If time is just a social construst, then why do I feel this need to start all over again on this very same day every day?

The idea of years wasted has always given me a bout of anxiety. The idea of dying had scared me from a very young age way before I had even thought about ending mine. Yet that did not stop from trying to hang myself in fifth grade. And then when it did not work, I sat there a very long time tried to wonder, truly why the other kids hated me so. Did they really want me gone? Was I really diseased to them as they played it out to be. They held my papers with two fingers and flung them at me, made fun of things I could not control and I just could not understand why other kids had to be like that when.

A decade past and I left untreated and things got worse and only when I went away from all that ailed me in the past before was I able to start recovering from it. And when I started, I never thought I would be “one of those people.” I always thought I would “stronger than that” or I would be the one who made it all the way and didn’t succumb to my brain disease and do this like so many others before me had done and I would be the one who made it and lived for everyone else who did not.

But living for everyone else is so much harder and you’re the one alive and the others are gone and there is no one to live this one life now but you. I cannot take back who I had become over the last three years when not all my disease was treated together. But I can take all the bits and pieces I have learned from the last 24 people I had been and sew together a 25th person who is a siginificantly better person than the 24 ones before her.

This person is best to emerge in a social construction where people come together in merriment that resemble times past where faces of familiarity are placed with people who may become familier. She must weave together all her memories, all her sorrows, all her joy, her lost child, her passed animals, and her two times of near death to be stitched in a version that can be easily updated in a time of necessity. That she will be program to do everything she can to ensure the next 25 parts of herself are well taken care of an can be looked back upon fondly. And while she must do all she can in a socially constructed environment, she must be able to do it by the last of seven candles and when the crystal ball falls from the sky.

So why not, on this day of all the days, make yourself into someone entirely knew that you can be proud of 25 years later?


Spousal Rape Needs More Attention

Spousal rape is a rape that is less talked about in conversations about rape and rape culture because the power dynamic is more than just that of the perpetrator and the victim.

It is a rape that occurs between a husband and wife (or husband-husband or wife-wife).

In the state of Ohio, a person can be charged with rape if they impair another person’s judgment or self-control to prevent their resistance. This could be done through giving the victim drugs, controlled substances or any other intoxicant through force, intimidation or lying.

Spousal rape wasn’t included into Ohio law until 1986, but it was only if there was “force” or a “threat of force.” Situations where one spouse drugs another without their knowledge and rapes do not qualify as spousal rape under the law.

This is a loophole that victim advocates and state representatives are trying to close with House Bill 97, but only 17 lawmakers—all of them Democrats—have signed to co-sponsor this bill.

H.B. 97 would eliminate spousal exceptions for rape, sexual bettery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, gross sexual imposition and public indecency. Currently, spouses can only be charged with these crimes if the victim is either not their spouse or is their spouse but they live separately.

First, we have to establish that regardless if it is between two people who are married, rape is still rape and it can occur in marriages. Being married to someone does not stop human beings from being able to consent to sex on their own terms.

Second, the state government has to know (or should know by this point through H.B. 97) the spousal exemption of force or threat of force is hard to prove in the court of law. A victim spouse could have physical injury done to them due to the crime, but it would be disputed by courts as to whether or not the injury happened because of the rape or because of something else. A threat of force can easily be seen in courts as “he said/she said.” Both of these exemptions already make it hard for spouses to report cases of rape because not only are these two statutes going to be hard to prove in court, but the lack of presence could prevent spouses from getting rape kits in hospitals.

If we eliminate these exemptions from spousal rape, we may be able to see a start in spouses reporting their rapes and justice being served for these people, regardless if the perpetrator was their partner. Marital status and living situations should not be issues that are exempted from rape cases.

Last, I find it to be unsurprisingly disgusting that there is not a single Republican in the General Assembly who has co-sponsored this bill. While we have heard and seen our fair share of Republicans say horrid things about rape, abortion and Planned Parenthood, anyone– regardless of political party–should be able to see the importance of eliminating this loophole.

Rape is horrid and traumatic the United Nations considers it a war crime. It is unfair to believe rape cannot happen between two people just because they have their names on a marriage license together. Rape does not discriminate; rape is illegal and a crime. No one, not even spouses, should be exempt from being tried for that crime.

This column has been formatted for the internet and edited by the original author.
This column first appeared in the independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.

Policing women and religion out of hand

Photo taken from The Guardian website; from vantagenews.com

The policing of women’s bodies and what they decide to wear is getting out of hand in both the United States and around the world.

In the United States, we as a society are constantly criticizing what women wear, from asking in court systems what women are wearing at the time of their sexual assaults to creating sexist dress codes in our public code that prevent young girls from wearing menial articles of clothing such as spaghetti strapped tank tops in fear of “distracting” male students from receiving their education.

In France earlier this week, a Muslim woman on a beach in Nice was cited with a ticket by the police for not “wearing an outfit respecting good morals and secularism,” according to French news agency, Agence French-Presse.

She wore leggings, a tunic and a headscarf while on the beach with her children. In three photos that were posted by The Guardian, the woman is seen laying on the beach, four police officers on their way to approach her.

Photo taken from The Guardian Website; by Vantagenews.com
The woman who only gave her her first name, Siam, is seen laying on the beach in a tunic, leggings, and headscarf.

In the second photograph, the Muslim woman can be seen with her tunic partially removed and all four police officers watching her do so; and in a third photo, she’s holding the tunic out to the police officers while one officer is knelt down inspecting it.

Photo taken from The Guardian's website; from Vantagenews.com
Siam, holding out her tunic to an officer to inspect.

Nice and other various French cities have banned “burkinis,” a type of swimwear for Muslim women that correlates with Islamic dress code and other clothing that “overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks,” which refers to the attack that occurred this past summer on Bastille Day where a cargo truck drove into crowds, killing 86 people and injuring more than 300 others. The ban is said to be “necessary to protect the population,” but I do not buy this at all.

The wording of the Muslim woman’s ticket also indicates that her outfit was not respectful of good morals and feeds into the idea that Islam is an immoral religion, which it is not. Are nuns in France being asked to not wear their habits because their outfits do not “respect good morals and secularism?” Doubtful.

While I agree there are terrible people out there who use Islam to push radical ideologies (see the Syrian Civil War for more details), I disagree with France that this woman deserved to have her clothes taken off and inspected to ensure she was not a threat. This woman was at the beach with her children, not bothering anyone.

What is worse, according to The Guardian, a witness to the scene said she heard other people around the situation saying things such as “Go home,” and applauding the police for making this woman remove her clothing.

While I understand that all of this is supposed to help protect the people, it is more harmful to average citizens than anything. These rules are meant to target people who identify or “look” Muslim, and this leads to more profiling by law enforcement and stereotyping in our society. If policies like this are going to be set in place, I hope and want them to be set in place for all people and religions.In order to make sure this rule and ban is fair, nuns should not be wearing their habits and priests should not be wearing their collars.

If you are going to police one gender’s or one religion’s right to clothing, all of them should be policed.

CORRECTION: The original poster of the photos was not The Guardian. The photos were taken from vantagenews.com and were used on The Guardian’s website.
This article has been edited and updated by the original author.

This article was originally published by BG Falcon Media’s independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.

Medicinal marijuana legalization requires substance reclassification

On Wednesday, June 8, Gov. John Kasich quietly signed House Bill 523, which legalized medical marijuana for the state, making it the 25th state in the nation to have medical marijuana.

The bill passed in the General Assembly by differing margins: It passed in the Senate 18-15 and in the House 67-28.

The legislation comes after ResponsibleOhio’s Issue 3 failed during last November’s election, where the legalization for both medical and recreational marijuana was up to the people to decide whether or not they would want 10 cultivators controlling over 1,000 dispensaries.

The bill will allow physicians to prescribe marijuana alternatives to patients who have one of the multiple ailments listed in the law.  The law will go into affect in less than 90 days, with the hopes of having marijuana plants being cultivated in the state within a year.

Under this law, smoking and growing marijuana will still be illegal, but alternatives such as oils, patches, edibles and vapors will be legal.

Currently, there are 20 medical conditions on the list that will allow people to obtain prescriptions for medical marijuana. Some of these include epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and chronic pain that is either severe or intractable.

More ailments can be added to the list with approval.

Three boards will be overseeing and writing the laws pertaining to medical marijuana: the Department of Commerce, the Ohio Pharmacy Board and the Ohio Medical Board. The new law will also create a panel of 12 people to help advise the departments for the rules that are being formulated.

So what does this mean for the average Ohio citizen?

For starters, this new law does not hold any protections against employers taking action against employees for using marijuana medicinally.

If you have one of the 20 ailments currently on the list, you’re in luck! Come September, you will be able to receive a prescription from an authorized physician. Unfortunately, with the laws taking effect in 90 days, cultivation starting within a year, with products hoping to be tested in as early as 16 months, patients will have to receive their medical marijuana products from neighboring states, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Keep in mind, marijuana in all forms is still illegal at the federal level. Traveling with marijuana or marijuana byproducts across state lines could cause someone to be prosecuted on federal drug trafficking charges.

But now that half of the states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana medicinally, it is time for the Drug Enforcement Agency to stop procrastinating on the reclassification of marijuana and start working toward doing so.

Presently, marijuana is a Schedule I, which means it has no medical benefits and it is highly addictive. This labeling over the course of the last 20 years has become very outdated.

With the Schedule I labeling comes the inability to research more freely. Currently, the plant can only be obtained for research through one government garden and special grants have to be given in order for the research to be able to take place.

The DEA considers reclassifying drugs annually, but has been reluctant to reschedule marijuana since classifying it as Schedule I in 1970, and have declined on multiple occasions to reclassify it.

The DEA decided in May to consider reclassifying marijuana by the end of summer, but summer has started and we are approaching Independence Day.

With half of the nation, including Washington DC, now legalizing the plant medically, we cannot afford to keep marijuana at the classification it is without being able to have the proper research on it.

This story has been edited and revised by the original author.
The original edition of this column appeared in the independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.

Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage is not the end of LGBT Issues

In two weeks from Sunday, June 12, we will be marking a year of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court of the United States case that allowed same-sex marriage to be legal in the United States.

On Saturday, June 11, my sister married her longtime girlfriend, something we thought we would have to wait much longer for.

It has almost been a year since the landmark decision was made with a 5-4 decision, with Justice Anthony Kennedy delivering the opinion of the court, saying, “No union is more profound than marriage.”

And Justice Kennedy is correct.

In the last year, I have seen same-sex couples of all ages become married.

My sister and her fiancée are no different. I have seen them grow in this process of setting things up, pulling extra shifts at their jobs just to make sure their big day and the honeymoon following it are perfect.

Though same-sex marriage has been a remarkable milestone in LGBT rights, there is so much more work to be done in the fight for their equality.

Now that marriage is legalized, it has become less of an issue in public debate. Which means, it is important now more than ever to make sure the LGBT is safe from other forms of discrimination, both legally and socially.

To start, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act in North Carolina was signed into law in March and has been called “the most anti-LGBT bill in the country.” Commonly nicknamed the “Bathroom Bill,” the Act declares that state law overrides cities from creating their own laws and rules that prevent the discrimination of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women are at a greater risk for poverty and are at a greater risk of being victims at sexual assault.

While the bisexual community has been inherently written off as invisible, the Williams Institute indicates that there are roughly as many bisexual individuals as there are gay and lesbian individuals. Bisexual women experience high rates of domestic violence.

Transgender individuals are also at a high risk for being victims of hate crimes, which was highlighted in 2015 when at least 81 transgender individuals were reported to be murdered, but the number of murders that go unreported could be significantly higher.

There are also still laws in place in certain states that allow for discrimination in some states, while others have no laws protecting LGBT employees at all.

I am not trying to downplay the importance the impact Obergefell v. Hodges has had on the United States this past year.

But just like slavery was not the end of racial discrimination, legalizing same-sex marriage is not the end of LGBT discrimination in anyway way, shape or form. Just like having racial segregation until the 50s, there are still plenty of ways—again, both legally and socially—that the LGBT community is still being discriminated against.

I encourage you to stand up with and for the LGBT community as they go through the everyday hassles outside of marriage rights. Stand up with and for them as they fight for equal economic, medical and in employee rights.

This post has been edited for timeliness.

This post was originally published in the independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here

Mental Health is on a person-by-person basis

The month of May was Mental Health Awareness Month, and throughout the entire time, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve been doing about my mental health since I first started my journey with depression two years ago.

I have had depression on and off since I was 13. Since I’ve been coming to college it has become more present.

Mental health on college campuses is beginning to be seen as a more prominent issue, as 94 percent of college campuses are reporting an increase of students who are looking for help from counseling centers, from the 60 percent of schools who have either a psychiatrist on staff or a counseling center.

I started going to the University’s counseling center during the fall of 2014. I went to the walk-in hours and was given a wonderful counselor who helped me through what was potentially the hardest college year to date.

My grandfather passed away a day before the wedding of my oldest cousin, and we ended up having a wedding and a funeral in the same weekend. I was able to work through the necessary grief process with her and was able to handle his loss better than I had the losses of other loved ones during my years at school.

In spring 2015, I decided I was comfortable enough to participate in group counseling. I was able to talk to and associate with other peers who were going through or had went through similar issues I was facing on multiple fronts both inside and outside of my mind.

I had gotten so much support through counseling about the importance of standing up for myself and advocating for things I wanted and needed for myself. However, that support didn’t keep me from not wanting to get up in the morning or from not wanting to do menial tasks, such as cleaning, or even doing important things such as going to the bank, paying bills or money orders.

There were (and still are) days that I would be dragging my feet to do something and when I would finally do it, I would not give 100 percent, as much as I would want to and would want to push myself. It was hard to sit down for an extended period of time to take a break to do errands, because I knew if I sat down for just one moment, I would not be standing back up for an extended period of time.

Last summer was my first time in 22 years being independent and on my own. And I thought the depression was from a lack of hours at my job, or a lack of just overall activity and boredom that sometimes comes with the BG summer. But I tried everything: reading, writing, doing overtime for the summer BG News. But nothing worked.

Ultimately at the end of the summer, I decided to be prescribed antidepressants.

At first I was terrified. In my hometown, addiction (especially in opioids which are found in prescription painkillers) is running rampant and it is killing people at an alarming rate nationally. I was also worried the first medication he would give me to try wouldn’t work. But my doctor encouraged me to just try it and if I did not like it, we could always find a different way and that if this pill didn’t work, we could always try something else.

So before fall 2015, I made the decision to take antidepressants and I have not looked back since. Unfortunately, adjusting to the medication this past year has been detrimental to my grades and GPA, (I failed two classes; one each semester), but I am very excited to be back on track to come back from the semester fresh.

I still have days where I don’t want to do anything and I don’t want to get out of bed. I even still struggle with doing menial chores on some days. But it’s all a little more manageable with antidepressants.

If you are struggling with any type of mental illness, I encourage you to not only seek help, but to find the help that works for you as an individual. For me, it was counseling and taking antidepressants that has helped me battle this. Everyone struggles with mental illness differently so my methods of getting better are not the same as my significant other, who has social anxiety, or my friend in my hometown who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. Even those who have depression as I do may also find that my method of getting better does not fit them, but my method of getting better is not the same as everyone else’s.

It is always important to find the way that works for you.

This column originally printed by independent student media publication, The BG News, on June 1, 2016 which can be found here.

The UK, Northern Ireland and Reproductive Rights

In the center of the picture, a woman holds a piece of cardboard that says, "I have this pill I am taking now!" Behind her, other protestors hold similar signs with prochoice words and slogans.

The topic of abortion is often touchy in the United States, as we talked about in my Ethnicity and Social Movements class last week. In my recitation on Friday, my teaching assistant shared a story about a woman in Indiana who was sentenced to 20 years in feticide.

According to NBC News, she “is the first woman in the U.S. to be charged, convicted, and sentenced on a feticide charge.”

Earlier in the week, I heard something similar that I thought my teaching assistant has been referring to but instead it took place in Northern Ireland.

According to the BBC, a woman in Belfast bought drugs online to terminate her pregnancy. In Northern Ireland, as there is absolutely no abortion access for women.

At the time the Belfast woman terminated her pregnancy, she was 19 years old. Now almost twy years later at 21, she has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Some people who read this at first might be confused. In public education in the United States, I was taught Ireland was part of the U.K. Some other students who were in American public education may also tell you that.

However, some students who were educated in the U.S., may be able to tell you that the land we know is Ireland is split into two separate locations: the Republic of Ireland, which is the sovereign nation mainstream American might be most exposed to; and Norther Ireland, which could potentially be less heard of outside of history or geography classes, is part of the U.K.

In 1967, the U.K. legalized abortions and registered practicioners and regulated the practice through the National Health Service.

So why does Northern Ireland not follow this law the same way England, Scotland, and Wales do?

It’s because the law never applied to the country to begin with. In Northern Ireland, abortion is illegal unless it is “to save the life of the mother” or carrying the pregnancy to term would put the women in danger either physically or mentally.

Even though this law is in place, the woman is still guilty of her miscarriage under The Offences against the Person Act 1981, which is a list of crimes that can be considered offenses of violence on a person.

Another story by the BBC about this situation says that women who live in Northern Ireland travel to other countries in the United Kingdom in order to receive legal and safe abortions.

In England, Scotland and Wales, women can legally have an abortion up to 24 weeks (168 days). After that, abortion can be legal beyond that limit in cases where the mother’s health is  being threatened or if there is a substantial risk the baby will have serious disabilities.

It is interesting that two similar situations are happening in what are supposed to be two of the most developed countries in the world are still fighting over what women should do about their own bodies.

The difference in these two stories is that the procedure was available to the woman in Belfast, but since she personally did have the resources to access it on her own, she had to use other resources that are otherwise seen as taboo to other societies.

The woman in Indiana claims to have given birth to a stillborn, but prosecutors are insisting the baby was alive when she gave birth and she neglected to get help. But activists are on her side, saying the conviction is “punishment for having a miscarraige and then seeking medical care…something that no woman should worry would lead to jail time.

Reproductive rights are more than just wanting to terminate pregnancies and wanting contraception. It is also about giving medical and psychological support to women whose pregnancies are physically tolling or traumatic experiences.

I’m curious as to see how these to stories, which is are opposite sides of a body of water play out. I hope to keep you updated.


Ireland Celebrates Centennial of the Easter Uprising

A photo of Ireland's president, Michael Higgins after he lays down a wreath in Dublin for the anniversary of the Easter Rising

In some countries, such as Australia the Republic of Ireland, celebrate Easter on the Monday after Easter Sunday, which is called exactly what you think it is–Easter Monday.

This Easter Monday, the Irish have more to celebrate than the arrival of the Easter Bunny and the resurrection of Jesus.

This year, the Irish celebrated their 100 year anniversary of the Easter Rising.

The Easter Rising was a rebellion created by Irish republicans to overthrow Great Britain’s rule and establish themselves on their own, paving the way for Ireland to declare their independence and become a republic on Easter Monday in 1949.

A thousand Irish citizens took over prominent buildings in the city center that day, sparking a fight that lasted throughout the rest of Easter Week and ended on the 29 of April. Presently, almost 500 people were killed and thousands were injured, most of the casualties being civilians.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Dublin to remember the rebellion, starting with a military parade by the Irish Army, followed by the Irish Air Corps participating in a flyover. A member of the military read from the 1916 Proclamation during a reenactment of the creation of the declaration during the revolt.

The most notable thing about this rebellion outside of historical significance to the Irish Republic is the timing of it all.

The rebellion came at a time when Great Britain and the rest of the United Kingdom were so focused on the war against Germany. They were putting all their time and resources into taking out Germany that they were completely unaware of the Irish’s plans.

And lots of Dublin citizens in the present day see the uprising as an act of treason, since (whether they liked it or not), Ireland was indeed with Britain fighting against German forces as well.

But the Irish are celebrating this Easter Week, 100 years later, knowing that without the Easter Rising, their road to independence would have been longer.

Argentina in hot waters with China over illegal fishing boat

While it seems like the United States and the rest of the world are impressed by Argentina’s willingness to become part of the nation’s leading powers again, China may end up thinking differently.

The Daily Mail in the United Kingdom reported earlier this week that the Argentine coast guard announced that it sank an illegal fishing boat that was displaying China’s flag.

The coast was ordered to sink the boat after detecting it fishing illegally. The Argentine coast guard, in an effort to protect the resources, went out on the waters to confront the ship.

The coast guard said in a statement they fired warning shots after the vessel denied requests from them in both English and Spanish.

The Chinese vessel refused these orders by turning off its lights and tried to crash into a coast guard boat on purpose.

Following the attempted crash, the coast guard decided to open fire on the illegal fishing boat, sinking it.

According to CNN, the coast guard managed to rescue four members that were on board–one captain and three mates–but the 28 other people who were on the ship were rescued by other Chinese vessels nearby.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is demanding an official investigation be held, claiming Argentina’s coast guard chased the boat for hours before firing at it.

Though this may not seem like a big issue on the surface to those unfamiliar with Argentina, I believe this incident may be costly in their slightly stable relationship with the country.

A lot of Argentina’s relationships with other countries suffered under the ruling of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor, Néstor, but their relationship with China did not.

They established diplomatic ties in 1972 and have embassies for each other in their respective nations. Argentina is also China’s third largest trading partner and has the third largest economy in Latin America.

In 2014, former president Kirchner and Chinese president Xi Jinping signed more than 20 trade deals, including deals on raw materials, something China desires greatly and something Argentina and easily give to them.

Given the countries signed more than 20 trade deals two years ago, I find it hard to think or believe there isn’t anything Argentina is keeping from China they don’t already have themselves.

I also find it upsetting the Chinese vessels were in exclusive Argentine waters to start, unless they were unaware of the zones at the time of they either entered the water or were approached by the coast guard.

The investigation should be conducted in collaboration by both countries, that way there is no grounds for one country to say that the other held an unfair investigation.

China and Argentina do not have the same or similar tensions in their relationship the way same way the US does with China. Argentina’s eagerness to work with the U.S. also reflects their willingness to (to say in unprofessionally) “be friends with everyone” regardless of governmental and political structures.

It will interesting to see how this plays out in the upcoming weeks, especially since Obama is still set to visit Argentina next week.

Argentina should consider accepting refugees, tend to citizens first

French President François Hollande is currently on a tour of South America, and visited the country of Argentina yesterday, according to an article by the Associated Press*.

President Hollande made a remark at a press conference, suggesting new Argentine President Mauricio Macri should accept  refugees from Syrian and Jordanian camps.

The comment was conveyed via translator and President Macri did not seem to make any visible facial reactions to the comment.

The two men signed many agreements today on issues such as terrorism, but the receiving of refugees was not part of it.

However, I agree with Hollande when he says Argentina should take in refugees.

Argentina has gone through a lot since Macri was sworn in December.

Since he has taken office, he has gone through lengths to hold his country responsible for their issues with the international market that started in 2001. Now he will look to make amends with some of the people his predecessors have upset.

President Obama also announced recently that he will visit the country after his historic visit to Cuba next month, showing that President Macri is serious about helping Argentina rebuild its relationship with the United States.

If Argentina did decide to receive Syrian refugees, it would not be anything new to the country. For one, they have accepted refugees in the past.

Argentina also has the second highest Syrian population in South America, with the first being Brazil. The migration of Syrians peaked in the 20th century, because of wars happening in the Middle East. Coincidentally, I learned in my Ethnicity and Social Movements class this week, that one of the biggest reasons immigration is war.

I am in no way saying the Argentine government should take refugees this very moment.

Along with their money issues, workers are going on strike to protest multiple firings that have occurred. He needs to tend to his own people before he can take in others.

President Macri should not turn away from the idea of placing refugees in the country. He can always plan ahead of time as governments and agreements are made and change and then act how he sees fit.

*The link redirects to the Washington Post’s electronic publishing of the article, but it was written by and for the Associated Press