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I have avoided posting about the horrific rape, by 18 or more boys and men, of an 11 year old girl in the small community of Cleveland, Texas.

As if the prolonged attack by–literally–a mob of males weren’t enough, the community’s response has been…Words fail me. Disgusting, repulsive, unbelievable? That and more. It’s a second and even more damaging violation of this child.

So when I read these beautiful, heartfelt words to her, in an open letter by journalist, black man and father, Nick Chiles, I cried. And I rejoiced.

Baby girl, let me describe to you what a real black man should look like, how he will feel.

He will not ever raise his hand to you—for he has been taught that an assault upon you is an assault upon his mother, his grandmother, his sisters, his aunts and all the nurturing souls who have unconditionally showered him with care.

He will not raise his voice to you—for he respects your mind as well as your body and he knows that bluster and intimidation are really just a camouflage for weakness. (more…)

Once again procrastinating (I’m a past master at this) I found an article about a 17 year old girl who used her marching band baton to knock the shit out of two men who tried to mug her.

After reading so often about women and young girls being victimized–either individually or by society at large–this made me cheer. Literally.

Whomever you are, you go, young woman!

digidevil-cheers_stina0608

wtf-gorillaSo it’s Sunday evening, after midnight, and I’m turning lights off, checking windows and doors, the usual, when I hear a car (an SUV it turns out) stop rather abruptly across from my house. And then the fighting starts–and by that I don’t mean yelling only, no. There was yelling, screeching, screaming and shouting, to be sure, but there was some physical contact.

More yelling, more screaming, then the couple take it inside. Their windows seem to be closed, yet I can hear them from across the street.

And I’m sitting here wondering whether I should call the cops or not.

Of course, people argue and fight, and for all I know the physical contact wasn’t violent. But if you have checked the news lately you’ll see that these days, more than ever, one cannot take these things in stride. It would seem that almost every day for weeks people all over the US are killing their loved ones and then themselves, or randomly attacking strangers. (more…)

Just another reason to ban all organised religion.

The woman named a teddy bear Mohammed, and people think she should be put to death for that? I’m still reeling from the fact that they jailed her in the first place.

Never mind the problems with Darfur, drought, poverty, and sexual crimes against women that currently plague the country. Why worry about all that crap when it’s far easier to kill a woman in the name of God, just because she named a stuffed toy Mohammed.

I’d love to know how they manage to distinguish between God and The Devil.

I have the biggest urge to go buy a vibrator and call it Mohammed.

When I read this earlier, I was so disgusted I wanted to hurt somebody. This is totally barbarian.

What the fuck? The judge needs to be hung by his balls until they bleed. In fact, he should also be butt-fucked by 14 men, and see how he fucking likes it. Thank God I live in Britain, where even with all our problems, there’s no way in the world our judges would be allowed to do such a thing.

Amidst all our bitching and moaning, sometimes we just don’t appreciate enough how lucky we are here.

Many thanks to Rosemary for the link.

“Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.
Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.”

US Department of Justice: Office on Violence Against Women: Domestic Violence

I was reading the really sad story of Nancy Richards-Akers, a romance writer who was murdered by her husband a few years ago, and I couldn’t help but wonder if domestic violence is just as prevalent within the homes of romance writers, as it is everywhere else.

I didn’t realise that her murder had been the third time within a three year period, that a romance writer had been killed by her husband.

Continued after the cut…

Apparently, Pamela Macaluso, and Ann Wassall, romance writers from California, had also been killed by their husbands in 1997, and 1996, respectively.

According to an article in Wikipedia, 20% of all violent crime experienced by women in the US, are cases of intimate partner violence.

I’m pretty sure a lot of readers probably don’t think about authors who write about falling in love, being victims of domestic violence themselves. Thinking about it boggles the mind, but here are some stats that I picked up, from various websites.

In England 16 per cent. of all crimes are cases of intimate partner violence

Bureau of Justice Statistics: Intimate Partner Violence and Victim Age group 1993-1999

Does anybody know what the average age of romance writers are?

Some more scary US based stats for you:

85-95% of all domestic violence victims are female.

Over 500,00 women are stalked by an intimate partner each year.

5.3 million women are abused each year.

1,232 women are killed each year by an intimate partner.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.

From American Institute on Domestic Violence

Also, according to the Home Office for England and Wales, 1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime.

Those are scary statistics aren’t they? With stats like those, it seems inevitable that some of the authors that we revere will probably have been victims at one point or other in their lives. Some may still be victims, but perhaps aren’t telling.

I was reading this article by Jean Marie Ward, about Richards-Akers, when this paragraph caught my eye:

Reading this made me wonder how many romance authors out there are actually victims of domestic violence, but yet publically maintain that they have fantastically understanding husbands, who support them in everything they do.

I must admit, I always wonder at the real truth, whenever I read author bios, that spend about ten paragraphs extolling the virtues of their significant others. Call it the cynic in me.

I’m willing to bet that a substantial percentage of romance writers have been victims of domestic violence, at some point in their current relationships, but possibly feel that it would shatter the illusion that some readers have of romance authors having happy, satisfying marriages.

It seems unbelievable that people who dedicate their lives to writing about love, mutual respect, and trust, may be living in nightmarish situations, that few of us can imagine, but I’m guessing that these people exist in Romanceland, and that you may have shared a drink or two with them, without ever guessing at the real truth.

Help for victims of domestic violence is available, I’ve listed some sites for anybody who needs information on how to get that help. Before using the websites, I thought it would be prudent to post the same warning message that the USDOJ has on their site:

(“Warning: Before e-mailing or using this Web site, know that an abuser in the home can discover your Internet activities. The safest way to find information on the Internet would be at a local library or a friend’s house. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), TDD 1-800-787-3224.”)

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (USA)
OVC (US)
Institute on Domestic Violence in the African-American Community (USA) (music on home page so you may want to lower the volume)
Family Violence Prevention Fund (USA)
Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre, Australia
Shelternet, Canada
Women’s Aid, UK
American Domestic Violence Crisis Line For Americans Overseas

USA National Domestic Violence Crisis Line 1-800-799-7233.
Womens Aid Helpline UK 0808 2000 247

Information Sources:
Home Office – Crime in England and Wales 2004/2005
Wikipedia
American Institute on Domestic Violence

TTG and I are going to The Lakes for a short break. (I’ll post the review for Rockstar on Tuesday hopefully, sorry Ros.)

We were going to do Frankfurt, but after last year, we decided that we’d rather go somewhere, where us being black wasn’t a problem for the locals.

Anyway, before I go, I’d like to post this. I’ve copied the whole thing onto here:

Bam: Hello, Friends. Our guest author for today, Skyla Dawn Cameron is not here to talk about her work, writing, or personal life (although that stuff’s fun too). She would like to take this opportunity to introduce to us a very special project she is working on that will benefit our disenfranchised and persecuted sisters all over the world. Why is she doing this? Well, let’s give Skyla the floor, so she can tell us all about it. Sisters and Friends, please give a warm welcome to Skyla.

The Inspiration – On April 7th of this year, seventeen-year-old Dua Khalil Aswad, of Northern Iraq, was pulled into a group of men–some of them family members–who tore off her clothes, then beat and stoned her to death. The ordeal took about thirty minutes, and though the police witnessed the event, they didn’t intervene.

All this was recorded on camera phones by several members of the “audience” and if you’re really curious, you can find the video on both CNN’s website and YouTube. Her crime? Dua Khalil was of the Yazidi faith, and she was seen in the company of a Muslim man that her family believed she intended to marry. She was brutally murdered to preserve the “honour” of her family.

One month later, popular filmmaker Joss Whedon posted his utter outrage at Dua Khalil’s death–as well as the larger issue of violence against women in general–on a fan-run news blog, Whedonesque. You can find the post in it’s entirety here, but to quote the bit that inspired the title of our project:

As you see, among his words was a call to action. I was inspired to organize a response from some of us.

What We’re Doing – We’re putting together an anthology of short stories, essays, poems, and art work, called “Nothing But Red.” The book will be produced as both a trade paperback and an eBook through Lulu.com with the proceeds going to Equality Now.

The book will be released on April 7, 2008 (the one-year anniversary of Dua Khalil’s death). We are pleased to announce, officially, that the first essay in the book will be Joss Whedon’s original post, “Let’s Watch a Girl Get Beat to Death.” Our website is currently located at http://www.nothingbutred.wordpress.com/.

What We’re Looking For – People to both contribute work, as well as offer assistance as volunteers.

Contributions: Submissions will open August 1, 2007 and close November 1, 2007. Although inspired by Dua Khalil’s death, submissions need not be about her specifically; we’re looking for responses to the issues Whedon raised, such as violence against women and the inherent misogyny in all cultures. This could be a short story about a woman standing up to domestic abuse. It could be an essay on the continual need for feminism. It could be a poem exploring the brutality of honor killings.

What we aren’t looking for are ten thousand word rants attacking religion, politics, or men in general. We all have strong opinions about things, but let’s try to be grownups about this, m’kay folks?

For further submission guidelines, please visit the “Submissions” page on our website.

Organizers: We have about a dozen people right now organizing things behind the scenes. Although it’s a fantastic, dedicated group, when submissions start rolling in, we’ll probably need more help.

If you have any specialized skills, such as editorial experience, PR/marketing experience, website design etc, and you’d like to volunteer your services, we’d greatly appreciate it. We’re also open to anyone who just feels like helping out by brainstorming ideas, proofreading, etc. Please, if this has inspired you to act, email me and I’ll invite you to our discussion group. Even if you don’t know what you can do to help, I’m sure you have something of value to contribute–even if it’s just acting as a cheerleader.

Who “We” Are – I’ve been using the collective “we” here a whole lot, and before you think that I’m a crazy person referring to her cats, let me assure you that there are several people other than me involved in this. There are a dozen organizers so far from across the world, all brought together by a shared desire to do something positive to promote equality. We range from multi-published writers to university students, people with experience in book design to professionals in various fields.

I Skyla Dawn Cameron am the head organizer, and I have a background in similar ventures: I’m heavily involved in my local writers’ organization and I’m currently chairing Public Relations for their first conference. We’re all serious about this project and dedicated to seeing it through.

How You Can Help – You can volunteer to help organize NBR by sending me an email at SkylaDawnCameron@yahoo.ca. That would be, like, really awesome. You can also help by simply spreading the word. Attending any writer or artist events? Going to any activist meeting? Please visit the page on our website called “Spread The Word” for some beautiful flyers that can be downloaded and printed. We also have a Cafepress storefront set up (we don’t make any money from the designs) where you can purchase a T-shirt, tote bag, mug, etc.

Another way to spread the word is to blog about it, and if you do it this week, you can win a prize…

Post something on your blog or website, a message forum, or wherever else you can think of, then post a link to it in a comment here. As thanks for your help, next Tuesday afternoon (June 26), I’ll randomly draw a name, and the winner will receive a free eBook of RIVER (my award winning debut novel) in their choice of one of the supported formats and a $15 Amazon GC from Dionne.

I originally posted about Dua Khalil, here. I still recall feeling sick to my stomach, when I watched the video footage, this shit just shouldn’t happen in this day and age, so let’s give Skyla a hand with her project, and you never know, we might just make a difference.

OK, that’s me, I’ll see you guys on Tuesday, be good now, and try to stay outta trouble while I’m gone. *g*

God this shit makes me angry.

Apparently she was garroted, and her body stuffed in a suitcase. The father ordered the murder, and he was aided by his brother.

I have no words for how disgusted I am at the fact that these vile men felt justified in murdering their own flesh and blood, just because she’d had the misfortune of falling in love with somebody else.

Honour killings eh? Don’t these imbeciles know that there is no honour to be found in butchering their kin?

I hope they rot in prison. Or worse.

Give me an atheist any fucking day.