Category Archives: Activista Cat

Hadiya’s Wound Cried Out ~ Revised

This is a revised version of the April 15th post. Additional information has been added. (Note: The Constitutional Carry Law referred to here did not make it out of the Senate in SC. However, the SC Legislature did pass a law allowing concealed weapons in bars and restaurants.)

The New York Times’ blogger, Joe Nocera, has been running a feature column on his blog at NYTimes.com. He calls it “The Gun Report” and it contains a daily selection of gun violence news reports. There’s a daily report Monday through Friday and then a cumulative weekend report. It makes for sad reading. Unfortunately, we must rely on the media for our data on gun violence because the government doesn’t provide a centralized data repository. Oh, they have a piece meal system of reporting that they manage to gather the minimum data with and if you search, you can similarly piece together the data. But as far as actually having a real database to rely upon, the NRA and the GOP have effectively legislated to prevent it. Legislative restrictions placed on the CDC bans them from doing certain research on gun violence and the GOP provision that made creating an ATF director a Senate confirmable position has resulted in seven years with only a part time temporary ATF director. As a result, there is no centralized and/or standardized means of reporting nor are current gun laws effectively enforced. We do have a sense of how many people die from firearms in the aggregate, but the information that we need—the details that would allow us to approach gun violence as a systemic problem rather than an individual one—is simply unavailable. The human cost as well as the attendant fiscal and social costs of gun violence can be alleviated by approaching the problem as a public health issue. However, we don’t have the data necessary.

If you’re wondering about my credentials and whether or not my facts are accurate, then I applaud you. I will soon be posting more information on gun violence and reform. While I am not an epidemiologist or strictly speaking a social scientist, I do have years of experience and am well-trained as a researcher with critical thinking skills on par with any social scientist. I have spent the past two months immersing myself in the scholarship, research, opinion, law, history, and data dealing with gun violence, injury, crime, and reform. I know more about the effects of firearms as tools of destruction and as touchstones of ideology than I ever wanted to know. I know the ins and outs of the NRA and enough details about firearm manufacturers to make me dislike Wayne LaPierre even more than I already did. I have been and continue to scour the crime pages of every major newspaper in South Carolina daily for news reports involving guns and keep a record of gun violence by clipping those pages into a software program. I supplement that with several news alert systems that pull reports of items that contain both “South Carolina” and “gun” or “shooting” within the text. The people who know about this project frequently send me emails alerting me to news that they’ve heard, articles they’ve read, or news they’ve seen on television.

So, since I’m not an epidemiologist, sociologist, or in a related field that would make my gun violence research a logical choice, the next question would be why am I researching gun violence and even more so, why am I researching it so thoroughly and with such passion. In response, I’d say that there are a lot of reasons, but oddly it wasn’t Newtown that was the instigating factor, although ultimately that tragedy became one of the reasons. Of course I was pained and horrified by the events in Newtown. The tragedy of those beautiful lives lost weighed on my soul, as did the losses that they made me remember—the many children lost daily in the frequently violent urban areas and whose loss is mostly quiet and unremarkable. Certainly their deaths are not national news and they do not occupy the national consciousness for months. And yet they are no less precious in spite of our negligence, those of us who are privileged enough to not live in areas where gunfire is part of the soundtrack of our lives and where waiting at a bus stop can be as dangerous as Fallujah. Nor are they less precious for the lack of economic or pigment or race privileges that typically has so much to do with whether your environment is filled with the cacophony of bullets or the lullaby of crickets and so this is why the first of the two instigating factors moved me to action. In spite of my personal depression, the death of Hadiya Pendleton added another wound to the injured social fabric of the world we live in, the one that is so filled with acts and words of violence. I knew then that I needed to do something, to fight back against those who would continue to flood our world with instruments whose sole purpose is to cause death. Yes, violence exists, but guns make its execution so simple and easy. So just as I imagined that I had caught a glimpse of Hadiya marching proudly in her uniform during President Obama’s second inauguration, I also imagined her body ripped through with the wounds made by the bullets that stole her precious future. While Sasha and Melia joked with each other on a day that was an immensely happy one for me and probably an absolutely amazing one for her, I was certain that I had glimpsed her and her bright future through the tv screen, just as I would later hear the all too familiar story of how she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and imagine the scene of her death, the cries of her friends, the ringing out of the gunshots and how in that moment and smallest of actions, a squeeze of a finger, a young life and promising future was extinguished. The words “wrong place, wrong time” should not apply to a school or walking home from school or at all. The wounds and the words were crying out. Those wounds that ended Hadiya’s life cried out to be heard; they cried out for a voice. The wound in our social fabric demands a voice.

My other reason for engaging so vigorously in this fight relates to several pieces of legislation introduced in the SC General Assembly. The passage of this legislation would weaken South Carolina’s already lax gun laws and likely increase the already high levels of gun violence in the state. The most extreme of these is still under consideration. This lovely piece of “constitutional freedom” legislation was proposed and is sponsored by Senator Lee Bright from the Upstate (he of the Personhood Amendment and Tea Bagger Party renown) who is also, by the way, involved in sponsoring and co-sponsoring several bills that would essentially nullify federal laws. South Carolina and nullification? Hmm, haven’t we already deja-ed that vu? I don’t remember it turning out so well for us the first time. Anyway, Senate Bill 151 “The Constitutional Carry Act” would essentially do away with the concealed carry law in South Carolina. But wait—you haven’t heard the best part! He’s not suggesting that it’s a bad idea for people to pack heat with a concealed carry permit. On the contrary, the right good Senator Bright thinks that anyone should be able to carry a gun anywhere without having to get a license or conceal their weapon and that carrying the gun should only be against the law if they are carrying it with the intent to commit a crime. Wow. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that the intent part won’t be clear until they actually commit the crime. There’s a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting this Tuesday afternoon and the subcommittee will be submitting a report with, I assume, their recommendation. I will, of course, be in attendance. I have every intention of posting further information after the meeting to share what I’ve learned. I’ll also be posting information from the policy brief that I’ve been working on. Much of that information will be useful for anyone who is on the fence regarding the proposed gun control legislation or who would perhaps like to know more than the shallow information product provided by the majority of the media. In fact, some of the information that I’ve heard is factually incorrect and reads like NRA talking points. To a degree this is Wayne LaPierre’s strategy. He seems crazy and overwrought even cruel in his reactions to Newtown (or that is my perception) at the very least, he is performing a bit of a spectacle and as a result we are paying attention to him. His rhetorical strategy relies upon attention and repetition. It is a cheap form of persuasion. Repeated false information heard and then repeated over and over by news media, even if it is repeated with questions of its validity, and mixed in with other information becomes so entangled that it is difficult to remember the source and its credibility. And so it is that we innocently integrate the fictions and manipulations of the pro-gun lobby and the gun manufacturers that they represent. In a future post, I’ll even go into how they shifted the way we as a society interpret the Second Amendment leading up to the Heller which opened the door for NRA sponsored legislation in the form of more relaxed concealed carry laws, guns in restaurants and bars, Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws, and so on. If you’re unfamiliar with those, I’ll fill you in soon. Look forward to my next informative post and the history of gun violence and gun reform in the US and abroad.

And finally, here is Joe Nocera’s blog, excerpted from my Scoop,it account (which I’ve done very little with, but here’s hoping) which unsurprisingly only contains a Gun Reform collection at the moment.

See on Scoop.itGun Reform

handgun

One of the problems with guns is that there are too many people who simply don’t take seriously their killing potential. Either that or they don’t care. Either that or they don’t care. Last Friday, for instance, a woman named Mary Frances Alday, 61, went into a Walmart in Crawfordville, Fla., and when she got to the checkout line, demanded that the store redeem a “dollar off” coupon she procured online. She became furious when told the store would not honor Internet coupons, and after lashing out at the store clerk and other Walmart employees – and hurling a shopping cart at them – she went to her car, where she pulled out a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 Special and waved it in the direction of the Walmart staff. After she fled the parking lot, Alday was pulled over by the sheriff’s department and charged with four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Here is today’s sampling of gun violence.

Two teenagers were shot in the back at the Delmont Village Apartments in Richmond, Va., overnight. Police found one teen in a stairwell in the apartment complex and the other half a mile away in another complex. The first victim told police he was robbed; the second victim couldn’t remember if someone put him in a car and drove him away. They are being treated at a hospital.

News 12

… [eight more excerpts from news articles discussing multiple incidents of gun violence are omitted here. See more on Nocera’s blog.]…

According to Slate’s gun-death tracker, an estimated 2,474 people have died as a result of gun violence in America since the Newtown massacre on December 14, 2012.

See on nocera.blogs.nytimes.com

Hadiya’s Wound Cried Out

The New York Times’ blogger, Joe Nocera, has been running a feature column on his blog at NYTimes.com. He calls it “The Gun Report” and it contains a daily selection of reports of gun violence in the media. He has a daily report during the work week and then he does a weekend report. It makes for sad reading. Of course, we must rely on the media for our gun violence data because there is no truly centralized means of reporting. Oh, they have a piecemeal system that they manage to gather the minimum data with, but because of restrictions placed on the CDC regarding the research that they are allowed to do and the lack of a permanent ATF director these past seven years, there is no centralized and/or standardized means of reporting. We do know how many people die from firearms in the aggregate, but the information that we need—the details that would allow us to approach gun violence as a systemic problem rather than an individual one—is simply unavailable. The human cost as well as the attendant fiscal and social costs of gun violence can be alleviated by approaching it as a public health issue. However, we don’t have the data necessary.

If you’re wondering about my credentials and whether or not my facts are accurate, I understand. I will soon be posting more information on gun violence and reform. While I am not an epidemiologist or strictly speaking a social scientist, I am an extremely experience and well-trained researcher with sharply honed critical thinking skills. I have spent the past two months immersing myself in the scholarship, research, opinion, law, history, and data dealing with gun violence, injury, crime, and reform. I know more about the effects of firearms as tools of destruction and as touchstones of ideology than I ever wanted to know. I know the ins and outs of the NRA and enough details about firearm manufacturers to make me dislike Wayne LaPierre even more than I already did. I have been and continue to scour the crime pages of every major newspaper in South Carolina daily for news reports involving guns and keep a record of gun violence by clipping those pages into a software program. I supplement that with several news alert systems that pull reports of items that contain both “South Carolina” and “gun” or “shooting” within the text. The people who know about this project frequently send me emails alerting me to news that they’ve heard or articles they’ve read or news they’ve seen on television.

So, since I’m not an epidemiologist, sociologist, or in a related field that would make my gun violence research a logical choice, the next question would be why am I researching gun violence and even more so, why am I researching it so thoroughly and with such passion. In response, I’d say that there are a lot of reasons, but oddly it wasn’t Newtown that was the instigating factor although it was one of the reasons. Of course I was pained and horrified by the events in Newtown. The tragedy of those beautiful lives lost weighed on my soul as did the losses that they made me remember—the many children lost daily in frequently violent urban areas whose loss is mostly quiet. Certainly their deaths are not national news and they do not occupy the national consciousness for months, and yet they are no less precious in spite of our negligence, those of us who are privileged enough to not live in areas where gunfire is part of the soundtrack of our lives and where waiting at a bus stop can be as dangerous as Fallujah. and nor are they less precious for the lack of economic and pigment and race privilege that typically has much to do with whether your environment is filled with the cacophony of bullets or the lullaby of crickets and so this is why the first of the two instigating factors moved me to action. In spite of my personal depression, the death of Hadiya Pendleton added another wound to the injured social fabric of the world we live in, the one that is so filled with acts and words of violence. I knew at that point that I needed to do something to fight back against those who would continue to flood our world with instruments whose sole purpose is to cause death. Yes, violence exists, but guns make its execution so simple and easy. So as I imagined that I had seen Hadiya while I watched the second inauguration of President Obama while Sasha and Melia joked with each other on a day that was an immensely happy one for me and probably an absolutely amazing one for her, I also imagined her body ripped through with the wounds made by those bullets and in that moment and smallest of actions, a squeeze of a finger, a young life and promising future was extinguished. Those wounds that ended Hadiya’s life cried out to be heard; they cried out for a voice. The wound in our social fabric demanded a voice. The research and what I am able to say and write as a result gives them a voice—one that is strong and confident. Continue Reading →

Rachel Maddow talks ‘Hubris’ with Ed Schultz and David Corn

Rachel Maddow talks ‘Hubris’ with Ed Schultz and David Corn – The Maddow Blog

The Ed Show on MSNBC

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Ad Hominem Attack is Alive and Well on the Internet and in Politics

I just did something that I never do, which is comment on a website where people are mostly posting crazy, ad hominem attacks, but it was about the election and who would win and some woman had posted that we couldn’t handle four more years of Obama’s hand in the till (which struck me as a “huh?” kind of comment) and when I read the others…well, here’s what I said:

“Hand in the till? Your comment doesn’t actually make sense, and the rest of your comments are ad hominem attacks. In fact, many of these replies have very little substance. Name-calling and charges to leave the country if you don’t like it? Is this really the best that you can do to argue for or against a candidate? Perhaps those who claim that Obama is anti-American and has a socialist agenda could explain how and give specific examples that provide evidence of anti-American leanings and particular socialist policies that he has enacted. Be sure to explain how they actually fit into the definition of socialist, not just that you think they are socialist. I keep hearing terms thrown around, and the way that they are being used makes me wonder how those terms are being defined. If you are going to argue about a point and actually expect to convince anyone that your point is valid, you need to do more than sling names and repeat media hype. We have a responsibility as American citizens to put aside our prejudices, our emotions, and our knee-jerk reactions, and look at the facts behind this election. As voters, we should be examining each candidate carefully, not by relying on political ads and often repeated media hype, but by actually researching who they are, what they’ve done, and the feasibility of their plans for the future. Be informed voters. You owe it to yourselves and the rest of us.”

After posting this I had a surprising number of positive comments. However, one person posted that she had done her research and she did know the facts, which is why she is voting for Romney. Again, none of these facts or research were mentioned in her comment and since her other comments had been of the name-calling variety, I chose to respond:

I’m glad that you’ve done your research and have your facts, but all you said to [name redacted] was that she sounded “young and ignorant” and you hoped she wasn’t old enough to vote. How about passing along some of those facts to her instead or maybe just pointing her to a website that you think would be helpful. Otherwise, it’s just name calling.

I received no response after that. I realize that this is common among message boards and in commenting. I see it all the time and usually ignore it. Typically, it is a waste of time to engage people who clearly have no desire to do anything other than vent mindlessly. However, in this instance I felt that the stakes were just too high. This is a presidential election. If maybe, just maybe, one person reconsiders (and it would probably be a reader not a commenter) their position and decides to do a little research before voting then it will have been worth it. We not only need to “Get Out the Vote” but we need informed voters to get out there.

The Real Facts Behind Recent Attack Ad Against President Obama

The Washington Post fact-checked the original attack ad against Obama showing that all of the claims in that ad were false. This is a statement from the campaign giving the actual facts. Whether you are an Obama supporter, a Democrat or a Republican, you should care about this because knowing the truth about what is actually being done by the current administration is important to making an informed decision in the upcoming election. Please share this.

gay rights are human rights

Gay rights are human rights, and this woman tells us how.

 

Speaking Truth to Power about Gay Marriage

This video is inspirational on its own, but it is especially informative to those who oppose gay marriage and the raising of children by gay couples. I’d be proud to be the parent to a son like this.

 

when “love” is expressed through violence and what we can do about it

Pride and sadness fill my heart. After reading BlogHer blogger Liz Henry‘s post, Domestic Violence: I called the cops. Where were my neighbors?, I couldn’t help but feel a strange combination of pride and sadness. Pride for the blogger and her partner who risked their safety to intervene when they saw someone else’s safety in danger. Sadness that this kind of violence is allowed to go on. Oh, and I feel fear, for both the woman being attacked and for the couple who stood up for her even as they were threatened with violence and assaulted by racial slurs. After letting all of this  set in, I also feel anger. Not the anger that leads to violence, but the anger that yields a desire to do something, to bring about change. And now, a feeling of hopelessness and desolation. How can I/we change something that generations of women have been fighting against with little result? I’m not certain how correct this is statistically. I studied violence against women for some time, but I’m unfamiliar with any studies that provide empirical evidence of the connection between anti-violence movements and lower rates of domestic violence. Of course given the low reporting rate for violence against women, this may tell us very little. I suppose the best way to make a difference is one person at a time, the way that Liz Henry and her partner did. The outcome wasn’t ideal. The woman refused to press charges and left with her violent “partner,” but she left knowing (or if not, at least having someone show her) that there are people who care about her. People who care when anyone, even people that they don’t know, are being threatened and abused. People who care enough to risk their safety to intervene. People like Liz Henry and her partner. Maybe this knowledge will bolster her strength, remind her that she is important and that:
Last night, my mother told me about the SC woman, Tisha Cason, who went to court twice to get a restraining order against her husband only to be turned down both times and then murdered by the husband that she feared enough to seek help from a justice system that did not take her concerns, her life, seriously. [The linked article does not foreground the denial of the protection order, so I am quoting that segment here:
court records show Tisha spent her final days trying to get the court to protect her from her estranged husband. Nine days ago a judge denied Tisha’s request for an emergency hearing, and two days ago, another judge said no to a protective order against Charlie Cason
This cannot continue. What can we do to protect the men and women of the world from the people who claim to love them but who express that “love” (read: control, possessiveness, hatred for self and others) through violence? I guess we must do what Liz Henry and her partner did: help and protect as much as we can, one person at a time.

bell hooks and the challenges of teaching in higher ed

Though the month is nearing its end, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of the amazing African-American thinkers and visionaries who have influenced my life. It’s unfortunate that we need to designate a month to ensure that topics that should be covered year long get mentioned.  Many have argued this same point, including someone I greatly admire–bell hooks. An African-American feminist teacher, hooks has inspired me with her progressive pedagogy and her unfailing willingness to venture into waters that many scholars avoid, such as the topic of love. I had the great pleasure of meeting her at the 2004 NCTE convention in Indianapolis and the even greater pleasure of discussing how love is ignored as a scholarly and pedagogically relevant subject. Her work on feminism, pedagogy, racism, and diversity have nourished me in my academic career. Her consistent commitment to accessibility has not only proven inspirational but has encouraged me to maintain my own commitment to making academic work and theory accessible to those outside of academia. hooks’ works are consistently easy to read and understand, accessible to multiple audiences, even as they express complex ideas and theories. Unlike theorists who preach accessibility while writing jargon-laden articles and books, bell hooks practices the kind of accessibility that she preaches. She manages to convey complex ideas to a broad audience without sacrificing quality, something that I also try to accomplish in my work as a teacher and scholar.

Since I am particularly fond of student generated media, here is a short YouTube video created in honor of bell hooks. (Point #7 is particularly relevant to Black History Month.)

A recent talk that bell hooks gave at Burton Street Community Center and Peace Gardens in Asheville, NC is also on YouTube. In her talk, she discusses community, technology, gender, and race and reads from one of her children’s books Be Boy Buzz. She ends her talk with the following: “In Buddhism we talk about the fact that the earth is my witness. So, we are here today to witness together the need to build community on all levels, to remember that community is not one-dimensional, to remember that we can come together in many different fronts and be together and belong.”

hooks’ scholarship and perspectives on community have been instrumental in my dissertation research. They have continued to encourage my belief in participatory research and education. Her book Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom profoundly influenced my own pedagogical approaches and introduced me to the Pauolo Freire’s “liberatory pedagogy.” I have continued to follow her work with great interest.

In a discussion with The Media Education Foundation, hooks talks about how “popular culture is where the pedagogy is; it is where the learning is” revealing how her interest in analyzing pop culture arose out of her experiences in the classroom. Students had difficulty understanding concepts of difference and otherness and how these were relevant to their lives, but when discussed in the context of films or tv shows, the students were better able to grasp the concepts. Part one of her discussion is included below:

An additional point that I appreciate here is her insistence upon the importance of critical thinking for all people and how the ability to think critically is an important tool that can make a difference in the lives of everyone, regardless of their material wealth or class status.

The most enabling resource that I can offer as a critic or an intellectual professor is the capacity to think critically about our lives. I think thinking critically is at the heart of anybody transforming their life and I really believe that a person who thinks critically who, you know, may be extraordinarily disadvantaged materially can find ways to transform their lives that can be deeply and profoundly meaningful in the same way that someone who may be incredibly privileged materially and in crisis in their life may remain perpetually unable to resolve their life in any meaningful way if they don’t think critically.

In addition hooks speaks against this idea that certain students should only be taught what are considered “practical skills” that they can use to get a job and make money. She doesn’t claim that this is unimportant; she simply emphasizes the importance of critical thinking as a tool and the right to learn it. Having taught in the Ivy League and at open admissions universities, hooks notes that the distinction between the students at the two types of schools is mostly based on their perception of their future:

My students were equally brilliant when I taught in Harlem as when I taught at Yale or Oberlin, but that their senses of what the meaning of that brilliance was and what they could do with it, their sense of agency was profoundly different….They don’t have that imagination into a future of agency and as such I think  many professors do not try to give them the gift of critical thinking. In a certain kind of patronizing way education just says all these people need is tools for survival, basic survival tools, like their degree so they can get a job and not in fact that we enhance their lives in the same way we’ve enhanced our lives by engaging in a certain kind of critical process.

The points that hooks makes here are some that I have struggled with myself. It’s crucial that we find the balance between equipping students with the skills that they expect to learn in order to find a job. The reality is that most students enter higher education with the objective of attaining a job, specifically one that is higher paying than the one they would get with a high school education. When I chose to go to college, while I certainly expected to get a job, my primary motivation was to learn knew things. I was lucky to have already been instilled with a belief in the importance of critical thinking and perhaps more importantly with the belief that it was my right to learn these things. (hooks mentions that Yale students feel entitled to that kind of learning in a way that her Harlem students do not.) I was also privileged enough that for me higher education was a given; I never doubted that I could and would go to college. Many of my students at Purdue have had similar experiences though it seems that most of them entered college with attaining a well-paying job as a primary objective. As educators we are faced with the challenge of meeting the wants and needs of our students as they perceive them and as we perceive them.

Ultimately, I believe that teaching critical thinking skills and the more “practical” on-the-job skills expected by our students are not incompatible goals. As educators we have the responsibility of providing students with the education that they want while maintaining our goals as teachers. Much of the challenge that arises here has much to do with not wanting to assume that we want to teach our students is more important than what they want to learn. The important point to recognize is that we have been educated and trained to know (or determine) what “global” tools that they need to learn the more specific or “local” tools. Teaching students how to think critically is a way of teaching them how to learn new things on their own. If we equip them with the global tools that they need in order to make learning a lifelong enterprise, we give them the gift of education and not just training. At the same time, if we are to successfully teach them the global tools, we must demonstrate how these tools can be translated into learning the skills that they seek. The important thing to recognize is that we can’t teach them all of the skills that they need for the workplace and the world, but we can help them learn the tools that they can use to continue to learn those skills beyond our classroom. The point that I am trying to make is that we cannot and should not choose critical thinking over workplace skills or vice-versa. Instead we should create curricula that enable the learning of both. It’s analogous to the way that we teach revision in writing. Students work from global concerns such as content, clarity, organization, etc. to more local concerns such as grammar, punctuation, and editing. A grammatically correct piece of writing is of little use if it is not clearly written, well-organized, and contains well-researched and carefully considered content. In the same way, skills are only effective if they are accompanied by an understanding of how the skills can be used and are learned.

apparently I am researching a myth

According to a recent book by Susan Clancy, The Trauma Myth, childhood sexual abuse is not traumatizing. In fact, according to Clancy, children may even enjoy it. Let me begin with this caveat: I have not actually read Clancy’s book. I read the Salon.com interview discussing her book. While Clancy is clear to point out that sex with children is a crime, her primary argument is that it does not result in trauma or PTSD. This is the “myth” she is referring to. According to Clancy

Most victims do not understand they are being victimized, because they are too young to understand sex, the perpetrators are almost always people they know and trust, and violence or penetration rarely occurs.

My first response to this is: of course they don’t understand that they are being victimized, they’re children and since, as Clancy notes, the abuse is usually perpetrated by people (and I would add “adults”) that they trust, they may very well think that it’s normal. Not consciously knowing that one is being victimized is quite distinct from the reality of being victimized. Many children who experience physical abuse at the hands of parents are also frequently unaware that they are being victimized. Quite simply, if it is the norm in their household, they assume that it is the norm in all households. Does this make the abuse less “wrong” or traumatizing? Furthermore, I wonder how Clancy defines “violence.” I would argue that all acts of sexual abuse are violent by nature. Perhaps these children aren’t being beaten, but they are certainly being coerced and forced to do something that they cannot freely consent to.

According to her interview, Clancy does believe that childhood sexual abuse is harmful but that the resulting psychological state is not traumatic. She cites the fact that few people seek treatment for the abuse in adulthood and that most of them first describe the experience as “confusing,” which she says is “a far cry from trauma.” She also notes that shame is part of the reason people don’t come forward about their sexual abuse. This is one of the few points that we agree on. However, Clancy argues that the shame isn’t so much a result of the abuse but rather that victims don’t see their responses as consistent with what they see portrayed in the media and pop culture. In other words, their response to the abuse isn’t identical to cinematic representations, etc. I disagree. The shame does not come from the fact that their responses may be different from those of others (although that may be a factor; I can’t say since I’ve seen no research on this) but is instead the result of feeling as though they are somehow to blame for the abuse.

I’m trying to not have a knee-jerk reaction to her argument, but knowing what I know makes that difficult. I’m sure that this is something I share with other researchers and survivors. Unfortunately, many of the comments posted on the Salon site reflect agreement with her argument. Certainly there are those who disagree and they have posted their refutations, but I am saddened by the number of people who dismiss the traumatizing effects of childhood sexual abuse.

In all honestly, I will probably not read Clancy’s book. I have neither the time nor inclination. This is a song that, sadly, I have heard before.

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