“Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”
– Allow me to parse this quote from Serena Williams‘ about the Steubenville rape victim, which she shared in an interview with Rolling Stone. By asking if the sentencing for Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays was fair — they got one year and two years, respectively, by the way — Williams’ seems to be implying that she thinks the punishment might be harsh. After all, “they did something stupid, but…” Because raping someone is just “stupid”? Not the first adjective I would use, but okay. Williams then goes on to criticize the victim who, by all accounts, was doing what all her other fellow classmates (including the rapists) were doing that night — drinking at a high school party. Should parents have serious conversations with their children — girls and boys — about underage drinking and binge drinking? Of course. Does that mean that the victim is responsible for the despicable things those young men did to her while she was passed out? Absolutely not. And what does her virginity or lack thereof have to do with anything? But what I find most bothersome about Williams’ statement is that she starts off by calling what the rapists did “stupid,” but then says that the victim is “lucky” it wasn’t “much worse.” So which is it, Serena? Are the rapists in this case simply “stupid” or are they capable of “much worse”? Also, saying “I’m not blaming the girl” before BLAMING THE GIRL doesn’t negate the fact that you’re, in fact, blaming the girl. [Rolling Stone] [Photo: Fame/Flynet]
UPDATE: Annnnd Serena has already released a statement apologizing, sort of, for her comments. Read it after the jump: Keep reading »
And you thought your period was rough: in the district of Achham, Nepal, women are ostracized each month while they are menstruating. During what is called “chaupadi,” a menstruating woman must stay in a small hut called a “goth” away from the village and her family. She’s also not allowed to use the same water as others or prepare food in the kitchen because she is seen as impure. All alone or with a few other women in the goth, women are extremely vulnerable to rape. Others have suffered jackal attacks, snakebites, or fire while trying to protect themselves from the elements of the Himalayas.
Because of these dangers, Nepal outlawed chaupadi in 2005. But according to The New York Times, because it’s a two-day drive outside of the capital of Kathmandu, Achham has yet to feel the effects of this change. Keep reading »
Wait, I thought the GOP attached nodes onto all white male Republicans’ balls to deliver electric shocks as soon as their lips start to form the words “rape” and “pregnancy”? What happened? How did Rep. Trent Franks dodge that?!
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing today, Rep. Franks of Arizona said his ban on abortions after 20 weeks does not need an exception for rape and incest because pregnancy as a result from rape is rare. “The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” Dr. Franks announced. Keep reading »
This week, the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee tackled the scourge of sexual violence in the military and voted to remove military top brass from their ability to overturn convictions for sexual assault. Yet Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri said the hearings were “stunningly bad,” as military leaders were unprepared to respond to the questions from senators and unwilling to consider many suggested changes.
Here are five things you should know about what went down this week as Congress took substantive steps to eradicate the military’s sexual assault problem. Keep reading »
The Internet Rape Joke Wars have been waged, on and off, since at least last year, when comedian Daniel Tosh responded to a woman who had challenged him during his set about the number of rape jokes he was making with, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now?” (The questions about rape jokes pre-date The Tosh Incident, of course, but that was the watershed moment in which those questions broke into the mainstream – at one point, Louis CK had to go on “The Daily Show” to address a seemingly-supportive tweet that he’d made to Tosh.) Since then, the debate has heated up and cooled down, depending on what jokes comedians are making.
Most recently, it was a low-profile comic named Sam Morril, whose set was challenged in a column by feminist blogger Sady Doyle, that reignited the issue. And last week, feminist and comedian Lindy West of Jezebel took to television and debated the issue with comic Jim Norton on FX’s “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” During the 12-minute segment, West made her points, Barry made his, and a lot of people on the Internet came away from the discussion with the exact same opinion they started with.
West’s argument centered around the (mathematically hard to dispute) fact that, sitting in the crowd each night a comic performs, there’s likely to be someone who has survived a sexual assault, and these jokes are likely to make that person’s night much, much harder. That’s true, and it’s absolutely worth considering. But there’s someone else who is likely to be in that room to hear it at some point, too, and how the joke will make that person feel is important, too. I’m talking about the rapist. Keep reading »
On Sunday and Monday you’re binge-watching “Arrested Development,” I get it. But set your DVRs now for Tuesday night at 10 p.m. for “Outlawed In Pakistan,” a new documentary airing on the PBS program “Frontline.” The film by Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann, follows a teenaged girl named Kainat Soomro, who accused four men of gang rape at age 13 at great risk to her own life. Like other women who try to go through Pakistan’s justice system, she’s found herself being shamed, doubted, and threatened by a culture that blames the rape victim more than her perpetrators. One family member of one of Kainat’s accused rapists even told the two female filmmakers, “There will be murders over this.”
You can learn more about the film at PBS.org. It will air on Tuesday night and then be viewable online. I know I’ll be watching. [Frontline: Outlawed In Pakistan]