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Threats and Misogyny (Dislike of, Contempt for, or Ingrained Prejudice Against Women)

We live in a cruel world. But, you are already know that, right?

Today, I felt the nudge to pass on someone else’s blog article not only in hopes of bringing attention to the embedded and horrific abuse pointed out by the article’s author (and victim), but in hopes of encouraging you (especially if you are a woman) to stand up, speak up and never stop asking for change.  I am forwarding this blog because what happened to this women is WRONG, and the neanderthal-istic (yes, I concocted a word) and barbaric thinking that is the culprit of this misogyny needs to end. It needed to end a long time ago.

To be honest, this blog post left me feeling pretty numb. I wanted to retrieve into my own cocoon and never again share a word on social media (or out in the “real” world). However, I soon realized that giving into that fear will never change a much troubled world. This article says it all, and so without further ado, here it is: Is That a Threat? The Slippery Slope From Disagreement to Harassment.

Let me  know what you think.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being

 

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October Book Review: Fight Back and Win: My Thirty-Year Fight Against Injustice-And How You Can Win Your Own Battles by Gloria Allred

“I start every day with the knowledge that helping people and fighting for justice is my duty, and that nothing worthwhile comes without sacrifice, self-discipline, and courage.” – Gloria Allred

Fight Back and WinOne of my latest finds is Fight Back and Win: My Thirty-Year Fight Against Injustice and How You Can Win Your Own Battles by champion of civil and women’s rights attorney, Gloria Allred. An easy to read and very informative memoir, Allred’s book is a compilation of her most meaningful and remarkable cases (most of which she won) followed by short “empowerment lessons” at the end of each chapter. As a women’s and human rights proponent myself, I found Ms. Allred’s book nothing less than inspirational and motivational.

Fight Back and Win: My Thirty-Year Fight Against Injustice and How You Can Win Your Own Battles by Gloria Allred demonstrates how Ms. Allred won very difficult cases despite the imperfect justice system in the United States. Allred has been involved with famous, “high profile” cases such as those of OJ Simpson, Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson, for example, as well as taking on the toughest of the toughest cases and setting precedents as a result. In this memoir, these cases are explained in detail. Gloria Allred is well known for her pioneering work for women’s rights and her tenacity to never quit no matter how bleak things look. She is nothing less than a warrior who has and still does stand up, speaks out and fights for her clients and for the rights of the oppressed. It was a pleasure to read her book!

As of the writing of this blog, Ms. Allred is representing Judy Huth (and perhaps more women) in the case against Bill Crosby, who is accused of sexual battery.

A bit about the author, Gloria Allred:Gloria Allred

Gloria Allred is the most prominent women’s rights attorney in the United States and is one of the most recognized attorneys in the world. Over the course of her thirty-seven-year legal career, Gloria Allred has won countless honors for her pioneering legal work on behalf of women’s rights and rights for minorities. She has been a television commentator on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and Court TV, and is a three-time Emmy nominee for her television commentary on KABC Television Eye Witness News in Los Angeles.

Born an only child in a working-class home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Gloria Allred earned her B.A. with honors in English from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her M.A. from New York University and her J.D. cum laude from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles. She was also awarded an Honorary J.D. from the University Of West Los Angeles School Of Law. As one of the founding partners of the law firm of  Allred, Maroko & Goldberg (AM&G), Gloria and her colleagues handle more women’s rights cases than any other private firm in the nation and have won hundreds of millions of dollars for victims. Allred, Maroko & Goldberg represents victims who have been discriminated against on account of their sex, race, age, physical handicap or sexual orientation. Her firm also represents victims of AIDS discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

To learn more about this incredible woman and her work, visit: GloriaAllred.com.

To purchase a copy of Fight Back and Win: My Thirty-Year Fight Against Injustice and How You Can Win Your Own Battles by Gloria Allred, visit Amazon.com.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being


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September Book Review: The War on Choice: The Right Wing Attack on Women’s Rights and How to Fight Back by Gloria Feldt

I am an advocate for women’s rights. I want what I deserve as a woman: the right to choose how I live my life; the right to control my sexual and reproductive health, the right to live with dignity, the right to choose to reproduce or not, and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Taking away my choice to decide what I do with my own body, and thus my own life, is nothing less than tyranny.

War on Choice

I am not going to highlight the recent attacks on Planned Parenthood in this country in this blog. I will say, however, that the fight for freedom is far from over. I am writing to encourage you (especially if you are female) to read Gloria Feldt’s, The War on Choice: The Right Wing Attack on Women’s Rights and How to Fight Back. Gloria Feldt, former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and founder and president of Take The Lead, has compiled an easy-to-read argument for the right-wing fundamentalist attack on women and their reproductive rights. She argues for and very convincingly proves that the fundamentalist right’s agenda is not only to outlaw abortion, but that it goes far beyond that: it is to control women’s full reproductive and sexual rights. Feldt gives countless evidence in her book showing how a minority of right-wing, misogynists are trying to control women (not just outlaw abortions) for political purposes. They do not care about the life of the unborn, and they surely do not care about women! They care about controlling women by controlling their reproductive rights. Let me be frank: they want to control women because they are afraid of women.

Although The War on Choice: The Right Wing Attack on Women’s Rights and How to Fight Back by Gloria Feldt was published in 2004, it is still relevant because the fight is not over, and only the tactics have changed (as evident by the recent faked videos to discredit Planned Parenthood, as one example). Gloria Feldt, in her book, illustrates how those opposed to women’s rights have fabricated lies and manipulated the public to believe nonsense. It clearly shows how propaganda and very strategic campaigns have deceived people. I recommend this book to anyone seeking information on the subject of women’s rights. I especially recommend this book to young women because it is vital that you understand how your basic rights are being systematically removed.

In case you did not get my point above, let me be crystal clear: the fight for a women’s right to choose is not a gray area. It is black and white. It is no one else’s choice but mine whether I want to reproduce or not. And, if you are a woman reading this blog, it is also yours. It is not a politician’s right; it is not your husband or boyfriend’s right; it is not your mother’s, and it is not your doctor’s. It is yours and yours alone. I do not get to choose what you do with your body. If you are against abortion for religious reasons, then by all means, don’t have one. But, do not impose your religious beliefs on all women in the United States or abroad.

The following is a list taken from The War on Choice: The Right Wing Attack on Women’s Rights and How to Fight Back:

Imagine a country where:

  • The government promotes the myth that a safe medical procedure causes a deadly disease
  • Laws require physicians to give false, ideologically-based information to trusting patients
  • The government’s largest and best-known public health organization censors its own publications under pressure from the administration.
  • Appointees to scientific advisory committees claim condoms are ineffective and can cause promiscuity and disease.
  • Leaders ban promising scientific research into a range of diseases because of fundamentalist religious beliefs
  • Government “experts” are appointed to health committees because of their right-wing ideology, not their knowledge

Now guess what country this is? You got it: The United States of America!

A bit about the author, Gloria Feldt:

Gloria Feldt

Gloria Feldt is co-founder and president of Take The Lead, the new women’s leadership movement to prepare, develop, inspire and propel women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. The bestselling author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, Gloria is an acclaimed expert on women, power and authentic leadership, and an inspiring keynote speaker who motivates with heart and humor as a practical activist. She is former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. To learn more about Gloria, visit: GloraFeldt.com.

To obtain a copy of The War on Choice: The Right Wing Attack on Women’s Rights and How to Fight Back by Gloria Feldt, go to Amazon.com.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being


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February Book Review: The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Vagina MonologuesThe Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler is a poignant and witty collection of informal interviews, stories and experiences related by women from all different walks of life celebrating female sexuality and bringing to light sexual violence against women. The book is hilarious, entertaining, poetic, at times jaw-dropping and admonishing. As an unexpected success, The Vagina Monologues has evolved into a play that is performed in cities across America and in hundreds of college campuses. Although this compilation of stories grew to become very successful performances nationwide, Eve Ensler admits that the idea of its success is not something she even imagined. In her words,” I was never a performer. It did not occur to me that I was actually performing the Vagina Monologues until I had been doing it for about three years. Before this point, I felt merely as if I were telling very personal stories that had been generously told to me. I felt strangely and at times, fiercely about these women and their stories.”

The brilliant winner of the Obie Award, The Vagina Monologues, has inspired the creation of V-day, a dynamic grassroots movement to stop violence against women worldwide. V-day creates awareness through events and the media and also raises funds (over $90 million so far) to support organizations working to ensure the safety of women everywhere. A big rally is held every Valentine’s day in cities worldwide. The vision of V-day is a civilization where women live in freedom and safety. V-day will continue until all the violence ends. When it does end, V-day will be renamed, “Victory Day.”

I recommend The Vagina Monologues to men or women in search of understanding female sexuality, the plight of women, and the unnecessary violence perpetuated towards women. I especially recommend this piece of literature to those who are afraid to read this book (perhaps by the title alone you have preconceived notions about the book; if that is the case, you especially need to read it or view a performance). And, of course, I recommend this book to the feminist or student exploring feminist politics and women’s issues. You will not be disappointed!

The Vagina Monologues will be performed in Denver at the Mercury Café on February 25th, 26th and 28th. Tickets are only $10.00. The volunteer actresses do not receive compensation and all money is raised for organziations helping to end violence against women.

Vagina M Performances

To purchase your seat, please visit: EventBrite.com.

A bit about the author, Eve Ensler:Eve ensler

Eve Ensler is a stand-alone visionary. She is an internationally bestselling author and an award-winning playwright. In addition to The Vagina Monologues, her theatrical works include, but are not limited to: Necessary Targets and The Good Bodies. She is author of Insecure at last, a political memoir, and I am an Emotional Creature, a New York Times best-seller, and In the Body of the World, her latest brilliant work.

Eve Ensler has won numerous awards for her plays and has been given two honorary doctorates. Eve’s mission is to end all violence towards women and girls worldwide. To join Eve in her mission, to learn more about this incredible woman, or to purchase a copy of The Vagina Monologues, visit her website, EveEnsler.org.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.comInspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso


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Want to Know What is Truly Creepy on Halloween?

It’s that time of year when all the goblins and ghosts and scary monsters come out of their holes. Some are utterly frightening and some are mildly irritating. It’s all pretty creepy, if you ask me. But, what monsters am I referring to? Creepy men (yes, this blog is about creepy men, but stay with me here). Creepy men who demean, stalk and harass women. That is what is truly creepy. So, on this day we call Halloween and the last day of October, Domestic Violence Month, I will deal with an important and often misunderstood topic related to domestic violence and abuse: Harassment.

Street Harassment, HollaBack

Harassment is defined as the act of “systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group; or, the act or an instance of disturbing, pestering, or troubling repeatedly.” There are many types of harassment such as (but not limited to): psychological, sexual, gender, workplace, religious, cultural, racial and street. I will discuss street harassment by men towards women in this blog.

I came across the following video of an actress hired by a nonprofit called Hollaback, an organization who is working to end street harassment. She was hired to walk the streets of New York City as an experiment. Please watch this short clip before reading on.

The real motive of street harassment is intimidation. It is to make the target scared or uncomfortable and to make the harasser feel powerful. With worldwide local activists, Hollaback’s goal and mission is to better understand street harassment, to ignite public conversations, and to develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces. Their vision is a world where street harassment is not tolerated and everyone enjoys access to public areas without intimidation.

According to HollaBack,

  • If you’ve been harassed, you’re not alone.
  • Street harassment is used to exert control over others by making them feel scared or uncomfortable. It is much more than individuals just acting inappropriately.
  • There are street harassment “hotspots” in most cities often centered around high pedestrian traffic areas.

If a woman walking down the street does not want to be spoken to or bothered, it is her right. If I am walking down the street minding my own business, I am not looking to meet men, say hello to everyone, smile at everyone, or have a conversation. I am only focused on getting from point A to point B. If I were looking for a conversation or had the desire to talk to a man, I would go to a bar, a place where people socialize or a join an online dating service. Cat calls, stupid remarks, telling me I have a nice ass, staring me down, whistling, making a disparaging comment, and/or following me is harassment. It is harassment because it is behavior that is NOT wanted and is degrading. If it is not wanted and continues, it is not only harassment, it is creepy.

The above video is only an example of what happens to women worldwide. Women are harassed in malls, on the subway, at work, at home, at the doctor’s office, at the coffee shop, at the grocery store, on the bus, at the airport, at the post office, and the list goes on!  Why does this happen? It happens because it is allowed, and it is not only accepted behavior by both men and women, but it is also ignored and made light of (I am sure some of you reading this are thinking I am going overboard with this). It is the result of patriarchy: the belief that woman is created for man and is or is to be the possession of man. Street harassment of women also occurs because of a lack of healthy boundaries and respect for one’s self and others. Men who harass cannot see the woman as a “person;” they only see another “chick” to be conquered. Until this mentality and behavior changes, nothing will improve for women and society in general.

As a woman, it is sometimes frightening for me to walk down the street in broad daylight (much less in the evening), alone, without having to be on guard every moment. I have to have eyes on the back of my head (How is that for Halloween-ish?) and make sure no one follows me, sneaks up behind me, knows where my car is, tries to attack me or rob me. If a man talks to me, he could be my rapist. This is how I have to think based on past experience, and as is demonstrated by this video above. This is how most women have to think when walking alone in order to best protect themselves. I do not live in constant fear of men, but I have learned to be weary of them when out alone and feel that I need to always be on guard. So, when men approach women who are waking on the street (no matter what they say to them), it feels creepy. And, if a man should follow a woman and/or keep bothering her, it is especially frightening.

So, on this Halloween, I challenge you to think about what is truly “creepy.” If you are a man, I encourage you to see women as human beings and not as your entitlement, someone to conquer, or a piece of meat. Women DO NOT have to talk to you, smile at you, give you the time of day, acknowledge your statements (especially if demeaning), smiles or gestures if they do not wish to do so. As a matter of fact, no one is obligated to respond to anyone. We all have the freedom NOT to respond. If you are a man reading this, I encourage you to think about what you were programmed, taught or indoctrinated to think with regard to women. I challenge you to look at yourself and alter your behavior (if harassing) to make this world a kinder and gentler place. I challenge you to stop cat-calling women or viewing them as objects. The next time you see a woman walking alone on a busy or empty street, please remember this blog and act accordingly.

As a woman, I have been “creeped-out” in one way or another, by men, in various circumstances throughout my life. If you have a daughter, a wife, a girlfriend, a mother or a sister, I can guarantee that they, too, have been “creeped out” at some point in their lives.  As a woman who has had to deal with this type of harassment my entire life, this blog was very hard for me to write. My intention is not to disparage men; it is to bring this topic into the open in hopes of shedding some light into how it feels for women in a man’s world and to inspire respectful behavior from men. Please take it as that.

The creepiness, whether on Halloween or not, must end.

To learn more about street harassment or to get involved in ending the violence, please visit iHollaback.org.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso


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October Book Review: Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Controlling Men

Domestic Violence

This month we become aware of what occurs behind closed doors that is rampant in our society: domestic violence. October, the month of pumpkin lattes and autumn-rich colors, is also deemed National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As a subject of interest and experience, I have decided to feature Lundy Bancroft’s, Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, as October’s book review.

What is domestic violence and why should you care?

According to Wikipedia, “Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic context [in order to control the other], such as in marriage or cohabitation. Intimate partner violence is domestic violence against a spouse or other intimate partner. Domestic violence can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationship [and can take] a number of forms including physical, emotional, verbal, economic and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse that results in disfigurement or death. Globally, a wife or female partner is more commonly the victim of domestic violence, though the victim can also be the male partner, or both partners may engage in abusive or violent behavior, or the victim may act in self-defense or retaliation. Domestic violence often occurs because the perpetrator believes that abuse is justified and acceptable.”

A growing epidemic, domestic violence affects individuals in every community worldwide regardless of age, economic status, education level, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or gender. It has been passed on from generation to generation, and if not eradicated, it will continue to destroy equality, freedom and peace, all of which, as inhabitants of this planet, we all seek and deserve.

Lundy BancroftAs a very informative and compelling read, Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Bancroft explains why men specifically choose to control and abuse women. He begins by thoroughly explaining the abusive mindset, followed by the behavior of abusive men in relationships and in the world, and concludes with how we can attain a violence-free world. His book covers early warning signs of abusive relationships, ten abusive personality types, the role of drugs and alcohol in the abusive relationship, what you can actually fix and what you cannot, and how to escape from an abusive relationship.  If you are a woman who believes you are in an abusive relationship, or you have experienced violence in a past relationship, this book will teach you the truth about why abuse occurs and what you can do to protect yourself.

A bit about the author, Lundy Brancroft:

Lundy Bancroft has spent over twenty-five years specializing in domestic violence and working with abusive men. He is also the former co-director of Emerge, the nations for first program for men who abuse women and teaches state and judicial agencies in how to best help and handle abusive men. In addition to Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Mr. Bancroft has written other books including: When Dad Hurts Mom, The Batterer as Parent and Should I Stay or Should I Go?

To learn more about Lundy Bancroft or to purchase a copy of Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, please visit: Lundybancroft.com.

To learn more about Domestic Violence, please read: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Fact Sheets.

To learn more about abuse, control and abusive relationships, or if you are in an abusive situation and are in need of help, please reach out to a trained counselor 24/7 at The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso

 

 

 


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September Book Review: Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Marie-France Hirigoyen

“The goal of abusive conduct is to destabilize the other person and make them doubt themselves and others.” – Marie-France Hirigoyen

Stalking the Soul

The destructive art of making someone doubt themselves is only the beginning of emotional abuse. If a person is able to make another doubt what they just witnessed, heard, or felt, then that person has just gained control over the other, and thus, committed the very misunderstood but definitely widespread and deliberate act of emotional abuse. Often, emotional abuse builds over a long period of time until it becomes so unbearable that victims lash out in frustration and anger, only to appear unstable and aggressive themselves. The intent of many abusers is to systematically confuse their victims with irrational, threatening behavior that preys on the victim’s fears and self-doubts. The end result is an erosion of the soul or spirit.

Marie-France Hirigoyen in Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity brilliantly and clearly demonstrates the dynamics of emotional abuse. Her book identifies emotional abuse in couples, in families, and in the workplace. She explains thoroughly what emotional abuse is, what an abusive relationship is, the consequences of living with abuse, and ends her book with practical advice on how to handle this type of abuse. What I especially found fascinating about Hirigoyen’s book are the several dialogues she included between partners in an emotionally abusive relationship. I found this part of her book very poignant.  I recognized my past abusive relationship in these dialogues and realized how damaging the process of control is and how it almost destroyed me.

As one the best books I have read on the subject of abuse, I highly recommend Dr. Hirigoyen’s, Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity to anyone who seeks to learn what emotional abuse is, or anyone who wants to identify if their current relationships are abusive. You will not be disappointed!

A bit about the author, Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen:

Ms. Hirigoyen is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and psychotherapist specializing in mobbing, a form of bullying. Marie-France Hirigoyen does research on psychological violence and has published several books since 1998. In 1999, she participated in creating a law against workplace harassment, which led to a debate about workplace abuse in France. To learn more about Marie-France Hirigoyen, visit her website: Marie-France Hirigoyen (Please note it is in French).

To purchase a copy of Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity by Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen, please visit Amazon.

Lastly and most importantly, if you think you are in an abusive relationship, or you feel that something is not quite right in your relationship, the chances are high that you are being abused. Seek help. It is there and free for you. Contact The Crisis Center or call 888-247-7472. Stop the slow and poisonous erosion of your identity now.

Vilma Reynoso, www.vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Creative Health. Abundant Life.

Copyright, 2014, Vilma Reynoso