Thursday, March 17, 2005

Working for a Battered Women’s Shelter

I dropped out of college too many times to count, and during one of my more pathetic attempts to be “authentic” I moved back in with my parents. They lived in a sleepy Texas town which I despised for not being Austin. At the time, I was a feminist who saw White patriarchy as the root of all human evil. I happened to have a lot of time on my hands as I was under-employed due to the fact that I had no need to pay for rent or food. I wanted to do my small part for the revolution and to free women from the shackles of their oppression, so I volunteered at the local battered women’s shelter.

Every thought I had in my head at that time came from some book. It never occurred to me that any of my cherished beliefs would be challenged by the real world. Working for the shelter opened my eyes to many things, but it would be several years before I would be able to fully grasp what I had learned from the experience. For example, during our four hour long orientation, it was stressed to us that we should expect to see many of the same women over and over again. This, it was explained, was due to the fact that it takes a woman seven tries on average to finally leave her abuser.*

After four hours of orientation, we had hours of work to do in the shelter before they would put any of us on the phones. After we had proven ourselves reliable, we would be able to “person” the phones from home. I learned quickly that volunteers didn’t last long in the shelter, at least not the ones my age, the political ones. The older ladies who were volunteering out of a sense of civic duty were the only ones who could be counted on. I remember being very surprised that these women were not feminists, were not, in fact, even interested in feminism. They were married, their children were grown, and they didn’t have jobs (and never wanted one). They volunteered out of a sense of charity and commitment to the community. They loved their husbands, they loved their grandchildren, and they loved the Lord, not necessarily in that order. They would talk for hours about their families and their community, but had no time at all to talk about politics, which is all I thought about. Of course, I thought they were stupid.

I did have an affinity for the director of the shelter, who was a Seven Sisters graduate, newly moved to the town. She was the only one, in my opinion, who “got it.” She didn’t get along with these older women, and I didn’t understand the hidden tensions. The secretary of the outfit was kind enough to explain to me once, in a disgusted whisper, that the Director only intended to live in the town for a few years and move on, once she had put in enough time to put this job on her resume. I assume that the blank look I gave her stopped her from elaborating further on this conflict.

I was soon promoted to manning the phone from home on Wednesday nights, in addition to some weekend hours at the shelter. I didn’t have to do much of anything but make sure to always answer the phone, so I enjoyed being able to read my books while I “fought the power.” Most of the older ladies had better things to do than stay tethered to a phone for 12 hours straight, so it was a good fit. Should a call come in, I would need to leave to bring the woman to the shelter, but in our small town, most calls were not intake calls.

The shelter itself was supposed to be in a secret location. The idea was that the secret location would keep batterers from finding and stalking the clients. I say “supposed” because I soon found out that the one group of people who were supposed to not know the location of the shelter in fact knew it well.

It was indeed true that we got to know the clients very well. The vast majority of the women who came into the shelter came in knowing how the system worked. They knew they were entitled to pick through the donated clothes, they knew we had food; the children especially were directed towards the kitchen. I remember being surprised most of all that the women didn’t seem scared. I expected to see piteous creatures out of the “Burning Bed” but instead encountered women who were mostly angry. Hopping mad. Enraged, in fact. It was this kind of woman who would restlessly pace the small space, ask us to watch her kids while she “went out for a cigarette,” and go outside down the block to a payphone. She would then call her batterer/accused and proceed to tell him where she was. She wanted to see him.

I tried very hard to reconcile this with my understanding of “Battered Women’s Syndrome.” I made excuses: “This is just part of her abusive conditioning” or “She is using her anger as a cover for her fear.” I worked hard, but it was very difficult to hold an ideal in my head when the reality was the woman standing outside the shelter, screaming obscenities at her mate once he drove up. We volunteers would look at anything but each other as she screamed and cursed, and got right in his face making threats. We would straighten the place up or offer the blank-faced children a scruffy toy. Eventually she would wander back in and tell us what a son-of-a-cur her man was, and ask us to recommend a lawyer, one who didn’t charge too much.

I eventually left the town and went back to college. The experience I had, especially the time I spent working the phones, stood me in good stead, as I will post about later. I still think about the shelter, and those quiet, hard-working civic-minded ladies. They didn’t think of the politics of the place—they were volunteering because that is what Christian women of their age and station did, and it didn’t matter if it were a battered women’s shelter or the local rotary club. They volunteered because they loved their town and the people in it, even the least among them. They would bow their back and set their mouths and do their job through my and the Director’s prattle, even though they didn’t approve of what they saw or heard. Had it not been for the efforts of these Christian ladies, that shelter would not have remained open.

At the time, I wanted to wake them up and give them a sense of the underlying purpose of their work. To this day, I almost wish I had, if only to alert them to the ends to which their hard work was to be put. I wonder if they would have been so stoic and tolerant of our bilious folly had they understood the family- and community-destroying purpose of feminism. In all honesty, I think they would have. These women were of a generation that had no time for anything but immediate, local problems, and they trusted the Lord to sort the rest out. I can only hope to be a small fraction as good and pure as they when I am their age.

* I went looking for this factoid, to see if I could find an example on the Internet. After looking for a short time, I gave up in disgust. Who can trust preposterous assertions such as this: “DV crosses all demographic – racial, ethnic, economic, class, sexual orientation, occupation, educational, etc. – barriers. There are doctors, ministers, psychologists, police, attorneys, judges and other professionals who beat their partners. Battering happens in rich, white, educated and respectable families. About half of all couples experience DV at some time.” Of course, the whole point is, “We must examine the historic and legal permission that men have been given to be violent in general, and to be violent towards their wives and children specifically.” The problem is that men exist in general. We need to work towards a solution to that, sisters.

Mr. Bad Example

I started as an alter boy, working at the church
Learning all my holy moves, doing some research
Which led me to a cash box, labeled "Children's Fund"
I'd leave the change, and tuck the bills inside my cummerbund

I got a part-time job at my father's carpet store
Laying tackless stripping, and housewives by the score
I loaded up their furniture, and took it to Spokane
And auctioned off every last naugahyde divan

I'm very well aquainted with the seven deadly sins
I keep a busy schedule trying to fit them in
I'm proud to be a glutton, and I don't have time for sloth
I'm greedy, and I'm angry, and I don't care who I cross

I'm Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
I like to have a good time, and I don't care who gets hurt
I'm Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
I'll live to be a hundred, and go down in infamy

Of course I went to law school and took a law degree
And counseled all my clients to plead insanity
Then worked in hair replacement, swindling the bald
Where very few are chosen, and fewer still are called

Then on to Monte Carlo to play chemin de fer
I threw away the fortune I made transplanting hair
I put my last few francs down on a prostitute
Who took me up to her room to perform the flag salute

Whereupon I stole her passport and her wig
And headed for the airport and the midnight flight, you dig?
And fourteen hours later I was down in Adelaide
Looking through the want ads sipping Fosters in the shade

I opened up an agency somewhere down the line
To hire aboriginals to work the opal mines
But I attached their wages and took a whopping cut
And whisked away their workman's comp and pauperized the lot

I'm Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
I like to have a good time, and I don't care who gets hurt
I'm Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
I'll live to be a hundred and go down in infamy

I bought a first class ticket on Malaysian Air
And landed in Sri Lanka none the worse for wear
I'm thinking of retiring from all my dirty deals
I'll see you in the next life, wake me up for meals

Written By Warren Zevon & Jorge Calderon
c. 1991, Zevon Music

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Created to be His Help Meet

I have recently started reading Debi Pearl’s new book, “Created to be His Help Meet.” It has really convicted me to be better at my job. All too often I make excuses for not doing something I know needs to be done—dishes that have piled up, clothes that need folding. A great irony of our age is that while we live with all kinds of conveniences to make our jobs easier, we actually end up doing less overall. Can you imagine what our grandmothers and great-grandmothers could have accomplished with our modern tools? And here we squander them.

I was thinking about this a few weeks ago, when all of us were sick with colds. I had a fever, and was lying on the couch watching TV and I came across a program called “How Clean is Your House?” In it, two middle-aged British ladies humiliate themselves as they visit the filthiest homes in the developed world. Apparently, they cannot identify stains without getting on their hands and knees and sniffing them. They will walk into a home covered with dirty clothes, animal refuse, moldy food, and make a big show of inspecting, with white-gloved fingers, the dust on the piano keys. Along the way, they purport to impart cleaning tips, but this show is strictly for “entertainment.” All the while, the families in whose dwelling the camera crews have invaded stand there beaming as if they were thrilled to be seen on television with a bathtub full of cat feces.

“Wow,” I thought, as I lay there on the couch, “I feel so much better about my house!”

Which is exactly the point, of course.

Monday, March 07, 2005

So what happens when…?

When you are perceived to be responsible for the destruction of an ethnic group’s country and culture, while at the same time you invite the same ethnic group to live next door? La Voz de Aztlan is supportive of an Hispanic gang who claims to want to kill Americans who don’t want immigrants moving into the United States with criminal intent. La Voz de Aztlan calls it “chickens coming home to roost.”

I wonder what Iraqi gangs will call it once they have been resettled here in large numbers?

But I don’t worry, because Jorge “Invade the World! Invite the World!” Arbusto tells me he is a Christian, and that is all I need to know.

Thank you to Modern Tribalist.

Steve Sailer interviewed by Luke Ford on Race

Ethnic diversity isn't of much interest or value to little kids. They need to learn to deal first with all the human diversity that is found in even the most mono-ethnic communities: young and old, boy and girl, and all the different personality types that you see even in one extended family. Further, kids need some homogeneity and safety so they can learn independence. Before the great crime wave began in the 1960s, kids used to walk or ride their bikes everywhere. Now, moms chauffeur their kids everywhere, which is bad for kids and bad for women.

Read more from Luke Ford's interview of Steve Sailer.

My husband keeps telling me...

That they are going to put me on a list somewhere...

Thank you to Little Geneva.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Reading

The Reading

Through the metal detectors, past the racks
Of new arrivals, nodding at the gray-haired
Men in drowsy contemplation of
The plastic-bound periodical pile,
Then on between the self-help and the seven-
Day returns, toward the reference stacks –

Got my foolscap and my new gel pen;
Always-jammed copier wants my quarters.
Returning from my scanning scribbling pawing
Expedition through the spines, I hear
The fussing of a baby somewhere on the
Borders of my Dewey-dirtied mind.

There she sits, one of ours, in the
Age when peace should be descending on
This queen who never will enjoy the rest
She thought she earned by honor and by will:
Rough grandma with too-long permed hair draped
Across the collar of her Carhart jacket -

Cigarette creases mitered into her frowning
Face, staring into the monitor, piloting
The mouse with one hand and performing part-time
Soothing with the other, rocking the child
In the carrier on the floor at her
Feet. The child is not like me, not like

Her, and I'll bet he’s not like the absent mother.
The squalling curls up from a brown, brown face; the
Sound cuts in front of me, imposing on me,
Elbowing, taking liberties, demanding,
Entitled, not like Our Sounds. And grandma drags
Her eyes up to mine, and offers that smile that sprang

Proud from a wide spot in the road somewhere,
Someplace where grace gets said and two jobs get worked
And no one laughs at macaroni from a
Box. And I know this ain’t what she wanted
From her labor, And she knows she taught someone
Better. And her eyes shine down, down

To her future, her breath already spoken for,
Years to be burned, raising this little stranger
While the childmother runs out the reel on her gifted
Life, mocking without knowing, betraying blood and
Soil on the altar of what she learned from school and
Tube and church and choking family silence.

(copyright 2004 by Scorebored)

Sure he's a Whore, but he's OUR WHORE

Free Credit Reports

Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act, all U.S. residents can request free copies of their personal credit reports from the credit reporting agencies once every 12 months. This program launched December 1, 2004 for consumers living in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. The Midwest will have access to their annual reports in March 2005, the South in June 2005 and the Northeast in September 2005.

When your state launches, you can request your personal credit reports online through the central FACT Act Web site at You can also request your reports by phone (1-877-322-8228) or mail. After 12 months have passed, you can return to the same site to request your reports again.

(From TrueCredit)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Alas, Must I Rock the Baby?

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason . . . , takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, “Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores . . . ?”
What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight. . . . God, with all his angels and creatures is smiling—not because the father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith. ~Martin Luther

Thank you to Chad Degenhart for this wonderful quote! Also seen at Buried Treasures.