i think this is close thanks to unions...)
IL: $.69 (surprisingly low to me!!!)
WY: $.63 (the worst!)
D.C.: $.80 (the best!)
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
there was a bumper sticker on a car that said, 'jesus is my co-pilot.' i thought it incredibly interesting considering- he never drove, call me crazy- but i'm picking a co-pilot that has atleast been behind the wheel and by wheel i'm not talkin' a potter'swheel.
i see this on my way to the hospital, i've been on several calls lately because the new volunteers that are going on their first hospital visits have to be accompanied and during the week- i'm the staff to accompany. so i see this bumper sticker and i'm wondering what it is that drives me or drives with me?... what gets me there, keeps me there, gets me home, keeps me grounded, lifts me up? it is so easy to let my mind wander (or wonder) to the instances in my life that bogart my thoughts. i don't like that my mother hurt my feelings... even further i don't like that i may have hurt hers... even further still (and now there's no room to wonder why there's a distance) i wonder why i can communicate with so many and yet i feel i fail at doing so effectively with my own mother. i don't like that i have a failed (failed?... butchered!!!) relationship with some one that i truly loved in a way i didn't think possible for myself. i don't like thinking that i may not have that closeness with anyone else and that i have sacrificed that for what i believe is truly right. i don't like feeling that i am a finacial derilect because i can't make my salary make it. one better, i don't like remembering that i made more at 23 without a college degree than i do at 26 with
a college degree. i don't like feeling that i'm just a sucker for the cause... i don't like that i may be working towards something that i have called 'the cause' and it may turn out to be nothing more than 'my cause' and that it will lead me to exactly where i am with no progress in site.
so this is what sits with me, and sometimes really just sits on me...
but it's really hard to take any this seriously when i've just left the hospital because a child cannot be left with a babysitter and not be touched 'there.'
so i'm gonna drive home with my baggage in the backseat because this is in the front, until i can shower it off. i'll get my baggage back tomorrow- sometimes it's a sassy pink purse, sometimes its the drab colored messanger bag, and sometimes it's a black clutch- but either way, it's my baggage, i take it with me and it 'co-pilots' when i drive. but for tonite- and other nites before, and many more to come- i want to throw it in the backseat because someone needs help carrying their bag- and i can make room.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
friday was the bachlorette party!!!
it was, in every sense of the word, good... clean... and fun. we had a hotel room, then sushi, then went to the Roseroom to enjoy the show- where the real men are women!!! or maybe that's : 'where the women are really men'... whatever- you get the drift! so we're going to watching the show, and i must add- they've really done a lot w/ Villagestation- it's now known as 'S4' whatever the shit that means... and it is fancy- and we're walking around- and Miss Sissy gave us a tour! it was fantastic... she'n'Suzanne got some pix together (and i think that's all the political blackmail fodder i'll get! and that is so-o tame).
we go to catch the 12:30 show and we're front row- Suzanne did get the spotlight for a while, that was entertaining! i mean seriously- walk into a gayclub with a foam tiara and veil and men will LOVE you!!! (additionally- she had a sash- it was fabulous!) so we're admiring the beautiful women (men) and Gina (sister #1 of the smith-clan) says- ok that has to be a women...
sidebar explained to Gina: when they (men) are dressed as women, they are women and referred to in said gender... when they are men dressed as men- they are 'he' so for all intents and purposes they are women but genetically they started out as men and now they are women.... and some of them do a fantastic job at it!!!
so one of the girls comes back from the bathroom and says that she saw Ms. Crystal Summers in the bathroom snorting blow... 2 things come to mind- a) how the hell do you think she stays so thin?!? duh! she started out w/ bigger bone structure anyway- she's got some work to do to maintain that petite frame- let's not judge. and 2) since when did we start deciding what was cosmetic and what wasn't. i mean i know that i apply my powder to take the shine off my nose and i use a spongy-applicator, but i can certainly see how a white powder may give you a better edge when applied UP your nose w/ a rolled up 20! ...so this leads me to this thought i had on my way home at 3 am. there is a lot of evidence that says that cosmetics are harmful (fur-mahl-duh-hide in finger nail polish- yeah, that's a carcinogen!!! and there are a ton of harmful ingredients in other cosmetics... but we'll not get on the soap box...) so when Ms.Crystal Summers does her show- and she's spent 2, maybe 3 hours putting herself together, what does it say about us as a society that we demand that of beauty... we demand that our most appealing people fit a mold that may very well be killing them. i say and think this- knowing that i'm about to go to the gym (and i do this b/c i want my heart to keep up with what my brain says we have to do...) but i know that part of it is because- i look better with more tone...
(honestly- that elliptical machine is the devil and hate it with a passion that runs deep!)
so i gave Crystal a dollar (knowing that my dollar won't buy much but that it makes me feel better when i'm contributing to her hardworking efforts), and she is absolutely gorgeous!!! i don't think i've ever seen skin that clear, that perfect, that ... hairless! i hope she puts that dollar to good use, applying (not snorting, inhaling, or otherwise injesting) whatever she needs to get her through the nite!!!
Monday, April 11, 2005
a couple things---
*i have not slept late in more than a week and that is my measure of exhaustion.
*i was blog surfing and i come across this womyn's blog , and i wept. http://mareve.blogspot.com/
so she is, from what i've read so far- 80 and recently lost her companion to cancer. she doesn't say much, but there is something intensely calm about saying that she had 'watched him die' and that she has a 'hole in her heart.' i wish her peace.
*i came home today and othello was napping on the bed. his head smells like calm and affection.
*i have eaten my own weight in food today.
*April is SAAM, sexual assault awareness month.
1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their life. 1 in 6 men.
*i do not care what the commander in chief listens to when he runs, the president's eye-pod is not my concern- i thought him unintelligent before i know he listened to muh-muh muh-mysher-oh-nah!
*i think that the city councils change of heart on the strong mayor proposal only further solidifies my support for a strong mayor because- THE COUNCIL CAN'T AGREE ON SHIT!!!
Monday, April 04, 2005
i realized today that it has become a job but that even when it's simply a matter of going throughout the motions, it's still incredibly rewarding- when i'm not sitting on my shoulders.
i got a hospital call around 11:00 a.m. and i have a meeting to be in at 12:00 so there is an hour to get a case number and finda volunteer to go to the hospital. the case# is needed in order to get the SANE (sexual assault nurse examiner) to go and the girl had just gotten there and the police were coming from another county and in case you don't know- they (and this is a fair generalization of police) will take their time getting to the hospital for a sexual assault. don't they know i have a meeting in an hour (not to mention the fact that it's monday and i have shit to do!) 11:30 rolls around- no case number, girl waiting at hospital, and i'm not done wading through the weekends emails.sidebar:
emilie just sniffed a glue stick<-- and she wonders why she has few childhood memories?!?
meeting starts, and of course the hospital calls with a case# and i can begin the process of calling nurses and advocates. 15 minutes and 5 phone calls produce an advocate to go to the hospital (however, i must meet said volunteer b/w work and hospital to pass along paperwork and clothes for survivor) and then another 8 minutes (but who's counting) produces a nurse. so i've been displaced from the meeting and my already stiffled mood only seems to become less pleasent with the roadtrip to deliver paperwork. i think i would have gone the rest of my day not having thought about it again were it not for the hospital calling me 45 minutes later. the charge nurse thanked me for being so flexible and available (...available
she explained that things had fallen through, but that the volunteer was great and she appreciated how i had made myself available.
i felt terrible for thinking that this was such a pain in the arse, and that i was, once again, reminded that everything we do, say, are effects others and when you least expect it- it's in a positive way. i just kept thinking that i was there but was i available?
i had put together paperwork for the volunteer to give to the survivor, i put one of these whistles that we have in there with our logo on it- evidently whistles are still a hit at 15, because she appreciated it!
15, waiting at the hospital post sexual assault, and a whistle put her in a better place.
yeah- i put one in every packet today!
Friday, April 01, 2005
White House Faces Opposition To Plan to Divert Victims FundSource:
The Wall Street JournalDate: 03/31/2005
Section: Politics & PolicyPage: A4By Gary Fields (Copyright (c) 2005, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
WASHINGTON -- Prosecutors and advocates for victims' rights are organizing against a bid by the Bush administration to shift more than $1 billion from a fund for victims of violent crime and apply it to cutting the budget deficit. A provision in President Bush's budget request for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 would continue the Justice Department's Crime Victims Fund state-grant program in 2006, then in 2007 take $1.27 billion and give it to the Treasury Department to treat as general revenue. Projections for fiscal 2008 weren't included in the president's budget request. It is unclear if the Crime Victims Fund would renew operations in later years or if the money would continue to be diverted to the Treasury Department.
The Crime Victims Fund state-grant program, which was set up by Congress in 1984, is funded by fines, forfeitures and fees levied against federal criminal offenders, not from general tax revenue. The money is allocated in block grants to the states, where officials make awards to eligible local agencies and nonprofit groups. More than 4,400 agencies and groups receive funds for activities such as domestic-violence shelters and programs to help crime victims and their families cover medical bills, counseling services, even funeral expenses. Until 2000, money paid out of the fund to states depended on fines and other payments collected the previous year. In 1999, three huge criminal settlements, including $500 million paid by Hoffman-LaRoche Inc., pushed the fund to $985 million for the year. That led Congress to cap annual spending by the fund at about $500 million in 2001 and to reserve money collected above the cap to supplement the fund in leaner years.
This pool of money caught the attention of administration budget writers, and they included language in the president's budget request to divert the current $600 million surplus as well as anticipated collections in 2006 to the Treasury Department the following year, leaving nothing in the account. Justice Department spokesman John Nowacki declined to comment on whether the proposal originated at the department or at the White House. "All I can say is, it's an administration decision," he said. The Office of Management and Budget referred questions to the Justice Department. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, won Senate approval of an amendment to the fiscal 2006 budget resolution that would reject the diversion, and the fight is expected to move to the House when Congress reconvenes next week after its spring recess
Now, some lawmakers are concerned that language to divert the crime-victims funds will be added to the Justice Department's annual appropriations bill. "We want to get the money redirected back to where it belongs, and that's to victims," said Rep. Ted Poe (R., Texas). "We're trying to gain support from other members of Congress to make the appropriators aware of this concern." "We're not asking for one dollar of taxpayer money. We're just asking them not to ex-appropriate our money," said David Beatty, executive director of Justice Solutions, a victims-advocacy group in Washington. Prosecutors also are watching what happens. Brad Fenocchio, district attorney for California's Placer County, says victim and witness programs in his jurisdiction cost about $769,000 a year, with $553,600 coming from crime-victims aid grants. If money isn't available from Washington anymore, he said, he doesn't know how he can make up the difference, because "we've pretty much gone to a bare-bones operation."