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]