Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Some Rare Good News

A San Antonio man has been successful in his quest to shut down a Dallas-based 'wife-beaters' Website., a Dallas-based business that sold wife-beater T-shirts, has been shut down after a San Antonio man complained to the company hosting the site.

Cbeyond, a communications company based in Atlanta, said it shut down the site Monday after receiving a complaint last week.

The site was removed because its customer violated its contract by reselling Web hosting services to, said Bill Weber, CBeyond’s general counsel. The content of also violated Cbeyond’s acceptable use policy, which prohibits “objectionable information of any kind.”

The Web site sold white tank tops, commonly referred to as “wife-beaters,” and gave a discount to anyone who could prove they were convicted of wife beating.

“We are not going to host a site like that,” Weber said.

When reached on Tuesday, business owner James Doolin said he would return The Dallas Morning News’ call but never did.

Patrick Greene, who has for weeks searched for a way to remove the site from the Internet, said he was pleased that the site was removed. “I felt like I was helping thousands of women,” he said.

After filing complaints with the FBI, the Texas attorney general and the Better Business Bureau to shut down the site, but was unsuccessful. On Friday, he contacted Cbeyond to report that the site was offensive and violated the company’s policy.

Greene said he plans to keep looking for - just in case Doolin finds another host for his material.

Thank you, Mr. Greene, for not dismissing this as a harmless joke like so many others do.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No Guns for Batterers

From the JD Journal:

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided in favor of a law barring people convicted of domestic violence crimes from owning guns. In a 7-2 decision, the court said laws against battery do not need to specifically mention domestic violence to fall under the domestic violence gun ban. That ban was enacted in 1996.

The case centered around Randy Edwards Hayes, a West Virginia man who had previously been convicted of domestic violence. Thus his ownership of a gun lead to a federal felony indictment for gun possession.

“If the case had gone the other way, there are thousands of people who currently are prohibited from buying guns who would have been allowed to buy guns. Women in abusive situations would have been more at risk. Police officers responding to domestic violence calls would have been more at risk,” said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The two dissenting opinions in the case were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anton Scalia.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ending DV: A Male Perspective

This piece by Kevin Powell at Huffington Post (who gives a shout-out to our friends at Men Stopping Violence) is a must-read. In it, he discusses the male role in ending violence against women.

Some highlights:

As I sought therapy during and especially after that period, I came to realize that I and other males in this country treated women and girls in this dehumanizing way because somewhere along our journey we were told we could. It may have been in our households; it may have been on our block or in our neighborhoods; it may have been the numerous times these actions were reinforced for us in our favorite music, our favorite television programs, or our favorite films.

To paraphrase Gandhi, make a conscious decision to be the change we need to see. Question where and how you've received your definitions of manhood to this point. This is not easy as a man in a male-dominated society because it means you have to question every single privilege men have vis-à-vis women. It means that you might have to give up something or some things that have historically benefited you because of your gender. And people who are privileged, who are in positions of power, are seldom willing to give up that privilege or power. But we must, because the alternative is to continue to hear stories of women and girls being beaten, raped, or murdered by some male in their environment, be it the college campus, the inner city, the church, or corporate America. And we men and boys need to come to a realization that sexism--the belief that women and girls are inferior to men and boys, that this really is a man's world, and the female is just here to serve our needs regardless of how we treat them--is as destructive to ourselves as it is to women and girls. As I've said in many speeches through the years, even if you are not the kind of man who would ever yell at a woman, curse at a woman, touch a woman in a public or private space without her permission, hit or beat a woman, much less kill a woman--you are just as guilty if you see other men and boys doing these things and you say or do nothing to stop them.
More of us men and boys need to take public stands in opposition to violence against women and girls. That means we cannot be afraid to be the only male speaking out against such an injustice. It also means that no matter what kind of male you are, working-class or middle-class or super-wealthy, no matter what race, no matter what educational background, and so on, that you can begin to use language that supports and affirms the lives and humanity of women and girls. You can actually be friends with females, and not merely view them as sexual partners to be conquered. Stop saying "boys will be boys" when you see male children fighting or being aggressive or acting up. Do not sexually harass women you work with then try to brush it off if a woman challenges you on the harassment. If you can't get over a breakup, get counseling. As a male ally, help women friends leave bad or abusive relationships. Do not criticize economically independent women because this independence helps free them in many cases from staying in abusive situations. Donate money, food, or clothing to battered women's shelters or other women's causes. Do not ever respond to a female friend with "Oh you're just an angry woman." This diminishes the real criticisms women may have about their male partners.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How Chris Brown Fits the Cycle

The typical progression looks something like this:

A child witnesses domestic violence and learns that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems. Violence is normal. That child never receives help.

Chris Brown Talks Growin' Up In Domestic Violence

Child grows up to assault a partner.

Chris Brown Under Investigation for Felony Battery

Someone notices.

R&B singer Chris Brown booked on suspicion of making felony criminal threats
Chris Brown In Legal Trouble For Allegedly Assaulting A Woman
Chris Brown Assault: Rihanna & Chris Brown Cancel Grammys Appearance Over Domestic Violence Investigation
GRAMMY DRAMA: Chris Brown Investigated In Domestic Violence & Felony Battery Charges!
Chris Brown Wanted In Domestic Violence Charge, Rihanna Cancels Grammy Appearance!

The abuser begins to be held accountable for his actions.

Chris Brown's Bottom Line Takes Beating (what a title)
Wrigley suspends Chris Brown, Rihanna silent
Will More Radio Stations Stop Playing Chris Brown?
Is Chris Brown's Career Already Over?

He attempts to justify his actions, making it all her fault.

Did Rihanna Give Chris Brown an STD
Rihanna gave Chris Brown Herpes?

If that doesn't work, he attempts to discredit her story, by making her look crazy or by making her the "real" or the "worse" abuser.

Chris Brown fights back: Insiders claim Rihanna beat Brown, has history of violence

And we move smoothly into victim blaming, where she deserved it and all of their friends think she's the one who's crazy. If she's the one to blame that means he doesn't get punished, and she learns never to calls the cops again.

Just watch.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Double Standards for Athletes

William Wolfrum from Shakesville makes some interesting observations regarding the media's interest in photos showing Olympian Michael Phelps using marijuana.

Brazilian soccer superstar Robinho was arrested for sexual assault last week.

But Michael Phelps smoked pot.

Syracuse University starting guard Eric Devendorf allegedly hit a female student in the face, but faced no charges and is again playing.

But Michael Phelps smoked pot.

Former Central Michigan University football player Darren Paul Martin was arrested for unlawful imprisonment, assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, attempted sexual conduct in the third degree, and a variety of other offenses.

But Michael Phelps smoked pot.

Two University of Arkansas-Monticello football players were arrested for a home invasion and "inappropriately touched" a woman in the house they robbed.

But Michael Phelps smoked pot.

Former NFL player David Meggett was arrested and charged with raping a 21-year-old woman in her North Charleston, S.C., home, authorities said. Meggett had been out on bond in connection with another sexual assault charge.

But Michael Phelps smoked pot.

Kobe Bryant scored 61 points in New York the other night, leaving Knicks fans cheering and prompting Ted Green to write a flowery article about him in the Los Angeles Times that included this passage:

His one big mistake in Colorado, followed by the ugly divorce from Shaq, made it easy for the haters, gave them plenty of ammunition, and they happily loaded up, some still firing to this day. But today, it all seems so old, so 2004, so tired, past-tense and out of touch. So childish.
In the same paper, you'll find this: "Michael Phelps could face criminal charges in South Carolina."

Because he smoked pot.
Women's Resource Center has no position regarding Michael Phelps' alleged drug use, but we do find it interesting that the media is so outraged over the message that drug use sends to children that those of us who don't even follow sports have heard the story. However, even those of us who do follow professional athletics hear little, if anything, about the myriad of charges against athletes who are violent against women, as if violence is perfectly ok to model for children. Think this isn't indicative of our society's priorities?

Arizona State University has settled a lawsuit with a rape survivor. The victim in the case was raped in her dorm room by a student who had been previously kicked out of school after accusations of rape, inappropriate sexual comments and touching, and exposing himself to female students and staff. The Arizona Republic reports that he "was allowed to return to campus in August 2003 and to rejoin the football team, but he received no counseling."

But Michael Phelps smoked pot.