Latest Brews

Sweatpants & Equality | How to Care for Ourselves & Others in Uncertain Political Times, Part 2

Editor’s Note: While we believe that this article has done an excellent job focusing on the proposed policies of the incoming administration and on the facts, we recognize that some may view it as partisan. Sweatpants & Coffee is a non-partisan organization. We have chosen to highlight these concerns in the interest of community-building and bolstering good mental health, and as such, will be exercising a zero tolerance policy for hateful commentary.

In part one of this article, we discussed people of color (black, Native American, Latinx/Hispanic, and Asian), immigrants and refugees, LGBTQIA folks, disabled folks (with physical and/or mental illnesses), religious minorities (Muslims and Jews). In part two, we are covering women (especially survivors of sexual assault and those seeking reproductive healthcare), climate change fighters, and journalists.

This election is affecting people’s health. The political is personal, and the personal is political. I truly believe that I would not be doing my job as a health blogger if I were to ignore this and pretend that everything is fine. It’s not. I’m not fine. I’m scared. I’m angry. I’m tired. I’m wondering if my health insurance will be intact a year from now. I know I’m not the only one, either – there are thousands of protests happening across the country, I’ve received more scared text messages than I have in a long time, and I have repeatedly wept with people who are fearing for their safety and rights.

This has been one fine mess of an election. Hundreds of hate crimes against different groups have happened since election night. The country is enormously divided and, to be honest, I’m not sure how we begin to bridge the divide on a large scale. However, a few of my fabulous advocate friends and I have some ideas about bridging the divide on an interpersonal level.

Huge thanks to Shannon Cheung, Hayley Cohen, Amanda Man, Allison Connelly, an anonymous journalist from a major scientific magazine, Kate Mitchell, Asheeka Desai, Sangeeta Sarkar, Lindsey Kayman, an anonymous lifestyle blogger, Seth Madison, an anonymous graduate student, Garrett Law, Agbo Ikor, Elizabeth Gonzalez, an anonymous animator, Estrella Sainburg, and Colleen Toole. I couldn’t have written this without you.

There are many people who are afraid for their lives after this Presidential election. There are also people who have no idea why others are scared and want to know more. This article is for all of you and everyone in between.

Here is how you can become a helper to communities that are terrified, as well as how you can take care of yourself during this difficult time. It’s about who is scared, why they’re scared, and what you can do to show solidarity.

Wearing a safety pin, although a beautiful gesture, isn’t going to be enough in these times. Let’s not make the same mistakes as bystanders in previous historical periods of crisis. Let’s not wait to help until it’s our group at risk. Let’s get into gear now. Now is the time to fortify yourself with knowledge and know that it’s absolutely okay to not be an expert. You can still be a source of strength. The worst thing to do right now is to be silent or even to make fun of people who are scared or protesting for being “whiny.” Show your love, compassion, and solidarity right now. That’s what matters. My goal in having put this together has been to provide a safe, judgment-free zone where we all can learn together how we can do better, and how we can build solutions as a community.

Women (especially survivors of sexual assault and those seeking reproductive healthcare)

Survivors of sexual assault (Note: this is not to say that there are no survivors of sexual assault of other genders – I’m just lifting up women in particular because of the tone of this election. These tools are useful for being in solidarity with survivors of all genders and backgrounds, however).

Why they’re scared:

A man with sexual assault allegations in the double digits is going to be our president. These allegations include an allegation from a 13-year-old, who dropped the lawsuit due to a threat against her life.
– When he denied the allegations, he said he would sue his accusers and that they weren’t even attractive enough to rape.
– This means the President Elect is a living reminder of rape culture that thrives in the United States. He reminds millions of people of the perpetrators who violated them and got away with it, including myself. I am one of the 97% of people whose rapists never see a day in jail.
There is an infamous tape of Trump saying that he’ll grab someone by the pussy. And now that he’s President, many women around the country have been assaulted in a similar manner to that described by the President Elect. The President is a role model.
Title IX is likely to be at risk with the Trump administration. This affects survivors at schools in particular.
– Some of Trump’s financial backers and possible government administrators support the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which encourages alleged rapists all over the country to sue the schools that punish them. It also pushes for higher evidentiary standards to be applied to these cases, and it’s very difficult already to get “enough” evidence to make a case. (Trigger warning: I had a concussion and it wasn’t “enough”). There’s also a lawsuit against the Department of Education.
– Many hardline Republicans do not make space for rape, incest, and risk of health as exceptions in their pro-life stances. In addition, Trump has promised to appoint justices who will reverse Roe v. Wade, a landmark legislation that legalized abortions nationwide. This could mean that people would have to travel even farther to get abortions, including to other states.

What you can do to show solidarity:

Follow these basic tips about showing your love and solidarity.
– Humanize women. Don’t just stand up for survivors because they’re “someone’s daughter, sister, or mother.” They’re people in their own right. Talk about them like that.
– Avoid victim-blaming or slut-shaming talk. Learn about things you should never ask a survivor.
– Tell your survivor friends that you think this behavior is abhorrent. Do not write it off as “locker room talk.”
– Learn about consent and how to be an active participant rather than a bystander in dangerous moments.
– Learn about rape culture and fight it. Acknowledge that statements made and actions committed by the President Elect are a part of rape culture.
– Stop people who are making rape jokes.
– Don’t spread false notions of accusers being liars. Rape does not have a higher percentage of false reporting than that seen with any other crime.
Learn why someone might choose not to report sexual assault.
– Believe survivors unequivocally and tell them you do.
Do not slut-shame Melania Trump for her past.
– Volunteer and protest. Loudly.
– Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:

-Your local domestic violence shelter or rape crisis center
-The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
-Futures Without Violence
-Polaris Project
-V-Day
-Children’s Defense Fund
-Distributing Dignity
-Just Detention International (JDI)
-Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC)
-Atlanta Women for Equality (AWE)

Women seeking reproductive healthcare

Why they’re scared:

-No one knows what will happen to the accessibility of birth control. In fact, many are rushing to get it right now because of that uncertainty.
Trump’s tax plan will affect single parents significantly.
-Repealing the Affordable Care Act, which mandates insurance companies must cover FDA-approved birth control methods, has been a strong point of Trump’s campaign and looks to be part of his first hundred days as President.
He could also strike the entire list of no-cost preventative health services, including testing for STIs and HIV, annual well visits with gynecologists, and breastfeeding supplies.
-Trump has promised to appoint justices who will reverse Roe v. Wade, a landmark legislation that legalized abortions nationwide. This could mean that people would have to travel even farther to get abortions, including to other states.
-Many hardline Republicans do not make space for rape, incest, and risk of health as exceptions in their pro-life stances.

What you can do to show solidarity:

Learn why birth control is important. It’s not just for reducing chances of pregnancy.
-Fight for affordable birth control to continue to be part of our healthcare system.
-Sit with people in your life who need to make these challenging decisions and provide them an open space, mind, and heart.
-Thank your local reproductive health center workers. They get a lot of flak for the work they do – many protests and few thanks.
-If you believe abortion is immoral, make sure to get your church to create funds for young and pregnant soon to be single moms, support groups for single parents where they can be loved and supported without the stigma that often accompanies single parenthood or young parenthood. Also, know that many people do have sex before marriage and that they should have cheap or free access to birth control.
Learn the reasons why someone would choose to get an abortion to increase your empathy and understanding.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:

-Planned Parenthood
-Guttmacher Institute
-Feminist Majority Foundation
-Center for Reproductive Rights
-EMILY’s List

Climate change fighters

Why they’re scared:

Trump’s administration’s energy policies are not generally in favor of clean energy.
Trump does not believe in global warning, and has picked a climate skeptic to lead the EPA.
– The Dakota Access Pipeline, something that was shut down in a different area of North Dakota a while back because of drinking water contamination fears, is likely to be signed into place by Trump. The Keystone Pipeline would also be signed into place.
Trump wants to get out of the most recently global climate deal.
Climate change disproportionately affects people of color and future generations.
– They are scared that Native Americans won’t have a home very soon. Many already do not as a result of climate change displacement. Their call to action to work together for a common home transcends economic, racial, gender, faith, and nationality.
If we don’t take care of the environment now and take steps to reduce our carbon footprint, food supplies will be endangered, extreme weather events will become more frequent and serious, ecosystems will be stressed and destroyed. Marine life will be endangered, sea levels will rise and affect a large portion of the world’s population that lives on the coasts, and so on.

What you can do to show solidarity:

– Do research so that you can have educated conversations with climate change skeptics. It affects much more than just our community or country – this affects the entire world.
– Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:

– Environmental Defense Fund
– Conservation Fund
– Union of Concerned Scientists
– Sierra Club

Journalists

Why they’re scared:

Trump, throughout his campaign and even now as President Elect, has appeared to challenge the First Amendment’s safeguarding of freedom of the pressHe blacklisted many news outlets over the course of his campaign. He has indicated a desire to limit freedom of the press.
Some of the things that were said and done at Trump rallies were disturbing.

What you can do to show solidarity:

-S ubscribe to news outlets you trust. Pick at least one national paper and a local or regional paper. Monetary support is important because digital ads are only a small revenue source and chasing those dollars leads to destructive editorial decisions, such as clickbait. Increased subscription revenue gives outlets room to pursue the journalism that matters.
– Try to read centrist papers – look at how bad the divisions are in what different Americans read.
These are some papers and websites to avoid because they’re sensationalized or even fake.
Here are papers that people read and where they fall on an ideological spectrum.
How – and why – to become a global citizen.
– Donate to and vocally support outlets that defend press freedoms because it’s absolutely vital that civil society defend the press against any government overreach.
– Share journalism you trust and respect with your friends, family, and peers. Outlets live or die by their stories getting out there.
– Write to journalists. Tell them that their work is appreciated. Tell them that it inspires you. They get a lot of flak in the comments because outrage is a much more powerful commenting motivator than satisfaction at a job well done.
– Call your legislator if any policies come down the pipelines that threaten press freedoms.
– Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:

– ACLU
– SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists)
– International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (of “Panama Papers” fame)
– The Center for Public Integrity
– ProPublica.org
– The Center for Investigative Reporting

Thank you so much for reading and learning more about how to show solidarity, my friend. May you be empowered by the information you take in and the actions you take.

 

Emmie Arnold is a follower of Jesus, survivor and thriver, graduate student of divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary, blogger at Illness to Wellness, musician, photographer, traveler, goofball, and optimist.

Facebook Comments

comments

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*