My favourite is this tweet. The comment reads: “When I said I would go [to the march] with my three children, they said: you’re crazy”.
Valentine’s day in Mersin, in the South East of Turkey, was marked by the funeral of a 20 year old student, Ozgecan Aslan, whose body has been found stabbed and burned after she was missing for three days. Ozgecan had been attacked by the driver of her bus, his father and friend, when she was coming home from her college in the neighboring town of Adana. She was last on the line and reportedly .
Women in Mersin attended her funeral en masse, defying the officiating imam, and an age old tradition forbidding women from approaching the grave or carrying the coffin. Big protests were held in Ankara and Istanbul the next day urging the government not to treat violence against women as inevitable, but to respond with tougher sentences, and stop blaming women for provoking men into rape, or dismissing the crime because there is no ‘observable psychological damage’.
The police intervened, blocking off the protesters’ march, and so far, five women have been arrested.
Ferguson: Demand Justice November 25, 2014
Today, a St. Louis Grand Jury refused to indict Mike Brown’s killer — Police Officer Darren Wilson. On August 9th, the nation was horrified to learn that Mike Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, was targeted and killed by police as he walked down the street with a friend.
Now, Mike’s killer may never be held accountable — unless President Barack Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder take action. The Department of Justice is investigating Mike Brown’s death and has the power and responsibility to arrest and prosecute Officer Wilson under federal criminal charges.
Seduction, Assault, and Consent in Western Art via The Toast November 24, 2014
If you are not already aware of The Toast’s captioning of pictures from Western art history, it is a thing, and it is entertaining. You can find all the articles in the series here.
In one of the most recent posts, Mallory Ortberg pokes fun at what Wikimedia Commons has labeled instances of “seduction in art.” She pulls out examples and describes how many of these cannot possibly be instances of “seduction,” unless by seduction we mean assault or harassment.
The piece does a good job of bringing out the cognitive dissonance from accepting “seduction” as aggressively pursuing someone for sex without their explicit consent, thinking that sex requires consent, and accepting seduction as a legitimate part of sex.
If you are not familiar with Ortberg’s series of posts on Western art history, you should note that some of these examples are more hyperbolic than others. She is framing many of these scenes as non-consensual where consent seems ambiguous. (Though part of her point may be, shouldn’t sex and seduction only involve people who are unambiguously excited about engaging in it?) Underneath the hyperbole and satire, Ortberg is posing a serious question: “Why does seduction look a lot like assault and not seem to require any real degree of consent? What kind of thing is seduction if these are what count as examples of it?”
She suggests, “Perhaps you have confused “pushing someone away from you” with “getting seduced.””
You can read the post here:
*A few of the pictures contain nudity.
Sexual Assault, UVA, and faculty acting in solidarity November 22, 2014
Many of you may have already read the heartbreaking Rolling Stone piece on sexual assault at University of Virginia. If you haven’t, here’s the lede:
Jackie was just starting her freshman year at the University of Virginia when she was brutally assaulted by seven men at a frat party. When she tried to hold them accountable, a whole new kind of abuse began.
And a snippet:
UVA’s emphasis on honor is so pronounced that since 1998, 183 people have been expelled for honor-code violations such as cheating on exams. And yet paradoxically, not a single student at UVA has ever been expelled for sexual assault.
“Think about it,” says Susan Russell, whose UVA daughter’s sexual-assault report helped trigger a previous federal investigation. “In what world do you get kicked out for cheating, but if you rape someone, you can stay?”
Attorney Wendy Murphy, who has filed Title IX complaints and lawsuits against schools including UVA, argues that in matters of sexual violence, Ivy League and Division I schools’ fixation with prestige is their downfall. “These schools love to pretend they protect the children as if they were their own, but that’s not true: They’re interested in money,” Murphy says. “In these situations, the one who gets the most protection is either a wealthy kid, a legacy kid or an athlete. The more privileged he is, the more likely the woman has to die before he’s held accountable.” Indeed, UVA is the same campus where the volatile relationship of lacrosse star George Huguely V and his girlfriend Yeardley Love was seen as unremarkable – his jealous rages, fanned by over-the-top drinking – until the 2010 day he kicked open her door and beat her to death.
Since the piece came out, a letter, which Slate reports has over 127 UVa faculty signatories, began circulating:
Dear President Sullivan,
We are all heartbroken and enraged after reading Wednesday’s article in Rolling Stone. The extreme violence that was reported is shocking and demands an unequivocal response that we will not tolerate violence against our students.
U.Va faculty, staff, and students have been debating how we might most effectively respond.
As an initial step, we propose a policy that institutes an immediate freeze on activities by any student organizations that are currently under investigation for sexual misconduct and sexual assault.
Further, we call on the Greek System to collectively and voluntarily suspend activities this weekend in light of recent events and out of respect for the survivors of sexual violence on our campus.
We believe this immediate action will be an important first step in sending the message that violence against our students will not be tolerated. It will also send a clear message to fraternities, that if they stand by and fail to intervene in sexual violence, or if they knowingly do not report sexual violence, the activities of their fraternity will be suspended.
We demand seeing this important response implemented,
Most faculty steer clear of Rugby Road on a Saturday night. Tomorrow, however, in response to the recent Rolling Stone article and to ongoing problems of sexual violence at the university, faculty and instructors from the University of Virginia are joining the party. We are planning an action for 11pm this Saturday on Rugby Road, following the home football game. The purpose of “Take Back the Party” is to protest a social culture that puts our female students at unacceptable risk. UVA faculty in all manner of academic dress will gather on Beta Bridge to demand a safe environment for women as well as for men.
I’m heartened by the response of UVA faculty members who were moved to act in solidarity with victims on their campus, and their desire to work towards change. Despite the brutality of sexual assault, the negative publicity it brings universities both when it happens and when it is not handled properly, and the legal protections offered by Title IX in the US, still, too often, universities treat both victims and perpetrators as if they were mere figures in a cost-benefit analysis. Still, too often it is easier for campus communities to look the other way. It can be difficult to know what to do, how you can help, or whether you have the power to make a difference, so it is encouraging to see the UVA faculty act with purpose and conviction.
Woman killed after refusing to give a man her phone number November 3, 2014
Mary Spears, 27, was at the American Legion Joe Louis Post No. 375 on the east side of Detroit when the 38-year-old suspect allegedly approached her and began talking to her, according to WDIV.
When the suspect asked for her number, Spears, whose fiancé was also at the event, told him she was already involved with someone, WJBK reports. The suspect, however, continued harassing her, family members told the station.
Police said security took the man out of the club through the back door and escorted him to the front. After a fight broke out, the suspect allegedly took out a handgun and began shooting, killing Spears around 2 a.m. Sunday.
Terroristic threats against Utah State University regarding feminist Anita Sarkeesian October 15, 2014
An email sent to Utah State University officials threatens to terrorize the school with a deadly shooting over a talk to be delivered by feminist critic and Tropes vs. Women in Video Games creator Anita Sarkeesian, Polygon confirmed with the school’s Center for Women and Gender Studies. . .
“If you do not cancel her talk, a Montreal Massacre style attack will be carried out against the attendees, as well as students and staff at the nearby Women’s Center,” the message reads. “I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs.”
The Montreal Massacre, also known as the École Polytechnique Massacre, took place in 1989 in Canada. Marc Lépine, who the email references, killed 14 women, injured 10 and killed four men in the name of “fighting feminism” before committing suicide.
The sender claims to be a student at the school, and adds “you will never find me, but you may all soon know my name.”
This latest threat marks yet another in a growing history for Sarkeesian herself and women in the video game industry at large. In August, following the release of another episode of her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series, Sarkeesian fled her home after receiving “some very scary threats” against her and her family. During GeekGirlCon, which took place this past weekend, officials confirmed to Polygon that a threat was made over her appearance there.
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 first for domestic abuse victims seeking asylum in the U.S. August 31, 2014
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.