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The Expulsion of Rep. Steve Lebsock: These Are Not Your Hunting Grounds, Anymore.

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On March 2, 2018, Colorado Representative Steve Lebsock was expelled from the Colorado Assembly for acts of sexual harassment against five women. Writing this sentence gives me goosebumps: it actually happened, someone was held accountable!
Rep. Lebsock harassed numerous women. Five came forward describing various lewd and offensive acts. For example, one woman described Rep. Lebsock reaching out, unprompted, and unbuttoning her shirt while they stood at a public function. Another woman, a lobbyist, described him asking her to have sex. She responded it was “off the table” and he answered, “It doesn’t have to be on the table.” And of course, his colleague Rep. Faith Winter came forward to explain that she said “No,” not once, not twice, five times, while Rep. Lebsock grabbed her arm. There are several other examples contained in the report developed by an outside investigator.
First, why do these statements and actions matter? What makes them offensive? While I know why these words and …

If You’re Not Angry About the “Gun Debate,” Get Out of My Way: I’m Angry for the Both of Us.

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I don’t know how I found out there was an “active shooter” situation affecting my children’s schools. One moment I was having a normal day and the next my kids were being held at their Elementary and Middle Schools, as well as the nearby daycare until the situation was “resolved.” I remember sitting in my living room watching the door, listening to the silence left by the absence of four children. The time for them to come home had come and gone. And I waited. There is nothing like the heaviness of silence left by the absence of children, nothing. I heard the helicopters flying overhead, wondered if they were police or news, and waited. I didn’t know whether it was one or more shooters. I didn't know if shots had been fired or where the shooter was or how heavily armed he was. I imagined a white male with an AR-15 roaming my streets. I live five minutes from the school so I didn’t know where the threat was but I knew it was close. And I waited.
Finally, unable to take it anymore, I…

The Angry Teenagers: The Heroes We Don’t Deserve.

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A review of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and news outlets illustrates the Gun Debate madness: doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. The conversations are the same; the talking points are the same, the outcome is the same, which is what extreme gun advocates want. And we give them what they want. Politicians follow suit, by also failing to take action. Liberals and conservatives jump on various bandwagons and fall into the trap of thinking that there is no middle ground. And on either side of the aisle, adults fail to take the lead.

I don’t claim to make comprehensive policy suggestions in Facebook posts, Instagram hashtags, or 240-character Tweets. And I certainly don’t claim to offer comprehensive policy changes in an 1154-word blog post. However, I do suggest some retorts to soundbites which were meant to and were able to, halt all sound governance on the subject of gun control.

First, let’s take the big one: “Banning all guns violates the Second Amen…

Women's Right to Vote is Not 100 Years Old: The Continued Whitewashing of US History.

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Try Googling the sentence “US Women’s Right to Vote.” The first entry, the featured one, states, "Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote."
This is false. 
More importantly, it is ignorant and harmful. And yet, we unthinkingly accept it as true, time and time again. Over the weekend I was at an American Bar Associations Women’s Caucus meeting, and a lovely speaker stood up in front of the assembled female attorneys to tell us about the wonderful things the ABA had planned to celebrate the centenary of women’s right to vote. There was clapping and silent shoulder-patting. There were three black women in the room. They were immersed in their phones. Now, I indeed cannot read their minds and I have no idea if they were simply focusing on work (as I do during most meetings) or pointedly uninterested because they knew this conversation …

Why #MeToo Has Not Gone Far Enough: Due Process and the Price of Transparency.

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Since the spark that lit the #MeToo movement, harassers and abusers have been unmasked by victims coming forward, finally coming out of the shadows, sometimes for the first time in decades. From the members of the US Gymnastics team coming forward against Larry Nassar to actresses telling their stories of victimization by Harvey Weinstein, the tree of sexual aggression has been shaken and rotten fruits are falling down left and right. The list of men accused of predatory behavior keeps growing:  Matt Lauer, Bill O’ReillyR. KellyLouis CK, Woody Allen, Russell Simmons, Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, and of course Donald Trump. Some have launched and contributed to the “Shitty Media Men” list. As described by The Daily Beast, “The accusations levelled in the spreadsheet (the versions this writer saw contained dozens of men) veer into criminal behavior, including physical and sexual assault. Some men’s names are highlighted in red, to indicated that they’ve been accused of 'physical …

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly : Coming of Age as a Sex Object -- Part III: The Good

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At 18 my husband and I were broke and in college. One thing lead to another and I ended up working at a strip club as a waitress and then as a hostess. It wasn't as bad as you think and it taught me a lot about the service industry, the adult industry and life.

While only spent seven months in the “adult entertainment” world, it left me with lifelong lessons and impressions. (I eventually left to become a Legislative Aide in the Texas House of Representatives--which is a story for another day).While working at the club I was surrounded by young women mostly aged 18 to 25. A high proportion of them were high or drunk most nights. They had complicated family lives and many of them—not all—were financially, emotionally, and physically vulnerable. We dwelled in darkness, between predatory clients, sleazy drug dealers, and the fabrication of intimacy. The “girls” walked around wearing their work clothes: enticing tops, thongs and eponymous stripper heels. Waitresses wore more but often …

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly : Coming of Age as a Sex Object -- Part II: The Bad

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While assault and violence are not always par for the course, harassment and victimization are. Harassment and victimization include non-violent acts of aggression. This is where pernicious misogyny lives. It is harder to deny a punch, a kick, or a slap than it is to deny a micro-inequity, tacit discrimination, mistreatment masquerading as propriety or, worse, flattery. The “Bad” of sexual objectification is its casual existence in everyday life. This is the truly hard part to eradicate.
I was around 20 years old when I came back from a legislative internship in the Texas House of Representatives. After spending five months on a small stipend living in Austin and commuting to Houston to see my husband, I was finally home. I was also unemployed and having no luck finding a job. By way of random connections, a Houston lawyer found me and offered to hire me. He would pay me $500 / week to work on an anti-tort reform campaign. That was fine by me. Week after week, I phone banked, block wal…