“It’s despicable”

This was posted a few hours ago with the associated press:

Save the Children UK said in a report released Tuesday that it has uncovered evidence of widespread sexual abuse of children at the hands of peacekeepers and international aid workers in war zones and disaster areas.
The report said more than half the children interviewed knew of cases of coerced sex and improper sexual touching, and that in many instances children knew of 10 or more such incidents carried out by aid workers or peacekeepers.

In some cases, children as young as 6 years old were abused, the report said.

The study is based on research, confidential interviews and focus groups conducted last year in three places with a substantial international aid presence: southern Sudan, Haiti, and Ivory Coast. The group said it did not produce comprehensive statistics about the scale of abuse but did gather enough information to prove that the problem is severe.

“The report shows sexual abuse has been widely underreported because children are afraid to come forward,” Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children UK, told Associated Press Television News. “A tiny proportion of peacekeepers and aid workers are abusing the children they were sent to protect. It ranges from sex for food to coerced sex. It’s despicable.”

The threat of retaliation and the stigma attached to sex abuse were powerful deterrents to coming forward, the report said.

Ann Buchanan, an Oxford University expert in statistical attempts to quantify rates of child abuse, said the report does not produce comprehensive, statistical data about sexual abuse.

She said the topic is so taboo that it is virtually impossible to come up with reliable numbers, but she said the new report provides a useful starting point.

Sexual abuse is a hugely difficult, sensitive area and it’s not something that you can usually do surveys about because kids feel terrible shame and are afraid to say what’s happened to them,” she said. “Given what we know about underreporting of sex abuse, I would say this report is probably true. They’ve gone about it as sensitively as you can.”

U.N. officials in New York said the study shows the effort to combat sexual abuse is falling short.

Tom Cargill, Africa program manager at London’s Chatham House, said there is no “magic bullet” that can solve the problem quickly.

He said the United Nations is beset by a number of bureaucratic and legal problems when it comes to investigating abuses committed by peacekeepers.

“The governance of U.N. missions has always been a problem because soldiers from individual states are only beholden to those states,” he said…

The felt shame is such a common reaction to abuse, and it is something seemingly nearly incomprehensible to too many people making decisions in legal and  related contexts.

Unexpected Photoshopping

Usually we get stories on photoshopping to make women appear thinner (as well as wrinkle-free, etc). Interesting, then, to see this one about Cameron Diaz being made to look less skinny.
Does this mean that we’ve turned a corner, and that the pressure is no longer on to be thin? Sadly, one suspects not: just that Diaz took the pressure to lose weight a bit too far, which is actually nothing new at all. Indeed, this just demonstrates the difficulty of attaining the “right” body size: “Thinner, thinner, thinner! Nope, too thin!!”

CFP: Representations of Women in Film and Digital Media

Call for Papers

Pics and Politics: Representations of Women in Film and Digital Media

Wagadu. Journal of Transnational Women`s and Gender Studies
(http://wagadu.org) is looking for submissions that address the visual work of women who
are concerned with gender and change. We welcome discussions of film and
media from a variety of perspectives incl. but not limited to film and media
studies, ethnology, critical theory, area studies, and art history. We envision
an issue located on the interstices of academic, artistic and activist discourse

Submissions should be marked by an interest in feminism, a fascination
for visionary works, and attentiveness to generative theoretical paradigms.
In line with the journal’s focus, we especially welcome submissions critical of
globalization and its ongoing shocks upon the subjects of culture.

Your submission may address one of the following topics:

– film and video artists (mainstream, experimental) who represent
vantage points in the history of feminism and / or discussions of sexuality, e.g.
Tracey Emin, Sadie Benning, Yoko Ono

– film and video artists who foreground (issues related to) race and cultural identity,
e.g. Yong Soon Min, Fanta Regina Nacro, Portia Rankoane

– video performance / installation artists, e.g. Kirsten Johannsen, Ingrid Mwangi

– contemporary multimedia and net artists, e.g. Shilpa Gupta

– contemporary media culture dubbed “post-feminist”, e.g. reality-tv
“Country XY`s Next Top Model”, “The Real Housewives of Orange County”;
representations of career women in film; or portrayals of girls and teenagers
in film TV and new media

– computer-based designers such as Brenda Laurel

Formats: Academic articles and analyses; reviews; art; book reviews;
festival reports, e.g. Zanzibar, Carthago; etc. (APA style format). Nota bene:
The authors take responsibility for contingent copyright issues of visuals and clips.

Deadline for submissions of abstracts (ca. 250-300 words): July 15,

Deadline for submissions of finished products: December 15, 2008

Please mail your inquiry and abstract to:

Editor: Dr. Nina Zimnik, Zuercher University for Applied Sciences,

Other inquiries:
Mecke Nagel, State University of New York at Cortland (Editor-in-Chief
of Wagadu)


Mechthild Nagel
Professor, Philosophy and Editor-in-Chief, Wagadu
Philosophy Department
SUNY Cortland
POB 2000
Cortland, NY 13045
607-753-4114 (fax)