All posts by ia7324pm

Female Genital Mutilation-is it a religious right?

WikipediaFemale Genital Mutilation-Source-greeleygazette_com

Recent Events

Most of you have heard about two physicians that are charged with genital mutilation on Minnesota girls.  The accused make the argument that it is within their religious rites to do the procedure.

More information click below

Genital Mutilation

When this story broke, I thought the term Genital Mutilation was a bit leading as we circumcise many boys in our country and for some they see this as a religious right.  So I was going to try to make some parallels between the two practices but after I started reading about it I have decided there are only a few.

One being we do it to people who cannot make decisions on their own.  We do it to infants in male circumcision and in females they are mostly done as young girls, neither of which can give consent.  The procedure is done without anesthesia so there is a lot of pain involved in both, although arguably the male is less involved.  The other parallel is they are both considered “religious” traditions and people have long performed them in various parts of the world.

I did research on the actual procedure and Wikipedia does a good job of explaining complete with diagrams and non graphic pictures.



There is a difference

So while I cannot condone the fact we circumcise boys for various reasons, none of which have medical backing there is a definite difference between male circimcision and female genital mutilation.  The first being there are no long-term health consequences to male circumcision and there are several to female genital mutilation.

Long term Health consequences

“FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women.”

According to the World Health Organization, some mutilations, they sew the women closed leaving just a small opening for urine, menstrual flow and later sex.  They do this for male pleasure and often times the male will need to cut the woman using a knife.   Also, when having children often the first-born child from these women, have long-term health consequences.  When having children, the baby will stuck in the birth canal depriving the newborn from oxygen causing a multitude of problems for CP to Hemiplegia.  These conditions will often cause paralysis, learning disabilities, vision and hearing issues.  These often lead to chronic health problems that will need to be treated for a lifetime.

Because I work at a children’s hospital, I have seen the results that these children must live with because of this procedure.  I don’t see how this benefits anyone.

It is also done because they do not want females to enjoy sex, and it focuses on male pleasure at female expense

Should not be allowed in our country

Since there has been so much research done I agree it should not be performed in our country, it is an archaecic tradition that used to keep women subservent to men and hurts women in the name of religon.










Science Doesn’t Care What Your Opinion Is

sky-earth-galaxy-universeGreat Title

Okay, I cannot take credit for this title, and I can’t really give you source either because I saw it on a T-shirt.  I thought it was really clever and it really captures my blogging opinion of the day.  We recently had Earth Day and the March for Science while we were all discussing Communication Theory in class on Saturday.  I am not sure I would have marched in the march anyway because basically that means I have to drive through traffic and fight with crowds.  Going to the dentist sounds like more fun to me than doing that.  So, instead like many other lazy Americans, I donated online to some earthly cause and planted a tree with my kid.  Seemed like the right thing to do.

Back to the title though, most of you in class know how I feel about science.  It’s factual and I feel like others don’t give it enough credit.  How can people not believe in global warming, and when the hell did science get so politicized.  Well, I did a bit of research and it turns out science has always been political but it hasn’t always been so partisan.  The thing is, it doesn’t really matter if you are “weighing in” with your opinion or not.  Turns out the science will just keep happening because it’s not looking for approval.

When we will we get it?

Turns out that answer may be different for many.  My father has gotten it since I was a kid.  He is Native American and also has a BS in Biology so we learned early about respecting the earth and thanking her each and every day for what she gives us.  We in turn spread tobacco and give thanks.  Yes I referred to the earth as a her.  It is alive with everything we need to survive.  Turns out we don’t need plastic….who knew!

Others though are going to have to feel uncomfortable to understand what we are doing to the earth is bad, and by that I mean global warming.  Although we can change course we cannot do so without some drastic measures on our part and not everyone is willing to do that.  I am not pointing fingers here, merely expressing a truth.  Heck, I drive a old Chevy Tahoe that gets 19 miles to the gallon.  I know that I have to feel some discomfort before I am willing to not drive to work every morning.  But it’s not out of the realm of possibility to change either

Hope for the future

I do believe our children will get it before we do though.  So maybe there is an inkling of hope, and we can still change course without being one of the only species to cause it’s own demise.   Kids are smart, there is already stuff we have come up with and I am really excited about the future on renewable energy.  Thanks kids for bailing us out….AGAIN!

Critical thinking even more critical than ever!

Wikipedia describes a conspiracy theory as ” an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy without warrant, generally one involving an illegal or harmful act carried out by government or other powerful actors. Conspiracy theories often produce hypotheses that contradict the prevailing understanding of history or simple facts. The term is a derogatory one.”

The reason I think this definition is so important because it what isn’t the definition is the use of critical thinking skills in order to differentiate whether or not something is factual or false information.  In todays society especially the political climate, we are inundated with a multitude of information ranging from merely strong opinions, scientific facts, to false information sent by governments to get us to believe something false.  Sometimes the purpose is for exploitation of resources or in order to make an opinion more popular and regarded even thought it is false.

Conspiracy theory believers bug me

I don’t know why they really get under my skin but the fact that people knowingly spread false information or are ignorant of the facts and speak out of turn drives me nuts.  I know we all know a person like this, somebody at work, a relative or acquaintance that continues to spread false information.  Examples I can think of are the 9/11 theory, denial of the Holocaust, Anti-vaxxers, JFK assassination, Elvis lives and even those that believe the walk on the moon is a hoax (  These preposterous ideas may come from  a good place.  I mean that genuinely.  I think some try to find out why some bad things happen and try to make sense out of it, or deny it all together.  However, that doesn’t excuse their behavior.  It has now become our job as information gathers seekers and online readers to find out the truth.  Why, because we must have critical thinking to really go after find out facts to dispel them if they are not true.  We were discussing in class the topic of big data and it’s implications.  This was not a conspiracy  but an view that has factual data to back up.  When there are many falsehoods flying around, if somebody accuses a real idea, that is backed up in fact, we must be able to confront people with that information.

What would have happened if nobody questioned the use of DDT or Agent Orange.  There are REAL instances where bad shit is going on but nobody wants to say it’s bad for fear they are going to be “conspiracy theorists”.  Critical evaluation of information is imperative for us to fact check and find out what is real and what is fake.

All is not lost

Thank goodness there are websites, tools and methodology to help us decipher fact from fiction.  Unfortunately people have become lazy in the use of our own brains and depended only on the World Wide Web to spell it out.  After all if it’s on the internet it has to be true right! Sometimes it easy to look stuff on Snopes, a website that outlines some crappy information we are getting out there.  Unfortunately these websites are often under attack because the outlying opinions become very boisterous and accuse them of lying, so then we are back to the he said she said thing again.  The New York Times wrote an article on this very topic.

It really all boils down to you as smart individuals.  I have hope for us all, we have each other to rely on.  We also have good and real journalists that are moral and may tell the truth from time to time.  So next time when somebody tells you that the Holocaust is fake tell them to go jump in a lake.  But next time when asked if there has been drone strikes that killed civilians, or chemical weapons attacks on civilians there are multiple sources that can help you out.




Vaccinations and Autism


The anti-vaxers and their science

Many people that are against vaccines have based on facts written in a particular article claiming that the mercury in vaccinations are linked and highly correlated to the autism spike.  The UK physician Dr.  Andrew Wakefield claimed and published a study claiming that the mercury in the Measles Mumps and Rubella  (MMR) vaccine is what was causing autism.  Here is a link to some of the original study.



Since then, the study has not been able to be repeated and the Dr. Wakefield was stripped of his medical license as well as discredited.  This was not before there was a Measles epidemic that we are still recovering from.  Even though the CDC, Department of Health and the Department of Pediatric Health and all countless creditable medical agencies have outright said that vaccines do not cause autism there has been an undeniable backlash to people immunizing  their children.   This may not seem like a big deal but really there are unintended consequences of this backlash.

Measles outbreak, deadly consequences

CDC stats

Since 2014 Measles have spread.  This is bad news not just for those that get the measles but if you are immune compromised or a baby that has not been given it’s shots yet, it’s deadly.  People that are undergoing any type of immunosuppressive treatment, such as; cancer, HIV patients, transplant patients and others who may be allergic to some of the vaccines cannot be immunized and therefore are not protected against the disease.  If you spread the measles to them, it is not just them getting sick, it will kill them.

Some school systems are making it mandatory for their children to receive vaccines to go to school, I agree with this approach because it pushes parents to be responsible for their children.  People can still opt out for medical or religious purposes which I propose is proper, but for those who just think it’s not a good idea I believe should NOT put others at risk.

Mom of an autistic son

I have a friend who has an autistic son.  She daily struggles with having a son that is not like everybody else and has to undergo challenges most kids his age don’t struggle with.  I have asked her how she feels about vaccines.  She and I agree fully that not only is it the right thing to do for your child to vaccinate them but the responsible thing as a citizen to do.  She has read the science behind and believes that vaccines do not cause autism, but even if they did the benefits outweigh the risk.  However, the science is clear VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM.  I cannot be any more clear than that.

Please do the right thing and ensure you are vaccinated against diseases that can hurt others.




What are you doing about domestic violence?

Domestic Abuse video

How bad is it?

Listening to this made me feel so emotional.  I think that when children are crying like that it is just heart breaking.  It is just something I feel like we cannot continue to turn our heads against.  Shocking statistics, crying children and  impactful stories from survivors help to make it real.  Sometimes that isn’t even enough these days.

What makes it more real is when it happens to you.  There is a stigma attached to being a victim of domestic violence.  I’ve heard it many times and I continue to hear it again and again.  What happens is that people continue to blame the victim for staying.  People cannot figure out why a woman would stay with a man who beats her up.  I do know that there are many male victims out there and think it’s even worse for them, because they are made to feel emasculated.

My story

Most people cannot believe that I was a victim of domestic violence.  I was an Army Soldier and not the “type” to take abuse.  I am here to tell you there is not type.

I was in a 7 year relationship with a man who was an alcoholic.  On several occasions he got drunk and would become verbally abusive, and on some occasions he would become violent.  I was usually  in the habit of talking him off the ledge so to speak.  I was able to calm him down enough for me to leave or get him to go to sleep.  Unfortunately that was only some of the time.  The  first time he was violent he grabbed my arms and left bruise on me.  Terrible hand prints on my arms.  I am not sure what anybody thought because I brushed it off.  After all I was a woman with two small children from a previous marriage and pregnant with his child.  What would people think of me since I had two fathers in the picture?  3 kids and 2 dads?  Kind of stigma right there, damn sure I wasn’t going to end the relationship yet, since he was drunk and all.

It got worse

Just like the textbook example the violence in my life escalated.  One night after a night of being in fight and he was drinking, he choked me.  I was about 6 months pregnant at the time.  He told me “if you don’t breathe the baby doesn’t breather as he was choking me.  He also punched me a couple of time in the face.  He fell asleep soon after, but not before my daughter woke up and was crying.  I was able to talk him down, Since my girls were in bed, and I  comforted my little one and got her back to sleep.  That morning I left for my mothers. As I was leaving he choked me.   My mother asked me why I let him do that to me.  I then realized that I needed to handle this on my own.  I went to the police and filed a report that day.  Since it was a day later, they told me that they couldn’t do much but since he had choked me that morning they could get him out of the house and arrest him that night.

The court nightmare

I filed an order for protection.  The court was really good when it came to helping me prosecute.  What they weren’t so great at was that winter I let my ex husband take my kids for a little while in Texas.  He filed an “abuse” allegation and kept my kids from me.  The abuse allegation stemmed from my daughter witnessing the domestic violence.  My worst nightmare had come true.  I had to go to court to and fight to get them back.  I had to listen to a judge accuse me of being a bad mother and that it is abuse subjecting my children to domestic violence.  I did argue that I had an order of protection and was no longer with the abuser, and she did give me custody back.  I still to this day regret the day I called the police.  I don’t think it helped me in my situation at all.

Why am I sharing something so personal?

The answer to that question is easy.  It is not easy saying these things, it’s embarrassing and it’s humiliating admitting to the fact I was a victim.  But that is the thing, there are many of us.  Sometimes when you know somebody it’s easer to reach out for help.  If one person in our class reads this and maybe calls a hotline, it’s worth all the embarrassment.  Also, it brings the problem closer to you,  You have to look it in the face at least on Saturday mornings until April.  I want you to know it can happen to anybody, and it’s not their fault.

It does not define us!!

Although it happened I will not allow it to define who I am.  I am a survivor, I am a mother, and I am one of very many.  It has shaped how I see this issue, and it has shaped me to be a more compassionate person.  I hope that it will change your attitude about domestic abuse.

This or That? Pick one topic to care about.


 In July 2015 a Lion, Cecil as he was known was killed in Zimbabwe, just outside a National Park.  This magnificent and endangered creature was killed by a Trophy Hunter, whom was also a dentist from Minnesota.  Social Media erupted, as well as television commentary.  Jimmy Kimmel made a statement and cried during his monologue and people were pissed off.  If you don’t know the story check this out!

Then there was the backlash.  I like many others made comments on my Facebook page about how angry I was.  I quoted conservation efforts made such as half of the worlds lions are located on this Nature reserve and how he was 13 years old and fathered a bunch of little lions (cubs).  I was asked point blank on my page, how could I care about a lion when there were millions of children dying in Africa?  When there was people here at home dying of cancer?  Hungry people, old people, communities in despair, poor people, veteran groups, the ones the defend our country for MY right to care! 

Right then I suddenly was at a loss.  Why do I have to choose one over the other?  This is an absurd concept to me.  It’s like choosing which of my children are my favorites, or which song is the best, or what color is perfect?  More and more these days’ people cannot freely express their ideas or opinions without being scrutinized for them.  Especially on Social Media.  Trolls are everywhere, I am sure each one of us has had an experience with troll.  Heck, there was just one on our student blog page on day 1! 

I am really tired of the intolerance in this world.  People are different, we need to be less judgmental and more excepting to each other’s ideas.  What I DO NOT mean is we have to agree?  We most certainly don’t.  However, if somebody likes cats, I am a dog person, that doesn’t make having a cat wrong.  I am not going to tell her how having a cat is stupid, and dogs are so much better.  I am not going to provide data of how dogs help people, and cats don’t.  I am not going to quote famous people telling them that they too are dog people so and therefore you suck because you like cats.  I may say something like, hey I like dogs better, and we can even tell each other what we like about them.  She may like cats because they are independent and she doesn’t have a lot of time to have a dog.  She may have once been bitten by a dog. 

My point is this, everybody has opinions, and people have a reason they have come to those opinions.   Social Media is a place to express them.  Just let it be!  Quit being so mean to each other out there.  Quit nagging and bragging.  Express yourself, and be nice to others doing the same!  Tolerance people!  Everybody has a story, listen, to the why…that helps us understand one another.

By Jennifer Roach

Information about Cecil.