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Thursday, November 16, 2017



Briefly: We wait for disaster before acting.

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that she lost one of her friends to domestic violence. At which point many other people commented in sympathy, and at least one person said she had seen the exact same thing occur.

Did those women have to die?

Workplace violence, or violence at school. Very troubled people. Sometimes people say, "I was afraid of that person."

Why do things have to get so bad, when preventive action could save lives?

I think about problems on the job, with projects that are late or over budget or simply don't work out, because nobody thought the requirements through properly, or they didn't make sure that the necessary resources were there beforehand.

Why do people have to waste their time?

It's never good to waste money. But especially in challenging economic times, why does money have to be squandered?

Mental health may seem unrelated to a cold dry subject like project management, but in reality the two are one and the same:
  • If you ignore the emotional needs of a person, on the assumption that "they can take care of themselves," it is only a matter of time before they shrivel up and cease functioning. (That's why it's so important, when you see another individual, to say this, and mean it: "Hello, how's your day?")
  • Similarly, if you ignore the process needs of a project, on the assumption that it will "just happen" the way it's supposed to, you can be sure that the entire thing will become a costly, tangled, messed-up mess with everybody running from the fire--of course, pointing fingers as they run.
The key to avoiding disasters, of any kind, is a prevention mindset.

What needs to happen in order for someone to be happy, healthy and engaged -- at work or at home?

What needs to happen in order for work to be carried out efficiently, sensibly, and with the highest quality result for the customer?


You know the drill--None of this is rocket science.

A little bit of attention, a little bit of care, can prevent so much unnecessary loss down the road.
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All opinions my own. Public domain. Photo by TheDigitalArtist (CC0 Creative Commons).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I am especially concerned that the mainstream media and the alternative media continue to present us with two totally different narratives that have begun to verge on totally different realities.
 
This presentation (download from Slideshare) is my attempt to organize the contents of a spreadsheet posted to GoogleDocs which presents one such alternative narrative. The source is known as “Q Anon.” See these links: Full Text | Smartsheet.| Link to Links.

Why present unverified information? Because we need to analyze it, criticize it, and bring it into the mainstream conversation about what is happening in our world. 

We are one Nation under God. May we unify for the good. God have mercy on us all.

Disclaimer — Read Me First: Compiled, reorganized, edited and sourced to the spreadsheet by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal, independently and not on behalf of any entity or organization, from a single anonymous source, as a service to the public. Not a government document. Needs verification. Questions without answers have been omitted. Dr. Blumenthal was not asked to develop or post this document by anyone. Dr. Blumenthal does not know who wrote this. More than one person appears to have contribute to the document as some additional sources are credited. These sources are anonymous and their ”usernames” are omitted. Source: ”Q Questions and Answers” collected questions and answers, accessed 11/10/2017, 9:11 a.m. and again on 11/11/2017 at 9:24 a.m. No copyright is asserted by Dr. Blumenthal over this material. CC0 Creative Commons photo via Pixabay.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Late at night when I think about how I am, I recognize the signs and symptoms.

  • There is a sense of doom and foreboding.
  • A raw, sarcastic humor. It bites.
  • A harsh view of the world, combined with an odd kind of hope.
  • Admiration for heroes. A view of heroes as individual, suffering crusaders.
  • Deep emotion hidden behind a facade of indifference--or humor.
  • Vigilance about "religious" sexual predators.
  • Being "turned off" religiously, and yet somehow determined to talk about it.
  • Pervasive disbelief in institutions and systems, and yet the desire to hold them accountable and make them better--possibly.
  • Total disdain for hypocrites. 
  • Total disregard for authority that rests solely on formal authority.
  • Looking for beacons of light in the crowd. A sign that others are real. 

I believe I am part of a social cohort that thinks a certain way because of the times we lived in, and because of the things we have seen, and in many cases tragically experienced.

There is this term "OTD," which stands for "Off the Derech," meaning people who rejected religion, as if there is something wrong with them.

But I see the label OTD as a badge of suffering, suffering largely inflicted by the religious community itself,  and it is for this reason that the label really disgusts me.

If you were not there, I can't explain it to you adequately.

If you were not there, you did not go to the NCSY kumsitz, where we all sang songs of glory to God, hung out and ate pizza, and talked like kids do.

It was only decades later that I learned a noted NCSY rabbi and educator descended upon innocent kids, talking the spiritual talk in public while taking liberties that no adult should take with a child.

And he was only one of hundreds.

I look back on those times and remember them as somehow better, and more innocent.

And yet the crimes that were perpetrated are so heinous.

So hidden.

Before there was Jewish Community Watch, there was a book called Shonda, and an editor who supported victims named Gary Rosenblatt, and a researcher named Shmarya Rosenberg, whose blog Failed Messiah was sold but still available online, and The Awareness Center, with more than 500 names on a registry of "alleged and convicted offenders."

Every single person who stood up to support victim of religious abusers is a hero. And many of them were bullied mercilessly by the community, stigmatized and blamed for having the gall to speak up.

Amid all the talk about which version of religion is superior--Ashkenazi or Sephardic, Chasidish or Litvak, Charedi or Yeshivish or Modern Orthodox, Orthodox or Reconstructionist or Conservative or Reform--I have to ask this question.

Why don't we just go after the people who spend their lives groping kids? Prosecute them and put them in jail. Preferably for life.

The crime of child sexual abuse is more than just physical or emotional. It is the theft of a human soul.

I am grateful to HaShem every single day that I escaped the sexual and emotional torture that so many of my peers experienced, that they bore in tortured silence for so long.

And I pray, too, that He exacts a full measure of justice on behalf of them. That all of the perpetrators pay.

To make the victims whole again, to restore their innocence and capacity to have faith.

I am gratified to see that the Jewish religious community today is making strides--great strides--to recover from the sins of the past. Sins that rest on the shoulders of its leaders, and for which they should rightfully beg the victims for forgiveness.
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Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photo by Free-Photos via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Is it possible to advocate for your ideas without destroying other people and manipulating the public? I think so, definitely!

Here's how I would rewrite Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.

You can grab the slide here.
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Posted on November 6, 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. CC0 Creative Commons License.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Background

Yesterday, November 2, 2017 I participated in an event called "The Customer Experience Summit: Building Trust In Government," on a panel about branding and trust, in a personal capacity. The discussion was sponsored by GovExec.com in Washington, D.C. and included Chuck Young, Managing Director of Public Affairs at GAO, and Jeremy Zilar, Director of the GSA’s DigitalGov. It was facilitated by Frank Konkel, Executive Editor at NextGov. This was a public event with media present.

What I Planned To Say

How Do You Measure A Brand? How Should Agencies Measure Brand?

First Understand Basic Things

  • To measure a brand you first have to define what a brand is. I think of it as your image.
  • To measure a brand you also need to know what your unit of measurement is. To me the brand of an agency is complex because we are measured as part of the federal government as a whole.
  • You also need to know who your audience is, and it’s easy to say “everybody.”
  • Most agencies are not this granular.

Measurement

  • Brand is measured in terms of equity. It is a math equation. It is the difference between what a consumer would pay for the branded version and what they would pay for the unbranded version. Think of a Sunkist orange.
  • In accounting terms brand is measured as goodwill.
  • There are several methodologies for brand valuation today that aim to capture what is essentially an intangible factor that leads to tangible outcomes.
  • For a consumer product you can look at things like sales, revenue, awareness, loyalty, recruitment and retention but it is often difficult to know what the source of the value is.
  • For a government brand the simplest thing and possibly the most effective is to look at what people are saying about you on social media.
  • This gets you out of your echo chamber and forces you to confront the gap between who you think you are and what your friends tell you, and how you actually appear to the public which does not care to stroke your ego.
  • If you don’t want to go on social media, ask disgruntled employees.

Customer Service and Brand

  • For many federal employees they are providing service to senior leadership. We manage up. The key is not to kiss ass but to provide rational and reasonable assessments backed by data.
  • The concept of customer service is an excellent rallying cry because it makes intuitive sense in a way that branding does not. Branding sounds like brainwashing.
  • To deliver an excellent customer experience is to be operationally sound and accountable and secondarily to provide audience segments with the information they want, need and are entitled to in a manner that makes sense to them and is easy to access.
  • It goes without saying that if the agency is dysfunctional and/or corrupt it will be impossible to build a sustainable brand absent dealing with those issues.
  • The reason is that people talk, they talk out of sight and out of reach, and their words have more impact than yours.

What I Actually Said

Reactions To My Speaking Here

  • Unlike the other speakers I am a government communicator who is frequently critical of government communication, speaking in a personal capacity. Comment: “Do you want the public affairs version or the truth” – public affairs is a mediated reality
  • When I shared this event title people thought the title of this event was a joke (“trust in government”); read an article online that actually lifted slides from an FBI PowerPoint with the message that the government is using “branding” as a form of brainwashing

Branding

  • The brand of government is the entire government, not a single agency – you’re affected by perceptions of everybody else
  • The public is equally concerned about corruption as receiving benefits

Social Media

  • Look at how the public receives, consumes, and communicates information on social media
  • The Twitter screenshot of one piece of a document, with words highlighted, can eclipse the nuance of your message – that is what you need to speak to, to get the word out
  • Anticipate and communicate proactively and frequently on social media

Unleash Your People

  • Let employees talk in their personal capacity relatively freely – give them consistent clear guidance (optimally this should be governmentwide) – it is the many messages filtered throughout culture from their personal points of view that has more impact than official speech – the Coast Guard public affairs manual is available online and is a model of excellence
  • Internal communication is optimally a Facebook type environment where employees communicate with each other – formal internal communication is important but undervalued and rarely works as versus organic talk that is unfiltered – particularly important during times of change when there is pressure from outside to streamline vs. pressure from inside to maintain the bureaucracy

Innovation and Creativity

  • A senior executive is not going to take chances on innovative programs unless innovation is in the performance plan – nobody is going to go out on a limb only to fail and be punished.
  • Creativity inside the agency is an important source of value but workplace bullying is frequent, inside and outside the government, and it’s the job of management to root out toxic employees who prevent others from contributing to their fullest (e.g. to make the agency work better, to innovate, to demonstrate great work)

The Town Square Model Of Communication

  • From the perspective of the town square (where people talk about government) public affairs speak is massaged conversation and sounds false – all the more reason to let humans speak in an unofficial capacity (with specificity about areas that are off limits)
  • Don’t focus only on your website, focus on where the public actually goes to find things out – websites and social media not managed by you
  • If you focus on your website, focus on the parts of particular interest to the public – e.g. FOIA

Ask Your Communication Experts

  • Internally it is a problem when leaders think they can communicate without any input or with minimal input from the communicators.
  • The federal government has many extremely intelligent and well-trained employees who can tell you when a message is unclear, inaccurate, misleading – use them.
  • Consider working with GSA because GSA is able to apply governmentwide standards to bear on very agency-specific environments

Metrics

  • Customer service is uneven across agencies, but it works where it’s measured continuously and consistently

What The Other Experts Said

Note: Obviously they said a lot more than this...just sharing what I could recall. - DB 

Frank Konkel, NextGov, Facilitator

  • Often very difficult to understand what the government is saying
  • Difficult to get access to government subject matter experts – times have changed
  • Trust in government is obviously low – data on this is plentiful
  • How do you measure your brand – something to think about
  • Government brands don’t rank high when you look at which brands have a positive perception

Chuck Young, GAO Managing Director of Public Affairs, Co-Panelist

  • Important to get the word out about the work you’re doing
  • Important to defend your brand
  • Social media is important – “digital natives” across the agency can convene and advise on social media
  • Meticulousness about content of information versus responding to the Twitter version, which may be wildly inaccurate or may be accurate but bring up difficult points

Jeremy Zilar, GSA, Director of DigitalGov, Co-Panelist

  • Highlight the good work that is often hidden from the public
  • Focus on changing the one thing that is very annoying
  • Brand is built from a series of interactions, optimize the interactions
  • Work with agency counsel, they are your partner
  • User testing doesn’t have to be complicated; key is to incorporate this type of thinking into your communication efforts - how does it work for the user

For More Highlights From The Panel

Watch the video here or search for #cxsummit on Twitter.
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Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of GovExec.

If you tell yourself negative things about yourself or the world then that’s what you believe, and vice versa.

The mind works through stories.

You are always telling yourself a story about your life.

The key is to reframe reality in a more positive light.

Accept reality, but plan for a positive future

Like this: “I may be overweight now but I am eating healthy and if I keep this up I will be thinner.”

Like my daughter says: Live in the present. It's a journey. Enjoy it while you're here.

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Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photo by rawpixel via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons).

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The government is not built for innovation. It is built for taking orders. To create a culture of innovation we will have to fundamentally reconstruct government such that it is an incubator for new ideas and not an automatic blocker of them.

But first we will need to make the case that government should be innovative. It has to become an urgent need. Either we get better at what we're doing (e.g., innovate for improvement) or we die.

Unfortunately the government does not tend to act when things are calm. Rather, it takes one of two scenarios: a crisis to respond to (not what we want!) or there is an absolute, top-down requirement. And in the latter case, the absolute top-down requirement may generate superficial conformity absent a real commitment to change, unless people are motivated. (When someone's job is on the line, or they stand to be embarrassed, they tend to get motivated.)

Worse yet, the impenetrable tangle of laws, policies, rules and regulations makes it practically impossible for anyone to innovate in an orderly, disciplined manner. To give a very simple example, it is classic government practice to design websites badly due to the challenge of simply getting input from the users; and due to the lack of creativity around what it means to design a website in the first place. 

For my part, I would create one website for most of the government to which all agencies contribute, because customers think of the government as a unit. They should not need to know which agency does what. They should be able to type something into a Google-type search bar and find only government results. DREAM SCENARIO.

Why can't I send that idea forward? The short answer is that I can; I remember sometime this past year there was a call for new ideas and participated. Each one got a rejection of some type. Because there, again, the government is too limited in its thinking: I don't need to know what you did with my idea. It's not about assigning someone to get back to me. It's about putting the ideas out there, in a public space, where others can see them, rate them, and build off of them. For some byzantine reason that I cannot understand, we currently do not have this.

Here's another example of a concept that would better serve the customer, in my view: A single customer service portal that works across the Federal government. If you have any question about anything, it should be as simple as: Tweeting, calling, emailing, sending a text, or sending an IM. To one number: USGOV (87468). There should be 1,000 people on the other end of that communication who can start a ticket, refer it to the appropriate party, and get a response back to the customer along with a link to the appropriate URL. Every individual gets a customer number; every inquiry gets a case number. SO SIMPLE.

Most of the ideas considered innovative for government are already well entrenched in the private sector. Amazon.com pioneered the idea of user reviews nearly 20 years ago. This is a crucial part of customer service because it reduces the burden on the taxpayer of funding FTEs to answer questions that the public can handle.

Imagine this scenario (not currently in use by Amazon): When I send in my question, it automatically goes into the user database where someone else may respond and I can track those responses using my US citizen customer number. (If we want to get very innovative about it, we can use people's fingerprints as their identifiers; attach a little scanner to your laptop or mobile device and log in to the government portal).

I don't know, none of these things seem like rocket science to me, but there is a perception in the government somehow that if you're not in the Senior Executive Service or you're not in charge of that particular function in that particular agency then you have no business even suggesting such things. I know this because very early in my career I suggested that an agency set up a new media "war room" where they could track social media mentions, interactions, questions, comments etc.; and then merge the communication functions seamlessly so that incoming data could receive an integrated response. My supervisor at the time was absolutely furious that I had dared to submit an organization chart for something that was not only above my pay grade, but the supervisor's pay grade as well.

In terms of diversity, the people who generate creative ideas nonstop, who are generally a bit quirky (I count myself in this group) tend to be put into a corner where they will not create too much trouble. Because the norm for government is a team player who goes along to get along, who follows rules well, who is pleasant, who learns the system and functions well within it.

I have been extremely fortunate to have "grown up" professionally in the federal government and to have worked with a variety of anomalous mentors who saw and appreciated my unique qualities and nurtured them. Their support compensated for everything else, and everyone else, that did not understand where I was coming from and/or didn't like it.

Also, I would add that working for the government has exposed me to some brilliant people. There is a serious lack of understanding among the public about how smart government employees are as well as how dedicated they are -- this is true, I have found, of most.

Further, working for the government means that you have some inspiration (public service) as well as some thoughtful time -- your hours are structured and regular. In the private sector, it truly is all about money, money, money and ruthlessly cutting so as to improve the bottom line.

I have great faith that we will move forward and upward and onward and get where we need to be.

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Posted November 2, 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is public domain. Photo by Weinstock via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons):

Sunday, October 29, 2017

As an emanation of holiness our souls are naturally tied to God and long to be one with His oneness.

It therefore follows that we do not need to be compelled to bathe in His light.

In fact, it's just the opposite.

We innately seek out His presence.

Without God in our lives, we fall into depression. Despair.

Without a higher presence overseeing all that goes on, the suffering of this world is incomprehensible.

Without the knowledge that there is an end to all of it, that justice will eventually occur, how can one even function?

The answer is this: Without God, all there is, is nothingness. As it says in Genesis, before God created the world it was "without form," meaning that no physical thing was distinguishable from any other thing. It was also "void," meaning that there was no substance to it, no meaning in it -- nothing.

Many years ago I went to the Lubavitcher Rebbe for a blessing. I was the type of person people called "intense," and while that is still true, I also had a tendency toward depression. He blessed me to have good cheer. Though life is never perfect, that blessing largely stayed with me.

When you see the world through depressed eyes, everything looks bleak. Everything looks meaningless. It's actually painful to recall, and it's something I'd rather not think about, because I never, ever want to go back there.

For me, faith in God is the antidote for depression. I know there is meaning in the world. God animates us. God is what makes things work.

The antidote of formlessness and the void, is faith.

In just the same way as the body gasps and dies without oxygen, our souls literally cannot breathe without that connection to God.

So it is misguided for any religion to try and force faith on its children. I know intellectually that several things lead to the attempt. Number one, there is the belief that evil is tempting. And so one must brainwash ("indoctrinate" a.k.a. "teach") children the right values so that they don't fall victim too easily.

Another, less positive issue is that people in power tend to want to stay in power. They therefore promulgate the notion that they have a special knowledge about how one should conduct oneself at all times so as to be "good with God."

As such, innocent people, who sincerely desire to walk in His way, become susceptible to being "led," and "leadership" at some point becomes "force." Both women and men suffer from this kind of spiritual leadership.

As a Jew who was raised in the context of Orthodoxy, I understand and believe that God gave us the Torah as a very clear roadmap to morality. I believe that God rewards the good people and punishes the bad people as well.

However, I do not believe that God ever wanted or intended for religious leaders to "weaponize" the Torah so as to oppress their fellow Jewry. (And it follows that the same would hold true for members of other religions.)

Here's to the day when we let people express their spirituality naturally, and when religious leaders view themselves as enablers of that natural human need, rather than becoming obstacles.

We don't need corrupt leaders, in any religion, who add unnecessary obstacles and complexity, so as to create a role for themselves that otherwise would not exist.

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Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photo by basker_dhandapani via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons).

Friday, October 27, 2017


  1. Believes sincerely in God and that his Presidency is a service of faith first.
  2. Affirms that life begins at conception and will work to end unrestricted abortion rights.
  3. Patriotism and respect for our Nation, its history and values.
  4. Speaks truth to power, being an independent President, bowing before no man, not playing Washington, DC's internal games; targeting corruption, speaking out about those who abuse public office for private gain.
  5. Is decimating ISIS, promoting national defense, symbolizing strength and resolve.
  6. Seeks at all times unity despite our differences, working across the aisle to achieve results.
  7. Is achieving economic growth, bringing jobs back to the USA, emphasizing manufacturing and middle-class prosperity; emphasizing tax reform.
  8. Promotes block grants to the states for healthcare, rather than inserting the federal government into the equation unnecessarily.
  9. Is actively and visibly going after after human traffickers, child sex traffickers, and pedophiles, including pedophiles in powerful positions -- working intelligently and methodically, bringing law enforcement together to do it.
  10. Is aggressively streamlining the federal government, cutting waste and increasing accountability, promoting what works and discarding the rest.
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Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Image via Wikipedia.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I graduated Bruriah High School, a religious yeshiva for girls, in 1987. Some of the graduating seniors got married right away. To me it was sort of a marvel, how quickly they sealed up their lives.

A lot of girls went to seminary for a year. That wasn't my plan; I wanted to get to college and out of the petri dish that was my insular little world. They used to joke that I took "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" because I loved New York City so much, and in particular Greenwich Village. And would go there as much as I could.

In my mind I was a feminist. Ask anyone who went to high school with me and they will tell you that I talked about Gloria Steinem all the time. For me, that was feminism.

As a feminist I did not want to get married. I believed, when I was young, that marriage -- or traditional marriage anyway -- singularly destroys women. That was the message I got, overtly and covertly, from any sort of feminist media.

But it is your unconscious mind that guides you. And what I saw from reality, not from TV and the movies, was that a man and a woman belong together. My Zayde and my Bubbie. My Grandma and my Grandpa. My husband's parents -- may all of them rest in peace. Today, living, thankfully, my uncles and aunts. My mom and dad. And yes, me and Andy, thank God.

I grew up in a time when gender was changing rapidly. But marriage was still expected. I started out at Touro College and people paired off right away. My first roommate (whose ice cream I infamously picked apart without asking, which meant that she was only my roommate for a day or so!) married her boyfriend. I met up with her decades later, apologized for the ice cream, and her kids went to the same yeshiva as my kids. Now they live just a few miles away and when I see her I tell her, truthfully, that she hasn't aged a day since high school.

One girl I went to school with at Touro, whose name I can't remember anymore, was so in love with her boyfriend and she married him during my freshman year in school. He died tragically. I still remember her eyes. She had these rings around them. It's hard to visualize because when I do that it brings back all the pain she bled.

My father did not let me to go the co-ed Frisch High School in Teaneck, which was my first choice. I wanted to study Talmud. I wanted to go to a "normal" school. Looking back I am glad that I went to Bruriah. Mainly because I went to a school, however suffocating, where the entire focus was the care and grooming of future young women as women. They taught me to type for two solid years, because "you might need to get a job." They taught me to wear my skirts long, and to keep my elbows and collarbone covered. They taught me -- Mrs. Newman (a"h) taught me, in her infamous senior-year sex education class, where everyone got to drop a question in the hat -- that there was nothing more fun than the private life of a married couple.

"You can even swing from the chandeliers," she said.

Which led me to visualize actually swinging from a glass chandelier, like in that movie The War of The Roses. So no special insight there. But her tone, one of excitement and wonder and happiness and awe, made its mark on me.

Marriage is the natural state of being. 

There is so much more to write on this subject, especially from a Jewish point of view. I haven't even scratched the surface.

But it seems to me that the number one problem young Jewish people face nowadays is the influence of secular society. It's not that people learn "marriage is bad." That's not the message whatsoever.

Rather, the corrosive, corruptible thing is the notion that marriage is optional. I mean yes, it is optional, in the sense that you shouldn't marry the wrong person if you can avoid it. You shouldn't be imprisoned in a life of domestic abuse. No -- of course not -- of course not, to all these things.

But the fundamental state of life is as a married couple. It is a married couple that partners and says "we do the best we can." It is a married couple that takes an honest look at itself, as a team and as a pair of individuals, and says, "this is the lifestyle we've worked out." It is a married couple that picks out dishes and silverware and a living room couch -- or that decides one person is better at this stuff than the other one (as is the case with me, who can't tell a good couch from a bad one).

It is a married couple that tells jokes about married people and a married couple that gets old.

Again, I am not arguing that people should just take the first person they can. Not at all, frankly that is a terrible idea. When it hits, it hits, and that's the end of it. I don't think that very young girls in particular, girls just 18 years old for example, should commit their lives to anyone. They're just too young.

But at the end of the day, the shopping culture of the West has given people a surplus of choice. The marketplace tells us we can custom-blend our makeup, custom-fit our jeans and custom-"craft" our salads. Surely our partner will be custom-made the same way?

They distort the notion of a shidduch, of a zivug. This is a luxury that our grandparents did not have, in their stark raving poverty and isolation. You had who you had in the community, and honestly, that was it.

When I was growing up my mother used to say, "Turn off the waterworks!" She used to say, "You're mad???? Get glad!"

It was a good way to handle me.

Marriage should be undertaken with the utmost of care. Preparing for it is imperative.

Yet things have gone to an extreme.

Marriage, to a nice and decent person who treats you well, is the human state of being.

All adults, whatever their religious beliefs and whatever their personal sexual orientation, are born for love. For a life of love and companionship with another person.

Let us stop asking young people to pass a million litmus tests. To prove their perfection in any way, to God, or themselves, or others.

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Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photo by NGD Photoworks via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)

Monday, October 23, 2017


I've been watching The Walking Dead for many years. After the season premiere last night, I was prompted to think about leadership.

 

More specifically, how leaders talk to the people during times of uncertainty. 

 

Sheriff Rick and the crew were clearly outgunned and outnumbered, by the terrifying Negan and his gang. Sure, they had a plan to fight -- but no way of knowing if they would make it.

 

In real life, sometimes leaders think -- because they're paid to have or get the answers -- that if you don't know what's going on, or if you can't take control of it, then better to just keep quiet.

 

But having been a child of uncertainty -- my dad is an IT consultant, and we moved every year for a decade -- I can tell you that *not talking about things* rarely is a good strategy. 

 

Children are by nature helpless, and so they watch their parents for cues. If they don't get the needed information, they will make something up in their heads. When something goes wrong, in the absence of other information, they will readily blame themselves: false belief at least offers certainty. 

 

If too much time goes on and their parents simply say nothing, or offer up platitudes and lies, they mentally "check out" from the family. 

 

Fortunately my parents were not like that. They told me the knowns and the unknowns. Probably because I simply would not stop asking. 

 

Every time we learned of an impending move, my mother had the job of telling me. Face-to-face, a quiet room, a chance to ask all my questions. Nothing would be a surprise. And yes, of course I did get mad.

 

Reminds me of that time, a few years ago, when the government shutdown loomed. I was working at another government agency, which knew how to handle it: They took us into a room and let us let off steam. 

 

Not that it was pleasant, for anyone. Not that it increased morale -- not really. 

 

But it bonded the team together, and when we came back we were more cohesive than before. We had more trust.

 

During times of uncertainty, it's important to set up a psychological safety valve for the group. Part of that is admitting when you don't know things; part of that is letting people get angry. 

 

Here's something else leaders can do. In the television show, there was much airtime devoted to inspiring leadership messages. "We will win," the leaders declared. "We have survived so much." "I promise you, this is over."

 

On and on they chanted, knowing -- as their audience knew -- that the words might not be true. 

 

But they had the steady drumbeat of commitment, and in times of uncertainty, commitment is what people want and need to hear. 

 

Genuine words. 

 

Feel for your people, be there for your people, stand up and cheer them on.

 

That's what a real leader does when there is "no news to report."

 

It works. 

 

People occupy a job, but they want to serve a single united mission. 

 

It's a bonus if they get to work for leaders (and with colleagues) who continually express an interest in how they are feeling. And who speak with them regularly, giving whatever information they have as though sharing a loaf of bread.

 

These are the acts of servant leaders, and when we see them, they serve to inspire our faith.

___

Posted by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal on October 23, 2017. Blog content is hereby released into the public domain. All opinions are the author’s own. 

Friday, October 20, 2017


The deadly gang MS-13 uses the slogan "Kill, Rape, Control."

ISIS, a gang of terrorists that promotes murdering "unbelievers," also helped itself to sex slaves.

In the war in Bosnia in the early '90s, Muslim girls were taken as sex slaves en masse.

During the Holocaust, Jewish women were raped in the camps -- gang-raped, their bodies ripped to shreds inside and out.

Rape happens to 12 year old girls in strict religious communities.

It also happens to totally sheltered boys.

It happens to homeless kids.

It happens to movie stars.

It happens to toddlers and it happens to infants. The FBI just rescued a 3 month old and a 5 year old  sold for sex for a total of $600.

Why do rapists rape? Lots of reasons, but the short answer is because they want to and they can.

They know their victims, and they do it over and over again.

Modesty does not deter them.

So why be modest, then?

Not to prevent rape.

For a Jew, modesty is part and parcel of our value system.

It's about having a healthy relationship with yourself and with God. One where certain things are sacred, certain boundaries are kept, one where privacy is a sign of respect for yourself and for others.

Modesty means we see ourselves as "children of the most high God,” to quote Pastor Joel Osteen.

This is what it means when we read: “Walk modestly with your G‑d” (Micah 6:8) 
"The exact parameters of the requirement to dress modestly depend on the time and place. But the basic idea—for both men and women—is to wear self-respecting clothing, clothing that does not demean the person within by overly accentuating the body, as if it, rather than the soul and its character and qualities, is the primary element of personality." - Chabad.org
As others have pointed out, it's time to end that aspect of Jewish culture which openly or implicitly engages in "slut-shaming."

Slut-shaming -- even to the point of controlling what color lipstick they wear -- is a way of keeping women in the position of victim, even if they haven't yet been victimized, because the meta-message is that it is their responsibility to stop a predator when doing so is frequently impossible.

So let us be clear: It is the predator who is to blame for the sexual crimes they commit.

Not the victim, who so readily blames herself for failing to be sufficiently modest.

__________

Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photo by voltamax via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons).

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

This morning, October 17, 2017, I attended an excellent lecture by Prof. Lara Shane, a faculty member at American University. Prof. Shane is a top-caliber professional -- an alumnus of the Department of Homeland Security, CBS News, and the Partnership for Public Service, which cosponsored the event with the Federal Communicators Network.

The point of the lecture was to help communicators understand the concept of messaging. Although I think most of us know what that is by now, even to the point of excess, it is helpful to have a very seasoned, qualified and intelligent federal communicator break it down in a logical and step-by-step manner.

Prof. Shane incorporated concepts from Chip and Dan Heath's book Made to Stick, and she used a live example of dense government-style writing to show what many of us do wrong.

Professor Shane's Most Important Quotes
  • "Helping the American public is our ultimate goal."
  • "Just because we're communicating doesn't mean we do it well."
Key Point #1 -- You Need A Strategy
  • What is the desired outcome?
  • Who do we need to engage to make that happen?
  • Once they're engaged, what do we want them to do?
  • Why should they care -- how will this action benefit them?
  • Where will they see your message - use multiple channels
(Source: Prof. Shane)
Key Point #2 -- Nobody Believes the Government, So You Will Have To Prove Yourself
  • The audience has to believe that you are offering a credible source of information, but trust in government is at a historic low.
  • Implicit assumptions like "we're the government, we don't have to establish our authority" or "you have to trust us" don't work; actually they are counterproductive.
  • Feds do not seem to understand just how much the public mistrusts the government (during the event, as I was live-tweeting, someone jokingly responded - "let us know if they attempt to brainwash you").
  • Simplifying, even oversimplifying, is fine, but you need to balance that with copious amounts of open data, well organized.
  • Don't insult the public by treating them like they're stupid.
(Source: Me)

Key Point #3 -- If A Tree Falls And Nobody Hears It, The Tree Did Not Fall
  • Speak in the language of your audience.
  • Keep it as simple, clear and focused as possible.
  • If nobody understands you then you aren't saying anything. Too abstract: "broad mission area." 
  • Focus on a benefit to them, e.g. educate parents about emergency readiness -- they want to protect their children.
  • Offer a fun fact, e.g. "did you know that..."
  • Information has to be repeated 15 times to be remembered.
(Source: Prof. Shane)

Key Point #4 -- You're Probably Turning People Off By Making These Common Mistakes 
  • Jargon
  • Over-complexity
  • Unfocused multiple messages
  • Trying to include every single piece of information
  • Too much data and not enough of the human element
(Source: Prof. Shane)

Key Point #5 -- What Motivates People Is...People
  • It's often about emotion and identity, not just self-interest.
  • Focus on humanity - e.g. the problem exists on a large scale (data); here's how this person's life was transformed.
  • Fear only works when immediate action is needed, e.g. evacuation; don't do fear and anger as a default.
  • Think in terms of storylines - "David and Goliath," innovative/creative ways that agency helped solve a problem.
(Source: Prof. Shane)

Key Point #6 -- We Don't Control The Media
  • The media isn't automatically interested; it takes work to get them to pick up a story.
  • We live in a "sound bite" society -- people have a short attention span and you're competing against many other sources of information.
  • Tie your communication to something they care about, e.g. "federal employees are an early warning sign" when it comes to potential disasters.
  • Tie your story to current events, e.g. sexual harassment awareness and response.
(Source: Prof. Shane)

Key Point #7 -- Lawyers Should Do Law

  • Lawyer's job is "to keep us on legally safe ground" (Prof. Shane)
  • Communicator's job requires different skills - "move people to act" (Prof. Shane)
  • "Everyone thinks they're the best communicators. Especially the lawyers" (Prof. Shane)
  • Audience comment (W. Aaron French, on Twitter): "Battling this [attitude] is my professional work."
  • Another audience comment: "The lawyers think that they know everything" 
(Sources: Prof. Shane and audience)

Key Point #8 -- It Is Impossible To Read Some Of These Dense Government Documents (Even The Summaries)
  • No sentence from the federal government should be a paragraph long. (Me)
  • A press release should not read like a dissertation. (Me)
  • Audience comment: "Why didn't the really important things get bullets?" 
(Sources: me and another member of the audience)

Notes & Disclaimers
  • This is not a complete summary. I could not stay for the entire event, but live-tweeted as much as I could (see hashtag #FCNTRNG). For the sake of accuracy, I've tried as best I can to indicate who said what. The categories of information are mine as are the sub-headers.
  • Personal opinion only. As you read this, please keep in mind that event attendees do so in our own personal capacities, not as representatives of our agencies.
  • Public event. No secrets here; the event was live-streamed.
____________________

Public domain. See disclaimer; all opinions are my own. Photo by TeroVesalainen, CC0 Creative Commons, via Pixabay.

I think the worst thing about my most recent experience of sexual harassment was the shock.

I mean, I was literally just sitting there.

I thought we were talking about a report.

Until the words rang out in the air: "I think that you should lay it out like a Playboy."

Before that my colleague noticed something a bit off in the superior's behavior.

"You should be looking at her, not me," he said. "After all, it's her report."

I noticed that I was getting yelled at quite a lot, but I thought maybe it's because I'm annoying.

After the comment, I was literally stunned.

I stumbled out into the hallway, and, one at a time, I told people.

Nobody suggested I report it.

I, myself, had no desire for any trouble.

The injustice of it all burned in my cheeks, in my ears. It coursed throughout my entire body.

A couple of weeks went by and I still had to work on the report.

One day I received an email.

It contained a message highly critical of my work thus far.

Again I felt the anger.

It felt like some other agenda was at work.

I called a meeting, with the executive and my immediate supervisor, a positive and supportive person.

All throughout the room, on my desk, and on the side tables, I put down pieces of the report, critical content and the comments I had received, and planned to discuss this document one page at a time, if necessary.

I sat down at my desk, which was larger than usual for my pay grade.

Across from me sat the supportive supervisor and the executive who had made the disgraceful remark.

So many papers. So much material to go through.

I could feel the anger rising in me.

It was unstoppable, now.

It was going through the roof of my brain.

The executive, perhaps unsatisfied with his earlier stupidity or perhaps the victim of amnesia, opened his mouth and I could see he was about to berate me.

At which I said, "I'm so sorry, sir, but as you know I am simple-minded. All I can recall is that you said to lay it out like a Playboy."

The supportive supervisor looked at me in shock.

The executive who had made the remark turned beet-red. "Did I say that?" Emphasis on "I" and "that."

"Yes, sir, you did."

Needless to say, that job was over, though I tried as best I could to simply carry on, and none of us ever mentioned the incident in question again. And no, I was neither mistreated nor harassed after that.

When the job was over, I walked away with zero fanfare, they threw me a goodbye party, I thanked the executive in question for the opportunity.

And that, as they say, was that.

If you want to know why victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, molestation and rape cannot simply "get over it," it's because they keep hearing those words in their heads: "Isn't it enough already? Can't you just go on?"

My own, fortunately minimal experiences, have led me to understand that many others are going through much worse things. Male and female. Too often, as boys and girls.

It hurts a lot to speak up. It's painful. It's inconvenient. It takes time away from things we'd rather focus on.

But it's a necessary part of healing. It's the only way to get better.

And hearing from you helps other people as well.

__________

Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photo by SusuMa via Pixabay.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

This isn't a movie review, because you can read that elsewhere. These are just a couple of thoughts on an outstanding film that I feel personally connected to, having grown up around some elements of the plot and the characters.

Briefly, Menashe tells the story of a Hasid from Williamsburg who is estranged from his son by the community, following on the death of his wife. That decision was made by a rabbi (the "Ruv") to whom everyone goes for advice, encouragement, support and leadership, and to settle conflicts as they occur.

The luminosity of this movie is that you are plunged right into the world of this community. The downside is that you aren't getting a total and complete picture, because some of the negative elements are downsized, minimized, or eliminated altogether.

Not that it is the responsibility of the moviemaker to produce a documentary. Not that he has to make you love or hate them.

I feel love for this community. I love the ideal of putting God first. I love the honesty, and the fealty to family. I love the Torah study and the primacy of one system that governs all of life.

But the system has its flaws, and Williamsburg, like any other ultra-Orthodox community, has problems that need to be dealt with. I'm not saying how, because I don't live there. But every person has certain inalienable rights: religious free will; parental rights, as long as there isn't abuse; a secular education; freedom from sexual abuse; and the right to inhabit one's own personal approach to gender and sexuality.

I loved this movie; in my way, I loved its idealized world. But the real me can't ignore the issues.

For one thing, no human being, even a spiritual leader, is all good or all knowing.

For another, while the movie showed the reality of poverty and its humiliating nature, it did not show much about how the hyper-controlled educational system psychologically scars many young people, other than their getting kicked out of school unfairly (for example, due to irreligious parental behavior) or being raised "too strict," or with too much homework.

There is no discussion of those who live virtually or completely on the streets because the community doesn't know what to do with them. It ignores pedophilia of young boys altogether, and the rape of little girls; we don't see what happens to those considered disgraced by abuse.

The phenomena of forced marriage is discussed, but overall women's rights issues are minimized as the right to go to school and a brainwashed woman arguing against her own right to drive.

We also don't see the suicides.

Menashe tells a compelling story very well. But it is irresponsible to consider this text absent its social context.

In the end, its best use may well be as a teaching tool.

__________

Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved.

The Hollywood problem is not Jewish men, it is not gay men, it is not opportunistic immodest women. It is human trafficking.

Over the past few days, a picture of Hollywood has emerged as the result of countless actors stepping forward. We see an organized network of people, seeking financial gain, who use the lure of work to defraud other people--women, men, and minors--into sexual activity. 

Here's how the scam seems to work:
  • Invite the victim, typically through an agent or assistant, to a location where they will "discuss" a project;
  • Possibly, provide alcohol or other inebriating substance;
  • Lure the victim from a public to an isolated space;
  • Initiate a verbal and/or physical attack;
  • Issue some kind of coercive threat to keep the victim silent--bodily harm, harm to one's career, legal difficulties, etc.;
  • Bring into the discussion the idea of a network, e.g. "if you cross me, you'll never work in this town again;
  • Possibly, engage an agent to "continue the conversation" as though the victim were actually going to get work, and then fail to provide employment; or, "reward" the victim with employment in exchange for their silence.
From the looks of it, some of these people are serial sexual predators in the sense that they restlessly seek people to victimize, over and over again.

Some appear to simply take advantage of a situation.

But by now it is clear that all who participate, are enabling, perpetuating, and contributing to an ongoing criminal enterprise. One which Hollywood did not want America to know about.

The question is only how much, how many, and over what period of time.

Our job, as Americans, is to disable the entire system. Here’s what that means.
  1. Stop patronizing sick Hollywood stuff. Movies that sexualize children. Movies that revel in rape. 
  2. Out the Hollywood predators, obviously, but not by rumor by victims coming forward to law enforcement. Put them in jail. 
  3. Hold Congressional hearings on the scope and extent of the problem, and its connections to other spheres: the music industry, the art industry, international diplomacy, rogue military and intelligence operations, and politics.
As we do so, we should keep in mind that although it may be psychologically comforting to displace our fear onto one religion (e.g. "old Jewish men") or one sexual orientation ("the gay mafia") it is also illogical.

In much the same way, it is classist and racist to focus our human trafficking investigations on developing nations, poor neighborhoods, prison populations, and gangs comprised mainly of people of color.

A true investigation will include wealthy, powerful White people in the United States as well--people we know, people we trust, people who live "close to home."

In these divided times it will be difficult to do, but we can keep the investigation nonpartisan. Working with the President, Congress can legislate human trafficking out of existence, once and for all, by:
  • Eliminating the financial incentive--closing loopholes that allow this criminal enterprise to flourish.
  • Eliminating the perversion incentive--putting predators in jail where they belong.
As part of this effort, we will need to empower internal auditors significantly, because corruption from within will always be a problem when significant law enforcement activities occur.

The United Nations can help by convening all the nations of this world into an international cooperative body that identifies human trafficking practices and perpetrators and cuts them off from the body of humankind.

Now, for the role of the citizen.

Late last year, a worldwide citizen investigation into "pizzagate" began. Inevitably the investigation into some very odd and inexplicable emails and images on an Instagram account were used as political fodder. One day, the hysteria culminated in a tragic display of violence.

Nobody ever thought that Hillary Clinton was trafficking children in the basement. But we also never got to the truth behind all this. One day, I am confident we will.

In the meantime, since I was there from the beginning, I feel confident in saying that researchers were motivated by only one thing: horror at the worldwide trade in children, and a fierce desire to protect them.

From Day One, researchers and experts alike stated that pedophilia, organized or not, has no political affiliation and favors no group.

We also said that we believed a massive coverup was taking place. We could not describe it precisely, though--largely because all attempts to cover the story in a journalistically typical way were thwarted. While it was hard for me, personally, to believe, it did seem very clear that some topics were sanctioned while others were considered off-limits, and anything to do with human trafficking was one of them.

This despite a fair amount of high-profile coverage in prior years.

But the Harvey Weinstein scandal shows that the "pizzagate" investigators were right: It is entirely possible for many people in high stations to hush up a rape culture. For whatever reason.

We will never stop being vigilant now. Here is what I would recommend on that front:
  • That the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, will formalize and expand citizen information pipelines to law enforcement -- in particular, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice.
  • That the President of the United States will empower the citizen investigator by offering them as many open data sets as possible to facilitate their research.
  • That the President of the United States will establish programs, internships, and jobs through which educational institutions, nonprofits, and private companies can partner with the government to investigate human trafficking crimes and help save lives.
People have information, they are great investigators, they are patriots who want to help. 

Let them.

Information saves lives, and we cannot rely on manipulated fake news, only on data, which is impervious to political and financial agendas.
__________
Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photo by aitoff via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


I don't have to look very far to find victims, or the people who think they deserved it.

Many of them seem to think so, too.

There's the girl I knew who was taken from the playground and "something happened" to her. She disappeared from school, never to be heard from again.

No, she was just a kid.

There's the one who was sitting at home when the doorbell rang. The guy said he was "from the power company." 

She opened the door and he lunged. 

Should have checked his ID under the door. 

Should have called the power company.

Shouldn't have answered the door at all.

Another one had a dinner party and one guest stayed after the other people had left.

She knew him, he was "a nice guy."

But he overcame her.

Shouldn't have had a guy over to her home.

Shouldn't have been there with him alone.

Having a male in your home, when you're female, is an invitation to have sex.

Yet another person joined the military.

The only girl in the unit.

Attacked when she went to the bathroom.

What was she doing with all those guys?

Everybody knows that women in the military aren't safe.

The stories go on and on. As do the justifications.

Harvey Weinstein? Everybody knows that actresses sleep their way to the top. 

Let's face it, Hollywood is sleazy. 

They knew what they were getting into.

They didn't call the police.

How about women who want to become successful business executives?

You know what goes on at these conferences. 

I had a friend once who told me that she was sick on a job interview.

The interviewer said, "I'll give you a ride home."

"No, I don't think so," she replied, a bit suspicious.

"Don't worry about it," he said, in a tone that conveyed understanding. "I'm talking about a carpool."

And at that he nodded toward his colleague, who had helpfully appeared in the hall.

"Sure," she said. "Thank you."

In the car he said, "Let's stop off for a minute and get something to drink."

"I thought you were giving me a ride home," she said, now a bit afraid again.

"It's nothing," he said, nodding at the other fellow in the backseat. "We'll get you a cup of tea."

In the hotel -- "it's right in the middle of the city" -- he sat next to her in the booth, where he promptly grabbed her breast.

"What????" said my friend. She tried to get up, but stumbled.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," said the man. "I lost control of myself, I swear it. It won't happen again."

My friend was unemployed, sick, and had no money to get home.

It seemed that the "carpool" had disappeared, too.

She nursed her tea and prayed for "happy hour" to be over.

Thoughts raced through her head, like this can't be happening and I don't know what to do and maybe it's all in my mind.

She went with him to the car and he took her to where she lived. The ride went uneventfully.

"Let me walk you to the door," he said.

"No, that's quite alright."

"Please, let me be a gentleman," he said.

Against her better judgment, she let him walk her to the door.

"Well good night," she said.

He stood there.

The mistake she made, in her tiredness and wish for all of this to be over, was to unlock the key and step in.

Because then the man pushed her in. And what happened next wasn't good.

"Look, I'm just not interested," she said. But by then it was too late.

He physically attacked her. 

Change course, she said to herself. Let's pretend this is a date.

"Can I make you a cup of coffee?" 

The idea was to "convince" him that he, with his immense charm, had somehow "magically" won her over.

He was lulled for a moment and she went into the kitchen and fumbled around. 

"Cream? Sugar?"

Frantically she picked up the phone, and brought it into the living room, where her attacker had made himself at home.

"This," she pointed to the phone, "is my boyfriend asking where I am."

The attacker, a clean-cut man with his government ID still hanging around his neck, looked at her intently. He seemed unsure if this was true.

"He is about three blocks away, and he is expecting dinner," she said, in a very serious tone. "If he shows up and you are here, then I am not responsible."

My friend is an unbelievably good actress and the attacker was convinced. 

Somehow, by the grace of God, he left her home.

A few years later, she went to a conference about sexual harassment.

My friend hit it off with another woman in attendance. 

They got to talking, and my friend shared her story about that horrible night.

"Oh my God," said the other woman. "Are you talking about---" 

With that, she named the attacker.

"Yes!" said my friend. "Why?"

"Because he did the exact same thing to me!"

"What?"

"Yes, I had to jump out of a moving car to escape him."

Chills ran down my body as I registered the import of this story.

I recalled what I knew about sexual assault: It's usually not the boogeyman, but rather someone you know. A friend, a family member, a trusted member of the community, a person in authority. Even an acquaintance.

Add "potential employer" to that list.

My friend told me another story, about how she used to work in human resources, way back in the day.

There were always men in charge, men who held "parties" where women "voluntarily" attended to sleep their way to the top.

Men who protected her against other men who insisted she attend a "business conference" to "take notes," then confessed they "dreamed of seeing your hair on the pillow next to me."

Her protector at that time said, "If he ever tries that with you again, you tell me."


* * * 

So who are the women who deserve it, exactly?

Are they the ones who are "inherently slutty?"

Are they the ones who get drunk and pass out?

Are they the ones who run away from home, sometimes to escape the fathers and brothers who rape them?

Are they the ones who work as prostitutes or make porn?

Are they the ones who have career ambitions?

Are they the ones who want to work in Hollywood?

Are they bad girlfriends, bad mothers, terrible wives?

Did they make a wrong turn into an alley?

Should they have learned mixed martial arts?

Should they pack a gun, legally?

What are the women of the world to do?

Should they pay a man to protect them?

Should we always walk in a pack?

Stay out of the park?

Confine ourselves to busy streets, in daylight--no parking garages or parking lots or stairwells?


* * * 

It is easy to believe that "some women deserve it."

The belief makes you feel safer, I think. 

If it's their fault, then you have at least a tiny measure of comfort.

But the truth is, if someone gets a thrill from being a sexual predator, then they will find a way to attack.

What the victims do to prevent them can only go so far.

__________
Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own. All rights reserved. Photo credit: Free-Photos via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)