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Posts Tagged ‘rape’

Ms Magazine, “Moroccan Women Protest Amina Filali’s Death”
Women activists took to the streets of Rabat, Morocco, to protest the government law which grants freedom to rapists who marry their victims. Why don’t they just pass a law that promotes bank robbers to bank managers? Cause that makes just as much sense. Amina Filali was 16-years-old, was raped, and then forced to marry her rapist. She spent 5-months with this man as her husband before ending her life by drinking rat poison. This law is unbelievably cruel – it forces survivors of sexual violence to re-live their trauma daily, and to live in a perpetual state of fear.

Ms Magazine, “People for the Ethical Treatment of Anyone but Women”
PETA’s latest ad campaign, “Boyfriend Went Vegan”, had the intention to raise awareness that a vegan diet has many men reporting “more energy and stamina after switching to a plant-based diet. Consuming less cholestoral and saturated animal fat promotes freer blood flow to all of the major organs”. The campaign video depicts a half-dressed woman wearing a neck brace and her male partner repairing a hole in the wall, presumably damage from the woman’s head during sex. On the one hand, yes, this could be a sex-positive ad, which accepts that anything can go in the bedroom so long as there is consent. But on the other hand, it is also drawing a clear line to intimate partner violence, and that it is okay if a woman gets injured during sex because she was “asking for it”. What are your thoughts?

Retronaut, Tips for Single Women, 1938
Something a bit lighter for this lovely Friday.

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Huffington Post, “Teach Girls to be Smart, Not Sexy”
While I can get behind Carol Roth’s message, that as the older generation, we have a responsibility to the growing generations of girls to help them develop their sense of self-worth, I struggle with the headline and message that we should be teaching our girls to be smart, and not at all sexy. Roth asks readers if they want to see their daughters and nieces grow up to be a President or a Playboy bunny. In an ideal world, my daughter would be BOTH President and Playboy bunny!

Jezebel, “School allegedly made girl write apology to her rapist”
Disgusting treatment of a young woman with disabilities by the education system. No comment.

Feministing, “JC Penny’s Back to School T-shirts”
“I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me”. Isn’t that a fantastic t-shirt to put your daughter in as she heads back to school? This completely relates to Carol Roth’s argument, and in this situation, I agree. This t-shirt sends the message that girls need to focus on their looks, girls do not need to be smart, and boys are the intelligent ones. Not a fan of this back-to-school ensemble. JC Penny t-shirt FAIL.

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Feministing, “I should not be billed for my rape kit”
Republican Govenor Chris Christie of New Jersey is stalling on his review of legislature that will no longer bill victims of sexual violence for services directly associated with forensic examinations. Not sure why Govenor Christie needs to think about whether it is appropriate for victims of sexual violence to re-live the trauma by essentially paying for the investigation into their own assault.

Guardian, “A diet book for six-year-old girls: the worst idea ever?”
In short, yes, worst idea ever. Maggie Goes on a Diet, tells the story of Maggie, 14 years old, who goes on a diet. Yes, that is the plot. The best part? The book is listed as appropriate for children ages 6-12. I know that when I have children, I’m going to buy them all this book for their 6th birthdays, so they all have a great chance at developing eating disorders and body image and self-esteem issues.

Feministe, “That’s an interesting definition of ‘victim’ you’ve got there”
Nabil Samaan claims that his brother, Mourad ‘Moni’ Samaan, was a victim of a broken family court system. Mourad and his ex-wife Marcia Fay, were fighting for custody of their 2-year-old daughter. The couple clearly had issues, because they had never been in agreement about their daughters’ name: Madeline Layla Samaan-Fay (the Samaan family wanted her first name Layla, while the Fay family wanted it Madeline). So, to settle things once and for all, Mourad shot and killed his daughter and then killed himself. Mourad’s brother, Nabil, states: “I think he did the right thing. I’m proud of my brother and now he’s in a better place. He’s at peace. His daughter’s at peace. She’ll have one name now, and we can move on. And hopefully the court will learn a little thing about justice.” Are you fucking kidding me?

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Unfortunately I was not able to attend this class (November 9th). I am not sure what policy presentations happened in the class, so I will focus this journal entry on another topic. In Working With Women Surviving Sexual Violence I, we watched a film that looked at the war in Bosnia (1992 – 1995), focussing specifically on the issue of using rape as a weapon of war.

rape as a weapon of war

When people talk about war, they invoke images of men, of guns and explosives, or tanks and armour, and of following a military combat code of honour. And why not? It is portrayed in all the Hollywood war movies. Opposing forces cease fire to allow for a moment of silence over the dead, or to celebrate a holiday, or carry back to base a fallen soldier. What we don’t talk about are the many other people who are affected by war: the women who are sexually assaulted and raped as tactics of war.

A few facts (taken from Rape: Weapon of War):

“In the resolution, passed 19 June, the Security Council noted that ‘women and girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instil fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group’.”

“In Liberia, which is slowly recovering after a 13-year civil war, a government survey in 10 counties in 2005-2006 showed that 92 per cent of the 1,600 women interviewed had experienced sexual violence, including rape.”

So why is rape used as a weapon of war? Because of the power inherent in the act. Rape is a weapon that carries the power to dehumanize, destroy, humiliate and punish. Women who are raped may experience psychological and physical harm/trauma, torture and dehumanization (among other things). The men who are made to watch as their kins-women are raped, experience punishment, a sense of failure, trauma, and a loss of power. So for groups at war with one another, the tactic of raping women in front of men, serves to destroy the community: the raped women may be ostracized and abandoned for the humiliation they have brought upon their family/community and there is a strong sense of shame and dehumanization within the community, which serves to weaken the community.

Rape is also used as a means of forced pregnancy. In some instances, rape may be used as a means to blur ethnic boundaries, or to engage in ethnic cleansing. It is clear in this case that patriarchy and racism are intersecting in a way that places women in an extremely traumatic and difficult situation. In the film, there was a young woman who was raped by a soldier and became pregnant with his child. This woman’s mother told filmmakers that she was living with her daughter because of her fear that her daughter would kill the newborn out of hatred and fear.

Tomorrow I will be doing my policy presentation on reproductive justice. I will spend a few minutes talking about the issue of choice for women to make decisions about their bodies. In Canada, we have seen how only certain women have been, and still are, afforded certain rights over their reproductive bodies. Canada, like many countries, has a history of denying rights and services to women from marginalized groups, even to the point of coerced sterilizations in an attempt to cleanse the Canadian population (First Nations women). The links between rape as a weapon of war and the lack of choice for women to make decisions about their bodies, their reproductive health, and their sexuality, are clear: we see the intersecting of sexism, racism and classism working to deny women choices, thus denying them power.

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