dsm or l.a.?

which one do you think is the story datelined in des moines, IA, and which one is from los angeles? (click the links to find out)

A man who police believe raped and murdered dozens of women decades ago was arrested by cold case investigators this month after a computer matched his DNA to evidence from two killings in the 1970s. John Floyd Thomas Jr., 72, may have begun his killings as far back as 1955 and he could be one of the worst serial killers in United States history, according to Chief William Bratton. They suspect he killed at least 30 women and raped many more.

Police are searching for a man they believe is responsible for up to five home burglaries in which two young women were raped and six others were assaulted. The suspect entered the home and went into a bedroom where a 24-year-old man and woman were sleeping. The suspect threatened the two with a knife, and then held the man at bay with the knife while he raped the woman, Police Lt. Jeff Miller said. The description and nature of the crimes are similar to four others that have been committed since December, Miller said: Dec 28, An 18-year-old woman was raped and her mother assaulted; Feb 13, A 19-year-old woman was assaulted; Feb. 22, A 24-year-old woman was assaulted; April 13, A 21-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man were assaulted. In this case, the two were able to fight off the suspect.


100 days down, 1,360 to go.

already, there have been a variety of important and meaningful strides by the obama administration to right wrongs and improve the lives of women and girls. because (not to belabour the point, but): the lives of women and girls are NOT equally safe, prosperous or healthy as the lives of men. STILL.

a few of the (exciting!) highlights:

*repeal of the global gag rule = clinics around the world receiving funding from the u.s. can once again provide information about and services related to family planning. which gives women more choices with regard to how many children they bear. which means they may have the opportunity to do something other than bear 10 unwanted children and live a life of poverty. a novel idea.

*lilly ledbetter fair pay act = anyone (*not just women, it should be noted*) who suspects wage discrimination has more time to bring suit against their employer. no-brainer. (see below for remaining questions.)

*white house council on women and girls = the promise of real, sustained attention to issues of health, violence against women, fair pay, etc. etc. etc. (see below for remaining questions.)

but questions remain:

*the lilly ledbetter act isn't going to solve the actual problem of unequal pay for equal work. the Paycheck Fairness Act will directly address the underlying issue of wage discrimination. this bill still needs to be passed. it includes training, technical assistance and incentives for employers to be(come) fair.

*the white house council has no paid staff, nor is the executive director (tina tchen) a cabinet-level position. it remains to be seen how active the council will be (no set meeting dates yet) and how influential it may become. will this be an active, change-making council, or an empty promise?

*the economic turmoil will likely have an immediate and severe effect on women. stimulus/recovery plans MUST address the effect of the economy on women explicitly, or they will implicitly leave them out completely. women still earn only 78 cents to a man's dollar. and the gap is MUCH wider for women of color (african-american earning 69 cents on the dollar, and latinas only 59 cents!) (!!!)

*what will be done about violence against women? especially in the u.s. military! one in three women in the military will be sexually assaulted during their tour of duty. ONE IN THREE.

some issues are so apparent, so prevalent and so apalling, i am routinely left speechless when i see the reality of the way women still have to fight tooth and nail, every day, to simply live a safe life, with equal rights and choices equal to those men enjoy. but it IS real, and the more people SEE the inequities that face every woman, every day...the more i hope they will speak up and demand change.



not only was bea arthur one of the funniest women on the planet (in my opinion- but then i love deep dark sarcasm), she was also a feminist, and gave us some of the most impressive, thought-provoking characters in american popular culture. i admire her wit, her conviction, and her stamina. RIP bea.



not a lot of time to blog lately, but i've been seeing a ton of headlines recently about trafficking. 

Sex trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.

and it's everywhere.

and those stories are all from april 2009. 

from the Independent Student Weekly of the Harvard Business School:
"Trafficking is not a simple issue. It is a problem created by a complex stew of social, cultural, economic and political factors and, as would fit the chemistry of the problem, there is no one person, organization or economic sector that can handle the issue on its own." 

no, trafficking isn't simple. but frankly, i think the reason that sex trafficking is so prevalent is pretty clear. according to the state department, 70% of trafficking victims are women and girls.  

the reason is because, the world over, women and girls are seen as valuable based solely on their sexuality.  and because of that, their lives are forfeit. sex trafficking has been called 21st century slavery, and the systematic abuse of women and girls across the globe certainly meets the main requirements to be considered slavery: "Slavery is a form of forced labor in which people are considered to be, or treated as, the property of others."

in other words, women and girls are property, because of the price they fetch. for that reason only. because they can be bought and sold, they are. supply and demand. 

two grassroots organizations working to combat sex trafficking and help victims and survivors- you should shop, and give your $1. 

@mrskutcher thanks for posting the BuckUp link- the inspiration for this post.


lightbulb moment

why is this such a rare opinion? because admitting that men are the ones who should be criminalized for prostitution is admitting that men are the reason prostitution exists, and admitting that men are the reason prostitution exists is admitting that our whole society is built on prostitution, where women sell their bodies, their minds, their hearts and their souls as the last resort for survival. 


president obama declared april sexual assault awareness month. here are a few timely items intended to increase awareness:

more reporting about the high sexual assault/rape statistics in the u.s. military. now, correct me if i'm wrong- but isn't the military the most highly restrictive, regimented, rules-based, you-don't-scratch-your-you-know-what-unless-you're-told environment we have in the u.s.? so, if that's true, my opinion is that the only way military rape can be so prevalent is if it's expressly encouraged. whether it's encouraged through "male comradarie", or whether it's encouraged through the obvious difficulty a victim knows they will have to endure if they report their assult...either way- there is nothing left to chance, or to personal interpretation in the military. you do what you're told, and only what you're told, period. so somehow, people are being told sexual assault is ok. 

update on a story we previously read- a saudi judge repeats his ruling that an 8-year old girl married off to a 47-year old man has no grounds for divorce. there just isn't much more to say about that. 

oh, haven't you seen the trailers for that new seth rogan movie Observe & Report!?!? It looks so funny! 
except the part where the girl he takes home passes out while they're having sex and he basically just shrugs and keeps on keepin' on. 
date rape is HILARIOUS. 

afghan cleric says the world's outcry against his law is simply meddling. silly foreigners- demanding sex from your wife every 4 days unless she is ill (i can't wait to see how many illnesses are invented after this law is passed, though- women are smarter than this guy thinks!) is a man's fundamental right, and any attempt by a wife to assert her own opinion on the subject is (will be) illegal. 

you know how they say chocolate is an aphrodesiac? rapists turn even the most benign activities into cause for women to fear. this poor girl never dreamed, working in a chocolate shop at niagara falls, that she'd have any possible reason to worry about sexual assault. but that ingenious 17 year old boy found a way to make it happen. brilliant. always keep 'em guessing, right guys?

another place you wouldn't think you'd need to worry, ladies? high school. but you'd be wrong.

and finally- not related to sexual assault, but generally related to to the pervasive and systematic repression and just-plain-ignoring-of-anything-related-to-women -that-does-not equal-sexiness: 
doctors are failing to diagnose thousands of women and girls with aspergers syndrome, a form of autism, because until now, the prevailing view of the way this syndrome presents symptomatically is based solely on boys' presentation. 
well imagine that. something in our society is geared solely toward men, or oriented only toward the way it will affect men, with no regard for the affect on or relation to women? shocking. 


domestic violence gets a famous face

this ad gave me chills. (warning, scenes of violence depicted)

keira knightly takes a step to raise awareness, and i appreciate it.


how do we even manage to go about our days?

with all the cosmetics, surgeries & procedures, fashion do's and don'ts, airbrushing, lose-20-lbs-quick diets & fads, and the general sentiment that no matter what- women are never good ENOUGH...

i'm exhausted. well, tired is more accurate: sick and tired. 

Faith Hill's 'Redbook' Cover Airbrushing pisses folks off (note: adult language in the linked article)

best line from those articles, which pretty much sums it up:
"It primes little girls to think they should diet and dream about the cosmetic-surgery options available to them, and it makes body the primary place for self-identity."

if my, your, our bodies are the primary place from where our self-identity stems, then we're much more easily persuaded to BUY BUY BUY and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. but, if (*gasp*) our self-identities actually stem from our: 
hard work, 
goals, and/or 

well, then.

i guess we don't need to buy anything, or go on a diet, or get a boob job, or wear something we don't want to wear...
and i guess we're just fine the way we are, aren't we? 
and i guess we deserve equal rights because we are equally human. hmm. 

look how easy that was.