first fig

my candle burns at both ends…

Arrested Justice

I am at a conference being hosted by my university today. I thought it might be nice to try live-blogging again. I am excited because the presenter is a researcher that I have relied a lot on for my own thesis research.

So here we go:

Arrested Justice: How Race/Ethnicity and Class Complicate the Experience of Violence Against Women Beth E. Richie, PhD

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When we stop listening to women’s stories and reduce them to a certain experience, or impose a paradigm on to them, we miss the full picture and cause potential danger to those women.

Additionally, people in power may misuse our work to further their own agenda.

We have relied too strongly on quantitative data to shape our interventions and policies.

Potential mistakes of over-relying on quantitative data:
-we only get the data that is asked for
-we completely miss info that nobody cares about (i.e. violence against undocumented women).
-nuance is missed
-we miss broad swaths of violence against women because we have defined it under a limited scope.

There are unintended consequences for separating a certain group out of the broader context. For example, dv victims were granted an exemption in welfare reform but that came at the expense of other women in poverty.

Comparison of Violence Against Women by Social Status:
Class
-poor women are more likely to experience and be trapped in abuse because they have fewer resources to escape.
Race/Ethnicity
-women of color are more likely to be victimized due to co-occurring problems.
-data is less likely to be collected on women of color.
Age
-very little is known about adolescent violence and there are very few resources for them.
Sexual Identity
-we know very little about violence history of queer women because they are not seen as traditional violence.
Neighborhood
-women in certain neighborhoods are much more likely to experience violence.
-pervasive culture of violence due to other problems.

Research consistently shows that complicated social statuses make violence worse.

Our first, most effective response is the criminal justice system. Though it may be an effective response for some, it does not serve all women well or equally.

We have invested heavily in mandatory arrest, prosecution, etc. but did not push for mandatory housing, mandatory child care, mandatory job training, or anything that would really serve victims well.

Additionally, our policies are leading to the arrest of women victims because it is being used as a blunt instrument by law enforcement and batterers know how to manipulate the system.

It should be noted that there is no causal relationship between violence and complicated social statuses–our criminal justice system that has been developed to target poor, people of color from certain neighborhoods.

What about women of privilege, are they doing so well from the anti-violence movement? The answer is no.

Perhaps anti-violence is not the most effective unifying system.

Qualitative Analysis:
– the cumulative effect of having multiple people who harm you, especially if your status is complicated, is that you will be more likely to experience harm in every sphere of their life over their entire lifetime.

-we need structure to be able to capture this kind of data that is currently not in place.

-the lack of response to the more nuanced view and community denial of violence against women leaves us at the place we are at: we do well for some women but not the women who are socially stigmatized.

If we’re going to be social justice interveners, we need to look at the individual level and the structural level.

Feminists need to take responsibility for the current status quo–we were trying to not few into the social stigmatized status and so we got non-specific data. There were good reasons for doing so but it has also contributed to a non-holistic approach to anti-violence work.

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Legal and legislative changes became the dominant focus if the anti-violence movement which meant that we had to comply with the governmental structures.

This almost erased the knowledge and authority of the grassroots base.

The history is grim: we won mainstream support but we lost the movement as a result. We are no longer interested in a radical movement, rather in the perpetuation of our professional movement.

How is our movement different? We are saving lives so it is difficult to turn down funding with strings attached, knowing that it could potentially save lives.

Prison Nation
-buildup of criminal legal system coincided with the movement’s demand that legal and legislative changes be made to address violence against women.

-we criminalized a whole bunch of social problem and at the same time created more prisons with less regulation to deal with the increased demand.

-the anti-violence movement had blinders on and didn’t realize that their agenda was being used to further the agenda of mass incarceration.

-the prison nation has disproportionately impacted stigmatized communities.

-the convergence of the crime policy, economic conditions and concentrated disadvantages allows for the buildup of a prison nation.

-one reason why the anti-violence movement needs to reorient is because we are contributing to this problem.

-women are caught up in this in very violent ways. The ones who are most affected of those with less class and social privilege.

-instead of helping victims, we have criminalizes victimization as a way to address social problems.

How do we solve the problems talked about above?

The Violence Matrix–an attempt to re-orient the anti-violence movement.

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We will loose just as many as battles as we will win but even in the losses we need to be making connections with multiple providers so that the next battle will be easier.

We have to be willing to walk to be hardest parts and examine the status quo.

Are there ways we can hold people accountable and make people safer?

Restorative justice is an interesting place to look to–it may not but we won’t know until we fully examine both.

We don’t work with men in an old-fashioned way. We keep them at arms length and consider them allies at best.

We have to be willing to look towards the longterm. If you say there will be no more violence against women, you have to understand that the whole world will have to change in order to accomplish this.

I have to go pick up my kids from school but I’ll be back later tonight with some final thoughts.

answer

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i wrote in my last post that i’ve been having a rather difficult time lately and today i got the answer as to why. i had a blood test taken yesterday and it turns out that my thyroid is dangerously low.

i’ve been dealing with thyroid issues since i was 14 but it never gets less frustrating. a healthy level for someone like me is 2.5…i’m at a 31.

of course this completely explains why I have been so exhausted and have felt like i’m going crazy. unfortunately, this doesn’t mean any of my burdens will magically disappear or get lighter. i still have 3 kids to take care of and 2 graduate courses to finish this semester.

usually when i have a thyroid reading this bad it means I am seriously overburdened and need to take better care of myself. so i’m going to take a break for a couple of days while my body recovers and after that i’ll probably post a little bit lighter.

and one day i’ll be an (un)employed graduate and will have all the time in the world to post interesting and thought-provoking things. but until then…

transitions

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monster and valkyrie have had quite a bit of developmental testing done and they the major finding each time i that they have issues with transitions. well, they come by it honestly because I have major issues with transitions.

three years ago when I went from a full time working mother to a full time stay at home mother i fell into a horrible depression that lasted six months. after spending the summer as basically a working mother again, this past week where i have transitioned back into the primary caregiver has been rough.

my anxiety is sky high and i’m feeling the tendrils of depression wrap around my heart. i have been dealing with mental health issues long enough to know when i need help and i have this under as much control as i can. but still, i’m exhausted.

it was valkyrie’s first day of full time preschool so i’m hoping once we are all settled in our new schedule things will ease up.

i just have to keep telling myself one step at a time.

red

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today is monster’s first day of kindergarten. i’m not one for being overly sentimental but i didn’t want this day to go undocumented. being 5 and going to kindergarten is a huge milestone and i’m so proud of my boy for getting there.

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We also painted our back door red this weekend–a beautiful, pinky cranberry–it makes me happy. I can’t get a good shot of it to save my life so you’ll just have to believe me when I say it was exactly what our house needed.

how was your weekend? do you have any kids back at school today?

we are but seeds of social change

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we live in downtown denver in a neighborhood that is traditionally african american. it can be uncomfortable to cross racial lines but it has been so good for our family.

i love that i am constantly being challenged to examine my privilege. i love that i am learning to relate with people that i have not had a lot of opportunity to interact with due to mostly living in predominantly white, suburban areas. i love that my children are surrounded by diversity and won’t grow up believing that the white, middle class experience is the normative experience. and i love that the winds of social justice are just in the ether here.

i took the above picture just blocks from our home painted on the back of an abandoned building. our neighborhood pool has a beautiful mural painted on it celebrating collaboration between all people and specifically calling for unity with the LGBTQ community. monster went to a neighborhood preschool for half the year where they were taught the black national anthem and learned about black historical figure year-round.

it is refreshing to be in a community that doesn’t take their privileges for granted but also is committed to making society better for everybody.

I am grateful

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1) the cookie monster version of the song, “call me maybe” because it brings out monster’s best dance moves.

2) this week is almost over.

3) lionheart still looks like a baby. it makes his toddler annoying-ness easier to handle.

4) sprinklers.

5) muffins. when all other foods fail my kids will always eat a muffin.

telling the whole story

over the summer mr. mraynes stayed at home with the children so that i could go to the office everyday and work on my thesis. this was brilliant and so, so appreciated but it has certainly made this week much more difficult.

i had forgotten just how hard it is, how you don’t even have 2 minutes of uninterrupted time to write a coherent sentence. mr. mraynes went back to work on monday and once again i took up the reigns of stay-at-home parent. it will really be for this week only, monster and valkyrie start full-time school next week and lionheart is relatively easy. but this week has been hard. Read the rest of this entry »