Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"20 present at gang rape": a case for the devaluation of female sexuality

Richmond, California (CNN) -- Investigators say as many as 20 people were involved in or stood and watched the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl outside a California high school homecoming dance Saturday night.

Two teenage suspects have been jailed, but more arrests, as many as 20 total, are expected, according to a police detective.

As many as 10 people were involved in the assault in a dimly lighted back alley at the school, while another 10 people watched without calling 911 to report it, police said.

Nineteen-year-old Manuel Ortega, described as a former student at the school, was arrested soon after he fled the scene and will face charges of rape, robbery and kidnapping, police said.

A 15-year-old was later arrested and charged with one count of felony sexual assault. A third teenager was being interviewed, Gagan said.

"Based on witness statements and suspect statements, and also physical evidence, we know that she was raped by at least four suspects committing multiple sex acts," Gagan said.

"As people announced over time that this was going on, more people came to see, and some actually participated," Gagan said. (source)

Being a rape victim, I am especially sensitive to stories like this. I'm saddened, sickened, and pissed the hell off. I am fearful of what could happen to my young cousins and my possible future daughters... My heart and prayers go out for this child. I won't go into my rant about how everyone involved should have their balls chopped off with a rusty paper cutter and stuffed down their throats. (Well I guess I just did.) This was beyond animalistic, and I hope these folks know that karma is not going to be gentle with them.

There are so many things about this story that make me want to reach out and hurt someone. Besides the obvious horror of this story, there is something else that bothers me at this moment. This story is one of many things of late to make me believe that feminine sexuality is regarded so cheaply. Out of the 20 or so young men that stood around and watched this girl be so brutally assaulted, not one was compelled to help her? Not one could imagine how they would feel if this was their sister or their mother in that situation? What has happened, that these young men don't value a woman's sexuality?

In many ancient cultures, sexuality was considered a form of spirituality. It was not only a means of procreation or expressing love and attraction to a significant other. It was a a means of pleasing the gods, a form of worship of both the heavenly and the carnal. It was a symbol of being one. It represented love and life.

Today, for some reason, sexuality has taken on an ugly, sinister form. You see it stolen, exploited and denigrated. It makes one a target for attack and abuse. These things aren't new, but they are not as "unheard of" as they once were. And strangely, this may partly be of our own doing. (Let me stop right here and not that I am NOT one of those "blame the victim" type people. That is not even what this is about. Besides, nothing she could have done would have justified what happened to her.)

Have we as women actually contributed to the fact that our society sees sex and especially our sexuality as a common commodity to be used and abused at will? For example, are the women we refer to as "video hos" affecting how we all are seen? I never thought much about how women are portrayed in the media. I figured "These actresses/models/video vixens/porn stars/whatever are grown women, so they can do what they want. It doesn't affect me anyway." However, as I get older I'm starting to rethink that. True, they do have a choice as to whether they will allow themselves to be portrayed in a certain manner, and I've never been a proponent of censorship & whatnot. But could it be that being constantly bombarded by these images and ideas has reduced us to our pussies in the eyes of some of these boys? I sometimes wonder if the man who raped me couldn't take me not saying "yes" because he was so used to images of women who never say "no."

And maybe it's not just the media. Can a woman be proud of her sexuality and not be considered cheap? I am one of very few women I know who-despite my experience and despite the way I was raised-is not uptight about sex. I have no problems expressing what I like, sharing pointers with others, bouncing new ideas off mixed company. However, I never felt like doing so could possibly be giving off a signal that, for whatever reason, it shouldn't be respected. We as women shouldn't have to hide our sexuality or act as if we're ashamed of it. It's a natural part of us. But does being upfront with it cause it to be less respected? If not, what does? And if so, how could that be rectified?

Of course I don't have the answers, and I may be the only one with these questions, but I'm putting it out there anyway... More on this upon my return.

Note: I'm still not quite back from my hiatus, but there was no way I was going to let this pass without speaking up about it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On Hiatus

There is a lot going on with me right now. Some good... Some not-so-great. I figured it would be best if I backed off of the blogs, Facebook, twitter, etc. for a while. Which will be difficult since I work on a computer every day. I'm still writing... A lot of it is kinda personal though. When I get back I'll share the stuff that's not too deep into Tori D and get back to writing things that (hopefully) someone else is interested in besides me!
Au revoir !

Monday, October 12, 2009

So it's Columbus Day...

But ummm, really, what are we celebrating? (Or they, since I'm not celebrating anything but another Monday at work)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shoe Porn: Christian Louboutin

I'm not a label-whore, but every now and then I get stuck on a particular brand or shoe. Some may call it "obsession" but I consider it simply admiring the work of the creator. When I get enamored with shoes that I know I can't afford (yet) I treat them much like I would a fine-ass celebrity: fawn over them, collect pictures of them looking delicious, imagine myself butt-naked in bed with them... (What, too much?)

Anyway, such is the case with the latest object of my affection: Louboutin.
I didn't even bother finding the prices for these. Nope, instead I'd just rather focus on the possibilities...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Forced to Be Fat

I came across this article today that seriously broke my heart. It's about young girls in Mauritania being sent of to "camps" to be force-fed and fattened so that men would find them attractive (a process known as leblouh). Girls as young as seven, being forced to eat between 14,000 and 16,000 calories a day. Let's put that into perspective: An adult male bodybuilder usually eats 4000 calories a day.

Even worse than the fact that this practice is extremely unhealthy, it is abusive! From the article:

Tijanniya chokes down the thick gruel — she has no choice. An older woman dressed in pink robes threatens to beat her with a long cane if she refuses. Worse, if she throws up, the woman will make her eat her own vomit.... How do small girls eat these gargantuan amounts of food? "I'm very strict," boasts Elhacen. "I beat the girls, or torture them by squeezing a stick between their toes. I isolate them and tell them that thin women are inferior." Desert settlements like this 1000-strong farming community with no electricity or running water are popular spots for leblouh because there are no distractions and no easy ways to escape. But Elhacen denies that her work amounts to child cruelty. "No, no, it's for their own good," she almost shrieks. "How will these poor girls find a husband if they're bony and revolting?"

What disgusts me the most is the fact that this society as a whole supports young girls going through such a degrading, unhealthy practice in the hopes of getting a man. As the author states, it's like our obsession with thinness in reverse. It's sad that these women, as well as women here and in many other countries I'm sure, feel that who and what they are is inferior. It's sad that we feel we have to alter who we are, inside and/or outside, just to be "acceptable" and to be loved. And it's heartbreaking to think that the cycle of damaging young girls' self-esteem just to get a man will more than likely continue.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Randomness: Because I'm a bit scatterbrained, and that's okay...

1. I will admit, I am not the most proactive or creative person when it comes to addressing social issues. (Shocking, I'm sure) However, I am all for getting involved and supporting whatever endeavor I can. That being said, I am asking everyone to support my fellow blogger, JG over at One Fourth Random. She is raising money through December 25 to donate computers to her local library in Atlanta. (Read all about it here.) Now if I can donate something with my meager little income, surely you can! It only takes a second to do, and you'll be helping a good cause.

I'll leave this widget up at the bottom of the page, so you can come through and donate at any time! I'm sure she (and the children she's helping) will really appreciate it. And hopefully this will inspire others to get involved in their community in some way and make a difference.

2. Really random, I know, but I love this commercial!

The Queen looks absolutely beautiful (hair, makeup, clothing, the whole nine!) and Usher looks delicious. ^_^ That's really all I have on that...

3. A new career possibility has come up and I'm kinda excited about it! I won't go too much into it, but it would give me a base for one of the non-profits that I want to start as well as pad my own pockets pretty nicely... More on that as it comes.... But if I got this opportunity, I may end up moving to the city where one of my exes is and that could go either way. We've kinda talked and I'm anxious to see what--if anything--comes of it. Of course, I know I said I would use this time to focus on me, and I am. Besides, it would be at least several months before I would be out there. But I've been listening to his music (Google is the debbil y'all, I swear) and feel myself melting, like "This is what did it in the first place..." And before anyone thinks it, NO I would not be going out there for him! There are two other cities of interest where I could end up... This is just my first choice....

4. Speaking of music, I have definitely hit a sweet spot! Writer's block what? I feel like I'm not even writing really; the songs are just jumping out AT ME! I love it! I've come to realize something: I could never be an R&B artist. Although I've never really tried to classify my music, I know it doesn't fit the usual formula for popular R&B today. It has more of a jazzy/neo-soul type feel to it. And I'm definitely okay with that! (Plus, I don't dance. *shrug*)

5. To end, you know I have to get in a quote or two. These are courtesy of Anais Nin.

“How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.”

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger than reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Throwback Video!

Toni Braxton- You're Making Me High
I was really too young to be singing this when it came out, but this was MY SONG! lol

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

This is a topic that especially touches me because it has impacted both sides of my family, which of course increases my chances for having the disease. My Big Momma has survived this awful disease. My maternal grandmother and one of my aunts were not so lucky. It's something that I try not to think of too much. Instead, I focus on ways I can help contribute to finding a cure. Since I'm no scientist and have no idea what causes or cures this disease, I do what is in my power to do. I try to spread as much information about the disease as possible. I participate in events that help bring awareness to this issue and donate money to help find cures and provide treatment for those who have already been diagnosed. I urge all women to take the time to do those monthly check-ups! If you're like me, you play with the girls regularly anyway; make it fun AND useful!

Seriously ladies, know the facts. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women and 7th-leading cause overall. An estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the U.S. in 2009. An estimated 40,170 women will die.

The issue is even worse for black women. Although breast cancer has typically not been as common in black women, young black women who do have breast cancer are more likely to have a deadlier form of the disease. It is known as Triple-negative breast cancer and is more aggressive and harder to treat. Although this has been known for a few years, it has not been determined whether it is genetics or something that black women are "more prone to be around" that would expose us to this. It is also important to note that most diagnoses of breast cancer are made after menopause, the disease may develop as early as the 20s. So it is especially important that we are vigilant in our efforts to know our bodies and our boobies, and get those annual screenings.

Do your part! Participate in breast cancer walks, give donations to support breast cancer research, and make yourself and your loved ones aware of the risks.

Sites with more info, places to donate, and items for sale (proceeds go to cancer research):
CDC: Breast Cancer
American Cancer Society
Susan G. Komen
Yahoo! Health Breast Cancer Center
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The Breast Cancer Site
Save The Tatas

Quote of the Day

I've seen this quote before and liked it immediately. However, I'd kinda forgotten about it until I saw someone tweet it the other day...

Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm,
she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a
home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a
smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to
her. So if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Notes from the Mississippi Delta

This post was actually supposed to go up several weeks ago after momma and I made a trip to Shaw, MS and ended up at a community picnic. Buuuut I'm just getting around to it now, so... yeah!

  1. There is NOTHING like actual homemade ice cream! Nope, not even Bluebell Homemade Vanilla (and my people know I am a Bluebell girl to the heart lol)
  2. This is mean, I know; I am so tickled when middle-aged and older people talk about not being able to figure out stuff on their computer. IDK why, but it's just funny to me!
  3. My 99-year-old grandfather dreaming about being in 3rd grade: priceless! ^_^
  4. I met one of my grandfather's childhood friends (on her 98th birthday) and my aunt's "old boyfriend" (not really her BF, but one of their older brothers' friends who she claimed). How cute is that? It's really rare that I get to see that "we were young once" side of my older relatives.
  5. Chivalry is not dead! There was a guy there (an Omega, no less ^_^) with his son who looked to be high school aged. His son was so well-mannered! Getting up to help older people to their seats, giving up his seat for a lady, helping with cleanup, even rushing to my aid after an incident with red cream soda & my cute lil outfit. He didn't know anyone there other than his father (they'd just moved there) but he was so respectful and so sweet! Proof that it's not the time that we're in, it's the training these kids receive that makes the difference.
  6. Is there such a thing as bad fried catfish? I don't think their is! I'm just sayin'....
  7. Funniest moment: Little girl walks up to the table where we were sitting. Random woman asks my mom, "Who's little girl is that?" The little girl gets loud and says "My daddy! I'm his girl!" and walks off. All of us sitting there with our faces broken. I cried laughing! Crying laughing thinking about it now!
  8. I didn't think it was possible to be country AND ghetto, but ummmm, it is! I couldn't help but SMH at some of the things I heard and saw from girls not that much younger than me. Craziness.
Aight, that's it for now. I'm sure there were some other things I meant to share, but since it's not in the BlackBerry, it's gone!