Tag Archives: Domestic Abuse

Trifecta for Anger

Loretta Lynch. Photo by US Government

Loretta Lynch. Photo by US Government

Human trafficking has become a major issue around the world. The United States is no exception. Members of Congress advanced a human trafficking bill which had bipartisan support, something of a rarity in itself.

The bill aims to address the human tragedy of trafficking, predominantly in the sex industry. Once rescued from their abductors and abusers, many women are in desperate need of medical services related directly to the crimes perpetrated against them. The bill would allow funds confiscated from and fees paid by the criminals to help offset the costs these needed services would incur.

Then the engine of progress came to a screeching halt. Someone actually read the bill and realized there was language similar to the Hyde amendment which would block funds for abortions, even though the funds do not come entirely from tax payer dollars. Continue reading

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How Not To Celebrate International Women’s Day

Yesterday, while the national media was still busy with the 50th anniversary of the events in Selma, there was a large international event taking place that received limited coverage; International Women’s Day. There were marches all around the world as men and women took to the streets calling for an end to sexual violence and gender discrimination.

Li Tingting and Zheng Curan. Photo via Shanghaiist

Li Tingting and Zheng Curan. Photo via Shanghaiist

In the world’s most populous country though, the message from the government was anything but encouraging. On Friday, China detained at least 10 women’s rights activists who were planning a nationwide campaign against sexual harassment on public transportation. which would overlap with International Women’s Day. At least five remain in custody. Continue reading

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The world’s girls: no voice, no rights

How can we address the global threat to women’s rights with no space for girls’ – or even women’s – voices at the UN? How will we design a post-2015 framework that responds to the needs of the most marginalized?

Written by Lyric Thompson. Published 02-16-15 in Open Democracy.

Malala Yousafzai. Photo via Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai. Photo via Malala Yousafzai

2015 is a milestone year that stands at the intersection of several major anniversaries for human rights and development. Perhaps most visibly, this is the 15th anniversary of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and therefore the year world leaders will formally close out the Millennium Charter and adopt a new global development framework. For women and girls, it’s the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and its crucial policy framework, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

One would think, therefore, that 2015 would be a year in which the global community would come together and imagine new rights standards that will set lofty goals for the next generation. Yet so far, this does not seem to be the case. Rather, global leaders are taking a more cautious – or even overtly conservative – approach to negotiations on women’s and girls’ rights. Advocates must not only push governments to set new standards, but must ensure they simply affirm, or worse still, not lose ground on, old ones. Continue reading

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Our Future Depends On Change: If Not Now, When?

Suffragists march in October 1917, displaying placards containing the signatures of over one million New York women demanding to vote. Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Suffragists march in October 1917, displaying placards containing the signatures of over one million New York women demanding to vote. Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Every few days, I get notices of petitions that are hoping to gain my signature. Most I consider to be frivolous and they are ignored. Then I saw this one:

“Now Republicans have gone too far. Last Thursday, House Republicans introduced legislation to require forced vaginal ultrasounds before receiving an abortion–or what many consider to be state-sponsored rape.

This unacceptable intrusion into a woman’s health decisions is offensive and has no place in America. Republicans are facing backlash from women for being too extreme, and they actually had to abandon another anti-abortion bill because of outcry within their own party. If we show them that attacking women’s health isn’t just bad policy, it’s bad politics too, we can get Republicans to drop this extreme bill. Will you sign the petition?”

After adding my name, I decided that despite my stance to not post much of my political views on my personal Facebook page, this made me mad enough that I posted it anyway, and added this comment:

8-26-1970 march in She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry. Photo by Diana Davies

“OK, this is why I am thinking we need a NATIONAL WOMEN’S STRIKE on August 26, 2015, on Women’s Equality Day. They keep saying they “Want to take our country back.” It appears that means they want to take it back to a time when women were dying from self-induced abortions gone wrong. Are you with me?”

Only one friend “liked” the post – a male friend who is a women’s rights advocate.

I was disappointed. I thought about the days between this and when my husband and I went to watch the film “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.” I was convinced that a resurgence of the women’s movement is beyond overdue. Where were my friends?

Then it hit me. They are in the same place they have been for decades. They are apathetic and have removed themselves from broader perspectives to view life as being good so long as these two or three issues they really care about are not threatened. It results in a numbing and dumbing that allows other values to be eroded on a consistent basis, hidden behind the distractions of everyday life. Was the dress blue and black or white and gold?

One Billion Rising 2015- Salt Lake City. Photo @lmsorenson  https://twitter.com/lmsorenson

One Billion Rising 2015- Salt Lake City. Photo @lmsorenson

On August 26, 1920, women in the United States won the right to vote after a 50 year struggle for this basic American right.

50 years later, in 1970, the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the women’s liberation movement held the first nation-wide march for women, demanding  “Free abortion on demand, 24-hour day care for all mothers, and employment, pay, and promotion opportunities for women equal to those of men.” Events took place in over 90 cities across the nation.

To date, none of these demands have been met.

On the contrary, what we are seeing is a pull back on what little progress has been achieved for women since 1970. Most recently;

  • Partly due to the shame, stigma, and fear associated with reporting a sexual assault, more than half of sexual assaults since 2009 went unreported.
  • In the past year alone, more than 468 bills related to restricting women’s health and access to reproductive rights have been introduced in state legislatures.
  • Congress still constructs all-male panels to discuss women’s health and bars women from speaking to the committees considering women’s health issues.
  • Women earn on average 76% of what male co-workers earn, doing the same jobs. Women in minorities earn far less and experience higher rates of unemployment.
  • Domestic violence laws are being decriminalized to meet budget cuts for police departments, leaving battered women in those communities no where to call for help.
  • Women’s shelters and resource centers are targeted more than ever for decreased funding.
  • New legislation being introduced across the nation target birth control, single mothers and divorce as issues not to be tolerated.
  • Governor Walker cut funding to the Wisconsin State University system and removed the requirements to report sexual assaults on campuses.

In 1970, tens of thousands of women marched down 5th Ave in New York City, others surrounded the statue of Liberty, and the stock market ticker came to a screeching halt as women came out to make a statement. This was not done with the aid of social media, internet and modern technology. Today we have cell phones, the internet, email, Twitter, Facebook, networking and numerous other ways to communicate beyond what we had in 1970.

What would we ask for?

  • Unencumbered access in all states to abortion: it is legal. If you believe it is wrong, then don’t get one. But you do NOT have the right to limit someone else’s access. PERIOD.
  • Equal pay for equal work: currently at 72% of what male counterparts earn doing the same job with the same qualifications.
  • National child care program: so that women can obtain jobs and not have significant portions go toward child care expenses, thus lowering economic positions. Women should not be punished for being working moms.

How much effect would women have if they called for a national strike on Women’s Equality Day, August 26? Imagine the results if women today rallied together with the same impassioned voice as they did in 1970…

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To Honor Women on February 14

On the day known for love, the world will come together for the biggest event in world history to call attention to violence against women.

One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history.  The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS.

There is time for you to join this world action. Women and men who support their cause in every country, in major cities and places unheard of are joining together. Find the one nearest you and join the revolution.

We plan on attending with signs already made that state WHY WE RISE. Connect with others involved through social media. Send us your photos from your event and we will put them on our Facebook Page.

In case you still can’t get enough, here is the video from the previous year. At the end, there is a link that directs you to a video that teaches all the simple dance steps. It can’t get any easier to make a big impression.

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Home After The Holidays

Back in March, we wrote about Marissa Alexander, the Jacksonville, Florida woman who had been sentenced to twenty years in prison for three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after firing her gun into the ceiling to stop her abusive estranged husband.

She had used the same “stand your ground” defense that George Zimmerman had used in his trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin, and the same prosecuting attorney was involved; State Attorney Angela Corey. However, unlike Zimmerman, who was found not guilty after killing Martin, Marissa was found guilty and sentenced to three concurrent twenty year sentences (in 13 minutes, none the less) for firing a gun into a ceiling under Florida’s mandatory minimum guidelines. The other differences? Zimmerman is white and a male, while Marissa is black and a woman. Continue reading

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Today is a special today. We mark the International Day to End Violence Against Women by considering some aspects that are seldom discussed openly, yet grant understanding of the full impacts of violence against half the world’s population.

What are the odds of a little girl growing up to never know violence against her person? Not very good. The facts include that affluence, economic conditions, education levels, social status, living location or professionalism have little to do with a non-violent life. Violence permeates every level of society in every corner of the world at every moment of every day. Continue reading

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Out of Africa – Across the Globe

Nairobi, Kenya on November 17, 2014. Photo via Twitter

Nairobi, Kenya on November 17, 2014. Photo via Twitter

Kenya, Africa: Last week a woman was stripped naked at a bus stop by men claiming she was not dressed modestly enough (she was wearing a mini-skirt). This follows two previous incidents of the same – stripping a woman in public for her choice of attire. The incident last week was captured by video camera and was later taken down, but not before it caused outrage and brought the attention of journalists. Continue reading

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The Modern Gladiator Games

Adrian Peterson. Photo by  Mike Morbeck - Flickr: Adrian Peterson. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Adrian Peterson. Photo by Mike Morbeck – Flickr: Adrian Peterson. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A week ago, we wrote a piece about Ray Rice and the NFL’s waffling on domestic abuse cases. Normally, we wouldn’t think about the NFL, much less write about it – none of us are huge football fans. However, since our last piece, some very disturbing things have happened that have everything to do with our previous story.

On Thursday, the Baltimore Ravens played their first game since Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension was made public. There were a number of fans wearing Ray Rice jerseys, and saying such things as “I don’t condone domestic assault, but I support Ray Rice.” One woman was given air time in a lot of the media; she said “I don’t condone domestic violence, but she hit him first. I’m sorry, but I think that if a woman hits a man, the man can hit her back.” The other reoccuring theme besides the “I don’t condone domestic violence” bit (which sounds a lot like the “I’m not a racist, but…” theme) was that he brought a Super Bowl championship to Baltimore, which somehow lent respectability to him. Really, people? Is that where your priorities lie?

Then on Friday, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted by a Texas grand jury for child abuse. The charges stemmed from Peterson beating his 4 year old son with a branch as punishment for something the child had done. He beat him hard enough that the boy had welts on his legs, buttocks and back. After the news of the indictment broke on Friday, the Vikings benched Peterson for last Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots; a responsible move on their part. The Vikings lost their game – badly. Yesterday, the Vikings said that Peterson would play this Sunday.

Yesterday was a big day in the domestic abuse crisis surrounding the NFL. After the Vikings reinstated Peterson for Sunday’s game, news came out about another child abuse allegation about him. Ray Rice is appealing his suspension, claiming that at the most, he should be suspended for the six games that the new NFL rules call for. He further claims that he’d told the NFL’s head office everything about the domestic abuse incident in April, contradicting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s claim that he (Goodell) didn’t know all the facts until TMZ leaked the second video last week. Meanwhile, the three other players who have been charged with domestic assault are playing and practicing with their teams every week.

Does anybody really think that the NFL will take the needed actions to make sure that the families and significant others of their players are safe from domestic violence? We sure don’t. Are these the role models we want for our children? Absolutely not.

The NFL is a huge business, taking in billions of dollars a year. It’s becoming more and more apparent that the NFL cares much more about their bottom line than they do about the players and their families’ health and safety, not to mention that they still promote these people as role models. Late yesterday, Radisson Hotels announced that they were suspending their sponsorship deal with the Vikings. Radisson spokesman Ben Gardeen said in an email; “Radisson takes this matter very seriously, particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children. We are closely following the situation and effective immediately, Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances.”

Occupy World Writes applauds Radisson’s actions, and we encourage all of the other NFL sponsors to do the same. We’re revolted by the excuses we’ve heard from the media and fans for both the NFL’s and individual players’ behavior. We’d like to think that we as a nation are better than glorifying what’s essentially a replay of the Roman era’s gladiator events.

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A One Strike Policy We’d Like To See

Ray Rice 2012. "Ray Rice 2012" by 1ravenscowboysnflfan - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Ray Rice 2012. “Ray Rice 2012” by 1ravenscowboysnflfan – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

On February 15, 2014, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his fiancée Janay Palmer were arrested in Atlantic City, New Jersey and charged with assault. Most of us have seen the video of Ray dragging Janay out of an elevator, and were horrified by the whole situation. We saw the whisper campaign to blame the victim start up (“Janay provoked him. She spit in his face or something like that. He must have been provoked beyond reason; it can’t possibly be his fault).

The NFL reviewed what had happened in Atlantic City, and in turn dropped the ball by giving Rice a measly two game suspension. This led to understandable public outrage and confusion over why testing positive for marijuana was considered a much more serious offense by the NFL than domestic assault and battery was.

Commissioner Roger Goodell last month admitted that he “didn’t get it right” when he only gave Rice a two game slap on the wrist, and said he would strengthen the league’s domestic abuse policy to include a six-game suspension for first-time offenders and a possible lifetime ban for second offenses. 

Then, yesterday TMZ published the video from the elevator’s security camera from that night. In it, we clearly see Rice punch Janay so hard in the face that he knocks her out. Hours after the video appeared, the Baltimore Ravens released Rice, followed by the NFL suspending him indefinitely.

Both the NFL and the Ravens claim that they hadn’t seen the security camera video before TMZ published it. We can only come to one of two conclusions about that statement. Either both are lying, or both deliberately soft-pedaled the investigation. The first thing that would have happened if they were serious about getting to the bottom of the situation would be to look at any security videos of the incident; as the location was a casino, there would be security cameras everywhere. But, they claim they didn’t.

Furthermore – when the video they said they did see has Rice dragging his girlfriend out of the elevator, doesn’t that imply that she was knocked unconscious? After all, if it were just her passing out, there wouldn’t be an assault case, no? How much proof do you need? Are there acceptable levels of violence against women in the NFL’s and teams’  eyes? If you’re under so many broken ribs or so many black eyes, then it’s not as bad?

There’s three players in the NFL currently facing domestic violence charges. The NFL said last month after instating their new domestic abuse policies that “each case will be addressed individually on its merits.” We have a better policy to propose to the NFL, the teams and the players’ union – one strike and you’re out. We can’t think of any situation where domestic abuse would be excusable.

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