Orange Jumpsuit Or A Shroud?

Written By- Mubina C

“He doesn’t let me see my child!” 

Erica shouted at the other person on the line. It was my second year in college. We had 15 minutes for the Biology class to start and were both waiting outside the lecture hall. She hung up the phone in rage, wiping her tears with the sleeves of her sweatshirt. I could not resist and asked her if she was ok. She looked down in misery with tears dropping on her open textbook. She told me she was fighting a complicated custody battle of her four-year-old son. 

Erica got pregnant when she was a junior in high school. Afraid to be a single parent, she continued to stay in an abusive relationship with her child’s father. One day during an argument, Erica’s boyfriend attempted to beat her. To save herself, she threw a paperweight at him, which accidentally hit her son. He was hurt so severely that they had to take him to the ER, where her boyfriend, upset about Erica fighting back, accused her of hitting her son and child neglect. Since Erica didn’t have a stable job after high school and never contacted domestic violence support about her abuse, her boyfriend was given temporary custody. She luckily didn’t go to prison because the act was proven unintentional but reckless. However, she had to take court-ordered parenting classes and pay an attorney $3,000, given to her by friends and family. Erica decided to transform her life while continuing to fight for her son.

I wondered how many Erica’s there were in the U.S prison who weren’t that fortunate. How many women linger in an abusive relationship with their children too scared to get out? End up getting killed? Alternatively, sent to jail for attacking their abuser in self-defense?. Even with domestic violence support and human services, it is not always easy for abuse victims to get up and walk out. Even after the abuser is detained, he could get out of jail in less than two years. Unfortunately, there is little to prevent a released abuser from returning and repeating the abuse despite issuing a restraining order. 

Few victims 

  • Nan hui Jo escaped an abusive relationship by fleeing to her home country with her daughter. The father reported her for child abduction in 2009. She stated that she didn’t know that she and her child could not leave the country to escape and not violate her U.S citizenship in 2014. She served 175 days in jail and lost her child’s custody. 
  • Marissa Alexander was prosecuted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon to protect herself from an abusive ex-boyfriend. She fired shots at the garage door when she couldn’t get it to open and escape. Even though no one was injured, she was sentenced to 20 years in jail. However, her conviction was overturned in 2013, and she renegotiated a deal to serve three years in prison and two years on house arrest.
  • Bresha Meadows, 14 years old, shot and killed her abusive father in Ohio in 2016. She had reported her father to authorities multiple times but was dismally turned away. She spent a year in juvenile detention. 

The list goes on…

The statistics

In 2018, van der Leun started a project to provide that context and tell the complete stories of battered girls and women serving time for their victimhood being criminalized. Out of 5,098 surveys being sent to 45 detention facilities in 22 states, only 608 were completed. 60% reported abuse before being incarcerated. 43% confirmed their partner abused them. In comparison, 41% killed their abusers while claiming to be protecting themselves. That is 250 women serving years in prison for self-defense. Sadly, This is not even 1/3 of the actual numbers.

Around 4,000 women are killed yearly due to domestic violence in the United States. Approximately 75% of women who are killed by their batterers are murdered when they attempt to leave or after they have left an abusive relationship. So what options are there for women repeatedly traumatized by abuse other than leaving their home in a body bag or handcuffs?

Favoritism In The Workplace

Written by -Mubina Afreen

I parked my car in my workplace parking lot and took a deep breath looking through my updated schedule on my phone. It would be an overwhelming day, and I was trying my best to prepare myself mentally. I told myself I wasn’t the only one. People work to keep a roof over their heads, not because it’s entertaining. I had even talked about this with my friends who told me, “Jobs aren’t supposed to be enjoyable. Favoritism and discrimination happen in every workplace. Suck it up.” That is definitely what I did for some time. One can take legal action for being discriminated not for being a victim of favoritism.

A few months ago, I started working at this ABA therapy center and had already seen enough favoritism and sexism. It’s not like it was my first time witnessing individuals being biased at work. I was disappointed because I earned my undergraduate degree in Psychology and chose to be in this profession, constantly desiring to help others. But felt like this job put my mental health on the line. I had registered for my RBT exam in a week and was on the verge of quitting.

I asked my coworker, hired one week after me, about his schedule and his paired clients. He was paired with a different client for the week, many of them with mild autism that didn’t show much problematic behavior. In comparison, I had the same two individuals with ASD and severe complex behavior for four months every day. Yet, I never complained and was attentive throughout all my therapy sessions. I came to work each day with a positive attitude and even asked my employer for feedback on my sessions. But, I knew I was putting all my energy into something that wasn’t helping me grow. Whenever a monthly therapist competency assessment was scheduled, I was paired with a child I had never worked with before—consistently scoring no more than an 80 because I didn’t know the client’s program well.

I remember calling out sick for a day, and the RBT that took care of my client complained the next day because the client scratched and bit her. So it was decided by the BCBA not to pair her with him again. I went through the very thing but was told to “reposition myself” so I wouldn’t get hurt. A few other BT were going for their RBT exam, but I sensed that I was the only one being treated unjustly. Whenever I talked about an idea, it was ignored. If it was a work-related issue, I was given a “puppy face” and told to “hang in there.” I was good, just not good enough to take up a new task.

I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. Was it because I wasn’t gifting my schedule coordinator fancy gifts?! or complementing or kissing up to the BCBA? Maybe it was not staying late and gossiping about the client’s parents with other coworkers?. So I googled to see if others in the same occupation were having the same difficulty. I was startled at the number of people commenting on a Reddit post about this very problem, some much worse. I scanned through the post, looking for a solution. I did find a few. I did talk to my employer regarding what I was facing. It somewhat got better, and I didn’t feel so burned out. I passed my RBT exam and still work at the same center part-time. Not because I NEED a job but because I like working with my clients and positively impacting their lives. Even if there are hundreds of reasons to quit, find one reason that makes you stay. And my clients and appreciating parents were my reason. I am still searching for better opportunities that will help me improve too. However, I realized that no job would be perfect, but we need to be to maintain professionalism and integrity.

Let’s face it favoritism has taken place in at least one workplace you have been employed, or it might be every. You work your behind off day and night only for Dena, who gives your boss ‘surprise’ gifts to receive the next project. Favoritism in the workplace is toxic and illegal, yet it is still taking place. In a survey conducted by Penn Schoen Berland and Georgetown University researchers, about 75 percent of the survey respondents say they have witnessed favoritism, while 23 percent admit they practice favoritism. In addition, 83% agreed that unfairness leads to worse decisions in promoting people.

Either you can ignore it or talk to your manager about it (I highly doubt they will do anything). Or you can start pointing it out. Let others know how you feel. But if there comes, a time work stress starts to affect your mental health. So then, take some time off for yourself. Maintain your sense of self.

Is pretty a privilege or a curse?

I was waiting in the La Madeleine Bakery and Café queue when I noticed a man in his mid 20’s approach two women seated at a table. One of the women had light neutral blonde hair and was wearing a bright yellow dress complimenting her green eyes. She looked beautiful and seemed pretty tall. He requested to get her number which she politely declined. Before he left, he paid the barista for the young woman’s coffee and breakfast with his phone number on a piece of napkin. The lady, though, seemed a bit annoyed than appreciative after finding out the gentleman had made her payment and left his number even after her rejection. I didn’t blame her for being upset.

This incident I had just witnessed made me question if being pretty was a privilege or a curse. However, I do agree that being physically attractive does have many benefits. For example, a good-looking person has a higher chance of getting a job, a date, less severe sentences, and store discounts. But being attractive has as many downsides.  

“ALL THE GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD”

Not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so. For example, Lauren, a Doctoral Candidate of Clinical Psychology, has stated that “When someone is deemed pretty, they are presumed to be hardworking, kind, and funny- you name it.” People that are considered attractive are compelled to always live up to high standards. Psychologists believe the Halo Effect is why we subconsciously assume people’s appearances reflect their overall characters. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that physically attractive individuals are perceived as more “sociable, dominant, sexually warm, mentally healthy, intelligent, and socially skilled” (Feingold, 1992). Like in South Asia, when a person is attractive and well mannered, he/she is viewed as ‘smart.’ Girls who are lighter skin are treated favorably and get more employment opportunities and marriage proposals. 

“MAYBE ITS MAYBELLINE, OR MAYBE ITS A FILTER”

Social media has made it more damaging for young women in this generation. Instagram and Snapchat filters that alter our facial features have messed with our perception so intensely that we believe that is how we should look in reality. So when one of our pretty friends uploads a selfie, we can’t help but compare ourselves to them harming our mental health. It has become a competition for young girls to be seen as attractive and become famous. For this reason, women are more likely to have low self-esteem and be lonely. An Article in 2018 stated the females have been getting plastic surgery done to look more like their Snapchat filter, known as ‘Snapchat dysmorphia.’ Around 55% of facial plastic surgeons report seeing patients seeking operations to look better in selfies. Teen girls desire to be like the models and influencers they see on social media, even if they are beautiful the way they are. 

BEAUTY VS THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

Aside from friends being envious of you, good-looking young girls are likely to be sex trafficked. In a recent article by Tina Frundt, during slavery, girls of color with lighter complexion known as ‘Fancy girls’ were sold for sex at a five times higher price than those enslaved for labor. Sex trafficking of young and attractive women of color to white males is still taking place in many countries. Unfortunately, only a few of those men are held accountable and put behind bars.

Research has also shown that people are more likely to believe sexual harassment claims by young and attractive women who act more feminine. For example, the University of Washington asked a group of people to draw two women, one likely to be sexually harassed and another who wouldn’t be in such a situation. The result showed that looks matter even in harassment allegations. Furthermore, there is physical attractiveness bias in the legal system. Good-looking women serve fewer sentences while unattractive defendants get severer punishments. 

IT’S EASIER WHEN YOU ARE PRETTY

In my opinion, being pretty is a privilege that society needs to accept. Attractive people are more readily accepted into society while others have to work for it. But, yes, there are a few disadvantages with pretty privilege, life is not always rainbow and ice-cream. People need to stop being bias and understand that looks don’t define a person’s character and that beauty comes from within.

Written By: Mubina C

Women of Color

By-Mubina C
I am a woman of color
the one who is racially profiled
and wrongfully convicted
are my race, ethnicity, and faith such a threat?
why do I wanting the same privilege as you
makes you so upset?
I am a woman of color
who is attacked and falsely accused
for starting a pandemic and putting the world in a troubled state
if only they knew a much worse disease is hate
I am a woman of color
who doesn't get a callback or a job interview
for this reason only, "my name does not sound white enough"
but I keep my head high and remain tough
I am a woman of color
who suffers violent crimes
The world disregarding my silent cries
I am a woman of color who is killed in the name of honor
raised to believe the only way a lady can fit into society is to be proper
if I have the freedom to wear whatever I want
why am I viewed as oppressed
when I choose to cover myself?
Or a flaunter if I am provocatively dressed?
I am a woman of color
who is exoticized and hypersexualized
in American films dominated by white men
objectifying and degrading me again and again
I am a woman of color
who is excluded and have my dreams shattered
like my voice never mattered
everyone ignoring my troubles
If you turn off social media you will see, white women are not the only ones
with tears and struggles

Hate Crimes on Women of Color

Written By- Mubina C

On Tuesday, March 16th, 2021, a white male in his early 20’s Robert Aaron Long, was arrested and charged with murder and assault after shooting at three Atlanta-area Asian spas. Out of the eight people killed, six of the victims were Asian women. Georgia Sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Jay Baker stated at the briefing that the crime was not racially motivated but due to the suspect’s sexual addiction and “having a bad day.” As disgusted as I was listening to that statement, I wasn’t surprised. This was not the first time a white man committing a heinous crime was brushed aside as mentally ill.
The hate crimes in America on Asians have risen since the Covid-19 outbreak. The spokesman also allegedly posted a photo of a shirt on his social media with a racist and anti-Asian message about Covid-19 a few months ago. His social media was immediately deactivated, and he has been removed from the spa shooting case. While Asians are still experiencing hate crimes, people from other ethnicities are now coming together to support the Asian community.

What is a hate crime?
A hate crime is caused by bias against a race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. A hate crime is different than a bias or hate incident, which are acts of prejudice that are not crimes and do not involve violence, threats, or property damage. Sociologists have confirmed there are four known causes why hate crimes are committed. One of the main reasons is offenders feel its thrill-seeking, and hate crime brings them rage. The second is “defense” offenders assume they or their community was/is under threat and therefore committed the crime. The last two are known as retaliation and mission. Retaliation is culprits acting in response to a real or perceived hate crime. Lastly, mission hate crimes are committed when offenders feel hate is the only way to get their way, and their attacks are premeditated.

History of hate crimes on WOC
Women are 2x more likely to experience hate crime than men because they are believed to be an easy target. When a hate crime is committed, judges intensify sentencing power and extend the punishment. Women rights advocates have suggested adding sex and gender to the list, debating misogyny as one of the main causes of violence against women, especially of color.

The most hate crimes in the US took place after the civil rights movement in the 1950s-1960s. The civil rights movement was a decade-long battle by African Americans to end institutional racial discrimination. During that time, African Americans were under constant threat, and many lives were lost. Black women were being targeted and brutally killed before the civil rights movement began. They had also been sexually assaulted by white males to terrorize and dominate the Black community, beginning slavery. However, the rapes of Black women and their psychological torture during the era have limited or no mention in history. Even today, they are racially profiled and attacked because of the color of their skin.

After 9/11, many Muslim and South Asian women were subjected to retaliation hate crimes and feared for their lives. Women who wear the hijab and niqab are a visible representation of Islam and are more likely to face Islamophobic attacks. Muslim women in hijab are still more vulnerable to discrimination and attacks in everyday spaces. My own sister, post 9/11, was picked up and dropped off to college daily by my brother due to the fear of being targeted because of her hijab. Ex-president Donald Trumps Muslim ban policy in 2017 also raised anti-Muslim hate crimes.

Hate crimes against Latinos have too increased after Trump’s 2015 hate speech connecting Mexicans and crime rates. On August 3rd, 2019, a massacre in El Paso, Texas, killed 22 people. Many of the victims were Latinos. The gunman had planned to target Hispanics for days and lead the premeditated attack. Last year in 2020, A Hispanic mother and her daughter were beaten by two white women for speaking Spanish and not English. 2015 wasn’t the only time Trump gave a hate speech to provoke violence against minorities. Soon after the Covid outbreak, Trump delivered a speech and tweets blaming China for the virus and lives lost. Raising hate crimes and speeches against Asian Americans at an frightening level.

What can we do?
Hate crime is a felony in America and hate crime laws allows state and federal prosecutors to charge a defendant with a harsher sentence. Its time we hold individuals accountable for the hate crime they commit regardless of their race and power. As well as political figures who use hate speech as an excuse that its still free speech to incite violence. People who commit hate crimes do not suffer from mental illnesses that make them do the crime (schizophrenia) but show high level of aggression and antisocial behavior which needs to be treated. Educate others and help create safe inclusive communities. We need to put our differences aside and unite against bias crimes.

Hate crime Statistics
In 2019 hate crime data, there were 7,314 hate crime incidents involving 8,559 offenses. In the 2019 bias motivation categories of victims of a single-bias incident, 57.6% was because of race/ethnicity, 20.1% religion, 16.7% was sexual orientation, 2.7% was gender identity, 2.0% was disability, and 0.9% was gender. Of the 6,406 offenders, 52.5% were white, 23.9% were black, and 14.6 Race unknown. 85% of offenders were males above age 18.

My condolences to those who lost their loved ones in Atlanta spa shooting. To my QUEENS who go through hate because of your religion and race
STAY STRONG!

Please “Act like a lady” and don’t worry about him “Boys will be boys”

At least every woman has been told once in her life to “act like a lady” by her mother or older women in her family. It is a term used to control and discipline young girls during the years. Simply it means not to do anything that doesn’t look ladylike in front of society. Acting like a lady has to do with your etiquette. How a female should behave and act in the presence of others. 

Where did the word “lady” come from?

 The term lady was developed in the 19th century and was the equivalent of gentleman. It used to describe only women of high social class or status. The women during that time practiced acting more feminine and classy so suitors would give them attention. The word “lady” itself means strength and respect but has been misused to disparage women. When a girl is told to “act like a lady,” she is described as not equal and having less power than men. People who tell young girls to act feminine are basically saying girls can’t act a certain way or do things because of their gender. Gender stereotypes like this hold women back, making them believe they cannot succeed in life because of their sex. It causes as much harm as telling young boys to “man up” and not share their feelings.  

The problem with “Boys will be Boys”

We have been using stereotypes throughout history to control one gender’s behavior and not the other’s. “Boys will be boys,” for example, has always been used to excuse poor behavior in males for years. The phrase developed in 1589 Britain originating from a Latin proverb, “children are children and do childish things.” however, like the term “lady” was misused to discredit the female gender, the word “children” was switched to “boys” to excuse the attitude and actions of men all ages. The idea that aggression and bad behavior are something boys are born with and expressing that behavior is normal does wrong. Unfortunately, “Boys will be boys” has been used to justify serious offenses like sexual assault (Steubenville 2012 Rape case). The phrase leads boys to assume that they are free to do as they please without facing the consequences because of their gender. 

   What can we do?

Gender stereotyping has been harmful and prevents both men and women from developing their personal and professional abilities. It lowers self-esteem leading to depression and anxiety. We should try to eliminate gender stereotypes and educate others about its damaging effects. Talk and train parents to avoid sexist behavior and raise their boys and girls the same way. Help our children understand stereotyping, and if they feel being treated differently because of their gender, they should address it. 

Written by- Mubina C

Kind Women:May we know them,May we be them, May we raise them

Hey Ladies! Welcome to my very first blog post! What made me decide to start a women empowerment blog, you may ask? Well… two days ago, I ran across an Instagram video of a group of women belittling each other while other young girls watched. TERRIFYING, I KNOW! it made me wonder about the example we are setting up for these young ladies?. So I got on social media and decided to start a blog where women are raising each other, not degrading. My post will consist of gender equality, women empowerment, daily challenges females face, and what we can do to help. I hope my blogs could make a positive difference in someone’s life ❤.

By – Mubina C