violence

Street Harasser Responds to Rejection With Stabbing

The 33-year-old victim was walking down the street when a stranger approached her and propositioned her, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

When she rejected him, the man became very upset and slashed the victim in the face and stabbed her in the arm, Esparza said.

Didn’t she realize she was supposed to feel flattered by the attention?

Via Jezebel.

House GOP Lets Violence Against Women Act Die Without A Vote

So when I said this:

But The Violence Against Women Act of 2012 passed the House earlier this year, and while partisanship and social conservatism have held up reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of the bill, it is still expected to eventually pass and be signed into law.

That was obviously far from true. Hollow victory for anyone wishing to score claim chowder points against me, though.

The GOP’s reason for letting the bill die:

In April, the Senate with bipartisan support passed a version of VAWA that extended protections to three groups of domestic violence victims who had not been covered by the original law, but House Republicans refused to support the legislation with those provisions, saying the measures were politically driven.

What three groups were those, you ask? LGBT, undocumented immigrants, and Native Americans. I don’t even understand the inclusion of Native Americans, and although I know why Republicans voted against additional protection for undocumented immigrants and LGBT women, I can’t at all sympathize. Even believing that someone is destroying our economy or committing an abomination against The Lord doesn’t justify tolerating violence against them.

Kids, Mental Illness and Violence

In light of the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Jill Filipovic urges us to be careful when parsing these issues:

The terrifying truth is that sometimes, there is no easy “cure” for the mental illnesses that mean a lack of empathy and a propensity toward violence. What’s needed is ongoing treatment and enormous social support for people who are ill, because there’s often not one pill you can take to simply cure a complex problem. This mother, for example, writes about a son who has violent outbursts and who she seems to believe is actually capable of killing her. He’s 13. There aren’t many options for him—the best a social worker can offer is to get him convicted of a crime so that he’s in “the system.” But it’s pretty clear that “the system” is not a good place for mentally ill children (or mentally ill adults). At the same time, this boy is a physical threat not just to his mother, but to his siblings and the people he encounters every day. What it sounds like he needs is ongoing, regular mental health care and therapy in addition to medication (if they can ever find one that works). And he’s not the only one — as Feministe friend Kate Harding also pointed out, there are kids who fit the profile of psychopathy, whose treatment options are less than clear-cut.

I can certainly attest to this, having worked with several young men who clearly needed to be in more acute care than a group home but whose case workers or probation officers seemed to have no better solutions to offer them.

Should I Pray For My Abuser?

A feminist raised to think of anger and aggression as relational tools tries to humanize her oppressor through prayer:

My marriage to violence had deceived me into believing that peace required payment. I spent twenty years trying to scream my abuser into submission, demanding reparations for my pain. I was a fraud, not a feminist: my actions only served to deepen the divide between war and peace.

In addition to the thoughtful, spiritual message, I also enjoyed the alliterative streak that runs through the entire narrative.

Afghani Woman Enlists Her Nephew to Behead Her Daughter-in-Law

“My uncle’s wife told me I should kill this person. I said I couldn’t kill her. She told me, ‘If you can’t kill her, then help me do it.’ She forced me and I helped her,” Najibullah recalled.

“She took me inside her home and hid me. When [Mahgul’s] husband left to go to the bakery, she told me to come out. She held her [Mahgul’s] legs while I beheaded her,” he continued. “I asked her [Parigul] why she wanted to behead Mahgul. She said, ‘I hate her because she doesn’t listen to me.’”

Just one incident in an appalling and unceasing pattern of violence against women.

Who Needs Logic When We're Defending the Truth?

I wish some feminist writers would make it easier for me to agree with them wholeheartedly. Today’s exhibit is a piece by Soraya Chemaly for The Huffington Post that opens with this story:

Today 27-year-old Sonali Mukherjee will have surgery to help reconstruct her face. It melted nine years ago, leaving a painful mask in its place, after three young men poured acid on her while she slept. This was their response to her fending off their relentless sexual advances as she made her way to school every morning.

Chemaly extends the moral of Mukherjee’s heartbreaking story to our own country by linking to several reports of men in the U.S. setting women (usually their girlfriends) on fire. The accounts are all horrific. At least we can have the satisfaction of knowing that each of these crimes is being investigated or prosecuted, and some of them have resulted in actual convictions—facts that I had to discover for myself, since Chemaly fails to mention them.

Chemaly then transitions to indicting the concept of “family privacy”, and this is where she completely loses me:

“The family’s right to privacy” is a specific code for certain male heads-of-households’ exercise of traditionally held privileges of male domination that allow the violation of the human rights of the women and girls they are intimate with. It doesn’t matter where in the world the girls and women are. This family, in which a man made his young children videotape 51 minutes of his verbal and physical abuse of his wife, had a right to privacy.

Reading the news coverage Chemaly links to reveals that the man in question is now serving the longest-ever sentence for domestic violence that didn’t result in the death of the victim. I’m not sure how a severely-punished crime indicates that the United States has implemented a “family privacy” policy destructive to women’s bodily rights. The only other evidence Chemaly provides for this assertion is “our inability to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act”. But The Violence Against Women Act of 2012 passed the House earlier this year, and while partisanship and social conservatism have held up reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of the bill, it is still expected to eventually pass and be signed into law.

And here Chemaly gets to what seems to be her real point: Republicans are evil. She offers plenty of evidence, much of it by this point news to no one. While I continue in my belief that most Republicans, like most people, are decent, well-motivated, and humane, the GOP has certainly given women some shoddy treatment of late. And that’s what is so irksome about Chemaly’s entire article: if what she really wanted to do was point the finger at The Right for perpetuating gender stereotypes, limiting access to women’s health care, and engaging in slut- and victim-shaming, she had plenty of tools at her disposal. There was no need for this series of shaky connections subtly attempting to blame conservatives for perpetuating a culture of violence against women that extends all the way to India.

She raises an interesting question at the end, though:

For men, the ability to be successful and pursue their individual destinies in traditional ways might require the government to be small and go away. This tenacious idea has meant that women’s rights were subsumed. For individual women, in order to offset systematized sexism, misogyny, and violence (most of which takes place at the hands of individual men in a domestic context), it may mean that government has to intercede in new and different ways.

Chemaly and I would probably disagree about exactly how and when the government should intercede, but I’ve been thinking about this very issue for several weeks now.

Via Fem2pt0.

Hollaback!

A crowdsourced movement to end street harassment through information-gathering, shared storytelling, and strategic mutual empowerment:

We believe that everyone has a right to feel safe and confident without being objectified. Sexual harassment is a gateway crime that creates a cultural environment that makes gender-based violence OK.

My wife could scarcely walk to school in downtown Los Angeles without being hit on or physically harassed, or enduring comments about her vagina.