Victim blaming in the media regarding the IMF chief’s sexual assault case

This is from the Women’s Media Center and it contains a link to a petition to protest the media’s rampant victim blaming:

“Dominique Strauss-Kahn may have more to worry about than a possible prison sentence.” That was the first sentence in an article in the New York Post today about the IMF Chief accused of sexually attacking a woman in a New York City hotel. The article then proceeds to “out” the alleged victim for living in an apartment building for people and families living with HIV/AIDS. This type of coverage does nothing to help hold an alleged rapist accountable and only contributes to victim-shaming and stigmatizing people living with HIV/AIDS – With no respect for the accuser’s medical confidentiality or the confidentiality of the residents in that building. Further, they repeatedly refer to her as maid, rather than a victim, and highlight her immigration status and race. The New York Post should be ashamed for framing their coverage of sexual assault about concerns for an alleged attacker, rather than the impact of a violent sexual assault on a woman at her place of work. They also printed this quote:

“One high-powered lawyer, who was among those trying to reach her to offer to rep her, said ‘She could make $6 million, maybe more, just by shutting her mouth.”

As heinous as the NY Post’s piece was, they’re not the only ones who are guilty of harmful coverage. The Daily Beast ran this commentary by Bernard-Henri Levy in which he questioned the alleged victim’s legitimacy:

“I do not know—but, on the other hand, it would be nice to know, and without delay—how a chambermaid could have walked in alone, contrary to the habitual practice of most of New York’s grand hotels of sending a ‘cleaning brigade’ of two people, into the room of one of the most closely watched figures on the planet.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, The American Spectator published this despicable piece by Ben Stein yesterday, in which he ranted:

“The prosecutors say that Mr. Strauss-Kahn ‘forced’ the complainant to have oral and other sex with him. How? Did he have a gun? Did he have a knife? He’s a short fat old man. They were in a hotel with people passing by the room constantly, if it’s anything like the many hotels I am in. How did he intimidate her in that situation? And if he was so intimidating, why did she immediately feel un-intimidated enough to alert the authorities as to her story?

People accuse other people of crimes all of the time. What do we know about the complainant besides that she is a hotel maid? I love and admire hotel maids. They have incredibly hard jobs and they do them uncomplainingly. I am sure she is a fine woman. On the other hand, I have had hotel maids that were complete lunatics, stealing airline tickets from me, stealing money from me, throwing away important papers, stealing medications from me. How do we know that this woman’s word was good enough to put Mr. Strauss-Kahn straight into a horrific jail?”

After all this media coverage, all women (and men) may have more to worry about than the possibility that an international leader is guilty of sexual assault. This type of coverage reinforces the power structures that legitimize sexism and rape, and works directly against the elimination of sexual violence in our culture. In a country where a woman is sexually assaulted every two minutes, such pieces do real harm.Tell the NY Post, the Daily Beast, and the American Spectator that media have a responsibility to work towards the elimination of rape culture and sexism – Not to legitimize it!

Send a letter by clicking here: http://www.change.org/petitions/media-stop-victim-blaming-and-shaming-in-coverage-of-imf-chiefs-alleged-sexual-assault

Change.org

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Skechers want girls as young as 7 to shape up

An excerpt from Change.org:

Augusta Christensen is a recent college grad who remembers all too well what it’s like to be a little girl with a poor self-image, so she started a petition on Change.org pushing Skechers to discontinue Shape Ups for Girls.

Nearly 2,000 signatures later, the president of the “Skechers Fitness Group” wrote a column on the Huffington Post that attacked Augusta personally and claimed that the shoes are just the company’s way of getting involved in the fight against childhood obesity — even comparing the product to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. 

But if that’s true, why not make Shape Up sneakers for boys? (Plus, experts say the shoes may not actually increase fitness — and lack support and stability when you’re running.)

Augusta pushed back with a column of her own, and the controversy has since been covered by the Today Show, MSNBC, and ABC News, among others. 

But Skechers still refuses to discontinue Shape Ups for Girls — and it will take a bigger public push to get them to back down. 

Please sign the petition to Skechers at:  Change.org

Update: MTV won’t air Kanye’s offensive video

From Care2

A few months ago, a petition was started asking the CEO of Universal Music Group (Lucian Grainge) and CEO of MTV (Judy McGrath) to respond to the leaked video teaser for Kanye West’s hit song “Monster.” Only 30 seconds of the video were leaked, but that was enough time to expose disturbing images eroticizing violence towards women.

Though the full music video had not been released, it was obvious this over-sexualized, violent video should not be made public.

5,000 signatures from outraged Care2 members delivered about a month ago grabbed MTV’s attention and they reacted by saying they will not air the “current version” of the music video. We will soon deliver another 10,000 to MTV to reinforce our stance that the original video would need to be completely disregarded and a new video shot before it is television appropriate. 
We are glad that MTV has voiced their opposition to this over-sexualized, violent music video and we will continue voicing our opinions to them so their stance remains firm.

Update: Libyan woman who was raped

Please sign the petition asking Turkey to use their diplomatic means to get Iman al-Obeidi released:

AVAAZ.org

168,235 people have signed the petition so far – they’re seeking 500,000 signatures.

Have you seen this yet? Her alleged rapists are suing her for defamation. How is it possible for rape victims to have the tables turned on them? 

Militia members sue woman who accused them of rape 

Kanye West releases a preview of a video that eroticizes violence against women

This is bad. Really bad.

If that’s not enough, a behind-the-scenes clip of the video includes a semi-naked dead woman laying spread eagled on a table in front of Rick Ross as he eats a plate of raw meat. It is likely we can expect more brutal images in the full-length video.

The victims in this video are clearly women. Only women. And the men, Kanye West, Rick Ross, and Jay-Z are far from bothered by the female corpses. They seem to enjoy being surrounded by lifeless female bodies, apparent victims of a serial killing.

Source: Adios, Barbie

Please consider signing the petition on Care2 Petitionsite