Saving Joan of Arc by Natalie Weaver

I’m finished with my first semester as a studio arts major at Kent State University.  I am not sure whether I’ll be registering for a second one.  There were pros and cons about the experience, and I am not sure if one set outweighed the other. Regardless, I am on sabbatical this spring, have two books to complete, and figured I would do well not to be trekking back and forth in an hours worth of snow and ice over the next few months from my home to the school.  So, I am taking a semester off, and I have become one of those retention risks. I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on the experience with only minimal consequence to my bank account and my (laughing) future in the arts.

It wasn’t a bad experience; it wasn’t a good one either, really.  I learned some things in drawing, but I am very much on the fence about my experience in sculpture.  For starters, I imagined playing with clay and making pinch pots while some Swayzesque spirit from beyond rubbed my shoulders.  Instead, I was more Jessica Beal with a welding mask, except, instead of wearing a swanky black leotard and off-the-shoulder-slouch-dance tunic, I was wearing ugly jeans and steal-toed shoes under the green welding suit that had half-dollar size holes in it.  The protective gear only partially worked; I was scared of the tools after a classmate almost lost a finger; and the top of my hair went up in smoke when a spark shot under my ill-fitting Vader hat on week two.  I put it out quickly, fortunately.

Continue reading “Saving Joan of Arc by Natalie Weaver”

Criminalizing Miscarriages: Latin America’s Zero Tolerance Policy on Abortion By Michele Stopera Freyhauf

Imagine suffering a miscarriage.  All of us have or know someone who has suffered one; I had two.  For me it was a terrible time and I still remember the day of loss and the expected due date.  We all cope differently with this loss, but it is just that – a physical and/or emotional loss.  Statistically 15-25% of women in childbearing years will suffer a miscarriage anywhere from 5 to 20 weeks gestation.  In the United States, when we suffer a miscarriage we go to the hospital.  Often times the visit results in a dilation and curettage (or D&C) to stop bleeding and possible infection.  For me this was also done after the doctors removed the baby girl that was dead inside of my womb.

If this would have occurred in certain Latin American countries, especially in El Salvador, Chile, Colombia, Malta, Nicaragua, and even Mexico, the emergency room doctor would notify the authorities of my miscarriage and I would be arrested and jailed anywhere from 3-50 years for having an “abortion.”  El Salvador even has a prosecutor’s office responsible for crimes against minors and women whose responsibilities are capturing, trying, and incarcerating women who have abortions and miscarriages.  In this office, there are police, investigators, medical spies, and forensic vagina inspectors.  Medical providers have an obligation to report abortions; this is focused more on young uneducated and impoverished women.  For these women, there is no presumption of innocence; they are guilty. Continue reading “Criminalizing Miscarriages: Latin America’s Zero Tolerance Policy on Abortion By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

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