Category Archives: raped

[feminist] India’s violence against women

India has been in the spotlight lately for brutal gang rapes and police inaction.

On November 13 a 17 year old girl in the Punjab province was gang raped by 3 men. Her father killed himself, and the rape was reported on November 27. She suffered police harassment and embarrassing questions while they refused to arrest her attackers, and was pressured to marry one of the attackers. On December 27 she drank poison and ended her life, prompted the arrest of the three rapists.

On December 16 a 23 year old paramedical student was beaten and gang raped by 6 men on a bus while it drove around New Delhi. The woman’s guy friend was also beaten. They were both left on the side of the road, naked after the attackers were finished. She was flown to Singapore for treatment because of massive internal damage, and succumbed to her injuries on December 29.

On Wednesday December 26 a 42 year old married woman was gang raped by 3 men while traveling to Delhi. She knew one of her attackers: a few months ago she filed an attempted rape charge against him, but the police didn’t register it.



In India, it is common for the police to belittle rape victims, and to refuse to file cases against rapists. This is also common in countries around the world, including the US.

Official figures show that of the 256 thousand violent crimes recorded in India last year, 228 thousand were against women. And obviously most cases are not reported. Police figures show that, in Delhi, a rape is reported on average every 18 hours and some form of sexual attack every 14 hours. (BBC) The Times of India said that 582 cases of rape had been reported just in Delhi so far this year.

The Delhi bus gang rape victim was the straw that broke the camel’s back– massive protests with thousands of participants have taken place in New Delhi asking for more protections for women coupled with real and swift consequences for rapists. They are also protesting the way the police have handled these cases, or rather, ignored them. Transportation in New Delhi was incredibly restricted during the several days of mass protesting, in the hopes of preventing more protesters from arriving. Some demonstrations were peaceful, but others have been every violent. There are continuing protests, but they are smaller now. In previous days photographs and news stories emerged of protesters being attacked with water cannons (fire hoses), as well as tear gas.


UPDATE 1/17

India is the fourth most dangerous country in the world for women, after Afghanistan, Congo, and Pakistan, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation  2011 expert poll. The Indian National Crime Records Bureau has official data showing that rape cases have jumped almost 875% over the past 40 years — from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011. There are no national standards or procedures to follow for medical treatment or exams for a sexual assault victim that comes to the hospital. Not only will police refuse to report the rape, sometimes hospitals turn these women away. As in the United States, the personal values of the doctor come into play in treatment of a rape survivor– the treatment can be unpredictable and is usually humiliating. According to a report by Human Rights Watch in 2010 doctors often use a “finger test” to check if the victim’s vagina is tight (“you’re a virgin! you really were raped!”) or looser (“you’re frequently sexually active. I don’t think you were raped. tough shit.”). Clearly, the “finger test” is not scientific or standard, and without evidence of a struggle or injuries on the woman’s body cases go unreported.

Currently, India is on the hunt for dignity, accountability, and national standards for rape victims. Today, the law does not define sexual assault– law defines rape as penile/vaginal penetration; or you could be convicted of “outraging the modesty of a woman” or “insulting the modesty of a woman.” There is no marital rape law in India. With US Congressmen such as Paul Ryan continuing to attempt to redefine rape, I wonder if the definitions will become something like India’s, which are in desperate need of updating. An additional problem with sexual violence in India is that the police and military are immune from prosecution unless their superior signs off on an approval for prosecution. There are numerous accusations against the police and Army which will likely never go to court.

How does India move forward?

today: “why are women still riding the bus? why aren’t they protesting the bus company to help?”
Driving is primarily a male job– suddenly introducing women drivers or women-only buses would be an enormous change.  In developing regions of the world there are numerous types and sizes of transportation, ranging from school-bus sized buses, over-sized vans, community/share taxis, and motorcycle taxis, just to name a few common forms. Without well-developed infrastructure (which is nearly impossible in cities such as New Delhi where there is so much growth so rapidly its nearly impossible to enforce stop signs/lights and traffic lanes, much less violence that happens inside of closed vehicles.) Most drivers are independent owners, and don’t work for a company. 


female infanticide 
A study by The Lancet reported that 300,000 to 600,000 female fetuses are aborted every year in India because of the preference for boys, even though it is technically illegal. As young children girls are not given the same quantity or quality of food as their brothers, their brothers are first in line to go to school, and they are usually raised to be a good wife instead of an independent/educated woman. There are 23 million missing women and girls in India, as of 2009 (China is missing 30 million, Pakistan 3 million, Bangladesh 1.5 million, and the rest of the world 40 million). That means millions of men who cannot marry, millions of men who have seen their mother have a sex-selective abortion or watched their newborn sister killed or left to die. If your parents don’t respect women and girls, you won’t grow up respecting them either.

fatal discrimination: young women
Almost half of the girls in India are married before they turn 18. Seen as a financial liability, women must bring a large dowry into a marriage, and she then leaves to live with their husband (or husband and his parents). (yes, requiring a dowry is illegal in India today– but it is not enforced) A 2012 UNICEF study found more than half of Indian adolescent males think it is justifiable to beat a wife under certain circumstances, which shows just how prevalent domestic violence is.

changing mentalities
First, women must value themselves and their daughters. They must value their daughter’s time, and her education. Secondly, men must value women. Until the value of women is established in India, there cannot be true progress in ending the country’s alarming violence against women.

If you have ideas/thoughts on how to curb or end the violence against women in India, please leave a comment or email me– I’d love to further discuss any thoughts!

[feminist] confession, why I started CFF

Question: Why are you so passionate about women’s rights, sexual victim’s rights, and reproductive rights? You’ve never been raped or assaulted, you’ve never had an abortion, you’ve never been abused.

I have three best girlfriends from grade school. Among the three there have been (pre-marriage) two abortions, and two miscarriages. Today, two are married, one has fourĀ children and the other has two cutie pies. Both, after marriage, have had a miscarriage of a much-wanted child. The thirdĀ is now happily single. I was the secret-keeper, the advice-giver, the voice and body of control and compassion. I’ve waited impatiently for pregnancy test results to show up in the tiny ambiguous window, I’ve seen how heart-wrenching the choice to have an abortion can be, I’ve seen how painful, sad, and confusing a miscarriage is.

My little sister was fourteen (I was nearly seventeen) when she was suddenly delivered home one Sunday afternoon by her then-best friend and her mother– they pulled up in front of our house after calling to say she was sick, they opened the sliding side door of the mini-van, and my father and I pulled out a limp, wet, stinking child in a bikini. My father and I carried her up the stairs into the front yard as my mother called doctors to see why she was foaming at the mouth. I held my sister as she half-consciously rested against a tree, making sure she vomited to the side and not on herself, as my father went back down to the van to find out what had happened. The only answer they could give was that the bff and my sister had been at a guy’s house, my sister had been drinking, and all of a sudden when they left she began puking. We live in a corner house, so we moved my sister around to the backyard, trying not to be seen as her breasts hung out of the bikini and she slipped in and out of consciousness. Eventually we laid her in a reclining pool chair that we had found a few weeks before on the side of the road, and hosed her down. She rambled on and on incoherently while smelling like a distillery.

Sometimes its really hard for me to forgive her stupidity, her choice of friends, her bad decisions. But she never in a million years deserved to have her drink spiked, her best friend turn her back on her, and to be drug up a flight of stairs and locked in a boy’s bedroom while she was in and out of consciousness, and then to be slid back down the stairs and drug down the street to another house where my parents were called. What a sick power play, that this same boy has done many times over in our city since then– his family has a great lawyer, and he has never even been brought into the courthouse for questioning, much less prosecution.

The evening after, my parents sat my sister down in the living room for a talk, and I was sent into the backyard. A bit later one of them came out and announced they were going to the ER and I couldn’t come. They were gone about six hours, during which my sister had an incredibly painful and invasive rape kit that was never analyzed. She was questioned by several police officers who talked down to her. The doctors said that she definitely had something fucked up in her drink (how else could you foam at the mouth like a rabid dog?), but that it had already left her system and there was nothing they could do.

 

 

 

 

 

Since there was no stray hair, no sperm, no sexual evidence, there was no “proof” that she had been raped.

Since we didn’t realize she had been raped when she arrived home that afternoon, and she was incapable of telling us, we didn’t get her tested for drugs in time for there to be “proof” of that either.

When my father was five his father died of a heart attack. His older brother began sexually abusing him as a form of power… by the age of ten my father was able to fight back, and he turned on their little sister. When my sister was raped, my father nearly lost his mind.

Who gets to dictate what is rape, who gets to dictate when and why women have abortions? Why is this a political topic of discussion? These are lifelong traumas, lifelong decisions– these are personal traumas, personal decisions. I chose to run away from the south to go to school in the mid-west. But you can’t run away from your past. So I am fighting for my future– to keep my personal decisions, my personal traumas, personal. So that it can be my decision to press charges, my decision to have an abortion, and not someone else’s. You should be able to make your own choices, and include whomever you want in those decisions. No one should be forced into including politicians or bullshit laws into their personal decisions. Ever.

[cranky] the letter you need to share: Explain That to your Daughter

 “An Open Letter to my 40-something white, male friend on Facebook”

Explain That to your Daughter

This is the letter that you’ve all be wanting to post on Facebook– calm, well-written, and absolutely slamming the GOP and their misinformed supporters. How can someone vote against their daughter’s future? How can someone vote against their own future? Does the general public have an attention and memory span the same length as my dogs? How much back tracking and mind changing does a person have to do before you realize that they’re just full of shit? Have any of them taken the time to read the Republican party platform or the Democratic party platform? Does anyone know what the term “bipartisan” truly means, and does anyone comprehend what an ass John Boehner and his friends are? How many misinformed, uninformed, racist, sexist, ignorant people does it take to throw a country a hundred years backwards in terms of rights for half of the population?

[super cranky feminist] my theory on Paul Ryan’s jobs plan

Reflecting on the religion/abortion question from the VP debate, Ryan said that (flip flop alert!) he WOULD allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. Note that he said life of the mother, not health of the mother, which are two different things– if the fetus isn’t definitely going to kill the woman, there’s a chance she won’t get the abortion she still needs, or wants. We also can’t forget that Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” fiasco goes hand in hand with Paul Ryan, they’ve attempted to “redefine” rape together– further limiting a woman’s choices. “Redefined” rape would mean that marital rape, ex-partner/spouse rape, date rape, etc would likely no longer be considered rape. Only violent “stranger” rape would be considered rape (if we haven’t by then totally abolished the idea of rape…).

And how much work would a woman have to do to “prove” that she was raped? (Definitely not saying men are not raped, because I have male friends that are rape victims. I’m only talking about women right now because only women can get pregnant.) Already women usually pay out of pocket for a painful and humiliating rape kit that quite often is never analyzed; she would likely be required to press charges against her rapist(s) in order to secure an abortion (remember the rate of conviction is estimated at less than 3%); and she would have to face the public humiliation and stigma associated with publicly admitting to being a rape victim in today’s society.

So then, if we’ve lowered rates of rape by redefinition, then why do Rape Crisis Centers need funding?
If we’re going to teach and preach abstinence-only sex ed, why do we need to offer birth control? Why do we need to ensure that insurance companies cover birth control in health insurance plans? (just a reminder– no one is asking for FREE birth control, we’re asking for our health insurance to cover our birth control in the same way it covers other medications like pain killers and ED treatments) Should all sex be purely for procreating?

Reminder– Romney has promised to de-fund Planned Parenthood (which just like PBS, can’t run on donations alone).

Will my birth control pill, used primarily for controlling ovarian cysts and endometriosis, suddenly cost $120 a month instead of $30 a month because my insurance company (or my mother’s employer offering insurance) suddenly has a “moral objection” to birth control?

Oh, and that Plan B you can get from the pharmacist? Forget that right now– with fetal personhood lighting Ryan’s toes on fire it will be outlawed. “Life begins at conception.” Did you learn in your health/sex ed class that its quite common for eggs to be fertilized but simply fail to implant in the lining of the woman’s uterus? So then is the woman a murderer for failing to have the perfect uterus for that particular egg to implant in? Plan B works to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting, and Paul Ryan wants to make sure that not only is Plan B off the market (it would help to “kill” a 2-cell “innocent life”), but that it’s not available to any rape victim that asks for it. This implantation-prevention form of birth control would become illegal, and it includes IUDs as well as other forms of birth control. It also, in theory, makes IVF illegal (unless of course your last name is Romney)– all of the eggs that are harvested and fertilized must be implanted, and if you chose not to implant some and have them frozen, you honestly have to include the frozen test tube fertilized eggs in your will (and you can’t dump them as medical waste, either). You can’t make this shit up.

And just for good measure, lets not forget that when you’ve got kids at home to take care of you often can’t work. Day care isn’t an option for everyone, especially when you’ve got several kids. This could mean that 50% of the sexually-active working-age population would be at home, and out of the formal economy. I guess that means that there are more jobs for men and the women that aren’t yet mothers… but that sure sounds like a shitty jobs plan to me.

[feminist] video: women “raped too much”

liz trotta: misogynist 

The link will take you to HuffPost’s video of a Fox news interview with a well-respected journalist Liz Trotta. She tells her viewers that Feminists are the reason there is so much rape in the military, and that they are also the reason that there are so many useless jobs such as advocates for sexual victims, and counselors. She believes that women can should only expect to encounter more violent sexual attacks as they move closer and closer to attaining equality with men in the military. Except she doesn’t use the word equality, of course. She also claims that women “are now being raped too much”– too much? This leads me to believe that your statement also says that “being raped a little is okay.” Did you really mean that? Do you honestly mean that women who choose to serve their country and aim to be the best soldiers they can expect to “be raped a little”? Whats the difference between a little and too much? Clearly your privileged bubble needs to be burst, and soon, before you contaminate any more minds and bring women back in time from all of their accomplishments.