passerine: Picture of Jiao Razel from Dykes to Watch Out for (Jiao Razel)
Those who are the victims of family violence - the abuse of power exercised by partners or parents - face many challenges when considering or making the decision to leave the abusive situation. While escaping family violence is difficult for anyone, it can be (for both spiritual and practical reasons) much more so for those who were victimized in the context of religious beliefs or practices.

The complicating factors in these cases include:

- The process of isolation often works differently in religious domestic abuse from cases that do not have a religious basis. In cases that are not religiously-based, while the victim may have been isolated from ongoing contact with "unapproved" friends or relatives, it is less likely that the victim's entire social background and context is one that wholeheartedly holds beliefs compatible with domestic violence or child abuse. In a religiously-abusive context, everyone from extended family to church leadership may approve of some forms of family violence, and an adult victim may have been raised since childhood with these beliefs.

- Children, especially daughters, raised in coercive religious groups often have significant gaps in their education. They may have been "homeschooled" in such a way as to have learned as little as possible about the world outside their particular coercive group - and what they have been taught is probably inaccurate. These knowledge gaps can persist into adulthood, further contributing to social isolation in addition to presenting difficulties with finding employment. (

- In addition, it is possible that a particular "knowledge gap" contributing to isolation may be present. A young adult daughter or a wife living in a coercive religious household may not have been permitted to learn to drive, and may be living in an isolated rural area.

- Because of the "quiverfull" or "radical pro-life" philosophy held by many coercive religious groups, many women will have particular difficulties walking away from an abusive spouse with all of their children. They may need to consider the safety of five, ten, or even more children, some of whom may have special medical needs. They may have serious difficulties finding safe and adequate housing for a large family.

- Also, because of the specifically spiritual nature of the abuse, many women who consider leaving believe themselves to be in a state of sin for the thought having even entered their heads. They may sincerely believe that they are putting their souls, and the souls of their children, at risk.

- In addition, the (actual or perceived) attitudes of many secular liberals who work for social services/child protection/domestic violence service agencies may be seen as mocking of their sincerely held beliefs on such topics as modest dress, which can create a further barrier to separating from abuse.

Having said all of this, I would like to make people aware of a new charitable organization: The Take Heart Project. It was founded by women who were involved in abusive marriages in the context of the Quiverfull movement, and seeks to provide both practical and emotional support to other women (and their children) who wish to leave the lifestyle, especially when abuse has occurred or is occurring. I believe a group with the expertise to address the specialized needs of this particular population will help many families create new beginnings for themselves.
passerine: Picture of Jiao Razel from Dykes to Watch Out for (Jiao Razel)
This is in reference to the "Schroedinger's Rapist" post and some of the commentary that ensued.

First, I 100% agree with the commenter who pointed out that every unknown adult is "Schroedinger's Kidnapper" when it comes to kids. Yes, I know just how unlikely stranger abductions are.

However, and second, and in response to a lot of the Nice Guy(TM) types who started complaining about how their need to be socially validated trumped the need of the women they are bothering to feel personally safe, I have this to say:

EVERY stranger is Schroedinger's Scary Person. For that matter, every person who is moving from a previous less-intimate context to a current more-intimate context (online friend to offline friend, person I hang out with in public to person I'm OK with bringing to my house, person that I permit to be alone with my children, etc.) is, in a sense, Schroedinger's Scary Person when that move is first made.

That doesn't mean that the person IS scary - it means that when I first meet you (or when context changes, as above), I DON'T KNOW. I don't have enough information to judge. However, if the information I have to judge tells me that you don't believe respecting other people's boundaries or personal space is important, that moves you the step from, "Probably this person is fine, but I want to do some basic common-sense verification to make sure I'm not wrong about this," to, "This person IS a potential problem."

Therefore, you REALLY don't want to give that impression if what you WANT is an increase in positive interaction.

What does this mean? It means that most of us have certain rules if you want to interact with us at a closer level than before. For me, personally, it means the following:

- If I don't know you at all, be polite when you first introduce yourself to me, or I'm not going to invest in getting to know you further.
- If I know you from online and I'm meeting you offline for the first time, regardless of the context of the meeting, then "first time public place" and a safecall WILL occur. The last time I made an exception to that was for someone I'd known online for nine years when [personal profile] invisionary and I went to stay at her house - this person had also been vouched for by someone I knew offline who had previously met her offline as well.
- I'm not leaving you alone with my kids without witnessing how you interact with them in my presence first.
- Lots of other things, but those are a good starting point.
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
I was actually going to post about a related topic anyway, and then seeing examples of what I wanted to talk about as part of the SurveyFail response gave me more of a reason.

cut for NSFW language )
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
Betty Friedan seriously got it wrong when she wrote The Feminine Mystique. I'll use my usual paraphrase-summary to get the point across:

Nobody can possibly be fulfilled as a person by the drudgery that is domestic labor and housekeeping. So...hire a cleaning lady and go find yourself!

The sad part is? I've tripped over this particular Fail over and OVER again in relationship-advice and parenting-advice contexts. The key to domestic bliss is to hand your dirty work off to someone else, and not think too much about the meaning of that act. (Say what you will about Nickel and Dimed but that book is the reason that such a thing will forever be a non-option for me.)

Why can't we all learn to, literally, clean up our own shit?

ETA because I remembered what triggered that line of thought:

Epic Doctor Fail = an opthamologist informing me that I am responsible for making sure my husband eats healthy meals. Seriously, WHAT? [personal profile] invisionary has some Weird Issue With Seeing that has him passing standard eye tests just fine but makes the reading of a paperback book a headache-inducing ordeal. He also once tested a little bit high on a fasting glucose draw. Apparently, this means that I, being Teh Wifey, am supposed to play Diet Police if I care about his being able to get through school (and that [personal profile] invisionary putting in a request for reasonable accommodation to his school on these grounds would be totally out of order). So much FAIL. *sigh* Anyone know of a good eye-doc around the capital district?
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
I just hope I'm not any of y'all's Ugly Girlfriend. I mean, seeing as how I'm even fatter than what they use as examples of hideousness.

('sides, is it just me, or is the blonde in particular actually really cute??)
passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
I've had some of these thoughts in the back of my mind for some time now, based on everything from some of my own past relationships to the work I do with domestic violence programs for the state. What brought them forward was some of the reading and discussion in my Human Behavior class this semester.

The summary: What one of the readings called "the language of codependency" is, in my view, anti-feminist in the extreme as well as imprecise and easy to misapply. This language is on my list of Things To Avoid As A Clinician.

The long version follows:

Part 1: One Term, Too Many Definitions )
Part 2: Problems With The Original Definition )
Part 3: Codependency Is A Woman's Job! )
Part 4: Co-option of co-dependent )
Epilogue: By The Way, Why Doesn't She Just Leave? )

EDIT TO ADD: I was actually able to find an online copy of one of the articles used in my class. If you don't mind doing the somewhat more scholarly reading involved, you can look at it here. The article proposes "over-responsible" and "under-responsible" as alternative terminology, which I find useful. (Sort of like how I find my concept of "Depressed Logic" more useful than defining depression-induced thoughts that contradict objective reality as "irrational".)


passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
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