Oct 282010

As we get to the end of October and the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I want to point to some information that may be of use and that, without question, we should all be aware of.  First, via Josh Sugarman reporting on the Violence Policy Center’s annual report When Men Murder Women,

Nationwide, in 2008, there were 1,817 females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents that were submitted to the FBI for its Supplementary Homicide Report. Key findings from the report dispel many of the myths regarding the nature of lethal violence against women:

  • For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 92 percent of female victims (1,564 out of 1,694) were murdered by someone they knew.
  • Twelve times as many females were murdered by a male they knew (1,564 victims) than were killed by male strangers (130 victims). For victims who knew their offenders, 64 percent (997) of female homicide victims were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers.
  • There were 278 women shot and killed by either their husband or intimate acquaintance during the course of an argument.
  • Nationwide, for homicides in which the weapon could be determined (1,662), more female homicides were committed with firearms (52 percent) than with any other weapon. Knives and other cutting instruments accounted for 21 percent of all female murders, bodily force 15 percent, and murder by blunt object seven percent. Of the homicides committed with firearms, 71 percent were committed with handguns.
  • In 86 percent of all incidents where the circumstances could be determined, homicides were not related to the commission of any other felony, such as rape or robbery.

And for what it’s worth, the most dangerous state for women? It would seem that in Nevada, women, never mind the casinos, women are gambling with their lives by even being there.

And via the National Women’s Law Center, this horrific reality that women have to face when deciding what to do when they are trying to escape a violent situation:

Did you know that many shelters for battered women will not allow male children (sometimes as young as eight) to stay with their mothers? So a woman is left with three options: 1. Don’t use the shelter and continue parenting while in an abusive home situation; 2. Use the shelter to escape the abusive home and leave her son with the abusive parent; or 3. Identify another source of housing that doesn’t provide the additional security or support provided by the shelter, but allows her to stay with her son.

And finally, a coalition of organizations have put together the Workplaces Respond website which addresses domestic and sexual violence in the workplace.  The website has some very substantive tools to help address these issues as well as an excellent primer about this issue including these staggering facts:

  • Women are much more likely than men to be victims of on-the-job intimate partner homicide. Spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends and ex-boyfriends/ex-girlfriends were responsible for the on-the-job deaths of 321 women and 38 men from 1997-2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the cost of intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking totaled $5.8 billion each year for direct medical and mental health care services and lost productivity from paid work and household chores. Of this, total productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion in the United States in 1995. When updated to 2003 dollars, the cost of intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking is more than $8.3 billion. And in 2010 dollars, it would be considerably more. Much of these costs are paid for by the employer.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence is $727.8 million (in 1995 dollars), with more than 7.9 million paid workdays – the equivalent of more than 32,000 full time jobs – lost each year.

Much like being aware of breast cancer, being aware of domestic violence seems really quite inadequate.  Perhaps next year we can observe Domestic Violence Eradication Month and Breast Cancer Eradication Month.

 October 28, 2010  Posted by on October 28, 2010 Comments Off on Domestic Violence Awareness Month Wrap Up
Oct 212010

UN1325 Engage Understand Act is an animated film by Ingrid Quinn and Pippo Lioni produced to recognize and celebrate the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

Via email, Ingrid Quinn shared her reasons for making the film, the message she hopes to convey and how she hopes to further the implementation of 1325.

Q:  What motivated you to make the film?

A:  I think the combination of design and new media offers a multitude of possibilities for the development sector. Working in countries impacted by war and disaster, I wanted to merge design thinking and new media with human rights to create new ways understanding, perceiving and engaging.

UN1325 Engage Understand Act came out of two core motivations; Firstly, I wanted translate UN1325; a technical legal document, into an accessible visual language. My intention with the film is to engage the viewer, provoke thought and stimulate discussion; what does it mean?’ ‘how does it affect me?’ ‘do I have a role?’

Secondly, I wanted to act upon the many stories I’d heard over the years from women who have experienced war and disaster. Their experiences are often marginalized and their rights ignored.

Creating a bridge between women’s experiences at the grassroots and global policy is vitally important to me. I wanted to create an advocacy tool that brings together the experiences of women to inform decisions made by the global architects of policy.  The 10th anniversary of UN1325 provided a great opportunity.

Creating the animation UN1325 Engage Understand Act was very much a collaborative effort with artist Pippo Lionni.

Q:  What are the key points you are trying to get across about UNSCR 1325?

A:  The realities of war are not experienced in a moment, an hour or a day – the impact is life changing.  I wanted to emphasis the strength and critical role of women as decision makers, change agents, survivors.   Women are not asking anymore, we’re doing!

Q:  How do you see this movie as a catalyst for implementation of 1325, do you have specific goals regarding what you hope to achieve with this film?

A:  The film is a first in many ways.  UN1325 is the first UN Security Council Resolution that specifically addresses issues relating to women and war. UN1325 Engage Understand Act is the first animation of UN Security Council Resolution.  It is the first in a series of animation projects that I have planned in collaboration with Pippo Lioni.

I intend to give impetus to action; to go beyond the jargon and the technical language to engage a larger audience with the realities of conflict and to challenge stereotypes and mis-perceptions about women.

A press release for the film’s debut provides additional information:

The animated film UN1325 ENGAGE UNDERSTAND ACT produced by gender specialist and social researcher Ingrid Quinn and French/American artist Pippo Lionni and distributed by Videoseeding.com will go viral/global across social media sites on 20 October 2010 (YouTube, Facebook etc).  It will be screened throughout the upcoming UN Peace Fair in New York, 26-29 October 2010.

The 31st of October 2010 marks the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 Women, Peace and Security (‘UN1325’).  UN1325 was passed unanimously and is the first formal and legally binding instrument from the United Nations Security Council that requires parties at war to: respect women’s rights, protect women and girls in conflict, increase the influence of women in decision making and peace negotiations and involve women post-conflict rebuilding. The resolution underscores the responsibility to protect women and girls from human rights abuses, including gender- based violence. 

UN1325 is among the most effective yet under-utilized tool for both civil leaders and citizens to hold states and individuals accountable to ensure women’s full participation in preventing and resolving conflict, promoting peace and security and protecting women in times of conflict and peace.

The film UN1325 ENGAGE UNDERSTAND ACT is a call to action. The film intends to provoke thought on the disproportionate impact, inequalities and struggles faced by women in war. It calls for the urgent implementation UN1325.

 October 21, 2010  Posted by on October 21, 2010 Comments Off on UN1325 Engage Understand Act
Oct 202010

It comes as no surprise that pornography is big business, but this compilation of porn stats is truly staggering. I don’t post about porn very often because it is one of those trigger subjects that cause people to send me very nasty mail, hack the website and worse, all of which gets old quite quickly.  But it really is necessary to understand the massive size of this damaging industry and this information goes a long ways towards facilitating that. I’ve excerpted a few parts of this lengthy piece here, the full article is well worth the read and as the author notes, the numbers come from a wide variety of credible sources:

  • Every second $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography. Every second 28,258 internet users are viewing pornography. In that same second 372 internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines. Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the U.S.
  • It’s big business. The pornography industry has larger revenues than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple and Netflix combined. 2006 Worldwide Pornography Revenues ballooned to $97.06 billion. 2006 & 2005 U.S. Pornography Industry Revenue Statistics, 2006 Top Adult Search Requests, 2006 Search Engine Request Trends are some of the other statistics revealed here.

206 Worldwide Porn Revenues

  • The amount of pornography on the internet can be difficult to fathom. A total of 4.2 million websites contain pornography. That is 12 percent of the total number of websites. There are 100,000 websites that offer pornography and 1 in 7 youths report being solicited for sex on the internet.
  • The average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is 11. A total of 90 percent of children ages 8-16 have viewed pornography online. Pornographers use many character names that appeal to children such as “Pokemon.”
 October 20, 2010  Posted by on October 20, 2010 Comments Off on Pornography–The Obscene Statistics
Oct 192010

It has undoubtedly escaped no one’s attention that this year’s U.S. election cycle has achieved new levels of bizarre and dangerous rhetoric, even by American standards.  It has also unleashed some particularly vile and disturbing misogynist spew, to the point where feminist activists have created websites such as Name It Change It, which is tracking political misogyny such as, “Puerto Rican Legislator Caught Groping ABC Student Journalist”, and  the grossly sexist media coverage such as the Seattle Weekly’s revolting portrayal of Senator Patty Murray on their cover.

Robin Marty reports on RH Reality Check about Dan “Doc” Severson, the Republican Minnesota Secretary of State candidate who wants to change the Minnesota law pertaining to rape kits to stick rape victims with the costs of the examination and kit if they decide not to report the  crime,

“If the victim refuses to substantiate the assault and file a report with a law enforcement agency, the counties are liable for only 50 percent of the total costs of the examination…”  In other words, should a victim of rape or sexual assault go to a hospital and have an examination done and rape kit created, if she then decides not to report the crime she will then need to pay for half of the costs associated with the collection and processing.

And according to Todd Lally who is running against Rep. John Yarmuth in Kentucky, women’s equal rights are up to women and he doesn’t see any inequalities.

Also in Kentucky where Rand Paul is all in a huff that his opponent Jack Conway is disrespecting his religion, Conway recently made the far more relevant point of wondering, “when is it ever a good idea to tie up a woman and ask her to kneel before a false idol, your god, which you call Aqua Buddha?”

In the good news department, The Women’s Campaign Forum is doing some excellent blogging about sexism and women running for office, including Jodi Jacobson’s “Sexism Knows No Party Affiliation,” which takes a necessary look at sexism in both parties.

With 2 weeks to go until the election, it is a fair bet that some of the nastiest mud has yet to be slung, so unplug your television, do not answer those toll-free campaign calls and no excuses, and be sure and vote.

 October 19, 2010  Posted by on October 19, 2010 Comments Off on Along the Sexist Campaign Trail
Oct 132010

It would be easy to pass  off this video from the New York Times as a human interest story, meant to give us a feel for what women in the military are doing in Afghanistan.  The caption that runs with the video reads,

Full-time “female engagement teams'” deploy alongside all-male infantry patrols in Helmand Province to try to win over rural Afghan women, who are culturally off-limits to outside men.

“Female engagement teams”? Guess we didn’t win too many hearts and minds killing innocent civilians, let’s try girl-talk instead?

And given that we know that the CIA has a specific policy of using sympathy for Afghan women as a way to drum up support for the war, one has to wonder if perhaps pride in the work being done by female soldiers  is also being used to promote our continued presence in Afghanistan with the mainstream media once again being used as willing mouthpieces for Pentagon talking points.  For more on this issue, click here.


Many thanks to my son Josh for bringing this video to my attention.

 October 13, 2010  Posted by on October 13, 2010 Comments Off on “Female Engagement Teams”–The Callous Use Of Women’s Lives To Sell The War In Afghanistan