Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
Domestic Violence and Financial Stress
We are in the midst of an economic crisis, that much we know. October is national Domestic Violence awareness month, something fewer Americans know. And, we are poised to elect a new President who will address our social and economic needs. Are these related? Absolutely.
Earlier this month, my local abuse shelter and resource center, Abuse, Counseling & Treatment (ACT), did something it has never done before. The center’s director approached the local media, pleading for donations of food and other goods. Their shelves had gone empty by the second week of the month. My suspicion is that they are not the only community organization in this predicament.
As the economy continues to unravel, we can expect women and children to become even more vulnerable than they are right now. Women are more likely to live in poverty, work minimum wage jobs, work part-time, and thus receive fewer benefits despite also shouldering childcare and eldercare responsibilities. To boot, women overall earn less than men for the same work, and Black and Latina women earn even less (Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S.: 2007).
Locally and globally, women and children are the most vulnerable, the ones more likely to suffer the harshest consequences of any catastrophe – caused by human error or nature’s fury, or both. Let us never forget the images of children in New Orleans during the post-Katrina disaster, or the realities faced by their mothers, grandmothers, and sisters. That historical moment signified the urgency of equal pay for women and wages that enable self-sufficiency, the urgency of equal access to quality education as anti-poverty policy, and the urgency of healthcare for all Americans, especially children.
Financial stress is correlated with higher levels of intimate partner violence, which disproportionately impacts women. Homelessness goes up in economic slumps, and we know women and children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless – much of this due to their escaping violent relationships.
As the economic crisis works its way from Wall Street to Main Street, we will see crime, violence, drug/alcohol abuse, and homelessness increase. As citizens we have the moral responsibility to support our communities. The needs of our local shelters, rape crisis hotlines, and women’s resource centers should be met by us with the same attention and pressure for action that our legislators turned towards the crisis on Wall Street.
Americans have a well-earned reputation of aiding distressed communities across the globe. Why is it so difficult to turn that attention inward, to face stark inequality and social ills in our own backyard? If our spirit of generosity is ignited by images of disaster, then we need to take a serious look around.
October marks the final weeks of the Presidential campaigns. With the economic collapse making social and economic policy more of a priority for the candidates, we should think clearly about their records on women’s issues, poverty, and domestic violence. For example, Senator McCain opposes equal pay for women, and opposes restoring family planning services for low-income families – key factors to reducing poverty. Thanks to our legislators in both primary parties, it also marks a turn in unregulated banking, corporate welfare, and denial of the effects of these on ordinary citizens. October marks the importance of understanding intimate partner violence, and upholding laws protecting victims (like Senator Biden’s Violence Against Women Act). What do these all have to do with each other? Clearly, everything.
KRIS DE WELDE is assistant professor of Sociology at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Re-printed from Girl with Pen, www.girlwpen.com.