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Passionate Women Writers on Purpose…writing for change

Category: Guest Post

Conflict and Civility in a Hate-filled Political Climate

Guest Post from Kathy Weyer

Conflict and Civility

I sound like an old lady. Maybe I am.

Let me begin by saying there is nothing wrong with kindness, just please do not confuse kindness with weakness, nor bullying with strength. Just because I don’t raise my voice and call you an idiot does not mean I am weak, and if I were to make an issue of something it does not mean I am a bully.

I am neither.

What I am, and I can only speak for myself, is someone who values courtesy and respect before opinion.  That sometimes looks like an inability to stand up for myself. I get it. (My perspective is that our last president had this same problem. He allowed people to keep their dignity, but respected opinions different from his. He was perceived as weak. Maybe I am, too.)

Unity

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

So it’s important to me to find a way to speak up, be heard, and still honor my own path of respect and dignity. This means setting my own boundaries, something I think we have lost as a society. We cannot dictate good taste or manners, but we can set an example.

I was taught years ago when I first started my professional life that every sentence uttered needs to count for something, that there is a specific goal you are after in the conversation or idea. If not, keep your mouth shut. Grandstanding and attention getting doesn’t cut it – especially for women.

That may look like meekness. In fact, it’s a strength. To keep your head while all others are losing theirs and stay focused on the true goal is a skill, learned with patience and observation.

What we need is to find a balance – to stand up for our beliefs without being aggressive, disrespectful or mean. I see posts where people disagree by calling each other names indiscriminately, resulting in more cyberspace insults that do nothing but escalate. One side is never going to convince the other of their own truth, only that they are passionate about it. That passion has become an excuse for incivility.

In our current political climate, people have gone insane, and it’s not helping. That is not to say we should stay silent when we see something we object to – that’s the basis of democracy. But we need to learn to do it in a more productive way.

Personally, I have been very critical of what’s happening in Washington because to sit back and be silent is to condone – that’s my opinion.  I’ve never done it before, and I daresay I’m not alone. I’ve always felt that people were entitled to their opinion, live and let live, no skin off my nose.

Peace

Not any more. This is too important to me.

One of my own boundaries is to state my opinion and walk away. You are welcome to disagree with me and send me reams of cogent points to back up your own opinion. Civil discourse is welcome here.

But if you call me names or insult my intelligence, you are probably doing it to others, and I will call you out on it by asking why – what is the purpose, the ultimate goal of your comment? That I’m an idiot? Not entirely helpful.

So before you speak, tweet, or post, ask yourself – what do you expect to come out of that conversation? If it’s not productive, it’s not worth your time.

You’re not that important.

conflict and civility

Kathy Weyer, author of Stitches and self-proclaimed late bloomer, uses powerful storytelling to open discussions about social issues. www.KathyWeyer.com

 

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4 Things to Do If You Experience Domestic Violence

Guest Post from Bonnie Harris Price

My story of domestic abuse starts in Memphis. I was 22, living in the projects, but attending community college to become a paralegal. I was introduced to my abuser through a mutual friend. I hardly knew the guy but after falling out with my mom a few months before and feeling like a total loser for dropping out of real college, it was no surprise I quickly connected with this boil on the butt of humanity. He was funny, appeared to want to do something with his life, and seemed to like me. It didn’t take me long to figure out he was just another nobody, but I continued to stay with him because the only option left was lonely.

The piece of sh*t continued screwing his ex-girlfriend, wasted any money he had on drugs and refused to get a job. On his sober days, he convinced me to stay home from school to spend time with him only to vanish later. When I’d had enough the monster reared his ugly head. This asshole liked to call me bitches, fat whores, and liked to slap me around. I hid in a closet once just so I could hear what he really thought about me (as if the name calling wasn’t proof.) I listened to him tell his buddies I was a stupid bitch he was using for a place to live. Yes I confronted him and no I didn’t throw him out. I quit school, got pregnant, suffered a stress related miscarriage only to find myself pregnant again 6 weeks later. I didn’t want the second baby, but I was too stressed and broke to do anything about it. One night during a heated argument I asked him to leave; he pulled a gun on me. I don’t remember how I talked him out of shooting me, but it happened. The next day, I waited until he left and I fled to the nearest abused women shelter on foot.  The day after I came back, I was signing a police report with my best friend standing by me. He went to jail and I never looked back.

I was lucky to get out alive. Thousands of women do not get the chance to leave a relationship unless it involved a casket or a lengthy jail sentence.  With all the madness going on in the world, it seems as if women’s issues are taking a backseat. We could blame the current Commander in Chief since he made it cool to grab women by the pussy. We could blame too much sex and violence in the movies, lack of God, lack of morals, Red Dye #40 or any of those things, but the when it comes down it the numbers don’t lie. Women are beaten, maimed and killed all over the world. Trouble and violence don’t care about your color, income, neighborhood, or religion. Chances are we all know someone who has been touched by violence. The question is how do you help these women survive?

I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but what I do remember is the kind female police officer who caught me in the heat of the moment. Officer Cindy was the eye in my storm. Sitting in a squad car with snot flying out of nose, my best friend trembling in front of me and an infant pressed against my womb, she handed me a pen and said, “Here sign this.” Those three words gave me a new lease on life, but in the moments before is what kept me from making the foolish mistake that a lot of women in our situation continue to do. Officer Cindy kept me from changing my mind by acting quickly before I allowed my low esteem to take him back.

When I look back on that horrible experience, there were four things that saved my life and kept me from being another statistic. Today I’m 46 years old, married to a great guy,  have two beautiful children, and a granddaughter I adore. I can’t imagine what my life would have been had I stayed with that lunatic. The reason I bring it up now is because two women I know and a friend of a friend have suffered at the hands of a maniac. While I can’t save the world, I hope someone finds this post and take immediate action to save their selves from a life of pain. If you’re being abused, please get help. You are not alone.

  • Find a safe to hide
  • Tell a trusted friend of your location
  • File a report
  • Make a plan

Leave!

As soon as it is safe to do so, get the hell out of there and get to a safe place. You want to go somewhere your abuser wouldn’t think to look. Forget your BFF’s place or anywhere else you frequent because this is the first place the monster looks. Abusers tend to isolate their victims first. When he said he’ll follow you anywhere, he wasn’t enamored, he was staking his claim.  Somewhere in your relationship you probably remembered feeling smothered and criticized when you didn’t spend every available moment together. This was just a ploy to keep you away from the people who love you and limit your access to help when things go awry. Your safe place is where you can get yourself (and kids if you have them) together, physically heal if necessary, and away from more abuse. A frightening but scary fact is abusers tend to hurt those you love in the path of their destruction.  When you leave, alert your loved ones that the abuser may be on the war path. We all remember the heart crushing murder of Jennifer Hudson’s nephew, mother, and brother by her sister’s abusive ex. Don’t be tomorrow’s headline.

Tell Someone!

Once you are safe, call someone who won’t sell you out.  In the autobiographic film What’s Love Got to Do With It, Tina Turner’s mother revealed her hideout to Ike because he bought her loyalty with a brand new house.  If you want to end the relationship, getting your ducks in a row includes a confidante. There should be someone who won’t betray your trust or judge you for not leaving sooner. Whether it’s a code word, burner phones or a secret location only you, your friend and Jesus can know. This friend can bring you money, supplies, or help you file paperwork for a divorce or restraining order. This friend can keep a log of the abuse, pictures of bruises, etc. If you don’t trust anyone, you can always hide things in plain sight. Trust me when I tell you there is some place your abuser would never look or go.

File A Report!

Be all about the paper. A paper trail links the monster to his dirty work. The most common way to bring a bastard to justice is to start a paper trail. Filing a police report or restraining order and sticking with it creates a record. A record creates problem for the abuser. Do not misunderstand, it is not a magic wand that will make the fucker disappear, but it will stay on his record. Since the trial of the century, domestic violence and the way the courts handle swung the pendulum in victims’ favor. Every time you call the police, a report is filled out and kept on his record. It builds a case against the abuser should the situation require more legal action. The biggest mistake you could make is rescinding the report because all you will do is improve his case while making yourself look weak. Don’t let your abuser win. Too much has been taken from you already.

Make A Plan!

A goal is wish without a plan. You can’t wish it would stop, you have to make it stop. The longer you stay connected to this jackass, you become a participant and not a victim. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. Not only do you make a plan to get gone, but stay gone. Most women won’t leave because of children, legal delays, and lack of support, but I’m telling you from experience, I chose spending the night with an elderly nun in a room that smelled like mothballs than spending another minute with him living in fear. Shaking to death in the squad car, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going back. If that meant living in a cardboard box, I was ready. Plan your escape with the resources you have. Do not wait until you save more money, get a better place, see if you can child support, or if  your abuser will change. Get gone. Stay gone.

The Lesson

Love is not supposed to hurt. Even in the heat of the moment, violence has no place. People who physically, verbally, emotionally, sexually, and financially abuse others do things for a myriad of reasons that have nothing to do with you. It is not your fault, you didn’t cause the abuse. There is something in them that has been permanently damaged and all the love you in the world can’t repair. If they truly want to fix it, they will get help. I will be honest with you I don’t know any couple who came back from this kind of madness. If you want to have the life you deserve. You must escape. Now.

For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now.

http://ncadv.org/learn-more/what-is-domestic-violence

This guest post was written and shared by Bonnie Harris Price.

dreamypoetrebel@mail.com  workathomelady@twitter

 

 

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To Save Ourselves: Recognize White Privilege by Amanda Shepherd [Guest Post]

Guest Post from Amanda Sheperd

Recognizing My Privilege

It has been a rough ride, has it not? Most of us are likely still shaken by the events in Charlottesville last weekend.

I’ve done quite a bit of reflection and self-analysis the past few days. As a white woman from a middle-class family, I recognize my privilege. I do not worry about the safety of my daughters should they have an encounter with the police. I do not worry about them being targeted for the color of their skin. What I do worry about is my own “white guilt” and the tendency of us white folk to take over spaces and conversations as a result of that guilt – and, even worse, not really contributing much when we are present. I worry about the lack of time I have to really hone in on this issue as I use my privilege to fight for environmental issues. But mostly, I worry about the fate of our planet and our society.

white privilege

Work to Be Done on Racial Issues

I worry that there is SO MUCH work to be done on racial issues in this world we live in. And I have pledged to do more as a white woman and an ally – to go beyond sharing articles on FB and Twitter. To have tough conversations with my white friends and families. To help make space for POC to tell their own stories and to do the work that they feel needs done. To not, however, rely on them to do the work that needs done among allies and our white brothers and sisters. To do my own work in assessing my privilege and utilizing it to help begin deconstructing a system that places white lives above all others.

But I also worry about our planet and – more specifically – the future of ALL people. The fate of our society should we continue down this path of pillaging the Earth for the preserved remains of once-living beings and burning them for our own gain. I have been struggling with how to continue this fight – the one I have been engaged in for so long – while also making more space in my life to engage in the battle for social justice.

African American Woman

Built on the Backs of Natives

In this time of reflection, I have been reminded that DAPL, KXL, and the majority of the fossil fuel infrastructure in this country is built almost exclusively on the land/backs of Native and other communities of POC. Environmental and social injustice can – and often are – one and the same. These communities – along with allies – are still fighting the #NoDAPL & the #NoKXL battles because they are socially and environmentally unjust. Coal-fired power plants, factories that produce – or use – toxic chemicals, industrial farming facilities that generate unspeakable amounts of animal waste – all of these tend to be placed in areas where those who live nearby do not have the means to fight against them – minority communities and/or those of low socio-economic status.  I realize that the time I spend battling for environmental causes – including the climate crisis – is also time spent fighting for my sisters and brothers of all backgrounds.

birds soaring

There is More We All Can Do

BUT. There is more I can do. There is more we all can do. There has to be. Because in order for the climate crisis to be resolved, people of all races and backgrounds have to believe that they are safe in doing this work. We cannot expect our Black or Indigenous or Latinx siblings to put in the work on climate when they have to worry about racists threatening them or their families. Many of them are already engaged in the struggle to #ActOnClimate – but we cannot demand their participation. We must work to ensure a society that is safe and inclusive for all people; otherwise what are we fighting to protect?

A War For Our Society

This war – because this is indeed a war for our society and the Earth that we know and love – must be fought on two fronts. One for our physical world. And one for our society. Most of the battles will overlap. But even when they don’t, we must recognize that we do this work for the betterment of all. For the survival of all.

In order to save the planet we must save ourselves. And it is apparent there is much work to be done.


Courtesy of Amanda Shepherd. Originally posted on her blog, TheGreatUnless, on August 16, 2017.

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