Originally published: 13.12.16
Dear Alan Carr,
You can harp on about how the Justin Lee Collins who assaulted his partner wasn’t the Justin that you knew, but the truth of the matter is that he was.
See, this is the kind of talk that silences abuse victims. Talking about how it was a “toxic” relationship. Minimising the abuse. It’s telling victims that their experiences of an abuser aren’t accurate, because yours are different.
Originally published: 27.11.16
Across everything that divides societies, we share in common that men’s violence against women is normalised, tolerated, justified – and hidden in plain sight.
… Responses to men’s violence against women which focus almost exclusively on ‘healthy relationships’, supporting victim-survivors and reforming the criminal justice system simply do not go far enough. Men’s violence against women is a cause and consequence of sex inequality between women and men. The objectification of women, the sex trade, socially constructed gender, unequal pay, unequal distribution of caring responsibility are all simultaneously symptomatic of structural inequality whilst maintaining a conducive context for men’s violence against women. Feminists know this and have been telling us for decades.
One of feminism’s important achievements is getting men’s violence against women into the mainstream and onto policy agendas. One of the threats to these achievements is that those with power take the concepts, and under the auspices of dealing with the problem shake some of the most basic elements of feminist understanding right out of them. State initiatives which are not nested within policies on equality between women and men will fail to reduce men’s violence against women. Failing to even name the agent – men’s use of violence – is failure at the first hurdle. …
Originally published: 03.11.16
I’ve often written about the case of William Burke Kirwan on this blog. His was the case that caused me to pursue a different path in life. Since 2010 I’ve been researching his murder of his wife and it’s lead me back to university and in directions I never dreamed of and there’s plenty more to do. So at this stage I’m a little bit proprietorial. My friends know this about me and tend to point out interesting nuggets about the case they stumble upon. In Dublin, after all, it’s a very well know case indeed. You can still argue about it if you take the boat out to Ireland’s Eye from Howth.
So when the Irish Times featured the case as part of their series of stories from their archives, quite a few Irish friends sent me the link and asked me what I thought. Now I’ll say again that this is a case that is very special to me so I’m apt to be a touch judgemental but in this case the article in question raised my hackles both as a historical scholar and as a court reporter.
Read more Even after death
16 Ways To End Violence Against Women And Girls by @EVB_Now via @HuffPostUK
Transforming a victim blaming culture | openDemocracy
Originally published: 06.11.16
Content note: this post contains examples of offensive slur-terms.
Last week, the British edition of Glamour magazine published a column in which Juno Dawson used the term ‘TERF’ to describe feminists (the example she named was Germaine Greer) who ‘steadfastly believe that me—and other trans women—are not women’. When some readers complained about the use of derogatory language, a spokeswoman for the magazine replied on Twitter that TERF is not derogatory:
Trans-exclusionary radical feminist is a description, and not a misogynistic slur.
Arguments about whether TERF is a neutral descriptive term or a derogatory slur have been rumbling on ever since. They raise a question which linguists and philosophers have found quite tricky to answer (and which they haven’t reached a consensus on): what makes a word a slur?
Before I consider that general question, let’s take a closer look at the meaning and history of TERF. As the Glamour spokeswoman said, it’s an abbreviated form of the phrase ‘Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist’; more specifically it’s an acronym, constructed from the initial letters of the words that make up the phrase. Some people have suggested this means it can’t be a slur. I find that argument puzzling, since numerous terms which everyone agrees are slurs are abbreviated forms (examples include ‘Paki’, ‘Jap’, ‘paedo’ and ‘tranny’). But in any case, there’s a question about the status of TERF as an acronym. Clearly it started out as one, but is it still behaving like one now?
Read more What makes a word a slur?
Originally published: 01.11.16
The Courier-Mail is to be commended for its series on the hypersexualisation of our young people — especially the impacts on children by allowing them to be exposed to porn even before their first kiss.
What has been documented here in the Generation Sext campaign is what I’m hearing everywhere I go.
Educators, child welfare groups, childcare workers, mental health bodies, medicos and parents are reeling.
All are struggling to deal with the proliferation of hypersexualised imagery and its impacts on the most vulnerable — children who think what they see in porn is what real sex looks like.
They tell me about children using sexual language, children touching other children inappropriately, children playing “sex games” in the schoolyard, children requesting sexual favours, children showing other children porn on their devices, children distressed by explicit images they came across while searching an innocent term, children exposed to porn “pop ups” on sites featuring their favourite cartoon characters or while playing online games.
Read more Boys getting off on the debasement of girls by @meltankardreist
Originally published: 19.09.16
I’m beginning to think that men shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion on the sex trade, let alone be in charge of deciding the legislation around it. In the last few weeks we have found out that Keith Vaz is a punter, that the Lib Dems are happy with the idea of prostitution being on the careers curriculum at school, and that Jeremy Corbyn just doesn’t care that much:
Originally published: 30.10.16
Emma was a writer, campaigner and survivor of male violence who fought an historic struggle to overturn a murder conviction in 1995, supported by Justice for Women and other feminist campaigners. The annual prize of £1,000 is awarded to an individual woman who has, through writing or campaigning, raised awareness of violence against women and children. Alongside the individual prize, the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize judges choose the recipient of a group award, established to recognise the unsung work done by many women’s groups and organisations. This award marks the outstanding contribution of women’s organisations who work in this embattled area and whose creativity and resourcefulness have resulted in developments that combat the prevalence of male violence. Starting in 2009, a prize is also awarded every two years to an international women’s group. The awards aim to provide recognition for work against violence and to bring it to the attention of a wider public.
In the context of the on-going refugee crisis, Brexit, and the rise in racist hate crime that has come in it’s wake we are particularly interested in recognising women whose campaigning addresses violence against Black and minority ethnic women.
Nominations will close on the 24th of December and this year’s prize giving ceremony will take place in March 2017.
Originally published: 21.10.16
There was a tremendous amount of outrage about the appalling media coverage of the murder of Clodagh Hawe and her three sons in September. Unfortunately, this level of grossly inappropriate and inaccurate representation of family annihilators is not an aberration.
Mark Short Sr. murdered his wife Megan and their children — 8-year-old Lianna, 5-year-old Mark Jr., and 2-year-old Willow. He also killed the dog. Time magazine covered their murder with this headline:
Pennsylvania Father Took His Kids to a Theme Park Before Killing Them
Because murdering your children and your wife is somehow a lesser evil if you treat them to a day out in a theme park first.
Read more The murders of Clodagh Hawe and Megan Short by @EVB_Now
Originally published: 22.06.16
JANE & MARIA DOE
Jane Doe was 13 years old when Donald Trump tied her to a bed and raped her. She begged him to wear a condom. He responded by violently striking her in the face and screaming he would do whatever he wanted. She asked what would happen if she were to get pregnant, at which point he threw $100 dollar bills at her and screamed that she should “get a fucking abortion.” Jane’s rape was witnessed by Tiffany Doe, who has signed a sworn affidavit confirming her testimony. Jane and Maria Doe (who was 12) were forced multiple times to perform oral sex on him.
Originally published: 05.10.16
On Sunday night, I watched the Louis Theroux documentary ‘Savile’, which investigated why he (and by extension, others) hadn’t realised who and what the thankfully deceased serial rapist and abuser Jimmy Savile was, back when he interviewed him in 2000. In it, Theroux recognises and acknowledges that he missed certain signs, etc., as did so many others, but at the end, when he finally concludes that we will probably never truly know how Savile got away with so much for so long, he is completely mistaken. Because it’s totally obvious why he did – misogyny. And Theroux, for all his soul-searching, for all his sense of guilt and shame, for all his willingness to research the topic and hear difficult things from victims, including insulting things about his own past involvement with Savile, never stops to analyse the most obvious reason for why he also failed to spot the truth – his own misogyny. As a liberal, lefty guy, he probably doesn’t think he’s sexist at all, and I imagine that if you met him, he probably would come across as very nice and less sexist than a lot of men. Like so many men, because he’s not an out-and-out leering chauvinist pig who thinks women should only exist to attract and service him, he thinks he’s not sexist. BUT. BUT. His misogyny and male entitlement and participation in patriarchy are glaringly obvious in the documentary.
Read more Louis Theroux, Jimmy Savile and the failure to recognise the obvious: misogyny
Originally published: 01.04.16
Update: this post has been through a couple of permutations now. First, I just told the story (prompted by the guardian piece below), then I added some thoughts on how I felt at the time and how I wanted to challenge this guy’s behaviour, and then I thought about the ways in which I did (and really did not) challenge his behaviour, and then I thought about the ways in which I was discussing my own actions and reactions. I didn’t say anything about them at the time but I want to now.
I realised at the time, and have thought about it since, that I was engaging in some really problematic discourses about myself and about women. Now, importantly, I am stressing here that my perpetuating of these discourses is not problematic, per se, but rather part of a broader, social issue.
If you read on, you’ll see that my discussion of events is littered with victim-blaming (i.e. if anything had happened to me it would have been my fault for provoking the taxi driver in the way that I reacted to his “flirting”). I do not on any level agree that this would have been so but I also know that victim-blaming is so embedded in women’s consciousness that it informs nearly every aspect of our lives (and not just potentially violent situations). What do I do in this situation? How do I react? How do I avoid something bad happening to me? And, if something bad does happen, we think about what we could have done to avoid it.
I repeat: I do not on any level agree that a victim is to blame for her experience of violence but we are told so often that she is and that she should have been careful and that she should have watched herself and that she should have done this and that and then this again differently, that is impossible for us to truly avoid placing ourselves within those discourses when we think about our own behaviours. It’s a horrible, debilitating trap that we fall into time and time again.
Read more BAN “FLIRTING” IN TAXIS? YES PLEASE. (BUT LET’S NOT PRETEND THIS IS ONLY FLIRTING.) by @grainnemcmahon
Originally published: 20.02.16
We live in an era where the terms ‘triggered’ and ‘trigger’ are no longer used to describe the experience of someone with PTSD but that of any one who can’t handle words or situations that make them feel uncomfortable. I thought I’d set the record straight on this as I’m sick of this word being used out of context. I’m also pretty pissed off that the *special snowflake* community has turned a way of me being able to express my trauma, into a laughing stock.
I have never been formally diagnosed with PTSD, I’ve had therapy and been on courses for PTSD but never had the box ticked. It seems it’s an exercise in hoop jumping before they’ll do this. I’m in no doubt that I have PTSD and neither have the people who have been involved in my care. ‘Triggers’ was a word that I quickly came acquainted with and it was useful to know.
Originally published: 22.08.16
Not too long ago, Brock Turner, a Stanford student, raped a woman who was inebriated. The judge gave him to a meager sentence saying he has too much potential and did not want to ruin his life.
Last week, an exact copy cat case occurred. Austin Wilkerson, a University of Colorado student, offered to take his inebriated friend back to her dorm. Instead of escorting her to safety, he took his chances with her and raped her without her consent. He was let off with a light sentence too, despite confessing that he “digitally and orally penetrated” the woman while he “wasn’t getting much of a response from her.”
Read more Its Time to Change the Narrative on Victim Blaming by @rupandemehta
Violence against women is often in the news. Its prevalence in society makes it a ‘hot topic’ for reporters and its complex nature makes it an interesting issue for feature writers. However, the fact that violence against women is so complex can mean that even journalists with the best of intentions can misrepresent some of the issues and perpetuate myths that are harmful to women.
On the other hand, good reporting can play a vital role in increasing understanding of violence against women and challenging its place in our society. And many journalists and bloggers produce high quality work which confronts violence and gender inequality.
We believe that their hard work deserves to be recognised, which is why Zero Tolerance with the support of NUJ Scotland, White Ribbon Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid, Engender, Everyday Victim Blaming, Women 50:50, Rape Crisis Scotland, Women for Independence and the Scottish Refugee Council are pleased to present the fourth annual Write to End Violence award for excellence in journalism. We are also pleased to announce the Sunday Herald will be working with us as our media partner.
This award seeks to drive up standards in journalism by rewarding those committed to furthering the cause of gender equality through their work. It is open to all those writing in Scotland, and there are categories open to both paid and unpaid writing. Articles and blogs must be published between 01/09/15 and 01/09/16.
Read more The Scottish Write to End Violence Against Women and Girls Award!
Originally published: 15.07.16
Last year we exposed global dancewear company California Kisses for posting sexualised images of underage and even pre-teen girls on their Instagram – images that attracted hundreds of comments of a sexual nature from adult men which CK failed to even moderate.
But it seems the message is not getting through. Yet another dance wear company (which also sells swimwear) is regularly posting sexualised photos of underage girls on its popular social media account. Frilledneck Fashion is an Australian company trading online internationally.
Note how the young girls pictured are dressed, styled and posed. Even when dressed in dancewear, girls are not depicted dancing (see the image above of the girl in red lying supine with an arched back.) Clothing is designed to emphasise certain parts of the body, drawing attention to adult, sexual features children do not yet possess. Girls replicate poses and sultry facial expressions that would be common in sexy adult female models. There are many other examples of even younger girls we have chosen not to show.
Read more Meet Frilledneck Fashions & the sexualisation of young girls by @meltankardreist
Originally published: 13.06.16
Rape culture is porn culture in 2016 — the two are indistinguishable. Since Hustler famously turned Cheryl Araujo’s 1983 gang rape, on a pool table in Massachusetts as other men watched, into porn, rape culture and porn culture have been merged, quite literally, by pornographers. We could place bets on how many days it will be until porn users are offered pornography themed on the Stanford rape case.
Consequently, it’s not unfathomable that the average porn user and Stanford rapist Brock Turner share similarities in how they have learned to pursue sexual gratification.
People who masturbate with porn largely think they’re better people than the Stanford rapist, but are they? Let’s examine the possibilities of anti-rape porn users sexually consuming the products of prostitution with integrity.
Both the Stanford rapist and men who use porn believe some women are there for the sexual taking, no questions asked. Like Turner, porn users stumble across drugged up, barely conscious-to-unconscious women and assume consent. Testimony from the porn industry confirms intoxication is ubiquitous during production, and even Hollywood actresses like Jennifer Lawrence often admit to using alcohol or pharmaceuticals to get through simulated sex scenes. …
This article was first published on Feminist Current. You can find the full article here.
JohnStompers My blog neatly collects my published articles about prostitution, porn, and other human trafficking issues into one easily found blog. I don’t twitter much, but I’m fairly active on Facebook as “Samantha Berg” from Portland, Oregon, USA.
Originally published: 29.09.14
For trauma survivors, there are many paths to healing and moving on. Why does forgiveness culture demand that survivors forgive their abusers?
I can relate many small wrongs after which the offender has apologized, claimed he would never demand forgiveness, and then become condescending when I’ve not immediately accepted the apology. “We don’t have to be enemies, but sure, I’ll leave you alone,” said one text message. I had not said I would not forgive him; I had simply not forgiven on demand. Still, this incident was relatively minor. ….
Why I Reject Forgiveness Culture was first published by Stir Journal. You can find the full article here.
erringness in perfection class : Elizabeth Kate Switaj is a Liberal Arts Instructor at the College of the Marshall Islands and a Contributing Editor to Poets’ Quarterly. She completed her PhD at Queen’s University Belfast with a dissertation on James Joyce as an EFL teacher. She previously taught English in Japan and China in December 2012. (@)
Originally published: 13.11.14
In the nineties, girls and women navigating through downtown Kampala would have been surprised to end the journey without being groped and stalked. By men. This was normal; men being men and women being, well, objects for men to grab, gawk and leer at. Negative reaction often resulted in a barrage of insults. It didn’t matter that they had just called you ‘sister’ or ‘mummy’ or ‘auntie’. You were buttocks, breasts, legs. Yours was to suffer it, preferably with a smile, and keep walking.
Years later, we hear stories of women who have retaliated against this harassment. Surprisingly, men are said to cheer them on, and playfully chide their colleague for the unthoughtful move. And so you would think that a lot had changed on these streets. However, last year when Ugandans were gifted with a Christmas of laws, including the notorious anti-miniskirt act, hardly had the thud of the honorable speaker’s gavel died out, than mobs were undressing women in the name of policing decency.