Some news stories

// 15 October 2008

There is a film coming out called Trade which covers trafficking of women for sexual purposes into the US. It draws on a phenomenon coined the “Fields of Shame” in which trafficked women are forced to engage in prositution in “open air brothels” (otherwise known as fields appropriated by pimps and traffickers as spaces in which the women can be raped by “punters”). There was some US news coverage of it, as in the clip below. WARNING: The video is quite graphic in both it’s visual images and descriptions and could be triggering

Trade was released in Germany in 2007 and is about to be released in the UK, a trailer for the film can be seen here.(Hat-tip to Women’s Space for that).

Whilst we’re on film stuff, Baz Luhrmann has created a new advert for Australia which is problematically sexist and racist. My key objections would be his lazy use of the “working woman = doomed relationships” idea and the “magical black person” stereotype which implies that non-white people (in this case an aboriginal child) are somehow closer to nature and mystical purely by having different customs. Lazy, ridiculous and frankly reinforcing Australia as a place of sexist and racist notions. Meanwhile also from Australia (Queensland) we have this public service announcement which firmly places the blame for rape with the victim and her parents (if they’ve bought alcohol for her to consume). Obviously the rapist has nothing to do with it – the strapline “Buy your children alcohol and they could pay the price” is appalling. As Cara at The Curvature says:

Parents, don’t kid yourselves into thinking that if your daughter is raped, the government will actually hold her anonymous and faceless rapist accountable. Instead, they’re going to wag their finger at your poor parenting skills that didn’t teach your daughter how to not get herself raped. Oh, and girls, we know that we’ve told you this before . . . but don’t kid yourselves into thinking you have the right to exist as a social being without being blamed in the event that someone assaults you.

(Thanks also to Feministing for that one)

Meanwhile The Articulate Feminist has a list of pet peeves which includes feminist publications who use airbrushing and people who say “I’m not a feminist but…”. Feministing also has a list of stereotypes of feminists which led on from their idea of a Feminist Stereotypes Pin-Up Calendar (e.g. From “January= Two women making out. February = Birkenstock-wearing earth-mama dancing in a field. March = Frigid career woman in a power suit. April = Close-up of a HAIRY ARMPIT. Etc etc etc…” From Feministing).

In other news a Yemeni girl, Nojoud Muhammed Nasser, is taking her father and “husband” to court after she was “married” off to a thirty-year old man who has been sexually and domestically abusive. Although not technically illegal since Yemen amended it’s marriage laws to allow children to be married with the proviso there is no “intimacy” until maturity, both men were arrested but the father was later released due to mental problems. The amendment in the law has been described as “highly dangerous” by Supreme Court lawyer Shatha Ali Nasser as it places young girls in situations where they likely to be raped and abused. The child in this case approached the court independently asking for legal help against her father and will now be cared for by Dar Al-Rahama, an NGO working for women’s and children’s welfare. Nojoud herself has said:

“My father beat me and told me that I must marry this man, and if I did not, I would be raped and no law and no sheikh in this country would help me. I refused but I couldn’t stop the marriage…I asked and begged my mother, father, and aunt to help me to get divorced. They answered, ‘We can do nothing.”…“He [her “husband”] used to do bad things to me, and I had no idea as to what a marriage is. I would run from one room to another in order to escape, but in the end he would catch me and beat me and then continued to do what he wanted. I cried so much but no one listened to me…Whenever I wanted to play in the yard he beat me and asked me to go to the bedroom with him. This lasted for two months…whenever I asked him for mercy, he beat me and slapped me and then used me. I just want to have a respectful life and divorce him.”

From Yemen Times

And in the UK a court has heard that an emergency call placed by a teenager whilst being abducted (she was later raped and murdered) was disconnected and classified as an accidential dial. And they wonder why women think the Police don’t care about their safety?

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