Feministy round-up for 2012

December 30, 2012

I’ve been a bit short on interwebz for a while, so not much posting here has been going on.
Thankfully, there are others who rant more than I do, who’ve been keeping their end up, so I’m gonna chuck a bunch of links atcha.
I’m too hot, it’s mid-summer, and I’m nowhere near a beach, but suffering from limited net-surfing capacity.
Sorry, there are no pictures today!

So, here’s some of the low-lights of this year for me, mostly from the last two months, in no particular order, and some linky-love to people I respect who write far more consistently than I do.

There was an appalling incident of gang-rape in India, reported on desultorily in NZ until it became mega worldwide, when the Herald finally published this. I have no words to describe this tragedy, other than it is appalling that such events happen, and the result is debate about whether laws need to be changed, in the face of huge popular demonstrations by women all over India. The time has come for Indians, whether Hindu, Sikh, Muslim or Christian, to come to an agreement that rape is not the fault of the victim, it is a crime by the rapist.

The Hand Mirror has been fighting fires with logic and reason, notably over the responses to the Sandy Hook mass murders. Autism has become a hot topic, when one would imagine gun control and a review of the ludicrous NRA-sponsored gun laws in the USA should be the concern. More here.

And still with THM, Stargazer had pertinent things to say about the apparent suicide of Jacintha Saldanha in the wake of an Aussie radio DJ’s prank. She also wrote a great post about harrassment women bloggers receive, referencing Anita Sarkeesian’s TED talk.

Not to be seen to be playing favourites, Luddite Journo has also had some good rants, here on consent, and here on Out in the Square. I’m missing Wellington already ….

ALRANZ blog has been busy chronicling activism in – wait for it – Invercargill, as the local fundies try to shame women and Doctors attending the clinic at Southland Hospital. Just to show that shallow thinking and illogical actions are not merely the province of ill-educated american fundamentalists. I applaud the gutsy women who are picketing in the face of right-to-lifers who can’t see the contradiction in terms between their stance on abortion and their stance on supporting women to have decent lives, with a capacity to feed the children they give birth to. *sigh*
I’d be slapping stupid faces by now, I’m just over the specious arguments …. which is really why it’s a good thing I’m not in Invercargill right now.

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re-posting, on behalf of Auckland Women’s Center, whose press release this is:

Comedian remains a threat to children: picket organised for Auckland District Court on Monday

“The comedian who admitted sexually abusing his daughter and received no conviction and no treatment remains a threat to children” says Leonie Morris, spokesperson for the Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children.

Judge Cunningham should have convicted the comedian and directed him to attend sexual offender treatment. Treatment through providers such as SAFE dramatically reduces the likelihood of reoffending.

To protest the decision, the Coalition is holding a picket outside the Auckland District Court at lunchtime on Monday from 12.30 to 1.30. Its purpose is to remind the judges and the public that sexual assault is unacceptable. Everyone who commits a sexual offence must be held accountable.

It is outrageous that the man’s profession as a comedian and his ability to ‘make people laugh’ contributed to Judge Cunningham’s decision.

The fact that he has got off scot-free with no legal consequences trivialises the important issue of child sexual abuse.

An Auckland study of child sexual abuse has found that
• 23.5% of Auckland women reported a history of child sexual abuse.
• The median age of victims at the time of the first sexual abuse was 9 years.
• In 50% of cases abuse occurred on multiple occasions.
• In the majority of cases perpetrators were male family members.
• Victims of child sexual abuse are twice as likely as non-victims to experience later intimate partner violence.
• The cost of child sexual abuse in New Zealand was estimated to be $2.6 billion per year.
• 91% of child sexual offences are not reported to the Police.

The outcome of this case sends the message that offenders can escape from the consequences of committing illegal and deplorable acts of sexual violence. It also demonstrates that the protection of our children is secondary to the continuation of an offender’s career.

This court decision undermines the work of the Government and the agencies who highlight that violence against girls and women is not okay and that alcohol is never an excuse for criminal behaviour.

The Auckland Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children was developed in 2006 to strategise and work toward achieving the ultimate goal of safety for women and children in Auckland.
We have undertaken a number of innovative activities including a competition for young people to make a video for you-tube on violence against young women and a community development programme involving small businesses making a commitment to speaking out against domestic violence.

Members:
• Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP
• Auckland Women’s Centre
• Blow the Whistle on Violence
• Homeworks Trust
• Inner City Women’s Group
• Mental Health Foundation
• Mt Albert Psychological Services Ltd
• Rape Prevention Education – Whakatu Mauri
• SHINE Safer Homes in NZ Everyday
• Supportline Women’s Refuge
• Women’s Health Action Trust

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz

This week’s issue of Salient has a new cartoon by Grant Buist, a former friend of mine. I say former, because this is really going to be the last straw.

You see, the cartoon, which can be found on his blog, has a panel depicting a first-year student in a very short dress, struggling to keep her door shut, on a ‘rubgy player’ – with the caption: she “narrowly avoids impregnation by rugby team during Orientation”.
This cartoon purports to be a 21st century update of Hogath’s famous 18th century series of engravings, “The Rake’s Progress”(background here), and is proposed to run as a serial in this year’s magazine.

Buist has excused himself thus:

Actually, something good that may come out of this would be discussion of the issue I’m highlighting above – many 18-year-old girls get massively shitfaced during Orientation, and are preyed upon. If you look at the crime incident maps distributed by the police (which are sometimes reproduced in Magneto), you can see that many of Wellington’s sexual assaults are committed in dark alleys near Courtenay Place, where hopelessly drunk girls have stumbled while trying to get home. It’s entirely possible, considering how the Orientation issue of Salient is full of advice for first-years, that some girls may read this panel and think “Right. Something to avoid.”

Really, if there’s anyone who should be annoyed, it’s rugby teams.

So, it’s just ‘one more time round the block’ for the tired old argument that ‘girls bring rape on themselves’, and we should police women’s behaviour – not that rapists are criminals, and we should police men’s behaviours.

There’s another good post on the subject here.

If you also find this offensive, please tell the editor of Salient, Sarah Robson, editor@salient.org.nz, as she has already replied to one member of the VUW Women’s Group that she thinks it’s not a big issue. I guess she just doesn’t get the point.

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