Yesterday afternoon, two Democratic politicians introduced the Ruth Moore Act, a bill to support former service members who survived sexual assault in the military. Veterans Affairs has long rejected disability claims of military sexual trauma (MST) for troops who were raped by colleagues and now need assistance. According to the Service Women’s Action Network, only one in three claims of PTSD from MST were approved by the VA between 2008 to 2010, presumably because the threshold was too high for these survivors to been seen as eligible. Keep reading »
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 »
Arkansas’ state House of Representatives advanced a bill yesterday that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. The bill is based on the medically unproven theory touted by anti-abortion advocates that 20 weeks is when a fetus can feel pain. Keep reading »
Did you know that House Republicans go on a retreat every year? (I imagine Democrats do the same, by the way.) Do they serve tea sandwiches and practice trust falls? Who knows. On last night’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” Maddow discussed one of the scheduled retreat activities we do know about (which took place between between archery and crafts, I assume): a lecture of sorts taught by pollster Kellyanne Conway on how the GOP can better talk to female voters and get their conservative messaging across. One of the things Conway focused on what the subject of rape, which was a popular topic for more than handful of dingbat GOP politicians up for reelection in 2012. Nearly all of them lost their respective races, in part because of how offensive their comments about rape (and how it relates to abortion) were to their female constituents. So what did House Republicans learn from Conway? As one GOP strategist put it, “This is actually pretty simple. If you’re about to talk about rape as anything other than a brutal and horrible crime, stop.” Conway’s advice to GOP representatives, according to The National Review, was ”to tread carefully on language, particularly on sensitive matters such as rape, which she called a ‘four-letter word’ that should be used sparingly, or not at all.” In short, “Don’t say rape. Ever,” said Maddow.
Maddow brings up an interesting point — do Republicans actually think they have a policy problem with women (i.e. that their policies are unpopular with female voters and they need to change them) or just a language problem (i.e. it’s the way they talk about those policies that’s the problem, not the policies themselves)? Watch the full segment above!
Following a spate of gang rapes in India in the past several months, the Times Of India newspaper is running quarter-page ads imploring men to treat women with respect through the stark statement, “The true test of your manhood is how you treat a woman. All women. Any woman. Every woman.” I’m pleased the newspaper is questioning traditional aspects of toxic masculinity, like “rash driving” and “drunken brawls,” which some men do think defines their manhood. Yet I also think their conclusion about proving your manhood by behaving a certain way (even if it’s the right way) is problematic: “If you do not respect women, you are only half a man.” That’s the flip side of the same thinking that says guys aren’t manly if they don’t want sex all the time. Just like sexist expectations of femininity can imprison women, sexist expectations can imprison men, too. I’m all for eradicating rape culture everywhere. But the answer isn’t to tell men to act like “real men,” it’s to tell them to act like good human beings. [Our Mobile World]