Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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In Which Texas Abuses Women

... with forced ultrasounds and forced information.  And while we're on that topic, the article also shows how Texas abuses health care providers by forcing them to do harm to some of their patients, when "first, do no harm" is supposed to be the primary groundrule of the whole profession.

This isn't harm that happens and then goes away.  Rape can do permanent damage.  Other psychological violations can do permanent damage.  Consider the cost of depression, antidepressants, counseling.  Consider the cost of women for whom that's the last straw and they cease to be functioning members of society; cease to hold a job (if they can even find one) and pay taxes, begin to soak up tax money through public aid.  Consider the cost to families of having someone -- a daughter, a wife, a mother -- who is shattered by this experience.  Who maybe has flashbacks when the topic of sex comes up, or the topic of children comes up, or who can't bear watching television anymore because politicians refuse to stop talking about what they're going to take away from women next, or who avoids the health care industry as too traumatic even when in need of positive care.  A slow creep of damage radiating outward like a spreading stain.  And there's not even any legal recourse for it, because it was legally mandated.

Now, when society allows, encourages, or commands human beings to harm each other, some bad things tend to happen.  First there's the damage to the victims themselves.  But there's also a negative effect on the perpetrators.  They tend to either break from sharing the suffering of the victims, or become indifferent to that suffering.  The latter inclines them to harm more people than the "acceptable" victims.  Consider, for example, the much higher rates of rape, child abuse, spousal abuse, etc. in the military.  Consider also how awkward it is when soldiers snap and shoot up their own base or a bunch of civilians.  A fluke?  No.  It's an obvious, predictable effect of removing people's ordinary ethics and training them to dehumanize others and use violence to solve problems.  If you're very careful about keeping soldiers sane and healthy, such incidents can be kept to a minimum, but they always happen; and if you run people ragged, they happen a lot more often and are worse.

Such things may seem to be unconnected but they all stem from a common cause.  When a society does not value its members and does not teach them to respect and care for each other, they tend to lose the qualities that make for healthy individuals and healthy societies.  This destroys the bonds that hold people together in smaller or larger groups. Eventually, you don't have a society anymore; you have anarchy, maybe contained in a leaking tub of what used to be a nation.  Don't believe it can happen?  There are not only plenty of historic examples, look at some places in Africa.  Central Europe, the Middle East, and South America have done it repeatedly too.  The results are ghastly.

So it's generally a bad idea to harm other people.  Anyone who advocates activities that harm other people -- aside from exceptional circumstances like self-defense -- is contributing to the problem and not somebody who should be in charge of anything, let alone a government.
Tags: activism, community, gender studies, politics, safety
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