Friday, April 16, 2010

Silent for a Cause

Last Friday was the Day of Silence, dedicated to the end of the (sometimes deadly) bullying and harassment of homosexual people, bisexual people, and transgender people, particularly on campus.

To be honest, I'm not normally fond of the idea of staying silent to promote a cause. I'd rather wear or do something that brings attention to the cause and voice my opinion loud and proud. However, this year, I decided to give the day of silence a chance. I went to my classes with a piece of duct tape on my arm that read "D.O.S-NOH8". I carried cards around with me explaining my silence and I brought a lot of extra duct tape and cards for other people to participate.

The responses I got were almost all positive. Some people gave me hugs, words of encouragement, thumbs ups, and friendly smiles. Some people found the day of silence amusing ("I could NEVER be silent for a whole day! I'm too much of a motor mouth!) Others didn't even notice that I was silent, because I'm normally a very quiet person. My day was going well.

Or at least, it was going very well until it was time for quartet rehearsal. It's not that they harassed or berated me. They didn't. They were actually fairly accepting of my silence (although they did tease me a little bit, but that's to be expected coming from them). It's the discussion that the day of silence led up to. My own day of silence led up to the three of them, all anti-choicers, discussing their silent day. It led up to them pulling out every anti-choice lie and piece of propaganda they could think of.

"Abortion kills women!"

"The vast majority of women regret their abortions!"

"Abortion causes infertility!"

"Most women who have abortions are screwed up and suicidal afterwards!"

"No one actually thinks abortion is right."

and one I've never heard before:

"The only people who have had more than one abortions are prostitutes. Everyone else who has one never has more than one because they know it's wrong." (W...T...Fruit)

And there I was, trying to maintain my silence, thinking about how they had to discuss this at the worst possible time. Normally, I'd speak up. If it were any other day, I would have called out their lies and we would have gotten into a huge argument about abortion (with it being 3 to 1), and then quartet rehearsal would have been totally ruined. However, I felt obligated to maintain my silence on that day, out of respect for my homosexual, bisexual, and transgender friends. I attempted to ignore them by occupying myself by applying rosin to my bow and by tuning my instrument. I felt like I was about to explode.

I was so conflicted.

I thought back to the things I read on dayorsilence.org, and I remembered that it said that you can choose your own level of silence. That was when I decided that I was going to break my silence, in order to call out the lies.

BUT it was too late. They had already moved on to another subject, and it would have been awkward for me to call them out at that time. I let it go, and I totally regret it.

When I went home, I did a little bit of research on their "silent day". I had some experience with it, because I always used to counter protest it when I was in high school, but what I really wanted to know was when it started. Why is there a day of silence to end LGBT harassment, and another day of silence to end women's rights? I had a hunch that someone stole someone else's idea. After searching their the anti-choice silent day website, I found this:

Now, something that started its first year as just a few thousand students from 300 campuses has grown into a world-wide outpouring of love and action. The Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity is in it's 6th year, and last year we had students from more that 4,800 campuses in 25 countries stand together in solidarity.

(emphasis mine)

Just to be sure, I checked out dayofsilence.org and found this:

The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year the event has grown, and now hundreds of thousands of students participate to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior. Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

(emphasis mine)

Now, to be fair, no one can say for sure that the anti-choicer who started Silent Day stole the idea. It's just a thought.

Anyway, I've been thinking about these two days of silence for the past few days. I feel like anti-choicers really enjoy steal- ahem, I mean, using progressive tactics in order to advance their own causes. They take away reproductive liberty and call it reproductive justice, they take away women's basic human rights and call it feminism, and they take a tactic that was originally meant to bring awareness to the bullying and harassment that those in the LGBT community face and turn it into a day that is meant to silence and shame women. Am I the only one that thinks that these people should come up with their own ideas? Isn't it kind of funny to see how they're trying to make their movements look like ours in order to make themselves look better? What do you gals and guys think?

14 comments:

  1. Okay, I have to say, that is so incredible that you were able to keep your silence through those lies! I think I would have spoken out against them. I can't imagine how you did it!

    As for stealing terms and ideas- I've noticed this lately too. There's this push right now in antichoice groups to use reproductive justice for their own ends. There's no justice in taking away choice!

    It's just another tactic, though. We have to continue to be honest and truthful, and let our truth speak louder than their lies and deceit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a matter of being clever in how they word things so that they can entice the apathetic people to their side under the guise of choice. The "women's health centre" RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the clinic I volunteer at has tricked a few of our client's into their house of horrors. The women then come to US and are sometimes distraught. Also wondering why the "choices" presented were only alternatives to motherhood, not pregnancy. It sickens me to know that this place and misrepresent itself as us and get away with it. Welcome to the backwoods of Canada folks...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Any day that anti-choicers choose to stay silent is a happy day for me.

    I agree with your opinion regarding silent protests. My campus had silent marches for Take Back the Night. When I became president of the Gender Equality club, we decided to make it a loud march. I promoted the event with posters that had quotes of domestic violence and rape victims who had felt ashamed to talk about their experiences, over the quote "Silence is violence. Raise your voice." However, I think it was super cool of you to commit to the LGBT day of silence in the face of total ignorance.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi! It's annon again. (My name is Allison BTW)

    While you may think that what they were saying were lies and pieces of propaganda, it does have some truth to it. Again, I wish people (both pro-life and pro-choice) would stop going to such extreme sides and not see the common ground. What those girls said does hold some truth, but neither their comments, nor yours above, are 100% correct. As I said before, we all have free will to believe whatever we want. But in that, both sides need to not be so extreme and see the common ground. My goal is to educate people, BOTH pro-life and pro-choice, that they both have truth to their side, but both have un-truths. There is no need to create a huge argument. I wish people could just discuss the issue with respect and the ability to agree to disagree if needed.

    1. "Abortion kills women!"
    Well, sometimes it does. It is a medical procedure and with any medical procedure comes risks. There have been many cases where women have sought safe and legal abortions only to die from complications. That is a risk with anything medical.

    2. "Vast majority regret their abortions!"
    Again, no one can actually claim statistics on something like this, but I would say a LARGE percent of us DO regret our abortions. If a large percent didn't regret their abortions then Post Abortion Syndrome support groups, post abortion healing books/guides, etc wouldn't exist. To deny this is like calling those of us who do regret them liars. While I 100% believe there are lots of women who DON'T regret their abortions, there ARE lots of us who do.

    3. "Abortion causes infertility!" It can, but so can having sex, STDs, older age, and birth control. So one should say abortion COULD cause infertility, just like having sex, STDs and birth control can. And mostly it is women who have multiple abortions that RUN THE RISK (notice I didn't say 'causes') of infertility...unless the one abortion you had got screwed up (which has, though rare, happened).

    4.
    "Most women who have abortions are screwed up and suicidal afterwards!"

    To call women "screwed up" is a little harsh. But again, I can't say MOST, but a LARGE percent do end up with PAS symptoms- which ARE horrible- and part of that is suicidal tendencies. On the other hand, I have had one woman in my PAS support group whose boyfriend committed suicide and in his letter mentioned that he felt like a failure that he couldn't stand up to his and her parents and couldn't save their baby. So abortion can affect men too.

    Please check out http://www.stacyzallie.org/ This is an organization who does not operate with religious, ethical, or political agendas in mind. Their daughter committed suicide after having an abortion. They offer help to women who are suffering like they felt she did.

    Also, AbortionChangesYou.com is a good place to read about women who have had emotional, physical, and mental changes because of having an abortion. Please don't deny these women their feelings. (For the record, after researching the site, I just see it as a place for women to come together and share their feelings, I don't see it trying to promote any type of agenda.)

    5. "No one actually thinks abortion is right." Well, people obviously feel abortion is right or there wouldn't be such a divide on the issue and there wouldn't be people providing the services. This statement of theirs IS false.

    6."The only people who have had more than one abortion are prostitutes. Everyone else who has one never has more than one because they know it's wrong."

    LOL- that had me laughing too. ;-)

    I hope that you understand where I am coming from. I find some of the comments that those girls made disturbing. But I also don't agree with you that they are 100% lies and propaganda.

    The way I look at abortion is this (and this may be a very bad analogy to some, but it's how I think of it)

    (continued below....)

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have a friend who wants to smoke a cigarette. You have one group of people who say, "Lots of people smoke. It's no big deal." You have another side who says, "You can become addicted! You'll get cancer and die!"

    Both sides have truth to it. That person could smoke that cigarette and never smoke another one again. Or they could become a "social smoker" OR that person could smoke that cigarette and find it hard to not put it down. They could become addicted and could end up with mouth or lung cancer.

    My point is this...wouldn't you want your friend to hear BOTH sides of the story?? You'd want her to know BEFORE she put that cigarette in her mouth. That way she could make an INFORMED decision. She could walk away and decide not to even roll the dice. Or she could decide to go ahead and smoke it and if she ended up with no problems, then good for her. But if she ended up addicted or with health problems then at least she knows that she chose to smoke with ALL the information at hand and she knew it was a risk.

    That's how abortion is. Women need to KNOW both sides- that they could not regret it. Or they could end up regretting it after wards or even years down the road (some women don't regret their abortions until they start having other children.)

    While yes, there ARE pro-life extremists that do live to shame women for having abortions, there are LOTS of pro-life places that offer healing and support for women who have had abortions.

    On the other hand, there ARE pro-choice clinics that support women who are suffering from their abortions and there ARE pro-choice clinics who try to ignore the fact that these women are suffering and try and tell them that they have no reason to be upset.

    Again, I respect your choice to be pro-choice!!! But PLEASE respect the fact that it isn't ALL lies that the pro-life movement is trying to send out. PLEASE be sensitive to the fact that abortion CAN and DOES hurt many women (and men and family and friends).

    For those women who don't regret or suffer from their abortions...more power to them!! But if you want to be an abortion provider, please don't tell a woman that it is all lies that you would suffer from your abortion. PLEASE tell her BOTH sides of the abortion story.

    I see you have websites on the side bar of your blog. Those are great sites to visit if you aren't a woman who is suffering from an abortion. But for a woman who may come across your blog who is suffering, maybe you could point her in a direction to help her?

    Wouldn't it be great if there was a place where BOTH types of women could come to and find the support they needed? Both those that don't regret their abortions and those that do?

    :-)

    Sorry for such a long reply. I just feel very passionate about being sensitive to ALL women who have had abortions. I would never try to tell a woman that she needs to regret her abortion like I do. If she doesn't, then I'm not going to argue with her that she must secretly be ashamed! Just like I would hope that a woman who doesn't feel regret would try and tell me that I'm crazy for feeling ashamed. I love ALL of them...those that are okay with it and those that aren't.

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Allison.

    1. Re: Abortion Kills women

    I didn't mean to say that an abortion has never resulted in the death of a woman. Medicine is called a "practice" for a reason. it's not perfect. i meant to debunk the myth that abortion results in many deaths, and that it's a dangerous procedure, when in fact it's a very safe procedure.

    2. Re: regret after abortion

    I would never call a woman who regrets her abortion a liar, but from the (reliable) statistics that I've seen, most women do not regret their abortions. Of course, some women do regret their abortions, but it is just wrong to say that most of them do.

    http://whyprochoice.tumblr.com/post/497410978/study-says-most-women-dont-regret-abortion-a

    Someone posted that link on Twitter today. They're interesting statistics.

    4. I have a big problem with "abortionchangesyou.com". They're presenting a one sided view, and I feel like they're not there to help women who do regret their abortions as much as they're their to scare women into not having abortions by telling them that they WILL regret their abortion. To me, that organization is another website that's there to shame women who have had abortions and do not regret their procedures. We can help women without shaming others.

    As for the smoking analogy, I'd want that person to be informed with the facts and then left to decide for his or herself. Sadly, I can't say that I've seen any anti-choice organization present real facts to women who are considering abortions. I can't say that I've seen them do anything but push their own agenda. I wish I wish I could say those things, but I can't.

    "But if you want to be an abortion provider, please don't tell a woman that it is all lies that you would suffer from your abortion"

    Telling a woman that she definitely WON'T regret her abortion is just as bad as telling her that she definitely WILL regret her abortion. I would never do either. The only person who knows that woman best is the individual herself. I'm not going to pretend that I know her or her story in life better. I want to be there to help women, not to harm them by attempting to make the choices for them. That's why I'm pro-choice, that's what separates me from anti-abortionists, I think.
    "I see you have websites on the side bar of your blog. Those are great sites to visit if you aren't a woman who is suffering from an abortion. But for a woman who may come across your blog who is suffering, maybe you could point her in a direction to help her?

    Wouldn't it be great if there was a place where BOTH types of women could come to and find the support they needed? Both those that don't regret their abortions and those that do? "

    Thanks for the idea, actually. I'm going to add the link for Exhale right now (4exhale.org). They describe themselves as pro-VOICE. They recognize the fact that there is no "right" way to feel after an abortion. They're not there to tell women that they're wrong for regretting their abortions, and they're not there to convince women to regret their abortions. I feel like Exhale fits your definition nicely-a place where both types of women can come to and find support.

    Thanks for your comment!

    ReplyDelete
  7. “I would never call a woman who regrets her abortion a liar, but from the (reliable) statistics that I've seen, most women do not regret their abortions. Of course, some women do regret their abortions, but it is just wrong to say that most of them do.”

    Sorry, but I don’t believe in statistics at all. Honestly as someone who has a family member who majored in statistics, they have pointed out that you can make statistics say whatever you want them to say.

    http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/57/8/777?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=abortion&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

    This is the study they did. They approached 1,177 women out of 1,749 women that went to the clinic. Already they are approaching women who are emotionally in a tough situation. Out of the 1,177 women they approached they ended up with 882 who agreed to participate. Out of the 882 only 442 of those women ended up being interviewed ALL four times. Which is where they use their “data.” So, 440 women ended up dropping out of the study maybe because they were suffering from PAS and too stressed to talk about it. One cannot know. I can imagine, as someone who has been there, that I would drop out of a study of something if I was ashamed of or regretted my decision. Why did these 440 women drop out of the study two years later?? It would make sense that the 442 women that ended up doing the two year study WERE satisfied with their abortions and willing to discuss that and that the other half (440 women) MAY have been suffering and not wanting to bring it up anymore. There are a few other issues I have with this study, but it is 1:30am so I’m going to make this brief.

    I have a big problem with "abortionchangesyou.com". They're presenting a one sided view, and I feel like they're not there to help women who do regret their abortions as much as they're their to scare women into not having abortions by telling them that they WILL regret their abortion. To me, that organization is another website that's there to shame women who have had abortions and do not regret their procedures. We can help women without shaming others.

    They are presenting the view of women who CHOOSE to give their story. No where on the site does it claim that having an abortion will make them regret it. The author of the site states: There was also a need for a safe space for people to tell their stories, explore the ways abortion has impacted them, and find resources. That’s all it does. It’s not shaming them…it’s accepting their stories and allowing them to heal. It’s just a site where people can go to find comfort in one another and share their story. As someone who has been there, I find the site comforting and not at all pushing an agenda (and trust me…I HATE agendas!!). If you can direct me to where it says that having an abortion is something to be ashamed of or that you must regret it then by all means, I’ll stand corrected. All I see is a community where people can safely share their story of grief.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just like the I’mnotsorry site is VERY one sided and only shows women who don’t have grief over their abortions. On her opening paragraph she says: The stories all have a sameness--"oh, I didn't want to kill my baby, my mean old boyfriend/husband/parents made me do it and the doctors and nurses at the clinic were rude and I bled for weeks and I feel so guilty and I'll never be able to forgive myself.” To me, that seems a little snarky in tone to those of us who do suffer. Like one couldn’t choose to have an abortion and later regret it unless someone made her do it and/or had some horrible experience.

    Anyway, my point is that I’mnotsorry caters to those who don’t regret and abortionchangesyou caters to those who do regret. So it’s okay for women who don’t feel grief to have a support website where they can share how abortion was the right decision for them but not for those of us who feel like it was wrong?? I personally am glad that BOTH sites exist and that both sets of women can find a place of peace.

    “Sadly, I can't say that I've seen any anti-choice organization present real facts to women who are considering abortions. I can't say that I've seen them do anything but push their own agenda. I wish I wish I could say those things, but I can't.”

    Sadly I have to say that I’ve rarely seen pro-choice organizations present the facts that after having an abortion you can suffer from PAS. Out of all my friends who have had abortions and the ladies in my PAS group, not ONE was told about it or any possible negative emotional feeling that may occur. (In the year that I’ve been apart of the group there have been over 50 ladies that have come and gone). Seems that pro-choice places SHOULD tell women about the fact that they MAY regret and suffer from it. I think BOTH sides push their own agenda. BOTH sides need to acknowledge that you could regret it or you could not regret it...and what you feel one day may not be how you feel the next.

    Thanks for putting up the Exhale site. My only problem with the site is that it claims the following: Exhale follows the findings of the American Psychological Association, which has not found a link between feelings that follow an abortion and a psychological condition in need of medical care.

    The APA, while well respected, isn’t all knowing. Sometimes it takes years before doctors will officially identify a disorder (think PPD, Autism, etc)

    But THANK YOU for linking a site where a woman can find help if she needs it! I continue to look forward to reading and commenting on your blog (unless you want me to leave...)


    Allison

    ReplyDelete
  9. The name itself, "abortion changes you" suggests that you should feel regret after abortion, and that if you don't then you're abnormal. It's not called "Abortion CAN change you". They state "abortion changes you", as if it's a fact that holds true for all women. I'm Not Sorry doesn't do the same thing. They don't say that women who regret their abortions are wrong, they're simply providing a space where women who do not regret their abortions can share their stories. That's how I see it. They even say, in that same paragraph "Of course, there are a lot of women who do feel sadness and regret after an abortion, and those feelings do need to be respected." The problem is that anti-choice websites, like abortionchangesyou.com, do not have that same respect for women who do not regret. It's fine for a website to cater to women who do regret their abortions, but it's NOT fine if that website perpetuates the myth that all women must or should regret their abortions. Perpetuating that myth hurts women.

    No, I don't want you to leave. I appreciate having you here. Like I said in one of my earlier posts (I think), I want to hear women's stories and view points. You're also being respectful. There's absolutely no reason for me to ask you to leave, your presence here is very welcome! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. cool! Glad to stick around. I will always be respectful because I believe in the saying, "Do unto others as you'd have them do to you."

    And on that note, on the above issue I'll have to say that we shall agree to disagree. :-)

    Allison

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey, I saw some of your comments on Stanek's site and was lead here. I'm really enjoying reading your blog, and hope everything works out for you!

    Much love!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Allison-

    I can agree to disagree, I'm cool with that. :)

    Other anonymous person-

    Thanks for the love and support! ♥♥

    ReplyDelete
  13. You are a wonderful person and will be a super provider.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Again, no one can actually claim statistics on something like this, but I would say a LARGE percent of us DO regret our abortions. If a large percent didn't regret their abortions then Post Abortion Syndrome support groups, post abortion healing books/guides, etc wouldn't exist. To deny this is like calling those of us who do regret them liars. While I 100% believe there are lots of women who DON'T regret their abortions, there ARE lots of us who do.

    What's up, Allison. The existence of support groups for women who have regretted their abortions doesn't mean a large percentage of women regret having abortions. There are support groups for people who have schizophrenia, hypochondriasis, primordial dwarfism, and kidney transplants. The vast majority of people don't have these conditions, and many people who do do not require or desire help from others. Everybody's different and has different needs. There's no right way to feel.

    ReplyDelete

***PLEASE READ***

Due to constant spam and derailing coming from a few antis, I am now making this blog a "safe place". This does not mean that I won't allow opposing views. It means that I'm not longer going to allow hateful or unrelated/spammy comments. This will continue on until the anti-choice spammers get bored with harassing me and the people who post here, and is especially relevant when it comes to the topic of rape. I hope this doesn't deter any respectful people from commenting. :)