Tunisian Woman Sent to a Psychiatric Hospital for Participating in Femen

She posted topless pictures of herself to the Femen Tunisia Facebook page she created, so her parents took her to a psychiatric hospital. That may not be the worst thing that happens to her:

The head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Tunisia, Almi Adel, a Salafi Islamic preacher, has called for Amina to be "stoned to death" for posting the images. He warned that Amina's action could cause "epidemics and disasters" and "could be contagious and give ideas to other women." Media reports say Tunisian secular law would punish her with up to two years in prison.

I tend to be a little skeptical of Femen because their protests verge on grandstanding and their agenda seems confused or unfocused. Lately, though, I'm starting to wonder if it might be just the right kind of protest for the parts of the world in which the group is most active.

Girl in Maldives Faces Flogging For Premarital Sex

A court in the tiny island of Feydhoo last week sentenced the 15-year-old to 100 lashes after she admitted to having consensual sex, a court official said on condition of anonymity because he had no formal approval to speak to the media.

The official said details of the consensual sex emerged when police investigated her complaint against her stepfather and another man of sexually abusing her.

No mention of a flogging sentence for the two men, which tells me just about everything I want to know about this country for the time being.

Via The Frisky.

American Nuns Hope For Sister-Friendly New Pope

“There were two investigations of Catholic sisters undertaken during Pope Benedict’s era,” Sister Florence Deacon, the current president of the [Leadership Conference of Women Religious], told The Daily Beast after Pope Benedict’s resignation announcement. One damning report quoted Pope John Paul II’s gratitude for the sisters’ “deep love of the church and generous service to God’s people” but then lashed out at the sisters for not toeing the Vatican’s party line. “While we appreciate this expression of gratitude, we found the whole process of the investigation flawed and question the findings and the mandate given to LCWR,” Deacon says. “We hope a new pope would be open to dialogue with the U.S. Catholic sisters and work with us to support our mission.”

Laudable optimism, but the Vatican doesn’t exactly have a rich history of proactively empowering under-represented or oppressed groups. I’m guessing the first papal retirement in nearly 600 years doesn’t indicate impending upheaval; you can bet that someone with the pope’s power and responsibility only retires voluntarily if he has an ironclad succession plan in place, and people generally want their successor to behave as much like themselves as possible.

Ask Your Father, Dear

Single women in Iran will need the permission of their guardians to be able to leave the country if a new bill secures enough votes in parliament.

At the moment, unmarried women and men above the age of 18 can leave the country if they have a passport but, according to the new bill, single women would need official consent from their guardian, usually their father.

Married women in Iran always need their husband’s permission to be able to hold a passport both under the current legislation that dates back to the pre–1979 Islamic revolution and under the proposed bill.

Iran has also introduced legislation that will authorize the creation of a system for assigning an actual monetary value to each individual female, to further reinforce the fact that women are just property for men to administer as they see fit.[1]

  1. Just me talking aloud for the collective Iranian male subconscious.  ↩

Malala Yousafzai Discharged From Hospital

Dave Rosser, medical director at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS foundation trust, said: “Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery. Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers. She will return to the hospital as an outpatient and our therapies team will continue to work with her at home to supervise her onward care.”

At this point her recovery has not really been in doubt for some time, but this is still exciting news.

Kenya Hospital Imprisons New Mothers With No Money

Two mothers who live in a mud-wall and tin-roof slum a short walk from the maternity hospital, which is affiliated with the Nairobi City Council, told The Associated Press that Pumwani [Hospital] wouldn’t let them leave after delivering their babies. The bills the mothers couldn’t afford were $60 and $160. Guards would beat mothers with sticks who tried to leave without paying, one of the women said.

Margaret Anyoso, the woman who owed $160, typically earns $5 or less a day. You don’t have to believe in universal health care to see how wrong this is. We abolished debtor’s prisons for a reason.

Via Jezebel.

"Healthy Self Criticism"

An Italian priest has provoked outrage after putting up an article that said women were partly to blame for encouraging domestic violence by failing to clean their houses and cook properly and for wearing tight and provocative clothing.

The priest, Piero Corsi, later apologized, and his bishop ordered the article taken down, but he does not appear to have been punished in any way. This is unacceptable, particularly for an organization with as many PR problems as the Roman Catholic Church. If they want us to believe they are not indifferent to oppression—or, worse, actively engaged in perpetuating it—they need to develop a much lower tolerance for this sort of thing.

The Market at Work

Remember the dentist who fired his assistant for being too hot? He’s now getting one-star Yelp reviews because of it. Here’s one example:

This dentist fired his assistant because he was afraid he would want to start an affair with her… even though she never indicated she wanted to start an affair with him. A man who apparently can’t control his sexual impulses enough to be able to work side by side with a woman certainly doesn’t deserve the business of any women. What if you are under sedation and he finds you so pretty he can’t control himself enough not to touch your lady bits? Sexist, misogynistic pig.

The information age keeps making it harder and harder to be an oppressor.

Via Feministe.

Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill Is a Smoke Screen

Remember the terrible bill that could imprison gays for life? The Daily Beast’s Jocelyn Edwards thinks it’s just a political gambit to distract from other, bigger issues:

The latest outburst of rhetoric over the bill, which lawmakers say no longer contains the death penalty but retains jail terms of up to life in prison, comes just as the government is under pressure on a number of fronts. In October, the news broke that $15 million dollars earmarked for the recovery of parts of the country devastated by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army had ended up in the private bank accounts of officials in the prime minister’s office.

I’d be thrilled to learn that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has no plans whatsoever to sign the bill, but the fact that it actually could arrive on his desk through legitimate legislative process still means it has significant support from the population.

Afghan Women’s Affairs Official Murdered

This makes twice in six months that this post has been vacated by the assassination of the woman occupying it. The Taliban is likely behind the killing.

Aren’t we currently occupying Afghanistan?