today i am depressed

not a fun one today.

these photos were taken by my webcam around 2:30 this morning  when i posted a lengthy post on facuebook regarding sexual assault and religion and queerphobia and femicide. i cried for three hours.

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i woke up at 9:41 this morning and i haven’t been able to get up. it’s 12:26 now. i’m wearing the same hoodie and i’m just tired. so tired. not sleepy tired, but depressed tired.

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granted, i am depressed every day. that’s my diagnosis. shalom has major and manic depressive disorder. okay. thanks to 300 grams of bupropion every day and a lot of experience with myself, i manage. i get through the days. i complete to do lists.

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today my to do list has groceries and taking my sister somewhere and writing and exercise and eating and studying. i know this because i wrote it out on Sunday night. i also know that i am already disappointed because i can’t do all that today. i can’t. i can’t get up.

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today i am depressed, and it takes a toll. today my body aches because of how hard i cried for women who are at risk for existing last night. today, i am writing this from my phone in my bed because i don’t know if I can get up.

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today is a lot.

love & light
shalom xo

dear men | honest letters #3

Oh boy.

Hello, men. Male human men. I have a lot to say to you, and less patience than I once thought. So, I’m going to tell you some things and I’d like you to bear in mind that this isn’t even half of what I’d say to you if I could address you all as a collective group. I know this letter comes across as though I am, but having this space on the internet allows me to do things I would never be able to do.

So, without further ado, let’s begin. TW: assault, sexual harassment

Men, you exist. You are real. Every. Single. One of you. You are real, and when a man is abusive, a rapist, a murderer, I see far too many things saying that “real men” would never do such. I’d like to pull your head out from under your “I know I would never do that”-shaped thought hole, and remind you that real men did that. Real men who exist are the biggest threat to women’s safety and life expectancy. Real men. Not the imaginary ones that you seem to never relate to, those evil guys! Real men. Like you. Your masculinity doesn’t give you a pass on decency. When you absolve men of any responsibility, you are standing by and letting it happen.When you create a defensive movement in response to a movement that was never about you (see #YesAllWomen & #MenAreTrash and vs #NotAllMen & #NotAllMenAreTrash), you are doing it for real.

Why are you offended by #MenAreTrash? Are you offended because you are not a trash man? Because you’ve never, and would never disrespect women? Because your ego is taking a knock? Because the statement makes you question whether or not you’re the nice guy that you claim to be? Look, #MenAreTrash isn’t about one man. It’s not about two or seven or a million. It’s a movement about the treatment of women in greater society.

We know that there are “good men”, we understand that not ALL men are trashy bigots. That’s not the point of the movement. In fact, “Not all men” misses the point every time. It [quiets] us [and] it’s an attempt to shut us up. It has to stop.

The “not all [insert problem]” argument is not constructive, it doesn’t bring forth any substance to the debate and it certainly doesn’t bring forth any solutions to the problems *womxn are systematically faced with.

Is it not relevant that the majority of [men] are raping, abusing, killing, disenfranchising, undermining, patronising, policing, pirating, mansplaining to and widely victimising *womxn?

Must we just pack up and go home, forget this is happening because “not all men”? So what are *womxn to do? Nurse our wounds, overcome your systematic oppression and also have enough energy to try to figure out who’s trash and who’s not?

-Thabi Myeni, News24

You are dismissing real life problems that women face every day because your ego is bruised. You are dismissing the fact that I have never, in my entire life, met one woman or girl who has not been sexually harassed or assaulted. You are dismissing the fact that no matter how many times you are told that catcalling is not a compliment, you do it anyway. Or you watch your friends do it. Men, you are real. You are a real threat to my safety, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

Men, stop using “she’s someone’s sister/mother/blah blah blah” as your basis for respecting women. I don’t know if it’s crossed your mind, but there is not a single person on the planet that does not have some familial relationship with a woman. Not one, buddy. Every person deserves respect, regardless of who they’re related to. Stop placing women’s worth in their relationships with men. Honestly.

Men, stop calling us females! What the hell is with that, you guys? Did you forget how to say women? I just…I don’t get it. I don’t understand why you do it, or why “females” is near always used in a demeaning or disrespectful way when talking about women.  First off, female is an adjective. Your grammar is bad. Female as a noun works when it’s derogatory, and why the heck are you so rude? Secondly, have you ever heard anyone refer to men as “males”? Eugh. It’s gross. Stop it. JUST STOP IT.

Men, you’re privileged. Shhhh. Don’t debate me on this. It’s not up for questioning. It is a fact, and you need to accept that it is and then use your privilege to make things better for those who are not. The patriarchy hurts everyone – women, men, gender-nonconforming folk – and the manifestation of this is often used as anti-feminist reasoning. When men are raped, assaulted, and suffer domestic abuse, there is a misconception that feminists don’t care about those instances because we’re too busy smashing the patriarchy. We do care. The patriarchy is the reason most men do not report assault because of the conceptions they have of masculinity. When we fight the patriarchy, we fight because of how it hurts everyone.

Men, stop piping up with unconstructive arguments for the sake of it. Stop saying you’re a good guy while you creepily ask that girl,”Where’s my hug?”. Stop being transphobic douchebags, saying you’re here for women but only ones you deem acceptable. Stop being complicit, watching your friends catcall and harass women. Stop making this about you when you don’t calculate how fast you’ll have to run if some guy decided today’s his day every time you walk past a group of men. Stop killing us because you think you can, stop raping us because you think you can, stop disregarding our “no”s because you think you can. Stop because not giving a man a phone number has cost several women their lives, because a woman not responding to a man on the street resulted in her being punched unconscious, because women die when men decide that they should. Stop because women are people, and gender based violence is real. Stop it.

Be better. You have to be better.

love and light,
shalom xo

#BrockTurnerisarapist | rape and rape culture at universities in 2016

I’ve had this post unfinished in my drafts for six weeks now. I am angry, more than anything, as I write this. I am angry and afraid and upset and I have started too many posts this way, and yet, I still cannot fathom the anger and sadness that the victims of rape must be feeling.

Brock Turner is a rapist who is good at swimming. After raping an unconscious Stanford student at a frat party, and being proven guilty – he was pulled off of an unconscious woman by two grad students. The day after the rape, Turner remembered nothing. He couldn’t remember what she said, or whether he left with her. Come the trial, dear Brock, guilty of  ‘twenty minutes of action’ according to his father [that sentence made me throw up in my mouth. Twenty minutes of action? He raped an unconscious woman. RAPED. To call that ‘action’, as if a swimming feat accomplished is everything wrong ] could remember everything. He could remember that she said ‘yeah’ repeatedly. FYI: if all she can say is yeah and can’t form a coherent sentence, you shouldn’t be having sex with her. Brock Turner received six months imprisonment, because Judge Perksy believed that a confirmed rapist would not be further harm to society. Because Brock Turner, the rapist, shouldn’t have to suffer the adverse effects of a longer time in prison.

John Enoch is a rapist who is good at academics. After raping two women in 2013 and 2015,  he was found  faced two counts of felony rape, but was only convicted of misdemeanour battery with moderate bodily injury. Enoch, the rapist, with a bright future in  economics, avoided jail time and was sentenced to just one year probation.

At Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, earlier this year, a series of rape protests took place. The #RUReferenceList was released, displaying the names of people who had raped victims. You can catch up here.

I was in a protest at my university this year. We lay on the ground in silence, showing solidarity with the one in three women in South Africa who are raped. I cried. We sang, and talked, and cried.

I am tired. I am tired of sexual assault being a recurring theme in my blog posts. I am tired of being angry about my friend who was raped. I am tired of having to explain to nineteen year old boys why ‘she was pretty drunk, so’ doesn’t count as consent.

There is one way to have sex. ONE. You ask for consent. If a partner disagrees, you don’t have sex.  It’s that simple. I don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t know how to write about this anymore. I don’t know. I am sad.

Rape culture is your rape joke, your slut shaming, your fetishisation, your victim blaming. That is rape culture. That is why Brock Turner and John Enoch will walk. That is why this victim’s letter is nothing but a scratch to her rapist.

You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.

Rape is a lack of consent. If you rape someone, you’re not a good kid who made a mistake. You are a rapist.

shalom