In the news

// 3 November 2008

First off, another woman has been stoned to death in Somalia by Islamist rebels. This barbaric practice has to end. In this case the eager crowd were told the victim was submitting voluntarily but clearly saw her struggling to prevent being bound before being buried up to her neck and slain.

She was pulled out three times to see if she was dead, witnesses said. When a relative and others surged forward, guards opened fire, killing a child…Relatives of the woman executed in Kismayu, whom they named as Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow, were furious. “The stoning was totally irreligious and illogical,” said her sister, who asked not to be named. “Islam does not execute a woman for adultery unless four witnesses and the man with whom she committed sex are brought forward publicly.” Islamist leaders at the execution said the woman had broken Islamic law. They promised to punish the guard who had shot the child in the melee around the execution.”

From Reuters

EDIT – with thanks to Cath Elliot for letting me know on this one – apparently the victim was a 13 year old girl who had reported being raped by three men. See here for more.

Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was accused of adultery, but sources told Amnesty International that she had in fact been raped by three men, and had attempted to report this rape to the al-Shabab militia who control Kismayo. It was this act that resulted in her being accused of adultery and detained. None of men she accused of rape were arrested. She was detained by militia of the Kismayo authorities, a coalition of Al-shabab and clan militias. During this time, she was reportedly extremely distressed, with some individuals stating she had become mentally unstable.

In Dallas, MRA groups are up in arms over bus shelter adverts which firmly locate violence against women as being perpetrated by men. The group who paid for the adverts, The Family Place has been vilified as “man bashing” because of these posters. The Family Place is a domestic violence organisation which provides all round support including feeding children and providing basic household goods like toothpaste.

I will beat my wife

My husband will kill me

Also in the US, the Feminist Majority Foundation reports that women are being charged more for medical insurance providing identical benefits to them and their male counterparts. In some cases 49% more than their male counterparts. In the US this is legal based on a sex discrimination clause which takes into account the costs of maternity care – but that doesn’t explain why this research found those differences for policies which exclude maternity care.

On popular culture, anyone considering a lunchtime offering from Subway should watch this video which continues to argue women should consider their food choices in terms of food and body guilt.

And in the UK, Oxford Reclaim the Night is getting some good press coverage – if you are local, do go!

And finally, over at Blog Her Mir Kamin has come up with the perfect, must-have christmas present for all women. Time (and she ain’t talking the magazine).

Comments From You

Mephit // Posted 3 November 2008 at 10:42 am

I read that the insurance disparity (excluding maternity) was explained as women being more likely to use medical facilities & services than men.

Louise Livesey // Posted 3 November 2008 at 11:14 am

Mephit, whilst you are right this is the ostensible reason it ignores the fact that conditions treated early are a lot cheaper than conditions treated later. As Bitch PhD points out in a rather passionate way. So women going to medical practitioners earlier actually saves medical insurers money.

Ruth Moss // Posted 3 November 2008 at 11:39 am

I think those adverts really get the point across. Kudos to them for having the guts to honestly place domestic violence as a gendered crime.

(Without wishing to blow my own trumpet I blogged about something similar recently over at Mothers for Women’s Lib).

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 3 November 2008 at 12:18 pm

Oh dear posters focusing on male perpetrators’ accountability in respect of male violence against women – are upsetting ‘men!’ Well, what about the women and girl survivors, haven’t they rights too. Society still conveniently hides and invisibilises male accountability and responsibility. ‘Man basing’ – well I’ve yet to read claims ‘all men are violent and hate women.’ But then men’s sensitive feelings always override and supercede women’s and girls’ rights not to be routinely subjected to male sexual and physical violence.

These men need to join White Ribbon Campaign and then they just might change their women-hating ways. I live in hope.

Anne Onne // Posted 3 November 2008 at 12:36 pm

Those ads are courageous, and put a face to domestic violence that people don’t see: that children in abusive relationships sadly often emulate the situation they grew up in, with boys often growing up to become abusers, and girls often growing up to become abused. Also, it may be seen to point out that we could know an abuser or a victim: they could be the little kid we’ve seen growing up. Abusers and abuse victims don’t have a stamp on their heads

The actual text reads:

Boy advert: Men who witnessed domestic violence as children are twice as likely to abuse their wives. Break the cycle of domestic violence.

Well, I guess what MRAs are complaining about is that anybody has the guts to point out that most abusers (hell, most murderers or violent offenders full stop) are men.

I would agree that same-sex partner abuse and women abusing men does need to be addressed, too.They are an important part of the overall picture because nobody deserves to be abused, and nobody deserves to be rendered invisible when this issue is addressed.

However, that does absolutely not mean that people who are supposed to be against domestic violence should complain that existing posters should be removed. If activists pointed out that campaigns could, in future also show that same-sex partners are abused, and that men are abused, it would be great.

But in my experience few MRAs take this angle. Rather, it tends to be ‘OMG! You’re saying ALL men beat women! I SO don’t do that!’ And the problem is, the majority of domestic violence IS committed by men, towards women. This is in a society that glorifies male violence against women.

Not to mention that when MRAs complain against the way violence against men is shown in the media, they tend to draw equivalence between the glorification of violence by men on women,and the glorification of violence by women on men. (Actually, they tend to lump macho man-on-man violence in here,but that actually has NOTHING to do with women, so I’m ignoring it).

Now, I don’t think that any violence towards a group is funny or should be accepted (though of course, the patriarchy’s ‘real men take punches’ is exactly what we feminists are fighting against), but you can’t pretend that the ‘accepted’ woman-on-man violence of slapping a larger, stronger man in the face or kicking him in the crotch is comparable, seriously, to the glorification of rape and dehumanisation we see in most porn, or the mutilation we see in most horror films. Or for that matter, what we see in most cases of domestic violence.

Second of all, in a threatening situation, the power situation an abused man or an abused woman might face would be very different, because the woman would be at a much greater physical and social disadvantage (may not work, may not drive, etc). To concentrate on the physical, in order to stop her abuser abusing, she could not restrain her male partner in the same way a (probably larger) man would be able to restrain a female abuser. Mela abuse victims tend to suffer because they don’t want to fight back, and are discouraged from seeking help, and we need to address that. But female abuse victims are on average in the more dangerous position because of the physical power difference between the abused and the abuser, and the privileges a male abuser can take advantage of.

They should also think about abuse of disabled people, because this is also a huge issue, but any abuse being addressed is good news. We need more focus, not less of it.

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