Rosemary Williams Of ‘My Five Wives’ Says Father Sexually Abused Her

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A woman featured in a reality TV show about a polygamous family is going public about sex abuse she claims she suffered as a child in hopes of changing a culture of secrecy plaguing plural families in Utah.

Rosemary Williams of "My Five Wives" on TLC says she was molested more than two decades ago by her father, Lynn A. Thompson and published her claims in a blog. He is the leader of the one of largest organized polygamy groups in Utah, the Apostolic United Brethren, or AUB.

The AUB is estimated to be the second-largest polygamist church in Utah behind Warren Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the Utah-Arizona border. Unlike Jeffs' group, which has been plagued for years by allegations of abuse and child brides, the Apostolic United Brethren in northern Utah has a clean reputation.

Thompson said the allegations were not true when contacted by The Associated Press on Friday. He did not immediately respond to a phone message on Saturday.

Rosemary Williams says her father fondled her when she was 12 years old. She told The Associated Press that she does not plan to file a criminal accusation or a lawsuit against her father because she doesn't think that will do any good. She says she wants to prevent him from abusing others, especially given his recent appointment as president of the AUB, which has up to 7,500 followers across the West.

Williams also hopes to be an advocate for abuse victims in patriarchal societies like the one she was raised in, where families are often fearful to report crimes out of concern they may be prosecuted under polygamy laws. She doesn't believe sex abuse is widespread among the polygamous group, but she wants mothers to be able to come forward and report it and other forms of abuse when they occur.

"The reason people are afraid to say anything is because they are upholding somebody in a position of authority and they're taught to respect them," Williams said. "They are afraid of the repercussions. They are afraid of Utah coming down on them and carrying their kids out of their home."

A search of criminal charges available online show no record of any criminal convictions for Thompson, and the Utah Attorney General's Office is unaware of any formal complaints submitted against Thompson, said spokeswoman Missy Larsen. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said he couldn't comment on the matter.

David Watson, a spokesman for the AUB, didn't return multiple phone calls from The AP.

Rosemary Williams is Brady Williams' third wife. He and his five wives and their combined 24 children are featured in the TLC reality show, "My Five Wives." They decided to do the show in part to demonstrate that polygamy can be healthy and stable. They live in a rural community outside of Salt Lake City Lake City where most people belong to the group Thompson leads.

They no longer are members of the group. They slowly withdrew during the mid-2000s after re-evaluating their core beliefs. They still practice polygamy, but only because they are happy doing so, not out of the fear of hell or the promise of heaven, Brady Williams says.

She said she recently confronted her father about what happened. He said he didn't remember and that he would pray to God to remember what happened. She reported the abuse recently to another high-ranking church leader, but nothing was done, she said.

Rosemary Williams became choked up and was unable to talk while discussing the reaction she expects from family and friends who are still members of the polygamous group.

"She knows that it will be very strong reprisal," said Brady Williams, explaining why his wife couldn't speak. "Her family will probably disown her along with many of her friends."

There was no immediate response from TLC.

The Impact and Lasting Legacy of Ferguson, Missouri and Michael Brown

As we wait for the grand jury decision about Michael Brown's death, I cannot help but wonder how we understand, process and respect the differences in the legacy and imprint of his death and the protests and unrest in Ferguson Missouri, and how different these tragedies are seen/felt by many of us.

I sat in an airport business lounge recently nervously watching the CNN coverage of Ferguson, and the grand jury decision. Like many, I want a decision to be made, and want there to be peace in Ferguson. I was nervous that a decision would be announced, and that whatever the decision would be, others around me would make insensitive comments or declarations without a level of mindfulness or compassion about others around them.

I am keenly aware that people have different beliefs and about ideas about the Michael Brown shooting, and what has been happening in Ferguson. I am grateful that I live in a country where people can have their own opinions and freedom of expression. I do not always expect others to agree with me. I do question the current day climate for civil discourse, mindful communication, empathy and understanding of a much a larger and complex social and political history and context.

When the verdict about the Trayvon Martin shooting occurred in 2012, I vividly remember being home alone, and watching the verdict. I was shocked and disappointed. I was able to deal with my own emotions and feelings, and did not have to explain the emotions, nor put them in context, or connect them to a deeper historical legacy.

For many of us, the shooting death of Michael Brown cannot be seen in isolation, nor will the grand jury decision. There are historical legacies and events that bring up questions of bias, profiling, police presence, protest, the valuing/devaluing of lives, and the tragic loss of a young Black man.

Social media can often be often be an unscientific "temperature check" for the different viewpoints and expressions of confusion, fear, anger, disappointment and conscious and unconscious bias. In some ways, the world of short blogs and 140 characters is symbolic of the all too prevalent overly simplified analyses, and sensational headlines that might generation "likes" and "retweets," but do not bring us to a better understanding of people, communities or our history.

Mark Williams, in his book Ten Lenses: Your Guide to Living and Working in a Multicultural World, asks us to think about how our Legacies+ Layers= and Lenses and how we view the world. Williams explains that our "layers" are the aspects of our identity (race, gender, age, sexual orientation, language, ability, education, etc.) Our "legacies" are our ancestors' experiences.

Sociology and anthropology have additional theoretical ways of looking at groups, identity and connection. What Williams offers us is a very simple and clear way to think about how events and life experiences impact the way we view the world.

This could be a challenging model for those that believe that people need to "get over" things that have happened in the past. This is not to suggest that we do not acknowledge and celebrate progress, and the many changes that have been made a societal, national, and international level. It does however challenge us to think more holistically about the power and historical legacy of certain language, media images, and tragedies like Michael Brown's death.

In October of 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that Governor Nixon formed a commission that would "to study and recommend ways to address underlying, systemic inequality."

The commission was formed after the protests and unrest, with the awareness that there is a legacy of inequality in Ferguson Missouri. It is a legacy that many have chosen not to see.

The protest and unrest that followed the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson has been summarized by some with a generalized blanketing of individual behaviors to whole communities, and evaluations of complex situations with inaccurate collective blame. The virulent posts about looting and "thugs," often assess the events in Ferguson with a focus on highlighted criminality, and generalizations of the protests as nothing more than rampant looting.

I do not condone criminality or looting... nor do the majority of people in Ferguson, or those who support the people in Ferguson. My focus is more on the pain of the Michael Brown's family, the unrest after the shooting, and the legacies of inadequate educational access, poverty and related challenges.

Michael Brown's father recently shared a poignant video message acknowledging what was happening in Ferguson. He shared that he wants the grand jury decision to lead to "incredible change; positive change; change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone." He also cautioned that "hurting others or destroying property is not the answer."

Civil Rights activist, professor and author Mel King views Ferguson through his experiences and the legacies of segregation and civil rights. In a recent interview he stated that "no one addresses the crimes against humanity, and every time something like this happens (Ferguson,) it is a crime against humanity." For King, Ferguson is tied to a much bigger picture, that includes his life experiences and a history of social justice, struggle, community empowerment, and civil rights.

Dr. Ancella Livers, is a renowned Executive coach, and expert in leadership and leadership solutions. In her article entitled "Skittles and Race in the Workplace," she talks about how the Trayvon Martin shooting is part of her consciousness, and connected to her worries and fears about her own sons. She writes "I know that I am not alone. I know there are other mothers, sisters, aunts and friends out there who carry such fears about their brown sons, their gay ones, their Muslim and Jewish ones. But there are few places for us to share these worries and fears." Her courageous vulnerability reminds us that the Trayvon Martin shooting is a legacy for her, and for others, and that is not something that can be checked at the door.

Moving Forward

In August, we read about a school that banned discussions about Michael Brown's death, and the protests in Ferguson. In the age of school shootings, and numerous challenges to healthy school communities, we can intellectually understand the desire to protect the students from information that could be scary and overwhelming.

However, I also believe that there was perhaps a missed opportunity for learning.
In my global diversity and inclusion and coaching work, I have learned that learning and dialogue about our layers, legacies and lenses can lead to better relationships at the individual and organizational levels. Banned topics do not cease to be discussed. Banning a conversation sends a message about a topic, and leads to discussions that often cannot benefit from diverse perspectives, life experiences, or the sharing of legacies.

Moving forward, I would hope that we create conversations that allow for nuances, the learning of different legacies, and the connection to our national and global communities.

Recent research in the U.K. linked happiness to a child's emotional health. They discuss emotional health as a predictor of future happiness. There are potentially severe implications and questions for children growing up reading about/seeing the news of Michael Brown's death, and the protests in Ferguson without healthy opportunities for support, sharing, and learning. What are some of the legacies that will impact children in the future? How can we help support and nurture the emotional health of all young people in an age of economic and educational disparity? How can we help children (and adults,) understand the different legacies that shape the way we view what happens our country and world? How can we help children process the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown so that they understand that all lives do matter?

As we wait for the grand jury decision, I would advocate for a deeper awareness of the legacies, and an awareness Michael Brown's death, the protests in Ferguson, and the grand jury decision will indeed be a legacy for people around the world.

Fug the Show: The Good Wife, season 6, episode 9, “Sticky Content”


Not So Casual Fuggerday Fugs and Fabs: The Hugo Boss Awards

Kate Bosworth

Why I Never Reported My Sexual Assault

In recent days, media outlets of every description have been engaged in a long-overdue conversation about rape and sexual assault. The explosion of allegations against Bill Cosby, as more and more women have come forward to speak out against the long-beloved entertainer, has spawned thousands and thousands of words of commentary. And all the while, other stories of rape and sexual assault have come to light -- including Sabrina Rubin Eardley's searing account of unprosecuted gang rapes on UVA's campus.

There has been no shortage of backlash, too, against Cosby's alleged victims -- and not just the infuriatingly predictable skepticism of conservative commentators. In that weird, ubiquitous and often vitriolic public square of the Internet, the anonymous comments board, the same questions are repeated over and over: Why now? Why did these women wait so long to publicly accuse Bill Cosby (instead of attacking him at the height of his prestige, fame and power)? (Never mind that the allegations have been public knowledge for a decade; never mind that, until now, they went unheard.)

And in the same breath, commenters comfortably couched in digital anonymity engage in conspiracy theories: They are lying; they are doing this for the money (there is no money to be had); they are greedy for fame or jealous of his; where's the proof? where are the fingerprints, the semen (though 20 years or 30 years or more have elapsed by now)? Don Lemon asked: Why didn't you bite him? and Whoopi Goldberg asked: Where is the rape kit?

This all-too-familiar combination -- recrimination for delays in coming forward, coupled with doubt and vitriol -- comes along with the same tired scrutiny of their every action (why did she go to his hotel room? Why did she take a drink, and pills, that he offered her?). The statistics that have surfaced again and again -- that only 26% of sexual assaults are ever reported to authorities, that only 3 out of every 100 rapes will result in a conviction -- are as disheartening and familiar as ever. And as I, like millions of other Americans, watched the evidence against a beloved public figure accumulate, I remembered -- a jolt from a past self -- that I was part of that statistic. That I, too, had never reported my sexual assault when it happened to me.

I was not sexually assaulted by a famous man. I had no sterling international reputation to fight against. But when it happened five years ago, I never spoke up. And until today, in a lifetime of compulsive writing, I have never written a word about what happened to me that night in college.

Here is what it feels like to write about a sexual assault -- the way I felt when preparing to write this post: I felt guilt. I felt shame. I remembered other things said to me, other things done to me over the years. I relived the pain and humiliation of the experience, and steeled myself to open it up for scrutiny. I also realized I felt -- feel -- lucky: I have never been raped. I have been very lucky to have only had a few of my boundaries ignored. This is what luck feels like.

Here is the short version of what happened to me: Throughout my time at Harvard, I was part of a small, tight-knit stand up comedy club. It was wonderful and strange, thrillingly creative; I got to get onstage and pretend to be, say, a Russian clairvoyant who only gave depressing predictions, or a carnival barker; I got to read long lists of horrible puns without getting booed offstage. The club was mostly male, but I never worried about that; from high school debate onwards, I was used to being outnumbered. And then one night in my sophomore year, after a show, most of the club and a few hangers-on gathered to party.

We drank heavily; the party wound up in my room. My boyfriend of two years wasn't there, and I wanted to quit partying after awhile. I was far from sober, stumble-drunk and giggly, but in my own room, with a group mostly consisting of friends I trusted. One guy, let's call him Chris, whom I knew vaguely from the wider campus comedy scene, had made a few suggestive remarks to me that night, largely based around the short red dress I'd chosen to wear for the show. Everyone else left (one guy making a few snide remarks about how we "probably wanted to be alone" because Chris was "totally into me"), but Chris stayed.

He tried to kiss me, right away. I said no.

He tried again. I said no.

He pulled me down next to him on my futon. I wriggled away. I said no.

I left my room. He followed me and pinned me to the wall of a landing in the stairwell. He was a foot taller than me. He held me by the shoulders. I turned my face away and said no, no, no.

He left only when a male friend of his came to pick him up. When I confronted him about it the next day, he said he didn't remember any of what happened.

But I did. I still do. I only wound up telling one person in my beloved campus comedy club -- the only other female member -- and I asked her to make the parties feel safer. "Can we just look out for each other, and make sure we're not alone with drunk guys?" I asked her.

Looking back over those Gchats years later, I can see the resistance even I felt to acknowledging that this had happened: "Of course I trust everyone in the club," I said, reassuring her, and myself, that my chosen community was still safe for me. But I asked for precautions anyway, I asked to feel safer, because that day in April 2010, I remember the feeling of learning to trust people less.

Saying no and having it ignored is a terrible feeling. Ta-Nehisi Coates, in a powerful piece for The Atlantic, describes "the humiliation of being unable to protect my body, which is all I am, from predators" -- he calls it "the loss of your body," though he was describing being assaulted physically, not sexually.

That night in 2010 was not the first time I had experienced the loss of my body. But it was the first time I lost my voice. What I said that night did not matter; it did not matter what I wanted to have happen to my body, or what I expressed about that desire, because it could be ignored completely. At 20, and thoroughly naïve, I had never even imagined encountering that situation. I thought: the world is not supposed to be this way. I could not believe it was happening; I could not believe it had happened.

Besides my boyfriend and two female friends, I did not tell anyone about it, even my family. I did not go to any school authority. Because I was too busy leveling all the questions that get asked to people who come forward about sexual assault at myself.

Why didn't I walk away? Why didn't I leave faster?

Why was I drunk that night at all?

Why did I wear that dress? (I never wore it again.)

Why did I think I could get intoxicated in public, even around a group of people I had adored and trusted completely?

When I was sexually assaulted again years later -- by a rural election commissioner, while observing the 2012 parliamentary elections in Ukraine -- I finally told my mother. She told me to be more careful. Told me that I shouldn't get myself into those situations.

What we are really asking when we ask sexual assault victims why they stayed, why they drank, why they took the pills, is Why did you allow yourself to become prey?

It feels terrible to admit that you have been preyed upon. That something frightening has been done to you, because you did not have any say that counted in the matter. You have lost your voice, and your body, and your sovereignty over your self, which is all you are.

There is a way to regain some of that sovereignty over your own voice: to speak out, and to be believed. It has taken decades too long, but the court of popular opinion has finally -- mostly -- turned against Bill Cosby. With each woman who comes forward, and opens herself to public scrutiny and criticism in the process, another toll is taken on Cosby's legacy.

Here is what Janice Dickinson said: I believe the other women.
Here is what Barbara Bowman said about her decision to testify against Bill Cosby in 2004, in support of Andrea Constand: I believed her. I knew she was telling the truth.

"I believe you" is a tremendously powerful statement. To tell your hidden story -- and I believe that most of us have these hidden stories, these secret shames -- and to hear someone say: I believe you, and maybe: That must have been terrible, feels like regaining sovereignty over yourself. What was taken from you is incrementally returned. Even if you could not defend your own body then -- even if your "no" did not change what happened to you -- your voice matters. You can define what happened to your body, even if you could not control it when it happened.

Even now, I cannot unlearn that there have been times when my "no" has no worth, no impact. I cannot stop fearing that it will happen again. But I chose to write this to answer, from my own experience, the reasons -- so filled with fear, and shame, and self-recrimination -- why sexual assaults go unreported.

Andrea Constand, Tamara Green, Barbara Bowman, Janice Dickinson, Therese Serignese, Carla Ferrigno, Angela Leslie: I believe you. Like you, I believe all the other women, too.

I believe you because you are owed the power of your own voice. Because you are owed sovereignty over your body. Because with every added voice in the chorus of belief, a piece of what was taken is restored.

Casual Fuggerday Fugs and Fabs: HFPA Something or Other

Isabel Lucas

Fug the Show: How To Get Away With Murder recap, season 1, episode 9, “Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me”


Casual Fuggerday: Fugs and Fabs of Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

Watch A Young Jennifer Lawrence In A High School Shakespeare Play

Before Jennifer Lawrence was shooting arrows, she was playing a broken-hearted heroine in a Shakespeare play.

The 24-year-old Oscar winner played Desdemona in Shakespeare's "Othello" in high school, and CNN released the footage to prove it. The clip is short, but it shows a 14-year-old Lawrence on stage at the Walden Theatre in Louisville, KY, playing the Venetian woman who falls in love with Othello. Watch the clip below and try not to expect Lawrence to pull out a bow and arrow.

For more, head to CNN.

‘Yo Jackass, We All Think Our Kid Is the Cutest’

As social media has mutated into a ravenous, many tentacled time-eater, news from our friends about their families' triumphs and trials has become omnipresent, unrelenting -- a never-ending vacation slide show from hell. As a result, every day there's a new complaint from those who follow: too much self-promotion in my feed. Too many photos of other people's posh vacations. Too many selfies! No one wants to see what you had for lunch/what your baby had for lunch/how cute your cats are. And yet the posts keep coming.

"For the love of God, stop posting 9,000 pictures of your baby on Facebook," pleads an author on Chicago Now. "You know the type I'm talking about. That mom who genuinely thinks her baby is cuter than all the others." Indeed, social media and babies are a particularly dangerous combination. A 2010 study by the Internet security firm AVG Technologies found that 92 percent of American children under the age of two have some kind of digital profile, with images of them posted online. But posts chronicling the every adorable move of our friends' babies and kids certainly aren't the whole of the online offensiveness: Elite Daily lists the 50 most annoying people you encounter on Instagram, including the Internet Model, the Fashionista and the Rich Kid -- and I can certainly list a few more -- while others offer endless advice on how to politely ask your connections to be less boastful, less prolific and less, well, annoying.

Part of the problem is that social media just makes sharing -- oversharing -- way too easy. A click of the button on a digital camera, a quick download, and the picture or video clip is flying to your Facebook feed. But there are also plenty of studies supporting the addictive nature of social media, and how obsessive posting works directly on the pleasure centers of the brain.

And yet the real problem here is not that we're an addiction-addled culture of oversharers, though that may indeed be true. Instead, it's that we're a culture of complainers. We use complaints as icebreakers or to bond with others: What's with this weather? What's with our boss? We use complaints to establish rapport. Studies have suggested that complaining adds years to your life by helping us release tension. But we also complain because it's in our nature, and we're more apt to complain than to do something about it. Complaining about the social media habits makes this ever more clear, and has become a favorite topic of conversation: Who's most annoying in your feed? Because of course, the solution to dealing with the oversharers clogging our feed is painfully obvious: Unfollow them. Stop engaging. Delete.

But can we? Or have the followers become as obsessed and addicted as the oversharers, the ones who do it for the "Likes"? We tend to issue blame on the people who post, but we're hooked, too. Obsessive posting, after all, is a result of obsessive following -- if there were no audience at the ready, there would be no need or reason to post. Consider as an example the end of relationships that take place over social media, from that of your college friends to that of representative Mark Sanford, who ended his engagement to María Belén Chapur via public Facebook post. We're not talking about the change in Relationship Status from "Married" to something else, but long, drawn out, intimate details that we're shocked and horrified to read -- and yet read we do. recently, I followed along as two old friends ended their long-term relationship by posting all the last details of each other's transgressions. I knew that this was not information I wanted to have. And yet I read it. All of it.

This, of course, is what keeps people overposting. It's not their inherent flaw, or simply their desire to be heard. It's our willingness to listen. The only way people will stop oversharing, or badly sharing, is to refuse to be their audience. That's not something we're willing to do. So instead we complain, and pretend to wonder what it is we can do about all these selfies filling our feeds. But if you really want your friends, colleagues and the strangers who appear in your feed to stop being so obnoxious, inappropriate and self-promotional, you know what to do. It's as simple as hitting Unfollow.

T Magazine: The Daily Gift: A Spinning Studio, Brought Home

Each day until Christmas, the editors of T share a new holiday gift idea.

Lobbying for Women in Hungary

It took a while before the new democracies of East-Central Europe acquired the trappings of a modern political system. One of the new features borrowed from the West was lobbying. To engage in lobbying, however, the new NGOs first had to overcome the perception of politics as "dirty," since engaging with official political structures still carried a taint of "collaboration" from the Communist era.

Hungary was ahead of the pack, since it already had proto-parties like the Hungarian Democratic Forum in 1987 and a genuine independent political party like the Alliance of Free Democrats in 1988. One of the first major debates to feature modern lobbying, meanwhile, involved reproductive rights. In 1992, the new Hungarian parliament had to adopt a new bill on abortion. It was considering two versions, one that would essentially criminalize abortion (except under certain circumstances) and the other that would preserve access (but again with certain conditions such as a waiting period and mandatory counseling).

Activist Judit Hatfaludi took a position with Hungary's Feminist Network to coordinate a campaign to lobby for the pro-choice bill. She had the advantage of having spent considerable time in the United States where she was familiar with U.S.-style NGO activities. The Network was able to deploy tactics that caught the Hungarian parliamentarians by surprise.

"We went to the European network on reproductive rights," Hatfaludi told me in an interview in Visegrad in May 2013. "And I just jumped to the podium and made this whole forum on women sign a letter telling the parliamentary members that they can't take away women's rights. One of the women in the Feminist Network worked for the parliamentary office building. So we made copies of this letter, and we put them into every one of the parliamentary members' mailboxes. This was 1992. I'm sure they weren't getting many letters at the time."

Hatfaludi also organized a public outreach campaign to put pressure on the parliamentarians. "We also did mass mailing campaigns," she recalled. "We'd drop it into people's mailboxes so they could take part of it and send it back to the members of parliament. One day a woman calls on the office phone and says she works at one of the offices of these members. She had one of these mass mailings in her hand, which had the Feminist Network phone number on it, and she said, 'I want to sign one of these. Where can I get one?' I asked, 'So, are you getting a lot?' 'Tons!' she said. 'Every member is getting them. So, I was so curious who is doing this, and I want to get one too.'"

The campaign was successful. "They passed the liberal law on reproductive rights," Hatfaludi said. "Since it was 1992, we really didn't know where the cards were stacked. I think that our campaign must have made an impact because we were really pretty fierce. The letter-writing campaign was a totally new technique, and the parliamentary members got the idea that people were not going to support a restrictive law."

Hatfaludi went on to work for the American Friends Service Committee on Roma issues and the war in Yugoslavia. She also continued to work as an activist on LGBT issues. We talked about the current state of women's issues in Hungary, why the annual Pride marches are no longer like jubilees, and what she does now in her current work as a shaman.

The Interview

Tell me about your involvement in the Feminist Network.

The Feminist Network was one of the first-forming women's organizations after the transition. Later, when I worked for MONA, the Hungarian women's foundation, I was responsible for gathering representatives of different women's organizations and there were quite a number. But the Feminist Network was the one specifically of feminists. There were about 25 or 30 women in it. When I joined there were American activists who came and helped the group with "group dynamics" and structure. There were a lot of formalized meetings, and I really enjoyed that. And I met really great women. I don't know how long it took before I was actually employed by the Feminist Network, and they already started a pro-choice campaign when the government threatened to take away abortion rights. Zsusza Beres was leaving for London, and she was one of the people I felt one of the closest connections with. She wanted to leave things in the hands of someone she trusted. I felt so honored being just 23 and this older experienced woman was handing me the responsibilities.

So I became employed as the coordinator of this campaign, which was very successful. I think it was also partially because the parliamentary members weren't used to non-profit lobbying techniques, and we were rather fierce.

Can you give me an example?

We went to the European network on reproductive rights. And I just jumped to the podium and made this whole forum on women sign a letter telling the parliamentary members that they can't take away women's rights. One of the women in the Feminist Network worked for the parliamentary office building. So we made copies of this letter, and we put them into every one of the parliamentary members' mailboxes. This was 1992. I'm sure they weren't getting many letters at the time. By now they wouldn't give a fuck about it!

We also did mass mailing campaigns. We'd drop it into people's mailboxes so they could take part of it and send it back to the members of parliament. One day a woman calls on the office phone and says she works at one of the offices of these members. She had one of these mass mailings in her hand, which had the Feminist Network phone number on it, and she said, "I want to sign one of these. Where can I get one?"

I asked, "So, are you getting a lot?"

"Tons!" she said. "Every member is getting them. So, I was so curious who is doing this, and I want to get one too."

We were also in the parliament when the voting took place.

Tell me about that.

It was shocking for me to see our great members of parliament reading cartoons. We would sit up in the gallery or parliament and look down. The members were reading cartoons and doing crossword puzzles. I was just so disappointed. Later, when I was working for the SzDSz [Alliance of Free Democrats] Women's Foundation -- though at that time they called it the Hungarian Women's Foundation to make it seem independent when it wasn't -- we were working with the SzDSz women members of Parliament, and one of them didn't do anything in parliament except play on the computer. She was this great opposition member from the old opposition times, but every time I went to her office she was playing solitaire on the computer.

Anyway, they passed the liberal law on reproductive rights. Since it was 1992, we really didn't know where the cards were stacked. I think that our campaign must have made an impact because we were really pretty fierce. The letter-writing campaign was a totally new technique, and the parliamentary members got the idea that people were not going to support a restrictive law. It was a very early and good sign in 1991 for the parliamentary members to see that you don't fuck with women's rights because women get enraged. Something similar is happening now on violence against women, which is great to see. The only people that the government seems to be afraid of now are women.

Did the media cover the network at that time as one of the responsible actors?

I was on TV several times and in the newspapers. So, there was coverage but not a great amount of coverage.

How would you characterize the way average Hungarians felt about feminism in those days?

To read the rest of the interview, click here.
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