Most girls are relentlessly told that we will be treated how we demand to be treated. If we want respect, we must respect ourselves.
This does three things. Firstly, it gets men off the hook for being held accountable for how they treat women. And secondly, it makes women feel that the mistreatment and sometimes outright violence they face due to their gender is primarily their fault. And thirdly, it positions women to be unable to speak out against sexism because we are made to believe any sexism we experience would not have happened if we had done something differently.
I cannot demand a man to respect me. No more than I can demand that anybody do anything. I can ask men to be nice to me. But chances are if I even have to ask he does not care to be nice. I can express displeasure when I’m not being respected. But that doesn’t solve the issue that I was disrespected in the first place.
I can choose to not deal with a man once he proves to be disrespectful and/or sexist. But even that does not solve the initial problem of the fact that I had to experience being disrespected in the first place.
As a young girl, I wish that instead of being told that I needed to demand respect from men that I had been told that when I am not respected by men that it’s his fault and not mine. But that would require that we quit having numerous arbitrary standards for what it means to be a “respectable” woman. It would mean that I am not judged as deserving violence based on how I speak, what I wear, what I do, and who I am.
After months of planning and hard work, Illuminate Austin was a huge success! From the time we decided to bring the walk back after a six year hiatus, SafePlace staff have been saying that the walk is a visual representation of Austin’s support for domestic violence and sexual assault victims and survivors, their families, and for the work we do. Because it was the first year back, we set our goal at 500 attendees, and more than 800 came out on the day!
We loved seeing how different teams chose to show solidarity. Many came out in their Illuminate Austin T-shirts, or wearing their corporate logos. One team came dressed as superheroes, while others wore shirts that honored family members lost to violence. The contrast felt right for an event that was about memorial and celebration, that had both fun and solemn moments.
Before the walk, many people pinned their own stories, their reasons for walking to Betty’s Wall, the wall honoring the memory of Betty Beal.Those stories on the wall, and all of the people who came on the day, were a visual of how many lives are touched by violence. There were 727 people registered the day before the event, and more showed up to walk on Saturday. The walk is a true community event that anybody could attend. There was a registration fee for those who wanted an Illuminate Austin shirt, but people were also more than welcome to come participate at no cost.
The walk included two loops around Mueller Lake, one in remembrance of victims, and one in celebration of survivors. The first loop of the walk began in the last moments of daylight. As the sun went down, the lights began to glimmer, reflecting off of Mueller Lake, and every part of the pathway around the water was crowded with people committed to ending abuse and violence.
Thanks to the efforts of our amazing teams and participants, we have already exceeded our fundraising goal and the Illuminate Austin donation page will remain live through March. Our volunteer Walk Committee also deserves a shout out for the months they put into bringing back the walk.
We look forward to making this an annual event that gets bigger and better each year.
Abusive Expectations - Makes impossible demands, requires constant attention, and constantly criticizes.
Aggressing - Name calling, accusing, blames, threatens or gives orders, and often disguised as a judgmental “I know best” or “helping” attitude.
Constant Chaos - Deliberately starts arguments with you or others. May treat you well in front of others, but changes when you’re alone.
Rejecting - Refusing to acknowledge a person’s value, worth or presence. Communicating that he or she is useless or inferior or devaluing his or her thoughts and feelings.
Denying - Denies personal needs (especially when need is greatest) with the intent of causing hurt or as punishment. Uses silent treatment as punishment. Denies certain events happened or things that were said. Denies your perceptions, memory and sanity by disallowing any viewpoints other than their own which causes self-doubt, confusion, and loss of self-esteem.
Degrading - Any behavior that diminishes the identity, worth or dignity of the person such as: name-calling, mocking, teasing, insulting, ridiculing,
Emotional Blackmail - Uses guilt, compassion, or fear to get what he or she wants.
Terrorizing - Inducing intense fear or terror in a person, by threats or coercion.
Invalidation - Attempts to distort your perception of the world by refusing to acknowledge your personal reality. Says that your emotions and perceptions aren’t real and shouldn’t be trusted.
Isolating - Reducing or restricting freedom and normal contact with others.
Corrupting - Convincing a person to accept and engage in illegal activities.
Exploiting - Using a person for advantage or profit.
Minimizing - A less extreme form of denial that trivializes something you’ve expressed as unimportant or inconsequential.
Unpredictable Responses - Gets angry and upset in a situation that would normally not warrant a response. You walk around on eggshells to avoid any unnecessary drama over innocent comments you make. Drastic mood swings and outbursts.
Gaslighting -A form of psychological abuse involving the manipulation of situations or events that cause a person to be confused or to doubt his perceptions and memories. Gaslighting causes victims to constantly second-guess themselves and wonder if they’re losing their minds.