9 comments on “AIM SISTERHOOD OF SILENCE

  1. I have observed and personally experienced in the non-aboriginal community as a member of the non-aboriginal dominant society that for all the platitudes about feminism being about the liberation of ALL women from male violence and male oppression (patriarchy), there is an undeniable fact that women who DO enjoy relative privilege and power as much as a male supremacist society allows them to have, are the first ones to throw their poorest and most disprivileged and disadvantaged “sisters” under the bus. Be it with abortion and birth control access and rights, or job discrimination problems, or be it with economic support for destitute sex trafficking survivors—victims of commercial rape (which is what prostitution really is, when you get right down to it) who have been criminalized and stigmatized for life and excluded from ANY alternative job opportunities to be able to support themselves. As a survivor of child sex trafficking, I know what this dynamic is on a very real, visceral level.

    This is an inconvenient truth to the majority of feminists who claim to be all about fighting for women’s equality and human and social rights, and my coming right out and saying so has made me persona non grata among well-off feminist leaders who always use women like me—poor sex trafficking survivors fighting for restorative justice, reparations, and basic human rights and dignity—for their political poster child to suit their agenda.

    But when it comes to putting their money (and their actions) where their big fat mouths are, women like me thrown under the bus. At the very best, poor marginalized women who are survivors of human trafficking are just an afterthought. And when one of us makes the mistake of thinking we should be able to walk through the front door of the feminist movement with the expectation of being treated like full human beings whose unaddressed concerns and unmet basic human needs actually matter, we are swiftly and ruthlessly slammed back down “in our place”—by the very same women who claim to be all about advancing women’s rights and liberation from patriarchal oppression.

    When a woman who is NOT a victim of sex trafficking is raped on more than 5 separate occasions, it’s an outrage. But for poor women trapped in the industry of misogyny known as “sex work” or prostitution are routinely abused and degraded and raped by thousands of men who use their money and male privilege to buy rape tickets (i.e. ‘johns’), it’s dismissed with a sleight of hand.

    Sister sex trafficking survivor Rebecca Mott had a lot to say on this issue, and for the aforementioned reasons, walked away from the feminist movement entirely. So have I. For even though many of my political views are radical feminist views, I do not want to be associated with women who hurt other women and then blame it on the patriarchy instead of taking responsibility for hurting their most disempowered, disprivileged and marginalized “sisters”, or at best, not helping us when so many of us are literally dying from abject poverty because it all boils down to “what about ME and MY money”—and this is all under the banner of feminism, mind you.

    I view what happened to Annie Mae Pictou Aquash and the decades of injustice following her rape, torture and murder—which would NOT have happened had other women not participated and made sure she was thrown under the bus and then covered up for the perpetrators—as yet another shining example of a group of oppressed people (aboriginal women) claiming to be social justice warriors while throwing one of their own sisters under the bus and then blaming their actions on others.

    Yes, white male supremacy and white male privilege is to blame for the majority of America’s social ills (especially women’s poverty and oppression due to discrimination), but women need to take responsibility for when they do things to hurt and even kill another woman when NO male is putting a gun to their heads and forcing them to do it.

    • To begin with Jacqueline I would say I am sorry for the personal experiences you’ve
      endured and I find it refreshing and timely that you have taken a no holds barred
      approach assigning blame without bias.
      The “feminist movement” has a viable place and has accomplished some good things, but
      like all movements there will be those who rise to levels of notoriety and authority
      who promote their “vision” thereby excluding those of others and missing opportunities.
      The rez is no exception, some see it as an opportunity to promote themselves, their
      personal agenda, and make a little money in the process. But there are others doing
      good things – others who themselves may be marginalized by their counterparts.
      There are a great many social ills in this country, sex trafficking among the worst
      in my opinion and fails to receive the public or legal attention it deserves.
      Most truths are inconvenient and the reason why they are avoided, for they often challenge
      and shake the foundations of personal opinions and philosophies – far easier for some
      to pay a lip service or ignore than honestly address.
      For all the talk of a civilized society I increasingly have come to believe the opposite
      is true, a willful pursuit of Meism characterized by greed, indifference, and looking out
      for number one.
      I’ve ranted about the manipulation of language, something I consider to be contributory
      to this decline both on and off the rez, anything and everything can be spun and to hell
      with the truth.
      Cheat a little here, cheat a little there – tell “white lies” until they become the
      norm and morph into acceptable larger ones which then in turn become the norm.
      All the while the children of parents see this and learn by example, and rather than
      accept their own complicity parents bemoan the fact and ask where did they go wrong.
      There is a sickening trend to sexualize young girls, from clothing to cosmetics to the
      lyrics in songs and themes in movies, the motivation for this appears to be expanding
      the market and increasing the profit margin.
      In a climate such as this little wonder the sex trade flourishes, little wonder not just
      women but children both male and female are offered up.
      What a generation is born into is what they know, what they believe is acceptable and
      the way of it. This is something the AIM leadership is aware of and worked hard at to
      create a climate of acceptability for the unacceptable.

      “I view what happened to Annie Mae Pictou Aquash and the decades of injustice following her
      rape, torture and murder—which would NOT have happened had other women not participated
      and made sure she was thrown under the bus and then covered up for the perpetrators—as yet
      another shining example of a group of oppressed people (aboriginal women) claiming to be
      social justice warriors while throwing one of their own sisters under the bus and then
      blaming their actions on others.”

      Well said – one of those inconvenient truths, and keep punchin’

  2. Past the time to say these things rezinate and the good comment from this one
    Jaqueline to. Yes the men have done many bad things but it is not the excuse for
    the women to do the same.

    • Others have said similar things, maybe not as bluntly, but similar
      nonetheless.
      And Jacqueline did make an excellent contribution, one difficult to
      rebut….but then that isn’t their way, when the party line sounds
      asinine even to them they opt for silence or go on about “haters”.

  3. Fully agree. And awhile ago I was called out for denigrating one who deservedly earned a label as the antichrist of all who have served this county in the military. Hanoi Jane.

    • Some wounds never heal, as a people we have our own understanding of this.
      I’m not sure but I think Fonda made an apology of some sort, we know about
      apologies as well and how meaningless they can be.
      While words may heal some wounds only deeds can others.

  4. Hmm….just to put a few things straight. “aboriginal women” really, being “oppressed” seriously? Old rhetoric and stereotype times ten.

    The words of the woman survivor of sex trafficking while clearly confessional and calling out for help/support, have nothing to do with what EMPOWERED (not oppressed) women of old AIM did.

    Or didn’t do. But make no mistake.

    ALL these women were brave in their own minds, hearts. Life. Whatever you wanna call it. And were NOT owned or controlled by men. That’s not how they saw it. They were their own version of life. In the movement. That said. YOUR post has merit, rez. As I was very alone when I was one of the first to call out the pie patrol chicks. Back in 1999. In print. Even Ms. Candy. I challenged and interviewed, busting her in her own ‘white lies’. Challenging the pie patrol. For their lack of support of Annie Mae. So. I appreciate your calling out “women” as part of the vile, betrayal Annie Mae suffered. In fact if even ONE of them (including ms. candy, the supposed “good friend” ) had stepped up. Annie Mae may have survived. True.

    No one who was around back then. Is immune.

    But to have this thread get co-opted by a rant about “aboriginal” (I loathe that word) accusations. Well. How bout just realizing we are all human beings. Despite gender. THAT is what the old liberation movement was about. That we are all in this together, and whether life bringer or mimicking father sky. Everyone, is capable of Lies.

    • The fact that we are in the end all human beings is a fact often overlooked,
      as human beings there is an inherent responsibility, that too often overlooked.
      A part of that responsibility is to stand for what is right and to confront wrong
      when we encounter it.
      Failing to do so is the consent of silence, failing to recognize that wrong doing
      is not gender specific can only be described as myopic.

      “ALL these women were brave in their own minds, hearts. Life. Whatever you wanna call
      it. And were NOT owned or controlled by men. That’s not how they saw it.”

      I have little doubt of that, and believe it to be the norm for them even to this day, though
      I think their status within AIM was secondary to that of men and remains as such, a part of
      the mindset that permeated the leadership.
      Yet we all know people often think themselves to be one thing when they are another – if
      no other proof of that existed than the AIM leadership that alone is sufficient verification.
      Kudos to you for calling out the pie patrol, what remains now is to continue doing so.
      I have said more than once in this blog I do not favor matriarchy or patriarchy, that if pressed
      to define my position I would say I am an equalist, I believe that is where a true balance is
      to be found – the recognition of differences and the necessity of what both bring to the table.
      If this were not so then Creator would have had no reason to create anything other than a unisexual world.
      Empowerment is found in balance, the balance of equality, not ascendency.
      I favor the word indigenous and have no issues with first nations or aboriginal,
      a term more often used in Canada.
      Native American doesn’t get it for me as none of our languages have ever referred to this land as America.
      As to the comment you reference I think it takes courage to publicly speak of
      such personal experiences and I respect that – if some measure of anger accompanies it I understand that as well.

  5. “The words of the woman survivor of sex trafficking while clearly confessional and calling out for help/support, have nothing to do with what EMPOWERED (not oppressed) women of old AIM did….But to have this thread get co-opted by a rant…”<—-antoinnettenora

    My words were not a "confessional calling out for help/support"—they were relating lived experience to observations. All human behavior and development can be summed up as patterns and relationships to other patterns and making sense of those relationships based on lived experiences.

    My words were illustrating an observed pattern. Namely, this disturbing recurring tendency of a social group (be it feminists, the Nation of Islam (NOI), or the AIM Pie Patrol) to throw one of its own under the bus and then abrogate any and all personal responsibility for doing so—under the banner of social justice.

    What is so "empowering" about women sacrificing a sister, offering her up as a human shield to bear the brunt of male violence and sexual cruelty carried out under a misogynistic hierarchy of what appears to be, for all intents and purposes, one more chauvinistic good ol' boys club where "might makes right?"

    Apparently, SOME women defined their "empowerment" as the ability to only go after a "safe target", i.e. another woman who has no institutional power in a subset of the dominant culture's patriarchal society.

    And apparently, SOME women only feel "empowered" when they're disrespecting and attacking another woman on the Internet with really low-ball, caustic insults—to accomplish or prove what, exactly?

    Stepping up to violent, abusive men (be it the male AIM leadership who facilitated kidnapping, torture, rape and murder, or fighting to put human traffickers and child pornographers out of business on behalf of their victims) takes real balls. But attacking another woman who is struggling for basic human rights and restorative justice—not so much.

    Just some food for thought.

    Now, THAT was a "rant". Have a nice day.

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