Hello! This week’s Share It Sunday is a big one because I’ve been collecting links for a good few weeks. Somehow the weekly thing never happens for long. But I do have some great pieces to share this week. A quick word: most of these links are pretty tough, dealing with sexualized violence, racism, and other things. The theme could be: the terrible things people in our spaces do to us. But there is a great pick-me-up at the end (that you can skip right to if you’re in the groove of Self-Care Sunday and want to pretend for one day that the world is a kinder, safer place).
First up, this brilliant, brave, and brutal piece from a kick-ass activist/woman/friend-of-a-friend on why we still need feminism:
The sound of my fear operates at different volumes everyday but no matter how quiet, how low the frequency, the fear is always there – tremoring, shivering, guiding my navigation in this world. I know this because I live in my body.
Next, this piece by Mikki Kendal about the abusers in our midst, and the ways we fail their victims:
A charming friendly person who never has a cross word for someone in power–someone who says all the right things in front of the right people–could be a great ally. To some people. And, all too often, that’s enough to excuse the fact that they use more vulnerable people as emotional or actual punching bags. When allegations are made, or, in some cases, even in the face of direct evidence that there is a problem, there is a tendency to make excuses.
Staying with the depressing theme of abusers within progressive movements, this piece from DANA at Feministing is an important read and will, for many, be depressingly familiar.
Of course, this isn’t the first time (or the last) that abusers have been embraced in feminist communities. On my friend’s campus, the local student anti-rape group continues to allow an abuser to remain an active member, thereby preventing the abuser’s victims from participating in what should be a space for them. At a nearby college, a perpetrator received school funding to create an exhibit on campus anti-rape activism, despite the fact that the college’s women’s center (and Title IX coordinator) had received reports that this individual had assaulted multiple younger students.
This piece talks about what a lot of us have already figured out: start talking about the fucked up spectrum of sexual violence you’ve experienced among women and everyone’s got a story or ten and, like the above pieces, perpetrators rely on communities’ complicity and silence.
These men do not work, or live, or act in a vacuum. Unless they are masterminds or psychopaths (and they cannot all be), their behavior, or aspects of it, is often visible. These men are everywhere. They write and they edit and they teach. They have small magazines and small presses and small reading series. They have publishers and editors, they have podcasts and publicists sending them books to review. The influence they wield may seem insignificant to those in their community who have moved beyond their reach, but for those who haven’t, it is more than enough to frighten or threaten or silence. Their power comes from institutional support, whether implied or explicit, and it comes from systems that rely on the victims of harassment to be the ones who take down their abusers by speaking out in public.
Next up, this vital piece by Kinja user Kenny Llamastine, on The Racism That Isn’t in Your History Book:
We devalue black people’s lives. Compare the police response to Cliven Bundy’s armed, threatening 2nd Amendment Men with Ferguson. Picture a group of black men walking into a restaurant wearing rifles. What if Trayvon Martin was a white kid, chased and gunned down while committing no crime? Flip the races in the Mike Brown shooting. Would Ray Rice be walking free if Janay was a white woman? Without looking it up, what was the name of the black woman captured with Jessica Lynch? We can’t discuss gun control without someone screaming that the numbers are misleading because X thousand of the dead are black. Which is explicitly saying that those deaths simply don’t matter, right?
Along similar lines, I’m currently reading LIes My Teacher Told Me, which has been illuminating, revealing that even a progressive education leaves out a lot of hard, ugly truths.
This interview with filmmaker and comedian Jessie Kahnweiler features her short film Meet My Rapist, which is difficult, funny, important and, perhaps, cathartic.
And, finally, your palate cleanser, a selection of the finalists for Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Go check out the rest.