Strategic Living's News & ViewsJune 2011
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Seems we've had an exceptionally long winter and wet spring. I've spent more time in front of my computer than I would have liked to this time of year, but at least I've been looking at Worthwhile stuff. Yes, that's Worthwhile with a Capital "W." I've been going through TED Talks.
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks are billed as "ideas worth spreading." Riveting talks by remarkable people. Free knowledge from the world's most inspired thinkers. Sometimes Steve Jobs and Bill Gates attend them.
Here are three I've enjoyed best:
(You can view them on my May 17 blog post at http://safetyinseattlenews.blogspot.com/2011/05/do-you-know-ted.html.)
- Jim Fallon on the neuroscience of psychopathic killers
- Eve Ensler (author of The Vagina Monologues) on security
- Bruce Schneier on distinguishing feeling safer from actually being safer
In case we have a few more rainy days, watch some. You will not only feel smarter, you will become smarter.
A Slutwalk By Any Other Name
"You know, I think we're beating around the bush here," the officer said, according to one attendee. "I've been told I'm not supposed to say this, however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
That was the unfortunate comment, made by Toronto police constable Michael Sanguinetti on January 24th to a small group of students. Blogged and tweeted around the world, this comment spawned a global movement. Women have organized marches in cities all over the world to protest the prevalent practice of blaming rape victims for the assaults. Slutwalk was born.
Sanguinetti has since apologized, and is reported to have been disciplined and will receive additional training. Presumably he had received training before this event. The Toronto police asserts that their officers are taught that nothing a woman does contributes to sexual assault. Yet this slip of the tongue did happen. Despite the fact that the vast majority of women who have been assaulted were not dressed like "sluts," whatever that means (see below for what it really does mean). Despite the fact that dress does not cause sexual assault. And despite the fact that the person committing the rape needs to be accountable for his own actions. Period.
Despite all the good cops out there, it's those thoughtless and arrogant ones who are featured in the nightly news. Still another reason why few women report rape to law enforcement. It's why I'll be at Slutwalk Seattle this coming Sunday, June 19 (begins at noon at the Bobby Morris Playfield in Cal Anderson Park, Capitol Hill). And why I urge you to be there, too!
First, let me make it clear what I mean by "slut." Slut is a noun with excess baggage. Slut is used as a negative judgmental label applied by Person A onto Person B. Generally Person B is female, and Person A is often but certainly not always male. Person A disapproves of Person B's general appearance, style of dress, or some other behavior. Person A then labels Person B as a "slut," frequently to justify their own bad, if not abusive, behavior to Person B.
The label "slut" actually tells more about the mental framework (prejudices and stereotypes) of Person A, and little about the woman at whom this epithet is hurled.
Much has been made about this movement's chosen name. While the choice of Slutwalk has offended some, it's also created a LOT of debate and discussion and controversy and buzz. And publicity. I think there's been too much discussion on the name and less on the focus, but hey, that's what it takes to get attention and to spread the word to people who wouldn't give "Rally Round Against Rape" a second yawn. To reiterate, the focus of Slutwalk is that women are not asking to be raped. Ever. Period.
Much has also been made about Slutwalks reclaiming the word "slut." I can't say that I'll be going to Seattle's Slutwalk to "reclaim" anything. I do not care to reclaim, reframe, or rehabilitate the word "slut." I want to quash this word as a weapon. I want to nullify its negative energy, neutralize its power, negate its impact on women.
And any weapon can be overcome. With a little preparation, we all can learn to minimize its impact. Because nobody deserves to be targeted for rape. Organizing and speaking out are two of our most crucial tools if we are to topple current prevailing attitudes towards rape.
On The GrillIt can be easy to forget first things first. In self-defense there's so much emphasis on the "bad guys," like recognizing them, avoiding them, confronting them, defending against them, etc., that we put aside why it's important.
Which is to enjoy daily life with more confidence and less anxiety. For me, this time of the year, that means the backyard barbecue.
Sitting outside on my deck, dinner fresh off the grill, glass of wine . . . what's not to like? This time of year it's all about the salmon and the asparagus. I do very little with them: some olive oil, salt & pepper. That's all we need. The salmon should be able to stand on its own, without additional dressing. Sometimes toss the grilled asparagus with balsamic vinegar and grated manchego cheese.
I've also tossed whole potatoes on the grill, again first tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. The starchy ones come out light and tasty. Purple Vikings are nice, small russets would also be good.
Two weeks ago we grilled tri-tip steaks. I like them rubbed with spices and grilled quickly over direct high heat. The spice rub this time was ground cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, crushed Sichuan peppercorns, and salt. You don't need a lot of the Sichuan peppercorns, and the unusual flavor adds an intriguing and playful dimension to the cumin and oregano combo.
So get out there and enjoy.
Summer 2011:Self-Defense 101: A five week (or eight) course that builds progressive skill and prepares you for life's unexpected (and unwanted) moments. To register for any of these classes, visit http://www.StrategicLiving.org/schedule101.htm for links to each organization. Eight Thursday lunchtimes, June 30 - August 25, noon - 1:00 pm through the UW Women's Center. Perfect for the busy on-campus professional.
Five Saturday afternoons, July 9 - August 13, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, at Bellevue College's North Campus location. Five Monday evenings, July 11 - August 8, 7:00 - 8:50 pm, through Seattle Central Community College.Five Tuesday evenings, July 26 - August 23, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, through the UW Women's Center. Register online at the Women's Center website, or phone 206-685-1090.
Self-Defense Seminars: One afternoon seminars, offered these Sundays from noon til 5:00 pm:
July 17 at Burlington Parks and Rec,
August 14 at the Feminist Karate Union, Seattle, and
August 21 at American Athlete Gym, Green Lake
For more info and registration visit http://www.StrategicLiving.org/seminar.htm.
For Teen Girls Only will be offered these dates and locations:
North Kirkland Community Center: Saturday June 25, 1 - 4 pm.
Bellevue College, North Campus, Saturday July 12, 1 - 4 pm.
UW Women's Center, Sunday July 31, 1 - 4 pm.
Burlington Parks and Recreation, Tuesday August 16, 1 - 4 pm.
North Kirkland Community Center: Saturday August 20, 1 - 4 pm.
Visit http://www.StrategicLiving.org/PCT.htm for more information as well as links to register for these classes.
Self-defense skills are like CPR, you should review and practice them annually.
Register for my Refresher Program at http://www.StrategicLiving.org/Refresh.htm
. And if you believe that these skills are crucial for all women, please take advantage of my Referral Program at http://www.StrategicLiving.org/Refer.htm
Do you work with a non-profit or community organization that holds silent
auctions? Ask me to donate a gift certificate for a private 1.5 hour seminar.
Do you work with a non-profit or community organizations whose staff/volunteers/members/clients would benefit from a safety skills seminar? Visit http://www.StrategicLiving.org/donated-class.htm
for information on requesting partly subsidized training sessions.
Scott S., who works with homeless teens, had this to say: "Joanne did a great job connecting with our youth and answering some very difficult questions. The first thing that she did was to get to know our youth and meet them where they are at. We loved the way that Joanne listened, and she did a great job affirming them. Our youth walked away empowered to defend themselves as well as know which techniques work best for them. We learned all about ways to communicate healthy boundaries and how the word NO can communicate multiple things. It was great for me as the leader to hear our youth getting really into it. It also was a way for our staff to connect with our youth and help to foster great conversations."
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