A whole lot of people, as it turns out. This week at the Guardian I’m writing about the Commission on the Status of Women, a two-week-long UN conference that wrapped up on Friday and, thankfully, resulted in a signed document pledging action on women’s rights. But in the lead-up to the signing, we saw a variety of actors from all around the world try to impede anti-violence efforts. Who? Russia, Iran, the Vatican, the Muslim Brotherhood and American pro-life groups, among others. They had a variety of objections, but the chief ones were that the proposed CSW document would treat husbands who rape their wives the same way as men who rape strangers, would disallow countries from using the “it’s our culture / religion / tradition” excuse to avoid implementing anti-violence measures, and stated that women have a right to bodily integrity and freedom:...read more
Here are some good, basic ideas for fighting violence against women:
1. Violence against intimate partners is not ok.
2. Rape is rape, even within a marriage.
3. Religion, custom and tradition are not excuses for committing acts of violence.
4. Everyone has a right to bodily autonomy and integrity.
Those are the exact ideas that may tank a final communique from the Commission on the Status of Women, thanks primarily to Iran, Russia and the Vatican, but also because of objections and concerns from religious conservatives in the U.S., Egypt and Poland. Good work, guys. You must be very proud....read more
It’s International Women’s Day, and I’m working with UN Women to help spread the word. Michelle Bachelet has issued a call to end violence against women world-wide, and UN Women has released a lovely song from 25 artists around the world:...read more
I’m writing in Al Jazeera today about how the fight over the Violence Against Women Act exemplifies the increased extremism of the Republican party. A bit:...read more
The House is voting tomorrow on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The anti-VAWA Republicans are introducing their own version of the bill, which removes protections for people in same-sex relationships and weakens provisions to allow courts on Native lands to prosecute non-Native Americans who commit violence on tribal lands. If the Republican version fails — and I hope it will — then the House will take up the more comprehensive version of the bill already passed in the Senate. The fact that VAWA remains controversial, and particularly that Republicans would want to make prosecutions more difficult on tribal lands and strip protections from people who suffer intimate partner violence from a member of the same sex, is stunning, though not surprising. There are 22 senators opposing VAWA, including Republican It Boy and Poland Springs spokesman Marco Rubio. The Ms Foundation for Women has brought a little levity (along with some eduction) to the issue with this parody video, which I am helping them disseminate, featuring the queen of the revenge tune, Ms. [fake] Taylor Swift:...read more
For Valentine’s Day, I wrote about the One Billion Rising movement that is staging actions around the world today to bring attention to the epidemic of violence against women. I was initially unconvinced; here’s why I came around:...read more
This time over their “concern” about the Constitutional issues posed by allowing non-native people to be subject to tribal courts if they commit acts of domestic violence on tribal land. Republicans object to what they say are inadequate protections for criminal defendants — an issue they really only seem to care about when violence against women is involved....read more
The Longest War, by Rebecca Solnit, details the ways that physical violence against women and political hostility toward women are part of the same epidemic of gendered violence and control, leveled almost entirely by men. Women are beaten, raped, killed, harassed, controlled and abused by men at astounding rates. We write these incidents off as isolated or personal, tragic but certainly not epidemic. On other pages of the newspaper we talk about conservative encroachment on women’s bodily autonomy as if that’s totally separate from violence, as if it’s a “social issue” or a difference of political opinion. But all of it — the violence, the domestic abuse, the street harassment, the online harassment, the gang-rapes, the abortion debates, the contraception battles — comes down to a desire to control women, and rage when that control isn’t maintained....read more
The lead story in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine is about a young man who shot and killed his girlfriend, turned himself in, and largely because of forgiveness and empathy from her family saw his sentence partially influenced by a legal process called restorative justice. I read the article with interest, since I’m a big fan of restorative justice practices and think they should be instituted more widely across the United States. But this story as an illustration for restorative justice troubles me....read more
In the comments to the post below this one, a gentleman writing under the name Tom Leykis left the following:...read more
I love Ann Friedman and I think this piece about Chris Brown and Rihanna is good, but I also think she’s wrong. It’s worth a read, and the content isn’t exactly what the headline says — Ann makes the argument that hating Chris Brown isn’t particularly helpful for Rihanna, and that bad-mouthing abusers isn’t effective since most women who are abused go back to their abusers many times over and repeated negative comments may further alienate them from support networks. She also says that we can’t (and shouldn’t) be telling Rihanna what to do when it comes to Brown....read more
Make it this at What About Our Daughters. Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then himself; she did not bring that on herself by going to a concert. She was not, as published in Deadspin, a “catalyst” to her own death (also, it’s apparently now totally cool and responsible to publish anonymous, unsubstantiated hit pieces on murder victims penned by the murder’s friends. Because “context,” or something)....read more