Have you ever noticed how almost every debate
or conversation between groups of men and women, especially those
concerning the topics of rape and/or domestic violence,
almost inevitably involve a man in the conversation telling one or all
of the women to ‘stop being emotional’, or accusing women of arguing
emotionally while asserting that he is merely arguing facts?
First, let me say – tone policing is boring.
If somebody is delivering points in a way you don’t like, it doesn’t
make their points invalid. It just means you do not like the delivery.
Big deal. Get over it and deal with it.
Second — why the shit should women not be emotional when talking about rape/domestic violence? Let’s recap some stats:
The overwhelming majority of these crimes, nearly 100%, will be performed by men. Even if the victim is a man, the perpetrator is usually also a man.
So I guess I just wanna know why some
brilliant minds think it’s inappropriate for women to speak emotionally
about a topic that so devastatingly affects so many of us?
And here is what I want to say to the women reading this:
It’s okay to get emotional. Cry. Scream. Be loud. Be aggressive. Talk how you feel. Feel your feelings and let it out. You
do not have to be calm and cool and precise when discussing crimes
against you, your demographic, your friends and family members. Men who
insist upon this insist upon it for THEIR comfort. They want
you to adapt your speech and tone to accommodate THEM. It is only and
solely and entirely for THEM to feel comfortable in the conversation. To
feel welcome. To exist in a discourse which caters to them.
WE DO NOT HAVE TO ALLOW MEN TO SET THE TONE
FOR THESE CONVERSATIONS AND WE DO NOT HAVE TO NEGOTIATE TERMS! YOU DO
NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT HAVING YOUR TONE POLICED BY A MAN WHO WOULD PREFER A
DIFFICULT CONVERSATION BE MORE SUITED TO HIS OWN CONVERSATION STYLE!
Men commit the majority of these crimes.
Women experience most of the aftermath. And then when discussing it we
are also supposed to adapt our speech to make men more comfortable?
Please. No. Go ahead. Subvert the existing white male dominated
acceptable speech paradigm and get emotional. Get loud! Get angry! Flip
the script. Why shouldn’t you? That is a lot of violence toward women.
That is a lot of hurt. A lot of pain. Why on Earth would we not get
emotional? You do not have to be cold, distant, calculating or
use School English to discuss your pain or the pain of other women, the
abuse, the violence.
Do not let men control these conversations.
Stay loud. Stay angry. Stay crying. Yell if you want to. And if a dude
comes around and tells you to tone it down because he can’t hear you if
you don’t, kick his ass OUT of the conversation. Do not adapt to him.
Have him adapt to you. Women have been adapting to the will and desire
of men for far too long, and it is disgusting that even in conversations
involving women and pertaining to topics that mostly affect women and
include women that have been harmed in these ways, that any bro wants to
just saunter in and set up the terms of what is and is not allowable in
that conversation. If he cannot hear you unless you speak in a
way that is agreeable to him, do not give him the power to change the
tone of a conversation. Take the entitlement away. We can set the terms.
We should set the terms. Let’s set the terms.
“And of His signs is that He created
for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them;
and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs
for a people who give thought” Quran 30:21
The video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer,
his then girlfriend and now wife, has practically been on loop for the
past few days. It is a horrifying clip, one that I accidentally saw on
some sports network my husband was watching. The image of her limp body
won’t leave me and is a reminder that no amount of money, fame, status,
publicity can protect a victim from an abuser. The conversation on
domestic violence and violence against women has taken center stage
temporarily, and for me has brought back memories of my many female
immigration clients who lived with much fear, and little hope, on a
In the course of my legal practice, I’ve represented
dozens of abused immigrant women, but one stood out in particular. She
was in her late 30’s but looked a decade older. Her hair was thinning,
her glasses smudged, her face tired. Very very tired. Her six year old
daugher clutched her hand the entire time and the lady who drove her to
my office sat in a corner, checking her watch every few minutes.
story was like many I’ve heard. She was married in Pakistan a decade
earlier to a Pakistani-American who flew in for the wedding their
families had arranged, and promptly returned to the U.S. He sponsored
her immigration and almost a year later, when she received her visa, she
flew to America by herself to be with her husband. She arrived in the
country without a single blood relation here, not knowing the language,
and entirely at her husband’s mercy.
They had a daughter a few
years later, and shortly thereafter he disappeared. He abandoned her and
the baby without a word, not leaving behind a number, a car, or any
money. She managed to stay in their apartment until evicted and ended up
being taken in by a woman in the local Muslim community. She had no
social security card, no drivers license, no passport. Her husband had
taken it all, and in the years they were together had kept the papers
After close to a year of working odd jobs on cash
without any proof of her status, without the means to hire an attorney,
without the knowledge that free legal assistance could be retained, she
knew she was stuck. Her family told her not to come back, she couldn’t
afford to get her own place, and she couldn’t stay indefinitely at a
strangers. She had been approached by an older divorced Pakistani man
who was willing to marry her, care for her daughter, help her get a
legal divorce, and adjust her immigration status. He was well-settled,
had a good job, and owned a house. His grown kids no longer lived with
him. It was an offer she could not refuse because it was the only offer
the years that followed her young daughter witnessed her mother being
abused in every way possible. It became routine for her new husband,
when angered, to pull her down the stairs of the basement by her ankles.
She described how her head would hit every step on the way down.
Sometimes he would drag up her up the same way. Sometimes he kept her
locked down there for days. Sometimes she lost consciousness, and she
often suffered headaches and eye problems. He never touched the child,
but he made her watch as her mother bled, bruised, and begged. She still
did not have a drivers license, was not allowed to work, and did not
know her immigration status.
She was allowed to go to the mosque
and there some women took notice of her condition. On the evening she
came to me, she was supposed to be at a women’s Quran study group but
had been smuggled out for the hour to come speak to me. In this way,
over the course of months, we met a number of times and I gathered
enough information to file a FOIA and eventually adjust her immigration
status. But during these months I urged her again and again to leave
him or to report him to the police. To put away money from the grocery
spending, to have an emergency plan in place, to get out before he
killed her, to call the police the next time he knocked her off her feet
and dragged her into the basement. She simply could not. She wanted
her greencard so she could be sure that she was not deported and
separated from her daughter, as he often threatened her, but otherwise
she was not going to leave him. I remember being incredibly frustrated,
angry that she wouldn’t listen to me, I remember thinking I should
report him, I remember looking at her daughter and wondering how it was
destroying her, and then I remembered how I also, years earlier, did not leave my abuser.
the past two days the hashtag #WhyIStayed has been trending as women
take to Twitter to explain how difficult it was for them to leave an
abusive relationship. For immigrant women there are additional barriers.
These are some of the reasons abused immigrant women stay:
No way to learn about available resources because of poor English language skills and no access or proficiency with computers
of being deported and separated from children, a common threat abusers
use, and one that prevents reporting of violence to police
No financial resources
No relatives in the U.S.
Cultural stigmas of being a divorcee
Family rejection and unable to return to home country
Religious leaders telling them to be patient, pray, be better wives
Internalizing the idea that mothers sacrifice for the sake of their children
Believing that it’s a man’s right to discipline his wife, or that it’s just how men act
Manipulation and threats of retribution if she leaves
am certainly missing many other reasons women stay with their abusers,
but these are just a few I’ve heard from women over the years. In the
same time, and at fairly progressive masaajid, I’ve requested khutbahs
on the topic, requested DV workshops, requested resources be made
available in the women’s restrooms or women’s worship areas, but was
usually rebuffed. I’ve been told more than once it’s not a topic
relevant to the community, or that the Imam did not want to embarrass
the brothers at Jummah.
It’s obvious that women’s needs are low on
the priority lists of many masaajid, but it doesn’t mean that women
cannot become resources quietly for each other. This client was
identified and assisted with the help of women who were self-organizing
to study Quran, who knew going to the Imam was useless, and who took
matters into their own hands despite having no expertise on the issue.
these years later I don’t know what became of her. She was fearful to
keep in touch, and I respected her wishes. She did get her greencard,
which she made copies of and gave the original for safekeeping to a
community member. But whether her personal situation changed, whether
she left, whether she is still being abused today, or whether she is
even alive, I don’t know. What I do know is this: even as advocacy on
the issue continues, we cannot wait for society and men in charge of our
communities to believe this issue is important and hold abusers
accountable. We have to be our sister’s keepers.
NOTE: Many times I toyed with the idea of reporting my client’s abusers
myself. But without their permission, I simply couldn’t. Because I knew
that I could not guarantee that if the police investigated, and found
the victim or the abuser to be undocumented, that they would not be
reported to ICE – which could lead to arrest and removal proceedings. Is
it a problem that victims are not protected from immigration
consequences? Yes it is.
It's sad to still ask such question in such time ..but that's the reality.
The sad reality is that we -women in Arab countries- live the same life with just a bit of a different range of freedom. But we are all still bound to society, the concept of shame and honor, the men of the family and the sad idea that we are all just "women" in the eyes of everyone around us which basically means we can't be anything or go any further than what's been drawn to us.
The whole concept of what a woman wants need to be change in this area,and probably a wider area, because you can't limit a woman to want, be, have, desire and dream of only being a wife and then everything else -from a few selection men has drawn for her-.
A woman may not dream big, but she should be allowed to have such small dreams.
A women may wish to be just a wife, but she shouldn't bound the rest of us to dream only like her.
The saddest part is that no one can understand or even try to understand that a woman has the right to be, to live, to enjoy her life, to dream big or small without necessarily being a wife and a mother, or anything else than just a human being.
A woman can and is being able to be great without the restrictions of being a Mrs. and a mom.
A woman's worth can not and shall not be judged by her ability to be the wife of someone and the mother of another.
I have simple dreams, but will I ever achieve them without being a wife and a mom !!!
I started a Kiva campaign to help people around the world grow
businesses and support their families. Will you help me reach my goal of
A Kiva campaign is unique because I'm raising funds for loans, not
donations. If you generously contribute, when the loan is repaid that
money is yours to keep or relend again. How cool!
According to a new Canadian study,
it's more emotionally damaging to be ignored in the workplace than
bullied. This finding raised some eyebrows: after all, bullying's an
overtly hostile act, whereas we're taught from childhood that turning a
blind eye to those we can't stand is the civilised thing to do. For
a simple explanation of this seemingly odd result, I refer you to the
path-breaking psychologist Oscar Wilde:
"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about,
and that is not being talked about." Workplace bullying can be awful,
but it does have one rather cheerless payoff: at least you can be
certain that people think you're worth bullying. The ignored person
(ignoree?) lacks even that chilly solace. I've often wondered why
would-be standup comedians subject themselves to hecklers at open-mic
nights, but perhaps that's the reason. Nobody would choose an audience
of drunken hecklers; on the other hand: an audience!
One person that study wouldn't have surprised is Idries Shah, the Indian-born philosopher who died in 1996. Beneath almost everything humans do, he argued,
lay an unacknowledged motive: the "attention-factor". The theory is, we
need attention almost as desperately as food and warmth, but don't
realise it, so we fail to understand that many everyday encounters "are
in fact disguised attention-situations". In a business negotiation, you
might think your only motive is to win; in an argument with a spouse,
you might believe your primary goal is to get the other person to
change. Yet in both cases you might really be motivated by trying to
satisfy your unmet need for attention.
Crucially, "attention may
be 'hostile' or 'friendly' and still fulfil the appetite for attention".
A bad-tempered fight between friends is still a form of engagement: in
the very act of fighting, each is acknowledging that the other matters.
Since Shah's death, research has backed him up: neuroscience suggests that social isolation affects the brain similarly to physical pain, while ostracism has been identified
as a key factor in some of the bloodiest US school shootings. Are mass
murders sometimes a horrifyingly destructive attempt to remind the world
the murderer exists?
Our failure to understand our need for
attention routinely lands us in trouble, Shah believed, because it
leaves us at the mercy of anyone, however unpleasant, who's willing to
bestow some. When people feel ignored, a political leader who makes them
feel acknowledged will acquire their support, even if he's an
egomaniacal tyrant with no plans to improve their lives. A controlling
or otherwise abusive partner will doubtless pay you plenty of attention,
even as he or she destroys you. Worse, you'll be predisposed to believe
it when you're told it's for your own good: when people lack the
attention they require, Shah wrote, "they are vulnerable to the message
which too often accompanies the exercise of attention towards them".
think of "attention-seeking" as a character flaw. Start to see it
instead as a universal need – met in healthy or unhealthy ways – and all
sorts of things fall into place: celebrity meltdowns and internet
trolling, but also many of your partner's or your colleagues' otherwise
inexplicable quirks. (Or your own.) Life is an open-mic night, and we're
all just trying to get noticed.
On Tuesday, July 13, 2010, I wrote this post (In Four Years) when the previous World Cup was over.
and these were my goals to achieve in four years, and I achieved none.
1- To finish paying my debts to the bank.
2- To have -or close to- have a house.
3- To have a better sense of accomplishment in my job. Or maybe find a better job or do something that I love.
4-To control my diabetes.
5- To love myself more.
6- To learn a language or two -mostly French and Spanish- by then.
7-To attend the world cup in
Brazil. i have always wanted to go to Brazil and to attend the world
cup, so two birds in one stone !!!
8- Be in a better place -financially , physically, emotionally and place wise-.
The world cup isn't over yet, and I am not watching for human rights issues. The funny thing is that I will be finishing #1&2 closer to the next world cup, unless a miracle happens. And number 7 isn't a dream at all whether it's in Brazil or any other country.