The Watering Hole, Monday, August 12th, 2013: The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

Twenty-five years ago this month, I went to the Women’s Health Pavilion in Dobbs Ferry, NY, to have my tubes tied.

Wayne and I were planning to get married in October that year, and had decided that, since neither of us felt that we had the temperament to raise children, having my tubes tied was the best route to go. I had been on the Pill off and on for about 10 years, and didn’t want to be exposed to its possibly harmful side effects anymore.

Even back then, as a fully-grown 32-year old adult, at a facility which catered to both happily pregnant women and unhappily pregnant women and teens seeking abortions, the doctors assumed, despite my protestations, that I might change my mind. They insisted that I have the type of tubal ligation which could be undone, even though they admitted that this procedure was more painful than the no-going-back type (they were definitely right about the pain!) That was the first time in my adult life that a decision about my body and reproductive choice was forced upon me by others.

That seems like ages ago now; but it also seems like ages ago (instead of a mere 17 months) that I began writing about the Republican War on Women (see here, here, and here), and in the meantime the suppression of women’s rights by Republicans just keeps getting worse.

This year, the main spotlight has been on Texas, where it took two “Special Sessions” of their legislature to pass a strict anti-abortion bill that couldn’t get passed in their regular legislative session. The only good thing that resulted from this extended knock-down drag-out fight was that it made a political star of State Sen. Wendy Davis, whose tenacious example and amazing filibuster brought thousands of Texans and millions of American women together in support of both Wendy and women’s rights.

Since then, however, more states have jumped on the he-man-woman-haters-club bandwagon. North Carolina’s Republican Governor Pat McCrory, after promising during his campaign that he would not sign any new abortion regulations, went ahead and did so. Then, adding insult to injury, he offered women protesting outside of his mansion a plate of cookies.

After that, Iowa is now contemplating a bill banning what’s called “telemedicine abortion”, where the doctor can prescribe the abortion pill to a woman online rather than in the doctor’s office.

And most recently, despite the legislation’s failure to pass in Georgia’s legislative session, Governor Nathan Deal(R) “vowed to use his executive power to enact it anyway.”

Lastly, getting back to Texas:

On the final day of the second session, state Sen. Eddie Lucio (D) — the only Senate Democrat who supported the recently approved omnibus anti-abortion bill — filed a measure to require women to complete a mandatory adoption certification course before they may seek an abortion. Lucio has suggested he will attempt to keep pushing that measure during the third session.

It’s hard to find a current answer to ‘how many states now have strict anti-abortion laws?”, but according to answerbag.com (from 2010):

Thirty-eight states have laws that prohibit abortions after a specific point in the pregnancy, except in cases where the late-term abortion might save the woman’s life or protect her health. Sixteen states have laws in effect that do not allow for late-term abortions.

And, according to religioustolerance.org:

At least 16 states still have pre-1973 anti-abortion laws on the books even though they are clearly unconstitutional and nullified under Roe v. Wade.”

Will the attack on women’s reproductive rights ever end? When will Republican women wake up and realize just how much Republican men despise them, want to keep women second-class citizens, and will do anything to control their reproductive health and rights? And when will male Democrats grow a collective pair and denounce Republican men as the ignorant, greedy, hate-filled, misogynistic bullies that they are?

This is our daily open thread — What’s on your mind?

This is My Body, Not Yours

Transcript:

This is my body.
I do what I want with it.
This is my body.
I make my own choices.
This is my body.
I use it as a canvas, tattoo it, decorate it, and pierce it.
I take medicine if I want to and only undergo medical procedures I choose.
I eat what I want, exercise for my health, and wear what I like.
I fall in love with whomever, fuck/sleep with whomever and marry whomever I choose.
I decide when and how to become a mother.
This is my body, not yours

These decisions have nothing to do with you. If I’m not hurting you or stopping you from pursuing your inherent right to happiness, it’s none of your business. This is my body, not yours.

Almost one in eight women in the United States will have breast cancer, the most invasive cancer for women worldwide. If I am black or white, rich or poor, married or single, gay or straight, formally educated or not, I have the right to be screened for this killer of women, whether I go to my doctor or rely on the services of clinics like those run by Planned Parenthood. Your desire to stop the funding of abortions has nothing to do with my right to defend myself against cancer. This is my body, not yours.

If I choose to have sex, I have the right to birth control and to be spared your demeaning insults you’d never want leveled against your daughter or mother. My pursuit of orgasm is neither unnatural nor dangerous nor scary nor an infringement of your religious liberty. My sexual activity is for my benefit, not your pleasure. And it’s never my fault if you rape me. I am done being excluded from decisions about my sexual and reproductive health. This is my body, not yours.

I determine who or what goes inside of my vagina and when. I make all decisions regarding my pregnancy. I will access prenatal care whether or not you agree with the choices made resulting from that care. I have the right to an abortion without facing intimidation, harassment, burdensome parental consent laws, or prejudicial taxes. If I decide to have an abortion, I will not undergo unnecessary, invasive medical procedures for the purposes of your moralizing and personal edification. I’m entitled to all health information from my doctor. And allowing myself to be penetrated once doesn’t assume your right to do it again on your own prerogative, for your own reasons. This is my body, not yours.

It is time for you to accept that I am fully aware, capable, and accountable for myself. I don’t need a hero or saving because I’m not in distress. I’m not defined by my need of a man or partner, but I have the right to be made happy by one, in a safe and supportive relationship. I’m not defined by my weight, hair, make up, skin color, or breast size. I do not exist to be your play toy. I won’t wait my turn nor be quiet nor heed you. I know my physical and mental strength and I do not fear you. I’m beautiful, despite what you think, with or without your approval. This is my body, not yours.

This is my body.
I’m through with legislators telling me what to do with it.
This is my body.
Keep your salacious, aggressive, sexist insults to yourself. I’m not listening.
This is my body.
I have the right to marry my partner, woman or man.
To equal pay
To health care
To education
To divorce
To safety
To protection of the law
To respect and dignity
To complete equality
This is my body, not yours.

Do not be afraid of a world in which women know themselves, their voice, and their power. That world has arrived.

————

Don’t like it?  We aren’t asking you if you like it; we’re telling you how things are.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, May 17th, 2012: The Republican War on Women, Part GGPLX**

**GGPLX = Googolplex

Sad to say, I wasted way too much time yesterday arguing with idiots (see below) on the ThinkProgress thread about Kansas Governor Brownback signing legislation allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription for a medication which, in the pharmacist’s view, could result in an abortion.

An article in the Kansas City Star quotes the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Lance Kinzer, as stating, “…the right to an abortion does not include within it the right to require someone else to participate in or facilitate your abortion.” [So, is a woman supposed to perform the abortion herself? In Mississippi, apparently one State Representative, Bubba Carpenter (R-Idiot) thinks so.] The KC Star article goes on to say that “Kinzer has also said that the bill is intended to cover the abortion drug RU-486, not contraceptive medications — although he would be OK if conscience protections extended that far.” [Yeah, I’ll bet he’d be more than okay with that!]

Luckily, not all Republicans are against women’s reproductive health. GOPChoice, a pro-choice Republican group, says on its website,

“this bill exists under the assumption that a doctor’s prescription may jeopardize a pregnancy, and a pharmacist is better equipped to determine whether or not an individual can safely take said medication…The bill also raises the question, “How does the pharmacist know the individual is pregnant?” Either the pharmacist must have access to private medical information, or receives the legal allowance to make medical assumptions based on appearance.”

– and –

“The radical conscience clause measure states that health professionals cannot be forced to supply any prescription or device they, “reasonably believes may result in the termination of a pregnancy.””

To me, the key phrase here is “reasonably believes.” Just how reasonable is someone who is allowed to let his or her religious beliefs override medical training and scientific fact?

And now, just a brief selection of the commentary at TP:

Vincent: “Pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill ANY prescription. They have to exercise professional judgment on a case by case basis. Patients abuse, doctors prescribe incorrectly or frivolously, some patients fill the Rx and turn around and sell it on the black market. Just because most pharmacists work where you buy shampoo and toilet paper doesn’t make them less of a health care professional. The government getting involved on either side, whether requiring pharmacists to fill or allowing them to refuse, is intrusive.”

My response: “Vincent, there’s a big difference between a pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription because the doctor prescribed incorrectly, and a pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription because he/she feels that filling it is against their personal beliefs. And I have to point out, this ‘conscience clause’ SOLELY applies to a medication that ONLY WOMEN need.”

Greg: “There are several types of birth control , and they will not be outlawed! Chill!”

My response: “First, the birth control pill is not (yet) being outlawed, but its dispensation is being left to the moral whims of your local pharmacist. If access to birth control of any type is up to one’s pharmacist, why aren’t condoms behind the pharmacy counter, where one’s pharmacist can determine who gets to buy them? And, since the birth control pill is often prescribed for other women’s health problems, not just for birth control, why should it be up to the pharmacist, rather than the DOCTOR, to decide whether or not to dispense the prescription?”

Greg: “It will never be outlawed. (the pill) But a drug that serves as an abortion pill or could be used as such could be. Right now it is not , but the pharmacist is given the choice whether or not to provide it, which means some WILL and some will not. So quit trying to project your insane radical belief that if everyone doesn’t share your morals or values they are trying to harm YOU in some way. GEEZ!!”

My response: “Greg, I am way beyond the point where I need birth control, so this issue does not harm me in any way. So quit trying to project your insane belief that I think they’re trying to harm ME in some way. And what is so insanely radical about believing that, if my doctor prescribes the birth control pill for, say treatment of ovarian cyst (one of the pill’s uses), a pharmacist shouldn’t have the right to refuse to fill that prescription?”

And I loved this one, but simply couldn’t respond to such idiocy:

“glad that Gov Brownback is defending the constitutional right of these pharmacies to run their own business the way they see fit — girls who want drugs to kill their babies can go stand in line at WalMart & buy them there.”

Oy! Attitudes like this may be explained in this article that I found by chance. Enjoy!

This is our daily open thread — feel free to discuss this topic, or whatever’s on your mind!

Sunday Roast: Leymah Gbowee: Unlock the intelligence, passion, greatness of girls

Leymah Gbowee won the Nobel Peace prize in 2011, along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”  She also led a women’s movement in Liberia that helped to end the Civil War in 2003, dealing raising her children and dealing with her own challenges.

I think she has the right idea in about unlocking the potential of women across the world, and that scares the bejeebers out of the men in power — and they are right to be afraid.  Any man with sense knows that if you piss us off, we will eventually forgive, but we will never forget.

We are pissed.

UNICEF describes that gender equality “means that women and men, and girls and boys, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections. It does not require that girls and boys, or women and men, be the same, or that they be treated exactly alike.”

This statement is quite reasonable to me, but the powers that be don’t agree.  I know we women are up for this fight, and we will finish it because we are so over this “war on women,” no matter what part of the world it’s taking place.

Men?  You have wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, and daughters — are you with us?  You know we won’t forget if you’re not.   🙂

This is our daily open thread — Have you bitten the head off a chocolate bunny today?

Leftside Annie: We Are All Chattel Now: A Hard Look at Women’s Rights

Natalie Behring-Chisholm/Stringer/Getty Images

Cross-posted from Leftside Annie’s blog, Welcome to the Leftside.

“Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me. But they all seem to. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies. Yes, it is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example for the entire world.” ~ Hillary Clinton

She’s right, you know. Extremists all over the world have moved heaven and earth to control women, and they continue to do so to this day.

We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg here in the United States, where the current crop of rightwing extremists are vowing to push women back to the early 1900′s, when birth control was illegal. Margaret Sanger, who saw her own mother die at the age of 50 after 18 pregnancies in 22 years, took up the cause of contraception and spent years crusading for the right of women to have control over their own bodies and not just serve as walking, talking incubators. She was even arrested and tossed in jail for disseminating information about contraception, which at the time was considered “smut” and outlawed via the 1873 Comstock Act, which “criminalized publication, distribution, and possession of information about or devices or medications for “unlawful abortion or contraception.”

We’ve come a long way since then. Unfortunately, the extremist right is trying to push us back in time to the days when women died by the thousands at the hands of back-alley abortionists. Since abortion is still illegal in many countries world-wide, the WHO (World Health Organization) reports that approximately 68,000 women die as a result of illegal abortions every year, and the number of women suffering from long-term complications from illegal abortions is staggeringly high as well, as many as 7 million women, who end up with sepsis, hemorrhages and internal injuries.

Men controlling women doesn’t stop there. In many Muslim countries, the lives of women are even more restricted and often dangerous or even fatal. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, “honor killings” are becoming more common every day, as these countries sink deeper into the morass of war and chaos. The Taliban, an extremist Islamist political group enforces its strict interpretation of Sharia law, which puts extreme limitations on the rights of women to move freely, to dress, to marry, to receive an education, to drive a car or ride a bicycle. It even prohibits a woman from wearing high heels, because it may “excite” a man. Women may not appear in public without a male relative, and must be fully veiled from head to toe in a restrictive garment called a burqa, which is essentially a very large bag that covers the entire woman, with the exception of a small section of mesh at eye level through which the woman is expected to navigate.

In these countries, another atrocity against women is on the rise: acid attacks, which men in India and Southeast Asia use as a form of revenge on a woman for refusing their sexual advances, proposals of marriage or demands for a dowry. The statistics are alarming: 80% of acid attacks are against women, and 70% of those attacks are carried out on women and girls under the age of 18. In countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, religious fanatics use acid attacks to enforce the strict Islamic dress code for women – if they consider a woman to be improperly dressed or immodest, acid thrown at her face is a method to ensure that women know the penalty for immodest behavior. Acid attacks have also been used against schoolgirls, because these religious fanatics do not believe that women should be educated. These men throw hydrochloric acid or sulphuric acid in the faces of these women and girls, maiming and often blinding or even killing them.

Please read the rest of Leftside Annie’s post at her blog.  You won’t be sorry!

Watering Hole: August 26, 2010 – Never Take Things For Granted

On August 26, 2010, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution celebrates its 90th Anniversary. It was a long, hard battle fought by courageous women.

We should not take our right to vote for granted. Yet, so many Americans do not vote. What would these non-voting people do if they were told that they were prohibited to vote? Would they then be protesting? Shame on anyone that stays away from the voting booth on election day. It is not only your right to vote, it is your duty as a citizen to vote.

There is a statement in the movie “Iron Jawed Angels”, “You can’t picket a war time president”.  They did and they were severely punished for it.

Alice Paul is the true hero and she should replace one of the dead presidents on one of our coins (This is just my personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of other members of The Zoo).

Alice Paul was the architect of some of the most outstanding political achievements on behalf of women in the 20th century. Born on January 11, 1885 to Quaker parents in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, Alice Paul dedicated her life to the single cause of securing equal rights for all women.

Few individuals have had as much impact on American history as has Alice Paul. Her life symbolizes the long struggle for justice in the United States and around the world. Her vision was the ordinary notion that women and men should be equal partners in society.

A great op-ed from Christine Stansall.

Happy 90th Anniversary, 19th Amendment, and thank you to the women that risked everything just for the right to vote.

This is our Open Thread.  Show courage and SPEAK UP!

Jimmy Carter: The words of God do not justify cruelty to women

Guardian.co.uk/The Observer

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

“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)

I have been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when th e convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief – confirmed in the holy scriptures – that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths.

Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries. The male interpretations of religious texts and the way they interact with, and reinforce, traditional practices justify some of the most pervasive, persistent, flagrant and damaging examples of human rights abuses.

At their most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

Go here to read the rest of this excellent article.

Legal Abortion in America: 35 36 Years (Updated)

AP, by David Crary / via International Herald Tribune.

On January 22, 1973, 35 36 years ago today, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Roe v. Wade, establishing the legal right to abortion for women in America. Since that time there have been about 50 million abortions performed in this country, with an estimated one-third of adult women having had at least one abortion.

Who are these women? The numbers may surprise you…

Half of the roughly 1.2 million U.S. women who have abortions each year are 25 or older. Only about 17 percent are teens. About 60 percent have given birth to least one child prior to getting an abortion.

A disproportionately high number are black or Hispanic. And regardless of race, high abortion rates are linked to hard times.

That’s right, folks. It’s not primarily very young, irresponsible women who are obtaining abortions. Most women seeking abortion are already mothers.

“It doesn’t just happen to young people, it doesn’t necessarily have to do with irresponsibility,” said Miriam Inocencio, president of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island. “Women face years and years of reproductive life after they’ve completed their families, and they’re at risk of an unintended pregnancy that can create an economic strain.”

Over the years, the number of abortions has decreased. There were 1.2 million abortions in 2005, which was an 8% decrease from 2000.

Why do some women choose to have abortions?

The Journal of Family Issues published a report earlier this month asserting that women often choose abortion because of their wish to be good parents.

That means women who have no children want the conditions to be right when they do, and women who already are mothers want to care responsibly for their existing children, said the lead author, Rachel Jones, a researcher with the Guttmacher Institute.

“These women believed that it was more responsible to terminate a pregnancy than to have a child whose health and welfare could be in question,” Jones said.

The abortion rate for women living below the poverty line is four times higher than for women in the middle or upper classes.

Of all U.S. women getting abortions, about 54 percent are doing so for the first time, while one-fifth have had at least two previous abortions. Of those over 20, the majority have attended college. Almost a third have been married at some point. About 60 percent have at least one child; one-third have two or more.

“I don’t think most people understand that these are women who have families, who are making a very serious decision about their reproductive health,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “The stereotype is that the decision is made lightly. It is not.”

Simply, we need to care for the children we already have, and it is our right to make reproductive decisions in private. Women had abortions long before Roe v. Wade, and if it is overturned, women will continue to have abortions. I would prefer that septic abortion wards remain a thing of the past.

Proper sex education and effective, available birth control are key. Abortion should be safe, legal, available and rare.

UPDATE: Now that George W. Bush is no longer in office, things are being shaken up in the world of personal choice.

The anti-choice crowd is beginning to foam at the mouth, in anticipation of their upcoming loss of political power and influence.  Read about it here.

Obama is expected to repeal the global gag rule, which has impacted women’s health all over the world by cutting off funding for international family planning programs that do counseling about abortion, or provide the procedure.  Read about it here.

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McCain’s female problems

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Truthout

The McCain campaign has an active fantasy life — one that includes the fantasy of feminist women flocking to the polls to vote for him. As if!!

In The Nation, Katha Pollitt put it simply: “[T]o vote for McCain, a feminist would have to be insane.”

There are a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters out there who are angry and disappointed, but they are not stupid or insane.

Much of the recent talk has focused on PUMAs (the acronym stands for “Party Unity My Ass”), a group supposedly so angry about the Democratic primary that they won’t vote for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). But as blogger Amanda Marcotte reported, PUMA PAC was started by a McCain donor, according to the Federal Election Commission.

McCain counts on his constant pandering and flip-flopping to keep people confused about his actual record on ANYTHING, let alone women’s issues.

In 1999, McCain said he backed Roe: “Certainly, in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.”

But on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in May 2007, responding to a question about his statements in 1999, McCain said: “Well, it was in the context of conversation about having to change the culture of America as regards to this issue. I have stated time after time after time that Roe v. Wade was a bad decision.”

McCain has also voted in support of “backdoor” and “parental rights” pro-life issues.

[I]n 2004, he supported the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which makes it a criminal offense to harm or kill a fetus while committing a violent crime – essentially deeming the fetus a person in the eyes of the law.

In July 2006, McCain voted for legislation that would fine and/or imprison physicians who perform abortions on out-of-state minors if there are parental notification requirements in their home state. In October 2007, he voted for legislation that would cut Health and Human Services grants to organizations that perform abortions.

Regarding sex education, contraception and healthcare for low income women and children, McCain is positively midevil.

He opposed legislation requiring that abstinence-only programs be medically accurate and based in science. He voted to abolish funding for birth control and gynecological care for low-income women, and against funding for public education on emergency contraception.

He also voted against a measure that would require insurance companies to cover prescription contraception, despite the fact that many currently fund male reproductive pharmaceuticals, such as Viagra.

This exchange between McCain and Adam Nagourney of the New York Times is chilling:

In March 2007, the New York Times’ Adam Nagourney asked McCain whether grants for sex education in the United States include instructions about using contraceptives, or if they should abide by Bush’s abstinence-only policy.

After a pause, McCain responded, “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

Nagourney followed up: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception? Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

After another pause, McCain replied, “You’ve stumped me.”

Continue reading

The long road ahead…

I remember seeing a public service commercial on television when I was six or seven years old, and it has always stuck with me. The ad depicted a cute baby, wearing only a diaper, laughing and smiling at someone off camera. The narrator spoke about how this child had been born with a disability, and would find it difficult, if not impossible, to do things in life that most people aspire to — well-paying jobs like doctor, lawyer, CEO of a major company, or President. The disability? This child had been born female.

Being a young girl at the time, and having been told “you can do anything you put your mind to,” that commercial opened my young eyes. But being the eternal optimist, I just knew things would be sorted out by the time I had children.

Historically, women have been viewed as property, and as less valuable or subservient to men. Domestic violence used to be viewed as a “family matter,” and polite neighbors minded their own business. This is not as true today, but women are still blamed for remaining in such relationships. “Just get out!” If it were only that simple…

Sadly, I was wrong about equality for women being a faint memory by this time. My children are grown, and still I see different standards for men and women. Often, women are the harshest critics of other women.

Violence against women is rampant across this world. Practices generally in the past, such as Sati, foot binding, and widow inheritance, and present day horrors such as acid burning, bride burning, infibulation, female genital mutilation, prostitution, sexual slavery, and rape.

For the women of Darfur, rape is an ever present danger. The Janjawid use the rape as a weapon to humiliate women, and to punish their communities. Women and girls are raped for the simple “offense” of leaving the camps for food or firewood. Rape is rarely reported in Sudan, and often the woman reporting a rape is the one detained by police.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this week, at a conference calling for the end of violence against women said it’s an issue that “cannot wait.”

“At least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Through the practice of prenatal sex selection, countless others are denied the right even to exist,” Mr. Ban said in his address at the opening in New York of the latest session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Noting that weapons of armed conflict today include rape, sexual violence and abduction of children to be conscripted as soldiers or sex slaves, the Secretary-General recounted his visits to war-torn areas and his conversations with survivors of violence.

“This is a campaign for them. It is a campaign for the women and girls who have the right to live free of violence, today and in the future,” he said. “It is a campaign to stop the untold cost that violence against women inflicts on all humankind.”

[T]here is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.”

Well said, Mr Ban.

A tiny baby girl was born yesterday. Let’s try to make this world a place where she never feels limited or less-than because she’s female. Until we do, the world just won’t be right.

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Paul Jamiol
, Jamiol’s World

Segregating Women to “Save” Them

Jessica Valenti, The Nation blog:

Last week Mexico City unveiled women-only buses as a way to battle the increasing sexual harassment on public transportation.

Some men treat women so badly that the subway system has long had ladies-only cars during rush hour, with police segregating the sexes on the platforms.

But that hasn’t helped women forced to rely on packed buses, by far the city’s most-used form of public transportation — until this week.

Acting on complaints from women’s groups, the city rolled out “ladies only” buses, complete with pink signs in the windshields to wave off the men.

Pink signs, huh? I’m all for safe spaces for women, but is segregation really an answer to sexism? I’ve written about this trend of women-only spaces before, most recently for The Guardian, and I still fail to see how this is anything but a temporary solution to a systemic problem.

There’s no doubt the harassment women face in public spaces needs to be addressed – whether it is on the street, the train, or even the internet. We’ve been subjected to regular catcalls and groping for far too long. But while the idea of a safe space is compelling, this international trend – which often comes couched in paternalistic rhetoric about “protecting” women – raises questions of just how equal the sexes are if women’s safety relies on us being separated. After all, shouldn’t we be targeting the gropers and harassers? The onus should be on men to stop harassing women, not on women to escape them.

What an interesting idea — require men to curb their own behavior, rather than creating man-free zones for women.  “Boys will be boys” only goes so far.  When you can’t even ride the bus home after a long day at work without being assaulted, it’s gone way too far.

If we’re going to make women safe, let’s make them safe everywhere – not just in designated areas.

Read the whole article here.