50 billion shades of feminism

Cross-posted from: Trouble & Strife
Originally published: 06.07.13

The brutal gang-rape that took place on a bus in Delhi in December 2012 galvanized feminists both in India and around the world. Among them there were differing views on what this horrific incident meant and what should be done about it; but those differences did not stop women from taking united action. Rahila Gupta argues that if we keep our larger goals in sight, while also acknowledging that different contexts call for different political responses, the many shades of feminism can merge into one strong, vibrant colour*.  

It’s become fashionable, after the meteoric rise of that mediocre book, to refer to 50 shades of everything. When it’s applied to feminism, however, I worry that it underlines our divisions whilst appearing to celebrate our diversity. At the level of discussion, it’s important to tease out our differences; but at the level of action, we’re trying to build bridges and coalitions by keeping the bigger goals in sight.

Shades of opinion are not just about women squabbling among themselves about the best way forward, but about different contexts giving rise to different demands. With that in mind, I want to talk about the brutal gang rape on a bus of a 23 year-old woman who was left for dead in Delhi last December. Different shades of opinion emerged in the solidarity actions that took place in the UK, but they did not prevent a common platform of action.
Read more 50 billion shades of feminism

The Women’s March Washington: The Speeches by Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem

Here’s the Full Transcript Of Angela Davis’s Women’s March Speech via @ElleMagazine

“At a challenging moment in our history, let us remind ourselves that we the hundreds of thousands, the millions of women, trans-people, men and youth who are here at the Women’s March, we represent the powerful forces of change that are determined to prevent the dying cultures of racism, hetero-patriarchy from rising again.

“We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages. We know that we gather this afternoon on indigenous land and we follow the lead of the first peoples who despite massive genocidal violence have never relinquished the struggle for land, water, culture, their people. We especially salute today the Standing Rock Sioux.

“The freedom struggles of black people that have shaped the very nature of this country’s history cannot be deleted with the sweep of a hand. We cannot be made to forget that black lives do matter. This is a country anchored in slavery and colonialism, which means for better or for worse the very history of the United States is a history of immigration and enslavement. Spreading xenophobia, hurling accusations of murder and rape and building walls will not erase history.” …

Here’s the Full Transcript Of Gloria Steinem’s Historic Women’s March Speech  via @MarieClaire

“Friends, sisters and brothers, all of you who are before me today and in 370 marches in every state in this country and on six continents and those who will be communing with us in one at 1 [p.m.] in a silent minute for equality in offices, in kitchens, in factories, in prisons, all over the world. I thank each of you, and I especially want to thank the hardworking visionary organizers of this women-led, inclusive march, one of whom managed to give birth while she was organizing this march. Who else can say that?

Thank you for understanding that sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are. Sometimes pressing send is not enough. And this also unifies us with the many in this world who do not have computers or electricity or literacy, but do have the same hopes and the same dreams.

I think that because I and my beloved co-chairs, the Golden oldies right?–Harry Belafonte, Dolores Huerta, LaDonna Harris–all these great people, we may be the oldest marchers here today, so I’ve been thinking about the uses of a long life, and one of them is you remember when things were worse. …

What We’re Reading: on white supremacy, racism and self-care

First Class Racism by Jamelia

…On Thursday my daughter and I boarded a Train at London’s Euston station after I took part in a photoshoot. We’d had such a fun day together, and looked forward to our journey home. Tiani, my daughter, wanted the window seat, she scooted in and looked for the book she was currently reading as I readied myself to be seated too. As I took my place, a woman in her early 40’s approached me and in quite an accusatory tone asked me “Do you have a first class ticket?” I was genuinely confused at her question, why would I be sat in the 1st class carriage without one? I look at her, she isn’t dressed as if she works for the company, I glance around and it clicks…My daughter and I are the only black people in the carriage. I feel it’s necessary to give her the benefit of the doubt, and for clarity, I ask “why did you ask me that?” she leans in, and in a hushed tone, as if helping me out says “well i’ve just seen the conductor, and he wont let you travel in this carriage” again, I ask “why?” she replies “you need a 1st class ticket” At this point I feel her assumptions are crystal clear, i’m offended and my daughter’s face shows she has understood the rhetoric too. I feel this is a teachable moment, for both the woman in question and my daughter. …


Read more What We’re Reading: on white supremacy, racism and self-care

The Scottish Write to End Violence Against Women and Girls Award!

The Write to End Violence Against Women Awards Nominations close on Sept. 30!

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 ScotlandWhite Ribbon ScotlandScottish Women’s AidEngenderEveryday Victim Blaming, Women 50:50Rape Crisis ScotlandWomen 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!

Socialist Resistance and Sisterhood by K_IngalaSmith

Last year I wrote a piece for Socialist Resistance.  I talked about my work for a feminist women’s charity working with women who have experienced men’s violence in the context of some of my thoughts about feminism and social class.

I have asked Socialist Resistance to take the piece down following their behaviour towards another feminist, Glosswitch.  You can read about what happened – and the piece that she was asked to write –  here.

As a working-class woman, my sex-class is as important to me as my socio-economic class. Women’s oppression is biologically based and reinforced by socially constructed gender.  Though not the same, there are similarities to the way that access or lack of access to material resources is reinforced and reproduced by the different life chances and opportunities afforded to a person on the basis of social class.
I will not turn my back on my sister.
The piece I wrote for Socialist Resistance, which was written in the format of an interview, appears below for anyone who is interested in the challenges of balancing feminist activism and work in the women’s sector.


Read more Socialist Resistance and Sisterhood by K_IngalaSmith

November 25 is the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women – not White Ribbon Day

Cross-posted from: Elegant Gathering of White Snows
Originally published: 25.11.15

November 25th was first chosen as the date for an annual day of protest of male violence in 1981. This occurred at the first Feminist Conference for Latin American and Caribbean Women in Bogota. It was chosen in memory of Patria, Maria Teresa and Minerva Mirabel.

The Mirabel sisters were political activists who fought the fascist government of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. They stood up to a genocidal regime that used torture, rape and kidnapping and they were murdered for it. This is why November 25th was chosen as an international day of activism that “denounced all forms men’s violence against women from domestic violence, rape and sexual harassment to state violence including torture and abuse of women political prisoners.”

November 25th received official recognition as an international day to raise awareness of violence against women from United Nations on December 17, 1999.

None of this information is out with the public realm. Even Wikipedia, not known for its accuracy, manages to get the facts right. Yet, November 25th is rarely referred to as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women anymore. Instead, it is called White Ribbon day after a campaign started by men in Canada. 
Read more November 25 is the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women – not White Ribbon Day

Why talking about male violence matters by @SarahDitum

(Cross-posted from Sarah Ditum’s Paperhous)

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is also the international day of tediously explaining why violence against women needs to be discussed as a category. November 25 is the day when you will be reminded that two thirds of homicide victims in England and Wales are male, and that (according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales) men are twice as likely as women to have been victims of violence. November 25 is the day of being reminded that women commit violence too. Last year, I was at an End Violence Against Women event in Bristol where a man had bought a ticket solely so he could stand up in the middle of the discussion and shout, “What about Joanna Dennehy?” (Dennehy became the first woman subject to a whole life tariff in February this year, when she was convicted of the murders of three men). What about Joanna Dennehy, then? After all, it’s true that women are also implicated in violence:

Yes, women are violent too. But the traffic of violence is overwhelmingly from men, and disproportionately to women. As a class, men are the bearers of violence. As a class, women are its victims. And this is why feminists talk about male violence: not for lack of concern about the violence perpetrated by women, but because as a demographic phenomenon, violence is masculine. For this reason, we can draw connections between the patterns of violence and other areas of male domination. What about the fact that women are more likely to live in poverty than men? The fact that the UK has a pay gap of 19.7% in favour of men? The fact that women make up just 23% of MPs? What about the fact that purchasers of sex are exclusively men – is that relevant here? All of these inequalities exist in an environment shaped by that traffic of violence: from men, to women. All of them must be addressed in the acknowledgement of that context, if they are to be addressed at all.
Read more Why talking about male violence matters by @SarahDitum

Finding Our Voices by @EstellaMz

Cross-posted from: Uncultured Sisterhood
Originally published: 17.06.14

In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions become strongly etched in a merciless light, and what I most regretted were my silences.

Audre Lorde

I’ve been pushing the urge to blog to the back of my mind.

It was inevitable for a couple of reasons.

The first is finding myself in a state of permanent rage over the multitude of injustices which girls and women in Uganda on the continent and globally, have faced historically and still suffer on a daily basis. Hardly a day goes by, not even an hour, without a report: man rapes woman, wife beaten, man kills woman, girl raped by father, soldiers rape women, and so on.

In the era of widely touted Millennium Development Goals, Uganda is in the lead or close to the top when it comes to incidence of child marriagesexual abuse of childrenteenage pregnancy, sexual harassment and assault (rape is hardly reported; on record is mostly that by LRA insurgents during the war in northern Uganda), intimate partner violencematernal mortality, and deaths from complications arising from unsafe abortions. The horrors are endless to the point that many have become desensitized to the real suffering, in real time, of real people.

Human-beings. Girls. Women.
Read more Finding Our Voices by @EstellaMz

Sex-differences and ‘domestic violence murders’ by @K_IngalaSmith

Cross-posted from: Karen Ingala Smith
Originally published: 14.03.15
What could we do if we wanted to hide the reality of men’s violence against women?

Firstly, we might have  a ‘gender neutral’ definition of domestic violence.  Maybe like the UK government which uses the following definition:

“any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to: psychological, physical, sexual, financial [and] emotional.”

Not only treating ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ as the same thing, this definition erases sex differences.  It includes the phrase ‘regardless of gender’ when in reality men – as a biological sex-class – are overwhelmingly the perpetrators, and women – as a biological sex-class – are overwhelming the victims of ‘domestic violence’ (more on the differences between male and female victims of intimate partner violence here).  It is also broad, including violence  and abuse committed between any family members.  Whilst this can be useful, for example allowing service provision to be made available for those experiencing violence and abuse from any  family member, sometimes it is important to focus on ‘intimate-partner violence’, including that committed by former intimate partners.
Read more Sex-differences and ‘domestic violence murders’ by @K_IngalaSmith

Unwilling Warriors by @r2ph

Cross-posted from: Roweena Russell
Originally published: 17.01.14

Tormented tortured by a decision she never made

Blamed and shamed for her life blood on his hands,

Lost in a battle never there to be won


Read more Unwilling Warriors by @r2ph

Why Morality Is Not Arbitrary Or Trivial

(Cross-posted from Equinox Until Solstice)

 

[Trigger warning: murder, death, loss/grief]

First up, let’s get us to all agree that there are experiences which are objectively good (pleasant), and those that are objectively bad (unpleasant). You all with me there?

Next. Take murder for example: murder is objectively bad* because everyone has, to a degree, an innate drive to continue living, to survive. One cannot assume that another individual does not have this basic “will to live” – it has to be assumed to be there by default. It’s nature.

(Still with me? Good. No? Feel free to comment below explaining why.)

Even so, the above only takes into account the victim as an individual. It is far more likely than not that a murdered individual would have family and friends who love and care about them, and would be deeply saddened by their death. Murder would undoubtly cause suffering to them. The grief of losing a loved one is an undeniably terrible emotion.

Really. Experiences like physical pain, sadness, fear, etc. etc. are objectively bad. They just are. That isn’t something that’s up for debate.

*Alright, at this point I guess gotta clarify the asterisk. I am not working with the definition that bad = wrong. The former is objective reality, the latter is a human idea. Morality is what connects the two. I am simply explaining the framework under which the concept of morality is built upon, which happens to be material reality. If, objectively speaking, there is no such thing as right or wrong, then sure, causing harm isn’t objectively wrong, but it is objectivelybad.

Okay, we’ve reached the point I want to talk about: harm. What if we live in a world withoutharm? I mean, if suffering and destruction do not exist, then what good is morality for? The entire concept of morality would be obsolete, wholly inapplicable, if no harm could be done, wouldn’t it?

Time to get our heads in the clouds back to the ground, because we do not live in such a perfect fantasy paradise world. We live in a world where committing harm is always possible. That isn’t up for debate either.

It’s also why morality is going to be relevant, as long as human existence is.

(Again, these are just my two cents. Seriously, comment if you happen to disagree. Hopefully not with the points that just ~really~ aren’t up for debate, though.)

 

Equinox Until Solstice: A young Asian Australian feminist sharing her artwork and writing. Sometimes I blog about philosophy and politics.

“Je Suis Charlie”: The Lives We Value, The Lives We Don’t by @VABVOX

The morning of January 7, three gunmen, brothers Chérif and Said Kouachi, 32 and 34 and Hamyd Mourad, 18, stormed the offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris. The Kouachi brothers are alleged to have carried out what are described as point-blank executions of ten of the newspaper’s staff of journalists, including four cartoonists, as well as two police officers. Mourad, who turned himself in to police, was the getaway driver.

All three men are native-born Frenchmen. The Kouachi brothers have a history with police. Chérif had allegedly planned attacks on French Jews and both men have been linked to al Qaeda.

In addition to the 12 dead, 11 others were wounded. The death toll is expected to rise.

The assault on the paper and the massive number of casualties brought immediate responses worldwide, from journalists and editorial cartoonists who decried the attack as an assault on free speech, to political leaders–France’s President Hollande, America’s President Obama, the UK’s Prime Minister Cameron. Every response was in agreement–this was an attack on freedom and freedom of speech, an attack on the civilized world by those who are uncivilized.

US Secretary of State John Kerry–who speaks fluent French–put it succinctly when he said of the murders that they “are part of a larger confrontation, not between civilizations–no–but between civilization itself and those who are opposed to a civilized world.

A “civilized world.”

That is not the world in which I live–as a woman, as a lesbian, in the poorest big city in America where nearly one in two of us lives at or below the poverty level and which has more rapes and murders than any of the top ten largest cities. My life is under threat every day–the real threats that come from being a woman in a crime-ridden poverty-stricken urban environment and the sort promulgated on social media where one never knows if the anonymous person on the other end of a tweet may actually rape you or stab you or toss a lit match to your gasoline-drenched body as they propose doing in a public forum for all to see, unchallenged.

The world in which I and the majority of women live is the one in which a third of us–more than one billion women–will be a victim of male violence.

Just as the 12 people murdered at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper were.

Male violence is the out-of-control pandemic we refuse to name. We cite each new event of catastrophic violence as if it happens in a vacuum: the Paris massacre, the Sydney siege, the mass murder of a family in Pennsylvania by a former veteran, the shooting of two police officers in New York City by a man who had already shot his former girlfriend, the shootings of unarmed black men and women by police, and on and on and on.

We talk about the perpetrators of these acts and their victims in various linguistic constructs–some are deemed terrorists, some deemed mentally ill, some criminals, some just doing their jobs.

What we don’t say, what we never say is, “Yet another brutal incident of male violence.” Yet the common denominator is not white or black, Muslim or Christian, mentally ill or not. The common denominator is that these killers are men. At some point we have to strip away all the isms and races, ethnicities and religions and realize male entitlement promotes and excuses male violence and a male-run and orchestrated media refuses to acknowledge that incontovertible common denominator.

Within hours of the Paris attack, social media was pulsing with comments, many in solidarity with the French, others darkly accusatory of Muslims and Islam, all ignoring male violence. A range of hashtags trended on Twitter, the most viral of which was #JeSuisCharlie (I Am Charlie). The most disturbing hash tag was #KillAllMuslims–proudly started by a man.

As evening fell across France, vigils with massive numbers of people flooded the streets and boulevards of Paris and other French cities holding signs that read Je Suis Charlie and Pas Peur (Not Afraid). Similar vigils sprang up in other places around the world.

As an American who used to live and work in New York City and for whom 9/11 still resonates deeply, all such violence unsettles me. I don’t pretend to understand the killing of innocent people. It’s incomprehensible to me.

I don’t understand what drives male violence.

As a journalist, any attack on journalists or freedom of speech concerns me. Without journalists there quite simply is no truth. Those of us who are reporters bring the news to the rest of the world and often risk–or even lose–our lives in the process.

So the attack on a newspaper that used satire to address political and social issues in France and abroad was highly inflammatory and meant to send a message of silencing and fear.

While the massacre in Paris was being carried out, paramedics were clearing the scene of a car bomb attack in Sanaa, Yemen. In that attack, staged outside a police academy where students were lined up and waiting to enroll, 37 people were killed and 66 wounded. As in Paris, the death toll was expected to rise.

But while the world converged to decry the violence of the Paris attack, the attack in Sanaa didn’t even make it through the full day’s news cycle. By mid-day it was off the BBC crawl, which meant it was old news.

Which meant, again, that those lives were meaningless to the West, even though Yemen is third on the list of most-bombed sites by American drones, after Afghanistan and Pakistan.

No president spoke out against the loss of life. Not even Yemen’s president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. There were no rallies. No tweets of solidarity. No hashtags.

Silence. Because that is how the majority of male violence is met: With silence.

*

In 2014, when ISIS was beheading journalists every few weeks, there were three beheadings of women in and around London. Two were categorized as “domestic” as the Muslim women were killed by their husbands and the third, of 82 year old Palmira Silva, while she was gardening, was considered a random act by a man who was described as mentally ill.

Two weeks after the beheading of Silva, two women were beheaded in their Oklahoma workplace in the US by a male co-worker who was also described as mentally ill. Another beheading of a woman a month later was listed as a domestic incident and her husband charged.

None of these beheadings of women was categorized as terrorism.

As those beheadings made brief, if dismissive, headlines, dozens of women and girls were beheaded by ISIS and a dozen more were beheaded by the government of Saudi Arabia–a close ally to both the US and UK. Those killings went unremarked, unlike those of the journalists which were decried by Obama and Cameron.

The perpetrators of every one of these beheadings–whether individual acts of violence in the West, or state-sponsored or ISIS-sponsored in the Middle East–was perpetrated by men but once again that fact was never a headline.

May never be a headline. Because we expect male violence. It’s incorporated into our view of the world. No one ever questions the sex of a murderer–that a killer would be other than male is anomalous.

We know who the perpetrators are.

*

As I navigated social media after the Paris killings, I found myself in a deeply emotional state that I could not articulate. I am not Muslim. There are no Muslims in my family. And while I do have Muslim friends and live in a neighborhood with a large Muslim population and a mosque only three blocks from my house, I am a Catholic and half my family are Jewish. There was no real link for me to the Muslim community.

Except perhaps that affinity the marginalized have toward each other in times of crisis.

I felt solidarity with the French–I knew this act of violence shocked them to their core because of its blatant brutality. And then, of course, there is the silencing of editorial voices–that can never be excused. As a journalist who has worked in daily newspapers my entire adult life, mostly working on stories that wouldn’t have been told without me, I know how precious the editorial voice is. Also, I have  friends and colleagues who are editorial cartoonists. Their pictures are often worth the proverbial thousand words.

And yet as the day wore on, I felt discomfitted and struggled to articulate why, even to myself, even as I cried watching the news footage of the massive rallies of mourners throughout France and beyond.

One colleague of mine helped me articulate what I could not. Signe Wilkinson, the editorial cartoonist from the daily newspaper where I was a reporter and columnist for years was on the local TV news repeatedly over the course of the day talking about the Charlie Hebdo killings and her own work as a satirist. Wilkinson was the first woman editorial cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize and her work is phenomenal. One of her previous cartoons was all over Twitter as it depicted Mohammed and some of his prophets laughing at a book of satirical cartoons. The message was Mohammed had a sense of humor even if his followers did not.

Wilkinson said she was not afraid and she also said people needed to understand that “a cartoon can’t hurt anyone.”

Except, actually, it can. A cartoon can promulgate an immeasurable amount of hate.

That was the clarifying moment for me.

I had supplemented my tweets of #JeSuisCharlie almost immediately with #JeSuisMusulman (I Am Muslim). I had added this before it was an actual hash tag because I felt some inchoate need to do so–and because I actually felt uncomfortable with #JeSuisCharlie. Not because I didn’t feel that solidarity with slain journalists; I absolutely did.

But because I knew the work of Charlie Hebdo–everyone in newspapers did. And I was, frankly, appalled by it.

I could only embrace #JeSuisCharlie in as much as I am a journalist and revere free speech. I tweeted #JeSuisCharlie because  I find violence both abhorrent and inhuman and these journalists had been slaughtered in their desk chairs. None had left their homes that morning knowing the next hours would be their last.

Because they were men–white men with privilege–they never considered male violence to be a threat to them.

Despite the solidarity I felt with the victims in the face of such brutality, what I was not, and am still not, is accepting of the kind of work Charlie Hebdo produced. And I am not fully convinced that such work is a useful or necessary editorial tool.

Two mornings before the Paris massacre I had seen a tweet on a close friend’s timeline that made my stomach churn–a quote attributed to Voltaire, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

Accompanying the quote was a cartoon of a giant hand crushing a plethora of people. But added to the original cartoon–which has a plain, unadorned  sleeve–was the Judenstar, the Star of David that Jews in concentration camps were forced to wear.

I was horrified. Horrified at the image and horrified to find it amongst my friend’s tweets. I replied to it–it was a retweet from a prominent Green Party politician in London–saying I found the anti-Semitism offensive and noted the Nazi connection.

Both my friend and the Green Party man apologized. They actually hadn’t noticed. They had both thought of the quote and image as anti-Tory. The original tweeter deleted it. But I left Twitter for the day thoroughly  unsettled by what had happened. The Hitlerian propaganda of the “vast Zionist conspiracy” had propelled the Holocaust and sent members of my own family to the death camps and others fleeing for their lives.

Throughout the rise of the Third Reich in Germany, it was editorial cartoons–depictions of hook-nosed Jews with tallis and long beards counting money while blond-haired Aryans stood by starving–that had bolstered the perception of Jews as the ruination of Germany, the source of the economic disruption that was actually caused by restrictions imposed by America and Britain after the end of WWI.

In the US, editorial cartoons of slack-jawed blacks with shuffling gaits and vacant stares bolstered the racism that permeated the country blatantly for two centuries. A casual foray to any white supremacist website in the US today  will find more of these anti-Semitic and anti-black cartoons–as if it were still 1815, not 2015.

You will find regrettably similar cartoons from Charlie Hebdo, the shuffling blacks from America’s most shameful racism replaced by a drooling, googly-eyed Mohamed stumbling through the desert with a camel. The hook-nosed Jews of 1930s Berlin can also be found there.

I can be a proponent of free speech and not  want to be party to that kind of editorializing. A friend said people needed to have a sense of humor about cartoons. But the people who say this all seem to be white, Western and almost wholly male. They are neither Muslims nor Jews. They are the people who if they are killed, get worldwide headlines and hashtags and a day of mourning. They are not the people whose names are never known. They are not the French Jews dragged out of their  houses in the center of Paris and put on cattle cars to Mauthausen concentration camp after having been informed upon by their Christian neighbors, nor are they the French-born Muslims shunted into banlieues–the Parisian slums where France hides her jobless refugees from French colonialism in North Africa.

Feminists know some lives matter more than others, because the lives of women are under constant threat worldwide and no one cares. Feminists know that theirs is the one political philosophy that has never killed anyone. Feminists know that if men didn’t respond with violence to everything, be it an editorial cartoon or a dinner not to a husband’s liking, the world would be a better, more livable place. Feminists know that until and unless we face the destructive, pandemic force that is male violence, there will always be lives that matter and lives that do not. We will know the names of white French men victims and never know the names of Muslim Yemeni women victims–even if they are killed for the same reasons.

We may say “pas peur” in solidarity, but it is a solidarity that if illusory and doesn’t actually include us. For women, for Muslims, for Jews, for anyone who comes from a marginalized group or class, “pas peur” can never be true. Those of us who are the real targets of violence–which is not the journalists of Charlie Hebdo, who are actually anomalous victims–are in fact, afraid. We are afraid precisely because we know our lives have little worth in the global hierarchy. We know there will never be massive vigils held for us or hash tags created to memorialize us.

The Paris shooting unsettled the world precisely because its victims were not the victims we usually see–and dismiss. And that is perhaps the saddest sidebar to this tragedy: that the violence will not end because we will never call it by its real name.

Feminists know the source of the all these brutal killings.When will the rest of the world catch up?

 

Victoria A. Brownworth is an award-winning journalist, editor and writer and the author and editor of nearly 30 books. She has won the NLGJA and the Society of Professional Journalists awards, the Lambda Literary Award and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She won the 2013 SPJ Award for Enterprise Reporting in May 2014. She is a regular contributor to The Advocate and SheWired, a blogger for Huffington Post and a columnist and contributing editor for Curve magazine and Lambda Literary Review. Her reporting and commentary has appeared in the New York Times, Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer. Her book, From Where We Sit: Black Writers Write Black Youth won the 2012 Moonbeam Award for cultural&historical fiction. Her novel, Ordinary Mayhem, will be published in February 2015. Her book Erasure: Silencing Lesbians, will be published in June 2015. @VABVOX

 

Who Counts? by @K_IngalaSmith

(Cross-posted from Karen Ingala Smith)

Just women killed by men: shifting definitions and learning though Counting Dead Women

It’s over two and a half years since I unintentionally started counting dead women back in January 2012 when the year began with report after report of women killed through domestic violence. I know now, but I didn’t then, that in the first three days of 2012, eight women in the UK were killed through male violence. Three days, eight dead women: three shot, two stabbed, one strangled,  one smothered and one beaten to death through 15 blunt force trauma injuries

Eight women aged between 20 and 87, their killers aged between 19 and 48 were husbands, partners, boyfriends or ex’s; , sister’s partner, aunt’s partner, robber and grandson.  I remember the feeling of incredulity that connections weren’t being made, that dots weren’t being joined, that no-one was talking about a pattern, or at least a series of related events.

At first, I counted women killed through domestic violence, then, on March 9th 2012, Ahmad Otak stabbed and killed Samantha Sykes, 18 and Kimberley Frank, 17. Otak wasn’t the boyfriend of either of them, but of Elisa Frank, Kimberley’s sister.  After killing Kimberly and Samantha in front of Eliza, he abducted Eliza and drove to Dover in an attempt to escape to France. The murders of Samantha and Kimberley didn’t strictly fit the definition of domestic violence, but they’re absolutely about a man trying to exert power, control and coercion in his relationship. The murders of Kimberley and Samantha were no less about male violence against women that they would have been if he had been the boyfriend of one of them.

I’d never planned to start counting and I think I’d imagined that I’d stop at the end of 2012.  At the end of the year, I tried to define who I was counting and who I wasn’t using the term ‘gender related murder’.  With the start of 2013, I started a new list and kept on counting.  Slowly finding a voice through social media, particularly twitter, I started blogging early in 2013. I wrote my first piece about how I started counting and some of the things I’d learned and called it Counting Dead Women. With the term ‘gender related murder’ I was trying to express that fatal male violence against women went beyond ‘domestic violence’; that there was more to men’s sexist misogynistic murders of women than the widely used ‘Two women a week killed by partners or ex-partners’, that socially constructed gender has an influence beyond domestic violence .  I had a notion, that I now reject, that I wasn’t talking about all instances where men had killed women; and I didn’t want to be accused of exaggerating and adding women just to make the numbers higher.

So, there were some women who had been killed by men that I didn’t add to the list, for example where she’d been killed but so had a man  – my thinking ‘So, this wasn’t just sexism/misogyny’ – or one case  where the killer was an employee of the woman he murdered, ‘maybe he’d have killed his employer even if he had been a man?’  I had more questions:  Who counts as a ‘UK woman’? What about women from the UK murdered on holiday? If I counted UK women murdered overseas, should I therefore not count women who were not from the UK if they were murdered here?  What about so-called mercy killings? In a country where assisted dying is not legal, surely some people might make the choice through lack of choice.  What about girls?  When does the killing of a child become sexist?

I started thinking about and using the term Femicide ‘the killing of women because they are women’ andwrote about it here in October 2013.  But it still didn’t feel right, the term  ‘femicide’ itself doesn’t name the agent, neither does the short definition above, purportedly because women can kill women as a result of patriarchal values. Of course that’s true, yet the 123-word definition of femicide agreed at the Vienna Symposium on Femicide whilst giving some useful examples of forms that fatal violence against women can take, still didn’t name ‘male violence’ and it excluded a group of women that I’d begun to identify through my counting: older women killed by younger men in what were sometimes described as ’botched robberies’ or muggings. The level of brutality that some men used against these women, the way some targeted women and the use of sexual violence, meant to me that their murders could not be excluded. I posed that question, that in a world where sexism and misogyny are so pervasive, are all but inescapable, can a man killing a woman ever not be a sexist act?  A fatal enactment of patriarchy?

It’s September 2014 now.  Last week, on Thursday, 82-year-old Palmira Silva became at least the 100th woman in the UK to be killed through male violence this year. I say at least the 100th because I have a list of more than 10 women’s names where the circumstances of their deaths has not been made publicly available.  In the same way that the list of 107 women’s names that I’d gathered by the end of 2012 is now a list of 126 women, I expect that time will reveal women who have been killed this year, women I haven’t heard about or who I haven’t yet been able to include because information about their deaths has not been released .

Because I’m counting dead women, keeping this list, I was able to make connections that others simply wouldn’t know about.  On Thursday evening, a tweet I wrote, identifying Palmira Silva as the third women to have been beheaded in London in less than six months was trending in London. My blog had more hits in one day than it usually has in a month.  Some people heard about my list for the first time and asked questions, making me realise it was perhaps time to revisit and update my explanation of what I’m doing and why.

Why am I counting women killed through male violence? Because if we don’t name the agent, we can’t hope to identify the causes.  If we don’t reveal the extent of men’s fatal violence against women and the various forms it can take, we will never be capable of a thorough enough analysis to reduce or end it.  If the bigger picture is revealed, people can begin to see the connections.  That’s why I know that I need to keep counting dead women and campaigning for this to be done officially.

My thinking has developed and changed since January 2012.  There’s no reason that it won’t continue to do so. Not everyone likes what I’m doing or how I’m doing it. Not everyone agrees with my analysis.  Not everyone thinks women killed by men are worth of counting.

So, who counts?  Women.  Women, aged 14 years and over, women killed by men in the UK and UK women killed overseas.  Regardless of the relationship between the woman and the man who killed her; regardless of how he killed her and who else he killed at the same time; regardless of the verdict reached when the case gets to court in our patriarchally constructed justice system created by men and continually delivering anything but justice to women; regardless of what is known and not known of his motive.  Just women killed by men.

Karen Ingala Smith: As I See It: Blogs (mainly) about men’s violence against women, feminism, inequality, infertility [@K_IngalaSmith]

Counting Dead Women 2014

 

Jan-Oct Mongage with text

122 women in the UK have been killed through suspected male violence from January to October 2014.

122 women in 303 days is one woman dead every 2.49 days.

  1. 8 Jan 2014: Elsie Mowbray, 87, died though head injuries in hospital following a burglary at her home on New Year’s Day. Peter Harris, 33, has been found guilty of manslaughter.
  2. 8 Jan 2014: Sameena Zaman, 34, was found dead. Mohammed Zaman, 44 has been charged.
  3. 8 Jan 2014: Sarah O’Neill, 22, died from head injuries sustained in an attack from Sergio Saavedra-Navarrete, her ex- boyfriend, 27.
  4. 14 Jan 2014: Jacqueline Oakes,51, died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries inflicted by Marcus Musgrove, 39.
  5. 16 Jan 2014: Caroline Finnegan, 30 died from bleeding of the brain, she also suffered a broken nose and eye socket. The thump from her fiancé, Richard Ingram, 26, swivelled her head so violently that it tore blood vessels in her neck.  He has been found guilty of her murder.
  6. 24 Jan 2014: Elizabeth Thomas was stabbed to death and dismembered by her boyfriend, Steven Miles, 16. He has been found guilty of her murder.
  7. 28 Jan 2014: Milena Yuliyanov, 27, was stabbed. Her husband Jamshaid Khan, 28 has been charged with her murder.
  8. 30 Jan 2014: Karen Wild, was found dead through stabbing. A 22-year-old man, said to be her son, Lian Wild, has been charged with her murder.
  9. 31 Jan 2014: Maria Duque-Tunjano, 48, was found dead. She had been killed some days earlier by blunt trauma to the head. Robert Fraser, 39 has been charged
  10. 11 Feb 2014: Clara Patterson, 82, and her son Ray, 61, were found dead. Their grandson/son was found guilty of manslaughter and detained indefinitely.
  11. 12 Feb 2014: A woman who cannot be named for legal reasons was found dead in London. A 15 year old boy, thought to be her son, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
  12. 17 Feb 2014: Karolina Nowikiewicz, 25, was found dead as a result of a neck injury. Michael Wenham, 35, has been charged with murder.
  13. 18 Feb 2014: Hollie Gazzard, 20, was stabbed to death. Her ex-boyfriend Asher Maslin was found guilty of her murder.
  14. 20 Feb 2014: Leanne Meecham, 26, died of a brain injury a week after being stabbed. Her ex-partner Simon Meecham, who was also her step-father has been found guilty of her murder.
  15. 23 Feb 2014: Christine Lee, 66, was shot dead by her ex-partner Michael Lowe. He also murdered her daughter.
  16. 23 Feb 2104: Lucy Lee, 40, was shot dead along with her mother by her mother’s ex-partner , John Lowe.
  17. 23 Feb 2014: Donna Graham, 51, was smothered by her husband Keith Graham who also killed himself.
  18. 23 Feb 2014: Georgina Drinkwater, 30, died from head injuries after falling from a block of flats. A man was arrested and has been bailed. Police continue to seek information.
  19. 24 Feb 2014: Mairead McCallion, 24, died after sustaining head injuries the day before.
  20. 26 Feb 2014: Sheila Wild, 49, was strangled by her husband Raymond Wild.
  21. 26 Feb 2014: Angela Humphrey, 48, died of head and neck injuries after being punched, kicked, throttled and stamped on by her husband Alan Humphrey.
  22. 3 Mar 2014: Patricia Anne Durrant, 65, was found dead at home. James Blair Hamilton who also lived there has been charged with her murder.
  23. 4 Mar 2014: Sara Al Shourefi, 28, was found dead. Thahi Harroba Manaa has been charged with her murder.
  24. 6 March: Becky Ayres, 24 was killed by multiple stab wounds inflicted by her boyfriend Liam King, 25.
  25. 6 Mar 2014: 29-year-old Amandeep Kaur Hothi’s throat was slit by her boyfriend Gurminder Singh, 29.
  26. 15 March 2014: Kirsty Wright, 21, was stabbed 60 times by her boyfriend Akeel Hussain.
  27. 16 March 2014: Rivka Holden, 55, was so badly mutilated that the cause of her death could not be definitively ascertained. She had been strangled, her throat had been slit and she had been dismembered and sexually assaulted by Nicolae Patraucean, 20.
  28. 17 March 2014: Cherylee Shennan, 40, was stabbed to death by her boyfriend Paul O’Hara, 43. O’Hara had previously been released early from prison for killed a former partner.
  29. 19 March 2014: Naudel Turner, 42, was stabbed to death. Dariusz Miakienko, 46, has been charged with her murder.
  30. 21 March 2014: Shereka Marsh, 15, was shot in the neck by her 15-year-old boyfriend who cannot be named.
  31. 22 March 2014: Hazel North,19, was found dead after having been missing for several weeks. She died of severe blunt force trauma to head, neck and body. Her injuries included multiple fractures to the jaw and eye socket, massive bruising, and 14 fractures to her ribs. Pathologists estimated that it would have taken her 16-18 hours to die. She was killed by her boyfriend John Davis.
  32. 23 March 2014: Tracy Walters, 48, died in hospital two days after a crash on the M1 near Leicester. Her husband Ian Walters, has been charged with murder through crashing deliberately.
  33. 28 March 2014, Shirley Mercer, 43, was killed by multiple stab wounds inflicted by her partner Brian Hull, 52..
  34. 29 March 2014: Kanwal Azam, 35, was stabbed to death by her estranged husband Suhail Azam.
  35. 30 March 2014: Mashael Albasman, 25, was stabbed in the neck 13 times by her father Faleh Ghazi Albasman, 59.
  36. 31 March 2014: Val Forde, 45, and her 23-month old daughter Jazra were found dead. Her partner Roland McKoy has been arrested.
  37. 2 April 2014: Doreen Walker, 75, was stabbed multiple times by Liam Naylor, 23.
  38. 5 April 2014: Senga Closs, 47, was found dead at home. Steven McCall, 43, has been charged with her murder.
  39. 5 April 2014: Kayleigh-Anne Palmer, 16, died in hospital after being strangled by her boyfriend, Aston Robinson, 18, who had faced a prior charge for her attempted murder.
  40. 5 April 2014: Sandra Boakes, 70, was found with head injuries and died two days later in hospital. Her husband Dudley Boakes, initially charged with attempted murder, was charged with her murder.
  41. 6 April 2014: Yvette Hallsworth, 36 was raped and stabbed to death by Mateusz Kosecki,18.
  42. 9 April 2014: Isabelle Sanders, 51, was stabbed to death. Paul McManus has been charged with her murder and attempted murder of her partner.
  43. 11 April 2014: Judith Nibbs, 60, was decapitated. Her estranged husband, Dempsey Nibbs has been charged with her murder.
  44. 11 April 2014: Edna Fisher, 74, was smothered by her husband Kenneth Fisher, who then killed himself by taking an overdose of her medication.
  45. 14 April 2014: Pauline Butler, 61, was stabbed was stabbed and slashed to death by her ex-partner John Butler.
  46. 15 April 2014: Angela Smeaton, 50, was stabbed and beaten to death by her husband Paul Smart, 49.
  47. 18 April 2014: Doreen Webb, 64, was stabbed. Her husband Leonard Webb, 68 was charged with her murder.
  48. 18 April 2014: Elaine Duncan, 46, was found dead. James Morley, has been charged with her murder.
  49. 21 April 2014: Malgorzata Dantes, 54, and her husband Leszek were stabbed to death. Their son Kamil Dantes has been charged with their murders.
  50. 28 April 2014: Ann Maguire, 61, was killed through multiple stab wounds. A 15-year old boy has been charged with her murder.
  51. 29 April 2014: Carol Dyson, 53, was asphyxiated. Her husband Mark Dyson has been charged with her murder.
  52. 29 April 2014: Susan Ashworth, 47, was found dead after a fire in her home which is believed to have been started deliberately by her husband Martin Ashworth.
  53. 3 May 2014: Natsnet Tekle Nahisi, 20, died from injuries sustained in an assault. Dawit Khasay, 19, was charged but later died in prison.
  54. 3 May 2014: Angela Ward, 27, was stabbed to death by her partner Ian Meakin, 49.
  55. 5 May 2014: Jessica Watkins, 21, was stabbed 27 times by her boyfriend Kristofer Mitchell, 28, as she was in the bath.
  56. 9 May 2014: Tamara Holboll, 67, was found dead with multiple stab wounds following a fire at her home. Her son, Peter Holboll, 44, has been charged with her murder.
  57. 10 May 2014: Hayley Stringer, 29, was stabbed to death by her ex-husband David Stringer, who then killed himself.
  58. 18 May 2014: Emma Siswick, 37, was stabbed to death by her boyfriend Jonathon Sutton 39. He stabbed her 81 times
  59. 19 May 2014: Eileen Glassford, 60, was pushed in to a river by Paul Connolly,49.
  60. 24 May 2014: Wendy Ambrose, 77, was shot dead by her husband Harold Ambrose,82, who then shot himself.
  61. 26 May 2014: Mary Craig, 43, died after being struck with a knife or similar. Her partner, Christopher Shone, has been charged with her murder.
  62. 26 May 2014: Dorothy Beattie, 51 was strangled by Christopher Kelly, 40.
  63. 27 May 2014: Tahira Ahmed, 38, was stabbed and decapitated. Both her arms were broken. Her husband Naveed Ahmed, 41, has been charged with her murder.
  64. 30 May 2014: Helen Dillon, 42, was stabbed to death in Neasdon, London. Justice Cruickshank, 54 has been charged with her murder.
  65. 31 May 2014: The body of Rui Li, 44, was found in the boot of a car, Her husband, Pierre Legris, 60, has been charged with her murder. She died of blunt force trauma to the head.
  66. 31 May 2014: Barbara Hobbis, 79, was strangled by her 58-year-old son, Geoffrey Hobbis.
  67. 3 June 2014: Yvonne Fox, 87, was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Her son, Paul Fox, has been charged with her murder.
  68. 4 June 2014: Margaret Evans, 69, was beaten to death. Her son, Alun Evan, 32, has been detained under the mental health act.
  69. 8 June 2014: Rebecca Bamber, 42, died after being taken to hospital with serious injuries after being assaulted. David Hoyle, 38, has been charged with her murder.
  70. 10 June 2014: Madina Landsberg, 31, was found dead. She had been beaten and strangled. Her ex-husband Dexter Landsberg has been charged with her murder.
  71. 11 June 2014: Francine Clark, 70, was found dead. Her husband, 86-year-old Neil Clark has been charged with her murder.
  72. 13 June 2014: Belinda Dalby, 26, was found dead. Jamie Nicolson, 30, has been charged with her murder.
  73. 14 June 2014: Jane Bartholomew, 39, was found dead at home after police responded to calls raising concerns for her welfare. She had been killed by significant head injuries. Scott Ellis, 42, was found with injuries to his wrists and subsequently charged with Jane’s murder.
  74. 15 June 2014: Denise Dunlop, 32, was stabbed to death. Her partner Richard McAuley, 42, has been charged with her murder.
  75. 17 June 2014: Nahid Al Manea, 31, was stabbed 16 times and had injuries consistent with being struck in the face or head. Her killer has not been found.
  76. 17 June 2014: Mingzi Yang, 29, was found dead at home. 33-year-old Wai Hong Tsang has been charged with her murder.
  77. 18 June 2014: Una Dorney, 87, was found dead in the care home in which she lived. Her grandson, Ryan Guest, 33, has been charged with her murder.
  78. 25 June 2014: Sheila Crout, 65, was found dead. Her husband John Crout, 63, has been charged with her murder.
  79. 29 June 2014: Luan Leigh, 42, was strangled to death. Her daughter, 9, was treated for strangulation injuries and her son, 15, survived being stabbed in the chest. Her husband, their father, Andrew Leigh, 42, was charged with murder and attempted murder.
  80. 29 June 2014: Cynthia Beamond, 80, was found dead with head injuries. Leo Barnes, 32, has been charged with her murder.
  81. 2 July 2014: Sally Campion, 45, was found with serious head injuries and later died in hospital. Matthew Keough, 44, has been charged with her murder.
  82. 7 July 2014: Quoi Chang, 50, and her husband Pin Chang, 58, were both stabbed to death in their home. Their 23-year-old son, Carl Chang, has been charged with their murders.
  83. 9 July 2014: Sharon Wall, 53, was stabbed at the mental health unit in which she worked. Ryan Mathews, 61, has been charged with her murder.
  84. 9 July 2014: Teresa Ryan, 50, was killed in a house fire just hours after celebrating her 50th birthday with her family. David McCabe, 32, was remanded in custody to in court on July 28.
  85. 12 July 2014: Sharon Winters, 39, was stabbed to death through multiple upper body injuries. Kevin Hawkes, 33, has been charged with her murder.
  86. 13 July 2014: Helen Dawson, 48, and Ivor Spratek, 40, were found dead. Austin Brayford, 37, has been charged with their murders.
  87. 17 July 2014: Susan Lancaster, 67, was found dead at home after a call to the police from her husband Roy Lancaster, 54, saying that her had killed her. He was later found dead.
  88. 17 July 2014: Michaela Heaton, 38, was found with head injuries. She was taken to hospital but pronounced dead shortly afterwards. Kevin Whyment, 53, has been charged with her murder.
  89. 18 July 2014: Bei Carter, 49,was stabbed and died from being stabbed in the chest. John Heald, 53, hs been charged with with her murder.
  90. 20 July 2014: Nonita Karajavait, 24, was seen being pushed into on-coming traffic by her partner Tadas Zalwskas, 26. They both died. Police are treating her death as suspicious.
  91. 22 July 2014: Tia Kounota was found in a burnt out car. Damien Dionbewei, 34, has been charged with her murder.
  92. 29 July 2014: Eleanor Whitelaw, 85, died two weeks after being attacked in her home. Robert Buczek, 24, who had been charged with attempted murder and assault to severe injury and danger of life was charged with her murder.
  93. 2 August 2014: Carol Bland, 62, was found dead with multiple stab wounds after a friend called the police to raise concerns. Her 62-year-old husband was found with serious knife wounds to his neck and was later charged with her murder.
  94. 10 August 2014, Anayat Bibi, 39 was found dead with multiple stab wounds. A 42-year-old man of the same address, Mazhar Nawab, has been charged with her murder.
  95. 11 August 2014: Elizabeth Knott, 70, was shot dead by her husband John Knott, 71, who also shot himself.
  96. 17 August 2014: Sandra Talman, 62, was found dead. A post mortem discovered she had been killed through compression to the neck. Her husband, Nigel Talman, 60, has been charged with her murder.
  97. 19 August 2014: Elaine Flanagan, 57, was found dead. Her 57-year-old husband,  Thomas Flanagan, has been charged with her murder.
  98. 21 August 2014: Shana Cover, 34, was found dead. Her estranged husband, Owen Williams, 50,has been charged with her murder.
  99. 23 August 2014: Rukshana Miah, 35, died in hospital six days after being attacked by her husband Abdul Miah, 36, He had initially been charged with attempted murder.
  100. 26 August 2014: The body of Lynn Howarth, 43, was found, she had been dead several weeks. Steven Dunks, 45, has been charged her murder
  101. 28 August 2014: Alice Gross,14, went missing. Her body was found on 31st  Convicted murderer Arnis Zalkalns was later found dead, police are not looking for anyone else in relation to her murder.
  102. 3 September 2014: Leighann Duffy, 26, died in hospital 3 days after being stabbed in her home. Lloyd Byfield, 48, has been charged with her murder.
  103. 3 September 2014: Pennie Davis, 47, was found dead by her husband,  in the field where she tended her horses.  She had been stabbed. Justin Robertson, 36, has been charged with her murder.
  104. 3 September 2014: Glynis Bensley, 48, died of head injuries after allegedly being pursued by two masked men on bikes. Zoheb Majib, 20, & a 13 year old male have been charged with her murder.
  105. 4 September 2014: Palmira Silva, 82, was beheaded in north London. Nicolas Salvador ,25, was charged with her murder.
  106. 13 September 2014: Serena Hickey was murdered by her partner Darren Ellis, 35. He later killed himself.
  107. 14 September 2014: Karen Catherall, 45, was found dead. Darren Jeffreys, 47, has been charged with her murder.
  108. 15 September 2014: Hannah Witheridge,23, was raped and killed alongside her friend David Miller whilst traveling in Thailand.
  109. 19 September 2014: Dorothy Brown, 66, and her husband Paul Brown, 73 were stabbed to death. Their son Timothy Brown, 46, has been charged with their murders.
  110. 19 September 2014: Nicola McKenzie, 37, was killed by a head injury. Oral David Bryan, 43, has been charged with her murder.
  111. 22 September 2014: Davinia Loynton, 59, was found dead. Kevin Hyden, 34, has been charged with her murder but additional charges may be brought against others.
  112. 28 September 2014: Lorna McCarthy, 50, was killed by stab wounds to the heart. Barry McCarthy, 50, has been charged with her murder.
  113. 30 September 2014: Catherine McDonald, 57, was found dead. She had been stabbed and asphyxiated.  Her 27-year-old son, Alex McDonald, has been charged with her murder.
  114. 6 Oct 2014: Mariama Njie-Jallow, 37and her husband Mbye Jallow, 56, were found dead after a house fire. Mariama had been stabbed and was dead before the fire started. Police are not looking for anyone else.
  115. 11 Oct 2014: Maria Mayes, 67, was stabbed to death.  Her son, Stuart Mayes, has been charged with her murder.
  116. 16 Oct 2014: Melissa Mathieson, 18, died in hospital of injuries she had sustained four days earlier.  James Conroy, 18, has been charged with her murder.
  117. 18 October 2014: Donna Eastwood, 26, was found dead inside a burning car.  Joshua Cairns, 26, has been charged with her murder.
  118. 20 October 2014: Raheela Imran, 45, was killed through a “wound to the neck”. Her husband Imran Sharif, 44, has been charged with her murder.
  119. 27 October 2014: Daksha Lad, 44, was found stabbed to death along with her two daughters. Her husband, their killer, Jitendra Lad, 49, hanged himself.
  120. 27 October 2014: Trisha Lad, 19,was found stabbed to death along with her mother and sister. Her father, their killer, Jitendra Lad, 49, hanged himself.
  121. 27 October 2014: Nisha Lad, 16,was found stabbed to death along with her mother and sister. Her father, their killer, Jitendra Lad, 49, hanged himself.
  122. 31 October 2014: An as-yet-unnamed woman was stabbed to death in Ilford, London.

 

Karen Ingala Smith: As I See It: Blogs (mainly) about men’s violence against women, feminism, inequality, infertility [@K_IngalaSmith]

The Power of Derailing Political Discussions about Male Violence by @EVB_Now

(cross-posted from Ending Victimisation and Blame)

This morning we received a link to a Jezebel article entitled “Woman Shot and Killed After Refusing to Give Man Her Phone Number” from . 27-year old Mary “Unique” Spears was shot to death for refusing to give out her phone number to a man. The unnamed (as of yet) suspect shot Spears three times and then injured 4 other people as they left an American Legion following the funeral of a family member.

The comments below the article are full of women sharing their stories of a man refusing to respect their boundaries, continuing to harass them and then the subsequent victim-blaming when the incident changed from a man refusing to accept the word no to violence. We recommend that all our male supporters read through the comments to understand the reality of male violence that women live with everyday.

One comment, in particular, stuck out:

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 07.44.41Following an article where a woman was brutally murdered by an entitled man who did not believe she had the right to personal & bodily autonomy, one man felt the need to include the caveat “certain men”. This is a derailing tactic. Women understand that only certain men perpetrate misogynistic violence – whether this be domestic & sexual violence and abuse, street harassment, or fatal violence. Women cannot tell, just be looking, which men  will perpetrate violence so women take precautions. We tell men, as Mary Spears did, that we “belong” to another man (in this case she was out with her fiancé); we give false phone numbers, and sometimes we acquiesce to the unwanted social interaction because of fear of being killed. These fears aren’t unreasonable or paranoid.

When men derail women’s conversations about their experiences of male violence to say “not all men” or “certain men”, they are telling women their individual experiences aren’t important. It is a silencing tactic which suggests that men’s feelings are more important than women’s safety. This leads to blaming women for experiencing male violence: if only she was nicer to him, made it clearer she wasn’t interested, said no “properly”.

This derailment is part of victim blaming culture and it needs to stop. Women are allowed to say no – without fear of consequence and men need to understand that women sharing their personal stories about male violence do not need the conversation derailed. This isn’t about one man who doesn’t perpetrate male violence having his feelings hurt – it’s about women being killed for saying no. It is about male entitlement – and – trying to derail a conversation about male violence is male entitlement.

Mary Spears was brutally murdered by a man who refused to take the word no as an answer. The conversation should be about Spears – and all the other women who have experienced violence in similar situations.

Male Violence effects us all by @TerriStrange

(Cross-posted from the Arctic Feminist)

There’s been a lot of interesting news on twitter today.  Its started my wheels spinning.  Ian Watkins (lostprophets) has pleaded guilty to 11 counts of attempted rape of an infant girl.  Nigella Lawson’s attacker Charles Saatchi has been given license in the British media to slander her character despite the fact that he was photographically documented brutally assaulting her.  Oh and of course Karen Ingala Smith’s project “Counting Dead Women” has been taking off and been at the forefront of my mind.

Whats become even more clear to me is if a woman like Nigella Lawson, who is famous and successful, consistently in the public eye and many women in similar positions are subject to not only the threat of male violence, but to male violence itself, where does that leave women like you and me?  We become numbers added to body counts that only exist because some crazy feminist out there thinks our lives matter enough to count.

Its also amazing that we still have people under the impression that being a child rapist is a “sexuality” and that we should all feel sympathy for men who brutalize children.  Erasing yet again the damage inflicted upon those who are raped in childhood.

Why do we hesitate to see male violence and the male sex caste for what they are?  Why do we not see that there is a war being waged against the female sex that has been going steady for thousands of years and that we are losing, badly?  Why do we not see that all women, no matter what they achieve are always under the threat of some man getting to define them (as victim) forever?  We desperately need to build communities that function away from men.  Refuges for our refugees.  We need to stop acting as if all of this is just a misunderstanding and get serious about putting an end to male violence, for good.

 

The Arctic Feminist: I lazily blog about whatever I want. Always from a radical feminist perspective

When Women and Girls Are Attacked by Men, We Blame Everything Except Male Violence by @CratesNRibbons

(Cross-posted from Crates & Ribbons)

Last Tuesday night, two teenage girls from India went out into the fields, looking for a place to relieve themselves, due to the lack of toilets in their village. On their way, they were brutally attacked by a group of men, gang-raped, and murdered. Their bodies were found the next day hanging from a tree, in a sickening display of complacence that speaks volumes not only about the men’s arrogance and lack of shame, but also their sense of entitlement to female bodies. Activists in India have rallied in protest against the problem of sexual violence in the country, and villagers have condemned police inaction relating to the incident.

Yesterday, an article appeared in The Guardian, citing the lack of basic sanitation as the main reason for the death of the girls. It was the lack of toilets in their village, the article suggests, that resulted in the attack, never mind the perpetrators themselves, never mind the global ideal of masculinity that accepts, even encourages, violence in men, never mind the global culture of misogyny that normalises violence against women.

Don’t get me wrong — I do believe that basic sanitation is crucial. It is of the utmost importance for reasons of hygiene, leading to cleaner surroundings, safer food and water, lower rates of diarrhoea and illnesslower risk of snake bites, and lower mortality rates. Access to toilets provides privacy and dignity, and having a toilet in schools can encourage girls to continue with their schooling after hitting puberty. And with around 2.7 billion people around the world without access to basic sanitation, the problem is a pressing one.

Neither do I deny the fact that many men choose to attack women when they are seeking a secluded spot in the fields to relieve themselves. Yet, to focus exclusively on the circumstances surrounding the attack, while ignoring the main source of the attack (the perpetrators), fits into a pattern that feminists have been decrying for decades — society’s propensity to treat male violence as an accepted fact of life, to make allowances for it, to try to avoid it, and to attempt to redirect it. None of these can keep women safe.

Around the world, men have been raping and murdering women in every conceivable situation. They have carried out violence against women in their own homes, on the street, in clubs, atpartiesin hostels on a school trip, on public buses, in school toilets, in high school hallways, atconcerts, while camping, during piano lessons, in taxis, during a football game, the list goes on. Women can avoid going to dark and secluded areas, we can stay at home, we can take all the precautions we have been told to take. No wearing short skirts, no going out alone at night, no getting drunk in public, no trusting a strange man. But as long as men continue their violent behaviour, as long as they continue to rape and murder women, then — naturally — women will continue to be raped and murdered. They will be raped and murdered no matter where they are, no matter what they happen to be doing at the time.

The global epidemic of male violence against women must end, but we will never end it by refusing to place our finger on the key issue at hand, the link between socialised masculinity and violence. If we continue to ignore this, then the only world where men no longer attack women will be a world where women and girls do not exist at all.

 

Crates&Ribbons:  A feminist analysis of society [@CratesNRibbons]

The Oscar Pistorius sentence: no justice for Reeva by @lexiconlane

 

(Cross-posted from Donna Navarro)
Oscar Pistorius SentenceThe headline reads: ‘Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison’

What a misleading headline. Aren’t they always.

Oscar Pistorius has today received his sentence for the culpable homicide (manslaughter) of Reeva Steenkamp. Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa has imposed a five year custodial sentence for the manslaughter of Reeva and three years suspended for the firearms offences. Under South African law, what that actually means is that Pistorius will serve one sixth of his custodial sentence in prison before being released to serve the remaining term on house arrest.

So, that’s about ten months in prison for shooting Reeva and killing her. No where near five years in prison.

I understand his ten months will be served in the hospital wing of the prison due to Pistorius’ disability. If housed on the main wing of the prison we are told he will be at risk of daily rape.

My issue is that Pistorius shot his firearm four times. Not once. Four times.  I don’t believe it was a negligent act or amounted to manslaughter but the judge has made her decision.

A ten month term in prison is not enough for shooting four times at Reeva Steenkamp.

Comparative cases indicate the sentence is reasonable for the South African justice system. Other cases where a longer prison sentence has been imposed have involved more deaths.

Apparently the prosecution find some solace in the fact a custodial sentence has been imposed. Reeva Steenkamp’s parents have also said they are satisfied and feel there is some closure for them now. I have a lot of respect for their reaction to the sentence. I couldn’t display the same level of composure.

It’s believed Pistorius will go to the Kgosi Mampuru jail in Pretoria (formerly the Central Pretoria prison) which has a hospital wing that will provide a safer environment for him. He’ll have a single cell and then be released on house arrest. Even the length of house arrest may be reduced for good behaviour.

House arrest seems to be the South African justice system’s equivalent of the UK’s being released on licence. On release, Pistorius will have to be at a pre-approved address between set hours each day. According to the Department of Correctional Services for the Republic of South Africa this involves:

House arrest refers to that portion of the day/night when the probationer does not work and is compelled to be at home. The period of house arrest of individual probationers may differ.

The possible risk posed to the community is taken into account when determining the probationer’s placement under house arrest. When the condition of house arrest is being set, the offender’s working hours are taken into account in order to avoid conflict between such hours and the period of house arrest. Flexibility is also built into the condition of house arrest to allow probationers to participate in organized sport activities, to attend church services, to do the necessary shopping, etc.

It sounds like it won’t be long before Pistorius will be free to carry on his life with some sense of normality. After ten months it sounds like he will be free to return to sport, provided he is back in his home by a certain time on an evening.

In the UK we can release offenders with a licence condition of a curfew. House arrest seems similar to that. I’ve worked with offenders who have received this condition. It allows them to return to work, to move freely during the day provided they are back at the approved address by the required time. If they breach this they will be returned to prison. I assume it works the same in South Africa.

I still can’t believe that if you think there is an intruder in your house you don’t first check it’s not your partner. That you don’t first check that they are not lying there next to you.

But, like I said, the judge has made her decision.

Her decision, the Oscar Pistorius sentence is not justice for Reeva.

#JusticeforReeva

Donna Navarro : Writer, campaigner, former offender manager; passionate about social justice, criminal justice, feminism and freedom from male violence against women. Opinionated. Sarcastic. More fun than I sound. @lexiconlane |www.facebook.com/DonnaNavarroWrites

16 reasons for #16days by @CathElliott

(Cross-posted from Too Much to say for Myself)

It’s the 25th November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the start of the 16 Days of Action against Gender Violence Campaign. And as I haven’t been posting much recently, and as I’m pretty much laid up at home at the moment following a hip arthroscopy last weekend, I’m going to be blogging throughout it again this year.

So without further ado, here’s my first post for day one of the 16 days, detailing 16 reasons (but there are so many more reasons than that!) why this campaign exists and why it’s still so important.

1. Because femicide. Between January and October this year at least 100 women have been killedthrough suspected male violence in the UK alone. Across the globe, across all countries and all cultures,women are the most frequent victims of intimate partner violence and they are often killed by their own family members.

2. Because rape and sexual violence are endemic. Research published in January showed that:

  • Approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year
  • Over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year
  • 1 in 5 women (aged 16 – 59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.

And yet just this month it was revealed that police forces in the UK are continuing to find ways to manipulate their figures on rape and other sexual offences, under-recording these crimes by as much as 25%,  in order to meet targets.

3. Because in England and Wales, more than 24,000 girls are at risk of, and more than 66,000 women are living with the consequences of, FGM.

4. And because those who speak out against FGM are being subjected to abuse and threats.

5. Because across the globe women do not have autonomy over their own bodies and are still being denied abortions.

6. Because in September this year an eight-year-old Yemeni girl died of internal bleeding on her wedding night after marrying a man five times her age. And because according to Plan UK, around one girl under 18 is married every two seconds that tick by.

7. Because earlier this year two teenage girls, Noor Basra and Noor Sheza, and their mother Noshehra, were murdered for allowing themselves to be filmed dancing and playing in the rain. There are nearly 3000 cases of so-called ‘honour’ violence every year in the UK. Globally, there are around5000 so-called ‘honour’ killings every year.

8. Because women and girls are trafficked both across and within country borders for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Just last month Ilyas Ashar was jailed for 13 years by a Manchester court for repeatedly raping and abusing a deaf and mute girl he’d trafficked into the country from Pakistan in June 2000, when she was 10 years old.

9. Because men still believe they have some inalienable right to purchase women for sex.

10. Because sexting and revenge porn are driving women and girls to despair and suicide.

11. Because victim blaming is still a thing. In August this year for example a convicted paedophile escaped a jail sentence after the prosecuting barrister, Robert Colover, labelled his young girl victim “predatory” and “sexually experienced”and the judge, Nigel Peters, said he was taking into account in his sentencing how the girl looked and behaved. After an outcry the sentence was revised to a two year jail term, and Colover agreed to resign from the CPS rape panel of advocates, but the fact that these things were ever said in a UK courtroom about a child victim tells us all we need to know about the state of our criminal justice system.

12. Because when they can’t get their own way some men throw acid at women and girls.

13. Because Josef Fritzl wasn’t a one-off and Emma Donoghue’s Room is more than a work of fiction. Cases continue to emerge of women and girls, many of whom are missing and presumed dead at the time of their discovery, who have been held captive, raped and/or otherwise abused, sometimes for decades.

14. Because sexism and racism are rife in music videos.

15. Because despite signing the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on preventing violence against women and domestic violence, the UK Government still hasn’t ratified it. You can sign the petition here – Tell Theresa May to guarantee standards for women’s services in the UK and worldwide.

16. Because I thought it would be difficult to find 16 reasons for the 16 days campaign, and it wasn’t. In fact I could go on and on citing examples of woman hatred and gynocide because depressingly, compiling this post was all too easy. And until the violence stops, until women and girls are truly free, feminist activists must and will continue to campaign against, and raise awareness of, the atrocity that is male violence against women.

 

Too Much to say for myself: Blogging about feminism, politics, and anything else that takes my fancy [@CathElliott]

No Isolated Incident: The Death of Hollie Gazzard by Gappy Tales

(this is an older post cross-posted from Gappy Tales)

So. Another young British woman has lost her life as a result of domestic abuse.

Hollie Gazzard – described by her family as “a beautiful, happy, and loving girl” who was “full of life” – was stabbed to death by her ex-partner at her place of work, in full view of multiple witnesses, late on Tuesday afternoon.

It was the very public nature of Hollie’s death that ensured she made the national news. People are understandably horrified when forcibly confronted with that level of terror and violence. Right there, on our streets, or depicted on grainy videos filmed from mobile phones, it becomes impossible to turn our faces away. However the vast majority of women who fall victim to fatal incidents of domestic violence are lucky to get just a few paragraphs in the local rag. Why? Because it is all too common, that’s why.

Shockingly, Hollie Gazzard is just one of around a hundred women who will die from domestic abuse this year in the UK alone. An average of two women a week are killed by their current or previous partner in this country; a figure that has remained fairly stable for decades. Domestic abuse is extremely common, with around one in three women experiencing it at some point during their life times. It also tends to be progressive, increasing in severity over time, and – as shown by recent events in Gloucester – it can be deadly. Frighteningly, a woman is most at risk when attempting to leave, and in the first few months after having left, her relationship.

Despite accounting for sixteen percent of all recorded violent crime though, domestic abuse is still vastly under reported. Reasons for this are many and varied, however a fear of not being adequately protected and/or taken seriously by the police still rates high. A common general perception tends to be that police attitudes towards victims of domestic and sexual violence have improved in recent years and, as a former Women’s Aid worker, this is a perception I have tentatively shared.

Which is why I felt such dismay upon reading this article in The Independent; in particular the quotes it contained from a Chief Inspector Neil Smith concerning Hollie Gazzard’s murder. C.I. Smith seemed only too eager to reassure everyone that this was a:

very, very nasty incident” but added: “I would like to reassure members of this community, both residents and local businesses, that this is an isolated incident. These offences don’t happen in Gloucester regularly. This incident was very tragic, however; both victim and suspect knew each other. They were in a previous relationship. That doesn’t lessen this horrific incident but it would be good for us to reassure the local community.”

So the incident was very tragic, but. But, they knew each other. But, they had been in a previous relationship. In this context the disclaimer at the end sounds little more than a hasty add-on, made necessary only by the minimising, dismissive nature of everything that has gone before it. In fact the speech reads simply as a modern day equivalent of the old chestnut, “It’s just a domestic”. According to C.I.Smith this was no random attacker, therefore there is nothing for anyone to concern themselves with. Nothing to see here. Everybody move along and get back to business as usual.

There are no doubt many women who could assure Chief Inspector Smith that offences relating to domestic abuse do indeed happen regularly in Gloucester. They happen on every street in every town in every corner of the land. The brutal murder of Hollie Gazzard is very very far from being an isolated incident. Rather it is the highly visible tip of an enormous iceberg; a small exposed part of a much larger pattern of hate crime that is perpetrated against vast numbers of women on a daily basis. It also comes at a time when funding for domestic violence support services is being slashed to ribbons. Until we acknowledge and begin to take a good look at this bigger picture, there will only ever be many more deaths like Hollie’s.

And most of them, we will never even get to hear about.