Small-Town Elitist

May 21, 2009

John Boehner resembles a certain cat named Howdy Doody; plus more linkage.

Filed under: Abortion,Accessibility of Feminism,Activism,Aging,Anti-Abortion Extremists,Anti-Violence Activism,Arnold Schwarznegger,Barack Obama,Beauty Myths,Biblical History,Body Image,Books & Reading,Bush Administration,California Elections,California Politics,Catholicism,Christian Fundamentalism,Church/State Separation,Cindy McCain,Civil Disobedience,Crafting/DIY,Dane Cook,Darfur,Dick Cheney,Dominionism,Don't Ask Don't Tell,Economics,Evangelical Christians,Feminism,Gardening,Gender Issues,George W. Bush,Gitmo,GLBT Issues,GLBT Military Vets,Goldman Sachs,Good Ol Boys Club,Goth,Greedy Fuckers,Happiness,Healing from Rape,History,Homophobia,Imperialism,Indefinite Detention,Iraq War,Islam,Jesus Christ,John Boehner,Karen Hughes,Keith Ellison,Lies & Political Spin,Linkage,Men and Feminism,Middle East,Minnesota,Minnesota Women,Misogyny,Muslim World,Newt Gingrich,Obama Administration,Objectification,Opus Dei,Organic Foods,Organic Gardening,Plastic Surgery,Poetry,Priviledge,Protests & Demonstrations,Raising Awareness,Rape and Sexual Violence,Regulation,Religious Right,Reproductive Health,Republican Men,Republican Party,Robert Finn,Separated at Birth,Sexism,Sexual Violence Myths,Sexual Violence Prevention,Silencing Behaviors,Standards of Beauty,TARP,The Daily Show,Theocracy,Torture,Troop Withdrawal,U.S. Banking Industry,U.S. Economic Crisis,U.S. Economy,U.S. Military,U.S. Supreme Court,Uma Thurman,Vaginoplasty,Veterans' Issues,Victor Fehrenbach,Victory Gardens,War,Well Duh!,Well I'll Be Damned,WTF — by smalltownelitist @ 8:44 pm

First off a couple of links sure to give you a chuckle. Christian Liberal is back to posting, and he points out that John Boehner kind of resembles Howdy Doody. Blue Gal also points out that Cindy McCain and the latest Mrs. Newt Gingrich kind of look like each other too.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars’ Mike Finnegan: Opus Dei declares war on moderate Catholic clergy and the Obama Administration. Meanwhile, Blind in Texas has an important question for Evangelicals and other religious wingnuts on the question of torture.

Marcella of abyss2hope writes about a report on rape and sexual violence in Minnesota, and has some suggestions for Minnesota and all of us on how to stop rape. Tobes writes about something very interesting. It seems Dane Cook had a rare moment of awareness and spoke out about wrong it is to throw the word “rape” around gratuitiously, and how the experiences of rape survivors are *nothing* like losing at a video game, and throwing the word around will rightfully offend survivors.

Arrrrrrgh! HuffPo reported that a judge ruled that Gitmo detainees can be held indefinitely.

Double Arrrrgh! Crooks and Liars report that the banking industry is rushing to repay TARP funds so prevent government regulation stepping in.

Women’s Glib has a poem about how we women will never measure up to impossible beauty standards. Cara has a post discussing a misogynist tabloid cover that took an especially vicious umbrage towards Uma Thurman’s body. And Renee wrote about a 75 year old woman in the news right now for getting a vaginoplasty, and talked about what that means to all women.

Feministe has a link and a little comment about the reports Rumsfeld’s office sent to GWB that played up an evangelical view of the Iraq War.

Speaking of war, Think Progress reports that we’ve lost another great member of our military to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. *sigh*

Jonathan Turley reports on a study that showed that some of the happiest people are older Republican men. I am thinking “well duh,” since they benefit from the oppresion of the rest of us!

Susie from Suburban Guerilla reported on Karen Hughes’ sudden announcement that she was opposed to the Bush Administration’s torture policy the whole time. MOMocrats debate the torture photos issue.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Governor Schwarznegger’s propositions all failed at the voting booth. h/t to Tequila, who comments at Crooks and Liars. 😉

RH Reality Check posted a roundup of links, including an article on the abortion rights aspect of the Supreme Court nominee fight.

Majikthise explains what’s really going on with Obama and troop withdrawal.

Congressman Keith Ellison was arrested at a Washington D.C. protest of the Darfur situation. h/t to Racialicious.

Crafting/DIY/Gardening

Flip Flopping Joy has a fun video post, a clip of the The Daily Show, which lampooned opponents of organic gardening and farming.

Etsy’s Dark Side posted Kaleidoscopic Romance’s handmade haunted dollhouse witch’s cabinet complete with pet snake.

And WhipUp did a book review of Boutique Knits, a great book with a lot of lovely hat and accessory knitting patterns with a flapper/Roaring 1920’s feel.

That’s it for this link collection, have a great day! 😉

May 1, 2009

An Open Letter: Earth to Carrie Prejean!

Miss California USA, Carrie Prejean, as many people know quite well by now, has taken heat for her response to Perez Hilton’s question about whether she supports gay marriage.

It’s this following part of her response that has left me, as a bisexual woman, with a nasty taste in my mouth. Prejean said:

We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.

I hate to break it to you, Carrie, but while GLBT Americans may not be a part of your family, we *are* a part of this country. The USA does not revolve around you, and your prejudices. I imagine you may be among those who pride themselves for “loving the troops.” How then, do you feel when I tell you that an estimated 650,000 gay veterans of World War II have lived in a country where their brave and valuable service to this country in its time of crisis counted for nothing, and they did not have many of the same rights other WWII military men had upon their return, including marriage equality?

I’m guessing you may not have a reaction, simply because you probably had no idea that the GLBT community served its country bravely and honorably, and despite Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, still continues to till this very day.

As someone who was close to wearing the crown of Miss USA, you must realize that you are representing a vast group of Americans, including the GLBT community. No one has the right to dictate to you what your views on marriage equality are, no matter how bigotted and wrong-headed they may be, but you certainly could have answered the question a thousand times more graciously and gracefully than the alienating manner in which you did.

I hope that you realize these things before you step on the toes of your fellow Americans, who were defending their beliefs and principles long before you and I were even in diapers. Please rethink your shameful wording of your opinions.

Till then, I must say that as a lifelong Californian, and ex-evangelical, I won’t have a Miss California USA who I can be proud represents me until at least 2010.

Annaleigh W., the Small-Town Elitist, who will not give her full identity, simply because I don’t have the same rights as Carrie, including basic safety if my bisexuality were known by my neighbors.

P.S. – I recommend you check out a couple of these links.

April 10, 2009

California’s Religious Wrong is on the warpath again; plus more links.

Filed under: "Sexting",Ableism,Abortion,Abstinence-Only,Activism,African-American Issues,Anti-Feminism,Anti-Violence Activism,Asian-American Issues,Asian-American Women,Bai Ling,Barack Obama,Betty Brown,Black Femininity,Black Women,Blog Carnivals,Body Image,Books & Reading,California Politics,Camille Paglia,Charities,Child Pornography,Child Sexual Abuse,Christian Fundamentalism,Classism,Coal Mining,Contraception,Crafting/DIY,Diversity,Domestic Violence,Emergency Contraception,Environmental Issues,Evangelical Christians,Exploitation of Poverty,Family Issues,Family Planning,Femininity,Feminism,Film & Film Reviews,First Ladies,Gardening,GLBT Issues,Goth,Healing from Rape,Homophobia,Human Rights,Immigration,Immigration Reform,Intersectionality,Kal Penn,Languages,Linkage,Marriage,Marriage Equality,Maternal Health Care,Media Criticism,Michelle Obama,Misogyny,Mountain Top Removal,Nativism,Non-Profit Organizations,North Carolina,North Carolina Women,Obama Administration,Objectification,Pat Buchanan,Performing Arts,Photography,Poverty,Prenatal Health Care,Proposition 8,Protests & Demonstrations,Racial Stereotypes,Racism,Raising Awareness,Rape and Sexual Violence,Reality TV Trash,Religious Right,Reproductive Health,Rihanna,Seth Rogen,Sex Education,Sex Offender Legislation,Sexism,Sexual Exploitation,Sexual Violence Myths,Sexuality,Take Action,Take Back the Night,Teen Pregnancy,Teen Violence,Teenagers,Tennessee Women,Texas,Texas Politics,Triggering Media,Tyra Banks,U.S. Economic Crisis,U.S. Economy,Vermont,Vermont Politics,Victim Blame,Victory Gardens,Violence Against WOC,Violence Against Women,Voting & Voting Rights,West Virginia,Women of Color,Women's Advocacy,Women's Health,WTF,Xenophobia — by smalltownelitist @ 12:56 am

Hi there, time for a long overdue compilation of some great links. I hope you enjoy them! 🙂

First off, Crooks and Liars writes about a disgusting ad in California from the religious right in an attempt to fight the granting of marriage equality to the GLBT community. Momocrats have a post about Vermont’s legalizing gay marriage, and challenges California to do the same.

At The Curvature, Cara writes about what the MSM should be reporting on the “sexting” scares… Marcella of abyss2hope posted the latest edition of the Carnival Against Sexual Violence. Feministe let us know about an upcoming Take Back the Night march. Cara also warned everyone about how triggering and awful Seth Rogen’s new movie is. Marcella also reported about a serial rapist who is dragging his victims’ reputations through the mud…

Flip Flopping Joy has an important post about mountain top removal, a form of coal mining.

RH Reality Check has a great roundup of family planning news. They also have a great essay from a young lady about emergency contraception for teenage girls. MOMocrats write about international family planning issues, and have a list of charities that help with this issue.

Natalia Antonova shares some thoughts about Camille Paglia.

Reappropriate has info on a racist Texas State Representative who thinks Asian-Americans should change their names to make things easier on election workers. Racialicious has an interesting quote from Bai Ling about Asians and Hollywood’s stereotypes.

Reappropriate also has an article about actor Kal Penn joining the Obama administration.

Racialicious has an important article about Black women and domestic violence.

Renee of Womanist Musings calls Tyra Banks out on her encouragement of objectifying women.

Feministe wrote about FOX exploiting victims of the recession.

David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars wrote about how immigration is going to be a big issue with Republicans again.

From the Crafty Corner:

Etsy’s Dark Side has a gallery of Madhouse Mauly’s dark photography.

WhipUp has a book review of Switch Craft, a book that incorporates batteries into surprising projects.

And Flip Flopping Joy has a post about Michelle Obama planting her first seedlings in the White House’s victory garden. I was psyched to read this one; I just sowed my cilantro/coriander seeds yesterday! 🙂

February 1, 2009

Rape myths challenged, plus other good reads.

It’s time for a weekend edition of linkage. Not as much to work with today, hopefully everyone is enjoying their weekend! 🙂

abyss2hope challenges some rape myths, namely how some people deny the occurance of sexual assault in their minds by thinking of what happens in an assault in very melodramatic terms.

Womanist Musings writes about the alarming rise of hate groups and hate crimes since the election of President Obama.

Feministe reports on new restrictions on abortion in South Carolina, such as a day long waiting period, and that the requirement that ultrasounds be performed.

The Curvature reports on a Lutheran religious school, which a court has ruled may discriminate against and expel “suspected lesbians.”

Brownfemipower did a post on a tax workshop for strippers and other sex workers.

Season of the Bitch reports on abortion restrictions in Utah, which could put doctors on trial for murder.

Hear Me Roar wrote about the disturbing trend of news sites reporting incidents of violence against women as “weird news.”

RH Reality Check has an article on Obama and family planning aid.

MOMocrats wrote about NSA domestic spying.

Rachel of Rachel’s Tavern has written a great piece of the difficulties and complications of carrying pregnancies with multiple babies.

Crooks and Liars pointed out some super-icky comments by Michelle Malkin about old Republicans with erections! :S

Natalia Antonova has some snark for Dick Armey in light of his boorish comments directed at Joan Walsh.

From the crafty (and political!) department:

WhipUp has a series of posts on the Quilts for Obama exhibit, along with posts on Obama related crafts in general.

Etsy’s Dark Side has some info on mini books for gothic dollhouses made by one of our members.

January 31, 2009

The Patriarchy Movement: Submission, subordination, danger, and attraction.

Well, I am glad to see that the complementarian and patriarchal movements are starting to get attention from liberal and progressive sources.

I think that it is important that these movements be examined, and that everyone reach their own conclusions about them. I feel they should not go ignored.

I would like to use my personal space to explore where I stand with this movement, which is not exactly knew to me.

Nearly seven years ago, I became a born-again Christian. I still consider myself a follower and daughter of Christ, but I am transitioning to a place where I can’t stand by evangelicism. That is another story for another time, but this post should begin to shed some light on my exit from conservative Christian settings.

Long before I became a born-again Christian, I was a feminist (and have never truly crossed over to anti-feminism, to be honest). When I entered the church, there was shaky and scary new ground for me to personally confront. My attraction to feminism was an outgrowth of how an overtly religious school counselor treated me when I confided physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as a child. Now as a new Christian, I was essentially admitting that I felt my position on gender relations as a feminist were wrong. What was going to take its place?

This was when I began my education into the various stripes of complementarianism and patriarchy in the 21st century church.

Because I knew of the teachings that one must submit to her husband, I intially had determined for myself that I would never marry and never have children because I’d grown up in a home where there was domestic violence. I was terrified by giving a chunk of my autonomy over to a future husband, I was setting myself up for further abuse.

Eventually, I came to the decision that I would read about “biblical femininity,” and, how to put this politely…martial obligations, specifially, I wanted to know what was required of husbands.

Good luck finding that. In the past, internet searches had trouble finding sermons and essays on these obligations, and even now, you will still find more sites yammering on about what women must do and must not do. When you do find a man’s obligations, it does sometimes seem like a good game. For someone who’s lived their life with abuse, protection does sound great. But a certain realism has to set in, and you realize that there’s a huge danger in giving your personal autonomy over to a mere mortal who is just as messed up as you are, if not more.

Everything seemed so daunting, so painful, and as a survivor, it was so triggering.

One thing that is indeed very triggering about complementarianism is that not all of its proponents like women all that much. Many of them are actually misogynists who are content to blame women for society’s problems. Some take vigorous offense to any thought that God might actually be Goddess, or that a woman could be a leader in a male God’s church.

And worst of all in my experience, I found lots of blame for victims and survivors of abuse in a complementarian structure. Once, at women’s Bible study, I was given a little booklet of quotations, some biblical, some not quite, on issues that women face. I was horrified and disgusted to read an admonishment not to wear skimpy clothes under the “rape” section. Years after that, Michelle McKinney Hammonds book The Power of Femininity horrified me with its suggestion that men abuse women when their authority is challenged.

I ask you, is that a view of men you want to have? That they are cowards and bullies?

The EWTN network had a series with Alice von Hildebrand and Father Benedict Groeshel which I actually liked, which stressed a reconciliation between man and woman.

In light of that idea, how does showing complementarian men to be bullies and cowards work towards this reconciliation??

I don’t have any idea of what to replace complementarianism, including egalitarianism, but I do know that as it stands, complementarianism has some flaws and vulnerabilites that make me wary of it.

January 30, 2009

Dubya, looking peaked and bushed; more linkage.

Here’s to a quick linkage post. It’s late here, and I’m a bit tired, so please forgive me if I end up making typos. With that, here goes:

Common Dreams shares some frightening photos of Bush’s last address to the public before his presidency ended. He looks truly disturbed, and disturbing. h/t to the posters at Crooks and Liars.

RH Reality Check clears up some confusion about emergency contraception at was at TIME Magazine’s website.

The U.S. Postal Service is going broke. h/t to Crooks and Liars commenters again.

Crooks and Liars and The Curvature report on the horrifying news story out of Algeria; a CIA station chief is accused of drugging and raping two Muslim women. My thoughts are with the women and what they must be going through.

From abyss2hope, the Supreme Court rules against a company who retailiated against a woman who reported sexual harrassment.

Here’s a great article explaining what went wrong with the world economy. h/t to Crooks and Liars commenters again.

Michelle has a great essay about how our learning styles affect our thinking as liberals and conservatives.

Womanist Musings has an open letter to Ted and Gayle Haggard in the wake of their interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Feministe writes about teenage sexuality not being as wild as people, especially nosy conservatives, assume it to be.

Racialicious has a fascinating look at transgender and African-American history through the pages of popular African-American magazines, such as Ebony.

HuffPo reported that Obama took Wall Street to task over their greedy, irresponsible spending of our bailout money.

Natalia Antonova responds to someone who hurled racist and sexist abuse in her direction after she posted about dealing with sexual harrassment in Jordan. The response is compassionate, and stands up for Middle Eastern/Arab men.

MOMocrats write about how Dr. Jill Biden will continue her job as a college English professor.

From the crafty corner:

At Etsy’s Dark Side, our street team’s historical dead crafts theme.

Well, it’s about time I put down my knitting, stopped my blogging, and went to bed. So good night y’all!

September 17, 2008

Alaska women say no to Palin, and other linkage.

Phew, I have a lot of links to catch up on, because I’ve had a busy day! 🙂

Yesterday’s linkage:

Crooks and Liars report on a really nice sized rally of Alaska women who do not support Sarah Palin.

Feministe add to the growing amount of scary information on Sarah Palin’s administration in Wasilla Alaska saying “no” to paying for rape kits.

The blogger at kmareka.com speculates that the reason Wasilla and Palin charged rape victims for their own rape kits may have been an insidious attempt to discourage getting the kits done so that the women would not have access to emergency contraception.

MOMocrats compare the educational history of the major presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

Christian Liberal elaborates the differences between a nation using its power wisely versus using force.

Natalia Antonova has a snark filled post about the cluelessness of McCain and Palin.

Latoya at Racialicious compares Sarah Palin and Condoleeza Rice in a respectful but critical manner. I enjoyed this post!

Reappropriate has a post about the Republican party’s sudden and hypocritical “embrace” of feminism.

Season of the Bitch critiques Saturday Night Live’s sketch with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin.

Speaking Out has an awful story about a comatose woman who was raped by her husband.

Today’s Linkage:

Marcella at abyss2hope writes about how the issue of rape is affecting an Oregon senate race.

Crooks and Liars reported on a vicious attack against the women who were part of the Alaska women’s rally against Sarah Palin. A conservative talk radio host called the women “maggots” and gave the women’s home addresses over the air.

Feministe has a fun and interesting post about how to make feminist ideas more accessible to everyone.

Hear Me Roar posts comments from actress Megan Fox slamming the way Disney treats their teenage starlets.

MOMocrats wonder aloud if the Bush Administration may not come with an October Surprise in the form of Osama bin Laden.

Rachel of Rachel’s Tavern links to an essay examining white priviledge through the lens of the media coverage of the Palin family.

Racialicious documents a racist attack against Barack Obama that is trying to be passed off as political satire. *reaches for barf-bag*

Season of the Bitch has an interesting quote about feminists who attack feminine women and lipstick feminists.

Speaking Out talks about the terrible treatment of trafficked teenage girls in North Texas.

Cara at The Curvature has an action alert and information on Troy Davis, a man who is facing the death penalty and for whom there is doubt about his actual guilt.

White Trash Academic has a couple interesting links on higher education, including some not so surprising shenanigans from Liberty University.

Renee from Womanist Musings writes about the silencing white feminists do to women of color.

September 15, 2008

Time for another edition of catch-up linkage.

Yesterday’s intended linkage:

This link is scary, Fundamentalist Christians, I suppose of the reconstructionist or dominionist type, are praying for John McCain to be elected president, then die in office. Scary! h/t to MOMocrats.

Christian Liberal asks a simple question, would you rather have more wars or universal health care?

Season of the Bitch shares some thoughts about love.

Marcella at abyss2hope writes about how a father’s internet monitoring software provided crucial evidence in the case against the man who sexually abused his daughter.

Racialicious links to a Salon.com article about some small-town folks’ racist and bigoted attitudes towards Obama. Come on Middle America, you’re making “small-town folks” synonymous with “small-minded folks!” *facepalm*

Crooks and Liars writes about how GOP concern over Hurricane Gustav was a sham, and the treatment of Hurricane Ike by the Republican Party proves it.

Rachel writes about the lack of diversity amongst television political pundits. She also makes the intriguing observation that when we see African-American or Latino pundits, they tend to be conservative…

Feministe offers up some truthiness to combat the McCain campaign’s lies.

White Trash Academic talks about what it was like to grow up poor, white, and in a trailer park.

Today’s linkage:

Marcella at abyss2hope shares more info about Sarah Palin and Wasila Alaska’s callous policy of charging rape victims for their own rape kits…

White Trash Academic has a weird news post of her own, check it out!

Michelle writes about Dick Armey’s being an apologist for the “Bubba vote,” aka, rural American racists…

Reappropriate writes about the sexism of gamers.

Crooks and Liars reports on do-do bird Jonah Goldberg pulling the POW card to explain McCain’s computer illiteracy and accuses Obama of ableism. Okaaaaay Jonah, that’s the ticket… *raises eyebrow*

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez writes about how some Latinas feel about Sarah Palin and this election.

Feministe analyzes the racism and sexism present in the offerings of Halloween costumes every season.

MOMocrats has an update on Troopergate.

September 11, 2008

Linkage extravaganza; I’m playing catch up!

Hey everybody, I am backed up on my linkage post, so I will try to get through everything quickly. And after that I probably ought to upgrade my browser because frequently when I try to drop in on Crooks and Liars, it crashes! 😦

Ok, here goes:

Yesterday’s intended post

A Christian Liberal Perspective has a post on Bob Woodward’s new book which has some shocking comments from Dubya.

Feministe has an important post everyone should see. Get a load of this, when Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, rape victims were required to pay for their own rape kits (collection of forensic evidence). This happens in other places, but we are focusing on Palin’s record here. She probably could have done something about this, but didn’t. Why does Palin hate women?

MOMocrats has an awesome guest posting from a 96 year old grandma who talks about what it was like to vote for the first time 75 years ago, and reminds all of us that we need to get our butts to the polls!

Racialicious linked to an interesting Salon.com article which compares Palin’s positions on key issues to Islamic fundementalism…

Reappropriate has a thoughtful post about embryonic stem cell research.

The blogger at Season of the Bitch adds her thoughts to Little Light’s post about the police state.

Today’s linkage

Marcella at abyss2hope expounds on where the anti-choice arguement that great people in our society are sometimes born as the result of rape winds up.

Crooks and Liars has a post on this yucky Faux News “analyst’s” homophobic remarks against the awesome Rachel Maddow.

There’s a thoughtful post at Feministe urging lipstick feminists to be conscious of where we get our clothing, accessories, and beauty products from. We might be adding to the suffering of other women, or to animals.

This one’s for the barf bag: MOMocrats has a video clip of Meghan McCain callously insisting that no one knows the impact of the war like her family does. How ’bout we start with the families of the 4000+ people of our military who’ve been killed in Iraq, shall we Meghan? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! I should note that the MOMocrats have added their personal and powerful responses to Meghan’s boneheaded comment.

Natalia Antonova has a great and snark-filled response to the idiot who tried to derail her powerful post on the trafficking of Russian women with a whine about Russian “mail-order brides” who leave the Americans they marry…

Racialicious has a guest post from Angry Asian Man about racial stereotypes in the new TV show “Samurai Girl.”

And finally, A Christian Liberal Perspective has an excellent post on Christian fundamentalists trying to spread “democracy.”

September 10, 2008

I might not be canonized anytime soon, but I survived and I don’t regret it!

Time to open up a little bit up and talk about myself in a post, I guess. I’d rather it not be a heavy topic, but Feministe has a very good post on St. Maria Goretti, and in light of the discussion that is coming up from that post, I’ve decided I would write about how I feel about the canonization of Maria Goretti as well.

(Full disclosure: I come from a Protestant background, and will do everything I can to express myself respectfully in light of the centuries of conflict between Protestants and Catholics; besides, the first person to really show the love of Christ to me in my life was my late Catholic Grandma, if I made this post inherently anti-Catholic in nature, I would be disrespecting her memory and legacy too.)

For those who don’t know anything about Maria Goretti, you can read the Feministe link, or visit Wikipedia to read her story.

I first learned about the attempted rape and eventual murder of Maria Goretti in Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. I was reading the book because I was starting out to educate myself on feminism as teenager/young college student, and…I was trying to make sense of my experiences. I am a survivor of child sexual abuse, incest, and teenage sexual assault. At about the age of 18, I got involved in anti-rape and anti-abuse activism, locally and online. Brownmiller’s book is an education in itself due to it’s detailed history of sexual violence in human society.

When I read the part about Maria Goretti, I definitely was left with a bad taste in my mouth, so to speak. Survivors often struggle to have a sense of self-worth after losing their sense of dignity to sexual violence. The impression I got of the Maria Goretti canonization as a young survivor was the same impression I’d been getting from many other sources in society, that women and girls who’ve lived through sexual violence are not as valuable, that we are damaged goods, that we are somehow a problem. Why else, I thought, would women who died rather than be raped appear to be more valued spiritually than women who survived rape or abuse, and lived to fight and advocate passionately for the healing and restoration of the women and girls who would follow after them?

I don’t blame Maria Goretti for show she handled the situation that had been forced upon her. She was a child, and she shares no blame in this. I do worry what messages some in the Body of Christ, whether they are Catholic or Protestant, are sending to any and all survivors, whether they profess Christ or not. No one deserves victim blame, and victim blame has no place in the Church. So that any Catholic readers may understand that though this post was inspired by Maria Goretti, I am not singling out Catholicism, I experienced a painful situation with my previous church. I had been given a little booklet at my women’s Bible study, which had verses relating to certain topics that concern women, and I was horrified to discover that under “rape,” this booklet was admonishing me to not dress provocatively if I don’t want to be victimized again. Ummm, hello! Being covered up does not protect women from abuse, tragically. That too, left a bad taste in my mouth.

The “better dead than raped” adage is painful to be reminded of, as someone who, over the years of abuse and its aftermath, has struggled with PTSD, depression, and suicidality. I am still here though. I could have died during the abuse years, but I didn’t, and I am happy about that. I doubt anyone will be rushing to have me canonized once I do pass on, but that is alright with me. After counseling, finding the right medication, and making peace with God, it was worth it surviving the actual abuse, it was worth it to survive the crushing, suicidal depression. It was all worth it because I am here now, and I can find beauty and promise in life, and purpose. My life is more than what happened to me, and I am not damaged goods because of what has happened!

I would not trade places with Maria Goretti. I mean that as no insult. It’s simply how I feel. Sin has still been triumphed against because those who brutalized me failed to destroy me, and because it has helped me to look at my own conduct. And because I am still here, I will be able to help others ensure the sin of sexual abuse and assault will not destroy them either.

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