By Anna NietoGomez, Coughing Woman
Custom was that violence against women was private and should not be talked about in public. The women’s rights movement changed all that, and violence against women became a public discussion. Women demanded that they have the right to be safe at home, at work and at play. Traditionalists ignored this challenge, blamed the woman for the violence done against her and took no action.
Then women told their stories. First they began the telling with friends and family, but nothing changed. The story was forgotten, and violence against women continued. Then the telling became public. The telling increased from a solo, to a chorus, from a community to a nation. The telling were stories of all kinds of violence against women, sex exploitation, sexual harassment, rape and physical abuse.
The telling raised awareness that women are not safe, and when women are not safe, the family is not safe. The telling organized a larger agreement that women have the right to be safe in the home, at work and at play. The telling became political when the nation heard the same stories told by so many different women all over the country. Once the telling became political, laws were passed to protect women from violence. But laws are not enough. Courageous Mujeres created MalintZINE, a 21st century feminist magazine for mujeres of all kinds!
It told the story of violence against women in Tucson and of their efforts to stop it. Mujeres voiced to the community leaders that violence against women made community activism a hostile and unsafe place to be. Mujeres asked their leaders to condemn and help stop the violence against women.
But the leaders did nothing, they said the complaints were a nuisance. The leaders didn’t want to know what the women thought or said. They contended that the role of the Mujer was to be seen and not heard, to look pretty and to please the men at night. The leaders said stop complaining, there are more important things we have to do. They told the women to return to work. Lets work together so that Hombres are equal to Gavachos.
The leaders explained that the role of the Mujer was to make the men look good. It was disloyal to complain and air their dirty laundry in public. The leaders said hush, act right! Stop telling these stories, or we may lose the gains that have been made.
The Mujeres said, “Remember Penn State”. Those leaders ignored complaints of violence against students. The leaders perceived the complaint to be the problem, not the perpetrator. They knew the perpetrator and he was good for their program. The leaders agreed, the program was more important than any violence against students.
So the leaders lied to themselves and said they did not receive the complaints. Each time they heard the crowd cheer and basked in their glory, the leaders lied again, “We did the right thing”. So the perpetrator committed violence against students over and over again. And It was unsafe to play.
But the story was not forgotten because there were many more new stories to tell, and finally the telling became public, and the nation heard. Then there were consequences. But the crowd booed at the telling, “It’s a lie. Our leaders made us great, we owe them. Don’t take them away. Who cares what happened to the students.”
The program was not destroyed. Finally the perpetrator and the leaders who covered it up were removed. They longer enjoyed the glory. Again the Mujeres told their leaders, “Remember Penn State, this could happen to you.”
But the leaders refused to learn the lesson. They knew the perpetrators. They were good for the business of civil rights which brought fame, money and jobs. The leaders agreed, the business of civil rights is more important than violence against women. They said nothing, and did nothing. The leaders denied that sexual harassment was bullying, and pretended it validated women’s self worth. They expected women to provide sexual favors for the leaders and their male network. And women got something in return, they were envied for being pretty and desired and they got a free dinner to boot. Women who resisted or complained were discredited as disloyal and crazy. The Mujeres were ostracized, and shunned and feared losing their jobs.
The leaders told the Mujeres: The woman is to blame when she is raped. Change your behavior. If women do not want to be raped, stay home and do not go to play. Don’t drink alcohol, don’t wear short skirts or plunging neck lines.
The leaders did nothing to stop violence against women. They advised: ” Prove your loyalty to the movement, go home, forget about, and come back to work another day.” “It never happened if you don’t have a police report.” “No one will believe you, you’re promiscuous, we know your history.” “Have pity of the rapist, think of the violence against men.” “Don’t criminalize men of color”.
Without consequences, nothing changes, and violence against women remains normal. But Tucson is different . The Mujeres told friends and family, nothing changed, but it was not forgotten. Mujeres created malintZINE to tell their stories. The telling became public. The telling increased from a solo, to a chorus, from a community to a nation. The telling raised awareness that it is not safe for women to be a community activist. Some threaten Mujeres with lawsuits if they do not stop the telling. But the Mujeres persist. With the telling comes support, and allies who will help them make the community safe for women. What do they want? Public support to stop violence against women. A public apology for failing to provide a safe environment for women. A public statement of men acknowledging that gender violence work is men’s work too! Men’s compliance with a code of behavior that respects women’s rights and allows women to live in a safe environment. Social, as well as legal consequences to those who act out violence against women.
After being called on his misogynist oriented blogging and continued spread of misinformation, some weeks ago, DA Morales, also known as Three Sonorans (TS), proclaimed that his blog would be shut down. The TS absence lasted only a few days and many pockets were lined with quick cash from bets won against his promise. We are regretful to have won the bet! At a New Year’s party, Richard M. Martinez referred to Morales as his “publicist” which simply affirmed Morales’ role. Perhaps the bestowment of his role and title is what propelled Martinez’ promoter to begin TS and what prodded him to once again surface the blog and spew continued misogyny and mistruths.
A quick review of the traces of the misogyny in the TS blog, finds that this anointed publicist has consistently used his blog to attack/defame many women in leadership roles, including Adelita Grijalva, Regina Romero, Sylvia Campoy, Kristel Foster, Kim Dominguez and Mari Herreras. Clad in 1960s chauvinism – “Chingon politics”, Morales has referred to feminists as men-haters. His disdain for the Grijalvas seems to influence much of his blogging, as does his seemingly hero-worship for some of the men with whom he closely associates. His position on domestic violence is strong (anti) unless the alleged perpetrator happens to be one of his close associates. Then he goes into subterranean denial and full-blown deflective defense; a strategy of calling attention to anything and everything else except the real issue. The more fires that are lit away from their troubles, the less attention to their troubles!
(Does he- or the person he serves as publicist- think that we don’t decipher such exploits?) And… with audacity only an authentic misogynist can muster, DA Morales then writes a blog admitting his ignorance about domestic violence while claiming his desire to learn about the topic. Of course, this serves only as self-hype and camouflage. (Disingenuous efforts are easily detected when they are so contradictory to one’s repeated actions.)
As if all of these sexist misdeeds are not enough, the topic of sexual assault is one which has been obviously barred from his blog since its very utterance may be counter to “the cause;” the case; film; and potentially damage fund-raising. Ironically, when Morales became aware that this issue was being openly discussed by women, he suggested that the discourse be taken out of the blogosphere and into a more confidential setting; clearly another sexist miss-step. (News flash: Women do not need guidance on where they may speak on this or any issue and certainly will not be silenced through such artificial gestures.)
Bear with us. It does NOT end here, although we do wish it had, long before this point.
Last week the District Federal Court Order adopted all elements of the TUSD Desegregation Plan, which includes Mexican American culturally relevant courses. Curriculum that embraces Mexican American heritage in the form of history/social studies and literature will be developed, approved by the Board, and implemented in every high school by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. Many of us have fought for this! In fact, many of us are anticipating a curriculum that is much more inclusive of Chicana authors, poets and a historical perspective which includes the important contributions of numerous Chicanas. Cause for celebration? Of course, but not according to the TS Blogs on this topic. Since late December Morales’ repeated chant, likely reflective of those for whom he speaks, has been ‘MAS is dead’. Would such declaration be made if it were possible for Sean Arce to vie for the directorship overseeing culturally relevant curriculum? Likely not, since the Morales position prior to Arce’s arrest was that he should be named the director. Within a short period after public knowledge of Arce’s arrest, the messaging from Morales drastically shifted; it was only then that he proclaimed that MAS was dead. His blog makes it appear as though he has poured over the Court Order in order to formulate his position when, in fact, his position was formulated in correlation to the Arce arrest and proceeding fallout.
The most recent blog of February 11th 2013 is condescending, patronizing and diminishes the contributions made by everyone involved in the process to develop the TUSD Desegregation Plan. Morales claims that the individuals who have been involved in the Plan development are all women. He minimizes the contributions of the women who represent the interests of TUSD’s Latino students and who are part of the Mendoza Party, which- from the eyes of a misogynist- is the way his world works. Morales is wrong on this and many other counts throughout the blog. He buffers his presentation as perhaps being erroneous, since he was not privy to much information involving the plan development process due to the gag order imposed by the court. Nonetheless, Morales dives right in and presumes to know what happened during the confidential process, guessing which woman did what in the negotiations. His subtle admission of ignorance of the process is not loud enough and certainly does not hold him back from casting- race and gender based blame and minimizing the contributions of those involved. As was witnessed during the public forums on the desegregation plan and as one can deduce in reading the court documents, several men were involved during the process; but this, like all other misinformation presented does not really seem to matter. The TS blog is filled with assumptions and misjudgments, particularly relative to MAS, and casts ultimate blame largely based on their gender and race. How can a blogger who constantly alleges racism simultaneously exercise misogyny and his own prejudice be viewed as having any level of knowledge on issues of equity and social justice.
But now back to the Desegregation Plan and Morales’ erroneous statement about MAS and its state of being. Morales does begrudgingly admit that the Desegregation Plan does have many valuable elements but perseverates on the death of MAS. What is in the Desegregation Plan relative to Mexican American culturally relevant courses provides the opportunity for improvement and expansion. The courses are to be offered in every high school beginning with the 2013-14 school year and expansion is also included for the middle school and elementary school level. Since when is improvement and expansion deemed as a loss or a death of any sort? Through the eyes of the TS blogger the glass is not half full or half empty; it is empty. No matter how good the Plan, inclusive of the Mexican American culturally relevant courses, it was anticipated by many that sour grapes would manifest from DA Morales and those for whom he seems to speak. If they could not be the ones to deliver a win, then how dare anyone else do so; especially women!
With stone throwers comfortably standing on the sidelines and taking continued actions to obstruct rather than contribute, it is difficult to assess how much harm they may actually impose by demoralizing supporters and convincing some that we have lost. Just two weeks ago, TS printed a piece written by Richard Martinez suggesting that the desegregation money be stripped away from TUSD; $61,000,000 per year. Were this to happen, it would cause irreparable harm to all students in TUSD, most of whom are students of color. Such damaging rhetoric is expected from the extreme far right Republican factions of our state; not from those who purport to support the rights of students of color. The floating of such a proposal on the brink of the Court’s decision on the Desegregation Plan is unmistakably an attempt to deflect, distract and destroy. Some have said that this is the ultimate sour-grapes nuclear attack strategy that has been reserved if certain conditions were not met by those on the sidelines hurling the stones, such as Morales and Martinez. Their conditions have self-imploded! Their strategies have been faulty and have not worked; their case has not yet had a win (and we genuinely hope it does); their fund raising has failed; their man will not head up the department that oversees the work on Mexican American culturally relevant courses; their overall support and credibility is dwindling and their support base has been fractured- much due to the constant display of sexism. None of these failures have been externally imposed; they have all been self-imposed. Yet, their attacks and continued polarization persist. Instead of celebrating a significant “win” for our community; they jointly chant ‘MAS is dead’ or shallowly propose to extricate desegregation dollars from our school district as a means to deflect and distract from our monumental win. Who exactly does this serve? Certainly, it does not serve the students or the community.
TS reflects misogyny, prejudice, anger, mistruths and polarization which is not a foundational voice for social justice. For any who continue to read TS, understand the deceptions you will encounter and search out the facts elsewhere.
We need to continue to celebrate our WIN and acknowledge our individual and unified role in obtaining it – the struggle and work that lies ahead. We must rebuke the propaganda that is being hurled around (‘MAS is dead,’ the idea to extract desegregation dollars from TUSD, etc.). We must remain engaged in pressuring TUSD to implement the Desegregation Plan and we must not allow for any further polarization.
How was the Chicano Pope chosen? Did I miss the anointment ceremony? The Chicano Pope proudly grinds the biggest axe to attack those who do not heed his mandates and demand for complicity. This is a call for the Chicano Pope to thoughtfully engage in the issue of accountability. After all, it was the Chicano Pope who wrote, “What is so frustrating about politics is that there is so little accountability. We can continually screw up as my students would say and are not accountable. Because we as a society are ahistorical, we are unable to sort out the lies that our leaders tell us or correct our own errors…The biggest obstacle to furthering a Chicano, Latino, or anything you want to call it agenda is a lack of accountability.” Wise words but is the Pope exempt from heeding them?
The Chicano Pope feigns objectivity and freely admits that “In times like these I have found myself trying too hard, and becoming a motivational speaker instead of a teacher, relying on what some may call hyperboles to make my point.” He also proclaims that he is “protective of the legacy of the sixties.” Is the Chicano Pope trying to suppress intellectual inquiry that does not fit into his hero making narratives? Are the accusations that Reies López Tijerina molested one of his children off limits? Or does this history not matter? A few months ago the Chicano Pope openly encouraged us to embrace another “martyr” by boasting, “Based on my reading of history the stock of Sean Arce will reach epic levels. If he were living in California or Texas there would have been at least a half dozen corridos (ballads) written about him.” The Chicano Pope has been silent on this issue, why?
Maybe the Pope “dreads” going to NACCS in San Antonio because for the last two years he has used the organization to peddle charlatan leaders who silenced and threatened those who disagreed in Tucson. Or does this history not matter? People donated to ethnic studies and defense funds because the Chicano Pope had blessed these fundraising efforts. Are these organizations going to offer yearly reports that detail where all the funds were spent? The Chicano Pope asked us to donate to these causes and held the collection basket in his hands as he blessed those who reached into their pockets. Where is the accountability?
The Chicano Pope has made it clear that, “If people would be held accountable, this would put people on notice.” Chicano Pope, this is your notice. You have sold Chican@s short and out. The paper trail you leave in this lifetime grows each time you lead the Chicano choir in nationalist hymns and engage in perverted reasoning aimed at silencing dissent in order to achieve a “Wonderful Life.” What you offer is delusion.
Stop using smoke and mirrors to encourage ignorance and to discourage deeper examinations into shameful, antifeminists and homophobic histories. Stop casting stones against your CSU Northridge colleagues, NACCS and anyone who disagrees with you. And, realize that you do not have the power to dictate where outrage should be directed. This message is also a call for the Chicano Pope to examine his conscience. Stop seeking conformity. Embrace new ways of thinking and listen to youth instead of preaching to them. This is hard to hear because your narcissism gets in the way, but Chican@ Studies will not crumble if you retire. New forms and people will step in and build on what it is and once was. And, yes, it might even be better. Don’t be a Chicano Pope who presses for the conservative and traditional.
It is time.
and if even they fell got back up and joined to our sides,
who know the depth of a woman,
and who we find even in this age, beside us:
A Million Million Gratitudes……. The next poem is not for you.) I twice slept with a man named Macky Lopez
I think a lot of women did
He’s a mack daddy penis-driven cunning man,
Revolution somewhere hiding beneath the piles he left of shit He’s a predatory feel-sorry-for-me type
A misogynist tries-to-break-women man
He should have a sign around his neck like “Beware. Beware. Beware.” He once told me he had the power to “really mess with people’s minds.”
He meant Power in the Indigenous sense. (..You hear me?)
He messed with mine. For damn sure.
He once said “straight is boring”
and by this he meant: a woman here, a woman there, let the chaos rule the hour. He said he wouldn’t be with a white woman –
his particular quota of pain and fuckedupshit
is saved for the brown wombynsisters.
He showed me glimpses of love, care, and depth,
but they vanished so quickly I found myself chasing mists.
He made me crazy, and I hate the rage I spent on him.
I hate too its erasure, its silence –
used and abused.
( ! …Oh hell na. Hell no.) Some people say that womanizers don’t love women
trying to I’s/(mine) her whiles they eyes her,
faking love for lust.
Some people say that a man trying should be given a chance
but sometimes you can tell they just ain’t trying hard at all
and their chance won’t be written on my back,
or on other sisters’ backs.
If a man ain’t trying let him be alone, and not be messing with us women. Sometimes a man uses his Leader-ship like a Throne from which to get Access
Leader-ship getting him into schools, youth and health centers
Throne keeping him from accountability
Access leaving things ever open for him
I saw how easily he hid me, saw how he tried to isolate me from another woman victim.
What at first felt like energy was unmasked to be crazy manipulation
And it leaves me with so many concerns…
He says he’s a community worker but I guess I wonder
in what sense he’s working the community. Once upon a time I thought I was falling in love with this misogynist – Me! ?? !!!?
What was the reason for my blindness? What blinded me from my Spirit?
This ? is full like this women’s movement is full, and getting deeper
!Praise be though! – my Spirit be strong and It called me back from the Grave! !
And I walked away.
Gave Thanks. What I want to say: is you didn’t have the right to pursue me.
You didn’t have the right with her either.
Or her (or her, or her, or her….)
You don’t have the right to lie to women, fuck with lives and deny deny deny. I wish I wrote your name out that’s how much I wanna protect
my future sister from the shit you put us through
But it’s not just you…
It’s not just your name.
And I hope you heal – find the courage to transform
And I want Revolution. Revolution doesn’t just mean guns and takeovers. It means you stopping your bullshit.
It means all of us stopping our bullshit. Fighting our own demons.
What a battle! And a way to honor this life and our place within it.
I want Revolution.
And I want my Sisters to be safe. I want my Sisters to be safe
I want my Sisters to be loved
I want my Sisters to have authentic care, respect, honor, trust, and love. Everyone needs love, Everybody deserves it.
It seems the thing we miss the most sometimes these days.
I lived for many years with a great man and we loved from an infinite place
to an infinite place.
I know love, a blessing, and I sat under its tree so many days.
Deeply grateful, I want this for us all
Want Revolution I write this for the Young Men:
May you turn from this man’s example.
Walk the Path, Bring the Health, Show the Respect
Be the Revolution in your Spirits I write this for the Women:
May you Heal, Trust Yourselves, DeepStrongProud Sacred Spirits.
Walk the Path, Bring the Health, Show the Respect
Revolution in your Spirits …Anyway, I count myself unlucky in many more ways than one
for having sex with that man cause it wasn’t even fun. (not at all)
It was a bit unnerving
You know what I mean? Mack Daddy Lopez on the make, on the scene.
truth, courage, compassion, effort, equality, and safety