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Republican Sue Helm Circled PA Unite Against the War on Women, Says Sudanese Activist Watching Her Hummer

PA State Rep. Sue Helm, representing the 104th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, circling the April 28, 2012 Harrisburg Unite Against the War on Women rally “multiple times” according to the North African women’s rights activist caught in the lower right-hand corner of the image. He is well-known to one of the rally organisers Anne Enke. The duo has worked together to stop the flogging of an estimated 40,000 women a year in Sudan,. The WOW PA event was the first rally for women observed by Enke’s friend, who is dumfounded that the war on women is also being waged on American women and not only women in the Arab world and Sudan specifically. Image credit goes to Angela Dicks, partner of Democratic candidate Kelly Jean McEntee, running for PA State Representative in the 105th district, a speaker at the WOW PA rally and sponsor of Emma’s Revolution, a headline act of multiple entertainers providing music for rally goers.

Sue Helm Circling April 28 Harrisburg WOW Rally

Although PA State Rep Sue Helm told Harrisburg The Patriot-News reporter Sue Gleiter that she “didn’t participate in the rally”, she was observed circling the capitol in her Hummer multiple times by the man captured in the lower right corner, who is my dear friend from North Africa.

For the present, this man must remain nameless. Because of our ongoing work on behalf of the estimated 40,000 women flogged each year in Sudan, my friend would be jailed or killed if his identity is revealed.

Helm continued talking to Gleiter, saying “I think they have made too much of this honestly.” Helm thinks “women’s rights cross both parties.”

In talking with me about the event and my posting his image online, my friend expressed satisfaction that he was associated with the Sue Helm photo and the poignant, huddled together mother and daughter probably, seeming under surveillance by Helm and her Hummer.

Committed to changing the lives of women under assault by Islam in Sudan, my friend’s is the polar opposite of Helm’s ideology, which supports forcing women to have unnecessary medical procedures mandated by governments dominated by religious ideology that oppresses women.

As an organizer of the Harrisburg rally, bringing Republican pro-choice women to the rally was a top personal priority of mine. The party that funded Planned Parenthood from its beginning, whose judges passed both ‘Roe v Wade’ and ‘Griswold v Connecticut’ couldn’t find one of their own to speak at the Unite Against the War on Women Harrisburg Rally in favor of women’s right to choose.

Helm is one of many legislators of both parties who changed their minds regarding a provision in a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before an abortion after a remark made last month by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The governor came under fire after saying “You just have to close your eyes as long as it’s on the exterior, not interior” in regards to women viewing the ultrasounds. His spokesman said the governor’s comments were taken out of context.

“When the governor opened his mouth and said ‘Look away,” I said I think our governor is a good governor, but in this case I need to jump off of this bill,” Helm said.

Sue Helm circled multiple times in her Hummer, says witness.

The photo was taken by Angela Dicks, partner of Democratic candidate Kelly Jean McEntee, running for PA State Representative in the 105th district, a speaker at the WOW PA rally and sponsor of Emma’s Revolution, a headline act among multiple entertainers providing music for the rally. Seeing the photo, my friend said:

I saw that woman in the Hummer making rounds and rounds in the area and her reactions appeared strange and suspicious. Now I know why. Yes, please go ahead publish my remarks that I texted you at the rally, but keep my name off for now.

The women’s rights activist had traveled all night from Washington DC to Harrisburg, was so flabbergasted at what he was hearing at the rally that he texted me a passionate series of statements that I summarized at the end of the rally.

In summary, he said:

Anne, please tell the people that I come from a place in the world where women have lost so many rights since the 1970s. The legislature tells them exactly how they must dress and punishes them violently with flogging when they are picked up for lack of modesty. You know that 40,000 women were flogged in 2008, the year before you became involved with Lubna and me.

I am so surprised to arrive in America and see women fighting for their rights to health care and contraception. Even in Saudi Arabia, where women can’t drive cars, their contraception is included in health care.

Anne, the war on women is everywhere from Sudan to Saudi Arabia and now America — the place I thought was the home of the free. It isn’t true if you are a woman, and I can’t believe my eyes at what I am seeing, hearing and reading in your great country.

It was my work with this activist on behalf of the women of Sudan that clarified my vision of the erosion of women’s rights here in America. Religion’s primary role in a determined assault of the rights of privacy and self-determination of all women worldwide became after 2009 a major focus of the AOC website. ~Anne Enke

Flogging of Sudanese Woman

In April of 2010 my friend delivered raw files of this flogging in Khartoum, taken by a bystander with a cell phone.

He came to me because YouTube kept taking down the video, when the right-wing social conservatives complained in mass that it was against religion.

My friend knew that I wouldn’t take it down, under any kind of pressure. It was also my job to contact the “big press” which I did. Bloomberg News has been very favorable to covering these kinds of global horror stories and so I reached out to them.

Within a few hours BBC News and CNN also picked up the story, and only then, did the videos stay up on YouTube.

You can read the entire description of the event sent to me from my friend pictured above in AOC World Women as Laughing Brutality in Woman’s Flogging Video Chills Sudan. 

This video clip depicts the scene of a Sudanese girl receiving blows whip all over her body at a police station in Khartoum this week. A wave of condemnation by the Sudanese on the Internet and newspapers concluded that what happened was exceeding the legal punishment and amounted to physical torture and severe humiliation.

The film shows the police carrying out the punishment of flogging with a whip on the Sudanese girl in front of a crowd of people. The Girl received blows whip all over her body from the legs, back, arms and head wildly and violently. The girl was crying and lying on the ground squirming in pain, begging the policeman to stop hitting her, before another officer assisted him and participated in the beating.


Obama & The Clintons Cement Ties for 2012 Election | Senate Renews Violence Against Women Act

Daily French Roast

Anne is reading …

Forging Political and Policy Ties

Bill Clinton may be President Obama’s most important ally in his re-election campaign, in a burying of the ax that formally leaves behind the bitter days of the 2008 Democratic primary between Obama and Hillary Clinton. Huff Po quotes Terry McAuliffe, “a close adviser to both Clintons and one of the most ardent protectors of their political brand”:

“It makes absolutely clear that, to the extent that there were different wings of the Democratic party, there is now one wing of the Democratic party,” said Chris Lehane, a Clinton backer. “And it’s the president’s party.”


Senate Renews Violence Against Women Act

Fifteen Senate Republicans joined 51 Democrats and two independents to approve the stalled Violence Against Women Act with amendments that now expand the law to explicitly provide protection to gays, illegal immigrants and Native Americans.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer called today on House Republicans to renew the bill. Republicans are working on their own version of the bill, without the added protections for new constituencies not covered under the expiring act.

“I want to say, to the small group in the House of Representatives moving to stop this bill. Stop it. Pass this bill,” Schumer said, calling the renewal a “no brainer.” Schumer added that the House version doesn’t even contain the word “women”, writes the NY Daily News.

Last month Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance urged support for New York State’s Aggravated Domestic Violence Bill, reports the NY Daily News.

“As a result of outdated New York State domestic violence laws, a serial abuser who hurts his victim for the 100th time can receive the same sentence he did for his first conviction — a maximum of one year in jail for an A misdemeanor, the same crime level as not paying a subway fare. That is not justice for victims.”

DFR on Religion

The Atlantic asks if Catholic Schools should be able to fire teachers over fertility treatments.

Emily Herx was a popular literature teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, until she used her medical leave for in vitro fertilization. Herx lost her job and says a church official called her a “grave, immoral sinner.” When she appealed to Fort Wayne Bishop Kevin Rhoades, he told her IVF was “an intrinsic evil, which means that no circumstances can justify it.” The federal government saw things a bit differently. Herx filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and won — paving the way for a civil lawsuit.

Reverend Richard Sparks argues that the confusing “minefield” of Catholic teaching is more about Church teachings than politics. Perhaps, but in either case, it’s about bishops’ power over women.

Pope BenedictFaith and Analytical Thinking Skills

Researchers Will Gervais and Ara Norenzayan publish research experiments designed to measure the relationship between individual with strong analytical thinking skills and a person’s faith.

Prior research has suggested that religious beliefs are rooted in intuitive processing. In this new research, published in Nature, the authors conclude that there is a significant positive correlation between faith and analytical thinking skills. via Chicago Tribune

Related articles:

Georgetown University President: We Will Continue Providing Birth Control To Our Employees ThinkProgress

With High Premarital Sex and Abortion Rates, Evangelicals Say It’s Time To Talk About Sex Huff Po

We Are All Nuns Nicholas D. Kristof for NYT

Bishops Play Church Queens as Pawns Maureen Dowd for NYT

Iowa View: U.S. nuns are under attack from the pope The

The Politics of Faith and American Exceptionalism Mugambi Jouet for Huff Po


Foreign Policy Magazine's First Sex Issue | From the Middle East to America, Why So Few Women Leaders?

Daily French Roast

Anne is reading …

The current issue of Foreign Policy is devoted to sex. That would be females. No, no. Foreign Policy hasn’t gone the way of Playboy. Instead the April issue is dedicated to the consideration of how and why sex — in all our understandings of the meaning of the word — is so relevant in global politics.

Women missing from peace talks and parliaments, sexual abuse and exploitation institutionalized and legalized in too many places on the planet, and a U.S. policy that, whether intentionally or not, all too frequently works to shore up the abusers and perpetuate the marginalization of half of humanity. Women’s bodies are the world’s battleground, the contested terrain on which politics is played out. We can keep ignoring it. For this one issue, we decided not to.

Articles include:

Why Women Are a Foreign Policy Issue by Melanne Verneer

Why To They Hate Us? by Mona Eltahawy

The Ayatollah Under the Bed(sheets) by Karim Sadjadpour

The Startling Plight of China’s Leftover Ladies by Christina Larson

The Most Powerful Women You’ve Never Heard Of

Men rule the political world: Women make up just 20 percent of the world’s parliaments and constitute about 17 percent of cabinet positions. Foreign Policy asks: “Why aren’t there more women leaders, and is there any hope of change?” The magazine interviewed top female leaders around the world about the biggest obstacles for aspiring female politicians, and how they can be brought to the negotiating table. Presidents and vice presidents, cabinet secretaries and members of Congress all participated. Question: if 95 countries in the world have instituted quotas for women in governing, is it time America installs quotas, too?

More DFR

The parishioners of Our Lady of the Lake gave their pastor - the Rev. Tim Clark - a standing ovation for not supporting the repeal of same-sex marriage (courtesy of Our Lady of the LakeSeattle’s Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church saluted the Rev. Tim Clark with a standing ovation on Sunday when he announced that the parish would not gather signatures to support a referendum to repeal same-sex marriage. The parish is the sixth in Seattle to opt out of the petition drive instigated by Archbishop J Peter Sartain. Six parishes in the Seattle have joined the refusal. Unlike other bishops, Sartain left the decision of whether or not to support the gathering of signatures against gay marriage to individual pastors.

In St. Paul-Minneapolis, Archbishop John Nienstedt is pressing an amendment to the state constitution saying that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

In a fiery letter to priests that also condemned no-fault divorce and cohabitation outside of marriage, Archbishop Nienstedt said he would brook no public dissent from any priest in the archdiocese, writes the Seattle PI.

Archbishop Nienstedt has sent 400,000 anti-gay DVDs to Catholics in his diocese. Students wearing rainbows at a diocesan mass are refused communion.

Rap Sheet

Women Directors| No movies by women will compete at the Cannes Film Festival this year, writes Melissa Silverstein at Women and Hollywood. Last year there were four.

HBO Girls| Alison Willmore asks what are we mad at Lena Dunham and HBO’s Girls over today. Her list includes the show’s name; not representing the sisterhood; racist; and nepotism. Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart agrees, writing that the show reminds her of what her ’60s hippie parents have always told her: “If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.”

Wisc. Dems on Walker| Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk was joined last week by state Reps. Christine Sinicki of Milwaukee and Chris Taylor of Madison in sending a letter to Repubican governor Walker asking for an explanation of why he repealed the state’s equal pay law. Falk, who is running against Walker in the recall, cited a lack of any lawsuits filed against the bill as Republicans have claimed.

Gingrey, Burgess, Paul and Roe delivered around 17,000 babies during their medical careers. | AP PhotosRepublican OB-GYNS in Congress| “We’re all Southern, conservative, and pro-life,” said Phil Roe of the four OB-GYN members of the House. “Loudmouthed and red-necked is also a good way to describe us.” Read on at Politico.