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Haitian earthquake effect on girls and young women

January 17, 2010 2 comments

Women and girls have always carried the brunt of natural disasters. They become more vulnerable than they may already be. They become more impoverished, due to the fact that they were probably in a worse-off financial situation beforehand. Since they’re generally the primary caretakers, they have other people to take care of, so they don’t put their own needs first. Also, the countries are usually rebuilt on the shoulders of women. You get the picture. Obviously nature disasters effect men in negative ways, but women just carry the brunt of negative effects.

When I heard about the earthquake, I was immediately thinking about how women and girls were going to be effected, and now there is actually an acknowledgment that young women and girls are in more danger now than ever before in Haiti.

As of right now, relief efforts are being put into Haiti, and many have said that things like security is just not something that is important at this moment. However, Gerardo Ducos, a Haitian researcher for Amnesty International states,

“My worry is we put a lot of effort into bringing relief, but we have to have some protective measures to benefit women and girls to avoid their being victimized and sexually assaulted. It was already difficult in ordinary times.”

As Ducos said, it was already difficult during ordinary times. There are various reported numbers, but so many girls and young women do not report their rapes or other sexual assaults. During this time of crisis, this issue is just going to get worse. Yifat Susskind, policy and communications director for MADRE, says that women need more support during this time, but this is what happenings:

“They need support commensurate to the burden they are carrying. Instead, we see women and girls are targeted in all sorts of way, especially gender violence.”

She also mentioned that there are simply more losses for girls and young women, by stating,

“Her grandmother, the one person (a girl) could go to for protection or solace – she doesn’t know if she is dead or alive. Her school, the one safe place she could go every day is destroyed. … “

Ultimately, this earthquake has been such a huge hit for everyone, and it’s wonderful that the world is really stepping up and pouring out love to Haiti. We just can’t forget that women and girls are the ones that are going to be effected by this the most in the short and long run.

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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.

Food for thought!

December 4, 2009 Leave a comment

I have been so busy, and will remain busy all weekend until Monday, which means I can’t post! So instead, I’m putting up lots of interesting links for you to go to and mull over! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Can women learn something from the gay rights movement?

Hm. Surprise, surprise. Rush Limbaugh thinks that people in poverty “don’t deserve healthcare”. You make me sick, Rush. Sick.

One story about a family’s difficult decision to have an abortion, while being a part of the Catholic Church. (They went to Dr. Tiller’s, by the way – there are some great things said about him.)

The Women’s Health Amendment was passed!

Operation Rescue (“pro-life” activist group) have a new target in Dr. Leroy Carhart.

Rosie the Riveter High, in Long Beach, CA is making some serious efforts to teach their female students the trades.

Finally, this Sunday, December 6th, marks the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, where the men were told to leave the room, while 14 women were murdered, just because they were women. Read the basic facts here.

Update on the Richmond, CA gang rape

December 1, 2009 4 comments

This morning, all 6 Richmond, CA gang rape suspects appeared in court. They all pleaded not guilty (eye roll) to their multiple sex related felony charges. Just a reminder, they are all being tried as adults, even though three suspects are 15, 16, and 17.

Here’s a beauty from a friend of one of the defendants:

“As far as with the girl, I’m not saying she is a bad person, but I feel that there had to be something that attracted them if they did it — I don’t know,” said a friend of a defendant Shyan Mason.

Suuuuuure. It had to be HER that attracted them to do it. It of course has to be ALL HER FAULT. Honestly, I’m just going to flat out say that some people are stupid. There, I said it. Anyway, even if she HAD started something with them, the fact that she said NO multiple times means that it’s RAPE. This WAS NOT consensual sex. What don’t people get? Why do people think that even if it’s “the girl’s fault”, that once s he says no, and the sex moves into rape territory, that the perpetrators are any less guilty? Idiots. Sorry, I’m just so sick and tired of people not understanding what the hell rape is.

Click here to read the full news article.

Violence against women has doubled on TV

November 30, 2009 1 comment

Apparently, violence against women has doubled on TV within the last 5 years. This is kind of worrisome, isn’t it? What may even be more worrying is that there is increasing violence against teenage girls. Hmm…I wonder what this says the people (especially men/teenage boys) that are watching? The article explains:

For years, media critics have described television as a cultural legitimizer. At some point, what is seen on television becomes normative. Studies consistently show that media consumers who view televised violence become desensitized to it. This trend is particularly evident for younger viewers.(emphasis mine)

However, no one seems to be concerned about this. TV Watch, a lobbying organization funded by big media corporations, isn’t taking any responsibility for this and says that these stories “provide cautionary lessons”. Suuuuure. Truthfully, some people might take it as a “cautionary lesson”, but you can’t rely on all people to view things that way. It is true that we become very desensitized to things we see on a regular basis. Even as a feminist, I catch myself missing a lot of sexist things, because I’ve been watching or hearing these things my whole life. To view these things as actual wrong actions, we need to learn de-socialize ourselves. But first, we must realize that we even need that de-socialization.

If this is something you are concerned about, please contact the major broadcasting corporations. Click here for ABC, CBS and NBC (the worst of them all!)

A friend helps organize victim’s gang rape?

November 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Police are looking into a gang rape right now, which occurred last Monday in Monroeville, Alabama. There are two girls, and three boys/men involved. One girl being the one who was raped, while the other girl, who was a friend, possibly being the organizer of this gang rape. The three boys/men are 16, 17 and 20. They are being held on charges of felony rape.

When the investigation began, the girl who possibly organized this crime, told police that she and her classmate were planning on having consensual sex with all three of these boys/men. However, now she is being considered to be a part of this organized crime.

The actually victim of the rape did tell the police that it was supposed to be consensual at the beginning, and she felt that it was. However, soon after things started, she repeatedly said no, and yet no one stopped. All three took turns raping her. The other girl, who said that the boys/men tried to rape her, but “nothing happen”.

The victim had severe injuries and had to spend about 3 days in the ICU. Horrible, just horrible and disgusting.

Now what I’m hoping for this case is that it all of a sudden doesn’t become a “let’s blame the girl!” kind of thing. If she had anything to do with the planned rape, then yes, she should be punished. However, I just hope that three boys/men involved won’t be ignored. They are the ones that still chose to do this to a girl. It’s not like they didn’t know what they were doing.

What a discouraging story…especially after the horrific gang rape in Richmond, CA.

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.