Walking is Still Honest: A Message From the Westnedge Hill Abductee

I want to share something I came across yesterday. To be clear, I have no affiliation with this situation, but it’s incredibly important that we listen when survivors of violent crimes, especially rape, speak out. Please keep in mind all applicable trigger warnings before proceeding.

Transcript:

First of all, I would like to thank the community of Kalamazoo for the outpouring of love, support, and help they have shown me. We are a community of so many wonderful, amazing people of all sorts. We make our city stronger by standing up for each other, being positive forces in each others lives, and by making conscious and consistent efforts to improve our city and ourselves, bit by bit. I have never been more proud of my city.

Secondly, I would like to commend the KDPS for the work they have done involving my case so far and the work they continue to do. Too often we criticize these strong, smart, brave people for their actions. But please remember these are the people that devote their lives to protecting and helping us, and don’t ever ask for our thanks. We forget they are people, just like you or I. We have so many names for them as if they are not like us; they are like us. They shop at the same stores we do; they stop at the same coffee shops; they have families and friends and lives outside their uniforms. They deserve our respect, and our thanks. And I am so glad to be alive to give my thanks. Thank you. I appreciate every one of you.

I would also like to thank all the amazing people who assisted me in the hours after my attack at Bronson and the YWCA. You were all so kind and helped put my mind at ease that I was only left with cuts and bruises in the wake of my attack.

My friends and family have already heard it many times, but thank you for standing by me. I was asked what I had to live for, and all I could say was my friends, my family.

I would like to say to Brad Mason’s family that I’m very sorry you have to go through this. I understand you have a lot of questions and are going through a very difficult time. I think our families are probably very similar. I’m sorry you have to endure so much judgment while mourning the loss of your family member. I’m sure this is a very confusing and frustrating time for you. Please have the strength to get through this. At times I worry you may be very angry with me, but I hope that you are not.

Finally, I’d like to share a few of my thoughts, feelings, and a couple quotes with and for everyone to consider during this difficult time. I’ll begin with the quotes.

‘He was gone, and I did not have time to tell him what I had just now realized: that I forgave him, and that she forgave us, and that we had to forgive to survive in the labyrinth. There were so many of us who would have to live with things done and things left undone that day. Things that did not go right, things that seemed okay at the time because we could not see the future. If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless.’ – John Green, ‘Looking for Alaska’

‘The good times and the bad times both will pass. It will pass. It will get easier. But the fact that it will get easier does not mean that it doesn’t hurt now. And when people try to minimize your pain they are doing you a disservice. And when you try to minimize your own pain you’re doing yourself a disservice. Don’t do that. The truth is that it hurts because it’s real. It hurts because it mattered. And that’s an important thing to acknowledge to yourself. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t end, that it won’t get better. Because it will.’ – John Green

A lot of people have commended me on my strength in the wake of my attack. And I am a strong person, but yes I was scared after the attack. More so for my family’s safety based on the information he took from me. After I got a few hours of sleep I started to inform those closest to me. By Thursday morning I decided to post about what had happened to me, provide some more details, and call on my vast network of friends near and far for their help.

As for me, I am doing just fine, all things considered. I am still me, through and through. And I will continue to be myself despite all that has happened. My physical wounds are healing quickly and I honestly feel that I’m the same strong person I’ve always been. Every day changes us a little bit. Some days are just a bit longer and more happens. But you just have to accept and process what happened that day and move on. Personally, I have been working on mastering that art for a very long time, and I think my constant conviction to self-reflection and self-improvement have helped make me the strong, confident person I am today.

Please stay safe Kalamazoo. I love you SO much. Please don’t live in fear. This is YOUR city, this is OUR city, and no one is going to take it away from us. Please don’t forget that.

Stay Positive.

Be excellent to each other.

Thank you.

And Don’t Forget to Be Awesome.

Sincerely,

The girl with the ‘Walking is Still Honest’ tattoo

For any questions or requests, please use the following:

WalkingIsStillHonestKalamazoo@gmail.com

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Dare to Use the F-Word

Happy Galentine’s Day! Galentine’s Day is a Leslie Knope-invented holiday that celebrates lady friends. Valentine’s Day is for romance, Galentine’s Day is for friendship. One of the most fun parts of being a feminist is learning to reject all the girl-hate we’ve been taught and embrace the incomparable awesome-ness of having lady friends.

In that spirit, I’m happy to share Dare to Use the F-Word, an exciting podcast project out of Barnard College. One of the coolest, most grounded, and most intellectually engaged feminists I know is a Barnard graduate. It’s been interesting to hear her talk about her experiences with feminism while being a student there, and it’s exciting to see the direction feminist discourse is taking on the campus.

Dare to Use the F-Word is great. I live alone and don’t have a television, so I spend a lot of my downtime listening to public radio and podcasts. Dare to Use the F-Word is wonderful and I’ve really enjoyed listening to the episodes. More on the podcast, and an excerpt from President Debora Spar’s recent interview on the podcast can be found below, in a post republished from Barnard’s website.

Dare to Use the F-Word is a new monthly podcast series created by and for young feminists. Street harassment, food activism, body image and slut-shaming are among the diverse issues discussed in the series, which is produced by Barnard College and the Barnard Center for Research on Women and aims to spotlight contemporary issues and activists. The podcast is available for download on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to the series.

In a recent episode, Barnard President Debora Spar, author of Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, talks with feminist media activist Jamia Wilson about how the drive for perfection affects young women today. Following the interview, President Spar shared her thoughts on the direction of feminism for the next generation.

Read this exclusive piece below:

Since the release of Wonder Women several months ago, one of the questions that I’ve consistently been asked is “how is feminism different today? What do you hear on campus? Do young women want to be feminists, or not?”  It’s a complicated question, without an easy answer.  Because young women, of course, don’t speak with a single voice or share a common attitude.  Some are quick to embrace the term feminist.  Others despise it. And many – sadly, for the mothers and grandmothers who opened doors for them – no longer really have a sense of what the word implies.

My own view – shaped, I’m sure, by the particular environment of Barnard College, a staunch and early defender of feminism in all its many guises – is that most young women today are feminist in nature if not in name.  What I mean is that they implicitly assume that the goals that feminism fought for are theirs to claim.  They assume, for instance, that they will work, for pay, for at least long stretches of their lives.  They assume that all jobs – be they in finance or law or public office or industry – are open to them, and that they will receive roughly the same salaries as their male co-workers.  They assume that their bodies are theirs to enjoy, and treasure, and share as they wish.  They presume that birth control is widely available; that relationships are theirs to make, break, and determine; and that the world is every bit as open to them as it for their brothers.  In other words, they think, without even thinking about it, that they have equal rights with men.  Which was, after all, the central goal of feminism.

What they don’t do, necessarily, is credit the feminist movement for this state of affairs, or eagerly claim the label of feminist for themselves. This is perhaps unfortunate but also understandable.  Because how many young people generally race to thank their ancestors for bequeathing the world they did?  How many adolescents want to attach themselves to the same political causes as their parents or grandparents – especially when they feel as if those causes have already been fought for and won? Or as one older woman once expressed it to me:  how many hard-core feminists of the 1960s defined themselves as suffragettes?

To be sure, there are many young women today who proudly wear the label of feminism, and are expanding both advocacy and theory in fascinating ways: leading the global fight against sex trafficking, for example, speaking out against domestic violence, and pushing at the very definitions of sex and gender and identity.  But there are others, too, the reluctant feminists, who carry the mantle even if not the name.

Continue the conversation by spreading the word about the amazing feminists we cover on our show. Click to tweet: Listen to Barnard College’s Dare to Use the F-Word podcast series to hear how young women are reshaping feminism. http://bit.ly/IDIgGg

Thanks to Alex for sharing this post with Angry Feminist Killjoy and have a very happy Galentine’s Day!

Dale Hansen, Be My Valentine

Like Leslie Knope’s ideal man, Dale Hansen has the brains of George Clooney and the body of Joe Biden. And you’re lying if you try to tell me you weren’t feeling some major sexual attraction when Mr. Hansen started QUOTING AUDRE LORDE.

And in that moment, I swear I hated straight white men a little bit less.

Since NFL-hopeful Michael Sam came out as gay earlier this week, all sorts of sports folks have been in an outraged tizzy. Then Dale Hansen (Unplugged!) came along with a great response.

Right before quoting Audre Lorde he did say, “I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay. I don’t understand his world. But I do understand that he’s part of mine.” That sort of sucks because, ugh, why is everything always about you, straight white men? You know who’s not always comfortable? Gay folks living in your heteronormative society! But then he quoted Audre Lorde on national television and I went into a trance.

Here’s another gem from the video:

You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs pulling her hair out by the roots; you’re the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk; that guy’s welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes*; we know they’re welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away. You lie to police trying to cover up a murder; we’re comfortable with that. You love another man. Well now you’ve gone too far.

*Just to be clear, this is a pro-sex worker blog!! We don’t demonize sex workers here!!

In all, this is pretty delightful. Do you think Dale Hansen has a Valentine’s date yet? Those Clooney brains; that Biden body. Be still my heart!