Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Being a Woman

The objectification of women in both rock music and video games has been discussed over and over again, but what is interesting in this post by Cara at The Curvature is her description of the hurt that she felt when she was confronted with it unsuspectingly. Warning: the article linked contains some strong language.

Cara writes:

Unlike most similar horrors that I run across, I don’t know how to be cute or sarcastic about this. Because I take it personally. Very personally. I’ve sunk a lot of money into this game. I’ve invested a lot of time and effort. I just spent $50 on this thing, which, for the record, I couldn’t really afford. And I get the game home to have it say to me “oh, by the way — we hate you.”

I’m more than pissed off. I’m hurt. I feel like I don’t exist. . .

I’m sure that many of you out there can relate — have seen shows, or book series, music, etc. that you love and have been faithful to suddenly turn against you without notice, attack you with misogynist or racist imagery/ideas. It seems silly on the surface, but it is violating and painful. I genuinely do feel betrayed right now, like I’ve been handing my money and loyalty to someone who doesn’t want to admit that I even exist.

I still haven’t been able to bring myself to play.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Forced Pregnancy as Abuse

Sometimes the articles we post won't need any commentary from us. This is one of those times:


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's Not DV If She Liked It

A judge on Friday acquitted a Maryland man of an assault on his girlfriend in the parking lot of a gas station because she refused to testify against him. It isn't at all uncommon that domestic violence victims refuse to testify against their partners in court, for fear of retribution, because incarceration would remove her family's source of income, or for other reasons. This case was different, however, because a police officer witnessed the assault.

Judge Paul Harris's excuse for acquittal:
The judge said that without the woman's testimony, he could not be sure that she hadn't consented to the attack. "You have very rare cases; sadomasochists sometimes like to get beat up."
Because the victim wasn't willing to testify, despite other witnesses, the judge assumed that the attack was welcomed and that a violent man should therefore go free. Other legal experts disagree:

"Unless he found that the officer was not credible, it appears that there would be enough by which a typical fact-finder, a reasonable fact-finder, would have found the element of second- degree assault to exist in that case beyond a reasonable doubt," Byron L. Warnken, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, said. "The notion that you can't possibly try this case without the victim there is incorrect. What would we do in a murder case?"
Later Harris said the sadomasochist comment was intended as a hypothetical. "I'm probably as against domestic violence as anybody, when the case is proven." Comforting.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

In Remembrance

Tonight, Women's Resource Center will hold our 16th Annual Candlelight Vigil, where we will read aloud the names of 70 individuals whose lives were taken in the past year in incidents of domestic violence. Statistics show that somewhere between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 women in Georgia will experience abuse by an intimate partner during her lifetime. Georgia also ranks 7th in the country in the number of women killed by men.

Please join us and approximately 200 other community members as we remember these women, men, and children. The Vigil will take place at the Decatur Gazebo behind the historic courthouse at 101 East Court Square beginning at 7pm. If you cannot attend, please observe a moment of silence and solidarity at 7:30, when we will begin the candlelighting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vote Expected Today on Amendment Harmful to Immigrant Surivivors

Via the National Immigrant Justice Center:

Vote expected today: Senator Vitter has offered a harmful amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill that would undercut community policing and endanger public safety, particularly the safety of immigrants who are victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Sen. Vitter's amendment #3277 (read it here) attempts to deny Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding to cities and states that pledge not to ask about the immigration status of crime victims and witnesses.

Both Legal Momentum, an advocacy organization for women and girls, and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) sent letters to senators this morning warning that battered immigrants would be hurt by the proposed legislation.

"Victims of domestic violence need to trust the police to seek assistance, but fear of being reported to immigration officials is one of the most significant factors preventing immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking from seeking help," writes Lisalyn Jacobs, Legal Momentum's vice president of government relations.

NAESV President Monika Johnson Hostler points out that sexual assault is already one of the most under-reported crimes. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, she says, only 36% of rape and sexual assault victims report the crime to the police. "As a result, NAESV absolutely opposes this measure which will create additional barriers to victims coming forward," she writes.
Contact your senators and explain that the Vitter amendment #3277 will harm our cities by decreasing support for law enforcement and public safety. The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Domestic Violence Memorial Vandalized

A memorial display for Domestic Violence Awareness Month at a Wisconsin Women's Center has been vandalized. The display consisted of 21 full-sized purple silhouettes representing those killed in that county in domestic violence fatalities. Sometime on Sunday, a vandal or vandals snapped off one of the silhouettes at the legs. Another one was knocked over and had an arm broken off.

"I don't know if this is some horrible prank" or worse, said Mary Hennis, the director of counseling services for the Women's Center.

The worst part, Hennis said, is that someone might have been trying to frighten women at the center, or "re-victimize" the families of those killed in domestic violence incidents.
This malicious act of destruction reminds us that there are individuals in our communities who continue to think that violence is acceptable, and who want to share that message with us in a hurtful and harmful way. We stand in solidarity with our sisters in Wisconsin, and will remember them at our own domestic violence memorial on Thursday evening.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Preaching the End of DV

In an insightful post, blogger Bob Carlton calls for pastors and youth pastors (mostly male) to be more Jesus-like by taking a stand against domestic violence:

What I am saying is that:

  • perpetuating a mindset where women are treated like property
  • where masculinity is equated with power and dominion
  • where jocularity and "radical" trappings are used to mask privilege and oppression
all of these things are the breeding grounds for the manner in which religion is far too often a co-conspirator in the domestic violence that is rampant in our world.

Rather than swaggering proudly as a provocateur, how Jesus-like would it be if pastors & youth ministers - who are still predominately male - used their pulpits to draw awareness to the epidemic and to encourage people who follow their word to use [community resources].

Rather than use our power to bully or sit silently or perpetuate violence, how Jesus-like would it be if men of faith worked to end violence and include women to their rightful place as 'full humans, emotional and rational, leading and being led, protecting and protected, gifted and limited".
We encourage everyone to visit his blog for the full post.

Follow-up: We also encourage you to read these remarks by Reverend Casper James Green, made at a domestic violence awareness rally.

... Let us rally today, in the hope of domestic peace, and the assurance that it is never God's will that anyone of God's precious children, whether boys or girls, men or women, old or young - it is never God's intention - to use boyfriends and husbands as instruments of divine punishment or retribution. It is never God's intention that anyone live in fear in their own home. It is never the intention of God that anyone should live in captivity and fear. So let us rally in the hope of domestic peace, knowing that peace in our time is God's will. Let us rally in the hope of domestic peace, knowing that the kingdom of God is not reflected in notions about the home being a man's castle. Let us rally in the hope of domestic peace, knowing if you are a Christian, that Christ came to bring peace to you; knowing that if you are Jewish, that the peace of the house is the shalom of right relationships; knowing that if you are Muslim, that in Islam is peace; knowing even if you are not sure what you believe, or if do not believe, that there can be no justification, no excuse, no rationalization for harming those you have made a solemn promise to love.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Who Pays?

In a what we intended to be a more lighthearted post, we wanted to take a look at this article from the New York Times that discusses the difficulties that high-earning professional women face when dating. What does it say about our society that men can be so threatened by their female partner's earning power that it is the sole reason for ending a relationship?

The lightheartedness ends, however, when we remember the many women who come to us with no financial resources to begin a new life of safety, because her husband or partner insisted on being the sole breadwinner. We can't help but think that the mindsets are connected, and that it is no surprise that some men can't relinquish that feeling of power that he has in a relationship where he is the "provider."

Financial abuse is not new, but abusers are learning to use more creative means in asserting their control. For instance, we are seeing a new population of women who are victims of identity theft by their partners, and are now dealing with the long-term credit consequences of that abuse.

We challenge you to examine the ways that money is handled in your household. Does one party make all the decisions regarding how it is spent? Does your partner try to prevent you from working outside the home if you want? If so, it may be time to look honestly at other aspects of your relationship too. If what you discover raises some questions, you can call our 24-hour hotline at 404-688-9436 to speak to an advocate.

Can brain damage cause domestic violence?

A string of articles available online last week question if possible brain damage caused by numerous concussions in the ring may be the cause of the Benoit family murder-suicide. Our question is this: can external factors like steroids, brain damage, or even alcohol use cause domestic violence?

International Tribunal to Consider US Domestic Violence Case

An international human rights tribunal has accepted a petition by a US mother of three small girls who were murdered by her estranged husband after local police refused to act. The case marks the first time the tribunal has indicated that countries in the Americas, including the US, may be responsible for protecting victims from private acts of violence under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, the human rights doctrine adopted in 1948. Visit The Feminist Majority Foundation for the full story.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Some Call It Stalking, I Call It Love

Now being sold at Walmart. These shirts, marketed at teens and young adults, are clearly sending the message that stalking isn't dangerous, but is instead proof of love. But far from simply not wanting to be apart, stalking can be terrifying and haunting for its victims. A stalking victim quoted in the above article had this to say:

"People don't realize how serious stalking is," she said. "You
constantly live in fear, look over your shoulder and suffer from psychological
and physical symptoms due to the stress of the stalker."

She wondered aloud: What's next? "Some say it's rape, I call it hot sex"? Or: "Some call it domestic violence, I say I'm just teaching her a lesson"?
As of today, we have found no indication that Walmart has taken the shirts off the racks, even after numerous complaints have been filed. If you are as outraged as we are, feel free to give the Walmart Corporate Headquarters a call or an email to let them know what you think.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Italian Policewomen Get High Heels

Some 14,750 Italian policewomen received high heels this week as part of an attempt to make their uniforms look "younger and sexier."

You might be asking why this topic is raised on a domestic violence blog, but we wanted to examine the motives behind a decision that would make female police officers look sexier while impeding their ability to do their jobs effectively. Are Italian police departments saying that it is more important for female officers to look pretty than it is for them to combat crime? And what values is this communicating to women in Italy? Maybe that their ultimate value, even over professional success, comes from their attractiveness?

How might this relate to domestic violence? Does viewing women as nothing more than sex objects somehow contribute to society's acceptance of violence toward them? And even though Italy is considered a fashion capital of the world, is it so far-fetched to imagine something similar happening here?