More Politics of Rape
Posted on October 27, 2012 by Eric Francis
at Planet Wave

Dear Friend and Reader:

Earlier this week, Mitt Romney endorsed a Tea Party-backed Senate candidate named Richard Mourdock, who is running in Indiana [see video here]. Romney touted him as the potential 51st vote against government health care (even though ‘Obamacare’ is a corporate health care program).

Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Tuesday when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape, ”that’s something God intended.” See the full video here.

Mourdock was the only candidate for Senate endorsed by Romney in this election cycle, so he stands out a bit. The very next day at a debate against his opponent, Mourdock said that he was against a woman’s right to have an abortion, even in the case of rape — because the pregnancy was a “gift from God.”

“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said [see video here]. He struggled with it? Are we to assume he got pregnant?

Mourdock became the second GOP Senate candidate to wax philosophical about rape and pregnancy in recent months. Rep. Todd Akin, running for U.S. Senate from Missouri, said during a television interview in August that women’s bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of what he called “legitimate rape.”

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child,” he said. I am sitting here wondering by what logic, or precedent, a fetus has more rights than a sovereign citizen — unless one does not count women as such.

As if it’s not enough that abortion rights, which are long-settled case law, are somehow a central issue in this campaign (Romney has promised to sign the so-called Personhood Amendment if it lands on his desk) and as if it’s not enough that even the right to birth control is coming into question (Romney has promised to do his part to have the Supreme Court’s Griswold v. Connecticut decision repealed), now we have to hear about rape on a regular basis. Rape is about an attacker taking total control over the victim, in truth, one step shy of murder. Until recently, it was subject to the death penalty in many American states. Now it’s being associated with a “gift from God.”

The official platform of the Republican party states its opposition to abortion under all circumstances, including in cases of rape and incest. The official platform! I have been reading comments like “This is how Jim Crow guys in the south were during the Sixties — very loud,” implying that this kind of misogyny is a kind of death rattle for their point of view. I am not buying that argument, at all. I am not willing to take that chance. There are too many forces pushing in the same direction, and to me this seems more neo than retro.

However you may feel about voluntary medical abortion, making it into a crime presents a problem: abortions and miscarriages happen spontaneously, and would be subject to criminal investigation and prosecution as potential murders. The central question here is, should women have autonomous dominion over their bodies, or should every pregnancy be government property, subject to investigation? In essence, this is a discussion about making every uterus a potential crime scene.

It’s easy to cast this as opposition to something distasteful, painful and often considered a necessary evil. It’s easy to cast it as a moral issue, and blame God. There really is no secular, scientific or medical argument in opposition to a woman’s right to choose the destiny of a pregnancy, especially early in the term — all of the arguments are religious, or emotional.

American political discourse has degraded to the point where it’s now considered legitimate to claim, in public, that women have no rights whatsoever over their bodies, or their reproductive destiny. If you have studied any feminism at all, you know that for women, reproductive rights are the same thing as human rights. And now we are even hearing politicians advocate for the parental rights of rapists. I really wonder why there is not a bigger outcry. Is it because this seems too weird to be true? Or is it about a conscious giveback of both rights and their corresponding responsibilities?

For the past three decades, many American children have been subjected to abstinence-only indoctrination in public schools, which is basically a taxpayer supported campaign of ignorance and shame. This is the perfect state of mind for such a vicious, actually insane conversation to flourish. And, one would think, anyone who wanted to see fewer abortions would be in favor of family planning and conscious pregnancy prevention. But that’s not the way things are going — which puts women in an extremely dangerous double bind.

The slide or even downward spiral of how women are treated, and how women assert themselves in society, is a complex scenario and I think that each of us would be wise to take the inquiry inward, and into our relationships as well.

We have to look at this in the context of the conscious assault on the rights of women, as well as the voluntary abdication of those rights; the dumbing down of the population via abstinence indoctrination; the proliferation of sexual imagery; and the rise of homophobia, which also influences relationships between the sexes as well as intrapersonal relating. That is to say, all of this influences our most intimate situations, and how we feel about ourselves.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood....''a novel that brilliantly illuminates some of the darker interconnections between politics and sex....Just as the world of Orwell's 1984 gripped our imaginations, so will the world of Atwood's handmaid!''  The Washington Post's Book World

Women’s issues are often presented as ‘special interests’, which is part of the scam. The more pressing issues of our day seem to be the planet heating up, the power of the arms industry, total corruption, the abuse of technology and corporations thinking they have the rights of humans, enabled by the courts. Yet these all may be byproducts of the condition of human rights, and deep at the core, this is about the treatment of women, by both men and other women. What I am saying is the first human rights issue is how we treat one another — and this seems to involve gender more often than not.

Sex and gender issues are not boutique items. I believe they are the center of the cyclone. If the prevailing, real-life story of the human race is one sex oppressing the other, that’s going to reflect in every other way, influencing everything that happens on the planet — including how we treat the Earth.

The central political question of our day, in my view is: To what extent have women and men learned to recognize one another as people? To what extent have we learned to recognizeourselves as people? The political is indeed as personal as it gets.


...the journey

"Somewhere on their long journey on the raft 
they had come into possession of the magic power that all men long for...
the power to erase the distinction between preparation for living and living itself."

- from The Green Kingdom by Rachel Maddox be cut

The other day I just wanted to kick back.   
So I curled up to watch a movie I'd chosen from Netflix 
after barely skimming the description which said something about a young girl in Africa who escapes an arranged marriage and becomes a super model.  
It sounded good...triumph over hardship, and pretty people in pretty clothes. 

Had I read the description for Desert Flower a little closer I would have seen the words,
 female, genital, mutilation 
 By time I understood where the movie was taking me
 I was already caught up in the miraculous and inspirational story of Waris Dirie....
a female of courage and grace. 
It's a wonderful move....and there are pretty clothes.
but there are heartbreaking minutes too...
a scene I couldn't watch.

Waris was born into a nomad family living near the border of 
Ethiopia in the Somali desert in 1965. 
At 13 she escaped her marriage by walking across the desert..
after many trials she makes it to London where she is discovered 
and becomes a super-super model.  

But what she didn't escape was having her clitoris,
 and both major and minor labia cut from her when she was 5 years old..
These parts of her were fed to the birds.  
Then she was stitched up with thorn as a needle 
leaving only a hole the size of a match head. 
There was no pain killer.
As though that torture weren't enough her legs were then bound together until her wounds healed.  
the wounds to her soul never healed.....

This is what is known as extreme female circumcision 
and it is happening to little girls all over the world,
including America and the United Kingdom where the practice is on the rise.....
both Muslims and Christians practice this horror
it is estimated that 8000 girls are cut everyday 
because ''what is down there is dirty''
...this practice assures virtue and prevents sexual enjoyment. 

It increases the girls marriageability.... 
on her marriage night her husband simply cuts through the scar tissue 
and forces penetration

It boggles the mind.  Makes my heart sick
I knew about female circumcision but averted my eyes.
I can't anymore

... the other side of the bed

More Than Anything

...Joy and Sorrow are inseparable...
together they come..
 and when one sits alone with you...
remember  that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Kahil Gibran 

I work hard at positive thought.  
I am an admitted joy seeker.  It isn't that I avoid sorrow.  
I don't close my heart off so I won't be hurt. 
 I don't hide from deep experiences because 
I don't want the sorrow that may be a part of them.  

Somewhere inside of me 
I know the ones who say we have to have sorrow
 to appreciate joy are probably right.  
But I don't like it.  
I don't want to feel it for you...or for me...or for the world.
I don't want Sorrow.

Deep sorrow, when it comes, stops me in my tracks.  
I feel it in every part of my body....
the ache...
the tension of acceptance 

When I'm in the now with sorrow
I sometimes forget to breathe
Sometimes I just want to
  curl up and disappear...
to get out of my body.
Sometimes sorrow leaves me quickly and sometimes it lingers...

I don't like to cry and I don't like experiencing that primal howl 
that pushes its way out from deep inside.
 It's that....all of that, I don't want to feel.  

Really I simply want to gain the wisdom and compassion of deep sorrow 
without the ripping that comes with the howl.....
Please let me feel Joy without fearing Sorrow asleep
in the shadowy light that spreads across my bed...... me always  find my way back to knowing the world is a safe place
 to dream, and love, share, dance and hope...
let me trust that on some level everything is as it should be...
and that I am right where I need to be.

...just sharing

ecard image

To get the full value of joy you must have 
someone to divide it with.
~ Mark Twain
                                                 I'm a solitary person.  
                              I spend most of my days and nights alone
                                I like a lot of things about being alone.
I love that I have the space...
I find joy most every day in my little bit of the world.
It's not so hard. 
 I am blessed in so many ways.  

But I think Mark Twain is right.  
To get the full value of joy it needs to be shared.

joy is doubled when I do something enjoyable with someone I really like..
joy is adding something good and seeing it lift someone...
joy is relaxing into a shared hug...
joy is looking in someones eyes and knowing we are of the same tribe...
joy is looking in someones eyes and seeing love reflected back...
joy is laughing together until my sides hurt..
joy is being invited in...

joy is meeting someone I want to invite in....
joy is discovering a shared joy...
joy is sharing a silly dance...
joy is standing in front of  someone in all my nakedness
 and having them see me and not turn away...
joy is sharing a dream and having someone else believe in it too....
joy is holding hands..

joy is sharing good news and having the one I'm sharing with
jump up and down with me..
joy is snuggling in and feeling safe...
joy is having the words to help someone feel a little safer...
joy is when someone has those words for me...
joy is having someone look forward to sharing with me...
joy is sharing success with someone who cares....
joy is shared success...
joy is sharing something that leaves me in awe...
joy is sharing a smile at just the right moment..
joy is speaking the same words at the same time because we're so in sync...

I guess it all adds up to the fact that that I love my alone time...
but I adore shared moments of joy.
I guess I'm a joy seeker.


the Trails end

Kathy's work is very Zen ....

Most, if not all, of these pieces found homes this weekend...

sweet light and sweet snippets.. 

while Laura's is a riot of color and fantasy..

I love this fish.

My photography does not to justice to the wonder of their work...

We were delighted with sales and the connections we made...
and happy with what a truly magical, memorable weekend it was.

Kathy caught this shot..Al joyal and Brian Wilhite

I always plan on taking more pictures, and there were so many photo ops, but it seemed that every time I would head off to get my camera I'd be happily sidetracked.  

So many came to express appreciation for what we do as artists.
It was a lovely, lovely, weekend.


Photo: Isn't this just a gorgeous picture ?

....Sierra Art Trails opens tomorrow

.....I got a little rush of excitement just writing the title.  
It's been a very busy day.  So many details.  
and it's so very personal.
Everything I do to get ready is in hopes that you will like my Spirit Figures, 
my special place, and of course me.

It's inviting you into my world.
My private place where I laugh, create, dance, cry...
I want you to feel it.

I think I am 98% percent least 97%
Kathy and Laura have their spaces ready to set up bright and early tomorrow morning
My cats think all the tables and chairs are for them.
I'd take a picture but I'm too tired to do it.

It's quiet here now...lights are low
I'm breathing in the space
I know I will be blessed with many extraordinaire moments over the next 3 days 

 Some figures don't come with names...
I just know this one as Mother

this is Lucy...she isn't looking for a home..
She's just hanging out.
Waiting for tomorrow.

...Sierra Art Trails, 2 days and counting

I'm almost done with preparation for Sierra Art Trials...this is the 10th anniversary of the open studio tour in the foothills...Over 100 artists are participating at various studios and venues thoughout the area. 
 It is a 3 day studio opens Friday at 10 am and closes Sunday at 6 pm.

I have two artist showing with me who are new to Trails...

Kathy Marks and Laura Fisher
I am honored to have them,
both do enchanting work.

My Muse and your Muse?

My studio mates...
Maia and Shylee

Spirit Within


Ready for company.

I love this event because I get the opportunity to talk about my passion....
and meet new people, and see old friends.

I hope you will follow the signs and come see us...

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