Wednesday, January 22, 2014

400,000 Untested Rape Kits - College Campuses: Women and Social Justice

Taking a Stand 

Yesterday President Barack Obama took a pledge to make our college campuses safer for women in the fight against sexual assaults. He's created a task force from his senior administration to coordinate enforcement on college campuses.

College sexual assault is now an epidemic: one in five women have been assaulted, but only 12% report the crime. 

Below is an article the Boston Globe ran January 22, 2014...with a telling poster of one young woman's story.

Obama pledges stand against college sexual assaults - via @bostondotcom

All the acts against young women leave forever scars. In looking at the chart posted by the Boston Globe, Harvard leads the Eastern universities in the number of assaults. It's chilling. Residential halls are the main areas where the attacks/rapes take place.

Surely ivy-league young men have had every advantage by-in-large in terms of a better background as candidates to this esteemed university. But as we know, status, income, means, and background clearly don't seem to matter. 

But abuse of power is all around us; and many male students take assault pretty lightly. Some schools are not taking action against tenured professors (as noted on the poster in the article from the Globe).

Having written about many Minnesota female victims of violence, I applaud the President taking this stand. His visibility is needed. And he has a heartfelt reason to do so: the President and the First Lady have two beautiful and bright, gracious daughters.

I'm taking a stand, too. And I'm going to need your help. There is a number that is so appalling that I can't forget it. That number is 400,000. 

As we stand for our precious, young women planning for tomorrow, we need remember over 400,000 women who lost yesterdays. Four hundred thousand is the number of untested rape kits lying around across the country. Some kits go back nineteen years.

Today I contacted the White House and Minnesota's two distinguished Senators, Sen Amy Klobucher and Sen. Al Franken to bring attention to this incredible injustice.

This backlog sends a message to many that a male perpetrator may never be charged: indeed--if we haven't marshaled the strength, will, and monies needed to stand for crimes going back years and years.

As we know, after an assault or rape, lives frequently don't get put back together. Goals are abandoned, and shame and guilt: all the residuals of being violated can remain for years.

We have to summon the will to rectify this injustice and honor our women and girls. For if we don't...what message are we sending? We're doesn't matter. Sorry. Red tape, no tape, no justice.

I plan on contacting women Congressional leaders first and foremost. We need to ban together and honor our women and girls.

I have a beautiful granddaughter. All the young women are and were beautifully wonderful spirits with everything ahead of them. And then a horrendous abuse of power took place. We have exacerbated their pain, and delayed healing by allowing the backlog to build and build. 

If we now have the attention and will to focus on our college campuses to prevent further rapes and assaults, Heaven Help Us, let's honor the women who wait for justice. 

Contact your female Congressional leaders in particular, as they may better understand what must be done. We can do it. We just need the compassion and the will. We have to demand that justice is served.  (This isn't about blame, but about galvanizing action.) Forward this post/& ReTweet it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Inviting Gratitude In--to Stay

Moss Gardens

The soft overcomes the hard; and the weak, the strong. Lao-Tzu

"God is glorified, not by our groans, but by our Thanksgiving."  Edwin Percy Whipple

In recent weeks and days, I've been carrying around the book Living in Gratitude by Angeles Arrien. It accompanies me from room to room and from house to car in a cloth bag. I've meant to use the book at the beginning of the year to the end, but I have not been consistent in that effort. A new year gives me a fresh opportunity.

Gratitude has been a theme in recent years. Now even more is known about how living with gratitude effects our well being. On Angeles Arrien's website is a quote I have long loved: Walking the mystical path with practical feet.

I was moved to read that a gratitude journal helped allay Deborah Norville's migraine headaches within her daily challenges of anchor, wife, and mother.

Indeed, I have gratitude for Angeles Arrien, meeting her first in her brilliant tarot manual: Tarot Handbook Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols. Her anthropological background is such a rich tapestry in terms of legend, symbols, peoples, and universal shapes. I use her handbook and remain startled at the spiritual depth revealed in the work. It is a marvelous tool for personal growth on every level.

One needs, as the Buddhists say, to lean into a study of gratitude. Arrien offers the learner the forms gratitude can take and the portals through which it enters.

She writes of: blessings, protections, mercies, and learnings as the means we evolve in appreciation--in gratitude.

Blessings are "what we hold as the good in our lives." They are linked to Spirit, and our recognition of the presence of grace through ritual as in "a calling forth."

Protections are the literal and spiritual arms we extend to our loved ones: the elderly, the ill, and others through ritual and prayer.

Mercies are the elements of kindness and compassion, and also forgiveness woven into the lives we live despite human betrayal and dishonour. Haven't we all felt the power of forgiveness within ourselves? And the sweep of compassion and kindness that makes us better human beings?

Learnings are truths we glean from living our lives. Each of us comes to know both the happiness and suffering for which we live the gratitude within.

I know I need keep the book near me to assist in staying present in my year-long commitment to incorporating, appreciating the gifts of God's Hands.

It's in quietude, humility, one acknowledges the goodness received. With gratitude you aren't seeing how much you can hold, but as you learn to let go, how much you have in simplicity in which one draws a quiet strength.

Arrien writes that a sense of gratitude through the portals touched on above, inpact our relationships, health and well being, and even our fianacial world. Moreover, grateful people are happy people.

If you've never picked up a book by Angles Arrien, this may present an opportunity. The book is an indepth look at becoming aware of what we've received and the benefits of that awareness.

I will keep evolving if I open increasingly to gratitude, live it--and keep it.
Indeed I wish to invite gratitude in--to stay.

God's Blessings to you!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Nobility of Heart

The North rose window
Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartes
Chartes, France 2002

You should remember that although another may have more money, beauty, and brains than you, yet when it comes to the rarer spiritual values such as charity, self-sacrifice, honor, nobility of heart, you have an equal chance with everyone to be the most beloved and honored of all people. -Archibald Rutledge

In 1965 I was given a book by beloved friends I've cherished ever since I received it. Popular at the time, The Treasure Chest, has lifted me with it's quotes on character, brotherhood, and faith. 

But the quote by Archibald Rutledge may be one of the top quotes for me in the entire book of inspiritional thought. 

It holds the concept of an ideal of spiritual achievement forever open to all spiritual paths and followers. I put it on like a cloak. Yet one has to make it your own.

Life purpose has it's summation in but three and one half lines. The longer I wear this garment, the truer the fabric. It's never dimished. 

Every Faith has it's path of attainment. The mystic moves and breaths in all parts of the world. The person drawn to these words knows at one's core that material weath is never spiritual weath, and can even deter you from the finer qualities of character. 

Now it is the New Year. I gather my books around me like gold bars. And the Treasure Chest holding Archibald Rutledge's words offers a satin coat worn by illuminary souls and those like me, hoping to grow--into it.