city of angels


that is the number of untested (unprocessed evidence) rape kits sitting in L.A. County's police storage facilities.

12,669 women who were raped, who underwent 4-6 hour long rape exams that ended up being pointless.

12,669 women who were raped, whose attackers were not procesuted for their crimes, because the county left the evidence to sit for years (possibly, too many years- the 10-year statute of limitations may come into effect with some of these rape kits) without sending them to the lab for DNA testing.

12,669 women who were subject to the most demeaning, horrific crime, have been wronged again, by their own justice system. and the worst part is- this didn't have to happen- new york city successfully addressed this issue, and eliminated their backlog of rape kits. there really is no excuse.

what other violent crime would receive this little attention, this lax treatment, this complete lack of effort to prosecute?


taking out the trash

so, since turkey cracked down on honor killers, those ingenious pigs have found a NEW AND IMPROVED way to get their women dead. honor SUICIDE.

"women who are told to kill themselves are usually given one of three options - a noose, a gun or rat poison. They are then locked in a room until the job is done."

and of course, just adding to the deck stacked against these women:

"Honour killings aren't always properly investigated because some police and prosecutors share the same views as the honour killers"

women are held in such low regard, are afforded such SUB-HUMAN status, that not only are they 100% disposable; their disposal is now their own problem!!! and they've got nowhere to turn, because the authorities are probably doing the exact same things to their daughters, wives, and mothers, in their own homes.


needs improvement

teen dating violence report card released today- really interesting. iowa gets a D.


worldwide headlines, just from today:

faces of rape in rwanda
"more than a hundred thousand Rwandan women raped in 1994 by Hutu militia fighters who embarked on a killing spree and slaughtered nearly a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus."

oakland cop killer is also suspected of serial rape
"Mixon was linked by DNA to the February rape of a 12-year-old girl who was dragged off the street at gunpoint in the East Oakland neighborhood"

seattle serial rapist convicted
Prosecutors say Thompson broke in, raped for her hours, doused her with bleach to hide his crime 

south carolina rapist and murder wants to be sentenced to death
Inman -- who had spent most of his adult life in prison after raping a Florida woman -- stalked Souers and broke into her apartment as the 20-year-old, engineering student from a St. Louis suburb slept. Inman forced Souers to have sex with him and then strangled her with a bikini top.

17-year-old maryland boy rapes 7-year-old girl
"The girl was later found at the sitter's home and she told the sitter a man asked for help getting into his home and he sexually assaulted her there."

british rape suspect at large 

the all caps are not intended to represent yelling...they're an attempt to be as clear as possible about the truth, the reality, of rape. everywhere. every day. rape is a weapon of war. even in places that aren't at war- ALL women are always at war. always on the defense. always in danger. 

and a few headlines regarding false rape accusations/aquittals. 

pepple beach, ca man pleads not guilty of 3 rape charges
washington man aquitted of rape in park
olympia, washington man exonerated based on DNA evidence

false convictions are not what anyone wants. but in all of these cases, women were still raped. a false conviction does not negate the crime, but that's exactly how some people view overturned convictions or false ID's.  here's an analysis of this topic i like... 
"the large majority of reported rapes never lead to convictions at all; and, since false rape reports probably have less evidence supporting them than true rape reports, it seems likely that they lead to convictions even less often. Even true rape reports, unfortunately, are unlikely to lead to a conviction; how much more unlikely when the report is fiction? ... None of this is to suggest that it’s ever acceptable to make a false rape report; that a falsely accused man doesn’t suffer unjustly even if there is no conviction; or that any number of false accusations and convictions - however small - is acceptable. Nonetheless, the speculations by some men’s rights activists that there is a nationwide epidemic of men falsely imprisoned for rape don’t seem well founded."


double jeopardy

bob herbert is right on, in his article in the NYT: The Great Shame.
this is the line that gets me: 
"women in American uniforms who are enduring all the stresses related to serving in a combat zone have to also worry about defending themselves against rapists wearing the same uniform and lining up in formation right beside them."

of course, rape is The Great Shame of our whole world, if you ask me. but the fact that those who have dedicated their lives to the protection of our nation (and other nations for that matter), are afforded no protection themselves, is certainly an irony worth attention. 

rape is not a crime of sex, it's a crime of power. in the very best case scenario, a woman's life can be ruined as a result of rape, and coming forward is nearly as traumatizing as experiencing the assault itself.  but military women are not only raped, they are silenced and threatened as a part of S.O.P. it's an outrage. but as the article above notes, the military is "an ultra-macho environment in which the overwhelming tendency has been to see all women — civilian and military, young and old, American and foreign — solely as sexual objects." 


the oldest story

deborah king writes an article about the origins of our attitudes about abuse and women's place in society. i wholeheartedly agree. frankly, this exact issue is where so much of my discomfort with The Church stems from:

"The Southern Baptist Convention - added into their core teachings that a woman must be subject to her husband in all things, which they call "headship." The husband, no matter how much of an ignoramus he may be, must prevail."

religious tradition places the man at the head of, well, everything... and uses god's headship over the church as its model. the problem is, man is NOT god (and for that matter, god is not a man). so the whole theory of men's superiority is based on a false comparison, in my personal opinion. (actually, my personal opinion is that the theory is based on the desire for "power & dominion", to use a biblical term.)



are you kidding me kathleen?

"boys in this country are in far graver danger than girls in nearly every measurable way."

"boys won't be equal to girls if we don't focus some of our resources on their needs and stop advancing the false notion that girls are a special class of people deserving special treatment."

"this figure [ the wage gap ] is derived by comparing the average median wage of all full-time working men and women without considering multiple variables, including the choices women and men make. "

"Boys, meanwhile, are the ones dropping out of school or being expelled. They're the ones failing, abusing drugs and committing suicide."

ok....for the last time (yeah right): It isn't "special" to be free from discrimination. (many MANY thanks to Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP for this recent quotation).

also- women's "choices" to stay home, bear children, leave the workforce notwithstanding, why isn't ms. parker pointing fingers at the men who have "chosen" to fail out of school, abuse drugs and commit suicide? but, you might say, it's culture/society/family/barney the dinosaur that is contributing to the male drop out rate, drug abuse statistics, and suicide rate.

well, from where i stand, it is then ALSO true that the "choices" that women make to stay home, leave careers, etc. are not purely made out of free-wheelin' choice. they face influence from society, family, tradition (i.e. the patriarchy) to make those "choices" as well. and when i say influence, i mean: the kind of influence that burns old women accused of witchcraft at the stake in the 17th century, and the kind of influence that calls female genital mutilation "normal" in communities sudan and ethiopia, and the kind of influence that leads to 75% of women reporting behaviors consistent with eating disorders last year.

which means that indeed, women do NOT enjoy equality in the workplace, or in any other place for that matter. frankly, when men and boys are being raped at the rate at which women are (or, conversely, when women are being raped as INFREQUENTLY as men are), i'll concede that maybe then boys are in as much danger as girls "in every measurable way". by that time, we'll also be reading headlines about planes crash landing in the hudson due to hitting a flock of pigs.

abuse, squared

i am just choking about this one:
Pastor not only doesn't believe 12-year old's report of sexual abuse at home, but punishes her for "rebellion". he BEAT her for it (with the consent of her mother and step-father, which is even worse.)
and he gets a slap on the wrist.
the step-father goes on trial for the sexual abuse in july.

how many times does a girl need to be abused before she 'learns'??
apparently, a lot.


european highlights

24 years of captivity, rape, assault and slavery. but he's only "partly guilty." check out the potential sentences by the way- does anyone else think they seem ridiculously short? i don't care what the typical sentence is- this guy shouldn't ever see the light of day again.

scotland yard decided not to investigate over 400 rapes. they're hard cases to wrap up, you see, because so many of them involve drugs or alcohol, or because the victims can't remember every detail. so, obviously, the victims deserve to be victimized again (by not having their rapes believed or investigated), just because the police are trying to make their conviction rate look better. if we don't even classify the rape complaints as CRIMES, then it makes our crime rate look even better!!
i don't know about you, but this tells me exactly how crimes against women are really viewed. inconsequential. "just rape". easily ignored. which once again makes me wonder- what if rape were a crime against men, and it were happening at the rate that the rape of women is happening? death row would be overflowing.


rihanna rant

well this is just exactly the OPPOSITE of what i'd hoped:
almost half of boston teens surveyed think it must have been rihanna's fault. 

un.BELIEVABLE. i mean...how? HOW? i'm practically speechless.

but not quite.  it's completely *unfathomable* to me that a woman could be beaten THIS badly, and people could somehow believe it was her fault. what could someone possibly do to deserve a beating like that? it's simply not possible. people who believe that a woman could ever DESERVE to be brutalized like this are just...so WRONG. they're wrong. 

domestic abuse is NOT a normal part of how life should be. it's wrong. every time. no matter what. 
i read these stories, and i always think to myself- why is this such a hard concept for some men to grasp? would YOU like to be raped? would YOU like to be shot and killed? would YOU like to be beaten by your spouse? then stop doing it to women!!!!!

kansas students are warned to be careful on spring break- 13 women have been raped, over 8 years...how many more will be violated before the predator is stopped??

man shoots wife for "fearing" she was being unfaithful, and then shoots innocent bystander.

commentary on gender violence and its roots. abusers channel all negative emotions into anger and rage, rather than dealing with them.

6-year old girl's rapist & murder is convicted. not a drop of remorse shown.

creston, IA rape trial ends with conviction of two former police officers for the rape of a bartender. (i wonder what life around town is like for her these days? in a town the size of creston, these were probably men with status. i wouldn't be surprised if the victim is being victimized even more for accusing them and refusing to be silenced.)

and the most impressive (i.e. horrific, mind-boggling, enraging) story today- London cab driver guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting hundreds of passengers. this seriously gives me shivers.


letter to the editor by my former mentor

articulate, rational and radical (i.e. women are fully human) point of view on "purity balls" from my former college speech coach, professor & mentor. 
(also, i'll never forget when she told me that when you become a Dr., you can make up words... sounds good to me!)

silence is death

this article is traumatic, graphic and very possibly, life changing. a must-read.

Witch-Hunt: The Hidden War on African Women

african women are killed, maimed, mutilated, raped (forced in to marriage at age 9, or 12, etc.) and denied any basic human rights- EVERY DAY.

because they are WOMEN.

give to Comic Relief, or the V-day organization. ending this extermination of women takes things as simple as education and information. but it takes money to make sure the education and information can be brought to the communities all across the world who need it.

save a woman. give.


the international round up

sometimes, even though my whole point with this blog is to draw attention to the reality of sexism and violence against women, headlines seem distant, impersonal. the challenge for today- take out the names of the other countries in these stories, and replace them with the name of your county/state/city/neighborhood. 

senegalese women don't even know a law exists to prosecute abusers.  violence here includes: domestic violence, rape, polygamy, female circumcision and the forced marriage of girls as young as nine years old. 

florida's front lines against domestic abuse. 

welsh red tape holds up any real efforts to stop abuse. 

afghan student sentenced first to death, then 20 years in prison instead- for circulating an essay on women's rights. 

u.n. chief ban ki-moon warns that the cost of violence against women is beyond calculation. 

president obama calls fair pay, child care, family leave economic issues, not just women's issues. new appointments- white house council on women and girls, and ambassador-at-large for international women's issues. 


real life fairy tale

rihanna has reunited with chris brown. i agree with the author of this article, that this is not only too common, and personally dangerous for her, but also exactly the wrong message for young people (who are we kidding, adults are following this story too) around the world. pop stars have influence, and while of course it's tragic that rihanna has returned to her abuser, but it's even more tragic to imagine her fans' internalization of this sitaution: obviously, she loves him, and couldn't bear to live without him (even though he beat her to a bloody pulp). she forgave him. that's the right thing to do.


back to reality

75-year-old syrian woman sentenced to 40 lashes for "mingling". cruel and unusual anyone?

13-year-old girl beaten,
stuffed in trunk and thrown in icy creek. this, after repeated attempts to flee, and after others (bus driver, etc.) reported the observed abuse to authorities.

61-year old
former librarian stabbed on long island.

24-year-old des moines woman was
asking for it (according to the tone of the police report, anyway)

reality bites. especially for women.


we now interrupt your regularly scheduled snark...


hug a woman, my friends. your sisters, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, mentors, bosses, employees, pastors, mayors, secretaries of state, first wives, students, professors, interns, single ladies, divorcees, spinsters, crones, ab fabs, princesses, divas, and everyone else in between.

we are women, hear us roar!


fat and the farm?

what is this about? could they BE more size-ist or fat-phobic?

and excuse me:

"every woman deserves this information."


personally, i'm going to stick with:

'every woman deserves to be free from the pressure to be skinny and perfect in order to find love, success and acceptance!!'

this kind of thing just plain pisses me off.

weekend update

juarez girls beware- 18 teens missing in 14 months. no bodies have been found, unlike the PREVIOUS wave of female abductions, in which many of the women were found tortured, raped, and mutilated.

domestic abuse escalates to 5 fatal killings in cleveland. wife, sister in law and 3 children shot by davon crawford. FIND HIM.

and across the atlantic, pretty much the same story: malik mannan stabbed his wife Sabina Akhtar. this comes months after she reported him to the police, he was arrested, released on bail, allowed to violate his bail conditions and finally cleared of all charges. smart move, CPS.

and a bonus rape story- wherein the victim is "quizzed" by the opposing lawyer about what she was wearing at the time of the "alleged" rape. aaah, very wise grasshopper- if she was wearing anything other than a burkha, she was obviously asking for it!!!!


9 year old breaks the rules

i can't believe i get to say this- thanks rachel maddow , for bringing this to my attention. now i'm bringing it to the other 2 people's attention who read my blog as well. un.believable. as if there is any POSSIBLE way that a 9-year-old girl, could EVER consent to sex. in other words- the only plausible possibility in this nightmare is that she was raped. period.

but clearly, it's god's will.



when i say epidemic...

i really mean EPIDEMIC.

turkish women play soccer and face hostility and antiquated ideas about the propriety of women playing this 'traditionally' men's sport. Wouldn't want to ruin their posture, you know.

indian women are 3x as likely as indian men to be killed by fire, often as a result of domestic disputes. They are being set.on.fire.

"serve and protect" apparently meant rape and betray, to these two nyc police officers. they entered the girl's building twice after they brought her home intoxicated? what could they possibly have needed to do for her (after she was probably passed out, if she was as drunk as reported) that necessitated their return, twice?

women's shelters are considered foreign intrusion into afghan society. just like the idea that women are human beings deserving of equal rights is a 'foreign intrusion', right?

and, lest any of us think that things are really getting any better...

congo: 8-year-old girl left incontinent by repeated rape by soldiers. "In some cases, the rapists have violated their victims with loaded guns and pulled the triggers."

sudan: former sudanese soldier admits being forced (upon threat of his own death) to rape children in darfur. "Aid workers say millions of women in Darfur ... live in fear of rape 24 hours a day." "In some [displacement] camps, ... rape had become so common that as many as 20 babies a month born from rape were being abandoned."

rape is a weapon of war, because violating, mutilating and abusing women is literally shattering- to the woman, her family, her community. it's a fact. rape is a crime of HATE. women are hated- not just in sudan, or the congo, but all over the world, in the good ol' u.s. of a. every day. simply for being women.


1 or 2 weeks out of the year

part of me loves the idea of women's week...or black history month...or mentoring day, or any of a number of awareness dates on the calendar. 

but the other part of me just riles right up and says "WHY DO WE NEED A DAY/WEEK/MONTH TO REMEMBER  HOW IMPORTANT OUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS ARE, and how much care and compassion we owe one another, and how, um, MORAL and RIGHT it is to simply treat each other with respect???


a few highlight articles as we 'celebrate' international women's day soon (march 8). 

the british warn that women will face the violent effects of economic stress. surprise surprise. women *always* bear the brunt of the world's stress.

canadian editorial on the interesting backlash ("interesting" is code for insidious, partriarchal and systematic) against those who continue talking about violence against women. 

it's sad, but also about time, that violence against women is classified as a hate crime. what else could it possibly be? go NY. 

an international women's day letter to the editor from the soloman islands. (they're just north of australia, and according to amnesty international, they have high rates of domestic violence...)

just to reiterate- violence against women is EPIDEMIC in scope. it is unnacceptable. women live with daily violence because they think they have no recourse- it's "just the way things are". i do not accept that. i hope more women refuse to accept that. 

give $20 to your local women's DV shelter. 
volunteer for a rape crisis hotline. 
post a status or comment on MS or FB about international women's day. 
do SOMETHING to show your support for equal rights for women... which means: the equal right to live a life free from systematic abuse.