Round-up!

// 2 July 2009

An Australian woman has had a criminal conviction for making a false police report of rape overturned, after the man accused of raping her was convicted of attacking another woman. Abyss2Hope has more, but I think this is the key point (other than that it’s horrendous that women are getting charged at all):

Often those who repeat, “Innocent until proven guilty,” when responding to a man being charged with rape are the quickest to forget or abandon this concept when a girl or woman is charged with lying about rape.

A court in India has overturned a colonial-era law which outlawed gay sex. The BBC reports:

Delhi’s High Court ruled that the law outlawing homosexual acts was discriminatory and a “violation of fundamental rights”.

RIP Mollie Sugden.

Glasgow Women’s Library is hosting the International Heroines Exhibition:

The launch of the exhibition sees the well known local writer A L Kennedy perform readings from eight women who dared to speak out against human rights abuses and are profiled in this celebration of freedom of expression.

The featured women: Anna Politkovskaya, Lydia Cacho, Anushka Anastasia Solomon, Shirin Ebadi, Arundhati Roy, Wangari Maathai, Aung San Suu Kyi and Woeser.

dottiethesock.jpgAfterEllen reviews a book for young children about a lesbian sock:

How I Found My Pair! is only the first of Dottie’s adventures. Once she finds her pair, the little lesbian sock is going to star in a 10-book series, through which Gayle hopes to teach children to accept and respect themselves, as well as their peers. She dedicated the first Dottie story to four grade-school children who committed suicide after being tormented by classmates.

Dottie isn’t written PSA-style. The language is simple and fun, the pictures are colorful, and the little sock’s escapade is believable: she’s just a girl sock looking for another girl sock to love her.

“The story I’m trying to tell is that Dottie is just like anyone out there,” Gayle told NBC. “It doesn’t matter if she’s black or white or Muslim or lesbian.”

Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus has vetoed a bill passed by the parliament, which “would prohibit the discussion of homosexuality in schools and ban references to gay and lesbian relationships in public places where children can see them”, reports the Advocate.

Charlotte Cooper of Obesity Timebomb posts about the launch of Beth Ditto’s clothing line.

L’Oreal, as is widely reported, has been found guilty of racist discrimination against employees. Apu considers how the firm (and others) is responsible for perpetuating the belief that beauty is white, and the impact this has on women in India:

What does it do to a child to constantly hear that she is in some way inferior? What does it do to a South Indian child to be told that she ‘looks South Indian’, as if that were an infectious disease? Discrimination on colour is well and kicking in this country. Leaving aside the issue of media representations, until parents and schools start confronting it head-on, a large proportion of children in this country are going to grow up with warped ideas of what beauty is.

Over at Comment is Free, Zeinab Huq posts about the impact of sharia on women she knows.

A US theatre company is reviving the 1970s poem/play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, by Ntozake Shange, reports AfterEllen.

AfterEllen also looks at the Independent’s Pink List of influential lesbian and gay Britons.

As is often the case in U.S. lists of the same type (e.g. OUT Magazine’s Power 50), lesbian and bisexual women make up a much smaller portion of the list. Of the 101 people mentioned, only 22 are women. In an another unfortunate similarity to many other lists of this sort, there are only a handful of LGBT people of color included in it.

And apparently no ethnic minority women.

Pickled Politics links to an interesting-sounding podcast about the role of Jewish women in Bollywood history.

Dr Neera Desai, one of the founders of the first women’s studies programme in India, has died from cancer, aged 84, reports FeministsIndia (via Feministing).

The Tate Modern was last week the venue for a re-enactment of feminist performance art from the 1970s, Once More With Feeling – Charlotte has more info at Subtext. And The Guardian interviews French feminist artist Orlan.

Comments From You

Lisa L // Posted 3 July 2009 at 10:08 am

Hang on, let me get this straight… you think its horrendous that people who lie about having been raped are given criminal convictions?

Jess McCabe // Posted 3 July 2009 at 10:21 am

@Lisa L I think it’s completely inappropriate, given a) the incredibly low conviction rate for rape, b) the incredibly low levels of reporting for rape and sexual assault, c) the high level of belief in rape myths.

When someone has to go and report being raped to the police, they shouldn’t have to be worried that they’ll end up with a criminal record.

Lisa L // Posted 3 July 2009 at 10:37 am

Of course not – but don’t you think that those who lie (which I am fully prepared to believe are the VAST minority) are metaphorically spitting in the face of those who have had to face the horrendous ordeal of actually being rape victims?

Jess McCabe // Posted 3 July 2009 at 10:55 am

Best evidence suggests is that the false report rate for rape is around 2-8%, in line with other types of crime.

A tiny number of people do lie, that’s bad. However, the rape conviction rate is 6% in England and Wales and lower in Scotland. And only a tiny proportion of rapes are actually even reported to the police. Given that in the current situation it’s incredibly unlikely for rapists to even end up in court, and then if they do, to get convicted, then it seems perverse to start convicting people who the police believe are falsely reporting rape.

Lisa L // Posted 3 July 2009 at 11:07 am

I agree with your sentiment, and I have no doubt that the very few sick, damaged people who falsely accuse pales into relative insignificance compared to the vast number of people who put up with the horrendousness and humiliation of rape and are never vindicated. Not that one could ever really be vindicated for such atrocity… I would say that people found guilty of rape, murder, gross assault, etc., should face hugely lengthy prison sentences

Laura // Posted 3 July 2009 at 11:32 am

Thanks for the link to Charlotte Cooper’s blog, fascinating reading!

Jennifer Drew // Posted 3 July 2009 at 3:57 pm

Recent proven methodological research shows that only between 2-8% of all reports of rape are false ones. However, despite the facts this particular rape myth still endures and this is one central reason why so many males are able to commit sexual violence against women and girls, because society insists on believing rapists and disbelieving the rape survivors.

For too long males have automatically been given character creditability whereas females have automatically been discredited because of supposedly innate female deceit. Most rapes are committed by males who are known to the female victims/survivors which in itself makes it far more difficult for society as a whole to accept that know males do commit rape and other forms of sexual violence. Note, I have clearly stated not all men commit rape but certainly 95% males charged with rape continue to be acquitted.

False reports for care insurance claims are far higher than false rape reports.

See http://www.ndaa.org/publications/newsletters/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf or if this link does not work Abysstohope has the full report.

Core Member of Truth About Rape

Ellie // Posted 6 July 2009 at 2:45 pm

Just to be a complete pedant but “International Heroines Exhibition”? Women can be heroes too dammit, stop feminising neutral words just because tradition associates the neutral with the male.

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