VAW - Do something!

Thursday, April 26, 2007
Alarming Bush trends
The progress that VAW campaigners, activists & survivors had celebrated since Congress' historic Violence Against Women Act of 1994 is being sidelined by Bush's lack of commitment to violence against women. Two problems - shifting the control of program funding from Congress to the Department of Justice and insufficient funds.

If the Office on Violence Against Women in the Department of Justice, then...
Critics fear the administration would eliminate or deemphasize certain anti-violence programs and add funding for new, untested programs. That, in turn, could deny victims access to what advocates say is a "well-rounded" menu of programs that was carefully considered by Congress and signed into law by the president.
The other issue is funding problem. The Bush administration has not funded some programs at all while severely under fund others.

Children exposed to violence.......$20mil/year approved.....Not funded
Sexual assault services act.......... $50mil/year approved.....Not funded
Shelter & services........................$175mil/year approved.....$50mil/year short
Civil legal assistance for victims...$65mil/year approved...$26.5mil/year short
Campus grant to end VAW...........$15mil/years approved....$6.1mil/year short

If you are a survivor, activist or campaigner of VAW, submit your story to Stop Family Violence. They will compile all stories to help the Bush administration understand the gravity of the above matters.

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posted by Fikirte @ 5:18 PM   0 comments Digg!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Cursors of societal malfunctions
My condolences to the families of the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting, to the students who lost friends and their sense of safety at what was supposed to be home away from home, to the staff who are going to be burdened by helplessness and possibly the guilt of not protecting their students. It's a bloody mess - literally and figuratively.

Inevitably, such tragedies bring bigger social issues to the spotlight. In the same way that Imus' racial and sexist comment opened the door for criticism of Hip Hop's (some, as the industry people would like us to differentiate) female-demeaning culture, the Virginia Tech massacre is opening up doors for various issues. From what I have read so far, heated online debates about violence against women, gun control, immigration and racial profiling are going on.

Jill at Feministe RIGHTFULLY connected some dots about female students being easier targets in past school shootings, pointed at the "theme of misogyny" and caused a mixture of reactions.

To me, whether Cho's crazy actions were triggered by one or several girls is besides the issue here. What's interesting is to see where people stand with regards to issues surrounding violence against women (VAW). The 262 comments on Feministe's post alone are worth reading because they reveal extreme view points on VAW. I belong to the camp which brings VAW discussion at every opportunity. My reasoning is that while 1:3 women is abused in her life time in one form or the other, discussing and arguing about VAW as often as possible is necessary. Several decades after the feminism movement we are still debating whether a woman who has been a victim of violence carries any responsibility for the crime committed against her. Insensitive, ignorant and loaded language such as(via Feministe)"This is the face of the teenage student who may have sparked the biggest gun massacre in US history", calls for commenting/correcting/bashing. It is dangerously misleading and falls in the category of "she got raped because she was asking for it" type of stupidity.

Jefferson of Neither Blue nor Red is discussing gun control in his post What’s wrong with the NRA and suggests some points that Congress should consider. I don't necessarily agree with Jefferson's suggestion that non-US citizens should not be allowed to own a gun. Considering the fact that previous school shootings were committed by American citizens, this argument won't achieve much. Guns should not be easily available for purchase like hot donuts. Period.

It is unfortunate that we still need Bowling-for-Columbine for some sort of progress towards gun control in America. While writing this post, my daughter interrupted me with that hurried excitement that only a young child has and said to me "Mommy isn't it awesome that in America people can change the law if they don’t like it?" Well, today is not a good day to answer that question. I didn’t want to kill her excitement with "Well, 67% of Americans want tighter gun control, but because NRA has politicians in its pocket, it doesn’t matter what the majority wants." I just gave her an unconvincing "Yeah". It is my sincere hope that something positive will come out of this madness and terrible tragedy. I also hope that the debate that re-started is not going to wear off and we resort to sending our kids to school in stab-proof hoodies and bullet-proof vests.

Further reading
Inside Cho's troubled mind
Earlier signs of trouble
Church leaders for tighter gun control
posted by Fikirte @ 7:26 PM   2 comments Digg!
Friday, April 13, 2007
No reason (whatsoever) for these facts & figures
One blogging-year later, I'm still fascinated to see how people end up on my blogsites (because my blogs are tiny and not world famous). One reader came to this blogsite from Singapore while doing a Google search on "the reasons for acid throwing on women". That left me wondering, is there really any reason for violence against women? A woman says no to a man and he throws acid in her face. That's a reason? I'm so baffled by this that I even looked up the word 'reason' on the web dictionary. It means "the rational motive for a belief or action". Rational is the key here. Feeling rejected, threatened, challenged,insulted, being furious... can't reasonably justify throwing acid or being violent against a woman.

Disturbing facts & figures
1 in 3 woman is a victim of gender based violence (often with the abuser know to the victim)

UNIFEM declares that universal violence against women & girls has reached proportions of an epidemic.

In 2002, the Council of Europe declared violence against women a public health emergency as the major cause of death and disability for women between the ages of 16 and 44.

World Bank report estimated that violence against women was as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer, and a greater cause of ill-health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.

In 2003, Center for Disease Control & Prevention estimated the cost of intimate partner violence at $5.8 billion a year ($4.1billion for direct medical & health services and $1.8billion for productivity loses.)

According to a 2005 WHO study, more than 50% of women surveyed in Bangladesh, Peru, Tanzania and Ethiopia have been victims of domestic and sexual violence.

In rural Ethiopia, 71% of women are victims of domestic and sexual violence.

700,000 women in the US are sexually assaulted (almost 15% of them before the age of 17)

An estimated 130 million women have undergone female genital mutilation and 2 million girls and women are subjected to FGM each year.

In India alone, there are an estimated 15,000 dowry-deaths.

I hope that my reader from Singapore will get the answer for his/her search - there are no reasons for violence against women!

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posted by Fikirte @ 2:49 AM   0 comments Digg!
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
NO! The rape documentary
"Why are we silent about one of the most barberic, intensiley painfu ultimately distractive acts that any community can endure?" asks Johnnetta B. Cole, PhD.

posted by Fikirte @ 7:18 AM   0 comments Digg!
Monday, April 2, 2007
Forms of violence against women
Violence against women takes various forms and it is committed in different degrees. However, violence is violence and the sooner people recognize that the better.
1. Sexual violence as weapon of war.
2. Pre-natal sex selection.
3. Female genital mutilation/cutting.
4. Date rape
5. Bride burning/dowry related violence.
6. Child marriage.
7. Female trafficking.
8. Domestic violence.
9. Honor/passion crimes.
11. Bride kidnapping.
12. Sexual harassment at work.
13. Physical/emotional violence by an intimate partner.
14. Exploitation of domestic workers.
15. Femicide.
16. Forced sterilization/coercive reproductive practice.
posted by Fikirte @ 5:31 PM   0 comments Digg!

Kamilat - victim of acid burning The face of VAW - violence against women. It should and can be stopped with enough commitment. Helping one woman at a time is a start.

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