If you’re not into the commercial cutesiness of Valentine’s Day, there’s an alternate, empowering holiday to celebrate on February 14th: V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. ”The Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler created V-Day, which is celebrated each year on Valentine’s Day as the play is staged around the world to raise money for local rape crisis centers.
This year, V-Day also marks the grand finale of Ensler’s year long One Billion Rising campaign. The One Billion Rising name and collective goal derives from a statistic that one in three women will suffer abuse or rape in their lifetime; out of the seven billion people populating the world, that means roughly one billion women will be victims. Keep reading »
Nope, this is not a headline from Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. People really did put to death a woman accused of being a witch in 2013. A town in Papua New Guinea, which is in the South Pacific Islands, publicly tortured and then murdered a 20-year-old woman by setting her on fire in a public square. The government and local police condemned this act of violence against women, but that didn’t stop it from happening: the young mother had been accused of sorcery by the family of a six-year-old child who had recently died and townspeople took matters into their own hands. The details of how she was killed are grisly and gross and I won’t recap them here. Alas, the embassy in Papua New Guinea has called for a closer look into gender-based violence and police are pursuing the as-many-as-50-suspects who had a hand in putting the young mom to death. This barbarity is frankly disgusting. [ABC News]
Warning: This story is probably going to enrage you. Part-time New Yorker Melissa Frost — full disclosure: she’s a friend of mine — wanted to help out the victims of Hurricane Sandy and she conveniently had a vacant room in the house she owns in Philadelphia. So when a 55-year-old man got in touch with her about renting out a room, she was all too happy to let him move in. “I got a response to the ad for the house from this guy saying he had been displaced by Sandy, and was still in Rockaways with no heat,” Frost told The Frisky. “He had pets and a seemingly good Internet persona–well educated, 55 … a reasonable adult.” Since her house happened to be unrented at the moment, “I told him it could be a good layover spot while he looked to find permanent housing.”
But no good deed goes unpunished.
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A few years ago, I posted a roommate request on Craigslist. I received a handful of responses, and after weeding out the crazies, I invited a few people to come see the apartment. One afternoon, a girl I had contacted stopped by with her boyfriend. She seemed nice, respectful and she really liked the place. I remember her boyfriend walked around the whole time with a look of delight on his face, as if to say, “Wow, you could actually live here!” Shortly after meeting them, I told the girl she could have the place. This is how Tam and Fred* came into my life.
At first things went really well. Tam was a very sweet person and a considerate roommate. Fred spent a lot of time at our apartment, but he was so friendly I didn’t mind his presence. He would go out of his way to talk to me when he was over and to see how I was doing. If Tam was busy, he would watch TV with me and talk. During these conversations, I learned something important about Fred: he was an idiot. Keep reading »