Have you ever been to the Angoulême Festival and/or are you planning to ?
No, and not exactly. I’d absolutely love to go to Angoulême—I’ve wanted to for years—but right now, the only way that’s going to happen is if someone decides to send or bring me as a guest. International travel is way out of my budget for now.
Thanks for doing something when you heard fighting. I'm a child abuse survivor and honestly what's worse than having a parent hit you is know how many people suspected, but did nothing. Really undermines your trust and, ultimate, respect for other people. Now that I'm an adult, I always intervene. I don't care if people find me annoying or what. Abusers thrive knowing that nobody is watching, so I will take that away from them when I can. Keep doing the right thing!
I’m so sorry you went through that. Thank you, so much, for the support and advice—it meant a huge lot to read. <3
If you hear your neighbors yelling and slamming shit, everyone is probably okay, but sometimes someone is being hurt, and there is absolutely no way to tell which it is for sure without checking or calling the police, which is to say:
It is probably better to have neighbors who are pissed at you and slightly embarrassed than sit quietly while someone may or may not be being hurt; which is to say:
Early this afternoon, my neighbor’s roommate/live-in caretaker beat up his girlfriend (or friend who is a girl? she didn’t mention, and I didn’t ask, because it’s none of my fucking business. former, either way, at least after today.). And I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t tell where the yelling was coming from, only that it was somewhere in my building; and it wasn’t consistent. I’d get up to go outside and try to figure out where the noise was coming from, and it would get quiet. Nothing visible from my windows.
It sounded like two people having a fight, a man and a woman. Couldn’t make out words. Stuff slamming, but it could just as easily have been people slamming doors or stomping. It usually is, right?
I thought maybe I should call the police, but I didn’t know what apartment it was coming from.
Finally, I decided to just go outside with a book and read somewhere very visible and facing the building and keep an eye out. And on the way downstairs, I saw a woman crouched on the ground outside the (closed) door below mine, trying to gather her phone and makeup and other personal stuff, which were scattered all over the ground, along with her coat and bag. And I asked if she was okay, and eventually she told me that she was out there because one of the guys who lived there had been hitting her, and she’d run, and either he’d thrown her stuff after her or she’d been in such a hurry that she’d dropped it.
She was okay, mostly; slightly bruised; pretty shaken. I helped her get her stuff together and then ran upstairs for a lighter and sat with her while she smoked on the steps because I didn’t want to leave her outside alone. She thought the downstairs neighbor might have called the police; she didn’t want to again. She’d gotten in touch with her dad, who was coming to pick her up, but she wasn’t sure how long that would take.
It was freezing—literally—so I asked if she wanted to wait for her dad in my apartment. She’s a few years younger than me. Loved my cat; used to have a cat. We had childhood cats with the same name. She was really excited when she found out I was a writer. She used to write poetry, wishes she still did, would love to be a writer. I found her info on local writing groups. Made tea, which she didn’t end up drinking. She was solid from the start on the fact that it was absolutely and in no way okay for asshole to hit her, which was a relief to hear unprompted. Asked a couple times, nervously, if the spreading bruises on her lip and throat were too noticeable (no, but the lighting in my apartment is shit, so, who knows?). Eventually she went back down to smoke while I kept an eye out from the window, and her dad came, and she left.
I called the property manager, who called the police. I’d talked to the woman about that ahead of time, but I’d forgotten to ask if it was okay to pass her name and contact info along (we’d exchanged e-mail addresses), so I told the property manager I couldn’t until I’d asked and heard back from her. Property manager wanted me to try to convince her to make a statement / talk to the police; I told the property manager that I would do nothing of the goddamn sort, minus the “goddamn” (it turned out she was cool with talking to the police regardless, so, moot point).
And then I went over to a friend’s to work and got nothing done, because, FUCK, man.
It eats me up that I was the only one who even went outside. And how long it took me to. And how many times over the years, when I’ve heard yelling or slamming doors, I’ve just waited for it to stop; and wondering how many of those times something like this was happening and kept happening because everyone in a position to intervene just waited for it to stop. And what I had to weigh to finally go outside—that if someone in my fairly small complex was violent and I intervened they would know where I lived or be able to find out; and that the only other person I know well in my complex, who was home, has a kid, who was also home; and that I work from home, usually alone; and that whether it helps or hurts to call the cops on a DV incident, especially one you’re not sure of, is fucking roulette.
I wish I’d gone down earlier. I mean. I know it’s no one’s fault but his. But I still wish I’d gone down earlier. Next time, I will, because this drove something home:
Usually, it’s nothing. Usually everyone is okay. But sometimes someone is being hurt, and there is no way to tell from behind your snugly locked-and-bolted apartment door.
REALLY IMPORTANT NOTE: I’m not suggesting anyone intervene directly in violence. But sometimes the presence of a bystander can make a huge difference without any direct intervention. There’s really not a single right answer here: you know what risks you’re comfortable with. Be safe and sane.
I got to help some of my favorite Portland scamps with their year-end recap. (If you don’t already listen to A Happy Go Lucky Podcast, you probably should; Leia, Ben, and Jesse are sharp, funny folks full of both smarts and creative swears.)
“…a library is not just a reference service: it is also a place for the vulnerable. From the elderly gentleman whose only remaining human interaction is with library staff, to the isolated young mother who relishes the support and friendship that grows from a Baby Rhyme Time session, to a slow moving 30-something woman collecting her CDs, libraries are a haven in a world where community services are being ground down to nothing. I’ve always known libraries are vital, but now I understand that their worth cannot be measured in books alone.”—Angela Clarke, “A library is not just about books: it’s also a place for the vulnerable" (via digital-femme)
“It’s not just kids that form surprising bonds with these bundles of wires and circuits. Some people give names to their Roomba vacuum cleaners, says Darling. And soldiers honour their robots with “medals” or hold funerals for them. She cites one particularly striking example of a military robot that was designed to defuse landmines by stepping on them. In a test, the explosions ripped off most of the robot’s legs, and yet the crippled machine continued to limp along. Watching the robot struggle, the colonel in charge called off the test because it was “inhumane”, according to the Washington Post.”—Is it OK to torture or murder a robot?
okay reblogging this thing again because I’ve had a thought now that I’ve read the article: The writer says re: animal cruelty laws, “It’s less about the animal’s experience and more about our own emotional pain.”
While this may be true in some respects, there is also the noted connection between animal abuse and violent behavior towards other humans. Someone who does not have the empathy that prevents us from hurting animals will likely not stop there.
The bounds of this expected empathy are a socially defined concept, yes, but that does not make them any less strong. If there is a more fundamental basis for empathy, I would be interested to learn about it, but at the moment I’m quite tired and will hold off on personal research.
In any case, I’m in favor of robot rights on principle, but this adds another underlying layer of logic: robot rights can also protect humans in the process.
Bald Jesus and the Flaming Hammer were locked in a “death-duel,” connected like “death” and “duel” by an awful hyphen, and their struggle was “EPIC,” which bald Jesus proved by crying he loved her fire so much. And this struggle wasn’t just happening in some remote place, it was “waged simultaneously on all the infinite planes of existence.” Which was a lot.
Weird, funny, and unexpectedly poignant. Plus, X-Mans. Go read.