UN and women

Alas, more sad news….

A recent court case in New York confirmed that you can’t sue United Nations officials on the basis of gender discrimination.  Lucky for them.  A quick look at UN practices in hiring, promotions, assignments, dispute settlement, compensation and high-level appointments suggests a clear and systematic pattern of bias against women.  “If the UN were a private company located in New York City, it might have gone bankrupt years ago from paying off gender discrimination settlements,” says one UN insider, a man with long experience in these issues with only slight hyperbole. 

Read more here: The UN and Women:  Walking the walk on Empowerment?

Myths, stereotypes and lies…oh my!

The myth of mean girls

But this panic is a hoax. We have examined every major index of crime on which the authorities rely. None show a recent increase in girls’ violence; in fact, every reliable measure shows that violence by girls has been plummeting for years. Major offenses like murder and robbery by girls are at their lowest levels in four decades. Fights, weapons possession, assaults and violent injuries by and toward girls have been plunging for at least a decade.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports, based on reports from more than 10,000 police agencies, is the most reliable source on arrests by sex and age. From 1995 to 2008, according to the F.B.I., girls’ arrest rates for violent offenses fell by 32 percent, including declines of 27 percent for aggravated assault, 43 percent for robbery and 63 percent for murder. Rates of murder by girls are at their lowest levels in at least 40 years.

Believe women

Cries of child abuse bounce back on mums

CHILD protection campaigners say women who accuse their former partners of sexually abusing their children are being unfairly labelled as mentally ill in the Family Court.

Child sex abuse researcher Freda Briggs and child protection advocate Charles Pragnell say recent cases show the emphasis on shared parenting responsibilities is putting children in danger.

Professor Briggs and Mr Pragnell are part of the Safer Family Law campaign and argue that amendments to the Family Law Act in 2006 were geared towards the rights of parents rather than those of children.

Professor Briggs, from the University of South Australia, specialises in research into child sex abuse. Mr Pragnell is from the National Council for Children Post-Separation, which is part of the Safer Family Law campaign. He has been called as an expert witness in child sex abuse cases in Australia, Britain and New Zealand.

They cite a Sydney case of a child who was allegedly put at risk of danger by being forced to live with her father.

An interim decision was made to order the six-year-old to live with her father, at whose house she was photographed in pornographic poses by one of his friends.

A court counsellor alleged the girl’s mother was manipulative and might suffer from a mental illness.

“The courts should focus on the needs and wants of the child, and the rights of a child to be protected from abuse,” Mr Pragnell said.

“Too often we see that a parent’s right to contact is given at all costs.”

Amendments to the Family Law Act in 2006 emphasised “co-operative” parenting and shared responsibilities.

In January, Attorney-General Robert McClelland released three reviews into these amendments.

A review by the Australian Institute of Family Studies accepts that some of the consequences of a focus on shared parenting responsibilities have been “less than favourable”.

Child Abuse Prevention Service manager Karen Craigie said women and men contacted the service regularly after raising concerns of sexual abuse and being labelled mentally ill.

“We get lots of calls about this. It is common. Women involved are often subjected to domestic violence and are very traumatised,” Ms Craigie said.

“I have heard of cases where women are so afraid of losing their children and solicitors will advise them that raising concerns of sexual abuse will make them look like they are being obstructive.”

Angela Lynch, a solicitor for the Women’s Legal Service in Queensland who has advised women in these situations, said the family court system was too “pro-father involvement”.

“In a nice family, that is a great thing. When there are issues of abuse and domestic violence, it is a huge problem,” Ms Lynch said. “If you raise sexual abuse in court, you are seen as an unfriendly parent, which is the worst thing you can be in family court.”

The Federal Magistrates Court and the Family Court of Australia would not comment.

Source: The Sun-Herald

Bias in psychiatric diagnosis

Check out this resource from:  The Association for Women in Psychology

Mission: To provide information for people (including but not limited to professionals and journalists) about biases and other problems in psychiatric diagnosis, an especially important goal in light of the American Psychiatric Association’s preparation for the 2013 publication of the next edition of the psychiatric diagnostic manual.

Bios for Group Members and Contributors

NEWS FLASH
1. Psychdiagnosis.net – website about bias in psychiatric diagnosis, including stories about people harmed in a wide variety of ways by receiving such a diagnosis and including six kinds of solutions to problems resulting from psychiatric labeling

2. Click Here for an important article in New Scientist about problems in the preparation for DSM-V

3. Click here to go to a website that is presented as allowing anyone who wants to make suggestions about DSM-V to do so.

Note:  AWP’s Committee on Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis does not know what plans may have been made by the DSM-V authors to consider these suggestions.

4. Call for papers for a special issue of Social Science and Medicine, Sociology of Diagnosis

5. PSYCHOUT – A conference for organizing Resistance against Psychiatry – Call for submissions

 

The nice guy in the mirror

I’ve written about how shocked I am about news stories that refer to “nice guys” that “snap” (quite inexplicably!) and kill their wife or girlfriend and sometimes their children.  Well, here is another like-minded writer that puts her thoughts about media bias down on paper, er, the keyboard, and gets slammed by a bunch of white guys (read the comment section): Why Are We Surprised When White Preppy Guys Turn Out to be Serial Killers? 

The New York Daily Newsdescribed Markoff as “clean cut” and “a high-achieving dentist’s son.” The Boston Globealso described the shaggy-haired Markoff as “clean cut” — as did countless other media outlets. Politico.comcalled Markoff “all-American,” while the Associated Press and dozens of others called him “handsome”; PR Insider said, simply, that “by all appearances, he had it all.”

“By all appearances” – superficially, maybe, but reality tells another story:

After all, given the available information, Markoff could have been painted as weird, anti-social, woman-hater, irresponsible, deeply in debt, broke and in the midst of eviction from his apartment. He could have been presented as a stone-faced, emotionless creep who scared classmates by forcing kisses on them and had a long history of strange behavior.

Well, that would be dependent on your own perspective (how often have you heard men talk about other men being “woman-haters” or misogynist?) and who you interview (neighbors, class mates or those who are actually close to the person).

I’ll say it again, in plain language: In the mythology of white male editors, guys like Markoff don’t kill. They golf. With newspaper editors. Most of whom look like Markoff.

Yeah. I’ve yet to read about a Black male who commits violence described in the media as “charming,” or “clean cut.” Editors are not as kind with Black criminals as they are with White criminals and it comes down to their bias, which is then spread like an epidemic to readers.

The media has long been in the business of selling perception over truth, especially when it comes to issues of race, socioeconomic class and sex. If you wish to know the myths and prejudices of a time, read its newspapers. If you wish for the truths, read its poetry.

Well said.