Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sexual Crimes: Life, Death or Conditional Release?

“In the criminal justice system crimes of a sexual nature are considered the most heinous of crimes” and are some of the most severely punished crimes, unfortunately that does not refrain the mounting numbers of child molesters or rapists. It’s actually a recent news braking story that inspired me to write this article that I will try to spread as much as I can to influence as many people as possible because some things are just not acceptable.
This story changed my outlook on many things, the story of Jaycee Dugard, an 11-year-old California girl kidnapped in 1991 by a CONVICTED sex offender, Phillip Craig Garrido who, after a motorcycle accident became a violent drug user, only to rape a 14-year old in 1972 when he was 21, but unfortunately his case didn’t go to trial as the young girl refused to testify. A year later he married his high school sweetheart who tried to run away from him several times as he was abusive and violent, when she finally did manage to escape him he followed her to another state and kidnapped her then raped her under the threat of a weapon in his car. When police arrived to investigate the parked car his wife called for help and Garrido was then charged with and convicted of crimes in both federal and state courts. In a 1976 court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, Garrido was diagnosed as a "sexual deviant and chronic drug abuser." The forensic psychologist wrote that "Garrido’s 'sexual deviation' could have been caused by four years of daily LSD use, along with regular abuse of marijuana, alcohol and cocaine. Garrido also testified in court that he took pleasure in his car by the side of grammar schools and high schools while watching young females. Garrido was convicted on March 9, 1977 and began serving a 50-year federal sentence on June 30, 1977, at a jail in Kansas.
At Leavenworth, Garrido met his new wife who married him in prison. Unfortunately even though Garrido’s crime was despicable on January 22, 1988, he was released from Leavenworth to Nevada State Prison, where he served seven months of a five-years-to-life Nevada sentence. He was of course still on probation and under conditional release, but on June 10 1991 an 11-year old girl; Jaycee was seen taken into a car by a woman, a woman who is now known as Garrido’s wife, then, the whole of California and even America started a “Find Jaycee” campaign but was her parents didn’t know until a few weeks ago is that their daughter was only a few miles away. Garrido then fathered two girls with Jaycee, one when she was 13 in 1993 and another when she was 18 in 1998 and for 18 years, up until the young woman stumbled into a police station at the age of 29 saying she is Jaycee Dugard, the captive endured constant rape and assault.
You are probably wondering why all the details, well I just hope you realize the extent of the damage this man has made, so tell me now had this man served full term, 50 years, he would have been released at the age of 80 unable to rape or harm any girl, therefore isn’t it much better if he would have stayed in his cell? Then here comes some scary facts: Every 6 minutes someone is raped in LEBANON 86% of child abuse is not reported in LEBANON 77% of rapists do not get convicted for lack of testimony, up to 4,315 pregnancies may have resulted from these attacks, and the list goes on. So why are these incredible statistics not challenged or at least published? Why is it that we are so blind to crimes that destroy lives! A couple of years ago when I was still in school I learned of an 8-year old girl literately dropping dead in a school and once her body was autopsied it was clear that she had been subjected to rape for a long time and her body finally crashed. Later that month as I asked about what happened I was shocked to learn that the little girl’s father and uncle were convicted of raping her and that all the evidence incriminated the two men who “took care of the girl” who only spent weekends at her father’s as she was a divorce child. However, as both men had high placed friends and big wallets both escaped time and are now roaming free able to harm other children. What is the most aggravating is that this story made me realize how weak our system is, as contrary to many countries we do not have a warning system, no indication of where a sex offender might me, as many could be living in our very neighborhood, how is that in any way ok? We do not see the danger and yet it’s here and it’s more dangerous as we ignore it. Of course many cases in the US are unsolved but at least effort is being made towards that goal, psychiatrists put at the service of victims, in Lebanon no effort is made, and believe me until a minister’s daughter gets raped, nothing will change, even then the odds of an effort being made is futile as women In Lebanon are blamed for “enticing” the man into raping them and their family will try to cover up to safeguard the girl’s “reputation” and image of “virginity” and “purity”. The statistics I got were from a friend who works in the department of youth in the ministry of justice as no other PUBLISHED statistic is reliable, that is if a statistic is found. Most people know the saying “Forewarned is forearmed “, and I believe that we have a chance if we are informed and if we try to use this information in the productive and try to make a difference, personally I’m taking my case to the “Kids Alive” and it’s not necessary you reach officials but warn you parents, protect you siblings and yourself, don’t become paranoid, but it’s true safety first. Crimes in Lebanon are so protected and kept quiet that you’d think we live in a perfect world, but we don’t. Anyone of us can be raped anyone of our siblings could be molested even though “ignorance is bliss” but where’s bliss in assault? When it happens nothing takes it back, so don’t be victims, be power driven protectors, take self-defense class maybe, and never forget a no is a no, whether it’s your husband or a strange man, rape is rape and we must not be silent nor pacifists.
Ignorance is not bliss it’s misery waiting to happen and even though we go on with our everyday lives awareness in this situation is to me as important as AIDS or cancer awareness. Hence I leave you with my final thought, had Phillip Craig Garrido served life and had all his victims testified against him, would Jaycee be a 29 year old victim, or a 29 year old happy fulfilled human being?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wives And Mistresses

Over the centuries men have had wifes and naturally , mistresses.
And the wealthier the man , the more numerous the mistresses.
As it were , it was a Requirement for a King to have mistresses , especially while their wives were pregnant.
And nowadays not much has changed every once in a while a story erupts about a famous man who's been keeping a secret affair.
And so as the centuries go we keep memories of famous mistresses who had a big influence whether politically or financially and managed to go down in history as great women who managed to stand out at times when women were considered as nobodies.
Women like Madame Pompadour , mistress of the King Louis XV of France or Lady Elizabeth Foster , mistress to Duke of Devonshire or Marylin Monroe, mistress to John F. Kennedy , or even more recently Camilla Paker Bowles , mistress To Prince Charles , of Wales.
But , while i was researching this subject that has always interested me i noticed that no one mentioned how tight knit the relation between wifes and mistresses became and how the presence of the mistress actually , on many occasions became as vital for the wife as for the husband.
In Georgiana Cavendish's case , Lady Elizabeth was a sure ally on many occasions. The women's relation started out as friendship, when Cavendish met Lady Foster at Bath , and learned about Elizabeth's problems with her husband, who kicked her out and deprived her of her children.
So, sympathetic Georgiana takes her in and develop a growingly affectionate relationship with her , until one day she walked in on her husband and her best friend.
This discovery destroyed Georgiana on many levels, even though her husband had showed her any affection , it was more loosing Elizabeth that caused her pain.And , as time went by Georgiana couldn't stand living under the same roof with the lovers. When the time came it was Elizabeth who helped her stand up to her husband and manage to keep her children and live a decent life.
In the book , The Color Purple , the relation between the abused and demure wife Celie and proud extravagant mistress Shug Avery. Celie is constantly beaten and morally abused , it's only when Avery walks into her life , as her husband's mistress that it starts to change she is confronted to the other kind of woman, the kind liberated and strong.
Many years after she meets Avery Celie develops feelings for her and the two start a love affair , and that only pushes Celie further through to liberation as she is now convinced that she worthy of being loved and starts standing up to her husband and manages to obtain her liberty and reestablish her pride.
In the case of Henry VII , his mistress Anne Boleyn , who later became his wife suffered from his choice of mistresses, one of which was Mary Boleyn , Anne's sister.
But it was later discovered that Anne picked Mary to be Henry's lover herself as she was worried that an outsider to her family would come in and cause actual damage to the marriage.
I also noticed that mistresses really were the pioneers of what is now a feminist as they firmly instated themselves and managed to remain some of the most powerful influences of their lover's lives. It is also very ironic to notice that most of the Kings' mistresses are usually their wifes' maids of honor who are supposed to be their to support the Queen and become her confidants.
The ability of women to cope with the presence of a mistress has always been brought on because of helplessness and dependence but in some peculiar case the mistresses became the wife's best friend and ally as they had true influence on the Man.
And so after i struggled with is idea for a long time i have finally come to terms with it , as girls were raised around their father's mistresses , and so expect their children's lives to be similar.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wow... we really can make up excuses! Live A Little!

It's really amazing to me how many excuses a human being can make up to explain a failure of any sort. Whether a game , a competition , an audition, an exam , there is always an excuse .

So why is it so hard to admit that we failed. ?

Is it our because we're exposing our weakness or is it related to a lie pattern we've been developing since early childhood? Don't they teach us to lie by telling us not to lie?

Yes, but at the same time we are taught that admitting our weaknesses only makes us stronger, but as they lead by example shouldn't we find a proof for words? And if we do? Doesn't it open up a door for others to walk in and eat us up?

So that's it? We make up excuses to avoid getting swallowed up or really judged for who we are, because if people criticize our lies covered body it bounces of leaving shallow wounds , but if we tend to expose the real person under the mask ,the lies, the made up personalities isn't this vulnerable state the most dangerous of all?

It's safe to say we all go through times where we wish our lives were like a fairy tale minus the wicked witch... a series of enchantements and delights , and holding on to this aspect of our childhood is what allows to sometimes overcome and overgrow the plastic face and feel real and genuine . It's really hard to realize but it happens, we are not in a musical were the hero and heroine outsing their troubles, and live happily ever after .

But nothing should stop us from trying. And considering a person naive because they refuse to loose the joy of being truly happy, even if it's for a moment, in their head , is a cynical way of rejecting the possibility of leaving the anger and resentement behind to appreciate a moment of fantasy.

We were born children for a reason to touch the idea of innocent pleasures, and keep this memory with us , whether eating cotton candy on a sunny afternoon or playing hide and seek in a garden, taking a bath with toys and splashing arround, watching a cartoon....
This to me is happiness. The only one that matters.
Reviving the child letting him out for a moment, forgetting the responsibilities and troubles of adulthood.

So in the words of the great Marley ... Don't Worry Be Happy!!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Enslaved by Words and Liberated through them

As social and "civilized" creatures we have one permanent addiction: words.
We use words to meet our match, measure our opponent, evaluate our environment, we feel we have control over them, use them to send out a message or an opinion.But what we fail to realize is that we are slaves to our words.
The more we let them out the more they lock us in, and instead of allowing us to socialize and get human contact; words eventually shut us in and create barriers.
Words are our most powerful weapon but like all great powers, put in the wrong hand or in this case mouth, words can cause irreparable damage.
And even though we take words for granted and forget their value we desperately need them to stay sane and release the thoughts threatening an overheating brain.
Words are so crucial that even the deaf mute have their own sign Language that enables them to go through their silence into blissful noise, because even if we don't like to admit it we cannot stand the silence,we cannot stand the loneliness it implies, which is why we fill our lives with words and sounds; and instead of going back to the essential form and value of words they're now tools to keep the silence away and keep us from staying alone with our thoughts.
This is what leads up to formalism.
Pushing all sorts of artist to seek the "return to the source", even artists like Enki Bilal , know for his use of colours and imagery who is "back to black" in his comic drawings, a real rupture announcing that change is finally coming in all the art's forms.
People fed up with the mockery made of words and their use: feeding people great ideas and messages to fill up voids and distract them from the importance of the status of the word itself.
In texts like "Love In the Asylum" by Dylan Thomas, it's clear that there is an attempt to centralize on the essence of words instead of searching "deeper" -which evidentially leads to overlapping the text- and getting lost in futile effort of trying to find the bigger meaning , thus forgetting the pleasure of Literature as it is: unapologetic and unjustified.
Formalism gave us Literature students a power that we might not realize yet, the power to be unique , independent and legitimate owners of a profession that is not within everyone's reach or range, and this gives back to Literature what was taken ,
the Legitimate right to just be.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Female Icons

Female Icons:
it's not very often that we hear or read this expression, as few Females are actually considered as icons but i am pleased to report that humanity is Finally on the right track of evolution recognizing Females and the decisive role they play. Finally in 2009 women are being acknowledged but the irony is that it's a fashion magazine who decided to treat the subject -not an actually serious journal- , who chose 7 Females out of 7 decades...really? is that all we managed to contribute over 70 years?
What about the rest of the "ICONS" what do we tell them? Ur contribution was not relevant?

The reason for this seems very clear to me. Most these icons, if not all did things reserved to Males by definition, a pilot, a revolutionary , an industrial promoter, an independent businesswoman, an activist. Titles reserved for men, usually.
Is this the only way for women to stand up and prove that they exist and that they are valuable for and in society? But still in the end of the day a tribute is already an effort that has to be recognized even though i considered it as a publicity stunt.

It was also women world award a couple of weeks ago, an award given since 2004, intended for women who have influenced the world by their work in areas such as society or politics.So even though it's through baby steps change is coming and frankly it's about time!

Just an Introduction

My blog , being that we have the option of making our own choices is not going to be only about literature or about the course we are taking.
And i just thought i should share this information beforehand.
Thank u!