Questions and answers: Misogyny and violence edition.

Live in Ohio? Please work to get this man recalled and/or arrested.

Please note update with helpful information for people living with abuse, below.

Q: Who said “She got a little upset. Girls do that,” when his wife called 911 after he got drunk and attacked her?

A: Ohio State Senator Kris Jordan.

Q: What is the State of Ohio doing about it?

A: Exactly nothing.

Prosecutor won’t file charges against senator

Sen. Jordan, a Republican from Powell, told deputies that he and his wife had argued over his not cleaning their condo. Cruiser dashboard camera recordings released yesterday detail the deputies’ conversations with the Jordans.

“She got a little upset,” Sen. Jordan told a deputy on the recording. “Girls do that.”

The 34-year-old senator went on to say the incident was “90 percent emotion.”

“I threw some things on the ground, but I didn’t hit her or anything,” he said. “So she’s all worked up about who knows.”

On the recording, Sen. Jordan tells deputies that he works at the Statehouse, “until she gets me thrown out of office,” he said. “Over (expletive) not cleaning the upstairs … and then me pushing some towels over and some other stuff over.”

His wife also was recorded speaking to a deputy outside the home.

She said there have been problems with her husband but she had called his parents when those happened. She said, however, that they were out of town that night.

She also was recorded as saying violent incidents with her husband began about two years ago, sometimes after he had been drinking. She said her husband had been drinking that night but not to excess.

“This is not new,” Mrs. Jordan, 31, said. “He’s done this numerous times, and I just got sick of it and I just had to call.”

Assistant Delaware City Prosecutor Joe Schmansky said, Melissa Jordan’s insistence on not pursuing charges was the most important factor in his decision not to file charges.

Here’s another salient piece of information:

She also told deputies there were 10 to 15 unloaded guns in the house.

How many times have we read this story? The story in which the woman complains, but as so many victims of abuse do, hesitates to press charges, so law enforcement does nothing — until one of the guns gets loaded, and the woman is killed.

I’ll be perfectly frank here: I am positively sickened by this story. By the abuse, by the misogyny, by the response of Delaware City’s Prosecutor. I know people who have lived with abuse, I know how it plays out, and I have watched, too often, as society steps back and says: “Not our problem.”

I’m sorry, State of Ohio, this is very much your fucking problem. Aside from the fact that it is a shared, collective good that our citizens (even the female ones!) not live in fear, Kris Jordan is a Senator, for God’s sake! I don’t know what should be done, what can be done — mandatory anger management classes? Senate censure? — but I know that someone has to do something.

Else the next call may very well be for an ambulance.

UPDATE: If you or someone you love is also living with an abuser, you can always call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1- 800−799−SAFE (7233), 24/7, 365 days a year. If you’re not sure if you’re in an abusive situation, or are not sure what to do next, here are some good resources: Get Help, Am I Being Abused?, Teen Dating Abuse and Information for Immigrants and Refugee Women.

h/t Mac McClelland at Mother Jones, Ohio politics blog Plunderbund, and the Columbus Dispatch.

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

You there – stop having breasts!

I'm going to think about this part of Cameroon for awhile.

I can’t even. What the fuck.

No, I mean it: What.The.Fuck.

Breast ironing sparks anger in Cameroon

Every morning before school, 9-year-old Terisia Techu would undergo a painful procedure. Her mother would take a burning hot pestle straight out of a fire and use it to press her breasts.

With tears in her eyes as she recalls what it was like, Terisia tells CNN that one day the pestle was so hot, it burned her, leaving a mark. Now 18, she is still traumatized.

Her mother, Grace, denies the incident. But she proudly demonstrates the method she used on her daughter for several weeks, saying the goal was to make her less desirable to boys — and stave off pregnancy.

A study found that one in four girls in Cameroon have been affected by the practice.

The U.S. State Department, in its 2010 human rights report on Cameroon, cited news reports and said breast ironing “victimized numerous girls in the country” and in some cases “resulted in burns, deformities, and psychological problems.”

There are more than 200 ethnic groups in Cameroon with different norms and customs. Breast ironing is practiced by all of them.

“To stave off pregnancy”… Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about the ways in which the world tries to own and control female bodies, you get slapped upside the head with something new.

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles and Feministe.

…like a girl. (Re-up)

It’s spring vacation in these parts, and that means I’m spending a lot of time with the kids — today involved, among other things, a trip to MagiQuest. It also means I’m having no little difficulty focusing on/completing anything longer than a 140-character tweet. So I decided that today I would re-up a post I wrote a while back but which is, sadly and entirely unsurprisingly, very much still relevant.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, for reasons I’m not entirely clear on, about the ways we use words that mean “female human” to insult each other.

There’s “scream like a little girl,” of course, which, you know — ok. Little girls are high-pitched. It’s meant as an insult, but there’s some grain of reality to be found in it. Perhaps I will someday “scream like a linebacker” or “like a South Pacific Islander.” Or something.

But once you get past “scream,” there’s:

  1. Throw like a girl.
  2. Run like a girl.
  3. Hit like a girl.

Not to mention:

  1. Pussy out.
  2. Be a pussy.
  3. Be a little bitch.
  4. Be X’s bitch.

And so on.

In the largest, broadest sense, I believe that these kinds of insults hurt us all, male and female alike. The recent bullying-related suicides of several gay-or-maybe-gay boys have their roots deeply buried in our fear of males behaving in anything but a society-approved-manly fashion. Witness the clear discomfort experienced by adults when five year old boys choose to wear girls’ clothing.

Witness that, and then think about women in pants suits, or girls in jeans. When women adopt and co-opt a traditionally male form of dress, we are empowering ourselves. When men adopt and co-opt a traditionally female form of dress — they get beat up. Because we do not value women as we value men, and we are frightened when men choose to give up the prerogatives of their gender. So, yes, everyone suffers when we continue to maintain and perpetuate misogyny.

But women and girls suffer more. Because we are the ones you shouldn’t be like.

I’ve known this for years, of course. I’m not new to noticing misogyny. I’m not new to feeling its sting and pushing at its edges. But it’s suddenly struck me how powerfully we telegraph our contempt for women merely by opening our mouths and starting to talk.

You throw like a girl. Don’t pussy out on me, bro! I’m gonna make that job my bitch! Close your eyes for a moment, and substitute any other person-naming noun/pejorative for the words “girl,” “pussy,” and “bitch.”

You throw like an Asian. Don’t Hymie out on me, bro! I’m gonna make that job my nigger!

Suddenly, the mind reels a bit.

Good lord, like most non-racist white people, I had a hard time just typing the n-word — but absolutely stand-up folks, men and women alike, without an otherwise bigoted bone in their bodies, will insult each other with words that describe me and my body, with nary a second thought. They will do it loudly, among friends, in print, on television, in movies. It’s just, you know: The way we talk.

But I cannot help but believe that we hear these things, we women and girls, we hear them, and we steep in them, and they go in and down and twist and burrow into us, and they damage us. They leave vapor trails in our thoughts and scars on our hearts. They tell us, day in and day out, that we are weak, we are not worthy, our bodies are the stuff of mockery.

When you’re someone’s bitch? You’re under their violently-wrested control. When you’re a pussy? You’re untrustworthy. When you’re a girl? You are just plain weak.

And who the fuck would want to be any of that?

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.