Downton Abbey season 4, episode 2

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For  a one hour episode, there sure was a lot of drama packed into the episode! The highlight was a house party at Downton Abbey, but I say there was no forewarning for it in the previous episode (maybe I missed it). From the list of guests we meet a potential suitor for Lady Mary, Lord Anthony Gillingham. Quite the dashing figure, he come in and subtly reawakens Mary’s spirit. But alas, he is engaged, however we all know that Julian Fellows likes to blow up conventionality for love…

Lady Edith continues her romance with Mr. Griegson, and with the house party in full swing, has him blend into the festivities. Several attempts to bring him and her father closer together fail, but in the end a card game in which Mr. Griegson wins back all the money lost to the card sharp, including Lord Grantham’s finally elevates him to be acknowledged. I’m sure Lord Grantham may have much to say if it comes to pass that Lady Edith moves to Germany to be with her intended. I am happy for her, she deserves the love in her life…

There is continued drama downstairs and it seems like Jimmy is finally falling for the sweet Ivy. Now if only Albert would set his eyes on Daisy, but for now, Albert has his eyes set on rattling pots and pans in a high class restaurant. The new lady’s maid, Edna is silently stalking Branson, and I don’t know if you caught this but she silently slipped into a bedroom at the end of the episode and I’ll bet you dollars to none she forced herself into Branson’s bedroom. She wasn’t the only one forcing herself: Lord Gillingham’s valet forced himself onto poor Anna, with a horrid rape scene at the end while Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was singing upstairs and all the kitchen staff were out of earshot to Anna’s screams. I knew about this happening, and read about the huge outcry in England against the graphic portrayal of a rape scene. But I don’t know that there will be such an outcry here in the states; haven’t read any kind of online protests as of yet. This is not to minimize the fact that rape is a brutal crime against nature, because Anna certainly did not deserve being brutalized. I fear that the fallout from this will drive a wedge between her and Bates, it seems to have already begun. Slate had an interesting take on this, with a story exposing the continued mistreatment of the Downton Abbey female characters. I just hope that Anna can pull herself out of this tragedy.

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Lady Violet continues her background manipulations, correcting poor Branson’s interactions with the Duchess for one, but I saw in her a soft side. Isobel continues to mourn Matthew terribly, and the dowager has been quietly supporting her in her grief. Can it be? The dowager has turned the corner to become an old softie? I for one am glad to see it, this makes her character even more lovable.

The episode is online to stream if you’d like to watch again, I know I certainly will before Sunday nights. The next episode airs on Sunday January 19 on WYES at 8pm with a one hour episode. And while you’re at it, leave the TV on the same channel afterwards, Masterpiece Mystery Sherlock season 3 begins right after.

V-Day Pileup: On Silence and Violence

There are two links in this post I urge you to contribute to, one being the fund for the recovery of the Garden District robbery and rape victim, the other for the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. Read on to see why.

More and more, I’m finding it cannot be avoided, no matter how hard women try. We are still surrounded by people who would put us in what they think is “our place,” a position that tends to be highly restrictive on any and all physical and mental levels.

Tell me I’m crazy. Go on and talk down to me, I dare you.

…the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered. Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some men.

Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.

I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the trajectory of American politics since 2001 was shaped by, say, the inability to hear Coleen Rowley, the FBI woman who issued those early warnings about al-Qaeda, and it was certainly shaped by a Bush administration to which you couldn’t tell anything, including that Iraq had no links to al-Qaeda and no WMDs, or that the war was not going to be a “cakewalk.” (Even male experts couldn’t penetrate the fortress of their smugness.)…

…Credibility is a basic survival tool. When I was very young and just beginning to get what feminism was about and why it was necessary, I had a boyfriend whose uncle was a nuclear physicist. One Christmas, he was telling–as though it were a light and amusing subject–how a neighbor’s wife in his suburban bomb-making community had come running out of her house naked in the middle of the night screaming that her husband was trying to kill her. How, I asked, did you know that he wasn’t trying to kill her? He explained, patiently, that they were respectable middle-class people. Therefore, her-husband-trying-to-kill-her was simply not a credible explanation for her fleeing the house yelling that her husband was trying to kill her. That she was crazy, on the other hand….

Even getting a restraining order–a fairly new legal tool–requires acquiring the credibility to convince the courts that some guy is a menace and then getting the cops to enforce it. Restraining orders often don’t work anyway. Violence is one way to silence people, to deny their voice and their credibility, to assert your right to control over their right to exist. About three women a day are murdered by spouses or ex-spouses in this country. It’s one of the main causes of death in pregnant women in the U.S. At the heart of the struggle of feminism to give rape, date rape, marital rape, domestic violence, and workplace sexual harassment legal standing as crimes has been the necessity of making women credible and audible.

Events and discussions will occasionally converge that lead me to a boiling point on this subject…

Why it’s disgusting and ignorant of you to imply that a woman caught large Mardi Gras beads in a risque manner, for instance. Yeah, it’s one of the oldest, sexist, dumbest Carnival tropes, but it does get tiring after a while. I caught huge, LSU-emblazoned beads just from being at the start of the Thoth parade route. Next Carnival season, I’m gonna ask the next guy I see with giant beads on what he flashed for them.

A list of the 10 cities where women earn the highest salaries is always nifty, but women are still earning less than men.

The horrific news about the murder of paraplegic Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius‘ girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who was an advocate for victims of sexual abuse.

Controversy over the Eve Ensler-organized One Billion Rising Campaign, which I only just heard about today, but I also wonder about its premise…as do many other women around the world.:

I recently listened to a Congolese woman talk in a speak-easy setting of radical grassroots feminists. She was radiantly and beautifully powerful in her unfiltered anger towards the One Billion Rising movement, as she used the words “insulting” and “neo-colonial”. She used the analogy of past crimes against humanity, asking us if we could imagine people turning up at the scenes of atrocities and taking pictures or filming for the purposes of “telling their story to the rest of the world”. Take it one step further and try to imagine a white, middle class, educated, American women turning up on the scene to tell survivors to ‘rise’ above the violence they have seen and experienced by…wait for it…dancing. “Imagine someone doing that to holocaust survivors”, she said.

I had occasion to speak with someone about the recent kidnapping, robbery, beating, and rape of a young woman in the Garden District, and large chunks of the conversation revolved around the same tropes that come up whenever something like this happens to any woman. It all came around to our living in a world where women are taught “not to be raped,” and the suspicion that comes up is generally directed first against the woman who is the victim rather than the perpetrators. When a victim’s first move is to tell her would-be comforters and shelterers “Don’t touch me. I’m evidence,” then we know who the burden of proof is on.

This hasn’t ended with the capture of the criminals and their upcoming trial. Though a large amount of funds has been raised thus far for the victim’s rehabilitation, she will need far more than that – keep contributing here. This friend of a friend of mine will be grateful.

I ask you to also consider that state budget cuts will likely destabilize what structures there are to assist women who have been victims of domestic violence as well – among them New Orleans’ own Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. They accept donations of time or money here.

Know of any other needy organizations in the city or state that help female victims of abuse, rape, or violence? Please contribute names and links in the comments. It’ll be the best Valentine’s Day gift you give. Honest.

Assault on Local Home Health Nurse Precipitates Fundraiser/Outreach Program

The HALO Foundation
Holistic Healing for Violent Crime Victims in Healthcare

On Thursday, January 26, 2012 the crime that persists in the City of New Orleans shocked us again. And this time it hit very close to home. One of our own, a home health nurse, who has dedicated her life to home care service, became another Victim of Violent Crime, another statistic in the long list that pervades our community. At 3:30 p.m., in the middle of a beautiful Thursday afternoon, while arriving at a patient’s home, she was robbed at gunpoint, abducted and assaulted.

We all heard the blip on television that Thursday evening and perhaps even a bit through the weekend. But just how many of us paid attention? Just another crime, we all think. And then more information is revealed. The woman is a home health nurse. Uneasiness settles in as she begins to have a face. We realize she is a mother, a daughter, a friend, a caregiver, one like us and the ripple effect begins. For those in the home care and hospice industries, this is a daily fear. For those in healthcare, we recognize we can sometimes be a target. And all of us in the healthcare industry know the unique needs of a Victim of Violence. We are too acutely aware of the long-term effects these acts can have not only on the Victim, but on their families. We know how long and how difficult the road to healing can be.

We call her “Angel” because she needs and wants to be anonymous at this time. She is surrounded by a strong support group of family, friends and mental health professionals. She is comforted, yet gives comfort. Her strength amazes us. She has many needs that encompass the physical, the psychological, the emotional and even the practicality of financial and legal needs. She must process this, begin a path to healing, deal with the stress of the legal aspects and must have a means of support.

She recognizes she needs help, and is willing to accept. She also realizes how this tragic event has affected the home health and hospice community. As a dedicated caregiver who has experienced violence, she seeks a way to care for colleagues who may in the future also become a Victim, and to also work towards better safety systems and policies.

Through this desire, and her need for anonymity, The Healthcare Angels Lifeline Outreach Foundation a/k/a The HALO Foundation was formed on February 15, 2012. A dedicated fund for “Angel” has been established at Regions Bank for donations directed to her. Donations can be made at any Regions Bank to the account of “The HALO Foundation.” 100% of donations made to this account go directly to “Angel.”

We Need Your Help!

Request for Volunteers: We are currently seeking individuals who want to proactively be involved. Our needs are many and we need volunteers and leaders. We have established the following Committees needing volunteers – Program Development, Financial, Fundraising, Public Relations, Information Technology and a Nominating Committee for the Board of Directors. If you or someone you know would like to be involved, please contact any one of us listed at the bottom of this page.

Fundraising: In an effort to help “Angel” concentrate on healing we would like to assist her financially by sponsoring a series of fundraisers. Currently, we are announcing that The HALO Foundation is sponsoring a fundraising event for Angel’s benefit to be held at Mid-City Rock’nBowl on Sunday, June 10, 2012 from 1:00p.m. to 4:00pm. We are in the preliminary planning stages at this time and are working on entertainment and a Silent Auction. We need volunteers and humbly ask that you consider giving us your TIME to help us plan and execute this event, to assist with planning the entertainment or helping to collect donations for the Silent Auction. Please help us in having a successful and fun-filled event by donating your time.

Please share this with your staff, colleagues, family and friends. For More Information:

Mary Kathryn Nichols
President
504-339-9802
MaryKYoung@att.net mail to: MaryKYoung@att.net

Michele Schellhaas, R.N.
Vice-President
504-296-9001
Mds0919@yahoo.com mail to: Mds0919@yahoo.com

Jane Fountain
Secretary/Treasurer
504-236-9925
Tillytoo@aol.com mail to: Tillytoo@aol.com

The Healthcare Angels Lifeline Outreach Foundation
a/k/a The HALO Foundation
Holistic Healing for Violent Crime Victims in Healthcare

Mission Statement
The mission of The HALO Foundation is to provide support, resources and a pathway for holistic healing addressing the physical, psychological, emotional, financial and legal needs for members of the healthcare community who become victims of violent crime while in the service of administering care to others.

Vision Statement
Our medical community will feel free to administer necessary care to others without fearing for their own safety.

Our Goals
Our goal is simple, yet two fold. We want to provide support and comfort to our colleagues and their families who become victims of violence and to give them a sense of empowerment so they may recover to their full life potential. In addition, we want to be proactive in addressing the safety concerns of healthcare workers in our community. To address these goals we have issued a 7-point plan:

• To provide financial assistance to allow victims and their families to concentrate on recovery;
• To provide a peer support network;
• To provide a network of medical and legal professionals to ensure advocacy through law enforcement, judicial, and healthcare systems;
• To offer in partnership, safety, self-awareness and self-defense presentations, seminars and other professional trainings to healthcare workers;
• To promote community awareness of the daily dangers faced by home care professionals in an effort to promote collaborative community action efforts to stop victimization;
• To work to improve policies and procedures of the medical and legal professions in the treatment of victims of violence throughout the crisis;
• To collaborate with law enforcement and healthcare associations/organizations in an effort to affect the Safety Policy and Procedures and Safety Performance Improvement Plans to better protect healthcare providers working in field positions.

Guest postess Janet Hays – Zion City Neighborhood Improvement Association Event Saturday March 10 at 9:00 am

In response to this recent post on NOLAFemmes, we were contacted by Janet Hays of the Zion City Neighborhood Improvement Association.

I am fully aware – [and horrified] – of the fact that the gang rape that happened last month was at a property in Zion City owned by the president of the BioDistrict.

In light of that rape, we – in conjunction with Councilmember Stacy Head’s office – are arranging a clean up for the Zion City Neighborhood.

As part of the clean up, we are involving women’s groups that may be interested in helping us educate people on mechanisms and resources they can employ to protect themselves from violent criminals. We would also like to amplify the idea that real estate owners should not be allowed to scoop up properties in neighborhoods for the purposes of letting them stay in blighted conditions while waiting for a State buyout or property values to increase. Buyers should be made to do something with the real estate they own within 6 months of purchase in order to contribute something to the communities they ate investing in – or resell to buyers that are truly invested.

We will have informational tables set up for health care and awareness organizations promoting self defense and real community development.

If you or any groups you are affiliated with would like to participate and get you message out, please contact me!

Here is the flyer – if anyone or any groups are interested in participating, please contact the Zion City Neighborhood Improvement Association via e-mail: JusticeZionCityNO@att.net or by telephone: 504-274-6091

This event would be a great opportunity for service learning or community service. Thank you to the Zion City Neighborhood Improvement Association for choosing NOLAFemmes to help spread the word on this event.

gang rape redux 2012

So its 2012, yet there are still instances of horrific crimes against people, against nurses who are on a mission to simply tend to the sick. It happened practically a week ago – a 53 year old home health nurse was brutally gang raped in Zion City, in an abandoned house in the 1300 block of South Gayoso during the afternoon of January 26, 2012. The first appearance in the Times Picayune of this incident occurred on Monday evening, and a follow up report indicates there still is no police report on the crime.

Could that be because the owner of the abandoned 4-plex where the gang rape occurred is owned by (ironically) a CEO of a biomedical company who is developing the planned Tulane medical corridor? I find this interesting…

The location where the woman said she was raped is a rundown fourplex owned by Jim McNamara, president and CEO of BioDistrict New Orleans, the state agency charged with redeveloping portions of the Central Business District and Mid-City into a medical corridor. McNamara said police had not contacted him. In fact, he was unaware of the attack on his property until contacted by a reporter. His brother lives in the only occupied unit on the property and also was not aware that anything untoward had happened there, he said. The attack probably happened while his brother was at work, he said. “I’m sure if he would’ve been there he would’ve stopped it,” McNamara said.

The thing that strikes me is, how in the heck is one man going to intervene in a gang rape of a lone female by six adrenaline fueled men?

I think this echoes the pathetic state of the city of New Orleans, the utter breakdown of the moral fiber that can fuel such an incredibly heinous act, in 2012. And we are relegated to wringing our hands, expressing outrage and praying for the victim to recover both physically, mentally and spiritually.

The first thing that came to mind when I read this story, buried in the back pages mind you, was JoEllen Smith. Miss Smith was a student nurse who was making a house call in Algiers sometime in 1973, and was brutally raped and murdered while on a “mission of mercy”.

JoEllen Smith has been memorialized, having a hospital named in her honor and a memorial scholarship still actively bestowing funds to eligible people 39 years later. But it was quite unfortunate that she was killed while caring for the health of others. I am not comparing the two crimes, but instead I ask when will the lurid segment of mankind recognize the actions of those who serve a selfless mission to ease the suffering of others, without feeding their own deplorable, twisted need to commit vicious crimes against nature?

Come on NOPD…

UPDATE: NOPD has made some arrests in this case – read about it here – and the Times Picayune published an editorial piece on how the NOPD handled the incident in today’s paper.

NOLA Noteworthy

Good morning, NOLA!

Here for your pleasure is another random (as in whenever I get around to it) post of links that impressed me from the NOLA blogosphere as well as articles of interest that are not local but are NOLA-related. Without further ado, you must click over to:

  • Karen Beninato wrote her review of episode 13 of HBO’s Treme, “On Your Way Down”. I’ve mentioned Karen’s reviews here before because I like her style of writing clearly and knowledgeably, as a local,  but without getting mired down in minutia. This episode drew upon the explosion of violence we experienced in the city in 2006 – a situation that was especially heart-wrenching to those of us who experienced the spirit soothing balm of a violence-free few months in the wake of the storm. Probably the only positive, however short-lived, that came out of the devastation. This episode depicted the robbery and rape of our feisty and strong LaDonna and I particularly like how Karen took the opportunity to educate her readers on  rape statistics in New Orleans and to recent political attempts to “reclassify rape victims as “rape accusers,” and  “efforts to split sexual assaults into two different terms, rape and “forcible rape”. Great job, Karen!
  • The rising of the river and threat of flooding was, and continues to be, a concern for New Orleanians and Southeast Louisiana residents. Several local bloggers and photographers have posted pictures of the rising water. Kate over at What I Saw Riding My Bike Around Today blog posted what is a stunning photo of the engorged river from the Holy Cross community with the cityscape in the background. The tranquility of the scene belies the seriousness of the situation but, sweet baby Jesus, you cannot help but admire the beauty of it. Arthur over at Calliope Street blog has been watching people watching the river and posted several photos taken from the French Quarter area and Liprap posted a slide show of river photos that look like they were taken at The Fly.
  • Harry Shearer was on Real Time With Bill Mahr Friday night. I have to confess this was the first time I’d ever watched the show and I tuned in strictly to see Harry. I’m glad I did because I think I like Bill and his show but I know I love Harry who has worked his butt off trying to educate people about the great levee failure of 2005 and exactly who is responsible. He talked a bit about his film, The Big Uneasy, but didn’t get nearly the amount of time to expand on it that I would have liked. Not only did I like this episode because of Harry but also because of Bill’s commentary about Bin Laden’s death, Christians and the teachings of Jesus at the end of the show. Y’all must watch. But not if you’re an easily offended person who thinks you’re a Christian. Just sayin.
  • Dambala at American Zombie went to court Friday for a well-earned day of entertainment compliments of the Mark St. Pierre trial and, in turn, entertains us with a blow-by-blow. Eat your heart out, MSM.
  • If you’re into the local literary scene or just like to know who the hot poets and writers are and who are signing their books around town, check out Mark Folse’s weekly lit post, Odd Words, every Thursday.
  • Aura Fedora’s latest podcast on Backstage On The Bayou is an interview with NOLA’s own hip-hop artist, Truth Universal. Don’t miss it.

Well, it’s past midnight and I’m ready to visit la-la land so off I go. Remember, you can catch many of these stories, and more, weekly via NOLAFemmes on Twitter. Or, you can wait for the random post here. Until next time….