Sarah Schoener writes in the Opinion Pages of the New York Times “After spending two years studying services for domestic violence survivors, I was surprised to realize that one of the most common barriers to women’s safety was something I had never considered before: the high value our culture places on two-parent families.
“I began my research in 2011, the year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than one-third of American women are assaulted by an intimate partner during their lives. I talked to women in communities that ranged from a small rural mining town to a large global city, in police stations, criminal courts, emergency shelters, job placement centers and custody proceedings. I found that almost all of the women with children I interviewed had maintained contact with their abusers. Why?
“Many had internalized a public narrative that equated marriage with success. Women experiencing domestic abuse are told by our culture that being a good mother means marrying the father of her children and supporting a relationship between them. According to a 2010 Pew report, 69 percent of Americans say single mothers without male partners to help raise their children are bad for society, and 61 percent agree that a child needs a mother and a father to grow up happily.
“The awareness of the stigma of single motherhood became apparent to me when I met a young woman who was seven months pregnant. She had recently left her abusive boyfriend and was living in a domestic violence shelter. When I asked if she thought the relationship was over, she responded, “As far as being together right now, I don’t want to be together. But I do hope that in the future — because my mind puts it out there like, O.K., I don’t want to be a statistic.” When she said this, I assumed she was referring to domestic violence statistics. But she continued: “I don’t want to be this young pregnant mom who they say never lasts with the baby’s father. I don’t want to be like that.” Continue reading “The deadly nuclear family”
As the baby-boomer generation reaches retirement age, a difficult topic is gaining more attention: elder abuse.
An article in today’s New York Times discusses several notable cases, and efforts being taken by states to address this looming problem:
“A pretty nightie, a new lipstick, a fresh toothbrush: Doris Racher noticed that small things she had bought for her 96-year-old mother, Eryetha Mayberry, a dementia patient at a nursing home in Oklahoma City, had been disappearing. Ms. Racher assumed the culprit was another resident who sometimes wandered into her mother’s room and fell asleep in her bed. So in 2012, Ms. Racher placed a motion-activated camera in her mother’s room. It looked like an alarm clock, and Ms. Racher nearly forgot about it.
“About two months later, the family decided to pore through the recordings. The camera had not caught the petty thief. But it captured something else: An aide stuffed latex gloves into Mrs. Mayberry’s mouth, while another taunted her, tapping her on the head, laughing. Hoisting her from her wheelchair, they flung her on a bed. One performed a few heavy-handed chest compressions.
“Hidden cameras are finding their way into long-term care facilities, often placed by families to watch the staff; lizards, turtles and snakes are proving more intelligent than once thought; why it might be evolutionarily beneficial for women to be rude to one another.
“My niece started bawling and couldn’t watch anymore,” said Ms. Racher, 78. “I was furious.” Mrs. Mayberry died soon after.
“On Nov. 1, propelled by the outcry over the Mayberry case, Oklahoma became the third state — along with New Mexico and Texas — to explicitly permit residents in long-term care facilities to maintain surveillance cameras in their rooms. In the last two years, at least five states have considered similar legislation. Although some states have administrative guidelines for electronic monitoring, most legislative efforts have stalled because of questions about liability and, in particular, privacy rights, raised by facility owners, unions, elder care lawyers and families. Continue reading “Tracking elder abuse”
Over the past 40 years, the War on Drugs has cost more than $1 trillion and accounted
for over 45 million arrests.
The U.S. holds 25% of the world’s prisoners, yet accounts for
only 5% of the world’s population.
Black individuals comprise 13% of the U.S. population and 14% of drug users, yet they are 37%
of the people arrested for drug offenses and 56% of those incarcerated for drug crimes.
As America remains embroiled in conflict overseas, a less visible war is taking place at
home, costing countless lives, destroying families, and inflicting untold damage upon
future generations of Americans. In forty years, the War on Drugs has accounted for
more than 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor
communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more
available today than ever before. Continue reading “The House I live In – The “War on Drugs””
The worse women have it, the better off they are. This is the lesson we might draw from looking at one (and only one) global trend: addiction.Salon.com reports that “Worldwide, women have always had lower rates of drug and alcohol use and dependence than men. Butas women’s access to opportunities grows along with a nation’s affluence, this gender gap begins to close. In fact, just as women often outstrip men in the classroom and office if given the chance, they have already forged ahead in the abuse of certain substances. It may not be the most celebratory way to mark International Women’s Day (March 8), but the fact is, equal rights have their penalties.
Continue reading “Changes in gender and addiction”
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. As a topic, bullying has received considerable media attention in recent years in its linkages to online harassment, school shootings, suicide, and even a notable candidate for political office. While bullying can be overt or subtle, it nearly always involves a power imbalance based on some kind of difference in behavior, appearance, culture, or belief. Perceived standards of the “normal” or “natural” get used to rationalize verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. In The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools (New York University Press, 2012), Jessie Klein argues that these notions of normality are far more significant in bullying than individual pathology.Bullies may the active agents in causing harm, but larger groups or an entire “bully society” may be the real problem, especially when we consider that this is not just about kids. Writ large, bullying can be seen to inhabit the workplace, the political arena, and the mediascape.
Continue reading “The bully society”