Abortion restrictions are being introduced, debated and mostly passed across several states in the U.S. Texas has been the most notable, but many others — Ohio, North Carolina, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi and North Dakota — are ramping up their anti-abortion legislation. But while the GOP claims to focus on “life,” many of the states dedicating enormous amounts of time, money and energy to limiting abortion also see incredibly poor health outcomes for mothers and children. I outline some of them over at Al Jazeera; here’s a bit:...read more
[Trigger warning for domestic violence]
These good people, these people whom, albeit in different industries and capacities, are each individually working to make the future a better place than the present, do nothing. They, of relative privilege, watch the aforementioned horror unfold. Some are stunned. Some don’t notice. Some shake their heads. It’s a shame, they think. It’s fucked up, they think. It makes my blood boil, they think. But they do nothing. They hold their girlfriends tighter. They back their friends away from the scene. They try to break their stares. They go get more drinks. These are good people. But they do nothing. They are silent.
A few try. Three university age young women try. They do as their friends tell them. Go get security, they say. But security does nothing. This is between a husband and a wife, they say. Please go back inside, they say. The young women beg their friends and the bar security to do something. They do nothing. Get away from the car, they say. There is nothing you can do, they say. You’re going to get hurt, they say. You’re being irrational, they say. It’s not our fight, they say....read more
As noted by Jill, thanks are owed to Women, Action, and the Media; the Everyday Sexism Project; and Soraya Chemaly, as Facebook has agreed to remove the kind of content that celebrates violence against women and has been heretofore brushed off as “crude humor.” They have also promised to review their content moderation policies and educate their content moderators — and they really need to....read more
Congrats to Women, Action and Media for their successful campaign to push Facebook to deal with violent misogynist content. Facebook routinely deletes offensive content, but has long allowed really awful rape jokes and graphic images of beaten women to remain on their pages. And that’s the rub: This isn’t a pure free speech issue. Facebook isn’t the government, and people who post offensive comments aren’t being hauled off by the police. Since Facebook is a private company, it can control what users post. And Facebook decided that certain kinds of offensive content aren’t ok. By leaving up violent misogynist content while removing other content deemed offensive, Facebook was drawing a line between “acceptable” and “unacceptable,” and putting misogyny squarely in the “acceptable” category. Glad to see they’re working on fixing that. And glad to see so many awesome women and men putting on the pressure....read more
This piece in the Times about sex workers who testified on behalf of their pimps in a sex trafficking case is… interesting. It touches on too many complex issues for me to do it justice in a blog post without having read the trial transcript or knowing much of the background, but a few thoughts:...read more
No, The Onion. No, Hanna Rosin. A joke about beating a woman to death is not funny....read more
That’s Cary Tennis’s advice to a woman who witnesses her friend being subjected to a variety of abusive behaviors from her fiance. He beats up her dog. He monitors her phone. He violates her physical boundaries. I like Cary’s explanation — that silence is enabling — but I wonder if what amounts to a public humiliation will only marginalize the friend more.
The letter-writer should absolutely take that dog to the vet, though, permission or not....read more
PepsiCo has pulled a Mountain Dew commercial that social commentator Dr. Boyce Watkins calls “arguably the most racist commercial in history.” [Content warning for racism, battery, and basically everything that’s wrong with the world]...read more
Over at Al Jazeera, I’m writing about the NRA’s advocacy for men who have been convicted of domestic violence or have DV orders of protection out against them. Congress passed laws in the 1990s barring people with a DV misdemeanor from owning guns, and requiring that anyone with a full (not temporary) domestic violence order of protection against them has to surrender their guns. It’s a common-sense law: The most dangerous time for DV victims is when they leave their abusers, which often coincides with the granting of an order of protection. Many states followed suit, and passed similar laws. Some didn’t. The federal law isn’t used very often, so it’s largely state law that determines whether or not abusers have to surrender their guns. The NRA has fought hard for the rights of abusers to keep their weapons. The result, in many states, has been that people get killed. From the piece:...read more
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