Commentary Violence

Get Real: I’m Trapped In an Unhealthy Relationship and Don’t Know What to Do

Heather Corinna

How do you get out of an abusive situation and get yourself safe? By doing all you can to get sound help as soon as you can and to leave as safely as possible. It's so easy to feel stuck in abuse or other unsafe situations, but we can get unstuck.

Anonymous asks:

I am 17 now, live in Northern Ireland, and started dating this one fellow when I was fifteen. At the time he was 44. Of course, now he’s 46, but that’s not really the point. He’s divorced and has two kids, one son 2 years younger than me, and a daughter the age of my own younger sister (12). I look after them for him sometimes. I feel like I really love him, but I don’t really feel the same way about him. I think he’s been seeing his ex-wife behind my back, as she is now pregnant and she’s not in any other relationships, and Steve (my boyfriend) doesn’t really want to talk about it, meaning he acts guilty. Our relationship has pretty much been sex, sex, sex, and me doing stuff for him from day one. I want to get out of this relationship, but I have never been able to stand up to him. I live with him, and I don’t have anywhere else to go, as my parents kicked me out some time ago. I’ve kind of been seeing another guy, who is 19, but nothing really serious. This new guy is American, and he’s making a life for himself (in a good university, etc.), so the choice is kind of obvious. But if I try to break things off with Steve, either he gets angry and hurts me (nothing too serious, just bruises) or he swears he’ll spend more time with me. Which he doesn’t.

Basically, I’m stuck with a man who has been my only sexual partner for two entire years, he’s not the nicest bloke around, and he’s nearly three times my age (older than both of my parents, too). I don’t know what to do, and honestly, I’m a little scared.

Heather Corinna replies:

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There are a few things you mentioned here that I suspect you wanted to have addressed in depth, but I think it’s really important that for right now, I do what I can to help you with what seems the most critical. I think it’s crucial you get some help as quickly as you can, and I don’t want my words to hold those steps up.

Ultimately, I could answer your post with just two words: get out.

There isn’t any “just” in bruises. I also don’t think anything you’re saying here is anything less than very, very serious. Abuse is always serious, and always needs to be taken very seriously, even when someone’s abuse doesn’t leave any obvious marks at all.

You express feeling very trapped in this relationship, and I can see why. You are reporting at least one kind of abuse by this current partner, and I suspect there’s been more than one, and that some of it may have even started before you realize it did. Given the chasm of an age difference and how young you were when you met, his behaviour, and the very vulnerable position it seems this person likely met you in, it seems very likely you got roped into this by someone who knew they could exploit you and intended to do that. You make clear you have been mistreated in several ways. You make clear this has not been a healthy relationship of equals, nor something you feel good being in. We don’t feel afraid of our partners in healthy relationships. You make clear you have wanted to leave, but don’t feel unable to, including because this person has done you harm when you have tried to leave in the past.

I understand that you’re scared and why you feel scared. The fact that you recognize you feel afraid is a very good thing, because there is good reason to feel afraid. This is scary. And abuse almost always escalates, so, however bad it is now, the longer you stay, the more likely it becomes that it’s only going to get worse. So, it’s incredibly important that you pay attention to those feelings or fear and give them real weight, doing all you can to use them as motivation to get out of this, far, far away from this and to get yourself somewhere safe as soon and as safely as you can.

I understand why you feel stuck, and know that getting unstuck can seem impossible.

But it isn’t impossible. I absolutely promise. You can get out of this.

You’re not stuck with or in this, it just feels like you are. I know how strong that feeling can be, and how debilitating it can feel, but while those feelings are real, the reality of you having no way to get out of this is not real.

You can get out of this and away from this, even if it isn’t easy. The fact of the matter is, that while getting out of relationships and situations like this can be challenging and tricky, it’s a far more temporary kind of hard than living a life in them is and will turn out to be. I’m so glad that you reached out for help.

I’m tremendously sorry to hear that your parents kicked you out, and tremendously sorry if they will not help you now. You don’t need me to tell you that has been a serious injustice done to you. But even if they won’t help, there is help for you in this, all the more so since you are still a legal minor.

In your area, you have the following resources you can seek out and get help from:
Women’s Aid: Their 24-hour hotline is at: 0800 917 1414

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (England, Wales and Northern Ireland): 0800 800 500

Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children: 00 353 742 9744

Council for the Homeless, Northern Ireland: The current contact listed for people under 25 to contact regarding youth homelesness there is Kathy Maguire, Youth Homelessness Officer, at: 02890 246 440 or you can email her at:

Network Of Rape Crisis Centres Ireland: Their hotline number is 1800 77 88 88. I understand this resource may not seem relevant to you, however a) given some of what you’ve said, it may be (even if he became sexual with you at 15, he committed a crime based on age of consent laws alone) and b) if it is not at all, a resource like this could most likely still direct you to the services you need to get the help you need.

Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 in the UK and Northern Ireland

You could start by making a call or contact to ANY of those resources, whichever you feel most comfortable calling. Or, if you try one and get a busy line, you can move on down the list and just keep calling until you can get through to one of them. Any of them will help you. You can also always just go to your local police or a hospital and tell them everything, too, making clear you do NOT want to go back there.

I can’t encourage you enough to make a call to one of those resources the very second you finish reading my reply to you.

In the case that your phone or internet use is monitored by Steve, write down these numbers and go find a pay phone or ask a neighbor to use their phone to make these calls. Do NOT tell this person you are seeking out this help and looking to get out. It’s really important you keep yourself safe and sound while getting help, and that includes making sure you’re not doing anything that could trigger more abuse.

When you call any of them, it’s very important you’re honest about your situation. Don’t make excuses for this person, or downplay the spot you’re in and have been in. Make clear when the relationship started and how, if they ask, including sexually. Let them know you were kicked out of your home, when, and under what circumstances and that part of the reason you are staying in this is because you do not have anywhere else to go. Whatever kinds of abuse this person has engaged in, when they ask about abuse and your safety, be honest and forthright. What kind of help you need and can get is going to be determined by all your situation involves. Agencies like those above are often limited in how well they can help if you’re not honest. If feelings of embarrassment or shame creep in, please know you will not be the first person they have heard from in the kind of circumstances you’re in, and help agencies don’t judge. Their job is to help, and people working for them take that job very seriously. And you’ve got nothing to feel ashamed of here: you wound up stuck with what sounds like a creep, and in very precarious circumstances of your own, and this is not your fault.

Any resource like these helping you to get out will usually talk you through how to get out safely, or even, in helping you to do that, send over an officer or other person to assure your safety.

In the case that you are not certain if your parents or anyone in your family will help you or not, and you know them to be safe for you, you might also try being very honest with them about the whole of this situation — that means no downplaying it, even though I know it can feel humiliating — just to make sure. When it comes to leaving someone exploitive or abusive, people really need all the help and support they can get, so more help is always, always a good thing.

It sounds like you’ve already managed to survive some pretty rough things already, so I feel confident that you can stand up for yourself in this with some help, get through this and come out on the other side.

One last thing? You didn’t ask for my advice on this, and I try not to give advice unsolicited, but I do want to offer some up. Right now is not likely to be a sound time for any new or additional romantic relationships. Right now strikes me as a time that you really, truly need to spend only taking care of yourself, getting yourself out of this situation, landing on your own two feet, and getting help learning how to step forward from there, including learning how to only step into healthy relationships when you’re in a position to be able to have them. For instance, when we are in survival mode where we have nowhere to live, it can be all too easy to wind up with people who aren’t good people because we just can’t think past getting some food in our bellies or a roof over our heads.

When we’ve been in abuse, especially when it’s happened in times of our lives or personal development that are formative, like our very first dating relationship, it is terribly hard to be able to know how to identify and have healthy relationships. In a word, you’re going to have some healing to do and some learning to do about what is and isn’t healthy, and that’s all going to take some time. I’m certain you don’t want to have to struggle to get out of this only to land in something just as bad or worse.

Even just hearing that you’re concerned with the man you’re with possibly being sexual with someone else, or not spending extra time with you, at what sounds like the same level of his being abusive to you suggests to me that you’re going to need some time to do some real work sorting out what is and isn’t healthy in relationships. It sounds to me like you just may not know that yet, or be able to see that yet, which isn’t surprising. It’s pretty tough to be able to know anything we haven’t learned, after all, or which hasn’t been real to us.

None of that is anything to feel ashamed about. I know it can feel really cruddy to be in this kind of a spot, and I also know how appealing what looks like a “normal” relationship can be when you’re in the kind of spot you’re in now. At the same time, there aren’t white knights in the world — save the white knights we can be for ourselves — and people who are healthy folks with their own you-know-what together generally are not going to race into a situation like this romantically or sexually. If anything, folks with their heads on straight might offer to be supportive friends while you take care of yourself, or to get you to the help you need, and maybe, when all the dust has settled, revisit the idea of dating then. But not in the thick of something like this (assuming you’ve been honest with him, mind: obviously, if he has no idea what your situation is, no one can expect him to respond to it).

If this new guy knows what you’re living in and doesn’t even recognize that what’s critical right now is getting you to a safe place, not going out on dates, I think you need to know this person probably isn’t any kind of gem, either.

So, unsolicited from me to you? You really need to take care of you, right now, and your most basic needs: safety and shelter. Those are serious life basics, and when you don’t even have those going, there is no room at all for dating anybody. I don’t think you can afford any distractions at this point. You need your bare basics first, okay? The person to choose right now is yourself. Choose you, Mary.

Please know that if you need additional help in this, on top of the help any of those resources provide you, I’d be happy to offer you that. If what I gave you here turns out not to be fruitful, feel free to drop me a line and I will make some calls to help you find a service which can help. In the case you feel too scared or nervous to even make those phone calls, we are absolutely willing to help by making initial calls for you to help you get the ball rolling with this so you can get somewhere safe and get started in having a life where you stay safe and have the opportunity to have a much better life than you’ve been living.

You can come talk to myself or any of the Scarleteen volunteers over at our message board here, anytime, too.

Like I said, I didn’t mean to shortcut you here, as there is a lot to talk about, and probably a lot you’d like to have addressed. I didn’t talk about the possible dynamics around how this relationship even started, or how it’s gone on, which you might have wanted me to talk about, or about this issue of Steve potentially having sex outside the relationship with his ex and what that might mean for you and how you feel about it. The reason I’m not going there now is only because I just don’t think now is the right time for that.

When you can get yourself to a safe place, and sitting around and reading and chatting doesn’t potentially contribute to you staying unsafe, I’d be happy to talk with you more if you like. We have one volunteer in Northern Ireland right now, too, so you could even talk with someone local if you preferred. In the meantime, I hope that you can pick up the phone and take a step to get yourself safe and to move away from this life and towards the kind of life that’s full of the kind of safety and happiness everyone should be entitled to.

I know how scary that step can feel, and I understand that, but I think the alternative is a whole lot scarier. Please take that step to care for yourself, and know that if you need more help with that, all you have to do is ask for it.

Addendum: Since I know many readers remain concerned for advice-seekers like this, know that she was able to get out of her abusive situation and into a safe place with a supportive extended family member.  She’s doing very well right now, and utilized excellent help from Samaritans to find her solution and create a sound exit plan.

Culture & Conversation Human Rights

Let’s Stop Conflating Self-Care and Actual Care

Katie Klabusich

It's time for a shift in the use of “self-care” that creates space for actual care apart from the extra kindnesses and important, small indulgences that may be part of our self-care rituals, depending on our ability to access such activities.

As a chronically ill, chronically poor person, I have feelings about when, why, and how the phrase “self-care” is invoked. When International Self-Care Day came to my attention, I realized that while I laud the effort to prevent some of the 16 million people the World Health Organization reports die prematurely every year from noncommunicable diseases, the American notion of self-care—ironically—needs some work.

I propose a shift in the use of “self-care” that creates space for actual care apart from the extra kindnesses and important, small indulgences that may be part of our self-care rituals, depending on our ability to access such activities. How we think about what constitutes vital versus optional care affects whether/when we do those things we should for our health and well-being. Some of what we have come to designate as self-care—getting sufficient sleep, treating chronic illness, allowing ourselves needed sick days—shouldn’t be seen as optional; our culture should prioritize these things rather than praising us when we scrape by without them.

International Self-Care Day began in China, and it has spread over the past few years to include other countries and an effort seeking official recognition at the United Nations of July 24 (get it? 7/24: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) as an important advocacy day. The online academic journal SelfCare calls its namesake “a very broad concept” that by definition varies from person to person.

“Self-care means different things to different people: to the person with a headache it might mean a buying a tablet, but to the person with a chronic illness it can mean every element of self-management that takes place outside the doctor’s office,” according to SelfCare. “[I]n the broadest sense of the term, self-care is a philosophy that transcends national boundaries and the healthcare systems which they contain.”

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In short, self-care was never intended to be the health version of duct tape—a way to patch ourselves up when we’re in pieces from the outrageous demands of our work-centric society. It’s supposed to be part of our preventive care plan alongside working out, eating right, getting enough sleep, and/or other activities that are important for our personalized needs.

The notion of self-care has gotten a recent visibility boost as those of us who work in human rights and/or are activists encourage each other publicly to recharge. Most of the people I know who remind themselves and those in our movements to take time off do so to combat the productivity anxiety embedded in our work. We’re underpaid and overworked, but still feel guilty taking a break or, worse, spending money on ourselves when it could go to something movement- or bill-related.

The guilt is intensified by our capitalist system having infected the self-care philosophy, much as it seems to have infected everything else. Our bootstrap, do-it-yourself culture demands we work to the point of exhaustion—some of us because it’s the only way to almost make ends meet and others because putting work/career first is expected and applauded. Our previous president called it “uniquely American” that someone at his Omaha, Nebraska, event promoting “reform” of (aka cuts to) Social Security worked three jobs.

“Uniquely American, isn’t it?” he said. “I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)”

The audience was applauding working hours that are disastrous for health and well-being, laughing at sleep as though our bodies don’t require it to function properly. Bush actually nailed it: Throughout our country, we hold Who Worked the Most Hours This Week competitions and attempt to one-up the people at the coffee shop, bar, gym, or book club with what we accomplished. We have reached a point where we consider getting more than five or six hours of sleep a night to be “self-care” even though it should simply be part of regular care.

Most of us know intuitively that, in general, we don’t take good enough care of ourselves on a day-to-day basis. This isn’t something that just happened; it’s a function of our work culture. Don’t let the statistic that we work on average 34.4 hours per week fool you—that includes people working part time by choice or necessity, which distorts the reality for those of us who work full time. (Full time is defined by the Internal Revenue Service as 30 or more hours per week.) Gallup’s annual Work and Education Survey conducted in 2014 found that 39 percent of us work 50 or more hours per week. Only 8 percent of us on average work less than 40 hours per week. Millennials are projected to enjoy a lifetime of multiple jobs or a full-time job with one or more side hustles via the “gig economy.”

Despite worker productivity skyrocketing during the past 40 years, we don’t work fewer hours or make more money once cost of living is factored in. As Gillian White outlined at the Atlantic last year, despite politicians and “job creators” blaming financial crises for wage stagnation, it’s more about priorities:

Though productivity (defined as the output of goods and services per hours worked) grew by about 74 percent between 1973 and 2013, compensation for workers grew at a much slower rate of only 9 percent during the same time period, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute.

It’s no wonder we don’t sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been sounding the alarm for some time. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend people between 18 and 60 years old get seven or more hours sleep each night “to promote optimal health and well-being.” The CDC website has an entire section under the heading “Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Problem,” outlining statistics and negative outcomes from our inability to find time to tend to this most basic need.

We also don’t get to the doctor when we should for preventive care. Roughly half of us, according to the CDC, never visit a primary care or family physician for an annual check-up. We go in when we are sick, but not to have screenings and discuss a basic wellness plan. And rarely do those of us who do go tell our doctors about all of our symptoms.

I recently had my first really wonderful check-up with a new primary care physician who made a point of asking about all the “little things” leading her to encourage me to consider further diagnosis for fibromyalgia. I started crying in her office, relieved that someone had finally listened and at the idea that my headaches, difficulty sleeping, recovering from illness, exhaustion, and pain might have an actual source.

Considering our deeply-ingrained priority problems, it’s no wonder that when I post on social media that I’ve taken a sick day—a concept I’ve struggled with after 20 years of working multiple jobs, often more than 80 hours a week trying to make ends meet—people applaud me for “doing self-care.” Calling my sick day “self-care” tells me that the commenter sees my post-traumatic stress disorder or depression as something I could work through if I so chose, amplifying the stigma I’m pushing back on by owning that a mental illness is an appropriate reason to take off work. And it’s not the commenter’s fault; the notion that working constantly is a virtue is so pervasive, it affects all of us.

Things in addition to sick days and sleep that I’ve had to learn are not engaging in self-care: going to the doctor, eating, taking my meds, going to therapy, turning off my computer after a 12-hour day, drinking enough water, writing, and traveling for work. Because it’s so important, I’m going to say it separately: Preventive health care—Pap smears, check-ups, cancer screenings, follow-ups—is not self-care. We do extras and nice things for ourselves to prevent burnout, not as bandaids to put ourselves back together when we break down. You can’t bandaid over skipping doctors appointments, not sleeping, and working your body until it’s a breath away from collapsing. If you’re already at that point, you need straight-up care.

Plenty of activities are self-care! My absolutely not comprehensive personal list includes: brunch with friends, adult coloring (especially the swear word books and glitter pens), soy wax with essential oils, painting my toenails, reading a book that’s not for review, a glass of wine with dinner, ice cream, spending time outside, last-minute dinner with my boyfriend, the puzzle app on my iPad, Netflix, participating in Caturday, and alone time.

My someday self-care wish list includes things like vacation, concerts, the theater, regular massages, visiting my nieces, decent wine, the occasional dinner out, and so very, very many books. A lot of what constitutes self-care is rather expensive (think weekly pedicures, spa days, and hobbies with gear and/or outfit requirements)—which leads to the privilege of getting to call any part of one’s routine self-care in the first place.

It would serve us well to consciously add an intersectional view to our enthusiasm for self-care when encouraging others to engage in activities that may be out of reach financially, may disregard disability, or may not be right for them for a variety of other reasons, including compounded oppression and violence, which affects women of color differently.

Over the past year I’ve noticed a spike in articles on how much of the emotional labor burden women carry—at the Toast, the Atlantic, Slate, the Guardian, and the Huffington Post. This category of labor disproportionately affects women of color. As Minaa B described at the Huffington Post last month:

I hear the term self-care a lot and often it is defined as practicing yoga, journaling, speaking positive affirmations and meditation. I agree that those are successful and inspiring forms of self-care, but what we often don’t hear people talking about is self-care at the intersection of race and trauma, social justice and most importantly, the unawareness of repressed emotional issues that make us victims of our past.

The often-quoted Audre Lorde wrote in A Burst of Light: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

While her words ring true for me, they are certainly more weighted and applicable for those who don’t share my white and cisgender privilege. As covered at Ravishly, the Feminist Wire, Blavity, the Root, and the Crunk Feminist Collective recently, self-care for Black women will always have different expressions and roots than for white women.

But as we continue to talk about self-care, we need to be clear about the difference between self-care and actual care and work to bring the necessities of life within reach for everyone. Actual care should not have to be optional. It should be a priority in our culture so that it can be a priority in all our lives.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Republican National Convention Edition

Ally Boguhn

The Trump family's RNC claims about crime and the presidential candidate's record on gender equality have kept fact-checkers busy.

Republicans came together in Cleveland this week to nominate Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC), generating days of cringe-inducing falsehoods and misleading statements on crime, the nominee’s positions on gender equality, and LGBTQ people.

Trump’s Acceptance Speech Blasted for Making False Claims on Crime

Trump accepted the Republican nomination in a Thursday night speech at the RNC that drew harsh criticism for many of its misleading and outright false talking points.

Numerous fact-checkers took Trump to task, calling out many of his claims for being “wrong,” and “inflated or misleading.”

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 Among the most hotly contested of Trump’s claims was the assertion that crime has exploded across the country.

“Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement,” Trump claimed, according to his prepared remarks, which were leaked ahead of his address. “Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.”

Crime rates overall have been steadily declining for years.

“In 2015, there was an uptick in homicides in 36 of the 50 largest cities compared to the previous years. The rate did, indeed, increase nearly 17 percent, and it was the worst annual change since 1990. The homicide rate was up 54.3 percent in Washington, and 58.5 percent in Baltimore,” explained Washington Post fact checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee. “But in the first months of 2016, homicide trends were about evenly split in the major cities. Out of 63 agencies reporting to the Major Cities Chiefs Association, 32 cities saw a decrease in homicides in first quarter 2016 and 31 saw an increase.”

Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, said in a statement posted to the organization’s website that 2016 statistics aren’t sufficient in declaring crime rate trends. 

“Overall, crime rates remain at historic lows. Fear-inducing soundbites are counterproductive, and distract from nuanced, data-driven, and solution-oriented conversations on how to build a smarter criminal justice system in America,” Grawert said. “It’s true that some cities saw an increase in murder rates last year, and that can’t be ignored, but it’s too early to say if that’s part of a national trend.” 

When Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, was confronted with the common Republican falsehoods on crime during a Thursday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, he claimed that the FBI’s statistics were not to be trusted given that the organization recently advised against charges in connection with Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

“According to FBI statistics, crime rates have been going down for decades,” Tapper told Manafort. “How can Republicans make the argument that it’s somehow more dangerous today when the facts don’t back that up?”

“People don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods,” said Manafort, going on to claim that “the FBI is certainly suspect these days after what they did with Hillary Clinton.”

There was at least one notable figure who wholeheartedly embraced Trump’s fearmongering: former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. “Great Trump Speech,” tweeted Duke on Thursday evening. “Couldn’t have said it better!”

Ben Carson Claims Transgender People Are Proof of “How Absurd We Have Become”

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson criticized the existence of transgender people while speaking at the Florida delegation breakfast on Tuesday in Cleveland.  

“You know, we look at this whole transgender thing, I’ve got to tell you: For thousands of years, mankind has known what a man is and what a woman is. And now, all of a sudden we don’t know anymore,” said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. “Now, is that the height of absurdity? Because today you feel like a woman, even though everything about you genetically says that you’re a man or vice versa?”

“Wouldn’t that be the same as if you woke up tomorrow morning after seeing a movie about Afghanistan or reading some books and said, ‘You know what? I’m Afghanistan. Look, I know I don’t look that way. My ancestors came from Sweden, or something, I don’t know. But I really am. And if you say I’m not, you’re a racist,’” Carson said. “This is how absurd we have become.”

When confronted with his comments during an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, Carson doubled down on his claims.“There are biological markers that tell us whether we are a male or a female,” said Carson. “And just because you wake up one day and you say, ‘I think I’m the other one,’ that doesn’t change it. Just, a leopard can’t change its spots.”

“It’s not as if they woke up one day and decided, ‘I’m going to be a male or I’m going to be a female,’” Couric countered, pointing out that transgender people do not suddenly choose to change their gender identities on a whim.

Carson made several similar comments last year while on the campaign trail.

In December, Carson criticized the suggested that allowing transgender people into the military amounted to using the armed services “as a laboratory for social experimentation.”

Carson once suggested that allowing transgender people to use the restroom that aligned with their gender identity amounted to granting them “extra rights.”

Ivanka Trump Claims Her Father Supports Equal Pay, Access to Child Care

Ivanka Trump, the nominee’s daughter, made a pitch during her speech Thursday night at the RNC for why women voters should support her father.

“There have always been men of all background and ethnicities on my father’s job sites. And long before it was commonplace, you also saw women,” Ivanka Trump said. “At my father’s company, there are more female than male executives. Women are paid equally for the work that we do and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out.” 

“As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all,” she continued before pivoting to address the gender wage gap. 

“Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties; they should be the norm. Politicians talk about wage equality, but my father has made it a practice at his company throughout his entire career.”

However, Trump’s stated positions on the gender wage gap, pregnancy and mothers in the workplace, and child care don’t quite add up to the picture the Trumps tried to paint at the RNC.

In 2004, Trump called pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers. When a lawyer asked for a break during a deposition in 2011 to pump breast milk, Trump reportedly called her “disgusting.”

According to a June analysis conducted by the Boston Globe, the Trump campaign found that men who worked on Trump’s campaign “made nearly $6,100, or about 35 percent more [than women during the April payroll]. The disparity is slightly greater than the gender pay gap nationally.”

A former organizer for Trump also filed a discrimination complaint in January, alleging that she was paid less than her male counterparts.

When Trump was questioned about equal pay during a campaign stop last October, he did not outline his support for policies to address the issue. Instead, Trump suggested that, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Though he had previously stated that men and women who do the same job should be paid the same during an August 2015 interview on MSNBC, he also cautioned that determining whether people were doing the same jobs was “tricky.”

Trump has been all but completely silent on child care so far on the campaign trail. In contrast, Clinton released an agenda in May to address the soaring costs of child care in the United States.

Ivanka’s claims were not the only attempt that night by Trump’s inner circle to explain why women voters should turn to the Republican ticket. During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Manafort said that women would vote for the Republican nominee because they “can’t afford their lives anymore.”

“Many women in this country feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” claimed Manafort. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They’re going to hear the message. And as they hear the message, that’s how we are going to appeal to them.”

What Else We’re Reading

Vox’s Dara Lind explained how “Trump’s RNC speech turned his white supporters’ fear into a weapon.”

Now that Mike Pence is the Republican nominee for vice president, Indiana Republicans have faced “an intense, chaotic, awkward week of brazen lobbying at the breakfast buffet, in the hallways and on the elevators” at the convention as they grapple with who will run to replace the state’s governor, according to the New York Times.

“This is a party and a power structure that feels threatened with extinction, willing to do anything for survival,” wrote Rebecca Traister on Trump and the RNC for New York Magazine. “They may not love Trump, but he is leading them precisely because he embodies their grotesque dreams of the restoration of white, patriarchal power.”

Though Trump spent much of the primary season denouncing big money in politics, while at the RNC, he courted billionaires in hopes of having them donate to supporting super PACs.

Michael Kranish reported for the Washington Post that of the 2,472 delegates at the RNC, it is estimated that only 18 were Black.

Cosmopolitan highlighted nine of the most sexist things that could be found at the convention.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) asked, “Where are these contributions that have been made” by people of color to civilization?