Sunday, March 25, 2007

"I'm just not up for a big search today"

I imagine the police and sheriffs department's whining went something like that.

HOUSTON, Texas (AP) -- A 19-year-old Texas A&M University student was killed by her ex-boyfriend, who then dismembered and burned her body on a patio grill, authorities said Saturday.

The story highlights go on to say that:
• Timothy Shepherd, 27, said he was jealous of ex's new relationship
• No search for body because remains were burned to nothing, sheriff says
• Tynesha Stewart, a college freshman, was last seen with Shepherd on March 15

So this woman was viciously murdered by lame ex who couldn't let go but since there's so many more important things to do, the authorities can't be bothered to find what's left of her?

This reaction prompted outrage from the family and victim advocates. According to cops they "knew, but could not disclose, that there were no body parts to find. Investigators were unable to release that information to the public or to Stewart's family because of the investigation." Apparently the family has now accepted this as well.

Interesting fact, most patio grills owned by average Joe don't reach temps that could cremate a body. Cremation "depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F."

Even the CNN article points out this glaring problem. "Although human remains generally require extremely high temperatures to destroy, Thomas would not discuss how he believed the body could be burned to nothing."

Fine, maybe I'm being unfair to cops on this one. The family has accepted this and whatever is left is probably small. It would be an exhaustive search with little result. It just seems to add insult to serious injury that this woman was brutally murdered and tossed away as if she amounted to nothing and then since searching for any remains would be "nearly impossible" they'd just forgo it. It just doesn't seem good enough, does it?

I guess I'm mostly mad because crap like this continues. Somehow people think it's okay to treat women this way. Recently I attended a speaker who talked about her experience with domestic violence.

She left an abusive marriage and divorced. She was forced to share joint custody of her young children. One evening she stopped by her ex-husband's home to pick up her children. He told her to come inside and get them because "they were hiding." When she entered the house, he attacked her from behind with a bat and beat her about the head, then he strangled her. As she lost consciousness he took her and put her headfirst into a large garbage can. Then he filled it with snow and placed it on the back of his flatbed truck, covering it with a tarp.

Then he took the two kids and drove (with mom in back in a garbage can) and hit up the McDonald's drive through. He eventually took his wife across state lines, and put her in a storage locker he rented, piling 2x4s and boxes on top of the garbage can. After he shut the door, he went to work in an air traffic tower that overlooked the storage locker.

The woman, Teri Jendusa-Nicolai, talked about how she lost all her toes to frostbite, miscarried the baby she was carrying *she had remarried* and now she was fighting in court where defense attorneys were still asking her questions like "What did you say to your ex-husband prior to the attack that upset him?" YES, what did YOU do to make him beat you with a bat, strangle you, and leave you in a frozen grave?"

Nothing new for her really, people always asked her when she was married what she did to make him mad? What were YOU doing before he beat you? How is this YOUR FAULT?

But it's never the woman's fault, as much as we try and make it. This is about power and control. The idea that "I will lock you away and watch you from work." "I will take life from you, cut you apart and burn you to nothing. I own you."

It's disgusting. I'm so sick of it.

Something good to read.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

An update/Rant

Yes, I apologize for not updating in a while. I wish I could say there's been nothing to write about but sadly, women's issues are taking a beating wether I acknowledge it or not. My fave site, Feministe has posted on just about everything lately that I have read and been cranky about so I must encourage you to go there. They are the blog I long to be.

But in state news, ND is coming up againt an abortion ban. Passed the house, now in the senate, I've been writing letters to senators like mad but methinks this ban will go through. This bill irks me for obvious reasons but even more so because it is a COMPLETE waste of the senate's time. The bill is inefective unless Roe is overturned. Why don't you take time and debate things that will immediately go into effect? Grrr.

On the plus side, my conservative state passed a bill (with a unanimous vote no less) that will provide $50,000 for the State Department of Health to educate the public about the HPV virus and the HPV vaccine.

So there is always something to be happy about.

Working at the women's clinic is still wonderful and a great education to me. It's shows why being pro-choice is essential-- nothing will teach you that quite like working in the situation where women need choice the most. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work there. My other job has also been a major eye opener. I've been on call twice now for the crisis line and have been to the E.R. twice, dealing with the aftermath on rape.

I'm uncomfortable going into details of all these things due to confidentiality etc. but I think it's important to share what I'm doing because I think it's affected my blogging (or lack thereof). Sometimes by the end of the day I want to forget about these issues or it's just too real and too hard to talk about these topics ANY MORE.

This week my rant is pretty light-hearted. I have been hearing a phrase a lot lately and it's just made me very sad. I work as a waitress to help pay the bills so I'm around many women my age (college or just-graduated). I'm always amazed when I hear so many of them say things like, "I just don't really like being friends with other women. They annoy me." Or some variation on that phrase, something like, "All my friends are guys and I prefer it that way."

Yes, okay fine. I have a lot of guy friends too. As I write this post, my boyfriend and another friend of ours, Cory are playing Xbox. They are fun and I love 'em both but I don't know what I would do if I didn't have close women friends. And my heart always sinks when I hear women say things like "girls annoy me."

We could go into exhaustive discussion here on what makes men and women different as far as how they handle conflict, romance, common stereotypes *guys like xbox, girls like to shop* but where does this disdain for having girlfriends come from? Did they experience some level of "Mean Girls" behavior in high school? Did they have bad relationships with their mother, sisters... something?

I understand there are women out there who are less than pleasant. Or they are into different hobbies than you. Maybe you're more about sports, wings and beer, not shoes and martinis. That's fine. But just FYI, there are OTHER women like you. You are not the exception. And most women can do both shoes and sports, have a martini and then a beer. Stop writing off your own sex.

It's a self-loathing that I just can't handle or understand. Women, in my opinion form friendships that are invaluable. There's no reason to avoid relationships with women and only look for male friends. This type of attitude baffles me completely and just appears to be another offshoot of a culture that tells women and girls not to value themselves or distrust one another. The idea of "Can't be friends with women, they just gossip and are silly and stupid. They'll steal your man."

It's a pile of crap. There are certainly women I've met that I could NEVER be friends with, but this could equally be said of some men I've met. I can't ever recall hearing a guy friend say, "I just don't like being friends with other guys. They're annoying." So why do women say it? Is it about looking good in front of other men, or proving yourself "better than" or "more than" a woman?

Why do we do this?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Women to love and loathe features an interesting article on women to love and loathe.

To love.....
Emme Aronson – One of the first plus sized supermodels
Waris Dirie: Crusader against female genital mutilation
Dr. Julie Gerberding: Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Wangari Maathai: 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner
Safiye Amajan: Afghan teacher
Dr. Ruth Simmons: First African-American woman to lead an Ivy League university
Zainab Salbi: Women for Women International
Kelly Perkins: Heart transplant recipient, mountain climber, organ donation advocate
Jody Williams: Founder of International Campaign Against Land Mines and winner of 1997 Nobel Peace Prize
Kathy Eldon: CEO and co-founder of Creative Visions Foundation

To Loathe...
Paris Hilton
Linda Hirshman
Lindsay Lohan
Ann Coulter
Britney Spears
Phyllis Schlafly
Marabel Morgan
Caitlin Flanagan
Sheila Jeffreys
Bratz Dolls

I agree with most of assessments. Who do you think they're missing from either list?

Also check out the section of:
Influential Women

**my two cents: I'm on board with the bratz dolls, Coulter, Schlafly etc but using Spears and Lohan seems a little low. Sure the may not have their priorities centered but going in and out of rehab isn't really what I consider to be the most embarrassing thing they could be doing for women everywhere. I'm more upset with Britney that she can't remember to put her underwear on. It's just sad because so many women in Hollywood allow themselves to be exploited, what makes Lohan any different from Jessica Simpson, Pussy Cat Dolls, any of the dancing women in hip hop videos?

However, I do agree on Hilton's status. She has always sickened me because I believe she is well aware of her exploited status and participates in it all too willingly.