More on women and journalism…

A few more interesting reads on women in journalism:

On reporters and rape: Three ideas worth rising about the cacophony

Lara Logan’s tragic sexual assault:  Apparently the fault of CBS news for sending a purty young thang out in public

If women never went anywhere where we risked being sexually assaulted, we’d never go anywhere, period. We certainly couldn’t go to work on foreign aid projects. Or to U.S. military academies. Not to college. Not on dates. Not to parties. Not to bars. Or on cruises. Not to work as models. Or security contractors. Except that even if we never went any of those places, we’d still be screwed (pun intended) because of course a high percentage of rapes happen in the home, committed by perpetrators whom the victims know. Putting the responsibility on women to prevent sexual assault by restricting their own behavior – or on their employers to limit it for them – won’t actually solve the problem, it will just reinforce gendered norms about what “good” women “should” do.

And, finally, the idea that Lara Logan was “more at risk” of sexual assault because she was attractive is laughable. I’d be interested to know what fuckability threshold women should stay below in order to be safe from rape. Could Logan have just added some thick glasses? What if she had spinach in her teeth? How about if she gained 20 pounds – then would she be safe from the mob of 200 people who apparently decided to subject her to a prolonged beating and repeated sexual assaults because her delicate beauty stirred their romantic longings? Give me a break. Rape is about power, not how cute the victim is.

I have two things to add:

1) Women can only reduce their chances of being assaulted, we cannot prevent rape – preventing rape involves preventing the behavior of rape.

2) It’s very sad the discussion of rape still has to focus on the women – her looks, her actions, what she wore… Why are her characteristics more important than the characteristics of the rapists? Why are they immune from scrutiny and accountabilty?

Takoma Voice, a paper in the progressive community of Takoma Park, gives Men’s Rights ideology space, refuses to print my letter to the editor

Last month, a monthly paper called Takoma Voice, gave a full page of space to Jon Aerts. Aerts wrote about male domestic violence victims in the tell-tale signs of Men’s Rights ideology. You know the clues: bringing up research by Strauss & Gelles, saying domestic violence is mutual, women are more aggressive than men, VAWA discriminates against men, bashing feminists (he even bashed Congress Member Donna Edwards — because she said domestic violence was 90% male-initiated – back in 1994!!!) If Aerts was so concerned about male victims, he would not be spending his time or giving up precious space by writing about feminists or something that was said 17 years ago.  And he would not have omitted male homicide rates.

I wrote the editor, Eric Bond the letter to the editor below. While he said he would print my letter, he did not. I cannot comprehend how a progressive community’s paper spewed men’s rights rhetoric. If you can’t depend on progressive or liberal allies – male or female – who can you depend on?

Dear Editor,

  Men’s Rights and Fathers Rights activists, both backlash groups against women’s rights, use the rhetoric that domestic violence is 50-50 (“Male victims get lost in domestic abuse data” by Jon Aerts Jan 2011). It is not.

Studies that find mutual domestic violence are based on self-reports. These studies don’t include severe violence like sexual abuse, stalking, or homicide.  Nor do they include the danger women face when they separate or divorce. These studies pick up situational violence or ‘common couple violence’ like slapping, hitting, or throwing things.

Even Richard Gelles, researcher of this type of data, warns against people using it to broadly paint the field. Yet, these advocates cherry-pick the data and then accuse “radical feminists” of doing the same.

Credible organizations like the CDC place the gender ratio at 85-15, with women suffering more severe and fatal violence. Statistics from the police, courts, and shelters provide further evidence.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) helps women – and men- in domestic violence, rape, and stalking.  It’s only shelters that serve one sex, for obvious reasons.  Even women and children are turned away from shelters and even women receive vouchers to stay at a motel. And while $4 billion (over 5 years) may sound like a lot, prisons cost $60 billion over the same time frame.

Furthermore, what Aerts failed to state was that since VAWA began, the homicide for MEN has drastically declined, according to FBI statistics. Nor did he mention the Fatherhood Initiative as an example of federal funding that truly “singularly focuses on one sex.”

It’s important for men to come forward in domestic violence – nobody would argue against that – but it’s just as important for advocates and writers to be scrupulous and constructive.

Resources:

Gender and domestic violence

http://www.ywca.org/site/pp.asp?c=8nKFITNvEoG&b=4334119

Is domestic violence 50-50 by Joan Dawson

http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?at_code=435152&no=383404&rel_no=1

Why do so many men die as a result of domestic violence by Amanda Hess

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2010/02/01/why-do-so-many-men-die-as-a-result-of-domestic-violence/

Domestic Violence: Not An Even Playing Field
http://fathersmanifesto.net/gelles.htm

By Richard J. Gelles
Excerpt:
Many feminists content that it is clear women are overwhelmingly the victims of intimate violence and that there are few if any battered men. On the other hand, self-described battered husbands, mens rights group members and some scholars maintain that there are significant numbers of battered men, that battered men are indeed a social problem worthy of attention and that there are as many male victims of violence as female. The last claim is a significant distortion of well-grounded research data.
To even off the debate playing field it seems one piece of statistical evidence (that women and men hit one another in roughly equal numbers) is hauled out from my 1985 research – and distorted – to prove the position on violence against men. However, the critical rate of injury and homicide statistics provided in that same research are often eliminated altogether, or reduced to a parenthetical statement saying that men typically do more damage. The statement that men and women hit one another in roughly equal numbers is true, however, it cannot be made in a vacuum without the qualifiers that a) women are seriously injured at seven times the rate of men and b) that women are killed by partners at more than two times the rate of men.
[…]
Thus, when we look at injuries resulting from violence involving male and female partners, it is categorically false to imply that there are the same number of battered men as there are battered women.

Birth control sabotage

The NY Times recently ran an article about birth control sabotage:

Report cites link between abuse and birth control sabotage

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/health/research/15pregnant.html?_r=1&ref=ronicarynrabin

It’s not really new news. Harvard’s Jay Silverman also did research on this. There was an article about it on RH Reality Check.

NNEDV census report

The NNEDV census report is out! Here’s the link: National Network to End Domestic Violence

For the fifth consecutive year, NNEDV conducted the one-day, unduplicated count of adults and children seeking domestic violence services in the U.S., documenting the number of individuals who sought services, the types of services requested, the number of service requests that went unmet because of lack of resources, and the issues and barriers that domestic violence programs are facing as they strive to provide services to victims of domestic violence.

Colin DeVries: “Good tenant” who beat wife “shockingly” killed her and a police officer

Another “nice guy” article that describes the killer as a “good tenant”:

Poughkeepsie shooter, victim described by Catskills neighbors as ‘good tenants’ By Colin DeVries

The killer is described as somebody who: didn’t bother nobody, didn’t cause any trouble and was: a go-getter, always working, always doing something.

And the victim was described as: Well, she was lumped in with the killer as a good tenant who didn’t bother nobody.

Then this good tenant who didn’t bother nobody:

“Lee was always beating on his wife,” Komaromi said. “She came to my house a couple of times.”

In late January, Mr. Welch was charged with third-degree assault against his wife and, Komaromi said, there was an order of protection.

Mr. Welch violated the order and was charged Jan. 31 with felony criminal contempt and remanded to the Greene County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

And this good tenant who didn’t cause any trouble:

Mr. Welch, 27, fatally shot his wife and a police officer who attempted to restrain him as he fled toward the Poughkeepsie train station midday Friday.

City of Poughkeepsie police officer John Falcone, an 18-year veteran of the police force, was killed moments after wresting a 3-year-old girl from the arms of Welch.

Just shocking that someone who beat his wife and violated a restraining order would kill her and a police officer, isn’t it? We’ve never heard anything like it before! (sigh) Why can’t these reporters talk to a domestic violence expert? Why do they refuse to see a husband that kills his wife as anything but “good”?

Reporting – and many other jobs or activities – while female

There’s an article in the New York Times today about “Reporting While Female” by Sabrina Tavernise. Indeed, women human rights defenders face the same risks as reporters:

But women reporters face another set of challenges. We are often harassed in ways that male colleagues are not. This is a hazard of the job that most of us have experienced and few of us talk about.

Last week, CBS News said that its reporter Lara Logan was assaulted by a crowd of men in Cairo. CBS News did not detail the circumstances, but the network’s statement — that she had suffered a “brutal and sustained sexual assault” — said enough.

And, not only do reporters and women human rights defenders face these challenges but also Peace Corps Volunteers and many other women working, volunteering or travelling abroad. I’ve travelled quite a bit and have been harassed by men – groped, cat-called, and looked at like a lion looks at their prey. But I’d also caution that these actions happen in the US too – men asking women to show their breasts or butts, men  touching women inappropriatedly, or – as many of us female bloggers face – crude and threatening sexist remarks on our posts.

But – getting back on topic – the NY Times ran another piece similar to the above referenced artice:

Why we need women in war zones 

Look at the articles about women who set themselves on fire in Afghanistan to protest their arranged marriages, or about girls being maimed by fundamentalists, about child marriage in India, about rape in Congo and Haiti. Female journalists often tell those stories in the most compelling ways, because abused women are sometimes more comfortable talking to them. And those stories are at least as important as accounts of battles.

There is an added benefit. Ms. Logan is a minor celebrity, one of the highest-profile women to acknowledge being sexually assaulted. Although she has reported from the front lines, the lesson she is now giving young women is probably her most profound: It’s not your fault. And there’s no shame in telling it like it is.

“Father absent households” ignores women and blames them at the same time

Here’s a press release regarding the National Fatherhood Initiative. Notice that single Moms (even gay & lesbian couples) running a household and raising children are now absent themselves and relegated to being “father absent”households. I’m quite surprised Obama is supporting all of this. Can you imagine being referred to as “husband absent” or “boyfriend absent” if you were single?

What about “mother absent” households?

“Father absence” is also used as a proxy to say single moms are the the cause of social ills (instead of things like say poverty, gun laws, drugs, etc.) and the reason their sons are incarcerated. Oh, those horrible single women!!

$150 million – at a time of belt tightening? When programs to help women & children are being cut? If the money went directly to single women – wouldn’t that help these families more?!

Saying fathers hold the key to ridding society of social ills – Why? Because patriarchy has worked so well?!?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2011
National Fatherhood Initiative Applauds Congress’ Extension of
Fatherhood and Marriage Funding
One-Year Extension Needed to Allow Critical Family-Strengthening Work to Continue

(Germantown, MD) — National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) hails the one-year, $150 million
extension of the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Grants program, as passed in
the Claims Resolution Act of 2010.

The grant program, first passed in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 as part of a 5-year TANF
reauthorization, is set to expire at the end of the current fiscal year. NFI applauds Congress’
foresight in passing a one-year extension of the program ahead of an eventual multi-year
reauthorization of TANF and the corresponding fatherhood and marriage funding.
Allowing the funding to continue uninterrupted is a critical step in ensuring that this important
work continues to be carried out by community-based organizations across the country. Since
2005, hundreds of organizations have been able to enhance their family-strengthening work
through funds from this program, administered by the Administration for Children and
Families’ Office of Family Assistance. Additionally, a national clearinghouse for fatherhood and
a national resource center for marriage were funded, providing support for such programs at the
national level, and media campaigns drawing attention to the importance of these issues.

Roland C. Warren, president of NFI said, “At a time of tight budgets and fiscal constraints, this
work is especially valuable, as it produces significant cost-savings on other government
programs designed to deal with the consequences of family breakdown. NFI’s “100 Billion
Dollar Man” study found that the federal government spends at least $100 billion annually
supporting father-absent homes. The relatively small investment represented by the Healthy
Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Grant Program serves to help prevent family breakdown,
saving billions down the road. Call your members of Congress to express your support for this
important program.”

Congress’ work in this area reflects priorities expressed by President Obama since taking office
in 2009. The President’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has made
responsible fatherhood one of its four focus areas. The President also formed a Healthy Families
and Responsible Fatherhood Task Force, of which Mr. Warren is a part, to advise the
Administration on how to best approach family-strengthening issues. Finally, the President’s
fiscal year 2012 budget included $150 million in support of these programs.
As the premier fatherhood renewal organization in the country, National Fatherhood Initiative
(NFI) works in every sector and at every level of society to engage fathers in the lives of their
children. NFI is the #1 provider of fatherhood resources in the nation. Since 2004, through
FatherSOURCE, its national resource center, NFI has distributed over 5.7 million resources, and
MEDIA CONTACT
Vincent DiCaro
Vice President of Public Affairs
240-912-1270
vdicaro@fatherhood.org
# # #

South Dakota – it’s not over yet

Will Draconian South Dakota force women to visit religious pregnancy centers before abortions? – on Alternet

http://www.alternet.org/story/149969/will_draconian_south_dakota_force_women_to_visit_religious_pregnancy_centers_before_abortions/

Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas abortion provider killed in 2009, said, “Trust women. Women are morally and intellectually and spiritually capable of struggling with complex ethical issues and coming to the appropriate… decision for themselves and their families.”

Reporters Without Borders releases handbook to help bloggers

“Reporters Without Borders is making a new version of its Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents available to bloggers today to mark Online Free Expression Day.

The handbook offers practical advice and techniques on how to create a blog, make entries and get the blog to show up in search engine results. It gives clear explanations about blogging for all those whose online freedom of expression is subject to restrictions…”

Read more here: http://en.rsf.org/spip.php?page=article&id_article=33844