It’s International Women’s Day!
“International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900′s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.”
International Women’s Day, to me, means a great deal. The jobs of women across the world are far from done. While women have seen great success in the last 100 years or so, they have fought tooth and nail for every bit of that success and we are still seeing administrations who are threatening to revoke our rights not only here, but in other countries as well and the women of Afghanistan, in particular, are not seeing the changes that were promised to them, making Afghanistan one of the most dangerous places in the entire world to be female.
“I am a man but I also understand the dynamics of society. Men do have the supposed power and use it for evil. After thousands of years of civilization and male dominance, great turmoil still exists. The basic question to be asked is “Is rule by men good for society?” It isn’t. We are born to a maternal world and it should be that way. Women can make good choices and keep society in check. Of course, men should also be more involved with issues they don’t want to deal with, like women’s issues.”
Women have a great deal to contribute to the world and in some countries, women are being applauded and urged to go forward with their work for equality and for women everywhere, even for the women who live in parts of the world where their voices cannot be heard and who are treated not as second-class citizens, but as third and fourth class. International Women’s Day is for all women, everywhere–It is one day where we must really reflect on our history and the history of women and applaud those who have been activists and who have fought in the present as well as in the past for the liberties and freedom that we have as well as raise awareness for those who do not.Friday, March 7, 2008
In addition to the Report IT rally for Victim’s Rights that took place on February 19 and will again on April 29, Angela Shelton, an advocate and speaker on sexual violence and PAVE ( have collaborated to create the Report It Now! campaign.
The Report It Now campaign, as well as the Rally for Victim’s Rights are both about raising awareness about the vast number of people that are victims of sexual assault. It is a national collaborative effort to raise awareness on the vast under-reporting of sexual assault including rape, incest, and abuse.
Sexual assault is a very serious pandemic that is not always treated as seriously as it should be. Over 80% of sexual assault cases go unreported and when these cases are reported, the victims are only re-victimized by lawyers and the court system. We have all heard the misogynist comments made when women speak about sexual violence and the excuses that men leech onto and try to throw in our faces. “Well the women that are abused should stop being whores with their short skirts.” “Women are just asking for it.” and etc. etc. What is not understood about sexual violence is that while ‘sex’ is in the name, it is almost never about that–Sexual violence is about control and almost never about purely getting into someone’s pants when they don’t want it. Not only are (mostly) men throwing these kinds of excuses in the face of women who are speaking out about this violence, but the court system does the same thing! “Well how many drinks did you have, Miss?” “And what were you wearing?” To quote Tori Amos directly, “Yes I wore a slinky red thing, does that mean I should spread?” (Me and a Gun) And no, it does not.
Every two and a half minutes, someone in America is sexually assaulted and the Report It Now campaign is all about exposing the amount of unreported sexual violence cases. It is a campaign to show these so-called court systems the amount of people that are afraid to report their cases because of them, not because they have something to hide or any other ludicrous assumption. To show these people the nature of the crimes and the numbers of these cases that happen that cannot be denied, there is a Report It Now online form where you can report your abuse for purely survey reasons. The online form is not an actual police report and it is also completely anonymous, so there are absolutely no worries that your name will ever get out.
If you, a loved one or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, I urge you to fill out the online form and report your case. Not only are you aiding the campaign in retrieving accurate results of sexual assault, but it is highly cathartic to fill out the form; it is like the first time you ever told someone about your abuse or even admitted it to yourself–It’s an indescribable feeling.
The online form may be triggering, so if you begin to fill out the form and feel yourself being triggered, please got to RAINN or call your local crisis center and stay safe.Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Many people in the United States believe that the war we are currently fighting is for just cause. Many people are also under the false assumption that because of this war, we have given the people of Iraq and Afghanistan the freedom of democracy; that we have bettered their lives. The reason that so many people in the United States believe this is because the citizens of this country are being told that we have a reason to be at war and that we are bettering the lives of millions–And every word that comes from the mouth of our president is a lie.
Of course there are also many people who know all of this and are aware that our troops are dying in vain for nothing more than a pissing contest.
When falling into the topic of the current war when speaking with people, because it does happen quite a bit especially when I am asked “So what do you do?” and I can’t help but mention this website and what it’s about, the first thing that people grab onto it “Oh well we have helped so many people over there and you just don’t understand. They needed help over there and we are helping them redefine their government and they have a democracy now!” But these are the same people who believe each and every word our president says, which should be good enough. We should be able to believe what our commander in chief is telling us and believe that they are doing what is in our best interests as well as in the best interests of other countries that we invade. However, that is simply not the case, especially when George Bush has done nothing but lie to us, especially about how the women in Afghanistan are now living their lives.
George Bush and his administration have made Afghanistan one of the most dangerous places in the world to be female.
On March 12, 2004, during the White House Celebration of International Women’s Day, George Bush said:
“In the last two-and-a-half years, we have seen remarkable and hopeful development in world history. Just think about it: More than 50 million men, women and children have been liberated from two of the most brutal tyrannies on earth—50 million people are free. All these people are now learning the blessings of freedom.”
Now, I have no idea what his term “blessings of freedom” means, but how Afghani women and children are now being forced to live is about the furthest thing from freedom that I can imagine.
The picture in this post is perhaps the most heartbreaking pictures I have seen in quite some time. It is a picture taken by US photographer, Stephanie Sinclair and has won the UNICEF prize. It is of a 40 year old man with his new, 11 year old Afghani wife. This picture captures what young girls in Afghanistan are being put through.
Women in Afghanistan are now able to participate in these “blessings of freedom”:
- Grinding poverty and the escalating war is driving an increasing number of Afghan families to sell their daughters into forced marriages.
- Girls as young as six are being married into a life of slavery and rape, often by multiple members of their new relatives. Banned from seeing their own parents or siblings, they are also prohibited from going to school. With little recognition of the illegality of the situation or any effective recourse, many of the victims are driven to self-immolation – burning themselves to death – or severe self-harm.
- Violent attacks against females, usually domestic, are at epidemic proportions with 87 percent of females complaining of such abuse – half of it sexual. More than 60 percent of marriages are forced.
- Despite a new law banning the practice, 57 percent of brides are under the age of 16. The illiteracy rate among women is 88 percent with just 5 percent of girls attending secondary school.
- Maternal mortality rates – one in nine women die in childbirth – are the highest in the world alongside Sierra Leone. And 30 years of conflict have left more than one million widows with no enforceable rights, left to beg on the streets alongside an increasing number of orphans.
What George Bush has said in the past years regarding the quality of life of the people we have “helped” has been a lie and what he will say in the coming year as well as after his presidency regarding the war will also be a lie. We have not helped these people, we have not given them freedom or democracy; what we have given them, however, is fear for their lives and fear for their children’s lives. Not to mention, while making these places the worst that they have ever been, we have been outright lied to several times by our president and that is something that more people need to acknowledge and refuse to stand for. The people of America who truly believe that we are fighting this war for a reason are sadly mistaken and the troops that we have lost in the past six years fighting a bullshit war has been for nothing and those lives have been lost in vain.
Thanks, President Bush.Monday, March 3, 2008
Oh, the Catholic church is at it again with their preposterous shenanigans. Catholic bishops, being the men who form the delusions of speaking directly with god and informing others of his word, are going down their list of damnation and letting us all know that the latest memo says that reproductive rights trump everything.
Bishops have not only taken a poll, saying that all politicians who believe in a woman’s right to choose are going to hell, but if you vote for them, you have a seat reserved right next to them.
“It is important to be clear,” the bishops said in a 44-page statement titled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” “that the political choices faced by citizens not only have an impact on general peace and prosperity but also may affect the individual’s salvation.” Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, chairman of the committee that drafted the statement, put those high-minded sentiments into plain English earlier this month. Support for a candidate who “espouses policies that are gravely immoral” is possible “only under exceptional circumstances that are hard to imagine,” he told the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn.”
But that isn’t all! Not only do these bishops condemn you to hell if you vote for a politician who upholds women’s rights, but you are also helping us follow in the footsteps of the Nazis:
“In our country we have, for the most part, allowed the party of death and the court system it has produced to eliminate, since 1973, upwards of 40 million of our fellow citizens without allowing them to see the light of day,” wrote Rockford, Ill., Bishop Thomas Doran in 2006. “No doubt, we shall soon outstrip the Nazis in doing human beings to death.” He continued, “We know…that adherents of one political party would place us squarely on the road to suicide as a people.”
Note: “The party of death” sure is clever and ranks up there on my list of “Funny things Catholics say for kicks while in the process of using scare tactics for conversion.”
I cannot even imagine how those who have family who had been tortured and killed during the Holocaust feel about now being compared to those who performed the torture and killing of their ancestors by a group of people who protect pedophiles and actually aided the Nazis. I suppose we have come a long way, however, since the Catholic church is now actually admitting that the Holocaust even happened; but the hypocrisy that spews from the mouths of these people every time they deem something immoral is becoming a bit more than I can handle.
The moral of this story, and the new law that god told the bishops to relay to all of us peons who do not get to speak with him directly, is that now to gain entry into heaven, even if we do everything else so-called “correctly,” if we vote pro-choice, we’re spending eternity in hell. Nice. I wonder what else god has in store for us in the coming years.
“This just in: All people who are interested in spending eternity in heaven with the pedophile priests all must wear clown noses and hop on one foot for an entire year.”Saturday, March 1, 2008
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill to put a 35-foot buffer zone between reproductive health and family planning clinics and anti-choice protesters last November. The reason behind this law is to ensure the safety of the clinic patients, as well as their staff as they enter and exit the clinics. There have been many cases of anti-abortion extremists protesting outside of these clinics across the country and by doing so, they are clutching their free speech cards and claiming that they are doing nothing wrong. This is true since the people of this country are able to voice their personal opinions and beliefs and there is, of course, nothing wrong with that. However, blatant harassment is not free speech.
You are not practicing free speech when you are screaming in the faces of the staff and patients of these clinics. You are not practicing free speech when you are screaming at the women walking into these health clinics and calling them murderers when you simply assume that is the reason why they must pay a visit to the clinic. You are not practicing free speech when you are telling women that their fetuses have a right to life when they may be visiting the clinic simply to get birth control or for their annual pap smears.
“For too long, patients and staff had to endure in-your-face screaming and harassment just to get to doctor’s appointments,” Angus McQuilken, vice president of public affairs for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, told the Boston Globe. “This 35-foot zone is more than reasonable.”
Between the hostility, billboard-sized pictures of fetuses, flyers that tell women that they are murderers and attempting to invoke guilt and the process of attempting to criminalize women for seeking a medical procedure that is legal, not only do I feel that the 35-foot buffer zone is “more than reasonable,” I feel as if there should be a much greater distance that these people must keep away from the Planned Parenthood health clinics. How dare they attempt to file a lawsuit saying that they are being denied the right to free speech. Women are being denied the right to safely and securely enter a health clinic based on other people’s moral opinions.