Tag Archives: Abuse Culture

Modern-day culture wars are playing out on historic tours of slaveholding plantations

These statues of enslaved young boys are part of a modern-day depiction of southern plantation life at the Whitney Museum in Louisiana.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Kelley Fanto Deetz, University of California, Berkeley

Located on nearly 2,000 acres along the banks of the Potomac River, Stratford Hall Plantation is the birthplace of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the home of four generations of the Lee family, including two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee.

It was also the home of hundreds of enslaved Africans and African Americans. From sunup to sundown, they worked in the fields and in the Great House. Until fairly recently, the stories of these enslaved Africans and of their brothers and sisters toiling at plantations across the Southern U.S. were absent from any discussions during modern-day tours of plantations such as Stratford Hall. Continue reading

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The Only Moral Stand

Census Bureayu map of Sayreville, New Jersey. Graphic via Wikimedia Commons

Census Bureayu map of Sayreville, New Jersey. Graphic via Wikimedia Commons

We write a lot of stories about people avoiding responsibility. Whether it’s BP trying to get out of paying for the Deepwater Horizon disaster or the NFL with their ongoing domestic abuse scandal, it seems as if nobody’s willing to own up when they do something wrong. This week, we have an exception to this.

Last Thursday, Sayreville War Memorial High School in Sayreville, New Jersey unexpectedly cancelled their football game against South Brunswick. The next day, Sayreville Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard Labbe said in a press conference that the cancellation was due to significant allegations reporting unacceptable conduct within the football program, and announced that the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Sayreville Police were investigating the matter.

On Monday,  Dr. Labbe announced that the high school football program was cancelled for the remainder of the season. “There was enough evidence that there were incidents of harassment, of intimidation and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level and at a level at which the players knew, tolerated and generally accepted, Based upon what has been substantiated to have occurred, we have canceled the remainder of the football season.”

The players, parents and townspeople were unhappy about this decision. You see, Sayreville is a powerhouse in New Jersey high school football; they’ve won the Central New Jersey Section IV championship three out of the last four years. The last thing they wanted to see was their prize football team being told they can’t play again this year.

On Tuesday night, the school board met, and unanimously approved Dr. Labbe’s decision. School board president Kevin Ciak said; “It’s a sad situation to be in, but I really believe, at the end of the day, when we come back next year, it will be with a stronger sense of commitment and character.”

Of course, there were numerous people who disagreed. Derek Rodriguez, a senior on the team, said: “We’re not going to have that closure of finishing our senior year and going out like we wanted to go out. It got taken from us for something that we didn’t even know that was going on.”

Madeline Valet, the mother of one of the team captains, said; ““No one was hurt, no one died. I don’t understand why they’re being punished… I don’t believe the punishment fits the crime.”

We beg to differ. Any form of hazing is unacceptable, and if the police and county prosecutors are involved, we’d think that it goes beyond mere hazing. As it happens, it definitely goes way beyond that. We’d like to think that the parents and townspeople didn’t know about the actual facts before they shot off their mouths. As for the players’ denials, who do they think they’re kidding?

Occupy World Writes applauds Dr. Labbe and the rest of the school board for taking the only truly moral stand over this. For the people who are upset that the season’s cancelled – you are what’s wrong with society.

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Isolation Nation

By Andrew Bardwell from Cleveland, Ohio, USA (Jail Cell) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Andrew Bardwell from Cleveland, Ohio, USA (Jail Cell) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Few victims of domestic violence ever get their day in court. When they actually do, it represents a person who has been attacked so heinously that the authorities who wish to dismiss domestic “disturbances” can not turn a blind eye. And the victim will sit through court, hearing the defense for the abuser attack personal character, behavior, values and judgement so as to cause the court to determine what was meted out was asked for, and the REAL victim is the person on trial, as if a marital contract or a “relationship” gave someone control over another.

And every once in a great while, the abuse victim can still win. The abuser is sentenced according to the laws of the state and the federal government of that jurisdiction. The abuser spends time waiting for release so revenge can be taken somehow on the cause of all their troubles, since taking actual responsibility for one’s actions is completely foreign to this type of person.

In a recent article, The Price of Principle, we talked about a personal story with a much larger meaning. Following the posting of that story, I wrote a letter to the organization that oversees a competition, where the winners go on to represent their state in an international competition. When the organization awarded a spot in this competition to the convicted felon, they were not aware of his infractions with the law. When I notified them, their consultation with the parole officer resulted in the exact opposite of what I had hoped for, but points to the larger problem within our society.

The convicted felon’s parole officer was already aware that the felon was breaking the terms of his “extended supervision”; but also stated that he supported the felon in doing so. The parole officer felt it was important that the felon adjust and “be social” rather than live in isolation. As a result, the organization has decided they will take no action or withdraw this person from proceeding in the competition.

When the very authorities given the responsibility to see that the terms of parole and extended supervision are met, instead choose that the criminal be more “adjusted” and “social” in their world than the victims they have created, there is something seriously wrong. Not only with our criminal justice system, but also an obvious failing in the protection of public safety by those who can not or will not demonstrate enough remorse to fulfill the length of their sentence for the crime committed against another.

What we see as the REAL issue and the most fundamental part of the problem: Until our society begins to show more regard, respect and thus more protection of the VICTIMS of these crimes, NOTHING will ever change.

In this particular story, I again am forced back into a life of isolation so that the convicted felon can exercise his “right” to circulate in the very vicinity of where his actual victim, not myself, currently resides. SHE has no protection, even after winning in court and surviving her injuries. I am reacting to the panic disorder and PTSD left by my own abuser, who will never see the inside of a jail cell as a result of his abuse.

In cases such as these, where EXACTLY is justice served?

Victim’s Rights are Human Rights.

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