Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Refuge’s Christmas present list for women and children in safe houses November 23, 2014

Filed under: charity,domestic violence — cornsay @ 3:11 pm
Tags: , ,

I generally struggle to come up with genuine answers to the question, “what would you like for Christmas?” This year, no problem: if anyone asks, I’m going to say I’d like something bought on my behalf from Refuge’s Christmas list (and maybe also a chocolate bar).

Refuge is a UK charity that (among other things) provides safe havens for woman and children escaping domestic violence. Their appeal aims to ensure that everyone in their shelters at Christmas has a present to unwrap. It’s simple enough to contribute: you go to John Lewis’s gift list page, enter the gift list number 609505, and select and buy a present or two. They range in price from £4.50 to £25.


Clarifying ‘sexual violence’ September 26, 2014

There are many forms of sexual and gender based violence. Some of them have only come to light in more recent history, and some we still tend, collectively, to fail to understand. However, the University of Michigan’s (otherwise seemingly wonderful) initiative to prevent and more effectively respond to domestic and intimate partner violence, has offered a very worrying example of sexual violence. The site reads:

Examples of sexual violence include: discounting the partner’s feelings regarding sex; criticizing the partner sexually; touching the partner sexually in inappropriate and uncomfortable ways; withholding sex and affection; always demanding sex; forcing partner to strip as a form of humiliation (maybe in front of children), to witness sexual acts, to participate in uncomfortable sex or sex after an episode of violence, to have sex with other people; and using objects and/or weapons to hurt during sex or threats to back up demands for sex.

Withholding sex and affection is not a form of sexual violence. Rather, too often, claims of failing to be sexually available and affectionate enough have historically been used to justify mistreatment of (and sometimes violence towards) partners–just think of the offensive (and mythical) stereotype of the ‘frigid wife,’ and the various ways in which it has been employed.


A Ray Rice Inspired Make-up Tutorial September 22, 2014

Filed under: domestic violence — philodaria @ 2:35 am

When I saw the title, I thought this was going to be pretty bad–it’s really difficult to put humor and unjust violence together in a productive way. But, I thought this was sharp.


A first for domestic abuse victims seeking asylum in the U.S. August 31, 2014

Filed under: domestic violence,immigration,violence — philodaria @ 8:13 pm

From the NYT:

The nation’s highest immigration court has found for the first time that women who are victims of severe domestic violence in their home countries can be eligible for asylum in the United States.

The decision on Tuesday by the Board of Immigration Appeals in the case of a battered wife from Guatemala resolved nearly two decades of hard-fought legal battles over whether such women could be considered victims of persecution. The ruling could slow the pace of deportations from the Southwest border, because it creates new legal grounds for women from Central America caught entering the country illegally in the surge this summer in their fight to remain here.

The board reached its decision after the Obama administration changed a longstanding position by the federal government and agreed that the woman, Aminta Cifuentes, could qualify for asylum.


Sharing missing persons pics on facebook October 25, 2013

Filed under: domestic violence — Monkey @ 1:03 pm

Anyone on Facebook will have seen posts asking people if they have seen a missing person, and appealing for help in finding them. Like me, you might feel you’re helping to reunite lost family members by passing on the info and sharing the photos. But it turns out this might not be the best thing to do. A man recently made a heart-rending plea, asking for help to find his missing children. Kind-hearted folks shared the photos and eventually, someone recognised them and told him where to find them. What no-one sharing the photos realised was that his ex-partner was living under a secret identity after leaving the man, and this information allowed him to find her. She subsequently had to move to a women’s shelter. You can read more here.


Query from a reader: Domestic Violence Research August 22, 2013

Filed under: domestic violence — Jender @ 3:25 pm

I’m looking for a piece of research that (I’m sure) I’ve read in a feminist philosophy text. However, I can’t find it anymore and wanted to ask your readers for help.

I recall reading about social scientists (in the US, I think) who were trying to measure the occurrence of domestic violence. When the researchers asked women if they were suffering from domestic violence, they found that the rates of domestic violence reported were extremely low (to non-existent). This prompted the scientists to alter their approach. They subsequently asked much more refined and detailed questions, and got very different results. The detailed questions included: (e.g.) whether one’s husband is (in some sense) controlling, and whether he sometimes twists the woman’s arm so that she sustains bruises and injuries. Those who reported not suffering from domestic violence went on to report being subject to these kinds of behaviours. Does someone know where this study is discussed, or its reference?


Training teens on bystander intervention June 25, 2013

Filed under: domestic violence,education,violence — philodaria @ 11:53 pm

An article on CNN is discussing bystander training in a high school, instituted in the wake of the murder of former student Lauren Astley by her ex-boyfriend. It’s a terribly heart-breaking story, but it’s a welcome change to see these issues being discussed in a nuanced way, and to see long-term plans for intervention going forward, in a mainstream news outlet.


Nigella Lawson and Domestic Violence June 17, 2013

Filed under: domestic violence — Jender @ 10:22 am

So Charles Saatchi attacked Nigella Lawson at a posh restaurant. And though lots of people took photos, and some apparently contacted the police, nobody intervened. [Expletives deleted] It is, however, provoking some useful discussion (yes, amazingly, from the Telegraph):

So class or status is irrelevant, but we persist in our naivety. It’s a defence mechanism, of course; we’re desperate to find a cast-iron reason that will distance us from the miserable fate suffered by someone unnervingly similar to our comfortable little selves – because we don’t want to believe that it could happen to us. We cannot tolerate the thought that we are not safe. And from this weaselly position of “I’d never get myself into that situation”, it’s a short, shameful step to blaming the victim: why does she stay with him? Why does she put up with it?

Thanks, C!


Violence and Silence May 4, 2013

Excellent TED talk by Jackson Katz, one of the folks behind the bystander approach. Watch it. Then ask your friends to watch it.





Rape conviction rates up, but… April 29, 2013

Filed under: domestic violence,law,police,rape — cornsay @ 5:25 pm
Tags: , ,

It was reported last week that conviction rates for rape in the UK are higher than they’ve ever been. 63% of prosecutions in 2012/13 resulted in a conviction, which is 5% more than five years previously. Similar success is reported regarding domestic violence. This is, of course, good news. However, it’s not quite a straightforward success.

First,  the ‘conviction’ rate includes all convictions resulting from the prosecution, many of which are not actually for rape (someone might, for example, be tried for rape and convicted of a lesser sexual offence). In 2010/11, the actual rate of conviction for rape was 33% out of an overall conviction rate of 58%. The same is likely to apply to the reported figure for 2012/13.

Second, as the initial linked article points out, another main complaint about the legal process concerns the proportion of reported rapes which result in a prosecution. According to this article, an annual average of 15 670 reports results in an average of 2 910 prosecutions. That’s about 19%. So even if 63% of those 2910 cases result in convictions, that’s a mere 11% of the original reported total. In other words, 89% of reported rapes don’t result in any sort of conviction. Bear in mind that the Crown Prosecution Service recently released a report (pdf) which establishes pretty comprehensively that false allegations of rape are extremely rare.

Third, yet another problem with the legal process is the fact that so many people are discouraged from reporting rape in the first place. For fairly obvious reasons, statistics on under-reporting are hard to come by or verify (one estimate attributed to the Ministry of Justice in the Independent article above is 60 000 to 95 000 — that’s quite a variation between the upper and lower limits). But it’s apparent that this is a problem, and it’s apparent that even if conviction rates continue to increase, there’s a lot more to be done to improve the legal and policing environment which results in under-reporting and under-prosecution.




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