The Evil That Men Do


 

 

This is October and it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For those who do not know, I have 26 years of experience working in Domestic Violence. I have worked in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and now in North Carolina. Domestic Violence is everywhere here in America. It is also found across the globe. It stems from cultures being based on patriarchal patterns. In a patriarchy, the males must have the power and control. In Domestic Violence, power and control is what the abuser is really after.

I ask you to look around you at your life and at the lives of the men and women in your life. Any of them could be being abused. Abuse can start while dating in high school, in college, on the wedding night, when you announce you are pregnant. It can begin because the abuser’s boss denied him a promotion, he did not make his sales goals. He cannot control himself/herself and you carry the bruises and fractures from this lack of control.

 

In 2003, the cost of DV in terms of medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity at work total up to $48.3 billion. Add to this the lives destroyed, the children who grow up with battering as their role model and will continue the stereotypes and battering spirals out of control.

 

Some people think that DV only effects the poor or marginalized in society. They are very wrong. Because we keep confidential records on batterers, we know that batterers can be middle class, they can be your state senator, your minister, the kid who bagged up your groceries, or you sat next to in church or mosque. While shopping, you may share the mirror with a battered woman in the ladies room, you may sit next to one at the theatre.  Statistics show that 30-50% of homes have battering in them. That is a lot of people living in fear and violence.

 

After the first time you are abused, the abuser will tell you it is your own fault. You should have done what you were told to do. You made the attack happen. No, you didn’t. Don’t listen to the lies coming out of that mouth. No one has the right to hit another human being. You are not owned, you can’t be told what to do or what to say. You are not crazy as many victims have been told. You are being abused if you are being pushed, slapped, pinched, punched, having your hair pulled, being stepped on, deprived of sleep, called filthy names, kept locked in the house, not allowed access to finances, raped (even if you are married), having food thrown at you, or bones broken.

 

Going to church, temple or mosque will not stop abuse. Nor will it heal your abuser. God does not want you to stay in a Domestic Violent situation. Not in the Middle Ages, not today, not ever. God does not want you to live in fear and violence.

 

Where to go? Ask a police officer or taxi driver where your community’s DV shelter is located. They will know and probably take you there. Once you go to shelter you will be safe with a roof over your head and your children’s if you have them. You will have a bed and food. There will be counselors who will listen to your story, listen to you as you decide what you are going to do next. You may want to get your own apartment, go back to school, move out of town or get a restraining order from the court. The shelter will provide you with counselors to help you achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

 

The battered women’s shelter movement started in the 1970’s and I helped to start one of the country’s first shelters. It was a grassroots by-product of the Women’s Movement that I am very proud to have been part of. Mostly, I am proud to have been able to help women and children out of a living hell and into a life where they could grow and thrive.

 

Domestic Violence is not going away. The statistics are increasing each year in each American community and in cities and villages around the world. Batters often start by hitting where bruising will be covered by clothing. The victim will often be kept in isolation away from friends and family. The abuser has more control this way and outsiders have less influence.

 

In today’s world full of social media, teens are often battered physically and emotionally with texts and on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter. This can be extremely frightening to a teen so it is important to keep communication open with them so they will not be afraid to talk to you. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control published statistics that showed that 2 million injuries have resulted from intimate partner violence every year.

 

You don’t have to be a statistic.  Get help, get out.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

 

bjwordpressdivider

 

 

50512208-domestic-violence-word-cloud-on-white-background

 

 

 

 

Family battering

Family battering

 

purple-ribbon-campaign-made-from-word-illustrations-isolated-on-white

 

WE MUST STOP THE VIOLENCE. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ABUSED OR TO HAVE TO LIVE IN FEAR.

black-eye-bruised-and-injured-from-domest

Domestic Violence Can End in Death


WOMEN

He Kidnapped, Beat And Tortured His Wife. Free On Bond, He Killed Her.

We know the risk factors for domestic homicide. So why are we failing to protect those in the gravest danger?

FAMILY PHOTO
The risk factors for domestic homicide are well-established. 

For 11 days this summer, Tierne Ewing was tortured by her husband.

Kevin Ewing kidnapped her, beat her, locked her in a closet, hit her in the head with a pistol, strangled her, burned her with a hot stick and made her sleep with a rope around her neck, according to Pennsylvania law enforcement. More than once, he put her in the bathtub and pointed a gun at her, threatening to kill them both.

On July 8, she managed to escape when Kevin allowed her to enter a bank. She was hysterical, and begged the bank tellers to call the police. After law enforcement arrived, she was too frightened to leave the building, telling them, “I don’t want to die.”

Kevin was arrested the same day and charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, unlawful possession of a firearm and other crimes. Less than two months later, while released on a $100,000 bond, he kidnapped his estranged wife again.

This time, he followed through on his threats.

On Aug. 30, Tierne was found shot to death in a barn. Her husband also shot himself in the head. Her death is now raising questions about what authorities in Washington County could have done differently.

District Attorney Eugene Vittone, who called Tierne’s murder a possibly“preventable tragedy,” told The Huffington Post that he has begun an investigation into what went wrong.

“We are trying to get all the facts and see where the system may be improved,” he said. “We probably need to take a look at how we address bail in these types of cases.”

While it’s impossible to predict every domestic violence case that turns lethal, experts believe that there are critical warning signs that can indicate when a case is especially dangerous and needs special monitoring.

Decades of research by Jacquelyn Campbell, a leading expert in domestic homicide, has helped to identify important risk factors for lethality, which include abusers’ access to firearms, previous strangulation attempts and death threats.

Her work has been distilled into an 11-question screening tool that a growing number of police departments across the country are now using to identify domestic violence victims who are at the greatest risk of being killed.

Tierne had almost all the signs of a woman in extreme danger.

She had been previously strangled, which made her seven times more likely to be killed by her abuser. Her husband owned guns, making her five times more likely to end up dead. He had threatened to kill her and himself. And she believed that he was capable of murder.

“I totally agree that it was preventable, because it was so predictable,” said Ellen Kramer, deputy director of program services at Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “When you read down the list, this screams out for some kind of heightened safety measures for this victim.”

The case brought her to tears, she said.

Some police departments in Pennsylvania currently screen victims for risk of lethality, but the practice is not yet widespread.

PCADV has also created a fact sheet for judges on lethality factors, Kramer said, with the hope that courts will use it when assessing the danger that domestic violence offenders pose to their victims.

“If we are going to do something to prevent domestic violence homicides, communities have to come together in a much more meaningful way and understand lethality, and do a much better job at making sure that abusers like this guy don’t fall through the cracks,” she said. “My greatest hope is that Washington County can take a look at this, and learn something from it, make the changes that may be in order, and then share what they learned.”

Kevin posted bond after spending three days behind bars.

When the prosecutor handling the case, assistant district attorney Kristen Clingerman, found out he had been released from jail, she immediately asked the judge to increase his bail because of his history of domestic violence.

Tierne told Clingerman that if her husband was free, she was going to die.

“I had a really bad feeling,” Clingerman said. “In my heart, I knew that there was not going to be a good result. All the signs were there that this could be a fatality.”

While a judge denied her request for a bail increase, he agreed to some modifications that she asked for, including that the defendant have no contact with his wife, relinquish all weapons and wear an ankle bracelet that would alert authorities if he left the home. On the day he killed his wife, he cut it off.

Clingerman said that she did everything she could to keep Tierne safe.

“I wish that other people, whether they are lay people, family, law enforcement, would understand that domestic violence is so serious and so lethal,” she said. “If the defendant would have kidnapped a stranger off the street, and burned her and beat her and strangled her, I wonder what his bond would have been then.”

Between 2005 and 2015, at least 1,676 people in Pennsylvania were killed as a result of domestic violence, according to PCADV. (The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

Most of the victims were female domestic violence victims, but that number also includes children, law enforcement, friends, coworkers, passersby, and perpetrators who killed themselves or were killed by law enforcement.

Tierne’s death was not the first high profile domestic violence shooting in Pennsylvania this summer. Just last month, a man killed his wife and three kids on the day she had planned to move out.

 

BJSquiggel

Battered women often don’t leave because it is the most dangerous time in the cycle of violence. A tremendous number of men say “If I can’t have you, no one will have you.” However, it is a rare case that ends as this one did, when he had been through the system after she left and she still was murdered by her abuser.

 

A DV shelter will help you begin a new life under a new name with your children if that is necessary. If you do stay, sooner or later you will die. At your funeral, he will give you flowers for the first time in years, and people will console him because now he is alone without you. He will be the object of such considerate consolation.

 

No matter what material goods you have to leave behind, get out and stay out. If he threatens to kill you and you  believe him, take the children again and go to the shelter and ask for help getting to another city or even state. Some day your children will thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

Domestic Violence effects the entire entire family

Domestic Violence effects the entire entire family

 

 

 

 

Stop Abuse because it is wwrong and a crime

Stop Abuse because it is wrong and a crime

 

 

Even a slap, push or a shove is Domestic Violence

Even a slap, push or a shove is Domestic Violence

But he only…


It’s hard when sheltered little girls start to grow up and get interested in boys, and boys return the interest.  You only want to really talk about positive things with your daughter, because she’s your little girl and you cannot imagine adult types of things happening to her.

Then it’s time for the first date, and she’s excited and going on and on about how good looking he is, and how sweet he was when he asked her out, and you’re thinking “Good.  Because that’s what my daughter deserves.”  Not that you’ve told her that.  She should know that.

She goes out on the date and he’s a perfect gentleman, and everything is storybook.  She’s so happy she’s giggling as she goes about the house, talking on her cell phone to her girlfriends.

After about a month of dating, he asks her to go with him to a dance.  She’s very excited and “I can have a new dress, right?  Can I have a new dress?  Can we go shopping, Mom, please?”  And of course, the answer is Yes.

You go shopping with her, and you find the perfect dress: it covers in all the right places; it’s something your own mother would have approved of for you, and she looks beautiful in it.  So, you figure, that everything is fine.

The night of the dance, he picks her up wearing a tux, has a corsage for her and promises you and your husband that he will have her home promptly at midnight.

You’re confident in him, because he’s never broken a curfew in the month that they’ve been dating.

He returns her home at 12:05, but that’s hardly worth mentioning.  She comes in and she’s happy, she says she’s happy and says she’s tired and wants to go to bed.  You wish her a good night’s sleep and off she goes.

In the morning, when she awakens, she calls her girlfriends, and tells them that he pushed her last night.  He got upset because, while he was getting punch for her, a boy from her Chemistry class came over and was talking to her about the last lab they’d had, and how crazy their teacher is.  She was laughing with the boy, because she agreed.  Her boyfriend, as he was walking back to her with the punch in hand, saw her laughing and talking with this other boy.  The lab partner excused himself and walked away when her boyfriend returned.

Her boyfriend asked: “Who was that?  What did he want?”

She replied: “Oh, nothing we were just talking about Chemistry.”

He accused: “You were laughing.  Looked like you were having a good time.”

She told him it was no big deal, and then his face darkened and he pushed her.

She didn’t fall to the floor or anything, but she felt scared.  He had never been anything but gentle with her, until last night.

Another phone call comes in to her cell phone; it’s her boyfriend, she has to talk to him.

He’s sorry.  He shouldn’t have pushed her.  He wants to make it up to her by taking her to the movies tonight.

She says, yes, and gets ready.

You notice that she’s all bubbly and happy again, and wonder what the dark cloud had been that you’d noticed earlier, while your daughter was on the phone to her friends.  Maybe it was just those teenage hormones.

You don’t ask.

She goes to the movies and they have a wonderful time.

About a week goes by, and she’s walking down the hall in school, with a bunch of her classmates — boys and girls.  One of the boys is her Chemistry lab partner.  Her boyfriend is looking for her, and he sees her having fun with all of these people, and with that one boy from the dance, laughing and talking with her.

He can’t see anything else but the just the two of them.  Laughing.  Together.  Very together.

He walks up and grabs her and drags her away from everyone else.  He’s holding her arm so tightly, as he pulls her to her locker to talk, that he leaves bruises.

“You’re hurting me!  Stop!”

He begins to rant.  He accuses her of cheating on him with her lab partner.

She’s confused; her lab partner is just a friend, she doesn’t know why he’s upset.  And he’s hurting her.  She tries to pull away.

His hand reaches back and slaps her face, and calls her a whore.

Nothing like this has ever happened to her before.  She doesn’t know what to think or what to do.

She tells him to leave her alone, and she stalks off to class with her arm hurting and her face red, still feeling the handprint.

During class, she’s distracted, thinking about what happened.  How could this have happened to her?  Why would he do this? He’s always been so gentle, so charming.

And she thinks, she must have done something wrong.  He said she had, she shouldn’t have been talking to those kids, that boy.  She didn’t mean to be doing anything wrong.  But that’s what upset him, so she must have been doing something wrong.  Right?

Over the next few weeks, she pulls away from her friends, gradually and steadily.  Her grades go down a little bit, but not enough for her teachers to worry, to call her parents.

You don’t know.

Then, it’s spring.  She comes down for breakfast with a turtleneck on.  It’s a beautiful, warm spring day.  You ask her why the turtleneck?  It’s a beautiful morning!

“I’m cold,” you’re told, tersely.

She’s running late, she doesn’t want to talk, and she hurries out the door before you can ask anything more.

She’s running from herself, but you don’t know that.  She’s running from a situation that she just can’t understand.  She’s afraid, and you can almost see that, but you can’t understand why.

What you don’t know is, the night before, on their last date, her loving boyfriend tried to choke her.  The turtleneck is covering the bruises on her neck.  She knows you would never allow her go see him again if you knew.

But he loves her.  He told her he did; well, after he choked her.

And she loves him.  Well, usually.

She wants to ask one of her old girlfriends if this had ever happened to them.  But it was embarrassing.  What if it hadn’t happened to them?  What if they thought it was her fault, if they knew she did something wrong?

She can’t talk to you.  You’ve never talked about anything like this.  You’d never understand.

She decides to just keep the information to herself.

Six more months go by.  He asks her to go steady. She eagerly says yes, but there’s a little voice inside that’s saying, “Run.  Run.”

He tells her that now, she will be His.  And no one can every interfere with them.  He’ll take care of her, she won’t need anyone else, because she has him.

Several more months pass.  They have a horrific argument and your little girl comes home.

Her face looks like pulp.  He punched her this time, and she cannot hide this from you.

He had the right to do it, he said, because she belongs to him.  They were going steady, after all.

You see her.  “What happened?” you ask, and for the first time in months, she tells the truth.

But she still thinks it’s her fault.  He always says she’s stupid and ungrateful and a burden to him, and she’s lucky he loves her at all.

But he does love her.  He says.  Between the punches.

“Do you love him, this boy?” you ask.

“I..I think so,” she says, and she starts to cry.  “I don’t know,” she admits and you hold her.

“Mom, I’m scared.”

And your heart breaks.

This young girl has found herself in a spot many young girls find themselves in.  They think that abuse is only broken bones or going to the hospital.  That’s never happened to her.  He only pushes.  Only shoves.  Only yells. He’s only REALLY hit her once.

What these girls don’t understand is that a slap, a push, a shove, twisting her arm, punching her face; belittling and calling her names; separating her from her friends — isolating, it’s called — it’s all abuse, battering.

They don’t understand that they are in danger, and this one person is the person they should be terrified of, and should get away from.

Hopefully, after talking to a counselor with or without her parents, and dating some other young men who treat her with the respect to which all young women are entitled, she will learn that she did not deserve the violence her now ex-boyfriend introduced to her life.

Hopefully, in the future, the men that she picks will not be abusers, and she will not spend years of her life living in violence in fear.

But  you could have helped, long before it started.  You could have talked to your daughter, let her know with words and actions that she IS special, and worthy of love.  You could have told her that no one ever has the right to push her, or shove her or call her names, and if they do, she should always come to you.  That you will always be there, and you will always listen, and that you would never think…

She deserved it.

Because she never could.

Because NO ONE ever deserves to abused.

Artists4Peace

bjwordpressdivider

Graphic_CDC-Help-teens-keep-relationships-healthy_2015

Logo_LoveIsNotAbuse

Domestic Violence is NEVER LEGAL


bjwordpressdivider

bjwordpressdivider

 

 

Today we are following the video released by TMZ of Ray Rice cold-cocking his then-fiance. Documentation of the event has been all over the news. Ray Rice received a slap on the wrist when the story first broke, with a video showing Rice “only” dragging her out of the elevator, allowing her face to slam onto the floor. Today TMZ leaked the video from inside the elevator. Ray cold-cocked his fiance, knocking her out with a single punch, and this has made a difference.  The facts of the case — that he had knocked his fiance unconscious and dragged her out of the elevator like a piece of meat — are unchanged, but now that we’ve seen the actual punch, apparently outrage is suddenly justified.

 

Ray Rice has been terminated by the Ravens and the NFL has suspended him indefinitely. Is this enough? I think not.

 

Domestic Violence is found everywhere, at every social-economic level.  It matters not the color of the couple. There are women that you know how are victims of Domestic Violence. It could be your minister’s wife, the grad student’s girlfriend, the cop’s wife, the Senator’s wife. It can be your next door neighbor, you know the one, whose husband is so nice; he is charming and helpful. And he is an abuser. Your mailman may be beating his girlfriend. Your child’s favorite teacher could be a regular victim of vicious beatings. Beatings are often administered where clothes will cover the bruises.

 

Every nine seconds, a woman is abused. Abuse can be physical, emotional or mental; any or all of these are abuse. If you are living with slapping, punching, broken bones, head injuries, pushing, name calling, and threats to kill you, you are living with abuse. No woman “asks” to be beaten. Abusing men like to tell their victim that it is her own fault…but it isn’t.  Ever, no matter what the woman has “done” or been accused of doing, it is never her fault. Every abuser chooses to beat a woman and is responsible for his actions. I will say here that if a woman beats a man it is also a crime she is guilty of committing. 5% of men are abused but every nine seconds a woman is beaten.

 

Yes, women suffer. When I worked in Domestic Violence, one of my jobs was as a counselor. Stories told to me  included: the woman was beaten because the kids made too much noise; she was beaten because she couldn’t get the stain out of his shirt, or because dinner was late getting put on the table. Also, he doesn’t like dinner and many women have had his plate full of food smeared into her face. Yes, this is abuse.

 

When children watch this kind of behavior, they learn to be abusers and victims. Often sons carry a lot of guilt and anger for their mother because she doesn’t stop the violence. They very often go ahead and begin punching, pinching,  calling women names in high school. It frequently continues their entire lives.

 

I know of a mayor in a large city who has beaten three wives. He was an okay mayor but he was a demon to his wives. How do I know? I know because his wives came to one of the shelters I have worked with. We keep files on abusers. He was in it three times. Did he ever accept responsibility for his actions?  No, not at all. The wives were convinced not to press charges, so he was never forced to accept any consequences.

 

I did hear today, a prosecutor  stated that the law is now looking at abuse not just a women’s issue but as a crime against the community. I think this is a good thing. Why does abuse continue to be such a terrible and insidious part of life for women? Because the usual sentence is $1000 fine and 18 months in jail.

 

I am a spiritual person, but if you have been beaten, that is not God’s Will. It is a crime. There are places you can go for help. All communities have a Domestic Violence (DV) hotline. Shelters exist in most cities. Every taxi driver knows a DV shelter. Go, get help, start over. You do not deserve to live in violence. He always promises it will never happen again. It will. We had a program for counseling for the abusers. We found that a support group for the men worked best because they called each other on their lies and rationalizations.

 

If you are told that you need to forgive your abuser, to pray for him; if you are told you can’t leave because God requires you to stay in the sacred bond of marriage, you need to realize this is a lie, perpetuated by the men in power who want to keep women subservient. As a wife, you are not the property of your abuser.  He does not own you and the Divine does not want you to suffer. Leave, get into a shelter, believe in yourself, you can take care of yourself and your children.  If you think leaving will hurt your children, you will find that they will respect you much more if you protect yourself and them, and they may not end up as the abuser or the victim.

 

Anyone who says to stay in a relationship is possibly a batterer himself, or doesn’t really understand the issue or really doesn’t care about your well-being.

 

If your abuser threatens you with a weapon, even if he doesn’t use it, you need to realize that the chances are extraordinarily high that he will at some point and he will tell you it is your own fault that you are going to die.

 

I had a woman who was held at gunpoint for a solid 12 hours before the abuser fell asleep and she ran like the wolves of hell were after her. If he had awakened, he would have killed her. She made it to the shelter I worked at and we talked, cried, and held each other as she finally was able to tell her truth. I took pictures of her injuries for court and tucked her and her two children into a warm safe bed. Her face was streaked with tears, but she fell asleep immediately. I cried and prayed for her until the sun began to rise. Then I began to form her plan to go to court, to take care of her children and to take care of herself. We put her into temporary housing and helped her to find herself once again.  She got out.  You can, too

 

If you want more information go to NCADV.org. It is the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and as I have done in the past, I will be writing about the issue all month.

 

Don’t ever let someone hit you. It is a crime. I will take comments and listen if anyone is in a abusive relationship. I will give you the best answer I can based on my education and experience. It would all be confidential. Praying is not enough. Praying is good, but you need human intervention and action, in addition.

 

Let  me help. Let others help.  Remember that you deserve help.

 

You deserve to live without violence.  Everyone deserves to live without violence.

 

 

bjwordpressdivider

 

 

 

blackeye.jpg                                          There is never a reason to beat a woman, walk out, leave 

                                           don’t hit her.

 

 

 

 

End Violence in the Home

End Violence in the Home

 

You Can't Beat a Woman.

You Can’t Beat a Woman.

 

 

 

Domestic Violence Stats

Domestic Violence Stats – Cuts in Domestic Violence Support mean that more women and children will die at the hands of their abusers.

What Women Want


This is a subject that has inspired books and movies. It is now a huge part of our 2012 Presidential election. Now, be assured that not all women want more rights. Some are happy and content being “owned” by the significant male in their life. But for those of us who are strong. capable and passionate, we want change. We don’t want to go back to the nineteenth century and we want to move forward.

Women want to be legally equal in 2013. We are the only citizens of the United States of America who are not equal legally. We want the government and men out of our bodies. We are capable of making choices that effect our reproduction and our health.

We want people to understand that rape is not legitimate. It has nothing to do with sex. It is completely about power and control. I cite the cases of eighty-five year old women and one year old babies being raped.

We want stronger laws protecting women and men from Domestic Violence. I worked in Domestic Violence in two states for over 25 years. A women does not have to live in fear. No one has the right to verbally abuse you. No one has the right to hit, slap, punch, kick, break your jaw, threaten your life or the lives of your children. There are shelters and helplines in almost every town and in every state. Call your local police for telephone numbers to receive shelter, food, counseling, legal assistance, moral support and caring attention.
At the shelter I helped to start we had a slogan, “You can’t beat a Woman.”

We want equal pay for equal work. Women who are doing the same job as a man are currently earning $.77 for every dollar a man earns. In the 1970’s, it was $.64 for every dollar a man earned. Yes, it is an improvement but a pathetic one.

Women want the world to know that women’s work counts. If a woman chooses to stay at home with her children she is just as worthy as a woman who goes out of the home to work. And if we go out to work, our work is as meaningful as a man’s work.

Women do not want to be viewed as second class citizens. We don’t want how we look, what size we wear, or how much plastic surgery we’ve had to matter more than our character, morals and intelligence.

We want the women in every country of the world to be free from honor killings, being sold into sexual slavery, from genital mutilation. We want every child, boy or girl in the world to be able to learn to read and write and to receive the medical care they require.

We want American insurance companies not to put caps on the health costs of human beings. We want every man, women, and child to receive the medical care and medication they need, even if they aren’t in the 1%. We want insurance companies to be forced not to tell doctors what medications they can prescribe and what treatments they can order.

We want the bullying that children are suffering at the hands of classmates to end. We want schools to be free of violence and hatred. Every time a child commits suicide due to bullying, we as a society, have failed them. Our hands are also bloody.

We want people to be able to love whomever they love. Love comes from the soul and souls don’t have gender. Souls just love and that love is no less beautiful than any other.

Please feel free to add things that I have not mentioned. I am happy to have your feedback. We need to create a better life for all women on this planet. If you don’t know much about feminism and would like more information, I suggest reading, Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, Gloria Steinem. Revolution from Within, Robin Morgan, The Burning Times. I also suggest Lenore Walker and Alice Walker, Marge Piercy and Toni Morrison.

Alice Walker, author and feminist