Women's Rights, Rape Culture, and Religion

Can you open your browser without seeing a story about Planned Parenthood or a college football players being suspended for sexual assault, or a similar story? It is absolutely sickening the amount of times I see a headline about sexual assault. It's maddening to see another story spreading false information about abortions and Planned Parenthood. These two topics may seem a little weird to put together, but I'll get to that...

I live in Minnesota. The University of Minnesota has been in the news recently because it suspended ten football players over an incident that happened in September of this year. Apparently another female college student was raped and sexually assaulted by multiple members of the Gophers football team at a party. She reported the incident to police. The Minneapolis police did not press charges nor did the Hennepin County prosecutors. The University of Minnesota’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action did an investigation and it concluded that these men did do something wrong. So much so, in fact, that at least one person was expelled from the U of M. I will say that I really didn't get into this story much until an anonymous person release the 80 page document that the EOAA had written up. Why? Because until then, they wouldn't even release if the sexual assault charge in September was the reason for the suspension, let alone what the allegations were. Oh yeah, and the rest of the football team is now boycotting all practices and games in a show of solidarity. 

Oh, man, do I have a lot to say about that one. First, this story has been plastered all over the papers and evening news for weeks now. I see their faces everyday. Yet, I largely ignored the story. Then I heard the whole team was "boycotting" practice and games. Are you kidding me? Every single player that is there on scholarship that is not participating in practice and games as scheduled gets his scholarship pulled. Done. Next, anyone not showing up is off the team. We forfeit the season and they do not get to try out next year. Actions have consequences, folks. If this were your job, you would be fired. But I lost it when the 80 page investigative report came out. I read it. The whole disgusting thing. The first paragraph I was like "well, I can understand where the confusion is if it was consensual or not." But then I kept going and I thought, "what the hell is happening?!" The U of M got statements, pictures, texts, and videos from evidence provided by the Minneapolis Police Department. How were charges not pressed against these men? That is what I want to know.

Do you know that 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college? More than 90% of sexual assaults that happen in college go unreported. 63.3% of men at one university who self-reported
acts qualifying as rape or attempted rape admitted to committing repeat rapes. 50% of sexual assaults happen in August, September, and October. And 8 out of 10 victims of sexual assault know their perpetrators. Do any of those statistics shock you? Do they scare you? I think about a lot of things when I hear them. The first thing I think about is my daughter. There is so much more in this world I have to prepare and protect her for. How do you teach a 5 year old that she can do anything she wants and to be fearless while knowing there are people out there that want to hurt her?

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I am going to go on record as saying that I oppose burning our nation’s flag. I am a daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of servicemen. Most my cousins have served or are serving in a branch of the military. Many of my family members have fought bravely for this country. Regardless of how I feel about the current political situation or whether I am happy with the climate in America, I am proud of who am. I am an American.

I heard an interesting argument about burning the flag from none other than Whoopi Goldberg. Apparently, the conversation took place on her show, “The View”. I do not watch that show. Can’t stand it. Not because of her, however, I just choose to steer clear of it.  But I read an article with a synopsis of the segment in it and, I kid you not, I had an AHA! moment. I finally understood why someone would feel the need to burn the flag.

‘Actress Whoopi Goldberg got into a heated debate with her co-hosts on The View this morning, arguing the merits of burning the American flag.The hosts were reacting to President-elect Donald Trump's tweet in which he said that flag-burners should be jailed and possibly be stripped of citizenship. "The flag does not always represent all of its people-- All of its people were not taken care of under our flag," Goldberg said. "People are angry. They sometimes get angry and they burn the flag," she said. Co-host Paula Faris said that flag-burners have the Constitutional right to do so, but they often hate the United States, to which Goldberg adamantly disagreed: "They don't hate this country. Stop saying that." "That's your interpretation. It's like the person at the dinner table who's just complaining about the food... if you don't like the food... just leave," Faris said. "Why just leave? Why not just have something else that's on the table?" Goldberg responded.’ You can watch the video here.

If I go to a restaurant with a group of my friends and order a steak medium well, and it comes out charred, can I not complain? After all, I’m paying for it. I ordered the steak to be cooked a different way. What if I didn’t get steak at all? What if the waiter had brought me soup instead? And when I asked for it to be fixed, he was rude and said no or only did so after I became loud and asked for a manager. Do I not have the right to protest my bill? Why can’t I leave a bad review on Yelp? Just because the other waiters that worked there that night were phenomenal and didn’t mess up a single order all night does that make up for the fact that mine brought me the wrong dish? Should I not leave a bad review that might affect them just because of my bad experience? I have every right to. I work hard for my money. When I go out to spend it, I expect my food as I order it. I’m nice and polite to my wait staff, so I expect them to be nice and polite to me. After all- they are in customer service. That’s kind of their job.  Now, because I went out with a group, this horrible waiter, who never refilled any of our drinks and would not split our bill for us, tacked on 18% gratuity. Why do I have to pay that? Should it not be up to me if and how much I tip?

Turning this into a flag situation became easy for me once I started thinking along those lines. After all, we pay taxes. We vote. We have a right to expect that those elected to positions within our government will be doing things with our best interests in mind. We have a right to expect that our police will protect us, no matter our skin color. We have the right to hold our government accountable and when it’s not performing to our high standards, we have the right to protest it.
What I think those that are burning the flag don’t understand is that it’s not just a piece of cloth that flies outside of a government building. We don’t just wave it at the 4th of July parades or hang if from our porches during the summer months. You don’t hurt the President when you put a flame to Ole Glory. You stick a knife in the heart of the eight-year-old kid who has the flag that was draped over his dad’s coffin, folded neatly into a triangle, and put in a memorial box with a glass pane and a gold plate with his dad’s name on it. You sucker punch the 48-year-old mother who watched as her only child was taken from a plane, her casket covered by the stars and stripes. You bring back the memories of dirt, blood, bombs, and flames as a veteran relives pulling his childhood friend back behind cover, but it’s too late. The body goes limp and he’s struggling to stay upright. For those of us that lived through such tragedies as 9/11 and the attack on Pearl Harbor, seeing the flag fly free reminds us that we are still here. We have not been beat. There have been hundreds of times throughout our 240-year history that our country has been in turmoil. But we do what we do best. We march Washington, we elect different officials, we change laws, we kick ass if we have to. And we do it all under the American flag.

Another interesting debate I seen was between The Blaze’s Tomi Lahren and the host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. It was regarding Colin Kaepernick’s choice to kneel during the national anthem in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.  "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media. If you have ever seen any of Tomi’s rants, you can about guess that she went off on what a little crybaby Kaepernick was being and how disrespectful he is. Trevor then posed a really thoughtful question; How should he protest? Now I want you to stop and think about that for a moment. I don’t want you to debate on why he’s protesting. I want you to think about how he should do it. What he’s doing is reminiscent of sit ins that took place in the 1960s. I would encourage you to watch the video. They have a great conversation with a lot of thought provoking points. I will throw in my two cents in the fact that I think Klaepernick lost his right to protest when he chose not to exercise his constitutional right to vote. Sorry, but you can’t complain if you aren’t willing to try and fix the problem.
All we need is another person blogging about the sad state of political affairs in the U.S. today. I think what is making it such a huge topic is that we have not seen unrest like this in 40 years. Not only do we have a volatile political arena with half the nation unhappy, but racial tensions are explosive, too. Throw in the threat of terrorists both foreign and homegrown, the fear is palatable. We need to reach beyond our comfort zone and try to imagine things from the opposite point of view. I’m not telling anyone to compromise their morals or am trying to sway anyone in any certain direction. Now, more than ever, we need understanding.

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My life- as a wife, mother, sister, caregiver, daughter, career woman- uncensored.


Liberal Catholic. Working mom. Chronic pain warrior. Opinionated introvert. I speak fluent sarcasm. I'm married with two kids- a girl and a boy. My son was born with Spina bifida, hydrocephalus, Arnold Chiari malformation, and bilateral club feet. I may blog about food, politics, religion, medical updates, or our life in general.

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