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Entries in women's rights (137)

Wednesday
May082013

Reported Sexual Assaults in Military Skyrocket As Air Force Chief of Ending Assault Charged With Sexual Battery

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Esmeralda Garcia, a health care assistant at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Edinburg, speaks with a client, Adriana Olvera. Eddie Seal for The New York Times

Great news for the poor women of Texas! The New York Times reports that legislators on both sides of the aisle are quietly working to restore financing for women’s health services in the state.The story reports that Dems aren’t falling on their sword for Planned Parenthood — a statement we find misleading, because the PP issue is already taken care of through the recent funding of a Texas women’s health coalition, of which Planned Parenthood is a key member.

“The major difference is we’re not fighting about it. We’re just doing what’s right for women and the state,” State Representative Sarah Davis, Republican of West University Place, said last month at a Texas Tribune symposium on health care.

While Davis is opposed to abortion, she is even more opposed to politicians interfering with the doctor/patient relationship. The Republican woman has emerged as the chief architect of a plan to restore the devastating cuts to poor women’s health services, including access to contraception.

As poor women in particular have suffered at the hands of the Republican War on Women in Texas, the tide may be turning. Further denying women abortion rights is in a holding pattern, with NONE of the 24 abortion-related bills filed reaching the House or Senate floor.

Military Assault Skyrocket

Responding angrily Tuesday to a new report on the steep rise of sexual assault in the military, New York Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand cold barely contain her anger at Air Force Secretary Michael Conley. The Pentagon says that in 2012 alone, 26,000 members of the military were sexually assaulted, a 35 percent rise since 2011.

Next week Gillibrand will introduce a bill that removes decision-making on sexual assault cases from the chain of command, says Glen Caplin, the senator’s communications director.

“You have an enormous gap between the number of sex assaults that are occurring and the number of sex assaults that are being reported,” Caplin said. According to the Department of Defense, 47 percent of servicemembers said they didn’t report sexual assaults and harassment for fear of retaliation.

Presently, the military operates under a code called “convening authority”, giving military commanders the power to overturn court-martial decisions, including those dealing with rape.

Gillibrand’s bill would apply Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel’s recent suggestion that “convening authority” be eliminated, by amending the Uniform Military Code of Justice’s Article 60 so so that “convening authorities” cannot set aside convictions or change guilty ones. Her bill would also add independent prosecutors who decide whether a case warrants a court-martial, but reserve commanders’ convening authority for the cases that aren’t moved forward in this new process.

Sens. Patty Murray D-Wash and Kelly Ayotte R-NH introduced legislation to amend Pentagon policies while creating new laws to help victims.

“Murray and Ayotte’s bill, the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act, would guarantee victims access to an advocacy lawyer to guide them through the reporting, investigation and criminal law process following an allegation,” writes the Air Force Times.

Air Force Chief Charged

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, charged with sexual battery.The Air Force officer in charge of the the branch’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit was charged with a misdemeanor offence of groping a woman in a parking lot on May 6, 2013. The misdemeanor sexual battery charge alleges that Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski was drunk and grabbed a woman’s breast and buttocks. The woman fought back before calling police.

Responding to the news, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said “We’re all outraged and disgusted over these very troubling allegations.”

Hagel said he would hold military commanders accountable “at every level,” improve the treatment of assault victims and conduct regular inspections of military workplaces to guard against “materials that create a degrading and offensive work environment,” writes Bloomberg.

The Air Force is “still reeling” from the convictions of at least five military instructors in sexual assault or unprofessional relationships with trainees or students at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base.

Krusinski, who has served in his post since February, posted a $5,000 bond and was removed from his job pending an investigation.

Tuesday
Apr302013

Maria Shriver Returns to NBC News As Editor At Large For Women's Issue | Yahoo Changes Maternity Leave Policy

French Roast News

Anne is reading …


Model Kendra Spears is engaged to Prince Rahim Aga Khan, the eldest son of His Highness Aga Khan, the global community leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

The couple will be married in a Muslim ceremony, and Spears will reportedly convert to Islam and most likely become a Princess. Marrying American women is a tradition in the family. Spears’ betrothed is the product of his father’s marriage to British model Sarah ‘Sally’ Croker-Poole, who was once considered one of the 12 most beautiful women in the world, while his grandfather, Prince Aly Khan, was once married to Rita Hayworth, writes The Telegraph.

Prince Rahim Aga Khan holds a BA from Brown University and an executive management degree from the Navarra Business School in Barcelona, Spain. He is involved in the poverty reduction efforts, notably micro-credit activities, of the Aga Khan Development Network – one of the largest private systems of agencies fostering social, cultural and economic development in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Maria Shriver to NBC

Can Maria Shriver work some Kennedy magic for NBC News? Shriver will join her beloved alma mater employer as a “special anchor” covering “the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life.” Shriver will be an editor at large for women’s issues across NBC’s digital platorms.

“Welcome back to the family,” Today co-host Matt Lauer, who is deeply mired in his own woes at the Today Show. Trying to work her Kennedy magic and solid credentials as California’s former first lady and founder of the California Women’s Conference, Shriver’s first interview is with playwright and women’s rights activist Eve Ensler about her battle with cancer.

It’s said that Shriver never wanted to leave NBC in the first place, but was forced to resign when her husband ran for governor in 2003 and won. Her divorce with Schwarzenegger, who admitted fathering a child with their housekeeper, is still pending.

Shriver will be based in Los Angeles, where she lives with her four children with the former bodybuilder.

Yahoo Expands Maternity Leave

Two months after Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer created an uproar over banning telecommuting, the company is now offering employees generous new family leave benefits.

Under the new policy, mothers can take 16 weeks of paid leave with benefits, and fathers can take up to eight weeks, each time they have a new child via childbirth. Both parents receive eight weeks off for new children via adoption, foster child placement or surrogacy.

Previously, moms received eight weeks paid leave after pregnancy, or 10 weeks if they had a C-section.

Yahoo is breaking the mold of giving new parents $500 to spend on such things as groceries, house cleaning and babysitters.

The new benefits policy brings Yahoo closer in line with Silicon Valley’s Google and Facebook.

Mayer herself was pregnant when she joined Yahoo as CEO last summer. When she gave birth in September to her first child, she took only two weeks of maternity leave.

“The baby’s been way easier than everyone made it out to be. I think I’ve been really lucky that way but I had a very easy, healthy pregnancy, he’s been easy.”

Critics griped that Mayer brought her child to work, installing him in a nursery she built in her office at her own expense.

Google gives mothers five months off and seven weeks for maternity leave. Facebook gives both mothers and fathers four months of paid leave.

Thursday
Apr252013

Anne Slams Kylie Bisutti As Agent Of Women's Oppression In Her Message That Women Must Cover Up & Be Modest

British Vogue appears to be dailing for page views today, with their headline Former Angel Slams Victoria’s Secret. Thinking I would be reading about a real Victoria’s Secret Angel, I ran into the self-serving, highly-promotional, born again Kylie Bisutti who “has clarified the reasons why she quit as one of the faces of Victoria’s Secet.”

There is no clarification because we read this story before.

“That’s when it hit me,” she recalled. “I was being paid to strip down and pose provocatively to titillate men. It wasn’t about modelling clothes anymore; I felt like a piece of meat. The next day, I broke down and started sobbing. I was in my bedroom and dropped to my knees and started to pray, saying: ‘God, why did you have me win the Victoria’s Secret Angel competition if it was going to make me feel this way? I’m not honouring my husband. I just want answers!’”

Bisutti — now married and living in Montana — is launching the next version of her public face with a book and clothing line designed with modesty in mind. Today’s women have no trouble covering up if they choose to do so, and I pray she’s not launching a line of burqas. I say that — not because I have a deep-seeded problem with burqas — but because I do have a problem with conservative religions that focus on female modesty.

The women of Egypt are living through this very nightmare as we speak, as the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to reintroduce burqas into public life for Egyptian women. In my long-standing involvement in trying to stop the brutal flogging of 40,000 women a year in Sudan for not wearing proper clothing, I assure Kylie Bisutti that her message only fuels the global surge of right-wing radicalism that is taking control of the bodies of American women. Think transvaginal ultrasounds; using an IUD is called murder; and the founder of Eden Foods now facing a boycott for suing the Obama Administration over the contraception coverage piece of the Affordable Care Act. Eden Foods founder Michael Potter believes that people engaging in birth control are unsavory people performing unnatural acts.

Religion & Women’s Oppression

Jimmy Carter on Religion As Agent of Women’s Oppression

Speech by Jimmy Carter to the Parliament of the World’s Religions

Melbourne, Australia, Dec., 2009

I am pleased to address the Parliament of World Religions about the vital role of religion in providing a foundation for – or correcting – the global scourge of discrimination and violence against women. As will be seen, my remarks represent the personal views of a Christian layman and a former political leader.

There are international agreements as well as our own Holy Scriptures that guide us:

Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, origin … or other status …”

The Holy Bible tells us that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Every generic religious text encourages believers to respect essential human dignity, yet some selected scriptures are interpreted to justify the derogation or inferiority of women and girls, our fellow human beings.

All of us have a responsibility to acknowledge and address the gross acts of discrimination and violence against women that occur every day. Here are some well-known examples: continue

Anne’s Big Fight Ahead

Controlling Women’s Bodies Is A Fight To The Finish

Male-dominated global cultures continue to wrestle with female sexuality. The most repressive forms of Islam are at war with womens’ bodies, throwing head-to-coverage on the female form.

Simutaneously, Western societies, led by the Internet, unveil women’s bodies as never before, rendering us all voyeurs.

Some women do what they are told, having no political or cultural voice in how they are packaged for consumption. Others express their discontent of cultural realities around women’s bodies, making clear that they are ‘good girls’, when others are ‘bad’.

A third group, led by celebrity sensations like Shakira and Angelina Jolie, are using their fame to articulate a holistic essence of womanhood.

Shakira’s vision of woman as ‘she wolf’ outrages some people. But the Smart Sensuality women’s movement is growing culturally in its influence, and Shakira is a strong global voice in articulating this ‘new woman’.

Religions, led by Conservative Islam — but joined by the fundamentalist wings of most large religions — condemn immodesty in women. Just when it seems that we face nothing more than a black hole, a new dialogue is emerging from darkness on two fronts. The Internet dialogue that allows articulate people of diverse cultures to communicate about female sexuality and physicality is making for strange bedfellows. I wrote a life-changing journal essay a few weeks ago about burqas, prompting a rare exchange between Western and Muslim women who choose to veil themselves. (continue right column)

Shortly after that jolt of Internet traffic, I became the lead Western woman’s voice — in terms of expressed Internet support and number of postings — in the Lubna Ahmed Hussein case.

Refocusing my own mind around Khartoum’s intention to flog Lubna Hussein for wearing trousers, I confront the reality of the subliminal, global passions that remain about female sexuality.

The very cultures cutting out the female clitoris are huge consumers of Internet porn. I have seen the statistics — no the IP addresses — with my own eyes. A male colleague showed me, and I was astonished. And women are dying because a glimpse of ankle has dishonored the family in these same countries.

Screaming that female sexuality must be contained, men also can’t get enough of it. This is a very dangerous, pathological reality for global women.

In America, Too, Hypocrisy Rules

Just this week I took a look at porn subscriptions in America.

As you might surmise, even in America, the states that yell the loudest about the need for women to ‘cover up’ and control their animalistic urges, sign up monthly in numbers that exceed New York, California and more liberal states — the ones with ‘no morals’.

This is the abyss of hypocrisy threatening women’s lives on a daily basis.

From my perspective, female sexuality is front and center, in the ‘battle for civilization’, even though the fight is clothed in religious identities.

One wonders if there is any light at the end of this tunnel.

As the women of Khartoum yell to the world that they’re not returning to the Dark Ages, and young female converts to Islam in America, Canada and France willingly take up the veil — often against the wishes or recommendations of their husbands and mothers — a strange voice came out of Khartoum the other night.

Roba Givia, a male Sudan Tribune journalist, reflecting on the whipping of women in Khartoum, wrote a superb piece Sudan is still living in an era of Arabs before Islam.

Many Local Sudanese Horrified By Flogging Woman Video Dec. 11, 2010

The horror of flogging in Sudan reared its head this week in a video that’s no less riveting in its inhumanity than the details of Lubna Hussein’s indencency hearings that went on for months in 2009. For new readers at Anne of Carversville, I became very involved in Lubna’s case in the summer of 2009, after being contacted by a loosely-confederated group of concerned men in the region.

My closest ally in that 2009 group returned to Facebook this week and contacted me with the video that frankly causes me nightmares. I have played this video over and over in my head awake and asleep.

There aren’t words to express my revulsion at the administering of ‘justice’ Sudan style to this young woman and the 40,000 more that will probably be flogged in 2010, based on Sudanese court records of 40,000 floggings in 2008.

Nesrine Malik wrote about the flogging for The Guardian today: Sudan’s public order laws are about control, not morality.

After being pulled down repeatedly on YouTube, with complaints coming fast and furious from the believers in flogging episodes like this one, the video is now alive on AOC. It is also on CNN and Al Jazeera, says my friend, although I can’t find it in the international editions.