Afraid for Roommate who is Pregnant and Being Abused

Dear Liz,

My roommate is dating a guy my other roommate and I can’t stand. He’s rude, immature and treats her like crap! Not only that, he verbally abuses her, and she has told me that he has hit her before. When I asked her about it she pushed it aside and told me that it has only happened once while he was drunk. He’s high on numerous occasions when he sees her.  He is controlling and bosses her around; she does everything for him and he cannot seem to do anything on his own.  He’s 25 and acts like child. He is rude and degrading to both me and my other roommate. He has made sexual comments towards us and about us…in front of her! and she says nothing. She has had a hard year—her mother recently passed and she is dealing with the stress of school and graduating and above all, her boyfriend. I want to convince her into leaving him, but she does not see how bad he is for her like I do. She is now pregnant with his child and leaving him is not an option in her mind. I am scared he is going to hurt her or the baby as time goes on. What do I do? I want to help her, but if I say anything I risk our friendship—she’s stubborn and does not want to hear what I have to say. If I try to say anything she gets mad at me and ignores everything I try to tell her. Help Liz, I am scared for my best friend. Continue reading

My Friend Was Raped:  Should She Press Charges?

Dear Liz,

I’ve been friends with a girl for four or five years and we are very close. She’s the type who has always been a bit anxious and nervous, which leads to serious insecurity. Around senior year of high school we became distant and only this past year did we rekindle our friendship. This month I learned that she was ‘date raped’ in high school. She was at a party with a lot of people from our school, and she got so drunk that she blacked out. Someone said they saw this boy drag her up the stairs, because she couldn’t walk, and nobody stopped them, and he took her outside and had sex with her. The only reason my friend found out was because he took a video and posted it on his snapchat story. She has no recollection of this event. I don’t know how many people she told at this time. But now, probably about three years later, she is still coming to terms with it. This month she broke down crying to me, my roommate, and her sister about it. We were all furious at how something like this could have happened. She wonders if she should press charges, but worries that if she does she will have to see the video. I know that you have a background in law so I am wondering if you know anything about the statute of limitations with rape.  What do you think a young lady should do in this situation? Continue reading

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wallets: Why Patriarchy Relies on Taking From Both

In mid-December, a student wrote in seeking advice on how to convince her boyfriend that the wage gap and rape culture were real (How Do I Convince My Boyfriend that the Wage Gap and Rape Culture are Real?  December 2016). I passed along the challenge (re: the wage gap issue) to my students, and as expected, they did a wonderful job.  With their permission, I’ve taken from their responses and incorporated them within.  I have also contributed my own understanding of patriarchy and rape culture.  To all of my students who help me and their classmates learn each day, thank you, and well done! Continue reading

How Do I Convince My Boyfriend that the Wage Gap and Rape Culture are Real?

Dear Liz,

I was showing my boyfriend the article and essay I am writing for your Women and Gender Studies class. We got into an argument because he said that the wage gap between men and women isn’t real, and that rape culture doesn’t exist in the United States. How do I convince him he’s wrong? Thanks. Continue reading

This Holiday Season, Don’t Forget Your Inner Gingerbread Person

Our holiday celebrations form around stories that remind us of the invisible, the unexplainable, the liberating, the joyful, and the miraculous. Whether we realize it or not, our holiday stories are there to remind us of all that is within us, waiting to be touched, to be illuminated, and to be shared.  The oil that kept the lamp burning, the star that led to the humble manger, the baby who grew to be a man of wisdom and miracles…This holiday season, as the material world beckons your attention, Continue reading

Boyfriend Wants a Backwards Relationship…

Dear Liz,

One of my best friends is in a relationship that is not normal. The boyfriend does not want to talk through the troubles that both of them go through. He puts her down sometimes and ignores her when she brings up things that they need to talk together about. She has to do the driving all the time, plan all the dates, because the boy wants to have a “backwards relationship” and I want to help, it’s just I don’t really know how besides possibly giving some advice. Please let me know how I can help. Continue reading