After the 2012 election ended, liberal women over the US exhaled in relief. However, it became clear very quickly that the War on Women was not over. The first three weeks of 2013 alone has shown us otherwise – politically and culturally, women are still being targeted. Stories of rape and abuse keep rolling in, and bills preventing accessible abortion keep surfacing. It’s overwhelming, the amount of headlines that keep turning up.
Recent Headlines 2012-2013
“GOP introduced a bill to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X funds which provides federal funds for family planning. Republican representative Marsha Blackburn introduced the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (H.R. 61), which would stop the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from providing federal family planning assistance under Title X, including Planned Parenthood. The reintroduction of this legislation in the 113th Congress is similar to legislation Pence introduced in the 112th Congress (H.R. 217).”
“Two members of senior Republican leadership, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK), an enrolled member of the Chicasaw Nation, introduced a stand alone bill that responds to their caucus’ concern about the Senate bill. The concern is over a provision that restores local tribal authority to prosecute domestic violence against Native American women. The Issa-Cole compromise adds protections for defendants with a new option to remove the case to federal court. In fact, Issa tried to offer this language as an amendment during committee consideration of the bill, but was shut down by Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) who didn’t even allow a vote on it.”
“Over the nearly two decades of its existence, VAWA has been renewed perfunctorily every five years, each time adding new protections to keep it up-to-date with changes in the population and the recommendations of law enforcement and advocates. “[The reauthorization] was supposed to be a yawner,” said Wisconsin Democratic Representative Gwen Moore, a fierce proponent of the Senate version of the bill. Meghan Rhoad, a women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, says the dispute over the bill this year between the two chambers “creates a really disturbing precedent, interjecting uncertainty for programs that provide really essential services for victims of sexual violence.”
“Ball’s suicide brought attention to an underworld of misogynists, woman-haters whose fury goes well beyond criticism of the family court system, domestic violence laws, and false rape accusations. There are literally hundreds of websites, blogs and forums devoted to attacking virtually all women (or, at least, Westernized ones) — the so-called “manosphere,” which now also includes a tribute page for Tom Ball (“He Died For Our Children”)….Women are routinely maligned as sluts, gold-diggers, temptresses and worse; overly sympathetic men are dubbed “manginas”; and police and other officials are called their armed enablers. Even Ball — who did not directly blame his ex-wife for his troubles, but instead depicted her and their three children as co-victims of the authorities — vilified “man-hating feminists” as evil destroyers of all that is good.”
“In general, a feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm. Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel. Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza.”
“In a press conference Tuesday, organized by Texas Right to Life, Perry said that he wants to eliminate all abortion: “While Roe v. Wade prevents us from taking that step, it does allow states to do some things to protect life if they can show there is a compelling state interest. I don’t think there is any issue that better fits the definition of ‘compelling state interest’ than preventing the suffering of our state’s unborn.’”
A new definition in UrbanDictionary.com, jack rolling refers to “a crime born in South Africa’s townships where men gang-rape their victims in retaliation for a perceived slight.” Because “gang rape” just sounds too bad, I suppose. Also, the “buy jack rolling mugs and t-shirts” link makes me want to vomit.
“Things already sounded fishy in Steubenville, Ohio, where the alleged gang rape and kidnapping of an unconscious 16-year-old by two of the town’s high-school football players has turned into a complex web of accusation, shock, and, well, Instagram photos. But conflicting reports over an already emotional case became that much more complex today when a WikiLeaks-style site dumped new information about team boosters, the town sheriff, and the alleged “Rape Crew” online — information rounded up, of course, by the anonymous hacking collective known as Anonymous.”
“He was present at earlier parties on August 11, the night the alleged rape took place, and uploaded the image of the alleged victim at 1.05am to twitter and Instagram calling her ‘sloppy.’ Elsewhere on his twitter account he commented, ‘I have no sympathy for whores.’ Saltsman’s apology, which he repeated on his Twitter account, comes as part of a legal settlement in a case brought by his family against investigative blogger and local campaigner, Alexandria Goddard and 25 John Does who had posted on her site.”
“The special needs student, identified only by the initials K.J., was allegedly sexually assaulted for 10 minutes as another student ‘hit her on the head whenever she tried to escape,’ during a science class at Martin De Porres Academy in Elmont, N.Y. The girl’s mother, who filed the suit, alleged that the teacher ignored the assault even as one student danced on the desk while another attempted to sodomize K.J.”
“As much of the nation focuses on the Steubenville gang rape story, your failed Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) was busy protecting rapists’ rights. Buried deep in the latest Fetus Rights Bill (aka, Sanctity of Human Life Act , H.R. 23: To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization), wherein feti are given more rights than the women carrying them, is a section that will allow a rapist to sue his victim in order to stop her from getting an abortion, specifically if she were trying to get an abortion in a state that allows them while she lives in a state that does not.”
“Every time a discussion of rape happens, it’s a sure bet that the conversation will eventually turn to what the victim could have done differently. Even when the specific topic at hand is rape culture, and the ways that sexism and misogyny and sexual shame and entitlement and attitudes about masculinity and other toxic elements of the culture can make rape more likely and less likely to be punished… the conversation will eventually get turned to “what should rape victims do to keep from being raped.” Even when the topic at hand is ways that rape victims routinely get blamed for their rapes, the conversation will still eventually get turned to “what should rape victims to to keep from being raped.” And when this happens, and when people speak out against it, it’s almost certain that someone will say, “But that’s not part of rape culture! That’s just practical common sense! We want people to not get raped — and telling likely targets of rape how to keep themselves safe is the only effective way to do that!” [ Here it is.]”
*all quotes were pulled directly from the related linked articles and are the copyrighted property of the original journalist/publication*
It’s important, when things like this start happening, to remember that we can’t back down. Margaret Atwood’s message, “don’t let the bastards grind you down,” is more important than over. I know it’s overwhelming, and it seems insurmountable, but we can get there. We have to keep the faith while walking through the metaphorical valley of shadow. Fear no evil, as your sisters are with you.
“We yearned for the future. How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability?”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale