Violence Against Women In America Needs To Stop

America, There Is No Excuse For The Number Of Crimes Against Women In This Country

This is uncalled for.

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I feel like every time I turn around, there is at least one new story in the news of a woman going about her daily business and getting kidnapped, raped or murdered (or all three). I can tell you for a fact that this wasn't something that was happening nearly as much 50 years ago. Of course, maybe that's because women were expected to stay inside and take care of the house so maybe there wasn't the opportunity, to begin with. But what do I know? Anyway, we can see there's a definite problem here, but what is the solution? Well, I'm glad you asked.

I think the start comes from a simple place: changing the view of women from object to human being. Society has come pretty far, but we haven't come nearly far enough. So often women are still objectified and made to seem like a trophy to have. We need to start by teaching our children (men and women alike) that women are not objects and should not be treated as such. You like a girl and want to take her on a date? Fine, ask her in a polite and respectful way and if she says no, you accept that choice.

"Ah, but Abby, what about the women who don't dress and act like they want respect?"

Well, first of all, how a woman dresses is none of your business. Yeah maybe it's not the most weather appropriate, but you don't get to decide what another person's clothing choices mean. I would also like to add that doing the right thing does not start with someone else acting in a way that you deem right and basing your actions off of this. Being a respectful individual means just being a respectful individual no matter what circumstances you are put in. You are in charge of your actions and your actions only. Please act accordingly.

"Well, it's actually all of the immigrants and foreigners that are committing these crimes against women."

Okay, well let's just take a look at the incidences of sexual assault alone in the US:

  • One in five women will be raped at some point in their lives
  • In 8 out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the person that assaulted her
  • Nearly 1 in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner in some form

*Disclaimer—Sexual violence against men is also a problem that doesn't get a lot of light. I realize it is an issue, but for the sake of time, I'm not going to go into all of the details in this article.

If every 1 in 5 of our women is getting raped, it can't all be just the immigrants. As far as just regular crime goes, a study done by the Cato Institute using data from 2016 found that illegal immigrants are 47% less likely to be incarcerated than natives. Another study published in the journal "Criminology" stated that "Increased concentrations of undocumented immigrants are associated with statistically significant decreases in violent crime." So yeah, maybe illegal immigrants are committing a crime while they're here, but it seems that the more dangerous culprit are the individuals grown from our own soil.

I realize that this turned into a little bit of a rant, but I feel that recently the United States has wanted to place blame on everyone but ourselves. We find that there is a crime epidemic and we either want to brush it under the rug or say "if only we could build a wall to keep the bad guys out, then things would be okay." I think it's time for us to take responsibility for our own actions and stop letting our women be harmed. Violence against women is a huge problem right now and the general attitude of our country seems to be that we don't really care enough to do anything about it. Teach our children to respect each other. Let us change our thinking and the way that we act so that we can actually do something about the problem. Let the change start with us.

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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