In the past few years I have been getting more and more frustrated with Pinktober and more specifically with The Susan G. Komen Foundation. I truly believe that the Komen foundation filled a void when awareness regarding cancer affecting women was virtually nonexistent. Now, however, they have, in my opinion, capitalized on the backs of the very same women they claim to be their cornerstone.
Recently two blog posts put my thoughts into words. The first, http://butterbeliever.com/i-will-not-be-pinkwashed-why-i-do-not-support-susan-g-komen-for-the-cure/ put the pinkwashing of America under a financial microscope. At first I wasn’t concerned about the amount of money being paid to executives. I know that even nonprofits need to pay their employees. But when I kept reading I was appalled. Keep in mind this was written back in 2011, but I don’t think things have changed all that much. As I read further, I was shocked at the Foundation for actually SUING smaller charities for using the word “cure”. Pathetic. This is a nonprofit that is running itself like a business, and that is not always a bad thing. What is bad, is the capitalistic manner in which they are doing it. By now, awareness is there. Women (and men) know about it. Why are they spending so much money in the awareness sector? Profit. Pure and simple. There are countless products who rush to put a pink ribbon on everything it owns and people will buy it because they think they are helping cure cancer. Not so. We have pink tools, pink ribbons, pink ribbon jewelry, pink football jerseys, pink everything. I adore the color pink, but please! I’m nauseous. A quick search on Amazon shows just a glimpse of some of the crap you can purchase to support breast cancer research and awareness. Their definition of “awareness” is nothing more than advertising. Similar to Abercrombie putting their name on everything that they sell.
The second post http://graceless.me/not-for-sale-a-case-against-pinktober/ brought the conversation to a personal level. What captured my attention here is that the survival rate for women with breast cancer has not been lowered since 1976. It has, in fact, risen 2%. The author discusses how she feels at being “whored out” without her consent. And, I have to agree with her. We need to change the conversation from awareness (read profit) to advancements in survival.
So, this being the beginning of October, I am not going pink. I’m going Purple. Domestic Violence Awareness Month also occurs in October. This is a cause that desperately NEEDS awareness and education. Too many people blame the victim because they don’t understand the cycle of violence. They don’t understand the stripping of support systems and financial resources. And they don’t understand the actual threats of death to loved ones if they are caught trying to leave.
While I was in college I worked for a local Women’s Shelter. I didn’t tell people about it; it wasn’t safe to. I was a potential link to any abuser who was looking to find his battering ram. Trust me, if you know me, it is hard for me to be quiet about anything that I do! There was a point that I worked on the “Rescue Crew”. This was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. Most of the time we picked women and their children up and all they had was the clothes on their back. Many times we were chased by the person they were trying to escape. And sadly, many times, after being safe for a few days, weeks, months, they went back to their abusers because they didn’t believe in themselves enough to make a life without the “security” provided to them by their abuser.
The cycle of violence is real.
Click here for a compelling story and diagram showing the cycle.
So many people ask the question similar to “why don’t they just leave?”
thehotline.org answers this question with a variety of REAL reasons. if you, or someone you know needs assistance with defining abuse, making an escape plan, or leaving, this site is a valuable resource. Locally, in Macomb county Michigan, Turning Point can help.
Yes, there are products that you can purchase that show your support for this cause. Again, looking at Amazon, here are some ways you can show your support. I find it interesting to note that while there are approximately 2,000 items for sale for Domestic Violence, there are 10 times that for Breast Cancer. nnedv.org has a user friendly list of things YOU can do to help create awareness for Domestic violence. And they are simple; wear purple on Thursdays, talk to someone about Domestic Violence. Surely, we all can do that, can’t we?