What's this blog really about?

You may notice a variety of topics here - from business, to charity promotion, even to local news, but the primary reason this blog was created was to alert readers to the hostile atmosphere and sexual harassment at The Danville Register & Bee. The readers and creator of this blog want a FULL FRONT PAGE apology in the Danville Register & Bee, plus the disciplining of those individuals involved. Until then, we'll continue to post regular updates. To tolerate THIS kind of behavior by a major media network is intolerable. And this isn't just ONE instance. Media General has been sued nationwide for racism and sexism, yet they CONTINUE to keep the offenders employed. Why? And why am I doing this? TRUTH compels me.

Monday, June 30, 2008

One voice and photographs heard round the world

It wasn't so long ago that another lone voice said "No." The year I was born, 1955, Rosa Parks decided she didn't want to give up her seat for a white passenger. She didn't want to sit in the back of the bus anymore. One voice.

How many of you knew that in 1944 African American baseball player Jackie Robinson did the same thing? When confronted by a military officer on a bus he refused to move. He was brought up before a court martial - but acquitted. One voice.

His family and friends may know his name, but to the rest of the world he is known simply as "Tank man" or "the unknown rebel." One voice.

Tank man. That's the nickname of the anonymous man stood in front of a column of Chinese tanks on June 5, 1989 and stopped their advance. It was a photograph heard round the world.

This photo of his protest was taken by Jeff Widener for the Associated Press from the sixth floor of the Beijing Hotel, about half a mile (800 m) away from the scene, through a 400 mm lens. Similar photos and videos of the event were taken by a variety of organizations and flashed around the world.

There are dozens of such protests that we all know, but millions that occur every day. They are the still small voices of people willing to sacrifice all to say, "Stop."

I doubt any of the protesters above expected anything more to come out of their protest than to alert their tormentors that they weren't going to stand there and take it anymore. But they had reached the end of their rope. They were in a place where nothing mattered except they be heard. No matter what happened to them for speaking out, they were willing to do it. I totally understand.

Most crime victims are more than happy to speak out - unless the crime was a rape. Even the media (as a rule, but not always) will shield the name of a rape or incest or molestation victim. Why? Because those are the only crimes in which the shame/blame/humiliation is placed on the victim - not the perpetrator. That's not just my opinion:

This from The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

"Although rape and sexual assault occur at an alarming rate in our society, the vast majority of these crimes remain unreported. Victims remain silent because they fear being subjected to the intense public scrutiny and blame that often follow being named in the media. Our culture continues to condemn the victim for rape and, as a result, an extraordinary amount of shame and silence follow the crime. Publicizing the name of a rape complainant under these conditions only deters more victims from coming forward."

ANY crime involving sex or even alluding to sex, or that subjects women to humiliation - is always blamed on the women. Why? These women THOUGHT they were being filmed for a news story. That's the horror of it. They were simply doing their jobs. Having been a victim of abuse myself I can say three things:

It's intensely humiliating.
It's true - as the victim you are blamed - even when you have done nothing.
It's very hard to speak up and "TELL".

But I learned that if you don't tell, if you don't speak out - nothing changes. And unlike most folks - I LIKE CHANGE.

In and of itself, a snowflake weighs almost nothing. But enough snowflakes can collapse the limb of an oak tree, or the roof of a building. Powerlines easily accommodate one bird. But when flocks of them roost on the line the line can snap or stretch and sag until it touches the ground.

Environmentalist say it's not the fact you alone are recycling 10 cans a week - but the fact that millions of people are recycling 10 cans a week that makes a difference. Voters will turn out in record numbers to elect a president this fall because they KNOW now - ONE voice can make a difference.

Mac McLean's one voice said, in essence, "It's okay to defraud women and humiliate them." He was joined by a newsroom full of men who agreed with him because they laughed and gawked and made rude comments. They then went home or out somewhere and told their friends, who in turn told their friends, who in turn will tell their friends. So the message passed along - as it is every day among men who do this sort of thing, is that it's okay to objectify women, to laugh at their bodies and their sexuality.

Well - it's NOT. I'm one voice too. And I'm saying it is not and will not ever be okay. And I will keep saying it and keep saying it and keep saying it and keep saying it until the voices of those who say it is are silenced. I hope you'll join me.

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