I had to work pretty hard on cutting the list down this week. There are a lot of things pissing me off right now, not the least of which is that I absolutely hate it sometimes when I suspect something about someone and then it turns out I am right.
I really hate that.
Anyway, these are the things that you may have heard about this week in the news that are chapping my ass.
Oh, and The Musings of Munch decided that I needed a logo for Tuesday, so here ya go.
This week, three women escaped the home that they had been kidnapped held captive for close to a decade or more. At least one of them gave birth to a child during that time. As the days and weeks progress, more details and information about their captivity will come out.
There are things that we can surmise from the limited information already available. Assumptions that it's probably safe to make, the main one being that these girls were taken and abused for all those years. That even if they may have physically been able to escape at some point in the past, there is a psychological aspect to kidnapping that damages the ability of the captive to think that way.
I think there is much value to be gained from what other women, freed after years of captivity have said. Elizabeth Smart is one who can educate us about how and why these monsters are able to manipulate these women. She can give insight into why the way that we teach children about sexuality can help or hurt them if they ever find themselves in these situations. Her cause now is to fight against abstinence only education, as she says that part of the reason that she didn't try to run when she could have was that she believed she was like a used piece of gum, flawed and ruined in the eyes of a society that is unforgiving towards women who've been abused, regardless of whether any of it was her fault or not. That is powerful information.
Misinformation in the land of Plan B
Last week, the FDA recommended that Plan B, also known as the morning after pill, be made available without a prescription to all women 15 years old and over.
The administration is challenging that decision, though the reasoning behind the challenge isn't crystal clear.
What has happened since the FDA's statement is that everyone and their brother has been talking about the morning after pill, what it means, what it does, what the rights of teens are versus the rights of their parents, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, though, in those discussions, there is a great deal of misinformation being thrown around. Let's clear some stuff up.
First, the morning after pill is not an abortifacient. It will not work to terminate an existing pregnancy. It interferes with ovulation and/or implantation - effectively stopping a pregnancy from occurring.
Second, while the dosage of the hormones in the morning after pill is higher than a single birth control pill, it is widely accepted as a safe dose.
Third, the risk of side effects from taking the morning after pill are low, much lower than the risks that accompany even the most uncomplicated pregnancies.
Fourth, as much as people want to believe that their children will remain abstinent and talk to them immediately if they have sex, that just doesn't happen in the real world.
Fifth, as many as 20% of teen pregnancies are the result of rape and/or abuse, often at the hands of family members. Those girls should have access to this medication without the involvement of their family members, some of which may be the very ones abusing them.
I could go on and on here, but I will stop. Some of the rhetoric I've seen in the last week scares me, especially when it comes from parents who seem so sure that they can control everything that happens to their children. I remember being a teenager, and I can assure you that even though I was mostly a good kid with mostly good parents, I didn't listen to them all the time. I didn't tell them everything. To assume that your kids will do what you say, even if it wasn't what you did, simply because you decree it from the mountaintop is wrong. It creates a false sense of security and does nothing towards equipping those children with the information they very well may need to deal with life in the future.
In an ideal world, teenage girls wouldn't need the morning after pill, this is true. No one would. But we don't live in an ideal world, now do we?
The Immigration Debacle
Immigration reform seems to be one of the big hot button issues these days, and in the wake of the Boston bombings now people are calling for a re-evaluation of every immigration policy in existence. Decisions made in haste and based in fear rarely go well, and it would serve everyone to take a step back here and be more objective.
The larger issue at hand is that the US is a....wait for it....nation of immigrants. Yet, there are large groups of people here who seem to believe that we need to erect walls and keep out everyone else. We made it here, so let's lock it down.
Walls don't work. Coast guard patrols don't catch everyone. Rogue armed men walking the border in the desert scare the shit out of people like me, if I'm being honest, especially given the truth that those who try to come to this country, whether legally or not, are doing it for one reason - to have a better life.
I struggle the most with the deportations that are happening with increasing frequency that take parents away from children. As of December, that number was over 200,000 parents. I'm sure it's higher now. Those children are citizens, born in this country with every single right that everyone else here has, and yet their parents are being shipped off and too often those kids end up in foster care. Forget the discussion of the rights of those parents...what about the rights of those children? Shouldn't being raised by their parents be an important enough reason to let them stay?
I don't claim that there are simple solutions here, I don't claim that the system is without flaws, I don't claim that there aren't people who come here illegally with intentions to milk our system. What I do know is this - the path to legal citizenship isn't as simple or easy as most people think. There aren't pathways currently for those people who came here illegally initially to become legal citizens without fear of deportation. Children born here to illegal immigrant parents should have the same rights as children born to citizens, because all those kids are supposed to be equal citizens in the eyes of the law.
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