Oregon House bill will deter reporting child abuse

This bill will deter parents from making claims of child abuse for fear of being penalized. If legislators would only read current reseach or visit Web sites like the American Bar Association, The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence, etc. rather than rely on sterotypes, they would find out that most mothers make allegations of abuse in good faith. Sometimes the allegation may be believed by the mother but untrue. It’s a very small fraction of cases that are made for malicious reasons.

Research also finds men make more false allegations (of being unfit or of neglect) than women, but apparently the legislators aren’t concerned about mothers.

New bill on child abuse aims to halt false claims

Mother’s Day round up

Happy Mother’s Day to all – to those that have children, to those that have lost children, and to those that care for children.

When we hated mom – NY Times article by Stephanie Coontz – provides an historical account of motherhood from a (feminist) sociological perspective. Feminism, Coontz explains, has improved the lives of women (and men) – but, hey, we knew that! Interesting to note, though, society’s disparaging view of protective mothers:

Momism became seen as a threat to the moral fiber of America on a par with communism. In 1945, the psychiatrist Edward Strecher argued that the 2.5 million men rejected or discharged from the Army as unfit during World War II were the product of overly protective mothers.

From the Washington Post, we have an article on racism…onMother’s Day. Granted, I don’t get a home copy of the Post, but this is all I could find in their daily email of headlines. It seems some media outlets would rather celebrate anniversaries (Freedom Riders, David Goldman reuniting with his son) rather than Mothers. I object to racism too, but when can we get national discussions going on sexism? They can even be combined. But, as one writer pointed out, it’s worse to be a racist than a rapist. Both should be despised.

Freedom Riders, 50 years on,  see today’s youth as disconnected from racism

The heartless way Conservatives treat young women who choose to have babies by Amanda Marcotte

Everytime I think the Republicans/Conservatives couldn’t get any worse, they surprise me with their renewed spirit of misogyny. Gotta give it to them for disguising hate with “fiscal responsibility.” There’s always some reason to put women’s issues on the back burner…or to just burn them.

The girls were arrested for holding a sit-in to protest the closing of their school, the Catherine Ferguson Academy, which was established to serve students who are pregnant or mothering.  The school provides day care and parenting classes, and focuses on getting students to college and giving them skills that help future self-sufficiency.  Supposedly “pro-life” conservatives should not only be supporting this school, but demanding that every high school in the country provide these services to teenage mothers.  After all, these girls did what anti-choicers ask of them.  They chose to have their babies.  And now the very same conservatives that wax sentimental about “choosing life” are working to shut down the educational opportunities of young women who did what anti-choicers want, by having their babies.

Don’t forget the women who’ve had injuries or their lives cut short from the men that supposedly loved them and fathered children with them – and, please, don’t forget that it’s more often when these women do the “right thing” that they get injured or killed (far too many people, including feminists, blame the victim for “staying” with an abuser) –

Man charged with ambush slayings of ex, her dad

Orange County prosecutors have charged a 36-year-old man with murdering his ex-wife and her father after they came to his home to take court-ordered custody of the couple’s 7-year-old daughter.

Ex-wife. She left him. They came to take court-ordered custody. Court must have granted dad custody if they came to take her back. It wasn’t enough to kill the ex-wife. He killed her father, too — he shot them both in the backs, the coward.  This 7-year-old just lost her mother (and grandfather) in the week leading up to Mother’s Day. 

Roughly 3 women die every day in domestic violence in this country. This week alone, we’ve lost 21 women, many of whom were mothers.

Candlelight vigil for murdered mother of four

Fresno – Four kids are dealing with the loss of their mother after a murder-suicide in southeast Fresno Tuesday.

The kids were joined about 100 family members and friends Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil.

They gathered on Shields Avenue, the spot where 28-year-old Jennifer Puentes Chatman died, after her ex-boyfriend, 34-year-old Richard Haynes, shot her.

She is the victim of a deadly domestic violence dispute.

This article also ‘blamed the victim’, saying she had chances to leave, but didn’t. But – why didn’t she? Because he threatened to take or kill the kids? Because she feared sharing custody with him or worse, losing custody all together? Because she didn’t have faith in the justice system? Because she feared not being believed? Because women are in greatest danger when they leave?

 Mom with cancer loses custody of kids

This 37-year-old stay-at-home mother lost custody of her 2 children because she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She lives in North Carolina. The father is taking the kids to Illinois. Nice. What a Mother’s Day.

No woman, no cry – Oprah is offering this documentary for free for the next ten days. It discusses death during childbirth.

Mothers rally for fairness in courts

Lori has spent the last eight years fighting the courts for custody of her two children. It began, she said, with her accusing her then-husband of abusing their 3-year-old boy and year-old girl. It ended with him gaining custody and her getting visitation rights.

“He drained me out,” said the 47-year-old Westfield woman, who declined to give her full name for fear it would hurt her future custody chances. She can’t afford a lawyer and has to represent herself after spending more than $100,000 in legal fees over the years.

She was a housewife. He is a lawyer. She has little money. He has lots.

It is a formula that legal experts and advocates say creates a lopsided matchup in the courtroom for custody cases – one in which the mother most often loses.

It looks like HE takes HER to the cleaners – then, why, oh why, does the media portray the opposite?

And, remember, there’s a candlelight vigil tonight from 6-9 pm in front of the White House (see post below).

Happy Mother’s Day to all — Let’s work towards improving the very lives that give us life

Racism, Trump’s sexism

Take a look at Anna Holmes’ column in the Washington Post about Trump’s sexism – and, while I understand Holmes has a column in the Lifestyle section – doesn’t sexism deserve a more news-worthy section? Would the WaPo place an article about racism in the Lifestyle section? Perhaps sexism, like racism, is considered a “lifestyle”? Hmmm…

Column:  Anna Holmes on Donald Trump’s sexism

Holmes provides sufficient evidence of Trump’s evidence but I particularly like these 2 conclusions:

his utterance lay bare the modus operandi of the unreconstructed misogynist, in which women should be sexy, but not sexual (just as airlines once required of stewardesses, the Miss USA organization denies entry to contestants who have ever been married or “given birth to, or parented, a child”); a willingness to relinquish autonomy over one’s fertility is both an asset and a job requirement; and female worth is quantified not by character or accomplishment but by hip-to-waist ratio.

and

Perhaps this legacy of unapologetically gleeful misogyny — not his reputedly shady business practices or his absurd questions about President Obama’s birthplace — will end up being Trump’s electoral Achilles’ heel. Despite his protestations over the years that he “loves” and “respects” women, the fact of the matter is that whatever their party identification or their positions on the economy, foreign policy or abortion rights, women don’t take kindly to being defined by their body mass index, their mothering skills or their supposed disposability. (“People change their positions all the time, the way they change their wives,’’ said Trump confidant Michael Cohen earlier this year as a way to explain his boss’s newfound animus toward abortion rights.)

She ends:

Not that Trump cares. “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of [expletive],” he told a writer for Esquire in 1991.

Ewwww! (also see: comment about his daughter’s body – double ewwww)

And here’s an article in AlterNet (probably not their lifestyle section) about Trump’s racism:

Obama’s Mama vs. The Donald’s

By implication of skin color, Donald Trump is more inherently American than Barack Obama.  Which would come as a real shock to Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, a white woman born and raised in the American heartland of Kansas.  Trump’s mother, on the other hand, was an immigrant from Scotland.

There is nothing more fundamentally anti-American than parsing out shares of American identity based in proportion to skin color.  By any definition of the values and ideals of our nation, Barack Obama is as much or more an American — an inheritor and perpetuator of the American Dream — than Donald Trump who was born with America and everything else served up on a silver spoon.  And the undocumented migrant mothers who are toiling in our nation’s fields today so they may create a better future for their children are arguably just as American as Barack Obama’s mother. 

Too often, we treat American identity as a tangible birthright given only to some rather than an aspirational dream available to all.  Yes, one has to be a citizen to be President — and Barack Obama (unfortunately) was forced to prove that previously and re-prove it again.  But one does not have to be a citizen to be American.  The America for which our ancestors fought and for which we continue to fight for today is not simply the soil onto which you are born but the spirit in your heart — the idea that all people are born equal and should have equal opportunity, that this hallowed nation shall be a place on earth where people from all walks of life can pursue their dreams together. 

Come to think of it, I think I heard more hallaballu about Will & Kate accomplishing the American dream of rags-to-riches than I did for Obama. Go figure.

Murder as an occupational hazard

I wrote this piece – Murder as an Occupational Hazard – in 2007 when 5 women’s bodies were found in Atlantic City, NJ.  I really wanted to stress how misogyny plays a role in serial killers who target women. Certainly, there are other “vulnerable populations” that these killers could target: runaways, drug dealers on the street, the elderly, the disabled, male prostitutes, etc. — but all too often the common denominator is gender, and profession, although clearly a factor, is secondary.

Recently, the bodies of 10 female sex workers were discovered in NY. Hopefully, it will spur more debate about legalizing (or not) prostitution, a culture that ‘permits’ gender-based violence, devaluing people (for whatever reason), impunity, and making heroes out of serial killers. I just want to add that in this discussion/debate, people need to address the prostitution of minors (johns that use them) and sexual trafficking.

Lust murder: Prostitutes as victims of throwaway capitalism

This is David Rosen’s take:

Many of the female victims of these horrendous murder sprees have been prostitutes. They tend to be young women in their 20s, lost to their birth families and community, and often on drugs. They seem like lost souls who have nothing left but their bodies to sell. They are throwaway living commodities of capitalism.

Getting away with murder on Long Island

This is Nancy Goldstein’s take:

It’s not yet clear whether one killer or multiple killers are responsible. No suspects have surfaced. But that’s not what makes this story really tragic. Some of those 10 people might be alive today if it hadn’t been for the lackluster response of law enforcement and the press coverage of the case — much of it sensationalist and dehumanizing — all because of the first victims’ sex-worker status.

Sexual assault and impunity on college campuses

To this day, a man’s future still has more value than the sexual assault of a woman. The concern is still placed on the career and potential of the man. In tonight’s 60 Minutes episode, Katie Couric interviewed Beckett Brennan, a college student sexually assaulted by 3 men.

Like many victims, she declined to press charges (it actually sounded like the police talked her out of it – they told her one victim was on the stand for 16 hours) but the case did come before a college panel. The college decided to: expel one student and put the two others on probation – one for a semester and one for one year. (One even went on to get a scholarship) Probation? For sexually assaulting one of their peers? Are you kidding me? The college spokesperson said these cases become a ‘she said – he said.’

In my opinion, when the phrase “she said – he said’ comes up – it means there’s doubt that the woman’s telling the truth. This phrase doesn’t come up when 2 men are involved. And it doesn’ t come up in other crimes (other than domestic violence and sexual harassment).

The case of Beckett Brennan

Here’s a good resource on this topic:

Sexual assault on campus A frustrating search for justice

According to a report funded by the Department of Justice, roughly one in five women who attend college will become the victim of a rape or an attempted rape by the time she graduates. But official data from the schools themselves don’t begin to reflect the scope of the problem. And student victims face a depressing litany of barriers that often either assure their silence or leave them feeling victimized a second time, according to a 12-month investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.

The probe reveals that students found “responsible” for alleged sexual assaults on campuses often face little or no punishment, while their victims’ lives are frequently turned upside down. Many times, victims drop out of school, while students found culpable go on to graduate.

Violence and gender

Sage Publications is offering free access to journal articles up until April 30th. Here are two related to violence and gender:

A gendered assessment of the “threat of victimization”: Examining gender differences in fear of crime, perceived risk, avoidance, and defense behaviors  – by May, Rader, and Goodrum

Abstract

Rader has called for a change in how researchers study fear of crime, suggesting that fear of crime, perceptions of risk, and experiences with victimization are interrelated dimensions of the larger ‘‘threat of victimization’’ concept. In this study, the authors examine how each independent dimension affects additional theoretical dimensions of the ‘‘threat of victimization’’ and how these relationships vary by gender. Using data from residents of Kentucky, the authors estimate a series of multivariate linear and logistic regression models. The findings presented here suggest that gender differences do exist in the components of the threat of victimization and that many of the relationships in the Rader model are multifaceted, including the relationship between perceived risk, fear of crime, and avoidance and defensive behaviors. Implications of these findings for future research regarding predictors of the threat of victimization are discussed.

Interesting:

Women are much more likely to self-report fear of crime than men, even though they are less likely, according to official data, to experience victimization (with the exceptions of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment). This discrepancy is often called the ‘‘gender-fear paradox’’ because women’s fear of crime is incongruent with the reality of their criminal victimization (Ferraro, 1996). These elevated fear levels increase womens’ perceptions of risk and may cause women to be more likely to engage in constrained behaviors…

Gendered violence:  An analysis of the maquiladora murders  – by Katherine Pantaleo

Abstract

This study analyzes the social construction of a wave of female homicides surrounding the maquiladora plants in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Specifically, it explores the social construction ofthe murders by three different groups, the news media, human rights organizations, and academic researchers. The research begins with a content analysis of 35 narratives from newspapers,human rights reports, and academic journals. Sixteen of these narratives discuss North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in relation with the violence in Juarez. Analysis indicates that gender issues are intertwined with the trade agreement and concludes that the policy has aided in the disruption of the social fabric of Mexican society.

Results for Newspaper Articles

Overall, the newspaper articles do not include language such as femicide, maquiladora murder, violence toward women, and impunity nor do they suggest action or link the murders to anothersocial problem. None of the newspaper articles in the sample addressed the murders as femicidesor maquiladora murders. The perpetrators were mostly described as male serial killers. Four articlesaddressed the murders acts of violence against women, while three addressed the continuation of the murders, suggesting impunity. Finally, only one article discussed another social problem in conjunction with the maquiladora murders. A 1995 article from the Austin American Statesman described two accounts of serial killings. First, it mentioned the serial killings by a Cuban cult leader in 1989 and second it mentioned serial killings of eight teen girls in 1991. Both incidents occurred near Juarez. This particular article was the first to report the maquiladora murders.

 

The sample of newspaper narratives consisted of publications from as early as 1995 up until 2005. Even though the Austin American Statesman covered the murders in 1995, they were not yet known as the maquiladora murders, referred to as femicides, or portrayed as a major social problem. The continual coverage of the murders suggests that over the years, the maquiladora murders developed as an item of interest for the press. In addition, while the newspaper headlines focused mostly on the murders themselves, thewords chosen to describe themurders portrayed a sense of crisis. This is likely due to the nature of newspapers and their attempt to sensationalize stories. For example, some of thewords/phrases used are killing spree, unsolved murders, rape and murder, brutal Mexico killings, serial killings, women’s killings, Mexico’s murders, epidemic, and slayings. Despite the fact that the headlines focus most on the murders, the newspaper articles themselves mention the victims, perpetrators, and causes almost equally throughout the sample. Generally, the newspapers portray the murders as gendered sexual serial killings primarily perpetuated and caused by corruption of the criminal justice system. This is a significant contribution to defining the murders as a social problem. Specifically, the newspapers provide a visual aid that the public can use to define or construct the problem themselves. Newspaper claims-makers provide a framework for the development of a social problem, but it is up to the public to decide on the existence of a social problem. The human rights organizations and the peer-reviewed journal articles have a more specific target audience than do newspapers. This is one of the most significant differences between newspaper narratives and the narratives of human rights organizations and peer-reviewed journal articles that affects how they present their perspectives.

J Crew ad sparks controversy over pink nail polish on a boy

Hmm, following up on the post that women naturally like dominant men….(which got me thinking today – actually, Justin Beiber is said to be so attractive to girls because he’s so non-threatening…just a thought). Anyway, J Crew has an ad of a mother with her young son. He’s got pink-painted nail polish on his toes.

Pink nail polish for boys, J Crew ad sparks controversy

The Today Show discussed this and I thought they did a great job. A psychologist said parents should accept their child as they are – I wholeheartedly agree for several reasons:

1) If gender roles are ‘natural’, then why do we need to force children to behave like boys or girls? I was on a bus in Hong Kong, sitting across from a couple with a young – maybe 5 year old – girl wearing  a dress. The parents kept smacking her when she fidgeted on the seat – she was squirming around – and, I suppose, might have looked immodest in her dress. That was my only guess. Why do parents have to force these roles on a child?

2) If parents are not tolerant of their children’s personality, they are teaching intolerance. I can see it leading to bullying – if they see their parents are intolerant of behavior/dress/etc., then they are sure to copy.

3) I used to think it odd that some languages, like Spanish or French, give objects a gender. It seems just as odd – not referring to foreign languages –  to give objects, colors, behavior, etc. a gender though, doesn’t it?

4) It seems limiting to say boys/men must do this/say that/etc. and girls/women must do something else/say something else – especially when you consider how large this world is. Why should this planet have just 2 roles a person should fall into?

Three men and a budget

Why would we even think they’d have women’s best interests in mind? Seeing men make decisions about women’s bodies – how is this progress? I’m so tired of Republicans forcing their issues on us.

Budget battle came down to 3 men and their weaknesses

With almost 24 hours to go until the government shut down, Obama gave Boehner an ultimatum on the speaker’s push to include abortion-related restrictions in the bill.

“John, I will give you D.C. abortion. I am not happy about it,” Obama said, according to a Democrat and Republican in the Oval Office. Boehner had been pushing to include both the restriction of government funding on abortions in the District of Columbia and a provision that would have placed limits on funds going to nonprofit groups that provide abortion services nationwide, including Planned Parenthood.