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If You're Going Through Hell, Keep Going!

By Kari Ann Rinker
Announcement | October 19, 2011

TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas women are truly "going through hell" living, working and coping with the repercussions of Brownback's chosen policies, but we must keep going! NOW is not the time to give up!

The grassroots response and outcry surrounding the recent domestic violence debacle in Topeka reminds us of the power that we hold. Women's rights advocates and supporters are capable of changing public policy. This is possible in our local communities and at the state level. We must be diligent, ever watchful and forceful in our response to injustice.

This is why I encourage you to join us at the 2011 Kansas NOW State Conference, meet other concerned citizens and learn about some important topics currently effecting the women and children of Kansas. The day's agenda will feature the following ...

  • Fighting for Our Rights at the Capitol: Bi-Partisan Legislative Panel Discussion featuring members of KS House & Senate
  • Human Trafficking: Dorthy Haley, Kansas Attorney General, Victims Services Division.
  • Crisis, Infants Are Dying in Kansas: Infant Mortality Panel
  • Discussion, Sedgwick County Health Department, Kansas March of Dimes & SIDS Network of Kansas
  • Elections and Awards

Register today by completing registration form at www.ksnow.org.

$20.00 conference cost will include lunch. Pre-registration is required, as we must have a count to the caterer for food prior to the day of the event.

We are offering carpools from Lawrence, Wichita and possibly KC. Contact coordinator@ksnow.org for details.

Share your voice and become involved in making change for the women of Kansas!


Kansas women are going thru HELL?

Kari, isnt that a little over the top?

Why not focus on women who's lives are going well? For example check out this site of the Kansas City Council of Women Business Owners (www.kc-cwbo.org) and it lists all these women who's companies are expanding. (PS. That group to be a member you must be a woman owner of a business that grosses at least $2M a year and has 15 employees).

Plus of all the issues you mention, you forgot to mention the #1 thing - jobs. Might I suggest your group find speakers from womens business groups like Power Chics (http://powerchics.net). Or the Kansas Womens Business Center (www.onekcforwomen.com).

I'm not trying to be rude because really most of the issues you mention have roots in economics and helping women get better jobs or open their own businesses would help alot.

How many of the half million plus women in the Kansas City Metropolitan area do you suppose own businesses that gross $2M? How many of those women know what it is to call the cops and wait for help that either doesn’t get there or stand the abusive interrogation that implies that they brought their trouble on themselves

Kari Ann, there just might be a few more Kansas Women going thru hell trying to keep food on the table, cloths on the kids, salve and bandages in the medicine chest, etc. etc. than the Kansas Women who are owners of businesses that gross $2M a year.

The wealthy owner of a $2M dollar business most likely doesn’t have to worry about affordable child care, while she waites tables to supplement the family income, just to meet the bare necessities. She doesn’t have to wonder how to find financial help for a daughter that got herself pregnant and the sperm donor walked out. She doesn’t have to worry about how she is going to keep the kids if she walks out on an abusive relationship. She doesn’t have to worry about continued health care if she or her partner loses a job.

The average woman does not have equal opportunity and protection in our society. We live in a man’s world. Very few of the world’s religions advocate equal status for women. And, sad to say, many Christian groups are no better. They don’t give women equal status with men.

I don’t have to agree with every item on NOW’s agenda. But, I certainly agree with more of them than I disagree with.

The average $2M business woman has very little in common with the average Miss, Ms., or Mrs. in society.

"Representative Joe Pitts, the Pennsylvania Republican who introduced the bill, contends it involves no new risk to women." This bill essentially protects Dr.s and hospitals from treating any illness or health problem that they deem to be caused by actions that don't fit their religious, moral, or ethical standards.

Nope, it sure doesn't. At least not to the upper level income ladies. They have the means to travel to the next city, state, or even country to solve their problem pregnancies. And, those problem pregnancies are not limited to just discovering conception took place at an inconvenient time in their lives.

Back in the bygone days, girls from the more well to do families took extended trips to live with relatives somewhere. The girls from the less well to do families had to stay put and suffer the embarrassment and incovenience of full term delivery of the product of their passionate folly. The 'rich' ladies could hire nannies to look after their daughters offspring, so the daughter could continue her educatiion or social activities. The 'poor' ladies had to add the child to their household and stretch their limited time and resources to yet another child.

Yes, Kari, Brad is right. Jobs and economics are a real part of the problem. But, refusing equal access to health care, child care, freedom from spousal abuse, etc. will not dissappear when jobs return and the economy turns around. Those same inequities between the rich and poor will still be in place.

Ken--Amen, brother. I'm a Kansas woman whose kids are now raised and they and their families are all doing well. However, when they were young, I often had to work two or three jobs to keep a house over our head and food on the table. I have college degrees and had what many people would have considered a good job, but as a single mother I at times ended up using food stamps and Medicaid for the kids.

I had and still have nothing in common with the Kansas City business women. I'm happy for their success, but their story is rare in my experience.

What I did experience was domestic violence, the major cause of my single motherhood. It took me a long time to figure out that the guy who beat me up on regular basis wasn't going to change his ways. At that time, no support groups for women in my situation existed, so I left while I was still in one piece.

I won't attend the conference because I have too much else going on right now, but I hope it goes well. All the problems Kari Ann has mentioned are real for the women of Kansas. I hope the conference can empower all women to take charge of their lives.

Ken, there are plenty of men trying to put food on the table also. Up until this year I happened to be one of them.

Do you really want to help the poor? Well then look for ways to create more and better paying jobs. Thats why we NEED those women who have the $2m jobs to not only create jobs but to act as mentors and examples to what people can achieve. Ok, maybe you dont like those rich women but certainly you can see the merit in looking at groups like the Kansas Womens Business Center or Power Chics.

And yes, the average women earning over $2m knows darn good and well what other women are going thru. They were not born into or handed those careers. For example my MIL was a single Mom with 4 kids who started a home based nanny business with nothing which when she sold it and retired, was earning over $100k a year.

My point was according to Kari, it would seem that all of the women in Kansas are going thru hell which is really not the case. The main problem right now is jobs and if NOW really wants to help people, they should partner with womens business groups.

BTW, That case involving domestic dispute - jeez, the left is going nuts over that one. It made the national news and they are acting like all of Kansas now has the green light to abuse their spouses when really it was just a lame bill introduced to bring exposure to a local issue of too little court funding.

Brad, I don't dislike rich women or men, either. And, yes, I know there are plenty of men struggling to put food on the table. Isn't it a shame that we are the wealthiest nation in the world and have less than 1% of our citizens controlling well over half of all that wealth. And, a very small percent of those 1% are women without wealthy partners. And, on the other end of the spectrum, some 30% have no net worth. All of those 30% are not lazy good for nothings. Health care expenses are a significant cause of bankruptcy. Hostile take over of small business have wiped out the net worth of some. Corporations like Enron, for instance, wiped out life time savings and left many with nothing but their retirement income. Certainly, the top execs of those companies lost some of their wealth, but most of them came out with well above the needed resources for a comfortable living.

The OWS rallies may have many lazy good for nothings in the crowd, but the bulk of those crowds are people who see and have experienced the inequities of society. NOW may have some inferior members, who will never accept responsibility for their own welfare, but, again, the bulk of NOW's membership is made up of women who are well aware of the unequal opportunity and treatment of women in the political and social world. Some of them are successful in their own endeavors, but are aware of their sisters struggling for freedom of choice in the everyday decisions affecting their lives.

Your MIL's $100K nanny business was a far cry from the $2M enterprizes you are noting. And, I'll stick to my guns that very few of those $2M female owners have any idea what life is like in the trenches of working class women.

I'm not a member of NOW, but I know they address issues other than purely economic concerns. Jobs would solve many problems, but money won't solve all their problems nor yours.

Perhaps Brad makes an unwarranted leap in understanding Kari's phrase "Kansas women are" as "ALL Kansas women are...going through hell." An option might be "some" or "many" which I think is Kari's intent. Obviously, some or many women do have it not so bad, some have it pretty good.. And Brad is correct, I'd say, in attributing some of the "hell" to economics, but economics is far from the only factor and in most cases NOT the primary or ritical factor. One could say as well that the economic factor depends on the social factors. Surely some desperate situations have LITTLE to do with money--and much to do with male testosterone and ego. Feel free to disagree.

critical, not ritical. C's are important, but less so than females.

Ken, when did it become wrong to celebrate success and admire peoples accomplishments? Is it wrong to admire successful women like Gail Worth, who started out working in her fathers motorcycle shop and worked her way up thru a male dominated company and now owns the largest Harley Davidson dealership in Kansas City? (www.gailsharleydavidson.com) PS. She looks darn good too!

Clearly the message of "all Kansas women are living in Hell....coping with the repercussions of Brownback's chosen policies" is negative, un-productive, and overtly political (democrat). Look at the Gail Harley Davidson website I listed and read Gails story. Look at the message of Power Chics. Look at Ks-NOW. Then tell me who has the better message for Kansas women.

Three old men — well, maybe one old man, one not so old and one middle aged — debating the problems women have in society.

Let's hear a little more from the women. Surely we have some who can come down on both sides of the issues and help us poor fellows know which way to turn.

You "old" men are doing just fine. I've always contended that if men would take more responsibility for the inequities faced by women, those inequities would disappear. I think men do need to argue and enlighten one another about the so-called "women's issues."

The day that men stop holding one another accountable for the fair treatment of women is the day I hope never to experience.

I just spent the weekend with my brother, who is one of those "old men," at Demofest. (Yes, I'm a Democrat and proud to be one.) I don't know how I would have made it through some of my tough times without his and my father's help. Most of the men I'm close to, my husband, my brothers, my sons, and my men friends, do take responsiblity for themselves and their families. By the way, both my brothers had custody of their children and raised them as single fathers.

I'm quite happy when women are successful and I'm sure there are many examples of successful women that we all could point to. However, I think Brad misses what Kari Ann is saying. The truth is, Brownback's policies will adversely affect, not the successful millionaire women, but the women who are scraping to get by. Older women are especially vulnterable to budget cuts, as are single moms and their children. The infant mortality rate in Kansas should be a cause for alarm, even if nothing else is. What boggles my mind is that the anti-choice conservatives in the state legislature are doing everything they can to keep women from getting legal abortions, yet they care little about the already born infants and young children.

Speaking of successful, wealthy women, something most people don't think about is that these women are just as likely as any other woman to be the victims of domestic violence. No woman, no matter what her status, is immune from that. And most women don't want to talk about it because they're ashamed that it happens to them. Yes, I know men can be physically abused as well, and that should never happen, but women are victimized far more often than men are.

This woman is speaking out in support of good men and women who need our help. I appreciate the women-and men-who are members of the National Organization FOR Women and I'm proud to be a member.

Yes men should take responsibility for the lives they create. In fact I have worked with a couple of guys who married, had kids, then when the going got tough they just up and walked out. And this isnt just plain divorce either. It's divorcing plus walking away from their wives and children without paying a nickle or giving any support. That sickens me. I dont condone this. And I dont have anything to do with any so-called "man" who would do such a thing.

Diane, I agree that men should take repsonsibility. Sadly I think this is a symptom of the "me first" society and thinking only of ourselves.

People try to label me as pro-choice or pro-life but what I really am is pro-responsibility. I feel people should be responsible for their actions. Sadly in the movies people are having sex like crazy and who cares about the consequenses? Men should take responsibility for any lives they create even if its a one night stand same as women should too. If a guy gets a women pregnant and she decides to keep the baby, he better be supporting it. If she wants an abortion he should be right there in the clinic with her. If they cant handle it they better get an operation or keep their pants on.

Brad--Been there, done that, as far as the dad walking away. It's not the worst thing that could have happened, though. Life was much more peaceful without his interference.

I certainly agree that men should take responsibility, no matter how they decide to do so. Keeping their pants zipped is a good start.

Interesting. Brad charges the author with saying "all Kansas women are living in Hell," apparently to hit at the "personal responsibility" theme song of the right. Thus, Brad amends the authors words by adding "all" to fit his polarizing ideology.

Once again, Kari does not claim ALL women "are going through hell." For some women "going through hell" is hyperbole, but for many others it is not. Here's a major difference between the right wing point of view (I don't view it as conservative) and the progressive wing:

The right wing believes in personal responsibility. Great, so do progressives. The difference is that progressives ALSO recognize the need for responsibility for others who need help in various ways, sometimes for the moment, sometimes for a lifetime.

The right wing is all for social Darwinism. The progressive wing does not reject the idea of personal responsibility but is equally about compassion and social and economic justice, that from which Glenn Beck said all Christians should run!?

The amazing, no, mind boggling thing to me, is that so many on the hard right do consider themselves Christians and at the same time canonize Ayn Rand, who was a self-declared (and with reason)atheist.

Bottom line: personal responsibility (competition, actually) is not enough for a civilized society. That takes social responsibility (cooperation). Sorry, I cannot imagine Jesus as a Ayn Rand fan except as a perversion of His teaching.

When it comes down to it whats needed is more jobs and economic development in Kansas. Sure Kari's group wants some things, so do the people who wants roads, parks, and schools.

BTW, there was a recent article about how Kansas reservoirs are below capacity and it might require up to a billion dollars of dredging to fix them.

The governor and legislature cannot make money appear out of the air. I live in Johnson County and my area is full of companies that provide alot of high paying jobs. Plus we have the best schools, social structure, and a large fine arts community. Kansas City just opened a $140 million symphony hall. Sadly driving thru the rest of Kansas you see next to no economic development.

Without economic growth the state government will be forced to have even more cuts in social programs especially the ones Kari supports.

The economy HAS to be the focus.

Frankly Brad, I see little if anything in Kari's activism to improve women's rights that would conflict with
your goal of economic development. Most of us at Kansas Free Press, I'm confident, would agree with
you that a primary (but not the only) focus of the moment is to create jobs. My own preference in that regard
would be investments in infrastructure and education (and some of that last, incidentally, might involve education
about women's rights (and plights). You are certainly correct that state or local governments cannot create money "out of thin air." However commonsensical that seems, it does NOT apply to our federal government--which has a "fiat" currency system, meaning more money CAN be created when the national interest merits it.
That has been true since 1971 when the US left the gold/silver standard. Today the federal government can and should(and can) make fiat money available to state and local governments. Again, the operative word is INVESTMENT. There are a lot more particulars, but the principle (Keynesian economics) played a big role in getting us out of the Depression. The dredging of Kansas reservoirs, using federal fiat dollars, would be a good example--as would repairing/building/rebuilding roads, bridges, and schools which would put many people to work directly, and many more indirectly. The wages would accrue to the overall economy and encouage consumer buying, and ultimately the creation of more and more jobs--as more consumers had more money to spend. Thanks to Kari for triggering a solid conversation, and to Brad for assuring that it continued.

Yes, Brad we need jobs and the economy is in shambles. That is the main focus of the OWS demonstrations.

The economy is in shambles because the unemployed cannot purchase goods or services and the employed are, all too often, so underpaid they cannot purchase even the bare essential. The steady increase in wealth and spendable income for the wealthy, while the middle and lower classes are losing net worth and purchasing power is killing our economy. The wealthy are not gaining resources purely because of their hard work and the middle and lower classes are not all losing because they are lazy or incompetant.

Pure capitalism with out regulatory constraints will never provide a level playing field and equal opportunity for all. When our political leaders are beholden to the wealthy (via campaign contributions), we will not have government programs and policies that are not biased.

Kari's NOW organization is well aware of economic inequities. But, they are also aware of inequities that go far beyond simple economics. Most of us Progressives and Liberal leaning folks think the Conservative Republicans and Radical Religious Right are ignoring those inequities

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