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The Right to Be Miley Cyrus

The press seems over deluged with stories of stars and starlets behaving really badly. The past couple of weeks seem overrun with gals going out in public dressed like Fredericks of Hollywood models. Rihanna's barely there plunging necklines and open sided outfits often leave me wondering how they stay on in a light breeze. Lady Gaga went to dinner in a shockingly see through outfit that exposed her bare butt; I'm not sure what kind of dining warrants a dressed up thong.  But Miley Cyrus's MTV performance topped it all with not only revealing fashion, but a 'dance routine' that was tasteless and near pornographic.

These are all talented women, but instead of promoting their hard earned musical skills they're flaunting their assets (pun intended). I was tiring of reading stories about promiscuity and even more concerned that these women are our young peoples' role models, when I ran across a news article that put all this silliness into perspective. In North Korea Hyon Song Wol and 11 members of the Unhasu Orchestra were executed by machine gun fire as their families were forced to watch. Why? For allegedly making and selling a sex tape. While there are possibly political reasons underlying the execution, the fact is that creating pornography was reason enough for the government to assassinate these 12 performers.

That story quickly reminded me of the freedoms we have in America and what stark differences there are in our treatment of women as compared to many countries. Violence against women worldwide is epidemic, and in some countries punishment for unacceptable behaviors like talking back to your husband or being seen without a head cover are cruel and torturous. In fact according to UN Women it's a major cause of death and disability; rape and domestic violence are more dangerous than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war and malaria.

So while I may find Miley's performance vulgar, perhaps racist and decidedly entertaining, it's good to live on a country where the only backlash is bad press. Many women sacrificed much  so we'd have the rights we do... how we use  those freedoms is up to us.



The Right to Be Miley Cyrus

The press seems over deluged with stories of stars and starlets behaving really badly. The past couple of weeks seem overrun with gals going out in public dressed like Fredericks of Hollywood models. Rihanna's barely there plunging necklines and open sided outfits often leave me wondering how they stay on in a light breeze. Lady Gaga went to dinner in a shockingly see through outfit that exposed her bare butt; I'm not sure what kind of dining warrants a dressed up thong.  But Miley Cyrus's MTV performance topped it all with not only revealing fashion, but a 'dance routine' that was tasteless and near pornographic.

These are all talented women, but instead of promoting their hard earned musical skills they're flaunting their assets (pun intended). I was tiring of reading stories about promiscuity and even more concerned that these women are our young peoples' role models, when I ran across a news article that put all this silliness into perspective. In North Korea Hyon Song Wol and 11 members of the Unhasu Orchestra were executed by machine gun fire as their families were forced to watch. Why? For allegedly making and selling a sex tape. While there are possibly political reasons underlying the execution, the fact is that creating pornography was reason enough for the government to assassinate these 12 performers.

That story quickly reminded me of the freedoms we have in America and what stark differences there are in our treatment of women as compared to many countries. Violence against women worldwide is epidemic, and in some countries punishment for unacceptable behaviors like talking back to your husband or being seen without a head cover are cruel and torturous. In fact according to UN Women it's a major cause of death and disability; rape and domestic violence are more dangerous than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war and malaria.

So while I may find Miley's performance vulgar, perhaps racist and decidedly entertaining, it's good to live on a country where the only backlash is bad press. Many women sacrificed much  so we'd have the rights we do... how we use  those freedoms is up to us.



Setting us Back 30 Years

Historically in  rape cases the tactic of blaming the victim (she was promiscuous, wore tight clothing, was intoxicated, shouldn't have been there) was used to rationalize the reason for the rape and absolve the offender of accountability. After all, if the victim doesn't have a stellar reputation it's OK and understandable to rape her, right? 

Well it seemed we were making strides in this area. In the Steubenville rape case, teenagers who were  high school football heroes were found guilty of rape of an intoxicated girl.  The US armed forces are under scrutiny for failure to adequately respond to sexual assaults. So just when you think things are improving, a Montana judge  proves you wrong. Judge G Todd Baugh gave minimal jail time of just 30 days to a middle aged teacher  who had sex with a 14 year old student. Why only 30 days? Because the victim, whom the judge had never met,  "acted older than her chronological age...and was as much in control of the situation" as the offender. 

A child, not even old enough to drive,  was on a level playing filed with her middle aged teacher? She was legally not of age to consent to sex. And he was a trusted authority figure. Perhaps the most tragic evidence that she was not in control of this situation is that the victim committed suicide as the case progressed.  

While Judge Baugh apologized for his insensitive words he defends his sentencing. He  has been on the bench almost 30 years. While our society has become less tolerant of sexual violence in those 30 years, it's clear he's still living in the past. 

How devastating for the girl's parents. First they find she was raped by a teacher. Then they lose their daughter to suicide. And now a judge trivializes the sexual assault, placing the blame on their deceased daughter instead of the adult male who knowingly violated a 14 year old child. Our society is better than this judge's decision. The parents of this girl deserve better from our criminal justice system.

Setting us Back 30 Years

Historically in  rape cases the tactic of blaming the victim (she was promiscuous, wore tight clothing, was intoxicated, shouldn't have been there) was used to rationalize the reason for the rape and absolve the offender of accountability. After all, if the victim doesn't have a stellar reputation it's OK and understandable to rape her, right? 

Well it seemed we were making strides in this area. In the Steubenville rape case, teenagers who were  high school football heroes were found guilty of rape of an intoxicated girl.  The US armed forces are under scrutiny for failure to adequately respond to sexual assaults. So just when you think things are improving, a Montana judge  proves you wrong. Judge G Todd Baugh gave minimal jail time of just 30 days to a middle aged teacher  who had sex with a 14 year old student. Why only 30 days? Because the victim, whom the judge had never met,  "acted older than her chronological age...and was as much in control of the situation" as the offender. 

A child, not even old enough to drive,  was on a level playing filed with her middle aged teacher? She was legally not of age to consent to sex. And he was a trusted authority figure. Perhaps the most tragic evidence that she was not in control of this situation is that the victim committed suicide as the case progressed.  

While Judge Baugh apologized for his insensitive words he defends his sentencing. He  has been on the bench almost 30 years. While our society has become less tolerant of sexual violence in those 30 years, it's clear he's still living in the past. 

How devastating for the girl's parents. First they find she was raped by a teacher. Then they lose their daughter to suicide. And now a judge trivializes the sexual assault, placing the blame on their deceased daughter instead of the adult male who knowingly violated a 14 year old child. Our society is better than this judge's decision. The parents of this girl deserve better from our criminal justice system.

The Humanitarian Games to be launched at Youth2’s “Karma Kickoff” – Saturday, September 14th

Come to lunch, support the Games!

Youth Squared – Youth Helping Youth – is hosting “The Humanitarian Games” – a new kind of scavenger hunt that uses modern technology (smart phones) to encourage kids to take action promoting social good. This is a new take on an old game – one that we hope will appeal to families and kids. Participants will travel the community to do ‘good deeds’ and then, via electronic wizardry, will get their next ‘assignment’. It’ll be a challenge; it’ll be great fun!

What’s better? The good deed activities are all in support of area non-profit organizations.

To launch the Humanitarian Games, Youth Squared is hosting a luncheon fundraiser, “Karma Kickoff”, on Saturday, September 14, from 11-3 pm at the Harvest and Hearth Restaurant on County Rt. 67.  Harvest and Hearth’s famous wood fired artisan pizza and salads will be served. At the luncheon, Youth2 will give a presentation on its activities in the community and debut the theatrical work “Cycles of Kindness”. There will be other fun activities, a raffle, “do-goodie” bags and a “Table of Gratitude.” Adult tickets are $20 and youth (12 and under) are $12.  For ticket information, please call Beverly 518-281-9130.

Thanks to Saratoga Wire for helping develop the “Humanitarian Games”. Thanks to Stewart’s Shops, the Nordlys Foundation, and The Adirondack Trust Company for sponsoring the Games. And thanks also to the community organizations (including DVRC!) who have provided the service activities for the game participants!

Youth2 – Youth Helping Youth, celebrating its 10th anniversary, is a Field of Interest Fund formed under the guidance of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. Check it out: www.youthsquared.org!

The Friend Zone… redefined

Life is filled with opportunities to make a difference. Some are public and life transforming, like Antoinette Tuff's heroic conversation that deescalated a would-be shooter in a Georgia school. Other opportunities are nestled quietly in our daily lives, the way we think, interact, and voice our values.

Here's a video of an amazing guy, talking about women, sex, and what it means to be a friend. He challenges us to take a hard look at our social values and how they contribute to sexual violence. We all fear the masked stranger in the bushes, but most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Or in Dylan Garrity's words, "The stranger in the alley is real, but not as real as we are." As  He's redefining the Friend Zone...and what it means to be a friend.

Watch this video. It's funny, edgy, and powerfully insightful. Dylan Garrity is a  stand up guy and a role model for what it means to be a man.

Warning, mature content...but the message at the end of the video is priceless.

The Friend Zone… redefined

Life is filled with opportunities to make a difference. Some are public and life transforming, like Antoinette Tuff's heroic conversation that deescalated a would-be shooter in a Georgia school. Other opportunities are nestled quietly in our daily lives, the way we think, interact, and voice our values.

Here's a video of an amazing guy, talking about women, sex, and what it means to be a friend. He challenges us to take a hard look at our social values and how they contribute to sexual violence. We all fear the masked stranger in the bushes, but most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Or in Dylan Garrity's words, "The stranger in the alley is real, but not as real as we are." As  He's redefining the Friend Zone...and what it means to be a friend.

Watch this video. It's funny, edgy, and powerfully insightful. Dylan Garrity is a  stand up guy and a role model for what it means to be a man.

Warning, mature content...but the message at the end of the video is priceless.

Everlasting Love… Step by Step

What  do you do when  your happily ever after ends in divorce after 16 years together? Do you replay over and over the coulda. woulda, and shoulda scenarios...and to what end? For Gerald Rogers that introspection evolved into a touching letter about how to truly love someone. These lessons learned the hard way, are a reminder that love grows when we nurture it. It's great advice for newlyweds, but also a wonderful reminder to anyone in a relationship.

Gerald Rogers' words of wisdom are heartfelt and touching. Number 20 pretty much sums it up, but the nineteen preceding tips provide the step by step manual. It's written for guys, but applies equally to both genders. If everyone followed this sage advice, we wouldn't need agencies like DVRC. Thank you Gerald Rogers for this eloquent advice.

Everlasting Love… Step by Step

What  do you do when  your happily ever after ends in divorce after 16 years together? Do you replay over and over the coulda. woulda, and shoulda scenarios...and to what end? For Gerald Rogers that introspection evolved into a touching letter about how to truly love someone. These lessons learned the hard way, are a reminder that love grows when we nurture it. It's great advice for newlyweds, but also a wonderful reminder to anyone in a relationship.

Gerald Rogers' words of wisdom are heartfelt and touching. Number 20 pretty much sums it up, but the nineteen preceding tips provide the step by step manual. It's written for guys, but applies equally to both genders. If everyone followed this sage advice, we wouldn't need agencies like DVRC. Thank you Gerald Rogers for this eloquent advice.

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