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Ugandan woman forced to breastfeed pups

January 4, 2010 2 comments

What a horrific story to start off the new year. While I read the article featuring the story of a Ugandan woman whose husband forced her to breastfeed their pups, my jaw dropped open and I covered my mouth with my hands in horror. Add this to another reason as to why I am a feminist and not ashamed to say it.

Jennipher Alupot has been receiving this cruel, unusual and dehumanizing abuse for 7 years and now that her story is out, it is sending waves across Uganda about domestic abuse, and people are quite frankly horrified by this. So what exactly does this abuse entail? Well, her husband, Nathan Alowoi would “appear at the marital bed, bind his young wife’s legs and hands together and force the mewling animals to her nipple.” He apparently did this because he had given her family two cows for the “bride price”, and so, he no longer had milk for the pups. Jennipher explains more, “I had to feed them all through the night; then in the morning he would untie me.

Eventually they started having children, and their third child had to share the breast milk with the pups. Eventually their son “started having fits and foaming at the mouth,” and died just before he was two. Jennipher says that she most likely believes that it had something to do with the pups also breastfeeding at the same time. Um, yeah.

Jennipher tried reaching out for help. She wasn’t silent; however, no one would listen to her.

She had a fourth child this past March and was hoping that after their son had died, her husband would stop the abuse. However, that’s not what happened. It got more violent, and “one night when she protested, her husband pierced her with a spear under the chin.” That was it for her, and she fled to the women’s refuge center in Pallisa.

Since Jennipher fled, she is now taking legal action against her husband. As well, a Ugandan bill that was centered on domestic violence was passed this last month after being on the table for years. Many are saying that it was Jennipher’s case that made that bill pass. Why must this abuse happen before a bill tightening domestic violence laws to be passed? It’s sad and in no way preventative.

Ultimately, this is a shocking and horrifying thing that no one would wish on anyone (I would hope). Domestic violence is something that remains prevalent all around the world, but is something is kept hush hush. Although horrifying, these stories need to continue to be brought to the forefront to show people around the world that so many women receive horrible treatment from their partners.

I’m still in complete shock over this story.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Today marks the first day of the Commit ▪ Act ▪ Demand: We CAN End Violence Against Women! activist movement. So, why the 16 days?

November 25, 2009 marks the launch of the 19th international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign – an annual campaign that runs from International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women through International Human Rights Day. (emphasis mine)

Over the next 16 days, I’m going to try and highlight the violence that women face around the world. If you’re interested in this endeavor, please visit the website and find out what some actions are that you can take to contribute to this movement and to the end of violence against women.

Men Against Violence Against Women, Part 2

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

So, going on from my previous post about the “Men Against Violence Against Women” panel discussion, I just wanted to mention some other things that stuck out for me.

1. What is a woman’s role?
So, although it is clear that men must take responsibility for this issue, there is still an important role that women play, and have been playing for many, many years. Resistance. Women have been resisting violence against them for a long time and women must continue to play this part. Our resistance is extremely important. But now, since we’ve been resisting for years, it is time for men to respond to this resistance!

2. Safe spaces for men
New safe spaces need to be created for men to discuss these things. These safe spaces need to be places that men can come and grow and learn how to have an emotional life, outside of just having anger. This will bring together a collective of men who believe the same things and will be able to fight against violence against women.

3. Live the way you believe
Finally, what I want to end with is something that one panelist said. “Live the way you believe”. This is the first step in action. This means that everyone can act. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you believe certain things, live it out. Do not be silent. Your silence will condone this violence (or whatever other issue it may be). You CAN help this situation, no matter how helpless you may feel. It doesn’t have to be some huge act. Small acts everyday will build into a great movement, and actually be a part of a movement that is already happening. I hope that you feel a little inspired to at least try something!

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Men Against Violence Against Women Panel

November 17, 2009 2 comments

Last night, I had the great experience of attending an all men’s panel discussion, provided by my university’s Anti-Violence Network. The panel was entitled “Men Against Violence Against Women”. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first showed up, but it turned out to be a great discussion and some awesome points were brought up, that I want to highlight here.

1. Men need to acknowledge hegemonic masculinity
One speaker went over the basic hegemonic masculinity in our North American culture. This means strong, invulnerable, emotionless, silent, and angry (with anger really being the only emotion allowed). Homophobia is also a part of this. Men aren’t allowed to be feminine in any way, because the traditional man is supposed to be everything opposite of femininity. All of these things open up the pathway to violence, because women and homosexuals are “othered” or dehumanized; therefore, men feel that they CAN be violent.

2. There needs to be a new conception of masculinity
There needs to be a positive conception of being a man, which will make for better partnerships with everyone (women, other men, and children). Men need to reconceptualize strength. Strength can be something that is good, and not used for harm. Also, there needs to be insight within this new masculinity. Openness, self-reflection and self-awareness are necessary for this new masculinity.

3. Men must take responsibility
Many times, men are excused from their violence, or have some form of excuse for their violence. One of these excuses is that it’s a man or boys “nature” to be violent. But we were reminded again tonight that nothing is biological about violence! But another important point was that men who are not violent against women must also take responsibility. These non-violent men must not be silent. They must tell other men and boys that violence against women is not acceptable. Without these men leading other men and boys, this issue is NOT going to go away.

4. Action must be taken
One panelist discussed how there is too much damn research. We all KNOW that there is a problem, and we can continue paying for research to be done, but it’s not doing anything about the problem! We need to move on from identifying the problem. It is now time to seriously act. We must be examples to the younger generation. We must tell others that this issue is not acceptable. However you can act against this issue, you have to do it!

There were some other really awesome things discussed, which I’m going to save for a later post, since I don’t want this post to go on forever. I will just say that it was simply refreshing to hear men discuss this issue and not pat themselves on the back for having this panel in the first place. You know, that self-congratulatory thing? Not cool! So, it was awesome not seeing that. More discussions like this need to happen, because ultimately, this is an issue that only men can get rid of.

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Rihanna speaks about Chris Brown beating her

November 6, 2009 Leave a comment

As so many of you probably know already, Rihanna sat down with Diane Sawyer and did an interview, in which she talks about Chris Brown beating her. This all took place in February of this year, and I guess Rihanna felt that she was possibly ready to speak out about this, although you never know. (I won’t try to make any controversial remarks about her album coming out soon, but it’s something that you think about!)

Rihanna talks about the horrific details of what Chris Brown did to her, like how her mouth was full of blood and her face was completely swollen. She also talks about the more emotional issues that always come along with domestic violence. She told Sawyer that Brown was her “first big love” and that she was “so far in love, so unconditional, that I went back,” but reminded Sawyer that she realized that she didn’t want to teach young fans that it’s OK to go back to your abusers.

This is where domestic abuse gets tricky, and I think this unfortunately be one of the reasons why women get blamed so much in these cases. There are deep emotional ties to that one person, and that’s extremely hard to give up and move on. Not to mention, that it actually can become much more dangerous once a woman leaves the abuser. This probably wasn’t the case for Rihanna, but she explains the emotional issues well and we are able to get a better understanding of what’s going on. This is important, because domestic abuse is a huge issue that is highly ignored.

Ultimately, while watching Rihanna speak about this, the thing she said that stuck out most to me was, “that night wasn’t a part of my plan.” I think that’s really important to emphasis. Domestic abuse victims do not have this in their life plan. They are not expecting it. They don’t want this to happen. They possibly want a good life with the person that may have just abused them. They could of have dreams of having a bright future with that person. They didn’t think that domestic abuse would ever become an issue in their lives. And rightfully so, because men should never feel the right to beat a woman.

So thank you, Rihanna, for speaking out about this and against it.

Lots of news!

November 3, 2007 Leave a comment

Every year, 25000 baby girls are not carried to term in Vietnam.

A judge has lost his job for asking a woman to drop her pants in court.

A woman was freaking thrown out of a moving SUV and two young men have been arrested for it.

A smart woman slashed a young man with glass who was threatening to sexually assault before he could do anything to her!

A Muslim marriage “expert” explains how to beat your wife “properly”. Disgusting!

Domestic abuse is a workplace issue too!

Sexual violence and HIV continue to rise in Haiti.

Funny, funny, abstinence only education video!

The abortion rate and adoption rates aren’t really correlated at all, despite what Giuliani says.

Missing girls in Asia

November 2, 2007 Leave a comment

This is something that we know full well. In Asia, there is a strong preference for sons, and new technology is allowing sex-selection to occur. The video here, from UNFPA shows the reality of sex-selection in Asia and the affects of it, which include more sexual violence towards girls. And if parents do decide to have their daughters, other family members go as far as beating them or torturing them.

Vodpod videos no longer available.