Another round-up

// 23 December 2008

The number of reported rapes in the US has soared by 25% in only two years, while reported domestic violence has sky-rocketed by 42%, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

Full details at Feminist Peace Network.

Four men kidnapped and gang raped a lesbian in San Francisco – the case is being treated as a hate crime, according to the Chronicle, “because of comments the suspects made about the victim’s sexual orientation”. Melissa has more.

Elsewhere in the US, another case has surfaced about police brutality and assault. This is a local news report, but be warned the footage is very disturbing:

The US was among more than 50 countries who refused to sign a UN statement on decriminalising homosexuality.

The Albert Kennedy Trust, which matches young LGBT people who’ve been kicked out by their families with foster carers, is seeking donations.

A Muslim woman is suing a central London bar, saying she was sacked for refusing to wear a dress she found too revealing, and because managers failed to protect her from being approached by patrons wanting to buy sex with her, reports the Daily Mail. The club is Rocket in Mayfair. (Via Feministing

Prop 8 overturned same-sex marriage in California – leaving thousands of people who’d married during the months before it passed in legal limbo. Now Ken Starr is attempting to get those marriages legally nullified. The Courage Campaign is seeking help with a photo project, meant to highlight the huge cost for families that this would forcibly divorce. Contribute, or watch the slideshow of submissions so far. (H/T Sinclair)

Some good things are happening though!!

Tessa Lewin has a great column about the potential of technology in helping women and other marginalised groups tell their story. She mentions Stories of Change, a documentary following five Bangladeshi women doing work traditionally carried out by men:

We need more images of women that challenge popular orthodoxies and narratives. Images of, for example, barefoot pregnant African women, reinforce un-nuanced, negative stereotypes of woman as victims. By ensuring women have access to these technologies, we can populate the media with grassroots knowledge and cultural artefacts from new perspectives.

Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Seamus Heaney have launched a literary prize to recognise the work of Spanish-language women writers living in the US and Mexico. The Aura Estrada Prize is named after a writer who died at the age of 30.

TransGriot posts about the first ever pan-African meeting of trans activists. Meanwhile, the US Congress has got its first trans staffer.

Finally, Catherine’s crafty feminist protester:

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 23 December 2008 at 11:31 pm

Regarding case of men who group raped a lesbian woman and case wherein male and female police officers deliberately and callously subjected a innocent woman to having her clothing forcibly removed. Both cases are about dehumanising women. Much will doubtless be made of the fact woman group raped by males is lesbian but it is not her sexual orientation but the fact she is female which caused these men to rape her so brutally. Likewise, subjecting the innocent woman to having her clothing forcibly removed is sexual violence committed against her person because male officers were present and both female and male officers subjected her to sexual violence. Would a male be subjected to such dehumanising practices? This woman suffered serious sexual assault and yet the sheriff’s dept. claims they did nothing wrong. This is despite video evidence – ah but that video evidence must have been fabricated. Likewise, the lesbian woman group raped by males, well she must have provoked the men in some way. See the excuses and denials are endless because too many individuals do not want to face the reality. Male violence against women is at epidemic levels but it is never male violence which is responsible but rather ‘rape and domestic violence committed against individuals.’ On no account must the biological sex of perpetrators be mentioned because using the word male is taboo.

Sparks // Posted 24 December 2008 at 5:24 pm

A very similar thing happened to a friend of mine in Aberdeen Scotland last year. After a disturbance in a local pub her and several others were arrested and taken off to the local police station, where she was stripped naked by both male and female officers. Their reason? They said she was a suicide risk after they found anti-depressants in her handbag though at no time was a medical officer contacted. This friend of mine is 5’2″ and seven and a half stone so she hardly needed three burly police MEN and a WPC to remove her clothes. She was left so traumatised by the assault that she eventually dropped her enquires regarding making a formal complaint.

Just makes you wonder if this is such a ‘rare’ occurrence.

Shea // Posted 29 December 2008 at 5:10 pm

The video of that woman’s treatment is horrendous. It was clearly designed to humiliate and degrade her to the fullest extent possible. And she was the victim of an assault in the first place! Where is the sympathy from these bastards? I hope they all lost their jobs and were tried for assault. Its simply unacceptable behaviour by the police.

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