Feb 10 2012

VAWA in hot wa-wa

The Violence Against Women Act — VAWA — has had a rough time in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. It needed to be “reauthorized” for some reason — Congress probably needs decide every five years or so whether throwing a bone at abused women will win them votes — and, brace yourself for a huge shock, every single Republican on the committee said “no way, José.”

Addressing the human rights crisis of violence against women in the US literally required an Act of Congress. Hence, 1994’s VAWA, which, you’ll fondly recall, enhanced judicial, law enforcement, and social programs to deal with stuff like domestic violence, rape, stalking, etc.

Obviously VAWA hasn’t eliminated violence against women; the National Domestic Abuse Hotline gets 21,000 calls a month. But apparently the Act has resulted in some improvements. In addition to the creation of the aforementioned hotline, there are now VAWA-funded rape crisis centers and shelters, stalking is now considered a boney-fide crime (at least on paper) and date and spousal rape is now supposedly considered just as rapey as rape rape (again, on paper).

So why would a bunch of pink-faced Christian legislators* go on the record as being against a bill that seeks to eliminate violence against women?

Because they’re xenophobic gayophobic transophobic pod people from the Delta Quadrant.

See, there are provisions in VAWA 2011 that would extend services and protections to marginalized groups like undocumented women, gay women, and transwomen. That’s a lotta women. Nevertheless, Republican Senator pod-people are fully prepared to endure the suffering of those women, as well as to throw under the bus the straight, white American victims of abuse. Anything to get their jacknut constituents to vote for’em again.

These dipshit misogynist godbags hate dykes and undocumented women so much that the faintest suggestion of exhibiting human decency toward them causes their limbic systems to secrete holy water. And as you know, holy water on the brain is a very serious condition. It nearly always portends that a bunch of women and kids, especially brown women and kids, are about to get the short end of some pointy, honky dude stick.

* Here, for your blaming convenience, are the usual suspects, so you can drop’em a line. The Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans: Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Michael S. Lee (R-Utah), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma

A tip of the manure-stained John Deere trucker cap to @AmandaMarcotte


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  1. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    For a second, I thought you were channeling Barbara Walters.

  2. ElizaN

    “TThe law’s renewal has strong backing from law enforcement and groups that work with victims, and earlier reauthorizations of the law, in 2000 and 2005, passed Congress with strong support from both sides of the aisle. Yet not a single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor last week”

    Of course not. They gotta prove that they’re tough on crime, unless it’s a crime that’s tough on women.

  3. ivyleaves

    I am seething with outrage right now. They probably got the idea from all of the state budget proposals, such as California’s, which are eliminating funding for battered women’s shelters. We just can’t afford luxuries like that these days, ya know. As usual, the bad effects of war and other crises are visited upon women. Priorities are so telling, aren’t they?

  4. Orange

    Ah, yes. Hagiohydrocephalus is a dreadful condition. That’s what the bishops against birth control coverage have, isn’t it?

  5. Ruby Lou

    Another thing we can do is call any of our Senators who supported the bill in committee and those who will be voting when the bill comes up on the floor. To urge them to support VAWA and to include language in the bill that would make VAWA permanent, i.e., not require ‘reauthorization’ to remain in effect.

  6. Kea

    Have been wondering why things are getting worse and worse, and am beginning to think the Delta Quadrant is concerned that Baby Boy SecondJesus won’t be born because some satanic feminazi wants him aborted.

  7. JR

    They just got Obama to cave on the contraception issue again too. Catholic hospitals and universities don’t have to cover those evil immorality pills because it would give them the religious vapors. Ever notice how it is primarily women’s health care that is “controversial” and brings up “grave issues concerning freedom of religion”?

  8. Kea

    JR, I saw the news clip. Surely the important point is that all women will have access to the pills.

  9. yttik

    “Congress probably needs decide every five years or so whether throwing a bone at abused women will win them votes”

    A bitter and humorless feminist like me wants to know why they put in language that would deliberately provoke Republicans into opposing this? Twenty years ago, we were already serving gays,lesbians,transgendered, and illegal immigrants in our domestic violence/sexual assault programs. Heck, feminist shelters were serving these groups 35 years ago, before VAWA was even born. There has always been bipartisan support for VAWA, even during the Bush years. It sounds like somebody is playing election year politics at the expense of women to me.

    Also, testing rape kits is really just a political football. It sounds like a good idea, but the vast majority of victims already know who their attacker is. The vast majority of rapists don’t even deny having sex, they just allege it was consensual. That’s why all those rape kits remain in storage. Processing them for DNA serves no legal purpose. The only reason to process a rape kit is if you need DNA evidence because you have an anonymous attacker who just happens to be on a sex offender registry somewhere.

  10. Tara

    unbelievable. gobsmacked, I am. Just another single in the hit parade against women.

  11. lahana

    Actually there is a very good reason to test rape kits even if the woman knows who attacked her: many men who rape rape many women and not all of them know who it was who raped them – if they test the rape kit, they may very well find that this wasn’t just an isolated acquaintence rape, but rather that what they have is a serial rapist.

  12. yttik

    “if they test the rape kit, they may very well find that this wasn’t just an isolated acquaintence rape, but rather that what they have is a serial rapist.”

    Yes, but you still can’t use that information in court. You also can’t simply go around collecting male DNA and keeping it all in a databank somewhere. People are still innocent until proven guilty. So adding the rape kit testing mandate to the VAWA does nothing for rape victims, but it does serve to freak out the civil liberties people and make them suddenly reluctant to support a bill that has had bipartisan support for decades. This is playing politics at the expense of women. I mean come on, George Bush signed VAWA twice, what are we suddenly doing differently here and why? Oh, I see, we’re adding things to this bill to create opposition to it so we can make a political narrative about how much the Other Guys hate women.

  13. IBlameRonPaul

    I’m angry as hell.

    No more words at this time.

  14. quixote

    Okay, OT, I know, but I’m jumping up and down and screaming about this one everywhere.

    Re the birth control pills at the pleasure of the bishops mess:
    “Surely the important point is that all women will have access to the pills.”

    No. No, no, no, no. The important point is to recognize women’s human rights. Things like the right to one’s own body that’s basic to exercising any other right you might have on paper. The related right of deciding on your own medical procedures.

    Having a right to birth control is different from not being deprived of it yet.

  15. Kea

    Oh, don’t worry. I would love to see the Catholic Church taken to court for abuse of women’s human rights.

  16. tinfoil hattie

    Surely the important point is that all women will have access to the pills.

    How? That point was not made clear. Obama said women will be able to get contraception free from “insurance companies.” Which ones? How will women get the contraception they need? Does it cover pills, IUDs, diaphragms, RU-486, Plan B? Do I just write to any ol’ insurance company for my handy-dandy, free birth control?

    Yes, but you still can’t use that information in court. You also can’t simply go around collecting male DNA and keeping it all in a databank somewhere.

    Why the fuck not? We do it with fingerprints. Every fucking day. Even when there’s no crime committed. Why the fuck CAN’T WE collect DNA from every fucking man on earth? I’ll swab the insides of my sons’ cheeks right fucking now. Just in case patriarchy turns them into white privileged asshole men someday.

  17. tinfoil hattie

    “Sex-positive feminists,” take note: YOU are under attack, too. Not just us old and bitter second wavers who ruined sex for every generation of women after us.

  18. yttik

    “Why the fuck CAN’T WE collect DNA from every fucking man on earth?”

    Because 99.98% of them don’t even bother to deny it’s their DNA. DNA simply proves there was sexual contact, it doesn’t prove that there was a sexual assault. The lack of consent is the real issue. Lack of consent can also happen with or without DNA evidence being left behind.

    DNA is useful in many crimes, but not so great in sexual assault. What happens if the victim has DNA from two different men on her? They will use that as evidence of her alleged guilt, not his.

    Testing rape kits is really just a political football. It’s certainly not about bringing more women some justice.

  19. Kea

    I am not American, but the way understood Obama’s statement was that it would be precisely the insurance company associated to the worker’s cover. Ie. an identifiable one. Not saying this is a great idea. Just don’t see how we can blame Obama alone for the Catholic Church.

  20. qvaken

    I’m always surprised by outwardly and obviously homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic behaviour – haven’t we worked out by now that these people are people too? But then again, with the little acts of homophobia etc. that I see and hear frequently in my daily life, I’m foolish to think that.

    In any case, you know, HEALTH AND SAFETY should probably trump certain-groups-of-people-phobia. Jus’ sayin’.

  21. qvaken

    What is the process for getting a prescription for the pill or other women’s contraceptives in the US? I’ve taken it for granted in Aus that I just go to my doctor for a prescription, also to my doctor for my yearly ladies-only check-ups, or to the pharmacist for emergency contraception. And my mother flatly refused to help me with this process, so I’ve obviously had good access to information to learn what I need to do and how.

  22. stacey

    qvaken, is b.c. covered under national health? In Canada, it’s not covered by our provincial medical plans, and costs $20 to $60 (generic to brand name) per month (for pills). There are exceptions; post-secondary students usually get it free at the campus health centre; Planned Parenthood can dispense pretty cheaply; the regional health authorities usually can give a few months freebies at a time. Most workplace supplemental insurance will cover at least 80%, and women under a certain income level are usually exempt from having to pay for prescriptions. One does need a prescription to get pills, or morning after pills, or any kind of b.c., but I’ve never heard of anyone having trouble getting one.

  23. ivyleaves

    I blame Obama for even CONSIDERING the whims of a religious organization, let alone having them vet legislation. He is elected to represent the people. It’s no different than meetings on energy policy with oil execs. He disgusts me with every weak, mealy-mouthed thing he does. It’s not a surprise, of course, that it’s not only the Republicans who play election politics with women. IBTP.

  24. qvaken

    @stacey: I have Implanon at the moment (is that common in the US and Canada?) and that cost me, including doctors’ appointments and picking it up at the pharmacy, about $85, and that’ll last me three years. When I was on the pill, including doctors’ appointments and picking it up, it would cost around $110/year. We have a national health care scheme called Medicare to help pay for the doctor (so it’ll cost between $0-$30 for an appointment, usually, after your Medicare refund), and a Health Care Card for low income earners or people on government payments to help pay for pharmacy medications (will usually bring it down to $5 a pop. I don’t qualify for this because I earn too much – it’s really only for people living at or below the poverty line).

    I have no idea about help from your university or workplace in Aus. Regarding the Canada situation – it seems to me that if they’re offering help at universities, they should really be offering it at high schools, too!

    We do need prescriptions for any pre-emptive contraceptives, but not for the morning after pill. With that, you go to the pharmacist and fill out a form, which asks for example, was it from sexual assault, will you be requiring information on counselling, what is the reason (Condom broke? Missed a pill? etc.), do you have any of the following medical conditions, and so on. I think that the form just helps them to make sure that you’re making a safe option, because I’ve never been refused the morning after pill.

  25. M Cubed

    For all who are not aware of this site.

    [redacted by Phil]

    THIS is what keeps me motivated, as well as good dartboard practice. ( not advocating violence )

  26. ivyleaves

    M Cubed is linking to an MRA website.

  27. speedbudget

    qvaken, the process is you go and get a pap smear (which has been ruled unnecessary on a yearly basis unless you have some extenuating circumstances by medical groups, but we are living in a patriarchy, so you must submit yearly), then your doctor gives you a prescription, then you go to the pharmacy and then you either pay cash if you don’t have insurance or some ungodly amount if you do have insurance but it’s crappy like mine. The rule for ten years now has been that insurance must cover birth control (the refused to cover it until forced legislatively, but they were covering Viagra with no problems). The only difference here is Obama opined that since birth control is preventive medicine, it should be covered at no cost, i.e., no co-pay on the part of the consumer. This is what het up all the old white men. They didn’t want the ladies to be able to actually access the birth control, especially those poor ladies who don’t deserve to have sex.

  28. speedbudget

    Oy, my comment is in moderation. Was it the mention of that man medicine?

  29. Twisty

    speedbudget, I honestly have no idea why some comments go to moderation and some don’t. There are probably more modern spamulators than the one I use, but you remember what happens every time I try to upgrade the blog: Total Annihilation.

    Oh, wait. You’re right. You said “Viagra.”

  30. Lidon

    “qvaken, the process is you go and get a pap smear (which has been ruled unnecessary on a yearly basis unless you have some extenuating circumstances by medical groups, but we are living in a patriarchy, so you must submit yearly)”

    Fuck that. I haven’t submitted to a degrading, barbaric, often unreliable pap test for sometime and I got a year’s supply of birth control FREE from Planned Parenthood. That works for me. Maybe in another year they’ll try to harass me into getting one, but I’ll burn that bridge when I reach it.

  31. qvaken

    @speedbudget: Yeesh, you have to get a pap smear for THAT? I’ll confess that I was concerned that I would have to get one when I first went to get the pill (I don’t know why I was so concerned – I had to have my first pap that year anyway), but here the doctor just finds your blood pressure and weight, and ha-way you go. How much do you have to pay?

    I don’t know much about men’s products vs. women’s, but I often hear that men have easier access to, or cheaper prices on, theirs than do women. I recall when the goods and services tax first came in over here, women were unhappy to learn that condoms wouldn’t be taxed, but tampons and pads would.

  32. M Cubed

    My apologies for not breaking up the link to the MRA site.

  33. Keri

    Without the VAWA, I would not have received the one year’s worth of protection against my stalker I was able to get. Because of that law, the fact that he showed up in my backyard in the middle of the night and refused to leave, I was able to receive some paper protection. Before the laws were strengthened, he would have actually had to rape or try to kill me before I got my piece of paper. With the current law, his continued bothering, harassing, calling, writing, showing up places, and trespassing counted at least for something.

    The paper itself didn’t deter him too much but it did help me convince a cop with a deep voice(after I cried and begged mind you) to call that a-hole and tell him to leave me alone or be arrested. That did seem to help though I still live in fear every day and have been diagnosed with PTSD. Thanks fucker.

    But of course, and I have mentioned this here before, because I have not stalked him to keep track of his address, I need to wait for him to do something to have my paper re-upped. IBTP.

    In lighter news, have you seen this: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/02/08/421018/oklahoma-democrat-adds-every-sperm-is-sacred-amendment-to-personhood-bill/

  34. Keri

    Whoops. I meant: Because of that law, the fact that he showed up in my backyard in the middle of the night and refused to leave was enough to help me receive some paper protection.

  35. speedbudget

    qvaken, it depends on your personal health insurance program and what your co-pays are, etc. We really do have a Byzantine health care system here in the States. Doctors offices have to have two to three people on staff just to deal with all the differing insurances, and even if people have the same insurer, like Aetna, they could all be on different plans, meaning different co-pays, etc. It’s a mess. It just boggle my mind that anyone fought to keep this system in place at all.

    I pay upwards of $30 for a regular doctor visit, closer to $50 for a specialist. On top of the $375/month I pay for my insurance.

  36. speedbudget

    Well, I really must be up in the spamulator’s shit list today.

  37. slade

    I now know what I’ll do for my Saturday afternoon. I’ll write each of those misogynist politicians and include some confetti and glitter.

  38. Kea

    In the antipodes we all pay something. The difference is that we don’t yet quite have the levels of inequity and lack of social mobility that you have in the US, although the GlobalP has been pushing us that way for 30 years.

  39. Doctress Ju'ulia

    WHAT the everloving SHIT is happening to this country, and HOW DO WE STOP THESE ASSHOLES? I am fuming, fuming pissed. And this after last night- yet another male “friend” screamed in my face and said, “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!” When I brought up the fact that Obama is a misogynist, woman-hating POS. Some empathy, I guess, d00d? Nope, too much to ask. I walked out, ditching him far from home with no ride and no money in below freezing weather, and it felt GOOD. Dammit. I am beyond fed up with being abused by male “friends”.

  40. qvaken

    @Doctress: Why was he yelling about what you want from HIM when you were talking about OBAMA? I support your idea to leave him in the middle of nowhere. Hey, asshole – you’ve got the muscle and the size, but I’ve got the car. Didn’t think about that one, didja?

    @speedbudget: so your doctors’ fees are pretty similar to ours, then. But holy shit – $375/month for health insurance? I pay about $75/month, but then again, I’m a lone, young single who isn’t planning on coming down with pregnancy any time soon. And I’ve heard that what’s bad about our system is that if you have a pre-existing condition, then you can’t get certain things like travel insurance, and you can’t get health cover for that condition. So we joke that if you suspect you have cancer, then don’t go and find out about it in advance.

  41. Doctress Ju'ulia

    The only reason I have health insurance right now is because a d00d I know put me down as his “domestic partner” (gag). I have many medical issues and I had no other way of getting what I need. I could barely function. I feel lucky to have it, but angry that I can’t afford it myself. Can’t find a job. It’s been over a year. Losing hope. Men (as most bar/business owners are) can tell I won’t eat shit, so they won’t hire me. Plus, at 36 I am considered an old bar hag. My POS ex-boss just hired (guess) his BROTHER to bartend full-time, and gave him insurance through the bar. Gee, I worked my ass off there for almost 4 years, and I not only never got even CLOSE to full-time, I never got any offers for insurance. Plus, they treated me like shit. IPTP.

  42. tinfoil hattie

    As small business owners, Nigel & I have the privilege og paying $1228/mo. for our family’s health care. If we claim it as a business expense, we get to claimmit as personal income. So we just grit our teeth and pay for that instead of saving extra for retirement.

  43. qvaken

    @Doctress: You just reminded me that I really need to apply for more jobs today. My boss is making me eat shit (it’s that whole “You’re not very good at your job. The other girl is much better than you. Oh, you’re thinking of leaving? Well, I wouldn’t give you a good reference, so good luck with that. By the way, this workplace is so much better than other workplaces – you’d have a hard time working anywhere else.”) and lately I’m big on the whole building-my-confidence-and-not-taking-no-guff-from-nobody-anymore thing, so a-jobseeking I go. But now I’m worried about that approach, because if it turns out anything like the way that it’s been for you, then nobody is going to hire me if they think I’ll be assertive, will they? Ugh.

    And I don’t blame you for feeling pissed off that you can’t get your own cover. Having to rely on somebody else, and having to feel grateful because you must remember that they’re doing you a BIG favour by helping you out when the system’s letting you down, feels degrading, and can be dangerous. So yeah, I’d be mad at that situation too.

    @tinfoil: Just looking at that price makes me want to cry. Just did a quick quote, and even for the absolute best cover for a family here it’s $460/month. Why so much?

  44. IBlameRonPaul


    Men (as most bar/business owners are) can tell I won’t eat shit, so they won’t hire me. Plus, at 36 I am considered an old bar hag. My POS ex-boss just hired (guess) his BROTHER to bartend full-time, and gave him insurance through the bar. Gee, I worked my ass off there for almost 4 years, and I not only never got even CLOSE to full-time, I never got any offers for insurance. Plus, they treated me like shit. IPTP.

    Welcome to my world. I started my last “real” job on an illegal 1099, which I worked on for 14 months before being considered “good enough” for a salary and pitiful benefits. Meanwhile, a long line of men, and of course, a low-income young female admin. assistant were hired before and after me on W-2s. I worked many 60- and even 80-hour weeks to keep my job, and I even managed to save the job of another manager who I thought was my friend. In return, here’s what I got:

    • An early 2000s computer with pirated and jerryrigged open-source software. The boss made various and sundry excuses as to why I didn’t need software, until finally, after I stayed late for the umpteenth time re-doing my work because the crappy non-usable software ate it, the boss said he’d “consider” giving me what I needed if I made a list of EVERYTHING I did in an average month and justified the software mapped to that. Meanwhile, the men (and the young secretary chick), got offered a new laptop and desktop EACH with all the software they could want, no questions asked.

    • I won an award, and my male co-worker’s name was put on it.

    • I created a stellar team and more than doubled revenue, and that same male co-worker got promoted to executive director and got a raise as thanks for my hard work.

    • After leaving this job, I worked a job where I was chased out by an angry MRA in mere days.

    • I’ve been looking for a year and a half, and been unemployed for 5 months, and despite an exhaustive job search, have found NOTHING. Meanwhile, men with half my experience and credentials keep getting hired at plumb jobs to do their typical half-assed work.

    • My mental health, which was poor to begin with after a lifetime of putting up with bullying and abuse, is in the gutter, as I’m facing a reality of being homeless and permanently unemployable.

    • My shrink, a Boomer woman, who feels my gender/sexual preferences and presentations and assertive manner of communicating are “unfeminine” and problematic, has decided that the best way to fix my deepening depression and despair is to put me on mood stabilizers, which I’ve flushed down the toilet.

    • Everyone I’ve tried to seek help from either thinks I’m overreacting, or says I should consider quitting my field and going into a care-taking profession, as is “fitting for a woman.”

    • All my other jobs have been pretty much the same as the one I described.

    No one believes women who say they go through this in the workforce. Progress will never happen, and nothing will ever change. IBTP, and I want out.

  45. speedbudget

    I am a single woman with no plans to become pregnant either. And I have the storied pre-existing condition (nevermind it was diagnosed and FIXED on that evil socialist program Medicaid. The insurance companies get to decide Medicaid isn’t insurance), so that means I am forced to sign a rider so they aren’t forced to cover said condition.

    The only reason people I know get married is for the insurance. That is what I am going to do very shortly, albeit with a prenup.

    If any of you can afford to go back to school for a 2-year program, please consider court reporting. I did, and it changed my life. It’s a career in demand because there is a huge shortage. I work for a small firm, so while I don’t get paid for sick days or vacation, I have absolute leverage over my schedule, and what I make on a single job can pay my bills for the whole month. I am in total control on any job site, and the lawyers in the room know it. It is a great job.

  46. qvaken

    And this is why I want to work in conflict/resolution-type HR eventually. (Probably going to have to put that plan back a few years, thanks to my jackass boss and his jackass company not being willing to accommodate for my HR-related studies.)

    I’ve had this sort of shit all the way along. I’ve been taught how to sweep the floor as that boss’s display of bravado for his friends, received punishment for being late and then watched somebody else be told “don’t worry about it” when they arrived later than I did, been deliberately not taught new skills at numerous jobs whereas people the same age and level as me were taught them, been screamed at by somebody of the same seniority as me because they ordered me to go on lunch at a certain time and I went at what I thought was a more sensible time for the company, been disallowed lunch breaks in 12-hour shifts just because they knew they could get away with it, been refused help when I asked for it just because they thought that I needed to learn that When They Say No They Mean It, had it escalate including damning 13-page documents written about me and my love life and my general character if I tried to do something about the behaviour by making a formal complaint, I’ve been homeless three times and that’s put me into dangerous situations… and so on and so forth…

    I’ve had one job out of about 15 where I was treated well, and that was teaching a musical instrument, and they treated me respectfully because I was the only expert out of them in that instrument and they knew it.

    And I’m certainly one of the lucky ones, because I’m white, my family taught me how to write a resume and how to prepare for a job interview, and forced me to stay in education.

  47. yttik

    “No one believes women who say they go through this in the workforce.”

    Oh I believe you! I just finished a six week course for chronically maladjusted, unemployable women with a bad attitude. It was run by another chronically maladjusted woman who was unemployed until she wrote herself a grant to teach other women how to find a job. Anyway, I discovered that many women genuinely have post traumatic stress disorder from their horrendous employment experiences, myself included.

    “Progress will never happen, and nothing will ever change”

    No, but your individual circumstances can change. Things can get better. The first step is to realize you’re not alone and to reject this idea that there’s something wrong with you. The system is screwed up, other people are screwed up, but that’s not our fault.

  48. PG

    I’m a huge believer in not only testing those rape kits but getting as much male DNA on file as possible (or everyone’s DNA, if we want to be pointlessly egalitarian). My friend’s rapist was found because the rapist had to give his DNA for being arrested on a minor, unrelated charge. This was an unambiguous brutal stranger rape; no “issue” of consent. The guy had pictures of other women he was stalking on his phone. I could go into more detail, but the details are horrific and the point is made.

    @IBlameRonPaul: I say this gently and with a great deal of sympathy– and I believe empathy. Please consider taking the mood stabilizers, or changing your doctor. I don’t like the side effects of SSRIs, I worry about change in personality (i.e. not being “myself”) and I take as little as possible, BUT there is something to be said for no longer staring into a dark abyss. It takes at least 4-6 weeks to feel like oh, I can walk away from this stupid ledge and start to focus on other parts of my life, and in the meantime you may have annoying side effects like insomnia. And there are a lot of medications out there because some of them work better for some people, or have more tolerable side effects, etc. You know yourself best, of course, and if your doctor keeps giving them to you and you don’t want them, maybe your doctor isn’t the right one for you. I also took a course in meditation, which was quite helpful, but honestly wouldn’t have been as effective if I couldn’t look away from that dark pit. Best of luck.
    (Sorry, Twisty, for all the first-person stuff.)

  49. stacey

    All I have are impertinent questions and ineffectual advice.

    For all of you who have had such a shit time with jobs, I’m so, so sorry. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is for you, and you have my everlasting respect for even trying.

    @IBRonPaul, I agree with PG. With utmost sympathy, I would also encourage you to try the mood stabilizers. I credit my current functionality to SNRIs, which help with depression and anxiety. They allowed me to climb out of the abyss, get my shit in order, and become way more effective at controlling my life. I’m still the ridiculously lazy person I always was, but at least now I’m not sad about it. Sure, sometimes I return to the abyss and lie down on the edge of it, tossing pebbles in to see how deep it goes. (More flowery imagery, involving suspension bridges and kite rescues.) My point is that the right drug in the right graduated dosage may help you get through this with less psychic distress. Find a doctor you can respect, research the heck out of your options, and make the drug work for you. Whatever you decide to do, you have my best wishes and full support.

    @yttik! You’ve been holding out. What was the course like? What did it cover? Did she provide strategies on how to navigate within the jobs you already have, or how to strike out on your own? Or was it all about fitting in and assuming the compliant persona?

  50. Kea

    My mental health, which was poor to begin with after a lifetime of putting up with bullying and abuse, is in the gutter, as I’m facing a reality of being homeless and permanently unemployable.

    Welcome to middle age for skilled women. You sure as hell ain’t the only one, and we all totally believe you. I told the last social worker who tried to help me find work (she didn’t know what the word physicist meant) to piss off.

  51. roseh

    @IBRonPaul, is your doctor a psychiatrist or psychologist? If you don’t agree with your treatment plan I would gently suggest seeing a psychiatrist. I got SSRIs from a psychologist when I was failing out of grad school and it threw me into a mixed manic state so horrible that I was delusional and tried to kill myself. That was in 2003. I took a really heavy-duty meds combo for 5 years, then tried to go off meds, then went on an anti seizure drug, Depakote-ER. The first five weeks felt like I had a constant hangover, but then I acclimated. My life is a lot better when I’m on mood stabilizers. Granted, I was angry as fuck when I had to go back on meds, but learning DBT/dialectical behavioral therapy skills to practice radical acceptance of my medical condition really helped. I was fortunate that I was on my (now ex-) Nigel’s health insurance until I became stabilized and lucky enough to find and excel at a great GIS/geographic information systems job with health benefits.

  52. qvaken

    I’m talking with a bit of a chip on my shoulder here, but… IBRP already SAID that she doesn’t want to take the mood stabilisers. You’d think she’d be pretty clued-in about her own mental health needs. And then yttik reminded her not to blame herself for the system letting her down, and I totally agree with that sentiment, so why are we so quick to jump in and advise her that her symptoms are inappropriate and she should work on those?

    The chip on my shoulder comes from years of being told that my emotions are the cause of my problems to the point that I believed it, and years of constantly being instructed to see a psychologist and go on medication to fix myself so that I can be happier. And yet, whenever I said goodbye to a person who was problematic in my life, or did what it took to ensure that I had a home and food, then my mood was just fine.

    Just the other day I confessed to somebody that the reason why I cried so much upon finding out that I wouldn’t be getting enough hours at work, was because I’ve been homeless before and I was terrified of not covering the rent and having that happen again, and I was promptly advised to speak to a counsellor about my problems. A counsellor? I’d rather speak to a prospective employer. At a job interview. For a job with the hours that I need.

  53. qvaken

    Having said that, I must admit that based on what you said, I’m not a big fan of your therapist, IBRP.

  54. naomi

    “An early 2000s computer with pirated and jerryrigged open-source software”.

    Sorry to be pedantic, but open-source software is freely available does not have copyright, patent or anything like that and therefore cannot be pirated – it makes no sense to say that it is pirated. As for jerryrigged however, that is certainly possible :)

  55. yttik

    Sometimes, when you’ve experienced enough trauma and stress in your life, the chemical behavior of your brain actually changes. When this happens drugs or even some herbs like St John’s Wart can be really helpful.

    But yes, I’m really tired of women being told to speak to a counselor or some other solution that implies the problem is YOU. This psychologist I once knew said he could fix 95% of his female client’s “mental” problems with money. If she just had some resources she could leave this abusive husband and presto, instant mental health. If she just had a solid job that would provide for her basic needs, presto, no more fear and panic about homelessness. Since people like that psychologist can’t fix the real underlying problem, they’re forced to hand out antidepressants and referrals to resume writing classes.

  56. IBlameRonPaul


    Yes, I have tried myriad mood stabilizers and SSRIs before, so my decision to flush them is based on years of experience with them all worsening my health severely. There is no right combination and will never be because I do not have bipolar disorder – the problem is circumstantial.

    I will be quitting therapy soon. It’s worse that useless – it’s actually harmful. Time to stop flushing my hard-earned money down the drain. I’ll need every penny of it.


    I meant a combination of pirated licensed software and jerryrigged open-source software. Apologies for the muddle.

    Enough about me anyway – let’s drop it, I’m sorry I brought it up.

    More and more, it’s looking like leaving the US may be best for more and more women. That doesn’t just go for us – it goes for many of you, too. Live someplace where equality is a higher priority than stock performance.

  57. Nolabelfits

    Where might that be, IBlameRonPaul?

  58. Hari

    yttik: “Since people like that psychologist can’t fix the real underlying problem,…”

    Exactly. The ‘problem’ seems to be that the way so many of us feel about our lives in the P is a normal response–not a neurosis, not the result of past abuses or naturally-occurring chemical imbalances. It would be ABnormal NOT to feel anxious, depressed, angry, sad over the conditions we face in the P.

    In the years since my abuser left, I have periodically received the helpful advice that I get some therapy and get on the drugs. I say, what will help me is more money and more help around the house, a vacation now and then, and much better health insurance than medicaid. You know a therapist who supplies any of that? Right–I thought not.

  59. Marcie

    “Because they’re xenophobic gayophobic transophobic pod people from the Delta Quadrant.”
    Speaking out against transphobic people too much may cost you a significant part of your blamers.

  60. naomi


    “I meant a combination of pirated licensed software and jerryrigged open-source software. Apologies for the muddle.”

    No, I should say sorry. Soon after I posted, I realised I’d probably misread you. Also, even if I had turned out to be right, who gives a shit? I was being a dick. Sorry again.

  61. ivyleaves

    The notion that women can just leave the US to get better conditions is not well thought out. There are age and income restrictions that apply and nowhere I know of that I can emigrate to that would have a better setup for me. And that doesn’t even take into account that I would be leaving my clients that I got through personal connections to go somewhere where I know no one and would, as a 62 yr. old woman trying to find work as a database programmer, be unlikely to find new ones. I know of no paradise with a non-misogynist perception of women in the high-tech sector.

  62. Lurker Lyn

    As much as the UK sucks, and women’s rights are being eroded by the current government, I’m glad I can get contraceptives free from the NHS.

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