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Posts Tagged ‘international’

Mass female genital mutilation events held in Indonesia

January 19, 2008 7 comments

Female circumcisers

I was just going to heap this into “Lots of news”, but when I read it, I knew I actually had to do a piece about it. The New York Times has an article about female “circumcisers” who cut off a piece of a girls genitalia, in Indonesia. It is female genital mutilation, but it just looks more sanitary and humane because it’s sponsored by the Assalaam Foundation.

The procedure takes several minutes. There is little blood involved. Afterward, the girl’s genital area is swabbed with the antiseptic Betadine. She is then helped back into her underwear and returned to a waiting area, where she’s given a small, celebratory gift — some fruit or a donated piece of clothing — and offered a cup of milk for refreshment.

Oh yay! A refreshment! That’s really going to make everything so much better. It’s like they think it’s so much better because the “area” is swabbed with some antiseptic and the girls are given a gift. Yuck. Yuck, yuck, yuck!

But the best part is, is that people actually think there are benefits to this. Benefits to cutting some girly genitalia off.

“One, it will stabilize her libido,” he said through an interpreter. “Two, it will make a woman look more beautiful in the eyes of her husband. And three, it will balance her psychology.”

First, bull shit. Alright, my libido is perfectly fine, and I have all my genitalia. Then again, I guess these people want to take away her libido, so that the man’s sexual pleasure is the main focal point. And you know, that’s totally OK, because women are just baby makers! And yet again, something else that has to do with men. She’ll be more beautiful in the eyes of her husband? Seriously, that is the most messed up thinking one could ever have. I know I’m being potentially offensive here, but FGM is very offensive to me. The second “benefit” just reinforces that men are more important than women and always will be. And the third “benefit,” I don’t really get. Balance her psychology? Yeah, I don’t think so. It may definitely make her have psychological problems, but it’s not going to balance anything.

There are absolutely no health, sexual or psychological benefits for FGM. It is a disgusting practice, and unfortunately the mothers who bring their daughters to this “mass circumcising event” believe that this is the right thing to do and that it will actually improve their daughter in some way, or are just going along with the social expectations of it all.

This article is definitely a must-read and it has several pictures from the event (none are graphic), which do show how horrifying it can be for a young girl.

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The war against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo

January 14, 2008 Leave a comment

This absolutely breaks my heart and disgusts me so much at the same time. We know that a civil war is going on in Congo, but something we rarely hear about is the fact that women are continually and systematically raped during these kinds of conflicts. We know it’s something that happens, but we don’t like to think about and don’t bother to think about it because we feel like we can’t do anything about it. Maybe there are a few more reasons that you can come up with! But nonetheless, it’s important to know that this is going on. I’m not going to quote a lot of the gory details here, because it’s graphic, but please read the article. It’s a must.

Anneka Van Woudenberg, who is the senior Congo researcher at Human Rights Watch, explains the raping that is occurring in Congo.

I think what’s different in Congo is the scale and the systematic nature of it, indeed, as well, the brutality. This is not rape because soldiers have got bored and have nothing to do. It is a way to ensure that communities accept the power and authority of that particular armed group. This is about showing terror. This is about using it as a weapon of war.

I honestly don’t have too many words about this. It is disgusting and disheartening to know that thousands of women are becoming victims of “femicide” because of this war. But even further really, these women are having genocide committed against them. Many people simply think that killing is the only definition of genocide and just think of Hitler, but according to the UN Convention on Genocide, one of the definitions is “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.” This is clearly happening, and it’s clearly intentional.

When will this genocide end? And why is it being ignored?

Greek women protest by going in men-only sanctuary

January 10, 2008 Leave a comment

About six Greek women have protested the rule of the “all-male” monastic sanctuary in northern Greece. This is a 1000-year-old rule, and entering this sanctuary was a “purely symbolic act.”

Parliament member Litsa Amanatidou Paschalidou was among the women who entered the sanctuary. She called it a “purely symbolic act,” which was meant to send a message to the church to “pursue policies which serve the public and not its financial interest.” The protesters, who say the monks are making illegal claims on their property, broke away from a rally of more than 400 people and evaded a police cordon, entering Athos grounds.

So, this is a land problem, not a problem with the only-male sanctuary, but it’s pretty clear that if they violated a rule that has been around for 1000 years, then they would make some impact, as women. It’s impressive to see that women are taking the charge on this land and property issue. Hey, maybe women just have more of a sense at what’s going on is bullshit, considering they can’t enter the sanctuary…because they have a vagina, which makes them soooo inferior.

Uh, I freaking love these women!

January 7, 2008 1 comment

A group of women in India have started their own political party. Rock on. That’s so sweet! Suman Krishan Kant is the president of this 100 member (almost) all-women political party, who is also the widow of the former vice president, Krishan Kumar Kant.

“It is for the first time in the history of India that a national political party has been formed by women,” she says. “In fact it is the only party of women in the world. We need to ensure that the issues of priority concern to half of its population remain in the forefront of the pressing issues on India’s national agenda.”

Presently, women only hold 8 percent of seats in parliament, and the party wants that to change to 50 percent, which would be an amazing thing to see, but it’s also an amazing task to take on at the same time. It is true that some women do hold top seats in parliament, but that is few and far between, as gender inequality is still rampant in India, even though women have legal equality.

In November, the World Economic Forum’s latest gender gap index put India among the world’s 10 most gender-biased economies, with women’s participation in the paid work force at 36 percent.

Wow. These women are completely extraordinary and inspirational. And they make the point of “not hating men, and wanting and needing their support,” which is really great, because it’s about equality, and working together to create a better world; not squashing the other gender. It is just so encouraging to see something like this happen in India, and like Kant said, it really is the only (almost) all-women’s political party. Just, so cool. I love these women.

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

December 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Most of you probably already know this, but it’s good to put it here anyway. Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan was assassinated after addressing a large group of her supporters.

Not only was she killed, but 22 others as well. The President said that the people who assassinated her, and killed 22 others, were the “extremists that Pakistan is fighting a war against.”

Luckily, I do not think that this is a true women’s issue. Her father and brothers were also assassinated. But all in all, we have to mourn the loss of this great woman who did so much for her country, and just by being a political leader, many women as well.

The sex slave industry in Britain

December 21, 2007 1 comment

Apparently there are human trafficking problems happening in Britain, and some political leaders are wanting it to stop before Britain becomes “the sex slave capital of Europe.” There is a new legislation being put forth that will make it illegal for a man to pay for sex.

Public prostitution and “kerb crawling” is already illegal in Britain, but this would go further.

The idea is to extend successful action against kerb crawlers to brothels and massage parlours where the majority of trafficked sex slaves in Britain are forced to operate.

It’s essentially hoping to stop the trafficking obviously, but it’s also hoping that men learn to take responsibility for feeding into the sex slave industry by visiting places like massage parlours and brothels.

I think it definitely has a good intention and should be commended…but after reading the comment section, it looks like people (mostly men) disagree with this. What do you all think? Bad idea? Good idea? Not looking at the real issues?

Zimbabwe women are forced to give sexual favours to survive

November 30, 2007 1 comment

Because of the economic state in Zimbabwe, women are having to give sexual favours to men to be able to support their families.

Miriam Madziwa writes that each time the Zimbabwe dollar tumbles, women’s survival chances take a corresponding knock, as it means more sexual favours to seal deals with men, who by virtue of their jobs or connections are able to make or break women’s survival attempts.

For the cash-strapped women, sex offers an easy and cheap, albeit risky, means of supporting their families. In return, they are able to secure scarce goods as well as discounts on transport and accommodation and their businesses flourish.

So sad.

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