I visited Isla Vista this week. My brother-in-law (aka “little brother”) lives in Isa Vista and is also attending UCSB, where six students were recently killed due to the rage of a frustrated young man who had mental health problems and was angry at women. We panicked all night because we couldn’t reach our little brother. The killings happened just a couple blocks from his home. We called, texted, facebooked, Skyped, emailed. All night. No word. We were terrified. As it turned out, he and a friend had stayed home to watched movies. He heard the gunshots, but he was fine.
(Click each photo to see it larger)
I am also enrolled in a university that is based in Santa Barbara.
I also know what it’s like to be at the receiving end of misogyny and slut-shaming, from personal interactions with misogynists without a conscience, to my former religion, my work, to social media, and even from reputable corporations like Discovery Networks, Investigation Discovery, History Channel and others. (A couple years ago I shared a story from my past of surviving trauma that was orchestrated by a criminal mastermind, but they turned it into one of those “stupid woman caused it herself and deserved what she got” stories. It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right, but the media is accountable to no one.) The media is absolutely part of the problem, and this is why I am now pursuing my PhD in Media Psychology at a university in Santa Barbara.
Needless to say, I felt a connection with this tragedy and this town, and I wish I could find a way to use media make the world a safer place for women. For everyone.
So a few days ago, my husband and I went to visit Isla Vista. Little brother showed Tolga and I the memorials. We both had a lump in our throats.
This is where it all started. This was the home of 22-year old Elliot Rodger, the UCSB student who expressed his rage against the women who rejected him by slaughtering people, then taking his own life.
Messages were still there. Through heart-felt words, flowers, chalk writings and candles, people expressed their love for those who lost their lives here.
You’re in our hearts forever.
No one was in a hurry to take all the special remembrances away. Someone put a box of chalk there for people to express their feelings. No one stole it.
What they did do, however, was move items from the memorial sites into the UCSB library to create a CD of digital images of the memories, messages and notes. Someone politely left a letter explaining it all on a page covered by a sheet protector, weighted down by two candles.
This is the street outside of the apartment building where Elliot Rodger lived.
The street on Isla Vista where Rodger plowed through people and sprayed businesses with bullets.
Above – the sidewalk outside the IV Deli Mart where Rodger left more casualties
A happy face balloon with a graduation hat. Perhaps it was a message for one of the students about to graduate?
Outside IV Deli Mart. Beautiful signs of life, and of lives so loved.
Messages about gun control still reign prominent.
So much anguish, so much to say.
The recovery message is profound. “Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that” MLK
The names of the deceased are held in place by a Teddy Bear
- a poignant reminder of innocence amidst the pain and sorrow.
A love note or message of caring is tucked into the bear’s shirt. I wanted to read it,
but somehow I felt unworthy.
The community mourned Katherine Cooper, Christopher Martinez, Veronika Weiss, Weihan Wang, George Chen, and Cheng Yuan Hong, and celebrated the incredible lives they lived. Read about them HERE.
Emily Lindin, the founder of the UnSlut Project, wrote “In Killer’s World, Victims are Blamed.” It got picked up by CNN, and this young lady is my new hero. She wrote that Rodgers “is the product of a culture that condones and in many cases endorses the belief that if you are a ‘nice guy’ — or a ‘supreme gentleman’ as Rodger described himself — you are somehow entitled to sex with women.”
“After the killings, the extent of misogyny in this community was revealed in the creation of a Facebook page called ‘Elliot Rodger Is an American Hero,’ with the advice for everyone to ‘share your thoughts and pay your respects to Elliot Rodger here. Also, view this final message from our beloved hero,’ which links to his videotaped rant, with commenters expressing solidarity with his desire for revenge against women. The page has since been taken down.” Emily Lindin
On a piece of cardboard supported by a bike stand, someone wrote,
“Those we love don’t go away,
They walk beside us every day
Unseen, unheard, but always near,
Still loved, still missed and very dear.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
Love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
The community is rallying for the victims’ families and the survivors. This donation box is in the IV Deli Mart, where Christopher Michaels-Martinez lost his life.
The community, still reeling in disbelief, tries to carry on.
There’s a message to learn that we all hope does not fade away after the flowers are gone. We have an opportunity to honor the victims, the survivors and the families by making all this make a difference.
Will it be about gun control, mental health, respecting women, victim blaming or something else? Emily Lindin thinks the conversation needs to be about misogyny.
“But as we move forward and try to make sense of what happened, it’s our responsibility to start productive, respectful conversations about the misogyny behind Rodger’s actions,” she wrote.
As I walked back to the car, I saw a homeless man and another man being comforted by a college co-ed. I got the impression the man was a witness the night it happened.
They were perfect strangers, but she stopped walking her dog to comfort him in his time of need. He cried and she listened.
Whoever she is, she is a saint.
Maybe she cried and he listened too.
Maybe that is how we can make beautiful meaning come from this tragedy. Maybe that’s how we can change the world:
Listening when people cry, and then hugging instead of hating.
Just like the fathers of Elliot Rodger, the killer, and his victim, Chris Martinez.
Hugging instead of hating. Loving instead of blaming.
Photo taken from http://bit.ly/1mxMhYT
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There was an article posted today in the SLTrib called - ‘Sister Wives’ episode draws fiery reaction, name calling .Read More »
A few months ago, I participated in a public debate on polygamy at UNLV with Kristyn Decker, Kollene Snow and Willy Steed. On the other side was the Brown family of TLC’s “Sister Wives” fame. Tonight, the episode is airing on TV.Read More »
I made these as a fun little way to help educate people about brainwashing, which is really just abusive psychological manipulation.
Brainwashing is just a nickname for a series of known psychological processes used to manipulate someone against their will. It’s unethical, traumatizing, and it literally changes what is happening in the brain – without the person realizing what is happening.Read More »
It wasn’t a “him.” It was THEM. Even after all these years since “The Great Deception,” I am still learning how my heart, soul, brain, finances and life were hijacked by an anti-Mormon psychopath.* In the beginning, my very first therapist suggested that I learn about “anti-social personality disorder” to help me be more safe in the future. Disclaiming that she was not diagnosing him, she showed me a list of the characteristics.Read More »
I am right now just off my knees from turning everything over to God tonight as I slay the biggest dragon of my life. So finally, I quite procrastinating, and I opened the Bible (which I haven’t read in ages because it triggers my PTSD) and just for fun I did one of those let-me-open-this-and-see-where-it lands in case something cool and relevant is on the page.
And I opened to Phillipians 1:27-30. Look how awesome and appropriate!!!!!!
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him
Sorry.Read More »
Last night I watched a wonderful documentary on ABC’s 20/20 called “Breaking Polygamy.” I am a feminist and an activist for women’s rights, so I had previously written a piece to go along with a petition to sign, but I never launched it. I always worried that it wasn’t quite right, but today seems like a good day to put it online and see if I can get some quick feedback so we can get this party started. Here’s a clip, in case you missed it.Read More »
In her book, Brainwashed, Kathleen Taylor describes her research on brainwashing and “discusses how the extreme social psychological pressures that people undergo in brainwashing programs change the neurology and physiology of the brain.”Read More »
Today when I woke up, Tolga was excited to ask me if I read what was on my facebook. While I was sleeping, he posted the picture above on my facebook wall, and along with it he wrote this love note.Read More »
Years ago when I divorced, I decided to drop my last name and legally change my name to “Christine Marie” – the name I went by as a children’s book author. When I signed my name on the state’s name-change papers, I added a heart after my signature – like I always did. Read More »
I updated Emerson’s missionary web site – boy did I have a lot of catching up to do!Read More »
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WARNING: There are graphic photos in here.Read More »
This is what Bambi looked like duringg our wedding on 11-11-11 and then more recently when she was pregnant.Read More »
With the birth of Bambi’s new puppies, and the need to find loving homes for them, people have been curious about who the daddy is. Well, here he is!Read More »
The Traverse City State Hospital of Traverse City, Michigan has been variously known as the Northern Michigan Asylum and the Traverse City Regional Psychiatric Hospital. It has for many years been called the “11th Street Academy”. Tolga and I stumbled upon it not realizing what it was, but we were fascinated and felt those paranormal chills. Enjoy the pics.Read More »
We represented fotoluv & photography at the Nevada Wildfest. It was a fundraiser for the Lili Claire Foundation.Read More »
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When I woke up and went downstairs to see where my husband was, he had a look of bewilderment on his eyes and could barely find the words to explain what he had just witnessed.Read More »
Recently I was challenged on why I am “championing” Michael Marin, the former banker who was found guilty of arson and then killed himself in court. In short, I’m not championing “Michael Marin,” I just think people should know his side of the story. The prosecution fed so much misinformation to the media that the public is convinced that Michael Marin was a criminal and a con man, and I have a hard time with that.Read More »
A couple nights ago, a friend randomly asked if I had heard about the court suicide story headlining the news. Indeed I had.Read More »
“I’m an optimist in the sense that I believe humans are noble and honorable, and some of them are really smart. I have a very optimistic view of individuals.”
More quotes on believing:Read More »
I saw this on Pinterest and couldn’t resist sharing it. You know you’re from Michigan if … (read and smile.) To this graphic I would add – “If you’ve been to at least one sleepover that included having to put bait on a hook.”Read More »
Tolga and I went to the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas to take a photo of Lola modeling in a big advertisement somewhere in the building. While we didn’t find her photo yet, I did take the opportunity to photograph lots of other things, including Tolga!Read More »
These were photos I took with a cheesy little camera on our mini-honeymoon, taken at the Valley of Fire.Read More »
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Tolga & I are testing a new little photo-sharing service we put together called “fololuv.” It’s easy – you don’t even have to register.Read More »
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We take photos of some of the most creative people in the U.S., and it’s a riot.Read More »
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Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul into.
Henry Ward Beecher
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This is a cell phone pic that someone took when Tolga and I were dancing our first dance as husband and wife. It is such a sweet memory.Read More »