Sunday, November 1, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (11/1)

Hi all, happy November! A lot to get to today, starting with a bunch of rape-related news. (Just wanted to give a heads-up.)

A year-plus ago, very early on in this blog, I wrote about rape as a weapon of war. At the time, the U.N. Security council had just classified rape as such. Since then, it's been discussed a number of times, especially by Sec. of State Hillary Clinton. NPR recently had a segment on it, "In war zones, rape is a powerful weapon." It brings up a good point: more women are needed in mediation and negotiation efforts, and points out that in some countries, women might not be allowed to talk to male mediators. In September, The World posted a transcript of an interview with Anne-Marie Goetz of UNIFEM, in which she said discussed rape as a weapon of war. She said:
"I think it may be one of the biggest conspiracies of silence of history, this. And we treat it at best as a humanitarian problem. So you’ve been gang-raped, have a blanket. You’ve been gang-raped again, have another blanket. Whereas it should be a political and a security and a justice problem."
I think she's spot-on.

UNIFEM, by the way, is kicking of its "Say No -- UNiTE to End Violence Against Women" campaign on Nov. 6. You can read more and join here.

A couple of articles worth reading about the gang rape case at Richmond High School in California:
  • Shelby Knox and Rachel Simmons write: "Reminder: A 15-year-old girl was brutally gang raped while over 20 teenagers watched."
  • At Hello Ladies: "Rape is rape, with or without the bystanders."
  • In news, the San Jose Mercury News reports on the family making a statement about what happened. They suggest that if people are outraged, that outrage should be channeled into positive action. Story also says the girl may make a statement next week about what happened to her.
  • New America Media: "Rape: America's least reported crime."
The Californian reports about a different gang rape case, in which three men who were found guilty could spend the rest of their lives in prison.

A friend of mine pointed me to this article, "New condom with teeth ... ouch!", about an anti-rape device called Rapex. It's going to be mass-produced in China. I have to agree with some of the concerns raised in the article: couldn't this lead to more rapists killing their victims? Anti-rape devices aren't new, as Amanda Hess pointed out in this article. The first one she lists is from 1976.

The Los Angeles Times had a great piece earlier this week about the Roman Polanski case: "How a girl's stark words got lost in the Polanski spectacle. It's long, but worth reading.

In other suggested reading:
  • AlterNet raises a good point about sentencing children to life in prison in this article, "16-year-old got life without parole for killing her abusive pimp -- should teens be condemned to die in jail?"
  • BBC: "Iceland leads on gender equality." The New York Times reports that the United States is ranked No. 31, down three spots from last year.
  • The International Olympic Committee is going to have a special meeting to draw up guidelines for dealing with "ambiguous" gender cases, prompted by Caster Semenya's case.
  • U.S. News & World Report writes about Sarah Palin's upcoming book, which apparently claims that feminists are jealous of Palin. What a joke.
  • Interesting article from The New Yorker: "'Feminists' love mutilated women?"
  • Kate Kelly writes for the Huffington Post about "Helping Gloria Steinem celebrate her 75th birthday."
  • Reuters and NPR look at the new report issued by the Parents Television Council that found violence against women on TV is up 120 percent in the past five years.
  • "Cycle of Violence" at Broadsides discusses Women Abuse Awareness Month in Canada and more. She mentions the recent episode of "Mad Men" where Joan hits her (rapist) husband over the head with a vase, and Deeply Problematic's response to it, which I agree with.
  • Love this story from Tech Crunch, about Someecards's iPhone app being rejected for questionable content, then accepted when they removed it. Someecards has taken the situation and used it to point out that iPhone allows apps about Asian T&A and upskirts. (Previous posts about controversial iPhone apps here and here.)
  • In great news, the White House has lifted the travel and immigration restriction for HIV-positive people.
  • In terrifying news, a judge in Pennsylvania was found to be taking money from private prisons in exchange for sending juveniles to said prisons. In other words, he was selling humans, and they were buying.
  • Somali Islamists are publicly whipping women for wearing bras, and then making them remove their bras and shake their breasts.
  • Rep. Tammy Baldwin is asking Sec. of State Clinton to condemn Uganda's anti-gay bill, which criminalizes homosexuality and penalizes those who support gay rights or don't refuse to turn in someone who is gay.
  • Elaine Showalter reviews Gail Collins' new book, "When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present." I really want to read this.
  • OnMilwaukee has commentary on "What does it mean to live in a 'Woman's Nation'?"
  • Salon offers "10 reason why abortion must be covered" in health care reform.
  • The Atlantic writes about "Mexico's abortion wars."
  • And finally, be sure to check out this list of 50 eye-opening women's studies blogs, and if you care to, sign up for Womenstake's blog-a-thon about health care reform.

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