Round up of posts and articles on the Republican’s War Against Women

I’ve never been more angered by the Republicans – at a time when they *say* they want to see less government –they put more government interference in women’s lives – at a time when they *say* they want budget cuts, they slash programs for women and children (meanwhile, the Fatherhood Initiative, which funds the unethical experiment of reuniting children with their ex-convict fathers and “marriage promotion” programs). Here’s a round-up of various posts and articles on the subject.

Weekly Pulse: The Republican’s War on Women

The New York Times:  The War on Women

Republican House Leaders Launch New War on Women

While proposing wiping out domestic family planning, Republicans are drastically cutting, by $758 million, the Women Infant Children (WIC) program which provides food and nutrition for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women. The Republican bill also includes a proposed $210 million cut in Maternal and Child Health block grants and $1.83 billion cut in Head Start from 2010 spending levels and $2.27 billion from the President’s 2011 request. The Republicans would also cut dramatically Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funding by $170 million.

Obama’s 2012 budget – A contrast to Republican’s

Jon Stewart struggles to understand GOP’s Planned Parenthood cuts – Below is a quote from the article on Salon:

Jon Stewart does his best think think through the GOP’s recent budget cutting measures for women’s health and child services:

They want to cut everything from family care to prenatal care to child nutrition. It’s like the Republican Congress is saying, “You can’t prevent an unwanted child. You can’t get care if you do get pregnant, and you can’t get any help after the baby is born. But — for those two minutes when the skull is crowning your baby is the most precious thing on Earth.”

Abortion in the United States Bible Belt: Organizing for Power and Empowerment – posted on AWID
Violence

Anti-abortion protestors harass women clients, physicians andtheir staff at clinics, and at home. Threats on the lives of clinic directorshave become so common that they are no longer reported in the public press. Forexample, in some states, Catholic school children wearing their school uniformsare brought to protest in front of abortion clinics by adults screaminginvectives of “baby killer and murderer” at clients and staff. Andthis sort of behavior seems normal across the conservative states. Protestorsroutinely sneak into the clinics causing havoc. In two Southern clinics,protestors cut holes in the wall and pumped butyric acid into the clinicscausing them to be closed for weeks. Operation Rescue/Operation Save Americahave printed WANTED posters with photos of doctors who perform abortions andhave distributed them at the doctors’ homes, offices and in theirneighborhoods. This extremist tactic was carried out in Pensacola, Florida inthe 1990s and preceded the murders of two other providers and a clinicvolunteer [13]. The increasingly violent rhetoric about”baby killers” can result in real violence as seen in the recentmurder in Kansas of physician George Tiller who provided abortion care. Amidstsuch domestic terrorism, few physicians are willing to provide abortions inthese states.

Why men need to speak up on abortion – posted on Salon and includes several other articles on the subject

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.

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.

Not in the best interest of the children

Counselor sexually abuses 3 girls and gets…probation

Juvenile Counselor Sexually Assaults 3 Teen Girls, Gets Probation?!
Sign Our Petition NOW & Help Secure Justice for Victims

Last week, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen proposed a sentence of ten years probation with absolutely no jail time for a court-appointed juvenile counselor–Tony Simmons–who pled guilty to raping one girl and sexually assaulting two others that he was transporting to Manhattan Family Court. Court transcripts show that prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office did not object to the no-jail time plea.

In one of the instances, the assailant brought a 15-year-old girl entrusted to his custody down to the basement of the court building to rape her. Just moments after the attack he escorted her to her scheduled court appearance.

Take Action: We need you to send the message that this is outrageous!

1. Sign our petition NOW to Justice Cassandra Mullen to demand jail time for this violent offender and justice for the victims.

2. Forward the petition and the article to five friends, and post on Facebook and Twitter. The more signatures we get, the bigger our impact on this case.
Petition URL: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/now-nyc_justiceforassaultvictims/

3. Get the Daily News Article | See Our Letter-to-the-Editor: Troubling Case

Source: NOW

Child psychiatrist keeps on abusing…

The 2005 incident took place two years after the one for which Olmsted was forced to register as a sex offender.

“To find that the state board knew of not one but two complaints of impropriety with young girls and yet allowed this doctor to continue his practice with children is unconscionable,” the father wrote. “I am severely disappointed with the state of Texas right now and doubtful of its ability to stand watch over her children.”

Carona’s ire was raised after he learned that Olmsted was publicly reprimanded by the board in August and placed on probation with restrictions on his license for 10 years. A neighbor accused him of touching her beneath her clothes and sucking her toes when she was 10.

“As a father of five, it outrages me” that someone who practiced with children, then violated a child, “would somehow be allowed to retain his medical license,” Carona said.

“Holding on to that license, regardless of the restrictions that may have been stacked up on it, has an air of legitimacy, and I think could in fact further endanger others.”

Read about it here: 2nd family accuses child psychiatrist of misconduct with 10-year-old girl

And, don’t count on CPS to help children either…

Child Protective Services investigated more than three million cases of suspected child abuse in 2007, but a new study suggests that the investigations did little or nothing to improve the lives of those children.

And-

In an editorial published with the study, starkly titled “Child Protective Services Has Outlived Its Usefulness,” Dr. Abraham B. Bergman suggests some essential changes: child abuse, because it is a crime, should be investigated by the police; public health nursing services should be the first to respond to concerns of child neglect; social workers should assess appropriate living situations and work with families to obtain services, and not be engaged in law enforcement. But Dr. Bergman, who is a pediatrician at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, expressed considerable skepticism that such changes would happen.

Read about it in the New York Times here: Child abuse investigations didn’t reduce risk, a study finds  

Women deserve to die, be raped, be harassed…

Excellent article in the New York Times about a man that killed a woman – and society blamed the woman for her own death. As you read it, think about how the US media writes about domestic violence (“nice guy” “snaps” and kills wife/children/himself and perhaps that she “nagged” or something) and rape (how she dressed, what she wore, what she drank, her profession…and the “false allegations” articles)…

For Egyptians, Lebanese pop star’s murder was her own fault

Excerpt:

Yet there has been no outpouring of sympathy for Ms. Tamim, who was killed at the age of 30.

“She made him kill her, and she deserves it,” said Sherine Moustafa, a 39-year-old Egyptian corporate lawyer, an opinion that was echoed by every woman of dozens interviewed. “If he killed her, this means she’s done something outrageous to drive him to it,” reasoned Ms. Moustafa, who has no relation to the convicted businessman. Both her sister and mother, who sat next to her, agreed.

This is the standard argument presented, more even by women than by men, in the Arab world, where strict patriarchal traditions continue to hold female victims responsible for crimes against them by men. If a woman is sexually harassed, then she must have been dressed provocatively. If raped, she somehow must have put herself in a compromising position. If pregnant out of wedlock, her conduct is to blame. And if she is murdered, then she must have committed an even more abhorrent crime.

“This is a common spontaneous response, even among educated social workers,” said Azza Baydoun, a Lebanese researcher in gender and women’s studies who wrote a book analyzing attitudes and circumstances surrounding crimes of violence against women in Lebanon. “It is the old idea of Eve seducing Adam, which originated in our part of the world.”

Women ignored

Excellent article in the New York Times about sexual violence against Bangladeshi women. Just makes me wonder – how can the NY Times keep ignoring women’s human rights violations at the same time they print such an illuminating article on how this issue gets ignored?!?

Note the use of the term “women raped” – this is a passive construct that ignores the perpetrators and highlights the undesirable status women being victims.

Bangladesh war’s toll on women still undiscussed 

As the 40th anniversary of the 1971 war approaches, the Bangladeshi government has set up an International Crimes Tribunal to investigate the atrocities of that era. But human rights advocates and lawyers fear that the mass rapes and killings of women will not be adequately addressed. They hope to ensure they are.

There has been a denial by certain political groups of the history of the war, and a failure to account for the crimes of sexual violence against women,” said Sara Hossain, a human rights lawyer based in Dhaka.

For years, the experiences of women — the independence fighters, the victims of rape, the widows — during the war received little attention, their stories seldom told, the violence they experienced rarely acknowledged.

“As a young teenager in 1971, I had heard a lot about female university students, young village girls and women being raped and held captive, effectively forced into sexual slavery, in the military cantonment. But after the war, very soon, one heard nothing more,” said Irene Khan, former secretary general of Amnesty International.

Irene Khan also says this,

A conservative Muslim society has preferred to throw a veil of negligence and denial on the issue, allowed those who committed or colluded with gender violence to thrive, and left the women victims to struggle in anonymity and shame and without much state or community support.”

You go, New York Times!

Wow! I was amazed to read this article by Jere Longman in the New York Times. I just recently saw this story covered on the Today Show and thought the same thing – double standards (and this feeling that the producers just looove to show the negative side of women – like their “fembot” episode, or their “wife-in-chief” segment, or…)

For all the wrong reasons, women’s soccer is noticed

Here’s the problem:

Lambert, 20, has been suspended indefinitely by New Mexico after she engaged in shoving, punching, tripping and yanking an opponent down by the ponytail last Thursday in a 1-0 loss to Brigham Young.

But the reaction – including airtime on the Today Show – has clearly been blown out of proportion:

Bruce Arena, the coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy and the former coach of the United States men’s national team, said in an interview Sunday: “Let’s be fair, there have been worse incidents in games than that. I think we are somewhat sexist in our opinion of sport. I think maybe people are alarmed to see a woman do that, but men do a hell of a lot worse things. Was it good behavior? No, but because it’s coming from a woman, they made it a headline.”

~ ~ ~

Similarly harsh play by men does not seem to provoke the same visceral reaction and incredulous scrutiny that Lambert received, Dorrance said.

“The world has changed,” Dorrance said. “Women play with just as much intensity, work ethic and sometimes aggression as guys.” But although men can be celebrated for extreme aggression, like knocking out a quarterback in the N.F.L., “women are held to a different standard,” Dorrance said.

“I hate to call it a higher standard,” he said. “It’s almost like they crossed a gender line they weren’t allowed to cross, like we want to take them out of the athletic arena and put them in the nurturing, caring role as mothers of children.”

~ ~ ~

The Lambert incident has also been sexualized, as was the jersey-removing celebration by Brandi Chastain after she scored the winning penalty kick in the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Lambert’s behavior has been referred to as “hot” on some blogs. On Monday night, “The Late Show” with David Letterman used a male voiceover to portray the video in a sexy manner.

This is a way to trivialize, or make less threatening, women’s sports, said Pat Griffin, an emeritus professor of social justice education at the University of Massachusetts.

“It isn’t about women’s soccer and how great its players are,” Griffin said. “It’s about titillation, about sexualizing women in a catfight, that weird porno-lesbian subtext: let’s watch two women go at it.”

This article definately looked at the situation with a gender lens – without any backlash to feminism, denial of women’s use of aggression/violence or or any condescension  or any of the negativities that can get in the way. Kudos to the NY Times for providing such a clear gender analysis of the subject! Wow! Keep it coming! 🙂