Press release: Anti-abortion billboards demean black women and black community

From Goddesses Rising:

Contact:

Toni M. Bond Leonard (312) 919-1211

Cherisse Scott (773) 503-7489

BLACK WOMEN FOR REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE SAY ANTI-ABORTION BILLBOARDS ON CHICAGO’S SOUTHSIDE ARE DEMEANING TO BLACK WOMEN AND THE ENTIRE BLACK COMMUNITY

Trust Black Women coalition member, Black Women for Reproductive Justice demand that billboards be taken down accusing Black women of killing potential Black leaders

CHICAGO, IL, March 29, 2011: Black Women for Reproductive Justice (BWRJ) is speaking out against the three billboards recently placed by the anti-choice group, LifeAlways, at 5812 South State Street, featuring the image of President Barack Obama that targets Black women for having abortions and demands that they be taken down.

Toni Bond Leonard, BWRJ President/CEO, says “The groups behind these heinous attacks upon Black women care nothing about Black children or the Black community. These are some of the same groups who fought against healthcare reform and oppose government safety net programs that would directly benefit Black women, our families and our communities.” “This billboard and the twenty-nine others they plan to erect are offensive to Black women and the Black community, overall. We saw them cowardly placing the billboards in the dark late last night. These billboards are painting an abhorrent image of Black women as perpetrators of a plan to eradicate the future Black race.” “That they would place these billboards in the Black community with such a despicable lie is reprehensible. It also must not go unnoted that they placed the billboards on the side of a building facing a vacant lot filled with garbage and broken glass. This only further shows their disrespect for Black women and the Black community that all they could think to do was put up billboards telling us Black women are preventing future leaders from being born. What about highlighting the need for economic resources to remove garbage-filled lots in urban areas and creating safe communities,” says Bond Leonard.

BWRJ says their research has revealed that LifeAlways is, in fact, financially supported by the anti-choice group Heroic Media which has been involved in numerous fundraising events for former Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Cherisse Scott, BWRJ’s Health Educator/Campaign Coordinator says, “The fact that LifeAlways and Heroic Media would use the bodies of Black women as a way to further their own political agenda is unconscionable.” “Black women have the least access to reproductive and sexual health education including family planning, prevention and transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Our communities are overwrought with violence, lack of access to education, high rates of unemployment, and lack of access to healthy foods. Those are the real issues – not Black women making the decisions that we understand are in the best interest of our families.”

BWRJ is one of the Midwest anchor organizations for Trust Black Women, a national coalition of Black women’s reproductive justice organizations around the country, who have come together to take a stance in defending reproductive justice for Black women and girls.

“We will not fall for, or stand silently by while those who are against human rights attempt to divide the Black community around reproductive and sexual justice issues,” says Bond Leonard. “Groups like LifeAlways and Heroic Media cannot pull the wool over Black women’s eyes and that of the Black community. We will not be silent victims in this assault upon our reproductive and racial integrity. Their placement of these billboards in the Black community only further highlights their lack of competency around the reproductive health disparities that Black women and girls face and these groups’ unwillingness to deal with the social and economic disparities of the entire Black community.”

Round up: The war against women

Just as Libertarians and Republicans are calling for less government, we’re witnessing the opposite – more government – for women. More budget cuts, too. Meanwhile, the military and fatherhood initiative (including marriage promotion) is safe. Here’s a round up of articles on the biggest assault – abortion.

I saved the best for last, so please scroll down to see how progressive groups are fighting back!!

This is a 2006 article by Jennifer Pozner that’s still relevant today:  It discusses the anti-abortion fanatics

The terrorists who aren’t in the news

http://www.alternet.org/story/43182/

 What’s behind the surge of abortion bills?

http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2011/03/24/whats-behind-the-surge-of-abortion-bills/?xid=rss-topstories

The GOP’s plan to fund anti-abortion activists

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/gops-plan-fund-anti-abortion-activists

GOP bill would force IRS to conduct abortion audits

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/gop-bill-irs-abortion-audits

The House GOP’s plan to redefine rape

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/republican-plan-redefine-rape-abortion

Revealed: The group behind the bills that could legalize killing abortion providers

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/americans-united-life-justifiable-homicide-bills

Anti-abortion bill passes in Idaho

http://www.feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=12932

There is NO waiting period for gun purchases in SD, but a woman must wait to have an abortion-

SD anti-abortion bill requires 3-day waiting period

http://www.feminist.org/news/newsbyte/uswirestory.asp?id=12930

SD Rep who authored abortion bill nixes Sharia ban

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/sd-rep-who-authored-abortion-bill-nixes-sharia-ban

Of course he did

 In Michigan, class war and war against women converge

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/539083/in_michigan%2C_class_war_and_war_against_women_converge/#paragraph2

 Georgia lawmaker’s anti-abortion proposal could punish women for miscarriages

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/02/26/georgia-lawmakers-anti-abortion-proposal-punish-women-miscarriages/

Ohio heartbeat bill poses biggest challenge to Roe v. Wade yet

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/ohio-heartbeat-bill-abortion-paves-roe-wade-challenge/story?id=12876224

20 week abortion ban passes Iowa house panel

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2011/03/25/week-abortion-passes-iowa-house-panel

Exclusive: Progressive groups launch campaign to fight GOP’s War on Women

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/03/25/exclusive-progressive-groups-launch-campaign-to-fight-gops-war-on-women/

Notice there are only men in the photo

Funding opportunity – but hurry, the deadline is April 4!

J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism and the McCormick Foundation are seeking to fund four women-led projects that will rock the world of journalism.

We will fund individuals who have original ideas to create new Web sites, mobile news services or other entrepreneurial initiatives that offer interactive opportunities to engage, inspire and improve news and information in a geographic community or a community of interest…

Read more: http://www.newmediawomen.org/site/proposal_guidelines/

Women confronting violence and impunity in Guatemala

The Guatemala Human Rights Commission is hosting Sandra Moran for this year’s Spring Speaker’s Tour. Here’s the schedule – please share it with you networks.

For Women’s Right to Live

Saturday March 26 : Washington, DC: Ecumenical Advocacy Days

10:30am: Latin America track Plenary Session

4:30pm: Workshop on Women Confronting Violence and Impunity in Guatemala

Sunday March 27 : Bethesda, MD and Arlington, VA

10:20am: Unitarian Universalist River Road

7:30-9:00 pm: Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington

Monday March 28 : Washington, DC

12:00-1:00 Society for International Development, Washington Chapter

2:30pm: George Washington University

7:00 pm: American University

 

Tuesday March 29 : Richmond, VA

2:00-4:00pm : Virginia Commonwealth University

 

Wednesday March 30 : Charlottesville and Winchester, VA

3:00pm: University of Virginia

7:00 pm: Shenandoah University

 

Thursday March 31: Philadelphia, PA; Ewing, NJ

12:30: Temple University

6:00pm: College of New Jersey

 

Monday April 4: Philadelphia and West Chester, PA

12:00 pm: Drexel University

7:30 pm: West Chester University

 

Tuesday April 5: New York City, NY

Events closed to the public.

 

Wednesday April 6: New York City, NY

1:30pm: UN Human Rights Offices

6:00pm: Columbia University (Rm 1102 of the International Affairs Building, 420 West 118th St.)

 

Thursday April 7: Ithaca, NY

7:00pm: Ithaca College

Tied up, raped, videotaped…and peed on

Okay, this is one of those articles that – if you’re like me – will get your blood boiling. You’ll wonder: Why do women have to suffer like this? When will the world recognize the horrific, often tortuous, treatment of women? When will it come into its consciousness?

Woman says raped by Gaddafi’s men, pleads with media

“Look at what Gaddafi’s militias did to me,” Eman al-Obaidi screamed with tears in her eyes, pulling up her coat to show blood on her upper leg.

After being intimidated by security men and hotel staff, who also beat journalists trying to interview her in the restaurant of the hotel, she was bundled into a car and driven away.

Obaidi said she had been arrested at a checkpoint in Tripoli because she was from the city of Benghazi, bastion of the insurgency against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s rule.

Obaidi, who appeared to be in her 30s and was wearing a loose black coat, slippers and a scarf, said she had been raped by 15 men and held for two days. Her face was badly bruised.

“They swore at me and they filmed me. I was alone. There was whisky. I was tied up,” she said, weeping and stretching out her arms to show the scars.

“They peed on me. They violated my honor.”

Libyan claims rape by soldiers, is dragged away

Guy gamers: privileged and misogynist?

Oh, these games really tick me off and make me feel disappointed in the male gamer population. When I read about this stuff, I wonder: What would they do if it was reversed? Can you imagine the outrage if feminists made a video game where you kicked guys in the balls?

Highly anticipated video game sequel glorifies violence towards women

In the game, Duke — a burly, blond action star-type known for his macho attitude, objectification of women, crude wisecracks and buckets of ultra-violence — faces down an onslaught of alien invaders bent on kidnapping and impregnating every female on the planet.

Even with a story that’s so purely camp, like something ripped out of a bad 1950s movie, anticipation over Duke’s return has reached a fever pitch among longtime gamers. But how will those same gamers feel about glorifying domestic violence?

According to a recent report by The Official Xbox Magazine (OXM), there’s at least one clear point of controversy: In the online “Capture the Babes” mode, if a “babe” can’t take the stress and “freaks out” while Duke saves her from alien rapists, he’ll have to “slap” some sense into her.

Some of the commenters are excusing the misogyny as just “controversy” or some harmful “butt slapping.” While most people see a red flag when misogyny raises its ugly head, these guys just see a women in need of a good f*ck or slap:

Duke Nukem Forever multiplayer replaces replaces flag with capturable, slappable women

Here’s another take on gamers:

Bioware tells straight men to “get over” being hit on by gay men in Dragon Age by Michael Jensen

…one gamer started a forum thread on the Bioware site complaining about having to put up with men hitting on him. Gee, now he knows how pretty much every woman in the world has felt at some point having to put up with unwanted advances from straight men. Poor baby.

Thanks for sticking up for us, Michael Jensen!!

And Bioware staffer responds to the situation:

And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.

And ends on this note:

And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.

A guy who gets it – a true ally in the human race. Thanks!

And here’s another one – using women to stir up controversy. It intrigues me that companies can use women’s bodies to get sales – but women can’t use their own bodies to get money (then they’re called sluts, whores, hos and/or face disease, abuse and homicide and/or are “asking for it”). And  then the other irony – they can make men money (the use of scantily-clad women in ads to increase sales or as paying consumers of products, services, or medical care) -but when they marry these same men (CEOs or doctors, for example), they can be called gold diggers –nevermind it could have been women who made the man rich.

Racy Serena Williams commercial won’t appear on TV   (this is a commercial for a video game)

The incredibly frustrating idea that women and girls ASK to be raped

Rape me, rape me; Oh, please, rape me.

I’m sorry, but I can’t imagine anyone thinking or saying these words, so how on Earth people think women and girls ASK to be raped is beyond my thinking.

If you haven’t yet read this, Keli Goff had a very good article on Salon about the gang-rape of the 11-year-old girl:

Of course she was asking for it

Of course she was. Why else would 18 men and boys rape her?

This case is still on my mind. It’s on my mind when I take a shower. It’s on my mind when I hear about other sexual assaults. When I hear about other crimes (the kind that doesn’t involve victim-blaming, which tends to be those involving strangers or male victims).

Goff brings up the Polanski case and adds a link to the Hollywood petition asking for him to be excused – I’ve added it here too. It sickened me to see how many celebs believe a pedophile should go unpunished: Petition 

She brings up several other cases to support her argument and, interestingly, mentioned how some judges even believe trafficked girls are actually “bad girls.”

Here’s Goff’s ending:

Maybe the reason we can’t get our criminal justice system and others in power to take sexual crimes against children more seriously is because too many of them believe that under the right (or rather wrong) circumstances they too could find themselves the accidental “victim” of the seductive charms of a young siren — whose age they really didn’t know (wink, wink.)

And wouldn’t that be terrible for them to find their lives ruined?

Especially if she was really asking for it.

 It’s not the first time somebody has pointed out that men in power can relate to the story or crime. For instance, it’s been said that white male writers/editors write about the “nice guy” that “snaps” and kills his wife because — well, that could be him in that position. It makes sense – rarely to I read that minorities are “nice guys” that “snap” when they commmit a crime.

Goff’s article has 486 comments at the moment. The last comment I read proved that people STILL didn’t get it:

CapriRS302 said:

WHen someone says “she was asking for it” they are not trying to put blame on the victim AND take it away from the perpetrato­r, they are just trying to point out that there were bad decisions that were made beforehand by the victim that led to the situation.

If I were to take a shortcut through a dark alley at night instead of walking around a few blocks or calling a cab and I got mugged, it would be the same type of thing.

What does it take to educate people on victim-blaming?
Here was my reply to Capri:
If someone said ‘she was asking for it’ – and “it” meant “rape” – then, yes, it’s blaming the victim. Nobody asks to be raped. Nobody asks to be mugged. Nobody asks to be killed. Period.

If bad decisions were made – well, they’re just bad decisions. No one can predict the future – no one can predict an assault. Bad decisions don’t cause or lead to rape. Rapists rape. It’s the rapist’s behavior – and the perp must take full accountabi­lity of committing a CRIME.

People make bad decisions every day. They don’t deserve to be punished for it. They don’t deserve to be raped, or mugged, or killed.

An 81-year-ol­d man was recently killed. He left his door open and a robber came in, stole $40. and killed him. Was he to blame? No. But he did leave his door open. Rarely do we blame victims for these crimes – but we do for rape and domestic violence.

Perps are NOT vigilantes­. They are not judges or juries. They should have no power whatsoever to punish people for bad decisions.

Here’s another article on the subject  – A REPUBLICAN joined the victim-blaming:

Sick: Republican Lawmaker likens 11 yr old rape victim to a “21 yr old prostitute” – this also links to another article on the topic, by Amanda Marcotte