Any story of rape, whether it happens to a man, woman or child, is horrific and tragic. This particular story has the distinction of being horrific, tragic and weird: three women in Zimbabwe have been charged with sexually assaulting male hitchhikers and collecting condoms filled with semen. The women had 33 jizz-laden condoms, which police say were acquired during 17 different sexual assaults over the past two years.
So, what the hell is going on? Keep reading »
Three women from Africa and the Middle East have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (pictured), peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and democracy activist Tawakul Karman of Yemen have all been honored for their commitment to nonviolence. The majority of individuals to win the Nobel Peace Prize in the past 110 years have been men; the last time a woman won was seven years ago. Congratulations, ladies! It’s a proud day to be a woman. [New York Times]
How much does the world need to know about the woman who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault? Where she’s from? The years of schooling she had? Her romantic liaisons and sex life?
The New York Times did not name the alleged victim. But an article published yesterday provided lots of details on the personal life of the Guinean immigrant who works as a housekeeper at the Sofitel hotel in New York City until she accused the then-chief of the International Monetary Fund of sexual assault. She was born in a mud hut without running water or electricity, married off to a cousin as a teenager, and doesn’t speak English.
On the one hand, the Times piece gives us insight into just how humble this woman’s life has been, which makes the accusations against Strauss-Kahn’s look all the more horrible. But on the other hand, what purpose do any details about her personal life really serve? Keep reading »
Hey, great news, male prostitutes with HIV/AIDS! The Pope has given you his blessing to use condoms! In the upcoming book Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, Pope Benedict XVI concedes that in very rare cases, condom use could be considered justified to help stop the spread of AIDS. The example he specifically uses is for that of male prostitutes, for whom condom use “can be a first in the direction of moralization a first assumption of responsibility.” When the media was quick to jump all over this statement as a reversal of the Catholics Church’s long-standing policy banning contraceptives, the Church was quick to clarify that the Pope’s statement was no such thing. Because, I mean, let’s face it, the Catholic Church certainly doesn’t believe male prostitutes (with AIDS!) are getting into heaven anyway. Keep reading »
Hold on to your girls before you read this, ladies.
There is a practice called “breast ironing” in the African country of Cameroon, a practice which involves flattening a girl’s growing breasts with hot stones to prevent her nipples from being firm and “enticing men.” The news network CurrentTV filmed a short documentary on “breast ironing,” specifically how mothers believe it will “protect” their daughters from teen pregnancy if men are not tempted by their pert breasts. Keep reading »
The LA Times reports that taller daughters fetch more cattle upon the occasion of marriage. In Juba, young women are traded for longhorns, and the tallest of the prospective brides are considered to be of greater value as they “fetch more cattle because their daughters will quickly grow and can be married off to fetch even more cattle,” one tribal chief explained. For example, if, say, Catherine and I both lived in the Sudan, Catherine, who is 5’1″, would fetch perhaps as few as 20 head of cattle from a prospective suitor looking to reimburse her father for the loss of his hardworking daughter, while I, on the other hand, who am 6’1″, would demand as many as 60 to 100 head of cattle. “What do tall women think about marriage and cattle?” the reporter asks the chief. “‘Women have no say,’” is his reply. [LA Times] Keep reading »
Out of all the DIY
projects in the world, condoms
seem like the least likely objects you’d be able to make something from. Except for maybe animal balloons. Or babies, in the case that it breaks. Anyhow
, here, a video from Football Made in Africa
(a project intended to show the grassroots sports culture) shows a dude making a fairly legit-looking soccer ball by first blowing up the condom, then covering it in layers and layers of twine and string. Pretty cool how far some creative thinking will take you. [YouTube
] Keep reading »
“[The AIDS epidemic in Africa] is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems…. It is of great concern that the fabric of African life, its very source of hope and stability, is threatened by divorce, abortion, prostitution, human trafficking and a contraception mentality…. The traditional teaching of the church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.” — Pope Benedict XVI
While it’s to be expected that the Catholic Church continues to have a conservative outlook on abortion and premarital sex, the fact the Pope is still unwilling to get behind the use of contraception to stop the spread of AIDS surprises (and appalls) many — especially as he embarks on a tour of Sub-Saharan Africa, where 22 million (that’s 67%) of the global total of 32.9 million people with HIV live. Nearly three quarters of AIDS deaths in 2007 were in the region. I wasn’t raised Catholic, so this doesn’t have any impact on my faith in God or whatever, but I do wonder how Catholics feel when Church leaders still take such a conservative position on this vital issue. Readers please share in the comments! [Guardian U.K.] Keep reading »
While three sister wives may seem like one big, happy family on Big Love, try having 86! Mohammed Bello Abubakar, an 84-year-old Muslim preacher in Nigeria, has married more women than years he’s been alive and most of his wives are, surprisingly, in their twenties. Can you imagine trying to feed the 170 children he’s fathered?! Neither he nor his wives work, but they somehow manage to pay for the $915 (26.5 lbs) worth of rice they consume each day. Needless to say, the Islamic Authorities in his home state consider him a cult leader, but he fancies himself a shaman who doesn’t believe in modern medicine. Abubakar credits his healing powers with his ability to attract so many women. He told the BBC, “I don’t go looking for them, they come to me. I will consider the fact that God has asked me to do it and I will just marry them… That is why I have been able to control 86 of them.” Um, what a romantic? [BBC] Keep reading »